STEWART PATRICK: OK, folks. I think we might -- we might go ahead and get started. I assume this is on.
I met most of you. For those of you who I haven't, my name's Stewart Patrick. I'm a senior fellow here and direct the program on international institutions and global governance under whose auspices Ash Jain has written his paper.
It's a great pleasure to welcome you all here. This meeting, unlike most council events, with the agreement of our co-presenters, is -- or presenter and discussant, is going to be on the record. So just for your full warning, this isn't -- is not being held under normal council rules.
I would just want to do some brief introductions. You have their bios. Ash Jain is a nonresident fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States and a consultant with the Eurasia Group. In the past he's been affiliated as a fellow, visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. And before that he was in government service as a member of the State Department's policy planning staff, where some of the ideas that he's going to be discussing were germinated.
David Gordon, as you all know, is head of research and director of global macro analysis at the Eurasia Group. He has served in a number of senior capacities in the U.S. government, most recently as director of policy planning under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the tail -- actually, not quite tail end of the -- of the George W. Bush administration. And before that he served in a number of capacities in the National Intelligence Council, where I first had the pleasure of getting to know him.
What I've asked Ash to do is to speak for about 15 minutes or so, presenting some of the main lines of argument in his paper, not necessarily going through it exhaustively, and then perhaps David can offer 10 minutes of reflection or so.
I'll just start with a few items of reflection of my own. I did do a blog on this -- on Ash's paper, which we had commissioned because I felt it was an important contribution to the ongoing debate over what is the role of, in a sense, regime type in determining or shaping U.S. policies -- U.S. foreign policy, to what degree should the United States seek to build commonality, solidarity and common purpose with democracies.
Now, there's obviously a rich tradition of this. At the tail end of the Clinton administration, of course, Madeleine Albright presided over the formation of the Community of Democracies, which I think, in retrospect -- while not being a useless organization, in retrospect, suffered some from flaws, not least of which is the fact that it really didn't have particularly stringent criteria as to what constituted a democracy and so arguably allowed a few more spoilers and troublemakers into the room than would have been desirable.
It's been interesting in this -- this periodic interest in an alliance or a concert of a league of democracies is something that one finds on both sides of the political spectrum. It was a major theme in the Princeton Project on National Security that Anne-Marie Slaughter and John Ikenberry spearheaded. It was probably the most controversial aspect, in some ways, of that -- of that project. But it's -- it also featured in much of the campaign rhetoric of Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election and has been associated or -- with public policy intellectuals like Robert Kagan as well as those of a more centrist or even to the left persuasion, like Jim Lindsay, our director of studies here, who's probably -- would identify himself as a centrist, I think, and Ivo Daalder, who's obviously played a significant role in this administration.
Now all of those -- these schemes have been criticized on a number of different grounds. Is there enough commonality amongst democracies, particularly democracies that aren't necessarily all advanced OECD countries? Is -- are there problems of defining democracy, who gets to actually make the club? Or do you risk having a "West versus the rest" dynamic, et cetera? A lot of -- particularly critiques from the realist side.
In fact one of the invitees to this gathering responded quite -- with some acid to me -- a former colleague of mine -- basically saying, enough of this Kantian claptrap. This is all just nostalgia for a Western order that is quickly going by the wayside. You know, please, this is a dangerous trend that you're going down, since I'd -- I had last month hosted a meeting with John Ikenberry and Dan Deudney, had presented something that at least is somewhat coterminous with this, although a little bit ideologically different.
Be that as it may, this is an important part of U.S. political culture. It's also true that there are certain things that democracies care about and nondemocracies don't. And what's interesting about Ash's paper is how, I think, he tries to avoid some of the shortfalls and shortcomings of previous efforts to try to advocate for something like this, partly because it's a more limited objective and it's also incremental, builds on some things that have already been tried.
So with those preliminaries, let me turn things over to Ash, then David will make his comments, and then we'll open the floor up to all of you. Thank you very much.
ASH JAIN: OK. Well, thank you all for coming. And I want to express my gratitude to Stuart Patrick and the Council on Foreign Relations for organizing this event and for commissioning the paper that we're going to discuss today. It's a pleasure to be here.
I'm going to talk for a few minutes about global cooperation and a proposal for a new venue that I'm calling the Democracies 10, or the D10. So when President Obama heads to St. Petersburg for the G-20 summit later this year, he'll have a full plate of issues to contend with, but we can bet that what will not likely be on the agenda are some of the most critical and vexing security challenges facing the United States -- whether to intervene in Syria, how to strengthen sanctions against Iran, what we can do to advance democratic reform in places around the world -- Burma, China and others. The G-20, as we all know, is not the venue to discuss political and security issues, and nor would such a divergent group of countries be likely to produce a useful outcome.
What about when the president heads to the G-8 in Northern Ireland this summer? Is that where we can expect to gain some traction on these big challenges? Well, not likely. If the past is any indication, the G-8 is likely to end up with a bland and largely meaningless statement of concern, but no consensus on a strategy for moving forward.
So could the president deploy Susan Rice at the U.N. Security Council to come up with a plan of action? Well, here too we've seen that given Russia and China's positions, they're not likely to play ball at the U.N. Security Council and we're not likely to gain any traction there either.
So this illustrates the dilemma that we face. The U.S. has been at the forefront of setting up a number of international venues to facilitate multilateral cooperation. But where do we turn when we want to build strategic consensus on the wide range of issues, political and security threats, that we face today? Well, I hope after today's discussion we'll have at least one possible answer to consider.
So I'd like to begin with some observations about the future of great power cooperation, turn to the value of -- I see in working with like-minded allies and then outline this D10 concept, who would be in it and why, and then finally a little bit on the feasibility of bringing this concept to reality.
So in recent years, the United States has invested a great deal in enhancing cooperation with major world powers, reaching out to emerging powers, bringing them into the halls of power. And I'd like to suggest three observations about what we can expect in the future.
First, in the economic realm, this effort at engaging major powers and giving them a stake in the international system may, in fact, end up paying dividends. While both Russia and China maintain a heavy-handed state role, they, along with Brazil, India, other emerging powers have essentially embraced capitalist economies that accept a wide range of norms and practices, such as trade liberalization, that have been the hallmarks of an open liberal order. Establishing the G-20, therefore, as an inclusive forum for economic cooperation holds some promise.
Second point is, however, that when it comes to political and security cooperation, the situation, I would contend, is qualitatively different. Russia and China remain fundamentally opposed to the expansion of many of the liberal norms and principles long championed by the West, particularly when they involve involvement in the internal affairs of other states.
These diverging perspectives are evident in at least four major policy areas: one, the expansion of democracy; two, the prevention of violence against civilians; three, the treatment of rogue regimes; and four, the establishment of privileged spheres of influence.
The track record on this is pretty clear. Over the years Russia and China have voted or expressed their positions against democracy promotion by vetoing successive resolutions at the Security Council. We've seen this, obviously, with -- most recently with Syria. Previously they voted against resolutions relating to democracy promotion in Zimbabwe and Burma. They have sought to reverse -- particularly Russia has -- to reverse the Color Revolutions in places like Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. Both China and Russia, while they have supported efforts to persuade Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclear programs, they've continually sought to water down these sanctions and have maintained and in some cases even strengthened trade and economic ties. And finally, China and Russia diverge from the Western powers in claiming what Dmitri Medvedev has called so-called privileged spheres of influence in regions close to their borders.
That's not to say that cooperation with China and Russia is impossible. In fact, the two countries have collaborated with the West -- with Western powers to address various threats to international security. But those have primarily been limited to threats emanating from nonstate actors, including terrorism and al- Qaida, piracy, drugs and organized crime.
The third observation I would make is that as much as we would like to believe that they are with us, we're not going to be able to rely on rising democracies, including India, Brazil, South Africa and Turkey and the like, for support on these big international issues, at least not in the short run.
