"Sleepwalking into self-destruction": ElBaradei fears for future world peace

Channel NewsAsia
12 February 2015


SINGAPORE: Nobel Peace laureate and former Egyptian Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei has warned the world is "sleep-walking towards self-destruction" unless fundamental changes are made to the way peace is negotiated

In an exclusive interview with Channel NewsAsia, Mr ElBaradei called for a complete long-term overhaul of current government structures to emphasise dialogue and recognise the need for cooperation to tackle global issues. Without it, he believes conflict will remain an inevitable feature of the international landscape.

"Unless we change course, unless we have a different mindset to understand that we are now have to find a system of global governance based on human solidarity not just on myopic geo-political interests, we can end up sleepwalking into self-destruction," he said.

This includes a restructure of organisations such as the United Nations, which he described as "bereft of resources, of authority," and suffering from "systemic dysfunction".

"We have international institutions that are anachronistic, the whole UN system frankly, which has been designed for a different era, not the kind of world we live in today," he said, adding "all the writing on the wall is not leading to a culture of peace, or an environment of peace."


The United Nations was formed in 1945 with the aim of promoting international co-operation, replacing the League of Nations, which was seen at the time as a failed organisation. Mr ElBaradei has encouraged a similar re-think to how modern governments collaborate.

"This is part of our failure as we go through the human project. We do not seem able to resolve any of our issues because all the challenges we are facing are challenges that no-one can deal with alone," he said. "If you look at terrorism, climate change, arms control, communicable disease, drug control, no country, as we have seen in every area, is able to do it alone. Yet they are not able to come to grips with that."

Mr ElBaradei expressed doubts about the prospects of immediate change but said without drastic action, the future looks bleak. He highlighted the conflict in Ukraine and the rise of Islamic State as two major issues adding to global division.

"While I see that we are more and more connected, we are also developing this culture of otherness, and that's my worry that still our primary choice of for settling our differences is violence, is force," he said.

"It's up to us, not just the leaders, but the people, we need to fix the world that we live in. In the 21st century, are we going to continue what we have seen in Europe, 300 years of civil war, of religious war, or have we learned from our own mistakes? These are the fundamental issues we have to address."

Catch the full interview with Mohamed ElBaradei on Between the Lines on Channel NewsAsia, 11pm, on Thursday (Feb 12).