Democratic Internationalism: An American Grand Strategy for a Post-exceptionalist Era
STEWART PATRICK: Hi, ladies and gentlemen. If you could grab some food if you haven't done so yet, we'd like to get started and take advantage of the presence of our illustrious guests here.
Welcome to this session of my round-table series on the United States and the future of global governance. For those of you I haven't had the pleasure of meeting, I'm Stewart Patrick. I'm a senior fellow here and direct the program on international institutions and global governance.
Unlike most council events, this one is on the record, so be aware that any gaffes or pearls of wisdom that you happen to utter may live forever in print of cyberspace.
Today I'm delighted to introduce -- going to be joined by two of the nation's most creative political scientists, Dan Deudney and John Ikenberry, as well as one of the most consistently engaging columnists, authors and public intellectuals, David Brooks. You have their bios, so I'll limit myself to just a few words about each of the speakers.
First, Dan. In addition to being one of the most popular lecturers at Johns Hopkins University routinely and annually, he's also been a pioneer in thinking about some of the fundamental requirements of what he calls republican security in an age of existential threats, both nuclear but also increasingly environmental. He's one of the most original, eclectic thinkers around in the world of scholarship in internationalism relations.
John, meanwhile, has established himself, of course, as our country's foremost chronicler analyst and, indeed, champion of the Western liberal order, helping scholars and policymakers alike understand the deep logic that has undergirded the U.S.-led order since 1945.
And David, of course, is obviously familiar with all of you from his Times column, his lovely books. But I -- one thing that I just want to say from a personal level for me is that just reading -- it's so refreshing to actually read his columns because unlike so much of the -- of the caged match tenor of today's commentary, which is so incredibly partisanly predictable, you know, David likes to look apparently from -- and he must -- and he gets very engaged in the broader cultural trends, psychological drives and civic dynamics that really underpin a lot of our political choice, shape political behavior and also political -- and American society. And that's just -- you do us a service -- (chuckles) -- as I just want to -- want to say in that regard because it's all too often when you see who's on the masthead or who's the author of a piece is immediately apparent what they're going to say, and that's not the case with David's writing.
The paper that we're going to be discussing today is one that I commissioned from Dan and John a few months ago after hearing them sort of offer some preliminary thoughts and ideas about the need for a new grand strategy. They would focus, at its basis, on the bonds between the United States and other established democracies. Obviously, others have written about this. But what they have provided in this paper is a sweeping big think piece in which, as I've written in commenting on it, raises, I think, as many questions as it answers, certainly. But it's an interesting interpretation of America's past, its leadership since 1945, its present predicament, and also some challenging prescriptions for its future. And I think one of the most provocative claims that it makes is that America's postwar global leadership after 1945 was, in many respects, the international projection of FDR's New Deal vision and the subsequent creation of the modern welfare state.
The piece is -- also provides, I think, a lot of (grist ?) for debate, and it raises some fundamental questions. I'll just mention a few of these before turning the floor over to them. These questions include, you know, debates over the nature of American exceptionalism and whether its fundamental impulse is inward and self-protective, as many people argue, or, in fact, outward and transformative. It also raises questions about whether the solidarity within the democratic community, or community of democratic states, can be restored and, in fact, whether -- more provocatively, whether democracy actually offers an adequate foundation for international order in an era of rising states, including many not just authoritarian states but also democratic states in the developing world which are not necessarily always liberal.
It also raises questions about whether the United States is capable about making the psychological adjustment from the world's undisputed hegemon to a position more of primus inter pares, capable of sharing authority and prerogatives with other powers and actually perhaps even learning from them. And then finally, it raises some fundamental questions about whether the welfare state or even, you know, social democracy, in their view, has a future in the political culture of the United States, given the stark partisan divisions that we confront today.
With those thoughts, I'd like to turn things over to Dan and John. They've agreed to limit their comments to about 15 minutes. Then we'll turn things over to David, who will have the floor for about 10 minutes. And then I'll take questions. Given the number of people here, I may take more than one question at a time, just to ensure that we get as many people on the floor as possible. But the turnout here and -- really suggests that this is something that has generated an enormous amount of interest and speaks highly also of our distinguished panelists.
So, John, over to you.
G. JOHN IKENBERRY: Thanks, Stewart.
PATRICK: I think it's automatically on, yeah.
IKENBERRY: It's great to be here. And thank you, David, for coming over, and we look forward to your comments and criticisms.
This is a paper that's new, and this is our first public outing, so we look forward to your comments. And we will be doing things with the paper, and so this is very helpful to us, to get your thoughts.
It really began last May at a conference at Princeton on the future of liberal internationalism. And Dan and I have each individually and together written on this, and this paper has been a kind of natural evolution of debates and discussions and engagement with lots of different groups and ideas out there.
And you can see from the paper that we've got different levels or layers of discussion going on here. At one level, it's a grand narrative of the American experience in the 20th century, the American accomplishment, if you will, a narrative about what were the ideas behind the ascent, what were the motivating impulses during America's most effective and most vigorous international engagement; identifying global problems today, what should we be worried about, what are the centerpiece issues. And then, to grand strategic debate, we tried to put this in the context of those kinds of choices about connecting American power to international order building, which is, for me, what grand strategy is all about. So history, theory and policy, I hope, are all on the table today.
I'll start by making some very general comments about the paper, its focus, and then Dan will continue, and hopefully we will then open things up in about 15 minutes.
The paper argues that the U.S. needs a new internationalist vision to guide its grand strategy and global pursuits in the decades ahead, one that is responsive to new problems and opportunities, new problems of (sic) opportunities that we define are as most centrally the increasingly diverse and vast world of democracies and new and quite novel, in some cases, cascades of economic and security interdependence.
We call this new internationalism or the next internationalism "democratic internationalism." We're interested, to some extent, in genealogy, the kind of different phases and different packages of ideas that have been with American internationalism in the 20th century, into today. And so in the spirit of trying to get those different packages correct, we're using the term "democratic internationalism" but also using the term really to convey the sense that we're putting together ideas that have drawn on the social democratic roots of liberal internationalism in the -- in the 20th century and the American experience from the Progressive Era, the New Deal and the Great Society onward -- as I said, ideas that we argue were associated with American internationalism and American grand strategy in the middle and end of the 20th century; that are associated with America performing at its highest level, having its most influence and achieving its most lasting accomplishments.
We are also arguing that these ideas will be useful not just to reclaim and rework for today but to do so to try to reorient American international leadership and by so doing begin the great task or continue the great task of building partnerships with rising liberal democracies around the world, recasting political architecture to facilitate problem solving. In the end, international orders rise and fall, are considered effective and legitimate or not, if they solve problems that countries care about. What kind of international order should we be -- the United States -- be pursuing with this grand strategy to help us and others solve problems in the 20th -- the 21st century and also along the way build coalitions -- political coalitions to help support the governance of international order?
So two opening observations lurk behind this paper. One is the world is now overwhelmingly dominated by states that are liberal, democratic and capitalist. In the 20th century the U.S. truly was, in Lincoln's words, the last, best hope, really was exceptional in so many ways in tilting and biasing history in the direction of liberal democracy. And part of the paper tells that story. We call it the American accomplishment, that much of what we see today was inspired, pushed, pulled, led by that American power and that exceptional presence, indispensable presence throughout the middle and into the 20th century.
Today, though, liberal democracies, some quite precarious, are all -- in all corners of the world, cutting across regions, civilizations -- South Korea, India; across colonial and post-imperial regions -- India, South Africa, Brazil; across, as I said, civilizations -- Turkey; across the -- and through the hemisphere -- Brazil, Mexico, Argentina; and around the world. Liberal democratic capitalist states are now really at the center of world politics.
And so the challenge in this paper is to evolve America's position away from the older position -- I call it hegemonic, although -- and I'm not arguing in this paper -- we are not arguing for a relinquishing of America's duties in the world but for a refashioning of them. And that's very important to anticipate, I think, what some of you may argue, creating conditions for the success of these far-flung, vast and very diverse liberal democracies and harnessing the authority and capacity of them to help run the world.
So that's really number one, this kind of first observation that the world is increasingly populated by and dominated by these states, some quite precarious, and the worry of backsliding and the challenge of harnessing cooperation among them being at the center of American concern.
