David Howell (Lord Howell of Guildford), President of the Royal Commonwealth Society, reminds readers how the Commonwealth is the ideal network, with links enhanced by modern technical advances, jointly promoting security and prosperity for its members.
It is difficult to be a global optimist these days, around the mid-point in the second decade of the 21st century. After the fall of the Soviet Union almost a quarter of a century ago, idealism and hope ran high. Liberty would revive the former vassal nations of the old Soviet Empire, both in Eastern Europe and in Central Asia. Democracy would spread its wings and there would be a new era of peace, stability, transparency and trust.
Then, after the so-called Arab Spring – the same optimism. Tyrants, it was believed, would be overthrown, people-power enhanced, with the old killer ideologies of the 20th century – Communism and Fascism (which in their most oppressive forms amounted to the same thing) – banished for ever, except perhaps in China where a veneer of Communist doctrine would still be preserved as a tool for centralised government power.
Little of this came about. Instead the world, although less divided in the old Cold War sense, has become infinitely more fragmented. Terror and anarchy stalk many regions…
*Statistics within article correct at original publication date of CHOGM 2015 Report.
David Howell (Lord Howell of Guildford)
President of the Royal Commonwealth Society