Seasoned war reporter rejects the ‘mean world syndrome’
You’ve probably seen Robin Wright on the PBS Newshour, Charlie Rose, or CBS’s Face The Nation. She’s spent most of her life reporting on wars and conflicts: her column, ISIS On The Run, was in the October 17, 2016 New Yorker.
The world-traveling reporter recently returned to her hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she was warmly welcomed by a large audience at her alma mater, the University of Michigan.
A true Michigander, Wright paid homage to ‘the maize and the blue’ and told tales from her career-launching job at at the Michigan Daily before sharing her ten big ideas of the 21st century:
The world is in perpetual disruption and undergoing change much faster than at any time in human history, says Wright, a Woodrow Wilson distinguished fellow . This change will play out as a fundamental re-ordering of nations and states, according to the seasoned reporter, who nearly died in a Cuban raid on Angola.
This ‘end of empires’ means the world will get smaller, according to Wright, and she predicted that people around the world will cling to clans as they uncomfortably become “part of something bigger.”
This huge, messy transition is redefining power, too. In the past, power and force were measured by the strength of military arsenals. Connectivity, access to information, instantaneous delivery, and data security are the new measures of strength.
War is changing, too, says Wright. It is now a battle between states and non-state actors. While nuclear armament is still an ominous threat, suicide bombers are the most feared weapons. She predicts that wars will be fought over natural resources, such as water rights: victory now requires foresight and flexibility to adapt to change.
However, change is never a straight line, according to Wright. She believes progress takes a long time and is not easy because there is always an urge to look for stability. How do we manage all this change? Education is everything, according to Wright, who received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater last year.
Dismissing the ‘mean world syndrome,’ a skewed perspective acquired from too much television-watching, the celebrated journalist believes we are truly better off. There is less warring, life expectancy has doubled and overall poverty is in decline. More and more people ‘now get the bigger picture,’ says Wright. There is much to celebrate.