This week in Fridays with MUNPlanet we continue to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War with Miguel Angel Moratinos, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain who shared his insights on the international relations and the connection between leadership and emotions during his recent visit to CIRSD Conference in Belgrade.
Miguel Angel Moratinos worked in the sphere of international relations and development in Eastern Europe, North Africa, and The Middle East. In his diplomatic career he held the presidency of the United Nations Security Council and the chairmanships-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the Council of the European Union, ensuring that the Treaty of Lisbon and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union are implemented accordingly. Moreover, as The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Spain he fostered multiculturalism through the Alliance of Civilizations, the Group of Friends for the Reform of the United Nations while creating innovative programs for development, healthcare and women within the United Nations system.
Miguel Angel Moratinos: In Spain there was a strange situation because we were coming after what for Spain was the end of the Spanish colonialism, when we left Cuba and the Philippines. At the time we had very weak governments, we were under extremely difficult internal problems and Spain was not involved, to a certain extent, in the international arena.
Fortunately, also, we were not part of the so-called main actors in international relations. So, concerning The First World War we did not participate in it. So, there is no these memories and this suffering and these consequences of the war, but of course, we were following the events and there were some debates out of the Holy Alliance and under the Triple Entente. Therefore, Spain succeeded to be out of these events that provoked the First World War. This is something that we look at as something that happened closely to us, but we are not directly involved.
MUNPlanet: Can you think of a society where global interests prevail over national interests? Do we need a new model of governance?
Miguel Angel Moratinos: It is a very interesting question because I was taught and everybody has to agree on that, and in the past in the 19th century and even in the 20th century the foreign policy was the extension of the national policy. While the great powers, e.g. British wanted to spread their influence here and there… or Spaniards, Germans, the United States had their national interests, in order to protect them and to guarantee them, they have to implement certain foreign policy. So it was their side. So people behave out of their hearts and out of their minds. I think we should have a national interest that prevailed on the global scale.
Today in the 21st century something that is slightly shaped are these global issues; as we mentioned public goods are now impacting in the foreign policy of the nation state. Also, what we refer to as climate change, or we refer to global terrorism or we refer to food security, water scarcity or emigration. These so-called global challenges are the ones that lead the countries to discuss together, to negotiate, to try to find common strategies in order to respond to those challenges. They are not the traditional national interests that are going to prevail but the global challenges that are going to be of utmost importance to respond to stability and security of the world in the next decades.
MUNPlanet: Leaders are trying to be rational... But in your experience, when it comes to statecraft, can we rely on emotions and to what extent in the world of politics and leadership?
Miguel Angel Moratinos: Decisions are made by human beings, and as a human being you have both rationality and the emotional good equilibrium - a balance between the two. Being too rational sometimes makes you become paralyzed. Because if you don't take any risk, you need your heart and emotions to move forward. But If you are only moved by emotions, you are also tempted and maybe sometimes trapped by some mistakes. The good balance is the key, and human beings must have both emotions and their rational side.
MUNPlanet: Your excellency, thank you for devoting your time to talk to MUNPlanet.
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