While they do share common values and objectives, these rising democracies have been ambivalent about supporting Western-led actions to advance these objectives, particularly when it requires coercive diplomacy, economic sanctions and especially the use of force.
On democracy promotion, for example, these countries have resisted efforts to isolate or pressure autocratic regimes. They've struggled on the issue of protecting civilians against violent atrocities. For example, they criticized NATO's actions to bring down Gadhafi and have maintained their strident opposition to intervention in Syria. And on Iran, they have been hesitant to support economic isolation and are firmly against any kind of military intervention to deal with its nuclear program.
So given the diverging views of major world powers, consensus at the U.N. and inclusive institutions on political and security challenges will be difficult. Instead, the United States is going to have to turn to its like-minded partners if it wants to establish greater cooperation on these issues.
Let me turn now to talk a little bit about these like-minded democracies. The United States and Europe have embraced a common worldview over the years that's been built on shared concepts of universal human rights, the rule of law, market economies and value -- and a values-based international order. I think it's fair to say that the basic strategic preferences of countries like the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the like are aligned largely with those of the United States. This shared worldview is not limited to Europe. Several countries in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Japan, Australia and South Korea, have expressed a similar commitment to preserving a liberal international order.
This legacy of cooperation has been tested at times, with Iraq serving as probably the most poignant example in recent years. But major policy disagreements between the United States and its like- minded allies like that are relatively rare and tend to be narrower in scope than is -- than is with -- the case with others.
In addition to shared values, the U.S. and the West have maintained a preponderance of power in the international system that continues to provide a tremendous source of leverage. With all the focus on China and the rise of emerging powers, one might overlook the fact that the United States continues to remain the world's leading economic power and is expected to be in that position for another two decades. In the security realm, Western power is even more pronounced with the U.S. and its closest allies spending six times or more on defense than Russia and China combined.
But what they're missing is a crucial element for success, and that is a collective vehicle for strategic coordination. During the Cold War, the U.S. and its allies organized themselves to address important challenges facing the liberal order. Through NATO, they worked to unify position -- military capabilities to contain the Soviet Union, and then later the G-7 provided a venue for joint consultation on political issues among advanced industrial democracies. Both provided valuable platforms for like-minded coordination that ultimately helped defeat communism.
But today's threats are much more diffuse. They include outlier regimes seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, Islamic extremism, dictators trampling on human rights committing violent atrocities and great power autocracies seeking to extend spheres of influence. And effective multilateral cooperation remains essential to these challenges. But the like-minded lack any collective entity through which they can collaborate.
Well, what about NATO? NATO has served for a long while to promote cooperation among like-minded allies, and its new strategic concept has recently expanded in scope. But the problem with NATO is that its mandate remains limited to defense and security cooperation, whereas today's threats and challenges often require a much wider set of foreign policy actions, such as those related to sanctions, foreign assistance and public diplomacy. Other important political objectives as well, such as democracy promotion, human rights and transnational justice remain largely outside of NATO's purview.
What about the G-8? Well, as mentioned, the G-8 has sought to remain relevant as a forum for consultation among most like-minded states. But the presence of Russia has rendered it incapable and ineffective on the most critical foreign policy challenges, such as Iran, Syria, North Korea and, of course, on issues relating to Russia itself.
So with few other options, the U.S. has relied increasingly on ad hoc coalitions and contact groups. The Friends of Syria, the working group on Iran sanctions, for example, the Proliferation Security Initiative and others provide mechanisms to facilitate cooperation among like-minded countries. But though they offer flexibility, these ad hoc coalitions tend to encourage tactical cooperation on isolated issues rather than strategic assessment and coordination across a range of policy challenges. They also require a greater effort to sustain.
To fill this void, I would contend we need a new strategic framework. And that brings us to the notion of the D10. So what is it, who would be in it, and what would it do? Well, the D10, as termed here in this paper, the Democracies 10, would be a new entity aimed at promoting multilateral cooperation.
Who would be in it? Two criteria would guide participation. The first is strategic like-mindedness. That is, states that share a common worldview, not only in terms of how they perceive current threats and challenges, but also in their commitment to shared values, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and to preserving and advancing a liberal world order.
And the second is the demonstrated capacity to act on an international scale. So this would focus on states that have the economic and military assets, soft power resources and diplomatic influence that provide them with the capability to act in addressing threats to global security and promoting international norms.
So if you apply these criteria to countries around the world, the forum here would encompass America's closest strategies partners. From Europe, it would include the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy. From the Asia-Pacific region, it would encompass Japan, Australia and South Korea. And then from North America, Canada and, of course, the United States.
With the addition of the EU, the resulting D-10 would bring together a powerful and compelling group of like-minded states that account for more than 60 percent of local GDP and more than three- fourths of the world's military expenditures. There is a chart in front of you that also sort of depicts these states and how they rank, just to get a sense of the kind of power and influence these states have, both in terms of military and economic capacities.
Now, there may be other states, in Europe particularly, that might arguably meet these criteria, and other countries, depending on how large one wanted to make it, could be seen as like-minded and capable. However, I would suggests that the group, at least to begin with, would need to be -- start out as narrowly constituted in order to maximize its effectiveness. The larger the group, the more formal its proceedings tend to be, and the more difficult and time-consuming it is to forge consensus.
So what would the D10 do? To succeed, such a framework must have a clearly defined purpose. To advance the norms and values of a liberal international order, the D10 would serve three primary functions: one, strategic consultation; two, policy coordination; and three, crisis response.
It -- so in terms of strategic consultation, the D10 would offer a standing framework for consultation at the strategic level, allowing the like-minded to collaborate on global challenges and defining strategies for a rule-based international order, promoting democracy, preventing violence against civilians, countering terrorism, defending the global commons and the like. The D10 could focus on producing a joint strategy that outlines priorities and sets forth ways that the like-minded could better align resources and address gaps in capabilities beforehand.
Second, the D10 could serve as a facilitator of policy coordination on specific challenges among the participating countries. Participants could share relevant intelligence and sensitive information, discuss the merits of various policy options and coordinate diplomatic actions. It could also serve as a core group for broader coalitions of like-minded states and a platform to align positions at other international venues such as the U.N., for example, or the six-party talks on Korea -- North Korea, et cetera.
And finally, the D10 could provide a venue to formulate collective responses to future political and security crises. In the wake of a new North Korean provocation in East Asia or an Iranian escalation in the Gulf for example, like -- the like-minded could come up together through this venue to forge a rapid and unified response.
And when the use of force may be required, the D10 could be of particular value. The U.S. and its allies, for example, find it necessary to intervene in a future conflict such as Syria but are unable to obtain Security Council authorization. It could work through the D10 as an alternative venue for joint action. Though certainly wouldn't carry the same legal or political weight as the Security Council, a decision by a multilateral venue composed of democracies, established democracies, would provide at least some sense of greater perceived legitimacy.
Any decision could -- to use force could then be implemented through NATO or separately formed coalitions of the willing.
Finally, let me turn now to sort of the feasibility of bringing this concept into reality. And I will -- want to point to a diplomatic initiative at -- that the State Department initiated a few years ago. In 2008 policy planning directors from a group of nine like-minded democratic states gathered in Toronto to launch a unique series of official dialogues on global security challenges. Not coincidentally, the nine participating states included those proposed for the D10, minus the EU. Subsequent meetings of this policy planning dialogue took place annually in Washington and Seoul.
The establishment of this dialogue and its continuity from the Bush into the Obama administrations suggests that it is feasible, even with today's emphasis on cooperation among emerging powers, to launch a mechanism for coordination among traditional allies. But it also suggests two other considerations. First, to serve as an effective venue for strategic collaboration, such a framework must be reinforced at more senior levels and has to be integrated across policymaking channels. And secondly, the ability to sustain this framework and produce successful outcomes will require and will depend upon U.S. leadership. Allies who are -- continue to look to the United States to assume a coordinating role and to provide overall strategic direction.
