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Winter is a season of warmth and celebrations. Steinbeck, that American author who won Nobel for his realistic and imaginative writings in 1962 had this to say about winter: “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

Alas, warmth and friendly talks by the fireside are beyond most of us today. We live recklessly, in haste. And in so doing we often do not appreciate the true meaning of life and living.

Winter’s come finally. If you look down from Thimphu’s serene mountaintops early in the morning, you will notice the city enveloped in thick smog. Some say it is pollution growing, others think it is a natural phenomenon. And there are those who think climate change is beginning to show itself in strange ways—like snow in Gedu! This is the local perspective.

There is no denying climate change is impacting the weather patterns the world over. Some are blaming fire in Australia to climate change and melting icecaps in the poles and the Himalayas. While the debates go on, homes and villages are being displaced and lives lost in numbers greater than ever.

The world looked to 2020 with promise but it is looking increasingly grim with the kind of leadership that the electoral processes are shaping up the world over. If diplomacy must take a back seat, confrontations are the natural consequences. It was Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela. Today it is Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia. Here is the global perspective. The world is heating up.

And the tech war between the two superpowers—China and the United States of America—is affecting not just two countries but also hurting global stability, peace, and prosperity. When pariahs seize power, nothing good can happen. History stands testimony to it.

The world leaders have never been so divided in these many years since the 1940s. But the challenges we are facing today are massive because of amazing technological development and expansion taking place. We are talking about internet of things and the use of artificial intelligence and robotics in the areas of warfare and military strategies. These are serious matters that could prove cataclysmic in the near future. We are living in dangerous and explosive times.

Winter’s gone but winter’s coming, indeed. Wise leadership is becoming urgently necessary in this globalised world. There is no other choice today, for any nation. Climate change is one thing, but needless haggling and leadership vacuum are threatening to throttle the world beyond the turning point.

Diplomatic winter is coming fast and that is going to be a catastrophic beginning, forget the end.

It is in this perspective that the world leaders, especially from the weaker and neutral countries, should mount pressure on the developed nations that are unashamedly thinking like a child and acting like a bully.

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