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The G-20: Prospects and Challenges for Global Governance

Speakers: Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman, Berggruen Institute on Governance; Co-Author, "Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century: A Middle Way between West and East", Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group; Author, "Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World", and Stewart M. Patrick, Senior Fellow and Director, International Institutions and Global Governance Program, CFR; Author, "Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security"
Presider: Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter '66 Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
February 12, 2013
Council on Foreign Relations



ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER: All right. Good afternoon. It's a pleasure to see all of you.

We are getting ready to start the program. I will not repeat all the announcements, but everything electronic has to be off, and we are on the record.

I'm Anne-Marie Slaughter, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. We have a terrific panel. On my left is Nicolas Berggruen, who is the chairman of the Berggruen Institute on Governance. He's just written a wonderful book on "Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century: A Middle Way between West and East." Copies will be on -- be available after -- right after the lunch, and I strongly recommend it.

In -- at the center we have Ian Bremmer, who's the president of the Eurasia Group, who also has a book -- I don't think it'll be available, but it's available on Amazon -- which is "Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World." So you can already get a sense of what we're going to be talking about. There's a middle way on governance, and Ian basically doesn't believe in the G-20 at all. Not quite fair -- (laughter) -- but we will be talking about that. (Chuckles.)

And on our far left is Stewart Patrick. Here at the council he's a senior fellow and director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program, which has a wonderful website and produces lots of great stuff. His book is "Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security."

So I think you can see we've got a terrific group to talk about the G-20 prospects and challenges. I've told them that we are not -- we're not having opening statements. I'm going to put a number of questions, we'll have a conversation, and then we will turn it over to all of you, the members, at 1:00.

So with that, I want to start by asking you how you would grade the G-20 thus far. I'm an academic. This is what we do. I've just finished my grades. So if you had to grade the G-20, what would you give it and why?

MR. : Ian, start.

IAN BREMMER: You want me? Oh, I'd probably give it a 5, which is it's doing about as well as you could expect, given that it's the G-20. So I mean, you know --

SLAUGHTER: That's on a 1-to-10 scale?

BREMMER: Given who they are. I mean, you know, if you're grading kids that need special learning -- (laughter) -- and they're -- you know, you got to grade it on a curve. (Laughter.) The G-20 doesn't have the capacity to do that much, but given what it is, it's OK. (Laughter.)


STEWART PATRICK: I'd probably -- I'd probably give it a slightly higher grade. I think that it all has to do, as Ian suggested, with expectations.

You know, the G-20 is a group of leaders that -- and it's an important group of leaders, because it's the only forum that combines at an exclusive level the heads of government or heads of state of the world's most advanced and most emerged -- and biggest emerging economies. And so it's an important group, but it -- you know, it's a -- it can set norms, it can set agendas, et cetera, but it's not a deus ex machina that can solve all of our problems.

I would say that its performance was fantastic early on. When you reflect back to the dire circumstances of the first Washington summit, I mean, an injection of more than $5 trillion into the global economy, the creation of the Financial Stability Board to try to improve global financial regulation, the, you know, rejuvenation of an IMF that everybody thought was dead --


PATRICK: -- and the beginnings of global governance reforms -- significant global governance reforms that, through these long-standing "chairs and shares" debates within the IMF and the World Bank -- a lot of those still yet to come to fruition, a lot of worries about whether Basel III is going to take too long or people are going to backslide on it, but it's -- it's done pretty well.

The difficulty now is it's going from crisis committee to putative steering group and all these national interests are coming back to the fore, and I think that's where you start to get into some of the dynamics that Ian has written so eloquently about.

SLAUGHTER: On the Princeton scale, that's a B-plus, at least.

PATRICK: Yeah, (that's right ?).

SLAUGHTER: I mean, solving -- you know, getting out of the world's biggest financial crisis, reviving the IMF, starting reforms, that's pretty -- that's pretty good.

It's also worth noting that -- remember, the G-8 or the G-7 was always terrible, except when it wasn't, right? I mean, when -- in a crisis, when we really needed it, it was important, but otherwise, it sorts of ticked along.

Nick, what would you give? How would you rate it?

NICOLAS BERGGRUEN: Well, I think it came out with a bang at a moment when it was really need, and it's been sort of downhill since. And the question is, how relevant can they be going forward? So I don't know if we should go two minutes --


BERGGRUEN: -- on the structure of it.

SLAUGHTER: Yes. Please.

BERGGRUEN: For -- I'm sure everybody here really knows, but for those who don't, it's an unusual sort of structure in the sense that it brings together 20 countries from around the world. I think they were chosen to be sort of inclusive. And they do represent, I think, 80 percent of world GDP.

PATRICK (?): Eighty five (percent), yeah.

BERGGRUEN: Eighty five (percent). So it's -- you know, in theory, you know, right grouping. But you've got Saudi Arabia, China, India, U.S., South Africa -- so South Africa represents all of Africa. So it's a -- it's a -- well, in theory -- representative group, but not obviously perfect.

And it has a structure which gives a presidency to one of its members every year. So it's a changing presidency. So last year, for example, you had Calderon, who was the president. He had an election in Mexico couple of months later. This year is Putin. The year before was France, Sarkozy, who had an election right after. So you've got different person who is meant to steer this group every year.

The group is a convening center, doesn't have any permanence in terms of an institution, so it has actually no power. And it has to come up -- I mean, generally, the statements have to be unanimous. So everybody has to agree in a group that's, you know, truly with different cultures, different ideas and all that.

So the real question that I have -- and I have seven ideas, and we can go through them -- (think ?) the real question is, since my two co-panelists here don't rate the G-20 so high, let's say, how do you make it more effective? That would be my question. I have some ideas, but, again --

SLAUGHTER: Well, no, let's let -- we'll turn it over to Ian, and then we'll come back because I want to hear all of your ideas.