Secondly, and to sharpen this point really in terms of grand strategy, I think we would argue that over the next 15 years, what should we be trying to do at the top of our list? And I think we would argue, looking out at the world, we should be making sure that rising democracies -- democracies old and new, but particularly rising democracies, rising non-Western states, if you will -- are part of the same American-led, American-affiliated political formation -- full stop. That is to say that when you look about and see what kind of world do you want to prevent from evolving, you want to prevent a world where there are great cleavages between the West and the global South, between East and West, North and South, between the states that are rising, that increasingly exhibit realist great-power impulses, that crack the world into a multipolar, competitive order with authoritarian politics always lurking in the background. That's what we don't want, spheres, blocs and a disorganization, if you will, of the liberal democratic world.
So, much of our paper is arguing how can we solve the problems of modern liberal democracies within and between them, and how can America's ideas, which have been so vital in the past, be brought to bear. And so we talked a lot about engaging and building community across the world of democracies. The end of the paper talks about U.S. and Europe, U.S. and the global South, and then U.S. with China and Russia, all along trying to argue that there are real lost opportunities or waiting opportunities to be harvested here, a lot of up side here, if you will, in building democratic community, solving problems and building leadership institutions for the future.
So I think that in the end -- and I'll turn things over to Dan -- that we are arguing that there is in the American DNA -- intellectual DNA the ideas that can allow us to forge these coalitions between quite different types of states with very different legacies and suspicions and mindsets that have to be overcome, if you will, to put this system on a firm footing for the 21st century.
DANIEL DEUDNEY: Thank you.
I'm going to speak to the problems that we face, the opportunities that we have but have been neglecting, and then lay out some of the agendas and goals of the grand strategy that we refer to as democratic internationalism.
To start with the problems, the overall picture is that the domestic foundations of democracy and liberal democracy are in many ways decaying. Our domestic performance is lagging. All across the democratic world, including the United States, we have rising inequality, economic stagnation, fiscal crises and imbalances, political gridlock. We celebrate the expansion of democracy in the latter part of the 20th century, but many of the democracies are fragile. We see backsliding, horrific corruption and incapacities to deal with problems.
Looking at the United States in the democratic world, we see that the United States is increasingly an outlier in many regards; that within the broader democratic world, the United States still characterizes and thinks of itself as exceptional, in the sense that we embody the goals of a free society better than anyone else. This has certainly been true in the past, but is no longer the case. We're falling behind in the realization of our own goals.
And as our exceptionalism fades, our orientation to the world is becoming increasingly particularistic and peculiaristic. We have various types of anti-internationalisms in the United States, the eroding foundations of the domestic consensus for an internationalist America. They're often under direct assault from neosovereigntists, neoconservatives, various types of nationalists.
We also look at the broader democratic world and see much less community than there could or should be. We use this expression "democratic community" very widely, and there is, of course, some of this, but in reality, we think there's much less of it than there could be and there should be.
And the reason that we have this what we call the democratic community gap is, as John alluded to, the legacies from the past -- mindsets, not just outside the United States, but inside the United States as well. We have anti-Europeanism, anti-Third Worldism in the United States that are quite virulent and vital. Looking at the broader democratic world, we see a lot of anti-Americanism. In the global South, anti-Americanism and post-colonial anti-imperialism that translates into anti-Americanism are very widespread in the elites and in public opinion.
At the same time that these problems are arising, that the foundations are eroding, that we lack community, we face a cascade of growing problems that -- rising levels of interdependence, particularly climate change; the management of the global economy, an old issue -- that are going to have to be dealt with. The world's problems are significantly democracy's problems. And if we fail to address these problems, we, the democracies, fail to addresses these problems, then we're going to have diminished capacities to do things in the world, we're going to have diminished leadership ability, and democracy itself is going to lose legitimacy and appeal in the world.
Turning to the opportunities, there are grounds for optimism. We don't want to paint a completely negative picture. We're the wealthiest, most powerful and most ideological influential state in the system. But there are opportunities that we have been missing. Focusing on outside the democratic world, on China and Russia and the greater Middle East, we've overlooked what John described as the sheer magnitude of the democratic world and the opportunities that are present.
These opportunities are several. One is that there is the possibility to share burdens and responsibilities. The United States doesn't have the power anymore to do things as preponderantly as we have in the past. Unless we can share burdens with others, we're going to have increased disorder.
Another important opportunity in this broader democratic world is for learning. We have parallel problems. We're grappling with many of the same issues of maintaining prosperity, of achieving economic growth, sustaining broad middle-class societies or achieving it.
And we Americans have often spoken about the 50 states as the laboratories of democracy, models of success that can be transposed to the larger national realm. We now have a much larger set of laboratories of democracy. Somewhere in the democratic world, we have operating examples of successful problem-solving for virtually all of the problems that we now confront with regard to corporate governance: the European stakeholder model where we are representation of the stakeholders within the economic community on the economic -- on the board of corporations; youth unemployment -- we have models of apprenticeship systems that -- and labor employment practices that keep unemployment low and keep productivity of labor high; health care -- the United States is of course a notorious laggard in this, but the bulk of the other OECD countries provide better net health care at a fraction of the GDP that we spend on it; and with regard to citizen participation, we have countries like Australia that have mandatory voting, extremely high levels of participation, extremely high levels of citizen view of a legitimacy of the regime.
We Americans have blinded ourselves to many of these opportunities to learn because of our exceptionalist "not invented here," we are the leader. And we need to listen more and we need to take advantage of the learning opportunities that the accomplishment of the broader democratic world has produced.
We also have ethnic connections. We are unique as a major state in terms of the number of ethnic connections we have to the rest of the world.
So we propose a grand strategy that is going to attempt to exploit these opportunities in order to help address some of these problems. Five thematic goals and orienting ideas here.
First, we have to focus on increasing equality of opportunity. Inequality of result has now reached the stage where inequality of opportunity is now being seriously compromised. What this means in practice is that we are going to have to roll back many of the important policies of the Reagan-Thatcher turn to fundamental deregulated capitalism and re-establish the foundations of the social democratic domestic political economy. This means restoring high levels of progressive taxation and robust estate taxes. We often talk about our system as being democratic capitalism, and we are strongly in favor of continuing that, of course. But what has happened is that we have gotten too much capitalism and not enough democracy. We've got to rebalance. We talk about our system as social liberalism. We've got too much liberalism in the sense of individualism and not enough social. We've got to redress that balance.
The second of our goals is to assume responsibility, and this is a topic that our commentator, David Brooks, has written very eloquently about, that we talk about solving global problems. The ethos has got to increasingly be, solve your own problems nationally, locally, individually. And this involves the cultivation and rebalancing of citizenship. We have to balance the claims for rights, for benefits and for opportunities with increased responsibilities and increased public services.
Third, we need to smartly manage interdependence. We've done this successfully in the past. Our abilities to do this are increasingly getting clogged up. And our approach here is not to propose new international organizations but rather to build on what we have and to look increasingly to hybrid private-public arrangements so that the governments and civil society complement rather than supplant one another. It's very different from the earlier international organization approach.
Fourth, we need to bolster coalition leadership and recast global balance. We have all these organizations, the U.N., the IMF, et cetera. The rights and responsibilities in these organizations have got to be changed to reflect shifts in the global power situation. For example, we have two seats in the U.N. Security Council, Britain and France. We should consolidate those into a European seat and move the other one, say, to India.
We also have got to lead with more collaboration and reciprocity. And this requires the United States not to stop leading or not to try -- not to stop solving global problems but to do so without the notion that solutions that aren't invented here are not ones we're going to consider. This "not invented here" mentality that is associated with our past and with American exceptionalism is a barrier to do this.
If we fail to redress these global institutional rights and responsibilities in these organizations, they will become less effective and less legitimate.
And finally we've got to build community. As I said earlier, we have this democratic community gap. And this is really inherited mindsets that we are going to have to systematically work on with our other democratic states. We're going to have to really try and have a conversation about the roots of anti-Europeanism in America, about anti-Americanism in the Third World and elsewhere.
When we look at countries like Brazil or India, the foreign policy conversation there is remarkably dominated by a postcolonialist and anti-imperialist mentality, and the United States gets cast in that camp. And given that frame, it's not surprising that these states are going to be reluctant to engage in the type of burden sharing that will be necessary.
