The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018 55 differences between winners and losers; (4) Identities and ideas are driving a newwave of exclusion; (5) Governing is getter harder, and the institutions of governance are overtaxed by increasing demands and declining capacity; (6)The nature of conflict is changing; and, (7) Historically deferred decisions—especially related to health care, the environment, transnational crime and social justice—will demand attention at a moment when govern- ments will have a declining ability to address them. There is a darkness in this depiction of a world with rising conflict, regional struggle, incompatible economic and social demands, and an increasing number of people and countries with veto power over concerted action. Yet these scenarios also point to a future where resilient nations and societies can prosper. The “Paradox of Progress” report notes: “The most powerful actors of the future will be states, groups and individuals who can lever- age material capabilities, relationships and information in a more rapid, integrated and adaptive mode than generations past.” It con- tinues: “The ability to create evocative narratives and ideologies, generate attention, and cultivate trust and credibility will rest in overlapping but not identical interests and values.” In other words, our salvation will lie within our own society, in our respect for the diversity of interests, and in our diplomatic ability to build the part- nerships and alliances necessary to create “webs of cooperation” that are driven by their immediate relevance to the well-being of our people and those of our partners. The challenge to American leadership lies in our ability to shape narratives that capture the imagination of others, to build the engagement and cooperation necessary to provide substance to this narrative, and to provide the stability and peace neces- sary for the full flourishing of the dynamism that exists within our society. Hans Morgenthau wrote: “The world has been conscious of American purpose in the measure that America was determined to achieve it.”This determination requires a vision of the future in which we become alert, in the words of Walter Lippmann, “to a process of continual creation, an unceasing invention of forms to meet constantly changing needs.” In short, we must act to amplify the possibilities of life and human engagement. n