So how would we go about establishing a D10? Well, with the policy planning dialogue as a foundation, the simplest way forward would be to convene a meeting of the D10 at the foreign ministers level to endorse the purposes and mission of this new construct.
Such a meeting could take place without a lot of fanfare, perhaps on the margins of a future NATO gathering -- NATO foreign ministers' gathering or at the opening session of the General Assembly at the U.N. The D10 doesn't require a secretariat, wouldn't need a permanent staff or an actual physical location. Instead, like the G-8 and the G-20, states could rotate hosting meetings. Leaders' summit meetings would not be essential to the success of this framework. Instead the goal would be to avoid an emphasis on high-publicity summits and joint communiques, focusing instead on facilitating behind-the-scenes strategic and policy coordination across diplomatic channels, with foreign ministers providing overall guidance and direction.
Let me conclude with three brief points. First, in launching the D10, we would need to be careful to guard against, as Stewart mentioned, perceptions of "the West versus the rest." But there are ways, I think, to ensure that Russia, China and other emerging powers would not perceive this as an effort to marginalize them in any way.
Second, the D10 is not, certainly, a panacea. The like-minded are not always going to agree. And as I mentioned, its success will depend on leadership, particularly by the United States. But a venue like this would at least serve to encourage greater collaboration than we have today on these big strategic issues.
And finally, the D10 would not replace, necessarily, any existing venue. Instead the U.S. would continue to cooperate with major powers to expand economic coordination at the G-20. It would look to engage China and Russia at the U.N. Security Council and other venues. It would try to strengthen ties with rising democracies and try to encourage their orientation towards the West, but it would add to this mix a new framework aimed at deepening strategic collaboration with the like-minded.
In sum, it may be anachronistic to focus -- it may seem anachronistic to focus on a new forum for engagement with traditional allies. But I think it's an approach that's grounded in the reality of today's world, a world that may be converging around a set of global economic norms but one that remains stridently divided on political and security issues that are at the core of a democratic world order. By providing a platform for strategic consultation, policy coordination and joint crisis response, the D10 could provide a powerful complement to the G-20, allowing the U.S. and its like-minded allies to best organize for the challenges of today's world.
PATRICK: Ash, thank you very much for that very eloquent summary of your -- of your argument and giving us tons of food for thought. I'm sure many of us are -- have questions that we're ready to ask.
But first we're going to allow Ash's former boss David Gordon to have his say.
DAVID GORDON: Well, thank you very much, Stewart.
Is this on?
PATRICK: I believe that they're all on. Yeah, you can pull it a little closer to you.
GORDON: And I want to thank Ash for doing this paper. I think it's a really good paper. And I'm a big fan of Stewart's program here, and I thank you for hosting us today.
So I want to take some of these themes, talk about them, but also raise them up a little bit in terms of how do we think about the world now, and where does this fit with some other things we're doing. And I agree with Ash, you know, sort of 90 (percent) to 95 percent on both scope and purpose here. But I want to highlight a couple of points.
So the first is that in -- this effort that we began at the end of the -- of the last administration, I think, was a really significant one.
We saw its importance as a matrix mechanism between sort of allies in the trans-Atlantic arena and allies in the trans-Pacific arena where it hadn't always been easy to get those together. We used the phrase -- at the time, sort of three phrases here -- Ash has cut it down to two -- but we used "the like-minded," "the capable" and "the willing," because you could be like-minded and even relatively capable but not willing. And I think this -- Ash has sort of conjoined those, and I think for the purpose of a title that's fine.
But I worked on two interesting sort of structural architecture issues near the end of the -- of the Bush administration. One was this, and one was the G-20. And both of these were in real senses responses to a much more differentiated world, to a world of rising powers and to a world where the existing mechanisms of collaboration weren't maximizing where we were going. And I think we've had some interesting experiences coming out of each.
I'm actually a little bit more critical of the G-20 and what it's achieved. The G-20 did great in its first year, year and a half, no question, but the G-20 was, I think, thought about in a way similar to how we were thinking about the major economies meetings that were set up to deal with climate issues.
These were made -- these were intended to be coalitions of the like -- of the nonlike-minded, capable and potentially willing. All right? Nonlike-minded, capable, potentially willing. And I think that in a crisis, as we were in in 2008, we were able to take that nonlike- mindedness and that potentially willing and get something out of it on the G-20. I think in the period since 2009, we've seen a lot of atrophy in the G-20. So I don't think that this notion that we're heading to convergence on the economic side but you have these big problems on the security side is quite right.
In fact, in my view the biggest potential here for a regime- changing coalition of the willing lies in the trade front, and that is the simultaneous opportunities to move forward towards completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the parallel construction of a U.S.- EU or a North America-EU, again, trade agreement that also has regulatory implications for what goes on behind borders. And this is a -- this is big regime-changing coalition of the willing.
I mean, Arvind Subramadian wrote a piece about this earlier this week. He hates it. The theoretical trade economists all hate this because they have this model of universalism here that, frankly, we can't get to with -- the WTO framework is fundamentally broken, and our -- and nobody's going to change it in the way Arvind would like to change it.
He hates it, but the -- the theoretical trade economists all hate this because they have this model of sort of universalism here that, frankly, we can't get to with -- the WTO framework is fundamentally broken, and our -- and nobody's going to change it in the way Arvind would like to change it.
We have now an alternative mechanism, can bring together this giant, essentially, coalition of the willing that has a regime- changing way in a way that really deepens U.S. rules and norms and can serve, I believe, as a very powerful body that has some of the "this is a club I want to join" element that the EU had at the end of the Cold War.
But I think the world we're in -- all of this stresses the world we're in now is one in which sort of universalist multilateralism is really a very, very tough row to hoe. And a lot of this has to do with the rise of what -- Ian Bremmer and I wrote an op-ed piece back in the spring -- is all these books, articles on the rise of the rest -- we said, no, no, it's not the rise of the rest; it's the rise of the different. And I think the point that Ash was making about even our -- the democratic developing countries -- they aren't willing to engage in these big multilateral efforts, make commitments to them, bind themselves to them. And it's not just after World War II, we were -- we were restoring and reconstructing allies who were pretty much like us.
We -- over a very long time, over a very long time, I think a lot of the developing countries are going to -- are going to get there, but in the meantime, I think we -- we're deluding ourselves a little bit in thinking that a lot of the big developing countries, even those that are very democratic, have the level of like-mindedness and willingness to act that make them viable partners.
And so I think it's in that context that I think the D10 construct, I believe, is a very, very useful construct.
Now I think the key to it, though -- and here's where, if I have a slight disagreement with Ash, I -- I'm very wary about the -- using the D10, giving it any legitimating authority. I think once you start imbibing legitimating authority to this, then it raises all of these red flags for everybody else in the world.
So I think part of the key -- part of the key for the success of the D10 is that it is basically a -- an alliance of the most like- minded, the most capable, the most willing, and it's a way to ensure strategic coherence and maximize the synergies and the weight behind those states in a world in which there are all sorts of issues and all sorts of potentially alternative alliances. It -- but it shouldn't -- it's not going to replace other coalitions of the willing.
In the case of Iranian sanctions, we built this incredibly broad coalition of the willing, including a lot of countries that we never thought we would be able to get in because we effectively used financial leverage that we had against them.
We are in this -- in this trade world that we're going into, a lot of other countries are going to get into that trade world. So we don't want to set this up as a huge, exclusive club here, and I don't think you want to push the boundaries of legitimating action. But I think having -- I completely agree that there's no other venue that enables -- there's no other venue that enables this strategic collaboration and coherence than something including these states.