So we believe that these five goals, these five new and reorienting mindsets take us a long way to seizing the opportunities that the broader democratic world provides us to solve the problems that we face.
PATRICK: Thank you, Dan. Thank you, John. As I intimated at the outset, a fairly ambitious agenda that you've outlined here.
I'd like to turn things over now to David Brooks to get his reflections and then open it up to everyone here too for your questions and comments. Thank you.
DAVID BROOKS: First I'm going to be more critical than I really think, in part to make it more interesting and in part because this is my vacation week and I'm in a bad mood because I had to put on a suit. (Laughter.) So I -- I'm also acutely aware that everybody in this room is more qualified than I am to talk about this, and my old joke is, I'll try to brief, knowing all you people, because you didn't come here to hear me speak; you came here to hear yourself speak. (Laughter.) And -- (inaudible) -- not to get in way of you guys.
So first let me summarize -- if you didn't want somebody to simplify, you shouldn't have invited a journalist -- I'm going to summarize what I think is the narrative arc of this paper:
First that we had a moment of great success in the midcentury, which -- in which the New Deal really led to a democratic internationalism that was quite successful.
Second, we fell away from that because we departed from the New Deal tradition. We had a worse domestic policy filled with -- driven in part by market fundamentalists, and that led to a bad foreign policy, driven in part by American exceptionalists and neoconservatives and nativists and people like that.
And third, we should revive the tradition we had in which a more liberal domestic policy made us much more compatible with the rest of the world and much more cooperative and allowed us to work together much more closely.
And so I think that was essentially the narrative I read, and I agree with part of that narrative, though I am an expert in what I call 1950s nostalgia, since I mostly work on domestic policy. Everybody had their own version of 1950s nostalgia. So liberals have the nostalgia for the union workforces, and you go to high school and get a good job. Conservatives have a nostalgia for the demographics and the size of government in the 1950s. People like me have a nostalgia for the character-building ethos of George C. Marshall.
And so we all have these versions of nostalgia. The problem, of course, is we're not going back, we're not going back to that era, and that if you take something -- a model that worked in that era and try to update it for the coming problems, you're probably, more likely than not, going to run into problems. And so I think trying to think of that New Deal/democratic international model and applying it to what is about to come next is probably inappropriate.
In the first case, that model was based on an extremely unique set of circumstances. From FDR to Nixon, we basically had a New Deal consensus in this country. And so we had a domestic policy consensus, which we certainly do not have anymore. And that consensus didn't die because Milton Friedman -- it died because of the stagflation of the 1970s, the crime wave of the 1970s, the economic sclerosis that set in, the huge buildup in public debt. It died because of real problems that afflicted a once-successful model.
Second, in those days we had a small policy elite, mostly Protestant, and -- who were highly trusted by the American people as a result of the legacy of World War II. We no longer have a small foreign policy elite, and they are completely distrusted by the American people. And the idea that we're going to have a sort of ambitious internationalist policy, even on the most sensible things, well, I ask you to look at the disability vote on the treaty last week in the United States Senate. We don't live in that country anymore.
And finally, of course, we had a more or less single-structured foe, which would demand that -- a more single-structured response. We had the Soviet Union, and we -- it made sense of build organizations and have a more cooperative agreement.
So we -- I think the situation, A, is much different than it was when the democratic internationalist model first happened. B, I don't really think we've fallen away from it in quite the way that the report says.
We haven't -- we -- you know, the -- it says twice in the report that we've had a much less progressive tax code. In my view, that's factually untrue. If you look at the OECD report, which I think is the dispositive study on this, we have a more progressive tax code than we've ever had before, not because we tax the rich less than other countries, but we tax the middle class barely. And so we have a very progressive tax code, much more progressive than most countries, our peer countries.
Second, I don't think we have gone into a deregulated economy. It's true that we have more than one phone company now. But if you look at the federal regulatory code, it has grown exponentially or at least grown significantly, administration by administration -- you can barely tell the Democratic from the Republican administrations.
Third, we haven't gone into neoliberal fundamentalism. Republicans talk that way, but they certainly don't act that way. If you look at federal spending until Barack Obama, it increased faster under Republican administrations than under Democratic administrations. We've had a pretty expanding state.
And so I don't think we've really fallen away from the New Deal model as much as we would think, and that's why we're stuck with the unaffordable Medicare and Social Security problems we're faced with.
Third, I think when you harken back to the 1950s model, you abstract away from some of the serious problems that afflict us today that were unavailable or unknown in the -- in the mid-century. And I would fault the paper, especially for abstracting away from the European crisis, which is reduced to one subclause of one sentence. And I think the lessons of what's happening in Europe are just much graver and can't be abstracted away in that model.
And then fourth, I think it -- you abstract away from the real problems of today. Unlike in the New Deal era, when we were underinstitutionalized, the Progressive Era, when we were underinstitutionalized, the central challenge today, it seems to me, whether you're in Japan, the United States or Europe, is that you have basically creaky political models, which have contributed to low fertility, aging populations, rising and unsustainable debt levels and slowing growth.
We will have this basic problem. U.S. growth was 3.2 percent year after year from -- after -- in the six decades after World War II; now it's projected to be 2.2 percent. This translated over 10 years into 5.2 million fewer jobs. And so we've all got these problems of aging populations, increasing debt, widening inequality and slowing growth.
And none of us, instead of having a consensus with how to deal with it, I would say none of us know how to deal with it. And so we don't have the domestic foundation for a democratic internationalism because we don't have a domestic agreement on basically what a society should look like. And so, you know, I'm not -- I just think you don't have the foundations for agreement that you had among the elites of the mid-20th century.
The second problem, which I think the authors are completely right about, is widening social inequality. But it's a different kind of social inequality than it was even in the 1930s or even the Progressive Era. Our social inequality is caused by a complete change in family structure throughout the world -- basically, complete collapse in Western Europe, in the United States, even in Asia of two-parent fertile families. That's a mystery how to solve that. It's not the same as having more labor unions.
Second, complete collapse, along with that, of fertility, which creates the debt and budget problems. And finally, we have problems like the slowing of Chinese growth, which -- again, a unique problem to our day.
So basically, the -- my main critique is that we had a universalistic approach 60 or 70 years ago because we had a universalistic consensus on what to do about the problems of those days. We no longer have that universalistic consensus or unlikely to have a universalistic global approach because we don't have that basic consensus. And so instead of -- the part I'll agree on is instead of looking to universalistic cooperative, we should have a radical decentralization and experimentation. And we should not try to impose a global order on that; we should just let a thousand flowers bloom. Thank you.
PATRICK: Thank you very much, David.
Gentlemen, I want to give you at some stage the opportunity to respond to some of David's comments and criticisms, but would you prefer to go directly to the audience first? And then perhaps you can integrate some of your responses, or, if you prefer, at the end.
Please, if you'd like to comment, do as we do and raise your placards up on their end. Chris Preble (sp).
QUESTIONER: Thanks, Stewart. Thanks to all of you for coming.
I read this paper very carefully, and actually I was going to -- I want to pick up on a few things that David Brooks said because I share his concern that you mischaracterized a bit how far we've moved away from the New Deal model.
First of all, we do have a progressive tax system. We have negative income tax, essentially, through the Earned Income Tax Credit. So the question really is -- and I suspect you both understand this -- so the question rally is, how much more progressive? What do you really mean? If we're supposed to be learning -- (inaudible) -- what levels of taxation, how high -- because when you look at federal spending as a share of GDP, it has risen in each decade, including the Reagan decade of the '80s, the only year in which spending as a share of GDP -- federal spending -- fell, during the 1990s, and during that period, much of that decline in federal spending was made up for by state and local spending. So total government spending rose, has continued to rise.
So the question is -- you obviously are arguing, I think, for more than what we've seen. It's not that we've reversed, but we haven't gone far enough. So how much farther? So that's one set of questions.
I'm representing two types of people that appear to be enemies in this paper -- not -- (inaudible) -- personally, of course, but there's the neoliberals, so there's my neoliberal -- (inaudible) -- and then there's the realist question. I'm a little puzzled by -- you talk a lot about the colonial -- post-colonial new democracies have this resistance or anxiety about their sovereignty and things like that, but I don't hear a lot of explanations for how you get around that. How do you convince them to not be so concerned? Is this a PR campaign or is it something more than that?
Those two sets of questions, which are really quite different.