BREMMER: It's not clear to me that you make the G-20 more effective. I mean, I thought that, Anne-Marie, your point, which is that these things can work a little bit when there's a crisis -- and by the way, saying how -- to argue the counterfactual, saying it worked really well, you have to ask yourself how well we would've gotten out or through that crisis if there hadn't been a G-20. And I would argue, probably with roughly similar sort of capacity, you would've informally been engaging with the Chinese, even if they weren't part of the G-8. You clearly would've done it. Did you need the institution for it? Did you have to set it up? Would you really want some of these countries in that? When you're under crisis, you do a lot more.

But I think that if I look at where we need to see more governance, the world is not going to be governed well in -- by a single entity. There are too many countries. They are too different. They are too different in terms of intention but also in terms of capacity. I think increasingly, what we will see is coalitions of the willing. And the G-20 allows us to believe, perhaps, that you can do global. It allows us to allow the great to be the enemy of the good. Doha is dead, but we can do trade in a much greater degree and multilaterally with countries that we happen to agree with. We can do a trans-Pacific. We can do a trans-Atlantic. We can expand NAFTA. If we keep doing global on climate, we're going to keep failing on climate. And I think that's obvious.

So I think that we -- there's nothing wrong with the G-20. It's great to have a place where these countries can all come together and talk. But to believe that it's going to be vastly more effective than the Security Council on an ongoing basis I think structurally misses the point.

SLAUGHTER: And you think the Security Council is effective?

BREMMER: No, I don't.

SLAUGHTER: We'll come back to that.

PATRICK: Yeah, you know, there's less -- there's a little bit less difference than I was hoping for between Ian and my own perspective. I don't like the term G-Zero because I -- because I think what you're actually describing is not a G-Zero world but a G-X world, which is that X standing for the minimal number of players with the capabilities and the interests to actually be effective on a particular issue area.

And so yes, you mentioned the -- for instance, the Major -- the -- climate change, for instance, the UNFCCC process; alongside that, you have the Major Economies Forum. Now, the 17 members of the Major Economies Forum are also members of the G-20, leading me to think, well, here's your option. Do you create a new standing structure for each one of these different international issues you deal with, or are people going to get tired in terms of summit fatigue, or do you try to wrap them under a group that by and large has the same membership?

I don't think that the G-20 can be everything to all people, but when leaders have a format like this -- and I know that they're fighting any agenda expansion and mission creep, in part because the process is controlled by finance ministers and central bank governors as opposed to foreign ministers -- I think -- my solution is, keep the G-20 but create a parallel track of foreign ministers alongside the finance ministers, let the finance ministers stick to their bread and butter in terms of finance and macroeconomic coordination, but then have some of these other issues that would be considered extraneous working through a new political track of the G-20. The other alternative is create, you know, new (horses/forces ?) for courses, if you will, create new frameworks for each of these different challenges.

SLAUGHTER: So Ian, I'm going to let you respond, and then I want to ask Nick in terms of improving it. But as you respond, let me sharpen it a little because you're -- you're leaving out entirely the question of legitimacy. We've tried coalitions of the willing. It wasn't exactly beloved around the world. And if you remember -- you know, there was the Washington meeting, there was the London meeting, then there was the Pittsburgh summit, and the Pittsburgh summit happened right when the General Assembly met here.

Most countries in the world were very upset that there was going to be a Pittsburgh summit, that 20 of their number were going to leave for Pittsburgh. If you -- at least, though, it had the imprimatur of the G-20 and there had been a G-20 of finance ministers, so you had something to go on. If you'd just said, let's just choose the 20 countries we like and then we'll go make decisions, I think you're creating trouble for yourself because it's not just about who can do it, it's how well the rest of the world will accept it.

BREMMER: I don't -- I don't think we're creating trouble. I think trouble is there. And I think trouble is growing on a regular, daily basis. If the emerging markets were countries at different stages of development with different political and economic priorities, accordingly this wouldn't be so hard. That's not true. China is going to be the world's largest economy soon. It became the world's largest trading state just two days ago. And it will still be poor, it will still be state capitalist, it will still be authoritarian. You look at Nick's book, it's got a blue side and a red side. It's, unfortunately, not purple.

SLAUGHTER: Like American politics. (Laughter.)

BREMMER: Exactly. And we're not getting there. And that's why I don't think it's a GX, because a GX implies that it's still global but it's global with different numbers on different issues. I wish that were true. If it were, I'd be all in favor of expanding the G-20 and doing the foreign minister stuff. And I don't want to get rid of the G-20, because I recognize the utility of having these meetings with everyone together at least on occasion. But to get things done, we will need to increasingly understand that at least for now, many of the numbers don't just disagree; fundamentally disagree. And therefore, it's not a GX; it's a sub-GX, which means the "G" is a zero.

And I'm not the only one saying this, and I started with it a couple years ago. Last week Fukuyama came out there and said G-Zero. He's kind of conservative. Stiglitz came out there last week, G-Zero. He's kind of liberal. We don't like this. It's not like I like the idea of a G-Zero. I hate it. It's bad. It's inefficient. But it's not trying to create trouble. It's just -- if the world becomes more troubled, I think we owe it to ourselves to create structures that accurate reflect that so we can do something with it.

SLAUGHTER: So Nick, tell us what structures we need amending the G-20.

BERGGRUEN: It's really some ideas -- and there should be ideas that are, you know, fostering a discussion. My own feeling is that, you know, people are looking to the G-20 as a place of decision and of action. Otherwise, frankly, it wouldn't be there. It wouldn't be discussed. And the fact that people in essence are somewhat emotional about it, by saying G-Zero, it's not a, you know, empty phrase.

