Column: The world faces many challenges | Columnists

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David Dreyer

Lenoir Rhyne University


David Dreyer Lenoir Rhyne University


David Dreyer

Later this week, December 9-10, President Biden will host the virtual International Summit on Democracy. According to the Foreign Ministry, the summit is organized around three key themes: defending against authoritarianism, fighting and combating corruption and promoting respect for human rights. The participants have their tasks.

Although global violence has receded, as noted by Harvard’s Stephen Pinker and others, conflict continues to threaten the fundamental dignity and rights of those living in the world’s remaining war zones. In Ethiopia, where the government is fighting the separatists of the Tigrayan rebels, there has been ethnic cleansing, massacres and other outrageous human rights violations. The government has withheld food aid as a weapon, resulting in mass starvation.

After seven years, fighting in Yemen between the Saudi Arabia-backed government and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels has continued. Both sides have committed atrocities and food shortages, similar to Ethiopia, have led to widespread famine.

Jihadism, on the other hand, is on the rise in the Sahel region (in North Africa). After more than eight years of France-led counterterrorism efforts, Western-backed governments in the region are “slowly losing the war” against Muslim extremists, according to The Economist newspaper. More than 10,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced in the past two years.


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