PATRICK: Why don't you -- why don't you guys take those, and the next round, I'll get two questions.
IKENBERRY: I'll take the second one. I think that the -- at the center of the argument is the view that the nature of our national models of government and market, state and society are quite different even though we all occupy the space of liberal democracy. And there is an opportunity that's missing -- that's out there that hasn't been seized upon to develop more conversations, really, about our models and look for ways in which we can overcome what are ideological barriers to more sustainable cooperation.
And so what does that mean? It's not building new institutions. It is engagement, it's signaling a kind of expansive American vision of the nature of liberal democracy, opening that up, showing America -- the world America's rich set of ideas that we argue were particularly compelling in midcentury and after.
And it's partly done through those kind of conversations. It's interesting that when President Obama went to Brazil and met with President Dilma, he asked her what her problems were, and she said they're infrastructure, science and technology, competition policy and education. And he said, those are my problems, too; that's my agenda, too. There's more at the level of big industrial and leaning towards post-industrial states trying to solve problems.
As David said, these are problems that we all have. There's no state out there with the pristine model that is working. But it's the developing language and connections to bring these states together in new ways to learn from each other, problem solve and so forth.
And then finally, a sharing authority; that at the heart of this paper is a(n) argument that what divides us internationally today is not so much that there are great alternative models that the rising non-Western democracies have that are different from ours, but that there is a need for some redistribution of authority that has yet to be fully developed. And so -- and that kind of is the -- in some ways the most important way to signal a kind of reconstruction of the liberal democratic community.
PATRICK: Dan, do you want to --
DEUDNEY: Yes. We don't really have that ambitious an agenda here. The notion that we are proposing something as grand as what was done earlier, I think, is a misperception, and this word "grand strategy" obviously lends itself to that type of interpretation.
I don't really think we have a 1950s nostalgia here, either. We saw the period of the middle years of the century as successful in various ways, but we point to programs that absolutely led to a great deal of change that started earlier in the century: the Progressive movement, the New Deal and the Great Society. So it's been a rolling agenda. And we tend to forget that the 1960s, despite all the turmoil domestically, in the Vietnam War, was a period of great success with regard to the liberal internationalist agenda in terms of the Outer Space Treaty, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the all-important issues of nuclear arms control.
In terms of the domestic situation, you make a lot of points here. First of all, we clearly don't have a narrow elite making foreign policy. That's never going to be the case again. It is going to be harder. But we point to the fact that there are opportunities in this -- in large tent, that we have connections with these communities outside the United States via these ethnic immigrant communities that we need to be thinking of as part of not just domestic ethnic change but as a resource and as an important opportunity for the foreign policy formation process.
I think we really disagree about the extent to which the economy was deregulated. Yes, the number of regulations has gotten larger, but there has been a real hollowing out, and particularly in the financial domain -- the Security Exchange (sic) Commission. These agencies have become captured in various ways, and we've had disastrous results in consequence.
Abstracting away from the European crisis, many of the countries in Europe are actually doing quite well. And we want to look at not Europe as a whole and import everything -- it's very heterogeneous -- and second, there's a European crisis related to the structure of the European Union and the process of their building these entities that is sui generis to their situation, that has nothing do with what we would want to do.
The issue with regard to Chris Preble's point here about the federal share of spending that has been not really changed from the New Deal -- actually, I think that the overall numbers are that -- with the exception of health care, that the governmental share of GDP has not really changed much since 1970, and even the shares of many of the other parts are more or less the same.
What has changed is health care. And the United States is really an outlier in this regard. I mean, we spend two to three times as much as the other OECD countries and we are in the bottom quartile with regard to many of the performance features. And this is a situation that cries out for some successful, as Ross Perot used to say, getting under the hood and reconfiguring these institutions. And in attempting to do that, we have all of these models. We have other democracies that are somehow doing much more for much less.
PATRICK: Thank you.
Two -- the next two: Amitai Etzioni, please, and Henry Nau.
QUESTIONER: Well, I first want to reassure you that your call for rights and responsibilities domestically and internationally, and for community building, will not get the communitarians upset. (Laughter.) And so I think you'll -- some of them have even written about it before, and they would be surely happy to hear it again. (Laughter.)
But I want to see if you can add another chapter to your paper, about religion and more general belief systems -- and that ties to the issue David Brooks raised -- the notion that we can bring unending materialism, in effect, to the rest of the world. I just came back from China; they -- not -- they all want to drive Ferraris. They just don't want all (cars ?). They really want -- that's what David understand capitalism to mean, and it's consumerism. Then we talk to Egypt. We tell them, that's what you need, jobs, economy -- actually, a quick-going economy. Well, it's not going to happen, as -- and so the question is, do they have to learn and we have to learn to find social contentment, which are based on a different set of beliefs, rather than the ideal which capitalism put in front of us?
And in effect, religion provides one of those answers. And we have this odd conversation because we in France have this strict separation that democracy's obviously done, and we don't know how to talk to Islamic countries, other than we don't want them to go extreme, we don't -- we don't want them to violate human rights. But a moderate form of religion, finding dignity in praying five times a day, et cetera, et cetera, studying the Torah, is a soft contentment, other than only -- (inaudible). Unfortunately, nationalism is another one, which you see in Japan. And so answering that question of what belief system and how we relate to that -- capitalism does not provide for, and it -- to what extent it can be married with liberalism, I think it's a -- I'd like to see if you can add a chapter to that question.
PATRICK: Thank you, Amitai. Henry Nau.
QUESTIONER: Yeah. First, I want to commend John and Dan, really, for I think over the years giving us a portrait of the liberal democratic international system that we have today and reminding us of how unusual that system really is. I always say to my students, just think what the world would be like if, in fact, liberal democracy had not prevailed in the Cold War. So we have -- that's a very, I think, critical point for especially this town to remember. The world is a pretty world in terms of the strength of democracy around the world. So your basic point, I think, is well taken.
How do we now reinforce that world? And here I would like to see you do a little bit better job of bipartisanship, that is, recognize that we did it through a combination of sort of New Deal strategies and a combination of market strategies. I mean, I remember the 1970s very well, and at that time we were talking all the problems that -- or many of -- there were different problems, but they were problems that presumably were unsolvable or we had no answers for them. And nevertheless, we found some answers for them, not all of them, but we had a remarkable period of growth for the last three decades, 3 1/2 percent in the world -- in the globe as whole. And that continued, by the way, through 2010. You can average in the recession, you still had substantial growth. And so we need to recognize, I think, that there is another side to this.
And central to it was free trade, central to it was the flexibility of our economy and the commitment of labor to accept that flexibility. Now, they did that in connection with the campaign against communism, and today we don't have such a -- you know, such a rallying point. But -- and I don't really know what it is or what it will take to finally bring labor back into some kind of a compact to sustain the flexibility of our economy, but I do believe that unless America can figure this out, we shouldn't probably rely on any other country to figure it out. And somebody has to have that kind of a market that absorbs products, that's willing to change. We've done that consistently. It's been the means by which we've welcome one country after another into this liberal democratic world. And I don't think we're going to be able to sustain in the future unless we find some answers, which David clearly doesn't have and most of us don't have at this stage.
PATRICK: Thank you, Henry. We'd like to invite you to respond, and also, if -- David, if you have something that he wants to contribute.
IKENBERRY: On Etzioni's point about -- Amitai's point about liberalism, I mean, I think one of the great intellectual questions is whether liberalism has sufficient kind of moral superstructure to support the kind of internationalism consensus on its features. Is it too barren of a kind of moral expression of purpose to have a kind of international presence?
And A, I worry about that. One of the reasons that we -- (inaudible) -- paper is the kind of public worry that we have about the diminished legitimacy and effectiveness of liberal democratic institutions in an age where problems are just simply not being solved. And in some ways liberalism has been spared some of the worst of that because there are no great alternatives, the great ideological world views about how to organize the world, including in China. And we have talked a lot about this, the two of us. But I don't see grand ideas and an alternative. There's an authoritarian capitalism that's kind of in transition, and itself having many, many problems. But so there is the worry about whether a -- degraded liberal principles and institutions can survive in this period of slow growth and demographic change and absence of solutions on all these great issues.