So I think the G-20, just because of who it is, has the potential of action. So if it doesn't, it's really a wasted opportunity for the world. So how do you make it more effective?

We've been thinking about it -- my think tank has -- is actually two people who were heads of the G-20, Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, and also Larry Summers and Paul Martin, who were there at the beginning of the G-20. And we've been thinking about some proposals to change it.

One of them is actually to create the equivalent of a permanent secretariat, very small, not a bureaucracy, but so that you create institutional memory, because if you have these presidencies that change from, you know, president to president, who at least even, you know, has the institutional memory to carry things out? The idea would be that the head of this secretariat would be somebody strong that people would take phone calls from. Question is who. That's one.

Two, that your idea of maybe having sort of subgroups of G-20 ministers, you know, let's say foreign ministers, et cetera, et cetera, work on issues because they are more likely to be there over, you know, just one presidential cycle. That would be another more concrete idea.

The other is that everything has to happen by unanimous consent. What about a qualified majority, and people can opt out on certain things if they are uncomfortable?

The next one -- and president of the U.N. is here -- work more with international institutions that can carry out some of the work that the G-20 needs to do from the U.N., the IMF. And they're invited, by the way. They come to the meetings. But can there be more coordination? Can more be done between those? So these are some of the ideas that would be -- (audio break) -- structural that we are thinking about.

SLAUGHTER: So like a global steering committee, right? It's plugged into every other government, every other institution, and it's there to push the agenda forward, possibly by a qualified majority voting, and then to get things implemented not by its own bureaucracy but by the IMF or the World Bank or the OECD or regional -- or regional entities.

PATRICK: Yeah, very much so. I mean, I think that the relationship between this informal consultative mechanism and the more formal treaty-based bodies, it has to be stated over and over again that this is -- first of all, that it's not directing them in the sense of -- it's authorizing the folks from those countries occupying the chairs in the governing boards of those other -- of those institutions to actually take action, because, you know, the governing board of the IMF is not identical to the G-20. So there's a certain amount of -- for the folks that are not members of the G-20, there's a certain amount of opposition there.

So one of them is to try to -- one improvement is to try to get a little bit more clear as to -- as to what degree the G-20's actually directing these institutions to do things. Another is to strengthen this thing called the mutual assessment process. Without getting too geeky about it, it's basically an agreement amongst the members of the G-20 to share with each other their economic plans and priorities and how they're going to advance the Pittsburgh framework. They share that with the IMF, and the IMF, it doesn't name and shame, but it gets it out there more transparently. And so at least you could begin to maybe harmonize some of the domestic policies.

But another point I want to make is that -- is that we focus a lot on the leaders-level summits, but we should be -- there should be a rule that nothing gets elevated to the leaders-level summit unless it actually has a breakthrough that requires Barack Obama's attention and his contemporaries' attention. Otherwise, there is an entire latticework of transnational, you know, regulators and networks of government officials doing -- in these working groups within the G-20 all the time. And that can go on without it having to get elevated and dilute, basically, the attention on probably what should be a short communique and some informal conversations as much as possible with the leaders.

SLAUGHTER: So Ian, why isn't that actually an effective structure of global governance? It's slow, it's halting, but it does reach compromises. I mean, it's like the EU. We all look at the EU and think, God, it's endless, takes forever, but they actually do reach compromises, which is more than I can say for Washington at the moment, right? I mean, we clash all the time, but we don't actually move forward. I mean, why isn't that de facto global governance?

BREMMER: I don't -- I don't think it's like the EU. I think the EU is actually much more significant. There's real subversion of sovereignty by the EU that works.

SLAUGHTER: Well, what if there were qualified majority voting?

BREMMER: Well, look, I think it -- you -- this -- I think it's more like the U.N. I think the likelihood that you get a bunch of countries in the G-20 and then say, actually you give up your veto power, I can think of a lot of countries that are going to say, no way, that's not going to happen. There's a reason the Security Council is unreformable, all right? And it -- and it -- it's -- that's my structure.

I think that what we're talking about here is something that looks a lot like the U.N., which is at the top level, very little actually works except something that nobody -- that's critical to nobody, and so you can get the -- maybe we'll get the peacekeepers out of Mali with the U.N. Why? Because no one really cares about Mali, right? But -- I'm sorry --

SLAUGHTER: Tell that to Africa.

BREMMER: I wish -- I wish that that weren't true, but the reality is Mali does not occupy a lot of our attention in the United States, or in China, or in Russia. And so you could get them to support peacekeepers there. Try that for Syria, where a couple countries care a lot more, right?

Now, can you actually have the -- in the U.N., there's an awful lot of bureaucracy that really does work and functions wonderful. It's not sexy. It's not big and global. But it helps us function more effectively. Could the G-20 have some of that, some block-and-tackle bureaucratic support? Of course it could.

But let's be very clear. Do we have a crisis of global governance right now? Of course we do. Otherwise, we wouldn't be discussing this --


BREMMER: -- at the top levels.

And is that going to be fixed by the G-20? Absolutely not. It's not -- and it's not just that the United States and China have such fundamental disagreements. It's also how incredibly busy we are and how incredibly, overwhelmingly focused we are on our own domestic crises. And that's obviously true in Japan. It's obviously true in the EU. It's obviously true in Britain. These are -- they're facing existential issues, all of them. It's more true in the United States than it has been at any time in decades. And for the Chinese, that's more true than for any of the other actors I just mentioned.

