The 21st century has been a time of dramatic change and difficult challenges. Super-power rivalries, economic disruption, technological revolution and environmental pressures have created a world of unprecedented complexity.
The Road to Now started with such promise. The end of the Cold War – dramatically represented by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union – sparked optimism that the democratic values and free markets of the West would be universally accepted.
How quickly it changed. America’s certainties ended abruptly in Afghanistan and Iraq, with foreign and defence policies hijacked by the events of 9/11. The global financial crisis sparked by speculators and unregulated markets – undermined the West’s claim of leadership, while the incredibly fast rise of China as an economic powerhouse demonstrated that authoritarian capitalism could be an effective economic model.
In the past 30 years we have added 2.5 billion people to the planet. The impact of industrialisation, the spread of economic power from west to east and a rapidly changing climate are so profound that some people foresee an existential crisis for mankind.
Guiding us through the last 30 years are some of the world’s best historians, journalists and politicians. They include:
- Niall Ferguson, British historian and author
- Christian Amanpour, Chief International Anchor, CNN
- Tom Friedman, Foreign Affairs columnist, The New York Times and author
- Hugh White, Emeritus Professor, Australian National University & author
- John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia 1996-2007 & author
- Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand 1999-2008 & senior UN official
- Gareth Evans, Foreign Minister of Australia 1988-1996 & President, International Crisis Group
Six one-hour programs trace the key events which have shaped the modern world.
Wars rage and tens of millions of people are on the move as international tensions rise. Global challenges require global solutions yet nationalism and populism are driving nations to retreat behind borders. What started with a wall coming down, has led to new walls going up in Europe and the United States.
How did it come to this? How did the celebration of freedom that remarkable night in Berlin lead to the crisis of international confidence evident today?