At the end of World War II, representatives from China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States gathered at the Dumbarton Oaks mansion in Washington to lay the foundations of the postwar global governance architecture. Over the next few years, global leaders traveled to San Francisco, Bretton Woods and beyond to develop institutions that would safeguard peace, security and prosperity.
The tragedies of two World Wars and one global depression were mighty motivations. The results included the establishment of the United Nations system and international agreements on trade, tariffs and currencies. While these multilateral institutions were far from a panacea, they have contributed significantly to improve the human condition and continue to do so to this day.
Today, however, after three decades of unprecedented global interdependence and technological innovation, the current world order is increasingly hybrid and states, whether old powers, new powers, declining powers or rising powers, are only one category of influential stakeholders. States and state-centric multilateral institutions now share the international arena with a wide range of nongovernmental actors, illicit enterprises and influential private sector entities, as well as civil society groups and individuals that have significant and increasing influence in global politics.
In this world, the challenges to peace, security and prosperity are more interconnected and therefore more complex. What is needed to respond to this hybrid world are equally hybrid political and security structures. As a result, capacity-building at the intersection of defense, security and development, tapping into the resources of all relevant stakeholders and taking advantage of the nexus where wise public policy and profit meet are together emerging to be the new modus operandi.