Thriving in the Crosscurrent:

Clarity and Hope in a Time of Cultural Sea Change

Supporting Evidence:
Seven Signposts of
the 21st Century


We're experiencing unprecedented levels of public outrage and grief over the oil spill.


Our global ambassador is a woman—one who came very close to being elected president of the United States.


An African-American man sits in the Oval Office.


Social and economic justice and human rights have become the most significant themes in the modern global conversation.


War is no longer “inevitable.”


Yes, there’s a rise in religious fundamentalism…but it’s a classic “eddy” that hides the huge progress we’re making in the other direction.


We’re globalizing from the bottom up.


War is no longer “inevitable.” Consider the fact that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 was preceded by gigantic protests in many of the world’s capitals. The demonstrations dwarfed global reaction to the Vietnam War. Former UN Assistant Secretary General Robert Muller referred to the millions taking to the streets as “a new superpower.” He added, “Never before in the history of the world has there been a global, visible, public, viable, open dialogue and conversation about the very legitimacy of war.”

Those who ask, “Why didn’t the protests succeed?” just don’t understand the nature of a real social movement. They might as well ask, “Why didn’t the March on Selma work?”

Around the world, diplomats, scholars, and peace activists are sounding the some note: “Modern war is obsolete.” It certainly hasn’t disappeared, but it’s losing its legitimacy. The long-cherished notion of the “just war”—waged only as a very last resort and not threatening the lives or property of non-combatants—has vanished in the face of extreme modern military killing power. Ironically, the more powerful the war machine becomes, the harder it is to use with precision.

As Joseph Nye, former dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, puts it: “War remains possible, but it is much less acceptable now than it was a century or even a half century ago.” Nye and others argue that “soft power”—diplomatic, exemplary, persuasive influence—not “hard power” is the key to global peace. U.S. policy in Afghanistan increasingly reflects this shift.

Order Thriving in
the Crosscurrent

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