Now, where's the boundary -- where's the appropriate boundary? Here's a really hard question. I mean, you know -- and I remember every time when I was policy planning director, you know, that every group you constructed, the group that lies one beyond it is always upset, all right? So, you know, the Dutch were unhappy in anything that the Italians were included in; the Italians were unhappy in anything that the Germans are included in. The Argentinians absolutely wouldn't abide Brazil having a seat in the Security -- I mean, this is the nature of this.
And so -- I mean, when we -- when we got to the G-20, the main reason we were able to get to G-20 was because it was a pre-existing organization, right? There was a pre-existing finance ministers group made up of the G-20.
What we decided to do was elevate that to a head of state level, right?
So I think there is -- and again, it's an argument for more informality -- more informality. But I think the notion of having a set of countries there with whom the -- and having it both Atlantic and Pacific and having it -- a set of countries who effectively involve the major like-minded allies of the United States as a way to lever and synergize U.S. influence and responses to actual events is a really, really important case moving forward.
Now, I think -- part of where I think we have to go, particularly if we go here -- I have a different pathway in mind for the G-20. I actually think that -- given the impossibility of Security Council reform that I think the G-20 should actually take on a broader set of issues. Right now it's totally run by finance ministers. Finance ministers know that if they get broader, their role goes down, and the Treasury Department here -- you know, they would hang me by the tree right out in front of their building if they were in here listening.
But I actually believe that you -- that you do desperately need a broader institution that can have at least a dialogue of the non-like- minded but potentially capable and potentially willing.
Again, I don't think the G-20 should be a legitimating authority, but I do think that if you -- if you reinforced or expanded the role of the G-20, that would be part of where developing countries and nonlike-minded countries are engaged. I think that would minimize the kind of blowback around creating the D10 as a concept.
So with that, we'll open up the floor to a broader discussion. Again, Ash, thank you very much. Ash did a great job in developing this paper, but he did an even better job in putting together, with our Canadian colleagues, the first meeting here. And it was really an enormously, enormously successful event. And thank you so much.
PATRICK: Great. I have a number of questions myself, but I'm going to hold off and might slide them in edgewise at different times. Let's start with Henry Nau and then Herman Cohen. Let's go -- take them by twos, if we can.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. First of all, I find this paper to be very, very useful and very refreshing. Some 10 years or so ago I wrote a book in which I devoted a chapter to the development of a more like-minded, democratic, smaller democratic country sort of steering group, and I think it's well overdue. I always regretted the downgrading of the G- 7 when it was morphed into a G-8. I understood the reasons for that, to try to include Russia, but we haven't been terribly successful in that cause. So it's a much more practical way of thinking about leadership in the international system from the standpoint of the United States, and it is -- you know, in the end it's inspirational.
If we -- if we aren't about building a somewhat stronger and more expansive liberal world order, I don't know what we're about in our -- other than just simply protecting ourselves, which means we would have more a limited hemispheric policy only.
I like the fact, too, that you keep it informal. No secretariat. It should not be -- it should be as invisible as possible, maybe building from the bottom up, as you suggest, with now maybe foreign ministers meeting on the basis of a policy planning group; that's very, very useful way to think about it.
I might wonder -- I wonder why you hadn't included NATO, maybe a representative from NATO. You have a representative from the European Union. And the fault, in my mind, was, OK, you don't want to work through NATO, it's a pretty cumbersome institution now, but what about a representative that would also then reflect some of the views of the other democracies, the smaller democracies?
And the last point I would make is, I'm also very sympathetic to your desire not to centralize this thing, that is, not to play it immediately under some sort of a development of a -- of a -- of a centralized international institution. I mean, one of our tasks now, it seems to me, is to try to bring conservatives and liberals together on a new consensus on internationalism. And you're going to lose the conservatives if you go -- if you go universal or multilateral, and you're going to lose the liberals if you unilateral with the most extreme sort of conservative position. So you got to bring them together, and I think this has a chance to do that as the basis for American leadership.
One last point, maybe you ought to think about -- this group obviously should not be exclusive. There should be some sense that it's, in fact, open and eventually bridging to other countries. And there are a group of -- a group of countries -- maybe even the G-20 is another organization that you could think about bridging, too -- not immediately, because it's not like-minded, but other countries like India, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa -- I mean, maybe keep in mind the idea that, to the extent that this group could encourage that group to come to this group for consultation and for -- to put questions about, for example, India in the case of sorting of deal with the strategic concerns -- and the Indian Ocean is one -- the more open the group -- you would want the group to be to those so-called bridging countries.
PATRICK: Let's go with Herman, and then -- (inaudible) -- and then get back to Ash, and David, if he'd have -- like to have some comments too.
QUESTIONER: Despite the fact that you -- opposed to have the D10 as virtually invisible and very low-key, I can't think of anything that would more solidify and expand the paranoia of Russia and China. And this -- and we need Russia and China for a lot of issues. For example, international salafism. They're right on track with us on that. There's no disagreement. Secondly, nuclear proliferation, we need both of them on that. Thirdly, we need regional stability -- for example, Central Asia and Southeast Asia, (and that ?) cooperation on regional stability is really important. So I frankly disagree with the creation of a D10.
Secondly, even within the D10, we talk about capacity to act on an international scale. There's only one country can do that, right? USA. And it's -- and that's -- it'll tell France and others, well, another bid for hegemony by the U.S. Look at the Gaullists in France. What would they say about this stuff? I'm kind of dubious. Thank you.
PATRICK: Great. Ash.
JAIN: Well, thanks, both of you, for your comments and questions. Let's see. Let me first react to the small question about NATO.
Yes. In fact, thinking about who should be at the table, I think it would be very effective to have a NATO representative be in the room. I didn't think it would be worth profiling that. I mean, it tends to send a signal that this is a military, you know, institution. I don't think that's the right sort of way of thinking about this construct. But certainly, at times and maybe as a general matter, you would want to have a NATO representative in the room, just as you would the EU; you just wouldn't call attention to it.
Second, with regard to opening this up to others, yeah, I would agree with your point that this shouldn't be seen as a closed group. In fact, the message should be that as countries become capable and like-minded and willing, this group could be expanded in the future. It's potentially a way of encouraging countries like India and Brazil to step up and play a more responsible role and become more like- minded over time.
And with regard to the points you raised about will this push away the Russians and Chinese, you know, is this the wrong thing to do? Well, I guess my reaction to that -- and I have a section in the paper where obviously, you know, this is a discussion and a very important consideration because the last thing we want to do is push the Chinese or the Russians away at a time when we do need their cooperation on a number of important issues.
But my thought on that is that I don't think that -- well, first of all, I think there's a way to present what this is without it being perceived by the Russians and Chinese as some kind of effort to isolate them or marginalize them. This is one of many institutions through which the U.S. would continue to engage. We have the G-20, and I think whether or not the G-20 is effective, you know, in this realm, it's -- the fact that it's actually -- it's there as the high table where all of the major countries come together. And we have the U.N. Security Council where obviously, the Russians and Chinese are major players. We would need to continue to emphasize their importance and make clear that we're not in any way pulling back from our efforts to engage these -- you know, Russia, China and others in these institutions.
I think that would go a long way, along with just bilateral diplomacy, to give them a sense of comfort that this isn't -- this isn't something that's aimed at them.
Secondly, I think that the Russians and Chinese are probably -- we may be fearing too much about how they would perceive this. They know that we already coordinate with our allies in a number of other ways. You know, we have the P-3 at the U.N. that meets all the time with -- which excludes the Russians and Chinese -- you know, to come up with policy issues and coordinate. We meet through NATO, obviously, which, you know, doesn't have Russia and Chinese as members. We have all kinds of other venues and summits and discussions, multilateral and bilateral, where we try to coordinate policy with our friends and allies.
And again, I don't see the Russians on Chinese -- you know, other than perhaps some statements of regret or whatever, I don't see them reacting in a way that might jeopardize cooperation in other places. The Russians and Chinese -- they have an interest in cooperating on some of the issues I mentioned, counterterrorism and al-Qaida, certainly on a host of economic issues. And I think it's unlikely that they would suspend or cut back or pull away from engagement with the U.S. and the West simply because we've now added another place to go to coordinate with -- you know, with our closest allies.
