Our back cover regularly proclaims: “Most magazines sell conflict. We sell solutions.” But in fact, many problems lack any obvious solutions, so we often only point you vaguely in the direction where we hope solutions may be found.
You’d think that during the spring of 2020 (when polls show three out of four people staying at home to avoid Covid-19) we’d not be hearing much talk about old problems. But no! The pandemic and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations have exposed issues that had been ignored and we have enough time to discuss them on Zoom.
Several articles in this issue show that we have new opportunities for change.
Worried (rightly) about the right-wing national governments in Eastern Europe, Thorsten Botz-Bornstein calls attention to the mayors of four cities who have formed a network to defy their own states and align themselves instead with the European Union. This reminds him of medieval “free cities” that gained autonomy from regional barons by aligning with the Emperor. Can regional groups do the same today? (We think of some US governors and mayors who are standing up against Trump.)
Olivia Ward worked on producing a TV film about police brutality in Canada. It was an eye-opening experience for her, and she proposes here a number of changes to make the police fulfill their promise: “to serve and protect.”
The pandemic urgently prompted Louise Delany to suggest better international regulations for stopping an epidemic before it spreads across borders. She warns us that we have to hurry and prepare these reforms before the Stockholm meeting.
Robin Collins, concerned about Canada’s rejection from the UN Security Council, concurs with Tamara Lorincz’s low opinion of Canada’s foreign policy. They urge making this embarrassing moment into a call for a review.
Tariq Rauf, recalling the year when nations agreed to make the NPT permanent, proposes taking advantage of the pandemic to renew the next review conference by postponing it until 2022 and holding it in Vienna.
Alon Ben Meir proposes some compromise solutions for the Israelis and Palestinians, when they finally decide to end their conflict.
And Jan Noel, reflecting on SIPRI’s annual report about military expenditures, sees the pandemic as proof that guns are not good at killing viruses. If we want security, the money should be spent on vaccines instead.
So, carpe diem, friends! We have work to do!