Former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak gave a full view of the world’s geopolitical risks Tuesday at the Global Financial Leadership Conference.
In a presentation on the impact of the Middle East, Barak suggested that threats in the region have increased due to the presence of ISIS, calling the fight against the group “a generational war” that won’t be done in a matter of years.
Though the conflict will be long, Barak also suggested the fight may be worth it in a conversation with TIME Assistant Managing Editor Rana Foroohar.
“We’re heading into a better situation,” he says, citing the fact that Iraq and Syria borders were drawn carefully after World War I to keep sects divided, and that the recent ISIS actions have brought more sectarian violence. He compared the situation to the former Yugoslavia, where several divided groups joined the same country, and eventually broke apart after civil war.
Barak also touched on China’s relationship to the Middle East, and how it has differed from U.S. involvement.
“Americans comes always with a mission to the table,” he says. “They seek to change the world for the better.”
“China doesn’t approach it this way. They look for jobs, and projects and a better position for future relations.
Asked about his geopolitical outlook for 2015, Barak was positive: “In spite of everything, the world is showing resilience. The old saying, the enemy of my enemy is my friend is not true anymore. It’s careful, psychologically detached leadership that will lead the way.”
Watch more from his presentation in the video above.