PATRICK: Let me move on now to Kurt Volker and Dan Marklaigon (ph).
QUESTIONER: Thank you. A little closer. No, thanks very much. And I want to congratulate Ash for forcing everybody to think, which is good. (Chuckles.) What I thought about in hearing your presentation and thinking about the structure of it -- I'm very much about like- mindedness. I'm very much about coordinating with like-minded to tackle problems.
But some of my experience just sort of sits in my gut and I think, you know, I'm not so sure about this. One of them is even working with NATO, where we are working on regional issues with European allies that they have an inherent reason to care about, we still can't get them to do things that we want to do. (Laughter.) So the idea that we're going to then triangulate that to, you know, some third problem in Asia or the other way around, we're going to get the South Koreans to do something with us in some third part of the -- I'm just not so sure it's going to work that way.
And I guess my gut feeling is that as a loose -- I'm kind of with David -- with a loose coordinating mechanism where you can talk to people, it's probably a very healthy thing to do, but I would not necessarily look to it as a -- as a group that would take coordinated action together, because it's really going to be -- depend much more upon the country's regional interests and perspectives of what they're willing to invest in and what not, as we see with a lot of our European allies already who are already there.
Two other brief comments. One of them -- it's really something to think about leaving Brazil and India out off the top of the list from the beginning. You made the point about encouraging them. And it may be that, you know, if you're -- if you did something like this, you'd want to start by inclusiveness to encourage them rather than by having them feel they're on the outside. But when you look at the numbers, they really belong in the top group.
And to take Henry's (sp) point and flip it, rather than add NATO, I'd probably delete the EU. (Laughter.) I guess I don't need to explain that. (Laughter.)
GORDON: The ambassador -- (inaudible) -- to NATO. (Laughter.)
QUESTIONER: Well, I'd be interested some time in the course of the discussion to hear from Ash and David about how far away they think both India and Turkey are on the capability, like-mindedness and willingness scale, because I think in both cases, there would be good -- great advantages of them being inside the tent.
So my main question is, back when there was all the dialogue that Jim Lindsay and Ivo Daalder and Bob Kagan raised about a so-called League of Democracies, which was a larger grouping but smaller than the Community of Democracies, the problem being described, as David alludes to, was legitimizing. When the Security Council can't do something -- you know, bomb Syria to deal with ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and there have been some cases of not being able to do something recently, including on Syria -- so this is not to do that. You seem to agree. Do we need to find some multilateral locus that is an alternative for legitimizing use of force if the Security Council falls down?
PATRICK: If you could also address from your own experience, is there demand for this arrangement among -- when you were doing this, I mean, was there demand to elevate this above, you know, periodic -- because we used to have quad meetings or whatever, the quint, or whatever, begin and then --
MR. : Policy planning --
PATRICK: Policy planning meetings -- above the policy planning level. Is there demand for it? But go ahead.
JAIN: OK, good. Some very good questions and comments. So -- and I guess the question Stewart is asking is maybe similar to both Kurt and Herman's question about our allies, would they want to play in a context, would they be interested in such a venue. It's hard enough, as Kurt said, to get some more allies on board to take actions, you know, in places where we think it is. And in fact, the French might thing the other way around.
It's been hard for them to get us to play effectively on issues like Mali and Syria and Libya, whatever it is.
So is there enough potential that this could be actually something value-added? Well, I think we could -- one reaction to that is we would -- we should go into, if we decide -- if we end up pursuing a D10, having realistic expectations about what this is and can be. It's not the solution to producing consensus on all of these major issues. There -- the differences and different views that allies have will continue to be there. It's just another mechanism for coordination.
But I think what you do, what -- you have a greater hope -- I mean, Mali is an example, I think, where it's just the wrong process, it's the wrong way to go about entering a crisis like this. Wouldn't it have been better to have a venue where you're talking about Mali in the context of the broader effort against al-Qaida as a set of allies that care about this strategically and then addressing -- you may end up in the same place; maybe France still takes the lead, but you have a way of doing this in a little bit more coordinated and strategic way, rather than tactically saying: France is going in; who's helping?
So I think that's its value.
Let's see. The question about India and Turkey and then the question about legitimacy -- well, I think it's pretty clear that given the record of India's, you know, positions on various issues, that they're nowhere -- well, they're not prepared to step up and take an active role in managing global security and political issues. They for a variety of reasons would rather free-ride, I think, on other efforts. They still have this nonaligned view and a strong sense of noninterference, and they're very hesitant -- any time there's some, you know, effort at coercive diplomacy, they don't feel like they want to get involved.
They don't have an answer for how to address these kinds of crises.
I mean, Libya is a good example. They did -- they did, you know, abstain on the Security Council vote but then partially criticized American actions and NATO actions when we ended up going in to bring down Gadhafi. And I think on issue after issue, you see a lot of hesitation, both India -- I mean, Turkey may be a little bit more willing to play a role on issues, particularly in their neighborhood. I'm not -- well, I guess you could see a pathway for a country like Turkey or maybe even Indonesia at a more -- you know, they may be a little bit more like-minded. Certainly they're NATO members. And so, you know, it's possible to think about maybe bringing them in earlier in the future.
But I think my point on that would be it's important to start small with what you -- if you want this to be an effective mechanism, it needs to be as like-minded as possible at the outset because the last thing you want to do is make it difficult to get consensus right off the bat, in which case everybody questions its utility from the beginning. I'd rather see it, you know, just as NATO, you know, started, or even the G-6, G-7, is that you start off with a small number of countries that can demonstrate that they can act effectively through this coordinating mechanism, and then perhaps over time that precedent allows you to bring in others.
And then -- question about the -- how difficult was -- what were allies interested -- I'll let David take a crack at this. My own sense was that there wasn't -- and there were mixed views about what this is, what it could be. I think there was a lot of skepticism going into this as to whether we could even pull this off. Would countries participate in what looks like a minileague of democracies? Would they come to the table? Could you actually have a policy -- even a policy planning dialogue?
And I think that experience proved that, in fact, we could, that there -- certainly if the U.S. decides to play a leadership role in pulling this together and has a strong partner -- in this case, the Canadians were instrumental when they decided to host the meeting, and they continued to support it along the way -- others didn't want to be left out.
So they would -- I think you'd likely to see -- and I -- from the Asia-Pacific side, I think there was a lot more enthusiasm, because for them to be at the table where discussing big global issues, it's very much value-added. And so again, I think it's this -- you'd have some skepticism, but I think you would also probably have some success if it's were -- if it were taken as a serious initiative by the United States.
GORDON: Let me -- let me pick up on Ash's final point, because I think when we were thinking about this and creating this, a lot of what drove this was the notion that this power shift to the Asia-Pacific and the challenge of rising China and the notion of both getting our -- getting our European allies into a discussion about China, which is something literally at the time, five years ago -- I mean, the European discussion of this was completely immature, Kurt (sp), as you well remember -- and also wanting our Asian allies to think of themselves as not just regional players but as global players -- still a big issue for the United States as we try to play the pivot, because in playing the pivot with our Asian allies, we don't want to completely accept their worldview of us as a hedge against the Chinese, because there are larger global issues. And at the end of the day, we need good relationships both with the Asian allies and we have to have a good relationship with China.
But again, I think these are reasons why, to our mind, this made a lot of sense.
But I think all -- a lot of the questions raised -- I think that Hank Cullen's (sp) question on the Russians and the Chinese -- this is one reason -- I mean, the Russians and the Chinese aren't going to like the G-20 going beyond economics because they're permanent members of the Security Council. But I think you get -- you get legitimacy for a D10 by expanding out the G-20 concept. To my mind, those two things are linked.
