Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean of the Princeton Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, shares her thoughts on the intersection of democracy and global finance, with interesting nods to China:
Lee Hudson Teslik, Associate Editor of CFR.org, asks:
You’ve also, in the past, recommended the idea for a new institution, a concert of democracies, which is an idea that John McCain has now parroted. Given a lack of U.S. economic dominance, an institution like that would presumably have to rely more financially on other countries that might have less strong democratic credentials. Could this undermine such a project?
Dean Slaughter’s response:
John Ikenberry and I, who formulated the concept in the Princeton Project on National Security, are both on record–we wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times this summer–saying that this concert was never going to work if it was proposed by the United States. It was a nonstarter from the beginning. So from my point of view, the fact that the current financial crisis makes it even harder for us to think about that, that’s great. The only way this was ever going to work was if it came from countries like India, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia. Interestingly, the Indonesians are starting–they’ve just launched–an organization of democracies in Southeast Asia. But it includes China. And I always say, China describes itself as a democratizing country, and I’d never want to be in a situation where you redivide the world and you have China on the other side. So the concept–this is not the right time for it, and it was never the right time for it as a U.S. priority. In terms of watching what’s happening in other parts of the world and supporting them tacitly to the extent that they’re working with fellow democracies, that’s great.
The one thing I would point out–Morgan Stanley just did a deal with a Japanese bank, a Japanese company, rather than a Chinese company. In times of financial crisis, the relative transparency of democracies is very important. It is not because democracies are better countries in some moral hierarchy. But what is critical to their being able to cooperate more closely is that each can see what the other is doing. That means that you’re much more willing to enter into agreements, particularly in times of trouble.
See the full interview here.