On the other hand, liberalism is in some sense given a lease on life because in the end, it is a vehicle for cooperation, it's -- at its heart, at the international level it's a commitment to openness and rule-based relationships. And I don't see any solutions to global problems in the 21st century that don't entail some level of deep openness, which is to say countries having access to other countries' societies. That's what openness is.
It's free trade. And we'll come to that in a minute, but it's more than that. And rules. And indeed countries that are rising up, the non-Western developing countries, which weren't present at creation, have a growing stake in liberal order, everything else being equal, because those institutions provide the ability for those countries to protect their growing equities. They want rules to protect their wealth and their -- and to protect them against discrimination and arbitrary treatment, as rising countries that are growing faster than old countries would be legitimately worried about.
So there is, in the liberal internationalist framework, ideas and principles and institutions that should continue to be quite viable but there's a lot to worry about.
QUESTIONER: Can you marry them (with ?) religion.
QUESTIONER: Can you marry them -- liberalism (with ?) religion?
IKENBERRY: Dan will speak to that. (Inaudible) -- my right ear here.
Then on free trade, this -- Henry, you have written eloquently on these issues, and I hope that there's a bipartisanship buried in it, because as I remember, the Cold War was certainly a bipartisan experience in the United States, and we don't -- I wouldn't want to make this partisan at the level of party politics, although there are -- in our story there are good guys and bad guys in all that as well.
But on free trade, what I recall from the story of free trade in the American experience is that it was a different type of free trade that was championed after World War II. We call it embedded liberalism. It was free trade but with institutions that our societies were developing to protect us against the down side of free trade. So, yes, we want to reap the benefits of openness, trade where there are more winners than losers in a trade system. But there are losers, and in this embedded system, this social contract, losers would -- the winners would redistribute some of their winning -- winners to the losers, and so everybody was better off.
So it was a more socially constructed consensus around free trade. And at its heart -- and this is what the New Deal gave us -- was a sense that in a Cold War era, we were not simply worried about national security -- which, by the way, was a term invented just during the (events of ?) World War II, national security rather than defense. It was broad. Our societies were more involved in this enterprise. But also economic security was invented, that we want institutions domestically and internationally that allow us to reconcile openness with a certain amount of stability and protection against boom and bust and the losses that come from disequilibria that have to be readjusted.
So I guess for me one of the messages that echoes through the decades from the 1940s is that a stable international order is most likely to be one that is progressive in its foundations and that speaks to security, not just national security but economic security. And that is our hope for sustaining free trade over the long term, which I think we all think is important.
DEUDNEY: On this issue of religion and also back to some of David's points, the American approach, as Henry points out, has been very anomalous, and the fact that it's been so successful and is now so extensive leads us to forget this, that the original ideas about the relationship between religion and politics that were advanced by liberalism in the early modern period were very heretical.
And the American approach of separation of church and state, remember, this is Roger Williams, and the argument is that religion is corrupted when it has state power. And when we decoupled religion and state power, we've had a tremendous florescence of religion in this country. This country is highly religious, and much of the civic activism, the charity activities and so forth, has been motivated in those sorts of ways, from abolitionism to the present day.
And I don't want to go any further than that. I want to say that the American consensus here, while it might look bad when you say, oh, the grubby world of materialism and it's so morally unedifying and so forth, can't we do better than that -- and I'm always worrying that we'll go back to a politics that's not grubby, that's not materialist in character, that's dominated by passions of one sort or another.
And the world that liberalism started to create was one that emerged out of violent religious conflict, and we see this going on in the world today, that politics, that is motivated by passions -- Albert O. Hirschman's famous distinction -- a gloss on this large tradition is fundamentally different than one which is motivated by interest, passions and interests. And so our solution in this regard I think is the best one, and we don't want to significantly deviate from it.
Now, this also relates to this erosion of the public and the responsibilities issue. One of the things that I'm struck by just in my relatively short lifetime in terms of American historical experience is that the erosion of the public -- we had these holidays, Fourth of July holidays and so forth. These have all been hollowed out. These have been turned into consumptive events or entertainment events. And it was once the case that Americans would gather together on these holidays and actually engage in various types of civic discourse. There would be speeches and so forth, and there would be parades. And I think that that's something that, simply by going back and revitalize that, we can begin to tilt the balance back towards a more appropriate situation.
And finally, very briefly, on this -- trade and the economy and the state, we are involved, ever country in the world that is capitalist and democratic is involved in a perpetual quest as to what is the relationship between the state and the market. And this is something that is perpetually subject to change because of the dynamism of technology. And one of the reasons that we've been historically successful is because we've been very good at updating this in various ways.
And second point here, related to the outside world and this market fundamentalism and a fundamental gap between the United States and Europe and all the rest of the democracies, is that our historical experience with regard to the market and democracy is very anomalous. We were born capitalist in a way that the income, the wealth was widely distributed because of the land. These other societies -- take Europe, for example -- capitalism, liberal society did not emerge easily. We had these horrific social class conflicts that were necessary to establish the foundations of what we had by accident, by history, by our position.
And the Third World, one of the largest gaps that we continue to confront in being intelligible to one another is that these Third World countries were not born liberal. They were born in empires. They were born with social structures that were based on raw domination and the monopoly of the means of production by narrow elites. And so left movements that we find so alienating are an attempt to really establish a social and economic foundation for liberalism and for democracy to be viable.
PATRICK: All right. I'm going to call three, and please henceforth -- because we have about 11 people, and so we want to get through these, so please keep your questions reasonably brief and your answers or responses also reasonably brief.
Tom Wright, Steve Cohen and Bob Pastor.
QUESTIONER: Thanks. I really enjoyed the paper, but I found myself wondering what the sort of starting question was that the paper's trying to answer. And it seemed to me that it was what are the challenges to the Western liberal international order, that that's the sort of starting point.
And I think there's sort of two answers that have come, you know, to that question in recent years, and yours fits squarely into one of them. The first is that the challenges are primarily internal; that if the United States fixes its internal problems, then the international system or the international order will be -- will be set back into place, that that will sort of function accordingly.
The second answer is that they're external; that, you know, while there are domestic challenges, the primary problems are in the order itself, maybe in the economic order that led to the financial crisis or in the rise of China or the structure of the euro or new technologies.
And I think what surprised me a little bit about the paper is it very firmly seems to say that it's internal; you know, that the United States needs to look internally to fix the external order. And I'm just not totally sure that that's -- I'm -- I don't think I -- I agree with that, but I'm not -- I'm sort of agnostic on it, trying to figure out which is the right answer, but I think you need to make a stronger case that that's the -- you know, that that's sort of root of the problem.
If it was internal, though, I think you also need to address the point that Europe has done many of the things that you're suggesting in the paper on economic inequality, on a new deal, on a social safety net. So why aren't they an emerging superpower in this international system?
And just a final point, on market fundamentalism, which I think is a -- is a tension in the paper and particularly in John's last sort of answer, I was wondering: What does that mean at the international level? I mean, clearly you don't intend it to mean trade, right, although trade is not in the paper as much I would expect. But if it's not trade, then at the international level, is it capital flows? Is it FDI? Is it -- is it -- you know, beyond sort of the excesses of Wall Street, what does market fundamentalism mean in the international economic order?
PATRICK: Thank you.
QUESTIONER: There's a certain optimism in your assumptions about the growth of liberal democracy that are certainly supported by a lot of data. I mean, there's tremendous support for the principles of democracy, the will of the people should be the basis of authority of government, throughout the world, including China, including Iran.
But I think you're not really focusing on some of the real intrinsic problems of liberal democracy that have really surfaced over the last decade since the New Deal and that confidence in government has just been on this downward slide. And in fact it turns out that as countries, the higher your Freedom House ratings in a country, the lower the confidence in government. This is a very robust effect.
So it seems that as liberal democracies develop, there's some problem that emerges. And the perception is that organized interests get organized and have influence on policymakers and parties, and then you have this crystallization, polarization, perception that the common good isn't being served, and then this decline in confidence, distaste for the whole party system, and just complete lack of confidence in government.
So this -- you know, get back to the New Deal sense of government -- well, but people don't trust government. So yes, they want government to do more. Oh, but then they don't trust -- no, but they do want it to do more. Oh, but they don't trust it. And that's sort of this ping-ponging that people go through that is the -- kind of the basis of the -- of our system at the moment.