So OK, where is global governance coming from? We -- if you really wanted to get good ideas for global governance, let's get Canada, Australia, Scandinavia, Singapore. Let's pick a few small guys that -- you know, that have got some time on their hands. You'll come up with some good ideas, but they won't implement a damn thing because they don't have the power to. That's kind of where we are.

SLAUGHTER: So Nick, you recently talked to Putin about -- Putin's going to take over the next -- as the next president of the G-20. Do you think there are things -- I mean, a lot of this is about, you know, what will China say; what will Russia say; what will Saudi Arabia say. You're not really going to be able to get consensus. Do you see an actual receptiveness to a qualified majority rule? Do you think that actually could go through?

BERGGRUEN: We'll try. I mean, the -- I think it's difficult. You know, nobody wants to give up power, or be forced to take power, in this case. It's a really difficult one.

But if you don't give this body some power, it frankly will become somewhat irrelevant. I mean, maybe in a time of incredible crisis where action will happen in any case, G-20 or not, on a, you know, bilateral way or in other ways, then the G-20 will just be a photo op, because there is no -- the new heads -- and we experienced it frankly -- the new heads, these roving heads of the G-20 -- you know, for them, it's an opportunity but also a headache. They have to prepare a program.

They put everything -- a laundry list of -- you know, from climate to, you know, immigration to energy to, you know, financial -- I mean, they put everything on it. So every G-20 communique is almost the same. It addresses, you know, food security, everything that we know is important. But it doesn't focus. This is one of the points. So it needs to focus. And if it doesn't have some degree of continuity and some degree of sort of, you know, at least suggestive power, I think it'll become less relevant.

And Ian is right. We have a crisis of governance all around the world. I do -- I agree also with Ian that a lot of these smaller countries have been quite successful, but the big ones are the ones that count in terms of reforms. They're all in crisis. And so you would think that the G-20 actually could help some of this. What's also true is the G-20 is once a year, meeting for a few days, which is -- you know, I think 8,000 journalists go. So it's really a moment for all these different heads of state to shine. It's not a moment for the heads of state to really, you know, work on deep issues. So again, if you had a little bit of an institution, you could at least try to make progress on the key issues.

SLAUGHTER: Will the Russians be receptive, do you think?

BERGGRUEN: Well, you know, it depends on how relevant they want to make their G-20. So this could be a way.

PATRICK: No. (Laughter.) Yeah, I don't -- the Russians are -- (inaudible) --

BERGGRUEN: (Inaudible) -- yes, maybe there is a Russian -- (inaudible) --

PATRICK: The Russians are less interested in playing this role than almost any major country in the world. They will be obstreperous. You remember Putin didn't even show for that last major summit because he had to appoint a Cabinet, which, as we all know, is a difficult thing in an authoritarian state -- (laughter) -- that this is, that -- no, Russia increasingly, is not an emerging market. This is a problem. They're an oil state. And other things are not going well. And Putin is feeling very insecure about that. And you see this bilateral meetings. You have multilateral meetings with him. He's less interested in the Q-and-A. He's more interested in bloviating for three, four hours in front of a passive group. That will not work at the G-20.

SLAUGHTER: And no other national leader is like that? (Laughter.)

BREMMER: No -- to the degree of Putin, I would actually -- I think that that is a qualitative difference that actually really matters, even in this group.


BREMMER: I really do believe that. No, he's not Stephen Harper. Putin is very different. He's very different.

SLAUGHTER: (Inaudible) -- that wasn't quite the example I had in mind, but the --

BREMMER: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)

SLAUGHTER: All right. So one more question, and then I'm going to turn it over to the audience. So suppose you use the G-20 as a vehicle for a G-2. So U.S. and China get together, and they say: Look, you've got enough domestic problems. I've got enough domestic problems. All of us basically want the minimal amount of international crisis. And we can't control that, but we can at least do what we can. So will that work? Stewart, I'll come down the row, and then I'll open it up. If -- can you have, you know a couple of -- the biggest powers using the G-20 to basically run the world?

PATRICK: I think that's -- you know, you'll have to get around the difficulty of the Chinese really not wanting to be in situations where they feel like they're being ganged up on. So -- and I know that one of the things that alarmed them was when there was all -- obviously, the continuing discussion about currency and currency manipulation -- the fact that it wasn't just the United States, it was the Brazilians, it was the Indians, et cetera, that started to hammer them pretty hard as well.

You know, I do think that that is the dream of the Obama administration is that this is one way of taking the issues and frictions that bother us about the Chinese out of bilateral relationships, embedding them in a -- in something that's more multilateral and where they can be in a sense -- in this sense brought along. It also helps -- by having the Chinese in the G-20, it helps sort of cushion the degree of spillover, political spillover of economic disputes. It sort of provides a certain lane in which there's a sort of norms of how you talk about things and how you dispute things.

It's not going to be perfect, but I think that -- you know, and for the -- and for the rest of the membership, of course, who are not particularly enamored with a notion of a G-2, not least Asia's -- China's Asia's (sic) partners, I think that, you know, there's a lot to be said for it in terms of -- in terms of this is one vehicle among others, too, in the sense of integrate China into responsible stakeholder. I mean, they have made some movement on, you know -- through the G-20 mechanism, for instance, by saying that, you know, yes, we are going to move to a more flexible currency arrangement and other -- and other concessions they've made.


BREMMER: It's a very important question. And I think it's so interesting that you used that term at the end. This is a way that the United States can help bring China into becoming a responsible stakeholder. That is what we want to do. We want to do that everywhere, not just with the G-20. We want to do it with the pivot to Asia. We want to do it with, you know, sort of multilateral, ASEAN and the rest -- the Chinese hate this.

