What country would not join an alliance of “goodwill powers”? That is the question France’s foreign minister essentially posed to the world in a little-noticed speech at Harvard University last week. Jean-Yves Le Drian proposed a global alliance of goodwill powers to “revive multilateralism, which has been the way of doing things since the end of World War II.”
If that sounds vague, it is. There’s no sense of what this might look like, who might join, or what it might do. It is also expressly a rejoinder to the “us first” approach of America’s President Trump and others, such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. Yet it is not exclusionary. “It’s not against anybody,” Mr. Le Drian said, adding that, “Goodwill is just goodwill. It’s open to anybody.”
Whether anything comes of the proposal is anyone’s guess. But the way Le Drian is approaching the issue is significant. Among many in the West, it is now no longer a given that working together across borders is a good thing. Global alliances can be seen as inefficient, ineffective, and unfair. In short, goodwill has eroded.
Refocusing international cooperation on the power of working together for everyone’s benefit is perhaps the best way to rebuild it.
Here are our five stories for today, which examine a drop in drinking from a global perspective, a new kind of civic activism percolating in East Jerusalem, and why artificial intelligence is no cure-all for our biases.