And this is how it is perceived around the world -- I mean -- I don't mean just relative to the U.S. -- that multiparty democracy is not a popular model. In the Chinese, it isn't just the Chinese government that has an aversion. The Chinese people have a real discomfort with the multiparty model and the perception that this will be connected to the rise of economic interests. And in the Muslim world there's a lot of discomfort and the -- a lot of the attraction of Islamism is that they have -- it creates a kind of core that people can hold on to and resist the potential onslaught of organized economic interests taking control of the -- of political systems and the parties and disconnecting from the -- you know, the common good and the -- so on.
So I think those -- that really, you know, has to be in some way more incorporated, that -- what has been learned over time, since the New Deal, rather than the idea that we can somehow just simply get back to it.
PATRICK: Thanks, Steve.
QUESTIONER: Yeah. I agree with David Brooks' comments at the very beginning. First of all, you want to be careful to invite him -- not to invite him when he's on vacation -- (laughter) -- because his usual criticism has a certain bite.
Secondly, I think he's right that you've really written a paper about how the United -- how U.S. leadership defined the modern world after World War II; and the critical and most difficult challenges are, where do we go from here, given the fundamental changes that have occurred since then, even though based on the foundation?
And one of those changes, as he alluded to as well, is, while we are leading in creating human rights instruments around the world, you know, we're one of the very few democracies that don't invite election monitors, and we don't even pass any of the international conventions on human rights or on disabilities, which we ourselves have written.
And so the question really is, how do you fill the gap within the United States while assume new leadership in the world at the same time, and at a time in which the world has now 200 countries with many different centers of power and many different interests? So which part of this world do we want to break off to experiment with? Because after all, that liberal international order did not just come out of Wilson and Roosevelt's mind; it came out of a lot of experience, primarily in Latin America, that culminated with the good neighbor policy and customs receivers, which led to the IMF idea and other things as well.
So if you could break down and ask yourselves, with which countries should we try to define a community that could be broader and that could also influence the internal debate in the United States in a manner that would close this gap and that would also introduce some Third World different conceptions of democracy as well, where do you want to turn to?
Obviously, Europe is impossible, for all of its internal reasons. East Asia is very divided strategically. I would suggest that you take a look at looking at our two neighbors on this continent, in North America, which not only have started to create a free market in goods and services -- they haven't gone very far over the last two decades -- but also in which the values are converging among the three countries, and there's clear indication of that; and most importantly, the issues that you're talking about, whether it's inequity, whether it's labor mobility and labor security, whether it's the environment -- all of these are now continental issues in which each of our three governments are working at trying to come with a formula internally and externally at the same time. So I put that as an idea.
DEUDNEY: Oh, just a couple of reactions on Tom's point. I think we are arguing that America's external -- we're making the historical argument that America's external success in the 20th century was premised on a certain domestic model that was radiating ideas and success in very -- in different dimensions. We are arguing, then, that we're worried about America's internationalism in the context of a domestic system that is more unequal, more divided, more dysfunctional on economic and political grounds. In that sense we all are in this worrying mode about domestic American politics and economics.
But we are making the argument that the good news is that the democracies are -- in some sense only have themselves to worry about; that is to say, the challenges are more within and between democracies than from outside threats that used to define the way we thought about the world; as we were arguing kind of the subtext or the bumper sticker for this paper is the problems of democracy are increasingly the problems of world politics, and if we can find solutions to them, we can solve the problems of world politics. If the democracies are legitimate, stable, growing at least modestly, solving problems, learning from each other, building -- coming from a world of democracy to a community of democracy, we ensuring that the 21st century is going to be one that's going to be favorable to our interests and to our purposes because it means that countries that are outside of that world, China in particular, are going to face a much more formidable order with gravitas along all dimensions. So it is both -- I guess really it's internal, but internal to the extent democracies solve their problems or at least manage their problems more effectively, they can cooperate and deal with the cascades of interdependence that we've talked about.
I -- on Bob Pastor's point, I take that point. I think that is a very good point, that you maybe start regionally, and we have. And we have various experiences, particularly in the hemisphere, where baby steps have been taken to try to define community at that level. I do think that in the paper, at least, and I don't think it's necessarily a satisfactory position, that one of the reasons we wish a world of democracy well is that we want the United States to continue to make a commitment to internationalism, and it's -- we recognized the problem, that internationalism ultimately in the American experience was given its great burst because of external threats that made it seem so compelling and allowed for bipartisanship, particularly after World War II, to flourish. And how do you sustain internationalism when you don't have those Cold War-type threats?
And to some extent, our modest little answer is that building democracy and building community among democracies is something that is congenial with a kind of an American vision. And this is something that Anne-Marie Slaughter and I tried to put into our Princeton project of several years ago when we were -- we were talking about a concert of democracies, that it provides a kind of bipartisan ideal that potentially can inspire Americans to think outside of their borders and to associate American interests with the wider interest. And so it's much more difficult to do that. It's easier to have an existential threat. But that's our -- one of the reasons why we think this is where we would put our chips.
Do you want -- do you want to talk --
PATRICK: If you feel like you've done -- he's done OK.
MR. : OK. (Inaudible.)
PATRICK: So let's go ahead and move on. Steve Flanagan, Fred Tipson and Paula Stern.
QUESTIONER: Thanks. You know, I found the case for narrowing the democratic community gap compelling, but I agree with David Brooks that I thought you really understated the challenges of enlisting particularly the core -- our core trilateral partners in this project at a time when -- David pointed all of the structural reasons for why they're in such a funk, particularly the Europeans and the Japanese, that are not only limiting their capacity but also causing them to question, you know, the fundamental goals of their own political -- and particularly in Europe, political integration over the last four decades.
I mean, Dan mentioned a concern about the growth of anti-Europeanism in the United States; I'm more concerned about the growth of anti-Europeanism and nationalism in Europe and what that might mean in the longer term and how they get through this difficult time as they wrestle with the -- with the debt crisis and the euro crisis. But will we see this to be a more enduring facet?
And already, you see a hollowing out of their soft power instruments. I mean, a lot of the countries can't maintain their commitment on ODA and some of the other instruments that have made them important contributors in helping us promote global growth and stability, not to mention the, you know, continuing decline in their defense capabilities.
So it just seems to me that, you know, I guess you really -- you have to address that question of who is going to -- who is going to be our key partners in this at a time when we see that core trilateral group very much with weak knees and unsure about their own sustainability, their own political systems?
PATRICK: Thank you. Fred Tipson.
QUESTIONER: Yes, I'm going to turn my profound comments into an insightful question. (Scattered laughter.) Do you not perceive the world we're entering over the next 20 years? Given the combination of population trends, urbanization, climate change impacts, food shortage, water shortage, medicine shortage, changing the kinds of stresses and insecurities that both populations and leaders feel such that the whole agenda of politics will shift over that time frame so that it will -- it will begin to seem quaint that we refer to the postwar liberal internationalism as being an appropriate sort of agenda to revive. What -- will it not shift the whole political context in which we talk about international politics in a way that requires a different kind of leadership?
PATRICK: Thank you. Paula Stern.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. I may be repeating some things that some folks -- all of whom (have asked ?) some really interesting and challenging questions. So excuse me. But I kind of started off with a problem just with the title, the "post-exceptionalist era," because I think it is post-Cold War, it's post a period in which the United States was the economic pre-eminent dominant power, it may be post faster growth -- that one I think is -- I'd question, but I don't know that it -- and I think it's more important to focus on those posts as we look towards the future and therefore what shall we do.
I have focused in the past on the whole role of domestic politics and how it has shaped our foreign policy, and I agree that we do not have the domestic consensus, but I think we still have those features of U.S. foreign policy that actually make us even potentially more influential going forward. I've, again, always focused on how ethnic groups have shaped our foreign policy, particularly in the human rights area, when we poke our nose into everybody else's business, according to other countries. But we've got those ethnic groups, as you've pointed out.
The other new participant in the great new world order is potentially women and the role of women, though Jessica and I seem to be the only ones here to remind --
PATRICK: I was going to say, this looks a bit like the 1950s. (Laughter.)
QUESTIONER: Ah, we're back to the -- well, anyhow, I'm happy to be here.
PATRICK: Maybe just like the Council on Foreign Relations.