And they don't like the term "responsible stakeholder." It's as problematic for them as "win-win" is for us when they lie to us about that, and -- because the point is, when we say "responsible stakeholder," what the Chinese hear is we want them to act like a rich state, even though they're poor, and we want them to follow rules that we have set with other advanced industrial democracies, which don't, frankly, in their view benefit them in many occasions.

They're right about that. We should have the respect to them, at least -- as they become more powerful, we won't have a choice -- to start to admit they're right about that. I think it is appropriate that we should try to get more things involved with the Chinese multilaterally because it will benefit us.

Having said that, the only way this is ultimately going to work is if the Americans and Chinese are able to find some big, hairy, audacious goals to work on together. This relationship does not work well when we are only working on small stuff. When we were working on the WTO together, even though it was hard, it was one big thing, both countries were working on it. Right now the U.S. and China have nothing big that we are working on that could be collaborative and cooperative.

PATRICK (?): Together.

BREMMER: Together.

And I don't think that that will work just within the G-20 process. That must be done within the U.S.-China process. And it's damned hard, but I think if you -- if you made that happen, your ability to then get more cooperation from the Chinese within multilateral frameworks becomes much more likely. Right now I am very skeptical.

SLAUGHTER: So Nick, in your book, you actually offer some surprising facts about China's willingness to work with us, particularly on climate issues. And remember, President Obama said, leading a transition to sustainability was arguably his first foreign policy goal, given where it was placed in his inaugural address. Do you think this is something that China and the U.S. can do within the G-20?

BERGGRUEN: Oh, if you look at the ideological doctrine of China, it went from peaceful rise to a community of interest.


BERGGRUEN: And so the Chinese, I do think, really believe in sort of looking at some important global issues that can be dealt with together in a positive way.

Now they've got a lot of things to do at home, and I think they've got social issues today that are enormous. So they've got to deal with those.

But I think that they realize -- and I think they're actually quite happy that they've graduated to a place in the world, a serious place in the world. Do they want to take the responsibility? Not sure yet. And -- but going back to the G-20, I think G-20 is just a platform to get them to engage but that they can also use. I mean, it's both.

But I do think it's useful to do direct bilateral -- have bilateral discussions with the U.S., with other places in the world. That can be done anyway. The G-20, I think, is just another avenue, and it's a wasted avenue if it's not just made more effective.

SLAUGHTER: Great. Thank you.

So it is time to turn to you, the members. The -- there's a -- if you want to ask a question, please wait for the microphone, speak directly into it, stand, state your name and affiliation.

Remember, this is on the record, the question -- Q-and-A, as well as our part.

And please limit yourself to one question. For those of you who are old enough to remember the Cold War, no MIRV'd questions, meaning questions that suddenly move into three or four different parts and subparts. And please actually ask a question, rather than making a statement and then saying, please comment.

It's also helpful if you can direct a question to one of us, so that we don't have one question, three answers, one question, three answers.

So the floor is open. In all my -- thank you. (Chuckles.) I was going to say in all my time at the council, I've never seen that -- (inaudible). (Chuckles.)

QUESTIONER: Hi. (Off mic) -- is this on?


QUESTIONER: (Inaudible) -- Columbia Law School. In the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, there was an aggregate stimulus to the global economy by the G-20 members, although some countries decided to then pursue austerity measures.

Now with the U.K. in a triple-dip recession and the overall economic numbers being relatively shaky throughout the world, do you anticipate another push for a stimulus by the G-20 members?

Perhaps to Ian.

BREMMER: Well, I think this is more yours, actually, but you --

PATRICK: Not a coordinated stimulus, I think. I think that the G-20 members remain significantly divided along those lines. I think that, you know, certainly the Brits -- this -- appear to be still sticking with their trajectory.

I think what we're seeing -- you know, there are, just in terms -- in terms -- thinking about what's on the agenda right now in terms of countries trying to stimulate, one of the biggest issues is -- with the new Abe government in Japan is how they're going to stimulate. There's been a lot of controversy recently over the fact that their method for stimulating is at least in part the devaluation of their currency vis-vis the -- many of the other G-20 countries, and that's becoming one of the major points of friction going into the finance ministers' meeting this weekend.

I don't see any coordinated movement towards stimulus right now. I don't know if you gentlemen would see something different.

BERGGRUEN: Well, the growth and -- I mean -- sorry -- the Putin agenda says start with growth; there needs to be a growth path. Does it mean anything? I have no idea. But -- (chuckles) -- in theory, that's on top of the agenda.

SLAUGHTER: Hm. Interesting.

Yes, Ken. (Inaudible.) (Chuckles.)

QUESTIONER: Thank you. Ahmed Fathi, Economics Channel, Saudi Arabian TV. My question is not for one person but for the entire panel. Just very shortly, there was at the United Nations a session about the relationship between good governance and development, and based on the empirical research, they have concluded that there is no direct and statistical ground to link between development in a country and good governance. How can the G-20 be a forceful power in this area? Does the G-20 should impose good governance standard, or should it just take each country as a case -- as a standalone case? Thank you.

PATRICK: I would say that the results of the study surprise me. I think that there is no question that there are different models of effective governance of a -- that could be either more participatory or less participatory but that could be economically efficient. And I think one might be able to cut down and -- looking at different examples from the Asian industrial experience.

But as a general proposition, just my own work on weak and failed states, fragile states, it strikes me that there is a huge body of evidence suggesting that lack of transparency, the high levels of corruption and other dysfunctionalities, including lack of political participation, is often correlated with lack of development.