I'm -- on this question of legitimacy that Mark (sp) raised, I think that -- I think the administration is right in looking to regional organizations as -- and in particular, when you have very, very strong consensus in regional organizations. I have -- I have a problem when it comes -- I mean, I think we have to always have the ability, as the United States, to act independently. But I'm very skeptical about a -- having any kind of real legitimacy enforced by, essentially, these kinds of coalitions. I think it's a big problem to go there.
JAIN: Could I jump in on that? Because I didn't address that, and I think it's important. I guess I think I have a slightly different view on that because I -- as I mentioned in the talk, I do think there's a place, a role for the D10 in crisis response.
And if there's lack of consensus at the Security Council and you have this group in place that's ready and willing to step in, I guess I don't see why it wouldn't be prudent to have coordination on a potential intervention that doesn't have Security Council approval stem from some kind of legitimating action by the D10. I wouldn't put it at the top of the list of things that it should be doing, and, in fact, it probably would evolve towards that anyways once it was in place if we could make a choice as to how we would want to publicize that function. But I guess I would be more open to having the D10 play that role.
PATRICK: Can I just pick up on that really quickly, on the question of the G-20 adopting a greater -- a more expansive agenda that conceivably could even get into some of the political and security aspects of things? I very much agree with David's analysis. I think it's actually inevitable that that's going to happen over time just as it happened with the other G's.
The one -- the thing that I would suggest is somewhat cautionary note, though, about the idea of the D10 being sort of quite complementary, in a sense, with an expanded agenda of the G-20 is just this question of whether or not it's good or bad to conceive of having caucuses within the G-20, because that, of course, is what the creation of a D10 would do. And, you know, people have already had some concerns about having a really sort of very obvious G-7 caucus within the G-20 and what's the response, then, of course? Is there a BRICS caucus or what have you? Are there particular regional -- I mean, obviously to some degree you can't help these sorts of things. They -- some of them will develop organically, but the question is just how obvious and overt you want to have them be.
Can we go now to -- is it Tom Williams (sp)? Is that right?
PATRICK: And then Irving Williamson (sp).
QUESTIONER: Thanks. Just for Ash, just wanted to tease out the relationship you see between capacity and willingness.
I mean, you could argue that some of the lessons we learned over the last 10 years specifically are towards capacity. We spent a lot of time trying to build capacity, but as you look at the list of countries here in the D10, capacity's going down, very much tied to economic malaise and challenges. So do you see that willingness is tied to capacity?
And then also challenging the idea -- you spoke to the feasibility -- really, the sustainability -- that goes back to the idea of capacity. I mean, how do we sustain this? I mean, that's what we've learned. Sometimes these actions are 10, 12, 15 years, and as the -- as the nature of these policies change, how do you sustain some of these ideas that are very important?
So you know, could you speak to me that -- really the idea of capacity, willingness -- as we decline in capacity, how will we stay will (sic)?
PATRICK: A great question.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. Sorry.
Actually, I want to pick up on the point that Tom Williams (sp) made about -- in thinking about this, I see one of our policy goals should be to expand the number of countries that are, you know, capable -- have strong, functioning democracies, pursue open economic policies. And I'm not sure -- and what concerns me is this idea -- we're creating an exclusive club here, and all the folks that we really need to be working on to get them to have these basic policies are going to be turned off by it.
I mean, so I can see having -- if there are areas where we aren't sufficiently coordinating, don't have the mechanisms to coordinating on -- in broader groups -- I mean, we have the OECD; we have, you know, a range of different like-minded coordinating bodies now and -- you know, usually made up of the experts in the field. But I think in -- when I'm thinking about trying to expand, particularly -- not so much the military intervention and things, expanding, you know, as I said, democracy, economics and all that, I -- I'm concerned about this approach.
The first thing -- when you first started talking, the first thing I thought about was, when I first started working at the GATT, one of the things that -- or working with the GATT, one of the things I really liked -- this is a body of sinners.
Everybody recognizes that they're sinners, and their goal is to try to work together, criticize each other so they all become better.
And to the extent that we want to get a club where some folks are going to say, oh, the white man's burden, you know, all that colonial stuff -- that's what -- that's what worries me about, say -- particularly taking this form all too publicly.
And in terms -- to Mr. Gordon's point about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, partnership with the EU, I still think the ultimate goal and the biggest payoff is going to come -- we move forward and get, you know, new trade rules, strengthen trade rules, experiment in how you do things in regulatory coordination, stuff like that. But the ultimate benefit is that we are able to take it to a multilateral body, that we bring in those countries where we need to strengthen those rules. So those are my comments on it.
QUESTIONER: Stewart, could I have a two-finger --
PATRICK: Sure, of course, George.
QUESTIONER: -- because I just -- (inaudible) -- just echoes that because that was the concern that I have all along here is that, you know, the goal when we set out to do this was to how do we expand that community of liberal democracies, like-mindedness, and therefore translate that into the larger multilateral organizations so that we shift the dynamics of those organizations and thereby create a body of like- minded countries that is more likely to legitimate the kinds of actions that we want to take in the world. And I don't see how this initiative advances that goal.
PATRICK: Great. Please, respond.
JAIN: Yeah. Good, well, let me jump right in on that one because I think it goes to the heart of what this is about. In fact, this is all about expanding the democratic, liberal world order, and I can't see how bringing in countries to a discussion where you're essentially cajoling them to join you in various initiatives worldwide is going to lead to a more democratic world order or a larger group of capable democracies.
In fact, this is the way to pursue that goal. You have -- if you have a set of strong and capable powers that agree in the goal of getting more countries around the world to become democratic and to have more capable and stable democratic systems, you have to have a place where you can talk about how to achieve that goal. And I guess I can't see -- I mean, we have today already, as we've mentioned -- we have clubs of inclusive institutions that look diverse and have all of the major players and makes us feel good that everybody's sitting around the table, but effectiveness is simply -- you know, these institutions have not demonstrated that they can be effective in advancing the very kinds of goals that you just talked about. So that's where I think it's -- I think that's where the benefit of a venue like this is.
With regard to your question on willingness -- well, yeah, certainly I agree with David and the point about willingness being a criteria. I think it almost is implicit that you're not going to have unwilling partners join a construct like this. It's part of being -- you know, invited and interested in a venue like this is that you would need to be willing. But I guess that could be made explicit. And I think willingness and capacity are certainly related. A smaller country without the capability to act is probably not going to be as willing to engage globally and is not going to want to expend resources to do that. So, certainly I think they're connected.
GORDON: Can I just make a very brief comment here, because I'm -- I'm not unsympathetic at all to the issues that you raise, Mr. Williamson, and Ambassador Moose, and I think that's why to my mind, I think having this informality and not trying to imbue this with any legitimating function is important.
But I think having a -- having a place where you can have a real strategic dialogue among allies at a -- at a global level, which is something that we still really don't have in NATO and we don't have in the Pacific, that -- that's the aim here.
And I agree with Ash that it's obviously that the United States, if we were in a circumstance of being in a situation where we felt there was an overwhelming argument for intervention in a context where you -- for various reasons you couldn't get the Security Council to go along, these are certainly the countries that we would call on to work with us. But that's different from saying that we would use the existence of the group to legitimate that and to -- and that's where I -- I mean, I think once you start talking about that legitimation, the formalism that comes with that, that's what's going to get the Russians and the Chinese really upset, right?
So I think that there's a fine line. And it's the balance between legitimacy and efficiency, here. There's a trade-off between legitimacy and efficiency. And this is a construct that we're really utilizing to maximize efficiencies, in many ways, among our most like- minded allies.
We have to do so in a way that minimizes loss of legitimacy. And so that's the trick in getting the balance right on this.
PATRICK: OK, we've got a number of cards that just (got off ?), so I'm going to have to -- with your indulgence, so I'm going to take four in a row here, and then I'm going to take the last four.