QUESTIONER: But -- so we don't have the kind of leadership that we had. We are in some sort of a post era here. But we still have the greater leadership, as you point out in your paper. And so to me the challenge is what do we squeeze out of this going forward. And I think it means that we will continue to have leadership in the human rights area. I believe we're going to have to achieve some sort of better domestic consensus in the climate change area. When it comes to economics and free trade, I think there is a challenge of building up the WTO. I think we could be doing it right this minute, and I think we've been derelict at the G-20 and in our leadership in the last five or six years in really taking an opportunity to do that at the WTO. And I think it's extraordinarily important.
Meanwhile, I think that Bob's -- Robert's point is very well taken with regard to the trade growth that -- and leadership that can be shown, but I think U.S.-EU agreement is a very important opportunity.
But I guess what is left out, one of the questions in my mind is those challenges with regard to terrorism and cyberthreats and where does our leadership -- and how do we channel our leadership capacity that we still have.
And finally, I would put China back on here. I think that we have a lot of opportunity, if we had any kind of leadership here at home, going back to trade, WTO, international economic leadership in the nonfinancial area, to really work much more effectively with China, within the WTO and on climate change. And I think that -- I think it really does go back to the necessary leadership at the top in order to try to shape that domestic consensus that we need to have amongst us in order to have that international leadership.
PATRICK: Thank you, Paula. I'll turn it back to the panelists. And then I'm going to take all of the questions that are remaining here, then be able to turn it back to David to see if he has any comments and our panelists. But please, if you want to answer some of these questions, these three questions briefly.
DEUDNEY: Yeah, this is really a terrific set of issues here that have been laid out. I want to go back to something that Steve said that was resonating with some of the other questions here, comments, about the illegitimacy, the dysfunctionality of democracies. And this is also brought out with Europe, the trilateral world, unable to solve problems there. And I think you put your finger on a big part of it, the interests mobilized at the expense of the whole; that you've got entrenched interest groups.
This is something that has been fundamental to the liberal democratic and, before that, the Republican form of government. We go back and we read Cicero, Machiavelli, Montesque, the American founders, that's the problem -- right? -- is that republics, or what we now call liberal democracies, have a tendency for private and private groupings to crowd out in various ways the public.
Now, we have been grappling with that, and we have succeeded to the degree that we have because we have been successful in coming up with two sets of solution sets here. One is that we have checks and balances. We have architectures in which we attempt to compensate in various ways. If you go back to the early years of the 20th century in the United States -- is why we emphasized the progressive parts of this -- this was a new regime that we created. It was an industrial state for the first time, and these issues were the ones that were on the table then. And the second is various types of virtue, various types of civic identity, ethos as a responsibility, and those have also -- over time, we have retooled them.
And what we're really saying here is that we're lagging and we've got to do more of both of those. And I think this is related to Fred's point about the years ahead, the shortages and the stresses and -- climate change, all right, there's going to be major upheavals, potentially. And this is, in my view, I think, an important reason why we need to begin thinking about refurbishing our order and re-establishing a broader understanding of what we're about and being proactive in attempting to address these problems that are emerging.
New forms of virtue, new forms of checks and balances, new forms of state regulation is going to be the solution set to a world marked by those types of changes.
IKENBERRY: I'll do one -- I think Steve and Paula, some sense, are asking questions about leadership and partnership. And Steve, I think that one of the challenges behind American grand strategy, America's kind of global strategy going forward, is how one shepherds the transition from a governance system built around the trilateral partnership, anchored primarily with Germany and Europe and Japan, to one where other parties are going to be part of that quadri- or larger partnership. And that's really the story of bringing countries such as India and Brazil into this governance system.
So it's really in some ways the problems of success, because we have countries that have been wildly successful by operating within this order. They've been largely outside of the governance system, and part of the idea of building liberal democratic community is providing a kind of platform for the new participation of these states that will have to supplement and to some extent replace Germany and Japan as partners.
So there is kind of a long-term -- that's the real pivot, in some ways -- a pivot from the trilateral world to something larger.
And in that regard, leadership, in Paula's question -- I think that what -- are -- is the United States still exceptional? Well, yes if it means distinctive, with special characteristics that are globally important, yes. But exceptional in the sense of the indispensable manager of the global order -- I feel less that that's -- that's a sustainable position, although in my book "Liberal Leviathan" I still -- you'll see I'm struggling with that. Is "Liberal Leviathan" America or is it the liberal order? I -- and the parties that are part of it? I -- I'm not sure myself how I finished the book on that, because I think it's -- to some extent it's both, but I think that it's not certainly the Kagan view that America -- that the -- that America is the only state that is between order and disorder and we should appreciate that. It's really that there's a whole set of states that, if they're configured in new ways, can put us between order and disorder.
So we -- it's a language of concerts, of clubs, of coalitions, of new bargains, where the United States stays very much at the center of this because there is no new peer competitor.
And if this works, China will be very much, you know, partially in the system. We talk a lot about China and how the system is not inimical to China. And the key thing we need to do with China is to convince them that this liberal order is an enabler of their peaceful rise, not an inhibitant to their peaceful rise. We're not trying to contain them, but we are trying to create balances and coalitions and sheer chef -- shift -- no, sheer heft of OECD weight that makes it hard for China to imagine opposition and alternative and more integration and participation.
PATRICK: Great. I -- with apologies to the folks who are left here, I am going to take you all at once. And please try to limit your comments or questions to about a minute or so.
Let's start with Ed Williamson.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. While I like your idea of one European -- one European seat in the multilateral institutions, such as the Security Council, as one of those right-leaning sovereign fundamentalists, I am curious of what new or different multilateral institutions or changes to existing multilateral institutions you envisage.
PATRICK: Thanks, Ed.
QUESTIONER: I don't know -- is this working or not? I guess at this --
PATRICK: Yeah, it is.
QUESTIONER: Yeah. Just since we have a very short time, I would say my comment is I think we're starting at the wrong place. I mean, I would start, if I wanted to build a strategy, what are the -- what's the world forward look like? What are the challenges we're going to face? And they're -- I would build on what Fred was saying here, because I think it's really critical -- I mean, you've been working with the NIC and you'll -- tomorrow I guess you're having your session on Global Trends 2030.
MR. : That's right, man. Yeah.
QUESTIONER: But if you start looking at the global trends that are going to -- -- then, you know, the individual empowerment, diffusion of power, the demographic trends, the food-water-energy nexus, which is incredibly challenged, and then all the great uncertainties for governance, et cetera -- if you start with where the challenges are that are going to threaten our security, our prosperity and every other nation's, and recognize that there's no -- you can't make this nice distinction between internal and external because climate change gets everybody, right? It doesn't just distinguish -- oh, Americans are exceptionalist, so it won't bother them.
So if you start with the challenges, then, well, now what are we going to do about these? What's our strategy toward -- who do we have to work with and then how do we do that?
I don't think -- I wouldn't start with this -- the democratic partners, necessarily. I would say, who do we need to work with to solve the problems? And in that regard, I would start with -- there's one country that you're going to have to work with, I think, or you're going to have a very bad century, and that's China. And China's -- in your taxonomy, China's almost like an enemy. It's an outsider. It's -- we got to transform China. We're going to work with everybody else. But if you don't work with China, you're going to have a very bad century because we have the two biggest footprints on the planet and both -- we're the biggest emitters, we're the biggest consumers of energy, et cetera.
So I think you have to start there and say how do we -- how do we make that work and bring other nations to bear and work together to solve the problems. And if we're solving problems and we're organized people, so on, that will build a legitimacy of who we are, our order, our democracy -- I mean, frankly I think China's going to end up in that camp anyway in the long run. But I think we're going to have to work with them in the near term. We're going to face these big challenges in the next 10 or 20 years, before maybe we transform China.
So I just think that we have to turn it upside down as to how we approach this grand strategy.
PATRICK: Thank you, Banning.
Michael Lynn (ph).
QUESTIONER: Yeah, I want to just raise the issue of national policy autonomy as an integral part of the New Deal system from the four -- particularly in the context of the Bretton Woods system. Because they were coming out of this gold standard world in which you had to respond to trade deficits by mass unemployment, so the nightmares for the designers of the postwar embedded liberalism, as John uses that term -- they -- you did -- wanted to have macropolicy autonomy, autonomous from the world economy, so that you would not have to throw millions of people out of work and risk Mussolini, Hitler coming to power in -- and at the same time, Keynes wanted to punish countries that ran chronic trade surpluses, because global imbalances -- some countries with chronic surpluses, others with chronic deficits -- were considered a great threat that would lead to -- ultimately to backlashes, beggar-thy-neighbor policies.