I -- one of the things that I pushed in -- because I think it's a -- it's a -- it's a -- it would be a natural add-on to the G-20's work in -- on their development agenda is to actually have a G-20 initiative geared towards the world's fragile states because there's been a lot of really interesting data coming out recently that by 2015, according to the OECD, half of the world's poor will actually inhabit fragile and conflict-affected states. And the question there is, how do you actually try to nurture growth and stability in those countries? You can't use traditional development instruments for that. But that's -- so I'd leave my answer to that.

SLAUGHTER: Nick, do you want to add something?

BERGGRUEN: It's just my opinion, but I think good governance is key, makes an enormous difference. The question is, how do you define good governance and how do you do it in a way, especially in the G-20 context, that's not ideological?

And going back to the book that Nathan Gardels and I wrote, the -- it compares different systems of governance, east and west. And it makes the case, there's not one size fits all. You know, the Western liberal democratic model has worked incredibly well last 200 years for us in the West, but it's not a model that you can, I mean, just, you know, export, bring to Egypt and say, all right, here we have -- we've got a formula, it's going to work. So the point we make is, there are certain things to learn from in China, in Singapore, other models that are not, you know, election -- sort of liberal, participatory-type models. And we can learn from them. They certainly can learn from us.

So the question is, how do you come up with a series of criterias that are good governance, criterias that can be helpful but in a nonideological way? I think that would be helpful, very difficult. We're working on it, but it -- I think it does matter.

BREMMER: Strongly agree. Singapore is -- you know, if there's any issue of liberal democracy and good governance, clearly, Singapore fails, and yet their extraordinary transparency and openness has allowed for one of the most breathtaking albeit small development stories the world's ever seen.

China -- I certainly believe that ultimately, the Chinese model will need to adapt, politically and economically, for it to continue to succeed, or it will fail. Fair enough. But for the last 30-plus years, China has succeeded, in my view, much better than they would have with a more open transparent model of economic and political development than what we've seen, which has been much more command and control-based. So, you know, when we tell them -- again, "responsible stakeholder" -- we tell them, you need to become an open economy. Well, if they had listened to us five, 10 years ago, Huawei and Ziti (ph) wouldn't be as big as they are right now. We can't lie to them about this stuff, all right?

SLAUGHTER: So I'm going to call on Ken Roth. I will just say, we're no longer just telling China it has to be a "responsible stakeholder." We're now telling any great power it has to be a "responsible stakeholder." That's been the shift. The Bush administration aimed that at China. The Obama administration basically says, you want to be at the big table, you take responsibility for enforcing global norms. I'm not sure the Chinese fully get that, but we're saying it to India, to Brazil, to anybody else.

BREMMER: I'm not sure we're saying it to Washington --

SLAUGHTER: Well, the --

BREMMER: -- but yes, I think that's true.

PATRICK: (Chuckles.)


QUESTIONER: Ken Roth, from Human Rights Watch. My question is whether we want the G-20 to assume more of a political role, in a -- presumably in lieu of the Security Council, deeply imperfect as it has been? And, you know, the effect of that would obviously be to diminish the power of the permanent five veto wielders and increase the power of the emerging economies like Brazil, South Africa, India. The most recent example we've had of their behavior when they were on the Security Council, say on Syria, was that they were not terribly responsible. They were, you know, completely preoccupied with what happened in Libya. They took a long time to come around to vote properly. They made it easier for Russia and China to veto.

Do you see -- I don't know which of you would answer this, but do you see evidence that these emerging powers are capable of playing a responsible leadership role?

SLAUGHTER: Don't all jump at once.

PATRICK: I think it -- I think it depends very much on the topic and the degree of -- you know, to some degree, strategic interest that the -- that the country has in the particular realm.

You know, the G-20 is not the -- has not been the venue for this, but you know, if you look at the multinational -- quite heterogeneous multinational naval flotilla that has been cracking down on piracy in the Indian Ocean and off the -- off the Gulf of Aden, you see a number of strange bedfellows that are quite similar to, you know, basically, G-20 membership. You see the same thing if you -- conceivably, if you're looking at aspects of counterterrorism cooperation.

There are certain things, I think, that you're not -- on cybersecurity, you know, in the same way that you're not going to have a comprehensive cybersecurity treaty, you're not going to, through the G-20, get a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. You might be able to get some norms on cybercrime, conceivably, or some norms on, you know, what is not OK to attack, like the root, or that sort of thing.

But I think overall, the G-20 should not aspire to try to recreate the functions of the U.N. Security Council. It doesn't have staying power, it doesn't have the institutionality, and most importantly, it doesn't have the imprimatur of international law under the charter.

What it can do, conceivably, is what the other G-6, G-7, G-8 have done in the past, which is that it takes on a certain number of political/security -- it launches a few initiatives that then get spun off, like the Global Peace Operations Initiative or the Financial Action Task Force, which is now the main instrument we have for countermoney laundering and counterterrorism finance. Those sorts of things and some -- you know, a lot of nuclear threat reduction stuff has been spun off.

So I think in -- that's where I see the G-20 eventually going. I know a lot of people say, no, let's just leave the G-8 for that, but the fact is you need to have the major emerging economies if the table, if they want to play on these sorts of things. Some things will be off the table. Iran is not going to be on the table of the G-20 anytime soon.

SLAUGHTER: I mean, one other way to just look at that -- and you're next -- is to think about some competition between the two, right? And we've done this before, obviously, with the NATO and the Security Council on Kosovo, and here too I can imagine getting to a point where you convene the foreign ministers or the defense ministers of the G-20 and you say, look, the U.N. Security Council is completely paralyzed; let's vote. You're not going to get everybody, but if you've got 85 percent of the world's GDP and you get a substantial chunk of that and you get a regional organization, then I think you have legitimacy even if you don't have legality.

