Monday, December 5, 2016

FBSHApost@ 22 November 2016: "The World Adrift": A talk by John Major

Yesterday I attended a talk by John Major a former PM of UK at the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies. It was well attended by Scholars from Colleges of Oxford University and other Universities in UK, former Ambassadors and current Ambassadors of different missions in UK. Present was also Mr. Marty, former FM of Indonesia. 

The subject itself was an attention catcher, "The World Adrift". He delivered a very good lecture of the current global and regional scene based on his observation as a retired politician and insightful knowledge on the changes taking place in the geo-economic and geopolitical landscapes in Britain, US Europe and the Middle East. He said a new world is born with impacts & challenges that brought turmoil and chaos. He was worried on narrow nationalism and national interest premised on populist politics. He expressed concerns on autocratic and demagogue decision making. He believed in persuasion & diplomacy in arriving at solutions. He accepted that every problem has a solution but solutions can invite problems. 

He was against a foreign imposed solution to internal conflicts. He expressed worry about the reduction of defense spending in view of the assertive position taken by Russia and China. He interestingly touched on the need of Reform of the UNSC to reflect today's reality. The move must come from the permanent five. He considers the solution to the Muslim problems lies in the Middle East. He suggests Britain must reconnect with the Middle East as it was a country with the longest and deepest FP initiatives.

He sounded unhappy with Brexit and considered Parliament must be brought to discuss the mode of the exit. He said China as a new power and growing economic strength must be carefully watched even on its silk road initiatives. He believed on compromise and understanding with extensive use of diplomacy and not power and authority. My impression it was a quality lecture. After painting a worrying global landscapes of protectionism and nationalism, he ended the lecture with a positive note that he is an optimist.

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