Speaking at the 7th Baku Global Forum in Azerbaijan, Ghani said there was clear dissatisfaction with the agreed rules of the game established post-WW2, as manifested by aggression and state sponsorship on terrorism.
“But there is yet to be an agreement on an acceptable, wholesome alternative. Thus, we have fallen back onto the monsters bred by fear, isolation and misunderstanding—a lazy, instantaneous and dangerous approach. Simply put, the definition of the 21st century is at stake.”
The president said they must redefine foreign policy and use it a tool to create cooperative advantages. However, he said reaching an agreement on the definition of a new world order was imperative.
“It requires us to face the simultaneity and complexity of global problems. If we prioritize one problem over another, then the one problem we neglect now will come back soon to haunt us.”
To manage interdependence, he said, first foreign policy approaches needed to understand and cope with the networks and corporations at play across the globe today—both virtuous networks and destructive ones.
Second, the fourth industrial revolution needed active management, as it was of human making but not of human design, he added.
“The future is automation and digitalization, and if we do not harness it to create opportunities and employment now we will be faced with a backlash of mass unemployment.”
The president added foreign policy approaches would have to focus on cooperation rather than confrontation. “The critical task is to make the foreign familiar. Moving from foreign policy to partner policy is a different conceptual journey that needs to be undertaken by today’s statesmen and women.”
Ghani suggested solutions must address interdependence of competing global problem through principled pragmatism.
“If we understand the issue of interdependence than the task shifts from managing crises to defining the rules of the game to provide predictability. Uncertainty would then be replaced with a new horizon of stability.”
Ghani recalled in the 1950s following World War 2, a new world order was created for only half of the world. “Today, the task is to create a truly global world order. Today, leaders must devise and execute both a national vision, but also a global vision, which requires a new level of effort, imagination and balance.”
He said Afghanistan had been the site of destructive forces — the Soviet invasion and the planning of Al Qaeda’s attacks of September 11. “We have also been the target of attacks by transnational terrorist networks, and an operational base for transnational criminal organizations poisoning the world with heroin.”
But Afghanistan’s long historical reputation had always been that of a roundabout, a place where ideas, goods and peoples freely flowed, said the president.
“We are keen to once again transform our pivotal location at the heart of Asia into a platform for regional and global cooperation.”
He said Afghanistan presented an opportunity for the region and the world, for a host of interdependent issues, from trade, security, and economic growth.
“But it requires a creative and imaginative approach. Afghan men and women, particularly the 75 percent under 35, are eager to engage in a world order where war and poverty can be overcome.”
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