So we've been talking about it like the G-20 is a steering committee and there's the Security Council and everything else is below it. If you think about it as just alternative fora for where you can try to make action happen, then there's the possibility of competition between them.

Sir, yes.

QUESTIONER: Donald Shriver from Union Theological Seminary. We liberals are sometimes blamed for using the term "humanity" as though it had political importance. Michael Walzer, one of my favorite political philosophers, has said humanity has members but no memories. (Laughter.) And I'm wondering whether that's true. Governance requires constituencies, and for political coherence, constituencies may need some common memories that push them toward certain kinds of measures of collaboration. Are we being futile and naive in thinking that humanity is a fit subject for political concern? Is Walzer really right that we don't have, after the 20th century, any common human memories?

SLAUGHTER: (Inaudible.)

BERGGRUEN: I couldn't agree more. (Chuckles.) The key is, going back to the G-20 issue, how do you create some institutional memory. And I think you have to have some structure, even if it's small, so that you can carry out whatever, you know, in theory, 20 important stakeholders have decided to focus on.

BREMMER: We haven't -- I mean, the whole point -- the question before about stimulus, did I think that there was going to be common stimulus. The answer is no. Why? Because there's no crisis. I said there's a crisis in global governance, but there's not a crisis that's actually impacting the key actors in these countries that brings them to the level of creating a common narrative, they're -- it creates a human narrative. We're not -- we're nowhere close to that. And in some areas, maybe we'll develop such a thing. I hope not. I hope it doesn't require that kind of crisis. But the -- certainly the crucible of the G-20 leads us to believe that that is what's required.

PATRICK: Yeah, I would agree that -- you know, one -- (chuckles) -- yeah, again and again, and I hope it doesn't come to this, but the -- you know, the -- it, you know, may take an almost existential-level crisis in terms of climate change, for instance, or -- you know, or imagine nuclear use, right, whether by terrorist group or by -- you know, on this Indian subcontinent. That would help people get religion very quickly, and I -- (chuckles) -- yeah, well, different kinds of religions, I guess -- (laughter) --

SLAUGHTER: (Chuckles.) Get religion.

PATRICK: -- but at least get a common narrative very quickly, but hopefully it wouldn't get there.

SLAUGHTER: Jacob Frenkel, here in the front.

QUESTIONER: Jacob Frenkel, JPMorgan. You asked at the beginning about the grade that you would give. I was tempting to, as a former professor, give the grade of an I, incomplete -- (laughter) -- give a chance, don't have a finality.

But in a more serious way, my question is given if you were to do this experiment after London summit and you asked for the grade, probably you would have given A or A+ or whatever. And if that term ended there, it's over. And why was it a success? Because it was crisis management. But we -- if we look at crisis as a spectrum, crisis prevention and if it fails crisis management and if it fails crisis resolution, then it seems that in crisis management when there is a perception of the crisis, people can get together and do the stuff, much less agreeing on crisis prevention, even less about crisis resolution.

So question number one is what is the grade or what is the real test, the entire trio or only one of them? And in this regard, a corollary is I think it's so obvious that you need to have a secretariat not only for institutional memory but also for accountability. We are talking about political bodies, and therefore accountability is important. And the question is why does it come up here and it has not yet been in place either something generic that makes it so difficult that we are really chasing something which is fundamentally a bigger challenge?

BREMMER: Let's keep in mind that the very -- I mean, I like the troika. I like troikas generally, as a former Soviet guy. But when I think about the specific kind of crisis that this G-20 that was created had to respond to, it was both a little existential and it was one that everyone really wanted to fix for fairly obvious reasons even though the United States ostensibly was the one that screwed up -- you know, it emanated from New York. But frankly, the U.S. was as mortified as everybody else was.

There are a lot of crises that are out there, existential crises, that don't come like that, that come because someone is responsible and wants to be responsible, comes because countries have very different fundamental interests about where -- why the crisis occurred and how they want to respond to it. I think we should be careful about thinking that because we experience the kind of crisis that an international community with vastly different interests and levels of development would want to respond to quickly that means the next one will be similar. And I suspect that the G-20 as an organization is only actually good at responding to a small subset of the kind of crises that we might actually really experience going forward.

SLAUGHTER: Anybody else want to -- Nic.

BERGGRUEN: Well, I think Jacob Frenkel is right. I mean, basically G-20 is not an organization, so it won't really respond to anything unless it's a big crisis. So the only way that it sort of has sort of some real-world -- real-life effect is if it has some kind of institutional body, meaning a permanent secretariat or troika mechanism. Without it, I think it will only come in when there's a big fire, and then it really doesn't become -- I mean, it's just not that effective.

PATRICK: I would just add that there's a lot of resistance amongst G-20 leaders to creating a permanent -- standing secretariat for desire not to give the G-20 an institutional identity, sort of a sorcerer's apprentice fear or perhaps, you know, principal agent problem that you create, in a sense, an entity that then has its own inbuilt institutional interests that are different from necessarily the members'. And so I think that's why there's -- it tried to sort of split the difference with this troika system to -- and some new systems to manage paper flow, or perhaps electron flow these days.

But the difficulty is that while the notion of a troika, let's say, would be Mexico helping out the Russians now with the sort of Australians waiting in the wings sounds great on paper, the reality is that that depends very much on sort of the generosity and graciousness of the host government to actually, say, (second ?) members from the finance ministries or perhaps foreign ministries or -- (inaudible) -- ministries of those other two governments, and that's not always happening.

BERGGRUEN: I mean, just to put it in very concrete terms, the current head of the G-20 is Putin. The last head of the G-20 was Calderon. He's now at Harvard. He's not in Mexico. His sherpa is no longer a sherpa, OK? The prior president is Sarkozy, who's now sitting as a lawyer in Paris doing other things than politics, at least for now. So --

MR. : So we should have Putin for a much longer period of time. (Laughter.)