Let's start -- we'll go with Michael, then with Fred, then Amitai (ph) and Dan.
QUESTIONER: I want to -- I want to expand on a throwaway line that Kurt (sp) provided us at the very end of his comments, and that has to do with the EU, because I'm skeptical about the EU's being in this group at all and wonder whether it shouldn't be a D9 rather than a D10. And I come to this from actually the same place that Irving (sp) raised and come from -- with my own interest in international trade that David seems to be pushing so positively toward as being skeptical about whether the EU would maintain the same kind of interest that we would like to see, because the EU, in my experience, pushes for universalism, is concerned about India and Brazil beyond what they ought to be. And I wonder whether they don't -- and they also are not much of a military factor at all. My own concern is that the EU is the wrong group to include in the D10.
PATRICK: Thank you.
Fred, I believe you were next.
QUESTIONER: Yeah, thanks. I also think this is a great service because it puts up for argument an idea that's even worse than Ivo Lederer's "Axis of Ivo" -- (laughter) -- because, I mean, part of it depends on what you think the big agenda is for multilateral collaboration.
And to me, in a world where the big problems are going to be around natural assault, cyberassaults, robotic assaults, this group -- you know, pulling together this sort of Northern Alliance of geriatric democracies -- (scattered laughter) -- with the idea that they're going to somehow facilitate better multilateral collaboration around these problems -- I mean, this -- it reminds me of Bicker at Princeton, where, you know, everybody tried to sort of get with the people they felt most comfortable with and most alike at a university where you're supposed to be learning about people who aren't like you and working effectively with people who aren't like you.
The instinct was let's be like-minded; let's gather together.
And I think there's a diplomatic analogy there: The United States is a lazy multilateral player. And we can't afford to be anymore, as we've lost our dominance in lots of other sectors. We've got to be more effective in negotiation and compromise.
You know, we won't find like-mindedness on every problem, and that's the whole point. And so if you start creating a structure of multilateralism that creates clubs that make other people think they've got to create their own clubs so they feel better about themselves, it just doesn't seem to have the right set of dynamics for addressing the problems we've got.
PATRICK: Thank you. Amitai (ph).
QUESTIONER: One-line observation, then my question. Herman Cohen (sp) mentioned earlier that only one of these nations was globally capable, so I understand that during the Libyan operation, the French general called our head of the Air Force and said, you know, I'm very embarrassed, but a few weeks into the operation we ran out of bombs; can you give me 300 bombs? And the Air Force general picked up his phone and said, Jimmy (sp), give him 3,000 bombs. (Laughter.) And then just after this Gates said the Europeans verge on irrelevance. And these are the most capable people of it.
So -- but my question is, you referred to privileged spheres of influence.
And it wasn't clear if you're for or against them. Are you for us having them and the Chinese not having them?
PATRICK: (Chuckles.) OK. I believe Henry Stimson called that our little area over here that nobody else has ever bothered about, right?
OK, last, in this round, Dan Nelson.
QUESTIONER: Thank you very much. Ash, I, like many people around the table, what to congratulate you for -- who said this? -- making us think. You know, this is a big idea, and big ideas are always important. I just have two problems: like-minded and highly capable. (Laughter.)
You know, I think back to Suez. I'm old enough to remember that, OK. And gosh, there wasn't much like-mindedness then; there wasn't much like-mindedness in Iraq either; and if you talk to some of the Germans, not too much like-mindedness about Afghanistan either. And, you know, this comes very close, Ash, to saying, you know, democracy means like-mindedness. And I just don't think that. I mean, that's the Kantian notion. And I know you were already -- that comment has already been made, but -- and the democratic peace notion and so on that was an industry in political science for about 25 years.
But as far as capability -- this was already mentioned, I think, in David's comment about willingness. You know, it's not just capability in terms of military or economic resources; it's also the political and economic -- political and social consensus that has to be available in order to fashion action. So I'm sure that as you develop this paper you'll take care of all of that. And I have not -- outside of the quick summary by Stewart, I haven't really read the paper in its initial form.
But I do think that both of those concepts need to be refined and need to be made more empirically verifiable. So I'll leave it at that. Thanks.
PATRICK: If you could limit your responses to reasonably concise statements, that would be great.
JAIN: Sure. OK, let me pick up on the last one quickly. Democracy, you said, means like-mindedness. I think, in fact, this is sort of pushing back against the notion that just because you're democratic means you're like-minded. That was the league of democracies notion. This is not that. This is a very small set of countries that -- a specific criteria is strategic like-mindedness, countries who share a set of values and interests and are capable and have demonstrated that they're willing and interested in taking on global challenges. So I think that's what differentiates it from some of these other proposals.
Regarding Mr. Tipson's (sp) comment about is this the right way to engage in today's world, well, I don't think this is -- and again, I've tried to make the theme of the paper, it's not exclusive. We would continue to maintain outreach and engagement with all of the powers that we've been engaging with to address the threats like cybersecurity or terrorism, where the Russians are somewhat more supportive. Whatever the various issues are, if there's a venue -- if we can work through inclusive venues, we should.
But I think where this is intended to fill the gap is those issues where it is not -- simply not possible and not going to be possible. No matter how much you beg and plead with the Russians to help on Syria, you know, it's just -- there's a different worldview that's motivating a lot of their actions. We can continue to try it, and we can, but I don't think that should stop us from looking to have a place where we can coordinate more effectively with our allies.
And on that note, we're doing it anyways in smaller ways. We're reaching out from time to time to the French and the Brits and smaller groups here and there sort of on an ad hoc basis where -- when we can't get consensus, you know, at the Security Council and elsewhere. All we're doing here is providing a more strategic venue to accomplish those same goals and bringing in our other trans-Pacific partners who are very often just simply excluded from the discussion.
And then with regard to the question on privileged spheres of influence, I think Stewart raised this a little earlier in one of my drafts. No, I think there's a different -- I mean, I guess what I am getting at is when the Russians and Chinese talk about privileged spheres of influence, they mean they're going to essentially have a relationship with these governments where it's their people in charge, it's not -- these aren't countries that are -- these aren't democratically elected governments that are choosing what relationships they want to have with Russia and China. It's their -- you know, it's their privilege. The West and no one else has a -- has the right to speak about what kind of government and what kind of policy these countries should adopt. I don't -- I don't think that's the way we see our role, even in Latin America or elsewhere.
And finally, with regard to the EU, well, you know, I think there's a question about what role could the EU play. I was thinking of it more as the role they play in the G-20 where an EU rep is essentially there to participate. It's important to have since you can't bring in a lot of these small, like-minded European countries because it would be too big but you do want them on board for sanctions issues and other actions at the front end if you can't. So I think having the EU be part of the discussion at the beginning just provides a way to bring them in without having a great deal of expectation about, you know, what role they would actually play.
PATRICK: Great. Hans (sp) and then Mr. Olivant (sp) and then Edith (sp), Steve (sp), and I actually now see -- Dick Solomon (sp) has raised his placard as well.
So we're going to go with five here -- (chuckles) -- and then we'll close it out after the comments here.
QUESTIONER: Thank you, Stewart. Ash, thank you for creating a very stimulating discussion here. I just fear, however, that the more that I listen to this, the more concerns are raised in my mind about the idea, because I don't think it does address the problems that we face in the world today. I agree with Fred, and I'd just amplify on those a bit. And I also think it creates new problems with existing structures.
To me, in addition to the cyber and other issues that Fred talked about, our problems today are in the greater Middle East and South Asia. And given the nature of those problems, the solutions do not lie in imposition from the outside. They lie in dealing with those regions themselves and finding partners in those regions that can help us solve those problems. Otherwise, it looks like imposing from the outside.
And the second cluster of problems we have deal with China and, to a lesser degree, Russia. And I don't think we are properly structured to deal with the emerging concerns and challenges that China presents to us, but this is not the answer to that. I don't think you rely on Germany, for example, to lead in dealing with a growing set of challenges from China. We probably need a new security architecture in Asia to deal with that. But this is not that.
