David Ignatius speaks at UNC.
David Ignatius speaks at UNC.

David Ignatius doesn’t know how to fix the world.

But when he stepped to the podium to give the annual Weatherspoon Lecture at UNC Kenan-Flagler Jan. 29, the veteran journalist faced an audience that expected him to tell them how to do just that.

“Someone with a sense of humor – someone who was not me – produced the title of my remarks,” he said with a laugh, referencing the speech entitled “Foreign Affairs: How to Fix the World.”

The name of the talk, Ignatius said, illustrated the uniquely American belief that “anything is soluble with the right documentation.”

Ignatius laced his speech with insights and lessons from his 40-year career as a reporter, columnist and best-selling novelist – “a few observations,” he called them, “about how we got here and about how, over time, we can get out.”

He focused largely on the Middle East, an area he has covered for more than 25 years as a journalist. It’s a region, he said, that is not merely in a state of crisis but rather one of disintegration.

“It’s in freefall,” he said. “People have a sense of vertigo.”

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