A disturbing fault line is at the heart of global politics today. Our world is more interconnected than ever before, and yet the mechanisms and means for managing globalization seem less adequate to the challenges. The result is predictable: a backlash against global engagement born of frustration, fatigue, and fear.
Nowhere is this more evident than with the global refugee crisis. Sixty-five million people around the world were displaced by conflict, persecution, and human rights violations in 2015, an increase of 5.8 million over 2014.
Less than 1 percent of refugees returned to their home countries in 2014, and according to the United Nations, the average duration of displacement has risen to 17 years. In 2015, the U.N. appealed for a record $20 billion in order to address global humanitarian needs. Despite tremendous generosity, these appeals faced an unprecedented 45 percent shortfall. The desperation is rising among refugees and in the countries to which they are fleeing. This includes places such as Turkey and Kenya, which are among the largest refugee-hosting countries, as well as European states such as Germany and Sweden, which have welcomed a large number of refugees in the last couple of years.