Leading global political risk consultant Ian Bremmer says that although the world is rapidly changing, the United States remains in the best position to lead the 21st century.
“If you had to bet on one nation, it would be absolutely foolish to bet against the United States,” he said.
“That said,” he added, “we are very unlikely to return to some form of single super power world. Other countries may not become America’s equal for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean we’re headed back to 1960,” when the Cold War was raging.
Bremmer, president of the Eurasian Group, explains his vision of this changing world in his new book, “Every Nation For Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World,” to be released on Tuesday.
“[F]orget the G7 and the G20,” Bremmer told TheDC. “We’re entering a G-Zero world — one where a lack of global-level leadership will keep old problems simmering and trigger new ones. The G-Zero can’t last, because it’s liable to create problems that demand a coordinated response. It’s a period of transition, but one that’s likely to be with us for awhile.”
Bremmer said he wrote the book because the “current debate on the state of the world has become too ideological and too polarizing.”
“On the one hand, many folks seem convinced that America is in some kind of irreversible decline and that China is fast taking over the world,” he said. “On the other, there are too many folks talking about the financial crisis and slow recovery as if they’re just a speed bump on the road back to business as usual. The challenges we face are a lot broader and more complicated than either of those two cartoon versions of reality would suggest. They’re also more immediate.”
Read the full interview with Bremmer on what comes after the G-Zero world, what America needs to do to remain atop the world stage and other aspects of his book:
What do you mean by a “G-Zero” world?
For many years, the decisions that mattered most for international politics and the global economy were made by Americans, Western Europeans and the Japanese. This was the G7 world. The financial crisis made clear that the G7 had become an anachronism — that you can no longer expect to solve serious problems without help from deep-pocketed developing world players like China, India, Gulf Arabs, Brazil, etc. But the G20, the forum where established and emerging heavyweights are supposed to come together to take on the big issues, will only produce results when everyone around the table is threatened by the same problem at the same time and to more or less the same degree. That will happen in only the most extreme circumstances. Big differences of opinion within the G20 about democracy and market capitalism add to the dysfunction.
Today, despite the fact that America will remain the world’s most powerful and influential country for the foreseeable future, there is no single country or credible alliance of countries with the resources and the will to drive an international agenda. America, Europe and Japan are too busy with big problems at home to accept their traditional burdens abroad. The lead emerging players are not ready for prime time. Their development challenges are still too demanding for big global risk taking.
So forget the G7 and the G20. We’re entering a G-Zero world — one where a lack of global-level leadership will keep old problems simmering and trigger new ones. The G-Zero can’t last, because it’s liable to create problems that demand a coordinated response. It’s a period of transition, but one that’s likely to be with us for awhile.