Now, the neoliberals who succeeded this -- and it was a radical break with the postwar tradition -- said, you know, if -- all the way up until 2008 global imbalances aren't a problem, right? You know, China can run surpluses perpetually, we can have -- that was fine. It's a self-regulating market. And at the same time austerity, far from being seen as a problem that leads to riots and regime change and tyranny, it's something that you need to impose, right?
So my question to you is simply: Are you proposing a different system like the Bretton Woods system -- which is not imposing a single set of rules that everybody has to follow, but it gives countries the policy space so they can deal with their unemployment and their trade balance problems in their own way -- or is it a single set of rules or institutions for everybody?
PATRICK: Great question.
Dan Clayman (ph).
QUESTIONER: Sure. I'll be very brief. I think you're absolutely right to focus on rising democracies. You could actually sharpen the point a bit and say that the U.S. has focused greatly on China in the past decade, built up an enormous array of institutions for engagement, and the level of cooperation has been relatively modest compared to what we've invested.
And then lastly, you talk about rebalancing international institutions as a key way to boost cooperation with these rising democracies. I'd like later on just to get a bit more of how that would actually work, that you look -- there's enormous disparities among rising democracies, what they want in terms of representation in the U.N., and I would say you might actually be better off building ad hoc cooperation where these countries already contribute to the global order, rather than seek some kind of grand bargain which is intellectually very satisfying but very difficult to actually realize.
QUESTIONER: So I'm very attracted to parts of this model, and I'll just say that the ideational side of this -- what is the idea that might drive this cooperation -- is of interest. And as some of you know who have been talking to me about it, I'm working on a book project on how human dignity, a kind of Amartya Sen idea that brings equality and freedom together could bring that about.
But I have a question related to a model. The New Deal is the centerpiece of this paper, but in essence aren't you really saying you'd like the United States to look to a model of Europe -- social democracy, manage decline, sharing authority? And if that's the case, then has social democracy strengthened the will and capacity of Europe? Has social democracy won more love from the developing world than neoliberalism has? Has sharing authority won more support from the developing world for Europe? And if this is the model, so what do we really want the United States to be in the democratic community? Germany in the EU, or -- what's the analogy? (Laughter.)
PATRICK: Great, Mark.
QUESTIONER: Thank you for the paper. I see you as sort of grappling with an age-old question of where are we in the international system at this point? And I think there's one ingredient that -- left out that ought to be looked at, and I'll give you that thought in a second. But as I think back over, you know, decades now, we always are able to take our grand theories and reduce them to, if not a bumper sticker, at least a phrase, whether it was independence, you know, in the 18th century, or the -- save the Union, defeat the Nazis, contain the Soviets. We don't have anything like that now. We had this sort of 17-year period between the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2008 financial crisis when we kind of had a free field to play on, and that's over. And I think we're kind of adrift again.
I think the ingredient that may be left out here is technology. In all these previous periods, there was some dominant technology that drove or at least fundamentally conditioned international affairs and conflict; 20th century, it would probably have to be physics and engineering -- nuclear power, transportation, air power and so forth. Today, in addition to those, it would probably be biology, information technology, nanotechnology and such. And for the first time, we're in an era of universal hand-held communication. How does that affect everything else? I think that's just worth thinking about as we try and figure out where are we going in this world.
PATRICK: Thank you, John. I do want to give, if he'd like it, an opportunity for David, if you have any reflections, and then maybe just turn it back over to you. It -- we're not going to be able to do justice to all of these incredibly interesting questions. I think we had about 20 questions raised during the course, which may be a CFR record, but suggest that a lot of -- a lot of provocations coming out of this paper. But I did want to give David an opportunity and then perhaps briefly turn it over to our friends. (You're at ?) five minutes.
BROOKS: OK. I just want -- I wish I could go after the answer to Mark's question because I do think that is a pointed and good question.
One other thing is first, let me praise the parts which I didn't praise just because of the shtick I took at the beginning, which was, I think this discussion has been driven by the best part of the paper is the interesting thinking about how domestic models drive foreign policy.
And in my -- in reporting around the world, I'm always struck, whenever somebody in the street, in a rally, mentions the word normal, that's always when we ears peak up because they have a concept in their head what a normal society looks like, and they're sort of shooting for that. And the conceptions may differ, but that sense of normality is a very important, powerful drive for people. And I would say in this country and in Europe and I hope in Japan, we have relatively little confidence in our model and in our definition of normality, which probably wasn't the case a long time ago.
And one of the reasons is for the reason Daniel mentioned, which is this problem of private groupings crowding out the public good. And I totally agree that the Progressive Era and the New Deal, and maybe I'll even give you the Great Society, where answers to solving that problem, to breaking up the trusts and doing the things the New Deal did, to create a greater public good.
I guess one of my problems is I have a different historical narrative where you go with those three things, but then they lead you into Mancur Olson -- or Mansur (ph) Olson, I can't remember how he pronounces his name -- which is a form of sclerosis because those solutions create their own in-groups, their own vested interests. And they take the form most particularly and troublingly for all of us in the mixture of rising health costs in aging societies, and we all have these aging societies. And to say that federal spending hasn't -- is equal, except for health care, is like saying, well, how was the play except for the bullet, Mr. Lincoln. I mean, it was the -- that health care is the problem because aging societies are the problem. And so dealing -- we all face these different challenges of facing aging societies and unaffordable welfare states together, including Japan, including China, really. And so to me, that is the -- where the rubber hits the road, we all do have this in common, we all do have an insufficient model to do that. The only thing I'd say is I hope we all come up with radically different models reflecting our radically different cultures.
PATRICK: Thank you -- thank you very much, David. There is a lot put on the table. We only have about two minutes before we have to break here, and we are obliged by council rules to break on time; otherwise, I get a call from Richard Haas, which is not always positive.
IKENBERRY: Just on the models, I do think that -- we're not saying we go back to the New Deal, but we are -- we go back to the -- some of the principles and commitments of that era, but more importantly, the -- just the Progressive Era, the notion of democracy, of liberal democracy reinventing itself, John Dewey's notion of democracy as kind of a laboratory and adjustments and that we've made these transitions in each of these eras and that we are at a point where we need to think seriously and systematically about updating once again.
On Banning's question about problems, I think that's really very much a very -- a sympathetic comment in terms of the paper because we are really driven by shifts in the global environment, the rise of non-Western developing states that were not present at the creation and cascades of interdependence -- global warming, energy, WMD proliferation. And what ultimately we're arguing is that the platform of liberal internationalism -- reconfigured, hopefully -- is the kind of platform that really provides the only set of solutions for grappling with those problems of interdependence.
And in the end, international orders rise and fall I think because of three factors: power, ideas and functionality, which is a word for problem-solving. And the ability of liberal internationalism to have a new era, another era, despite a weakness in the American support for it and all the other things we've talked about todays, is can -- are they functional solutions? Can we -- and every solution I've heard talk(ed) about -- entails more complex forms of cooperation.
I've got a lot to say about Bretton Woods because I got my passion, but I'm going to hold off on that and let Dan say 30 seconds.
DEUDNEY: Banning's point is very sympathetic to our approach. Cascading interdependence is the key characterization of -- that we begin with. And John asked the question, what's the bumper sticker version of this? And let me suggest that it would be two. One is a declaration of interdependence to break with this notion of American autonomy and exceptionalism. And second would be, the enemy is us or the problems are us, our problems are our problems. It's not on the outside anymore.
And in terms of the problem of sclerosis, the fundamental reality is, is that republics die unless they are perpetually renewed and unless -- which is amplified in our situation because of these technological changes that we are confronted with, information technology obviously being the new reality in important ways. And we will live or die by the -- our ability to update and extend our traditions, which is what we've done in the past. And so really, all we have to do in the future is what we've been doing in the past.
PATRICK: The fact that all of you engaged this paper so intensely speaks to how provocative it is, and I hope it will get wide circulation. I'm also extremely grateful to David Brooks. Please join me in thanking all three of our panelists. (Applause.)
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
Experts discuss the role of the United States in a changing global power structure.
Experts discuss the role of the United States in a changing global power structure.