The Afghan Badlands and Wikipedia

David Miliband on a decade of "asymmetric decay".

Speaking last night, David Miliband outlined the reasons why he believes the last decade has been the most traumatic for the west since the 1930s.

At an event organised by Intelligence Squared, titled Ten Years after 9/11: The World Remade, the former foreign secretary gave a breakdown of what he described as the "degeneration" of old power structures, and stressed the importance of recognising the need for coherent global interdependence.

Miliband argued that over the past decade, three key features of the international stage have been eroded: Firstly, the historic dominance of the United States; secondly, the shift in the balance of power as a result of this, and thirdly, the deterioration of shared sovereignty in the European Union.

He described America as "a reluctant empire" that has had an increasing focus on internal affairs since Bill Clinton ended his second term. No cogent enemies have raised the US ire other than disparate groups inhabiting the Afghan "Badlands", these semi-independent factions being taken on by the American government in an al-Qaeda instigated "detour" of foreign policy. Miliband likened the sum of individual acts of anarchy against the west to the domination of Microsoft's failed online encyclopaedia by the publicly edited Wikipedia, a relationship he termed "asymmetric decay".

He highlighted what he called a "fundamental divide between politicians and academics over how to create an interdependent world". Some prefer to cling to the cosy notion of the nation-state, Miliband said, while progressive groups expound the virtues of shared sovereignty and a recognition of the increasing role of the individual.

"When we talk about the balance of power we have to talk about people not just states," he said. "The west is going to have to rediscover the joys of multilateralism."

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The murder of fearless journalist Pavel Sheremet must be solved - but Ukraine needs more

Sheremet was blown up as he drove to host a morning radio programme

On 20th of July Kiev was shaken by the news of the assassination of the respected Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet. Outside the ex-Soviet republics he was hardly known. Yet the murder is one that the West should reflect on, as it could do much to aggravate the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. 

Sheremet was one of the most significant and high profile investigative journalists of his generation. His career as an archetypal  examiner of the post-Soviet regimes in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia bought him fame and notoriety in the region. From 1997 onwards Sheremet became a name for fearless and non-partisan interrogation, both in print and as also as TV presenter. He paid the price early on when he was incarcerated by the Belarus government, then stripped of his Belarusian nationality and deported. Such is the way of things in the region.

Taking up residence in Kiev, Sheremet became immersed in interrogating the political life of Ukraine. He wrote for the Ukrayinska Pravda publication and also helped to develop a journalism school. Under these auspices he was a participant of a congress, "The dialogue between Ukraine and Russia", in April 2014. He reported on beginnings of the Euromaidan uprising. He warned of the rise of the concept  of "Novorossia" and suggested that Ukraine needed to reset its current status and stand up to Russian pressure. After the Russian occupation of Crimea his blame for the Ukrainian government was ferocious. He alleged that that they "left their soldiers face to face the [Russian] aggressor and had given up the Crimean peninsula with no attempt to defend it." These, he said "are going to be the most disgraceful pages of Ukrainian history."

Sheremet was blown up at 7.45am on 20 July as he drove to host a morning radio programme.

Ukraine is a dangerous place for journalists. Fifty of them have been murdered since Ukraine achieved independence. However, this murder is different from the others. Firstly, both the Ukrainian President and the Interior minister immediately sought assistance from FBI and EU investigators. For once it seems that the Ukrainian government is serious about solving this crime. Secondly, this IED type assassination had all the trappings of a professional operation. To blow a car up in rush hour Kiev needs a surveillance team and sophisticated explosive expertise. 

Where to lay the blame? Pavel Sheremet had plenty of enemies, including those in power in Belarus, Russia and the militias in Ukraine (his last blog warned of a possible coup by the militias). But Ukraine needs assistance beyond investigators from the FBI and the EU. It needs more financial help to support credible investigative journalism.   

The murder of Pavel Sheremet was an attack on the already fragile Ukrainian civil society, a country on the doorstep of the EU. The fear is that the latest murder might well be the beginning of worse to come.

Mohammad Zahoor is the publisher of Ukrainian newspaper The Kyiv Post.