BERGGRUEN: Well, maybe it'll give him something to do outside of Russia, meaning you have to -- (laughter) -- you know, it's just that --

SLAUGHTER: This -- actually, if this is a precedent, then the -- (chuckles) --

BERGGRUEN: I'm just trying to put the -- you know, put it in -- you know, in real terms.

SLAUGHTER: Absolutely. Last question.

QUESTIONER: (Name and affiliation inaudible.) I'm one of the 8,000 journalists, Nicolas -- (laughter) -- that attends the G-20 and G-7 and G-8 and so on and so forth. And my tendency, Ian, is that it's better to have a G with a number rather than a G-Zero, which, as an acronym, brings also bad memories somehow.

But bottom line is that I tend to agree with Stewart, and you know, we cannot expect the G-20 to do many things, and I would be very worried if there was a secretariat, actually, Nicolas. And I think that the sherpas' work is there. Even if they change, the others stay. And there is a continuity in that, and we as journalists do rely on the sherpas, actually, rather than on the heads of state to get to know what is going on. And last July at G-20 in Mexico, it was crucial to solve the European situation. I mean, it was there that there was something very important that happened. And you know, it's true that there was a crisis, but there was an agenda. And these agendas are being brought forward. Now, there is the IMF quota reform, which is quite interesting, and if is not work well, it will, you know, produce an historical change, meaning that the emerging countries will have a majority vis-a-vis the industrialized countries. So the question is can we just rely on the sherpas and have the G-20 as a more flexible instrument?

BREMMER: So I happen to agree completely with Nick's point that, you know, these guys are in or they're out and how much capacity they have, they're politicized and the rest. Look, one of the reasons -- if you think about it, one of the parts of global governance that's actually worked somewhat well -- you -- look at central bank governors. They're pretty technocratic. They're reasonably independent, we could argue somewhat less so. And of course, you know, the Chinas -- the Chinese don't really have a bank. So as a consequence, we're still really -- in terms of transparency, we're talking about countries that still agree with each other.

It would be -- it -- rather than a secretariat, if I were offering policy recommendations, I would say what would really be nice -- if you -- if you could have central bank governor-type appointees as the sherpas for the G-20, right, more capable, more technocratic, senior, but folks that actually have, you know, a longer run at these posts so that they can reflect the actual national priorities, at a deeper level, of these countries, as opposed to, in many cases, the more quixotic back-and-forth of party politics within their government.


PATRICK: I would probably disagree with Ian here. I see what he's -- I see the rationale. I see the logic behind -- I would prefer that, in a sense, to be the sous-sherpa.

The key of having the sherpas is that the sherpa is the person who gets the leader to the summit, which is obviously why they're sherpas, and that person has to be like Mike Froman is for Barack Obama: someone who is incredibly well-trusted by the head of state or head of government and can, in a sense, channel that individual's desires. I agree that it doesn't help with the continuity problem that Ian's talking about.

BREMMER: But the reason why I push back on that is because you said at the beginning, well, I'd like so much more of this stuff to not be at the head-of-state level; a lot more of it has to be bureaucratic. I think it won't work at the head-of-state level most of the time. And if you buy that, if you actually think that your structure is the one that does more of the lifting for the G-20, then it's OK that they don't serve that purpose you just mentioned.

PATRICK: Yeah, I think -- I sort of feel like you have -- you have to have both because some things -- the key is -- the key that makes some its breakthrough opportunities, as well as just sort of the ongoing workstream, is that you get decisions that really need leaders, decisions made, and that they can hopefully have an informal conversation -- albeit it's extremely difficult with scripted 20-person summits. But then you also have to have the mechanism for the ongoing -- as I said, the latticework of working group workstreams, in a sense.

SLAUGHTER: Nick, you have the last word.

BERGGRUEN: Oh, OK. But Bottom line, I don't think we resolved that much. (Laughter.) More question than answers.

But Mario (sp) -- I agree with Mario (sp). I think the sherpas, at least in our experience, they are very well-intended, they're well-informed, they're well-prepared. The question is, how good are they at preparing their leaders? How interested are the leaders in really, you know, making things happen?

The other people who all come -- well, it's not their summit, so how important is it in a crisis, where they have domestic issues -- and they always have to respond to domestic issues. Remember, all these 20 who come from different places, they're there in theory to solve the world's problem, but in reality, they're there as a representative of their country. So they really care about things at home. So if they look good at a G-20, well, that's great.

So again, because there is no institution, there is nobody who cares about the institution. You know, the ideas of the central bankers is actually maybe not a bad idea because these people, a central banker, in theory -- Jacob (sp) would tell us maybe differently -- is responsible for something very, very specific, which is, you know, long-term, let's say, stability of money and all -- you know, whatever the -- so having some independence, not political, but not there just for one term, a sherpa, but -- over time I think is the only way that the institution, meaning the G-20, is effective every time that it meets.

SLAUGHTER: So thank you. And let me just say in closing, you know, these are very technical terms, and there's a lot of bureaucracy. it's not exactly a sexy subject, the G-20. But in fact, I think it's worth remembering where Ian started. We do have a crisis of governance. We have a national crisis and a global crisis. If you just take climate change, you take Sandy, you take Irene, you take what we've just seen, we are unable to do anything about that in Washington, and we are unable to do it about -- anything about that globally. We can go along like that until a big crisis. And in the world -- in previous iterations, we've only got the League of Nations and the U.N. and any of these other organizations after really big cataclysms. Let's hope that that's not what it takes for us to get effective global governance this time. Thank you to the panel. (Applause.)






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