So that's on the problem side -- on the not solving the kinds of problems that we face side. But on the other side, I am concerned that this would undermine NATO. You talk about NATO being sort of the executing body, potentially, for not decisions but conclusions -- (inaudible) -- by this group.
But think about NATO. It's a consensus organization. It wants to be in on the ground floor. It wants to be part of the decision-making process. I just fear that you would have an undermining effect within NATO itself, and that's currently our best instrument to deal with a lot of these problems.
And then to Hank's point, not only would I think it would drive China and Russia away, it would drive them together, and that's not what we want.
PATRICK: Thanks, Hans (sp).
QUESTIONER: I like this concept, but I think we need to just accept up front this is going to be uncharitably described as old Europe plus English-speaking peoples, plus the formerly occupied.
So to counter that characterization, I think it would be -- I think it would strengthen the paper if you were to think about other countries in maybe concentric circles around the D10. As David said, the next circle is going to be those who didn't make the cut. And they're going to come in different flavors. You know, the Dutch didn't make the cut kind of because of you did an arbitrary cut line. Personally, I'd trade -- I'd swap the Dutch for the Italians, but that's just me. (Laughter.) You know, the Romanians don't make the cut because, you know, they're like-minded and they're very, very, very willing; they're just not capable. (Laughter.) So you know, you're going to have to manage that group and figure out what they want and don't want.
I would share Mr. Cohen's (sp) concerns about, you know, the two countries on the outer concentric circle, the Russian, the Chinese, although they clearly know where they stand with us. This is not going to be news to them.
QUESTIONER: My concern would be the bodies in between. What is -- is there a possibility that this is going to re-energize some type of new nonaligned movement that the Brazilians, the Indians --
MR. : Turks.
QUESTIONER: -- the Turks will see a -- you know, they realize they're probably -- they're never going to get into this club.
They really don't want to be in this club. Is this going to bind them together and then potentially push them closer to the outer ring?
PATRICK: Thanks. Edith (ph).
QUESTIONER: This is set in the context of democracy and justice and the rule of law, but I haven't heard the word law used here -- (chuckles) -- so I'm going to ask about what you see as the implications for international law, and particularly with the legitimating function to bypass the U.N. Security Council for intervention in times of crisis. Mali, France was invited in. In Libya, it was the Arab League, U.N. Security Council. In Kosovo, no, but there was a legitimating Security Council resolution, arguably, afterwards. So my question to you is, what has been your analysis on the assumptions on what it does for international law?
And tied in with that is a second question. If I take 10 years, 20 years down the pike, is this a precedent that we could see others picking up? And this is alluded to in the last question there. And again, it's bypassing of U.N. Security Council for intervening in a crisis where maybe we were the vetoing power in the Security Council.
PATRICK: Great. Steve (sp).
QUESTIONER: Thanks. I tend to echo some of the criticisms that I've heard here, although I think it's important to have -- (inaudible) -- for discussion. And actually, my point follows -- (inaudible) -- less to questions that came along. But, you know, what if we -- have you considered looking at sort of a broader group, you know, that you sort of -- Brazil, Turkey and so on? And have you thought about sort of the gap that you are trying to fill, that, you know, makes this beyond sort of the universal nature of the Security Council and the U.N. by extension -- you know, this sort of exclusivity of, you know, G-7 and so on -- and find something there that this may actually serve to fill a gap and solve a problem that otherwise may exist? Is there something more nuanced to put on the table beyond such a small group of, you know, countries in Western Europe that would actually get to that issue more clearly?
QUESTIONER: I haven't read the paper, so this may be unfair. But I haven't heard, in this discussion, a hoary old concept that seems to me -- (chuckles) -- still is very much alive, and that is national interest. And you know, how do nations coalesce? We've lived through a century in which -- certainly World War II, Cold War -- the nature of the threats that brought countries together were certainly rationalized to some degree with common values, but it was that realist notion of national interest that really created these coalitions. And we are in a time when values play a much greater weight in legitimizing international behavior and the relevance of coalitions. But somehow, it seems to me national interest is going to play a pre-eminent role still in a world where countries find it hard to collaborate for various reasons, whether it's lack of public support or lack of military capability, yet we do feel this need to legitimate the coalition on something more than that nasty notion of national interest.
PATRICK: Mmm hmm. Thank you very much.
With that, I'll turn things back to Ash for some perhaps brief responses, and then -- if David would like to add anything as well.
JAIN: OK, thank you. Let me go to the question about -- a couple of people raised, would this -- would this create an incentive for these middle-tier countries or the Indias and Brazils to align themselves against the West or align themselves closer to Russia and China, I guess, was one of the concerns.
I -- you know, the BRICs already exists, of course. I remember when we were first talking about this idea and launched the policy planning dialogue, one of the questions was, you know, will you push countries like this to align themselves, and, you know, that's not something we'd want to encourage. Well, the BRICs happened anyway. It was sort of a natural, you know, thing that you would find countries like that would look to themselves and have meetings.
I don't think it's an effective group at all. I don't think they really share any kind of core world view that would drive them to cooperate in a way that would oppose Western interests on a lot of things. They have a general notion of national sovereignty being inviolable and that kind of thing.
But I think that -- I guess I just don't see that the fact that we're coordinating a little bit more closely through this sort of quiet -- as David said, sort of informal venue, that that would raise a lot of eyebrows. I think we're maybe reading a little bit -- you know, I think we're making assumptions about the way some of these countries would react that are unrealistic.
I mean, they will continue to cooperate with us. India wants to maintain a relationship with the United States and wants the benefits that come from a strategic partnership with us, whether or not we're turning to France and Korea and Germany to do other things. I don't even think they have a real desire to be at the table where they're expected to make commitments on some of these greater global challenges. As long as it's not seen as directed against them in any way, against the Russians, Chinese or Indians, you know -- and I think there's a way to make clear that this isn't against anyone; this is a grouping that's just simply intended to advance some of our common goals and objectives.
Regarding the international law issue, well, I guess I haven't really given a lot of thought to that, but I don't think this would change the way in which decisions are made in accordance with international law as they would be outside of this framework. It's simply another diplomatic venue. I don't think it would take on any new legal status or anything like that. You know, the capabilities and the kinds of actions it would take would be similar to those that are taken through other venues. But that would be something maybe to think a little bit further about if there is an issue that we haven't -- we haven't thought through.
Finally, the question about NATO, would this undermine NATO -- I don't see that as a real significant concern. I mean, I think NATO is, you know, 20 -- what is it now, 27, 28 countries. But it's led by a much smaller group. I mean, any NATO action has to have a small group of core countries that are going to initiate and lead the entity, and I -- in some ways, this D10 might also provide that kind of leadership role that NATO's going to need if it wants to, you know, continue to be -- to take effective decisions in the future.
GORDON: Thank you. Just one last comment. I think what this is really all about is a way of bringing together and matrixing our closest allies who've, frankly, expanded from the Atlantic alliance to both the Atlantic and the Pacific, and the Pacific is equally important to the Atlantic and to doing so in a way -- this isn't about solving the world's problems; it's a way about generating, if possible, a common strategic perspective and approach from those allies. And it's a pretty limited -- that's a pretty limited construct.
And it's -- I think that's the aim there. I tend to believe -- I differ a little bit from Ash. My view is more informal the better, largely because a lot of the things we heard in here today. But frankly, our European allies weren't dealing with Asia; our Asian allies didn't feel like they were getting our attention on the big issues in the -- that's what this is a mechanism to do, and I think it makes a lot of sense.
Thank you very, very much for a great discussion. I thought these were great comments.
PATRICK: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Please join me in thanking these guys for a very provocative discussion. (Applause.) Thank you, gentlemen. Thank you all for coming.
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