The cure of democracy starts at home


The League of Democracies is back. In addition, its main goal is to confront China.These are the big themes of Joe Biden Recent trip to europeThe desire to reinvigorate the American coalition after the Trump era is justified. But the new focus is risky.

Jeffrey Sachs The professor at Columbia University wrote: “We don’t need G7.” I disagree. It makes sense for high-income democracies to coordinate policies in areas with common interests and common values.This is especially true When democracy itself falls into decline Power is shifting from the United States and its allies, especially China. (See chart.)

The rise of China??is the most important strategic reality. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, in terms of purchasing power parity, it will produce 19% of world output this year, up from 7% in 2000. But overall, high-income democracies are still the world’s largest economic powers. By 2021, the G7 countries and the 37 high-income democracies in the world will generate 31% of output, for a total of 42%.

In terms of trade, G7 still accounts for 31% of world merchandise exports and 36% of world imports, while China’s 15% and 12% respectively. High-income democracies created 55% of world exports and absorbed 57% of world imports.

In terms of per capita output, high-income democracies also have the most productive economies in the world, while China is only ranked 75th.They are great homes Most of the world’s leading companies, The largest international financial market, First-class university And the most influential media. The United States also has the most powerful military in the world. In addition, despite all the flaws, the ideals of freedom and democracy are still attractive to many people in the world.

Have similar economic and political systems, High-income democracies need to coordinate regulation in areas such as finance, digital technology, and competitionThey must also defend their core values, such as freedom of speech, from outside interference, especially from China.

The G7 is shrinking, China is growing, but the G7 is still larger, accounting for the share of global GDP (%) in terms of purchasing power parity and market prices

All in all, high-income democracies have their own values ??and interests, as well as the ability to defend them, especially if they act together. This is the case of cooperation. But Sachs also has a point: telling the rest of the world what to do is wrong and unworkable.

As Stanford University Ian Morris wrote In his provocative book, war! What are the benefits?, “The Europeans waged a five-hundred-year war against the rest of the world.” The latter has not forgotten. The decades after the disintegration of the Soviet Union further weakened trust in Western capabilities and values, leading to stupid acts such as the “war on terrorism”, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the global financial crisis, Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, and the election of Donald Trump. The G7 Communiqué talked about a common commitment to “international cooperation, multilateralism, and an open, flexible, rules-based world order.” Today, this caused empty laughter. Biden hopes Trump is a dysfunctional person. Alas, he may not have come back yet.

If a new democratic alliance is to be influential, it needs coherent and wise policies. These are lacking, and the most striking is the urgent task of vaccinating the world against Covid-19.This G7 understanding “To end the pandemic in 2022, at least 60% of the world’s population will need to be vaccinated.” This means that there are at least 9.4 billion doses. But it promised to share only 870 million doses next year. It also stated, “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have committed $8.6 billion… Funding for vaccine purchases, including $1.9 billion since our last meeting in February. This is equivalent to more than 1 billion doses. “So, they will provide a total of 2 billion doses. Need more.

Developed countries are still the dominant force in world trade, accounting for the share of global trade in goods (including intra-EU trade, %)

However, the G7 also pointed out that it has spent more than $12 trillion to support its citizens and businesses. Given the huge expenditure on the consequences of Covid, it should be self-evident that G7 is obliged to provide funds. IMF plans to vaccinate the world by mid-2022 Cost 50 billion US dollars.

This is totally stupid. But the planned new alliance against China also has long-term dangers. High-income democracies are right to want to protect their core values. But the main threat to these comes not from China, but from a place closer to the mainland. The most important thing is the failure to ensure broadly shared prosperity and defend democratic norms. Alas, it is our elites, not China’s elites, that cause this damage. At the same time, we must recognize the urgent need for global cooperation in maintaining peace and protecting mankind from global threats such as pandemics and environmental disasters.

Almost as important is that nothing is more likely to push the Chinese people further into the embrace of the communist regime than the continued hostility of democratic countries. In the long run, confidence in our open and free values ??is more likely to change China. Yes, democracies must defend core economic and strategic interests. But they should also be as open to trade and ideas as possible. Sanctions will not change China. Only the Chinese can do it. The West must give them a reason to want to do so.

The United States and its allies dominate military spending, but China is increasing military spending (at constant prices and exchange rates in 2019, billion U.S. dollars)

I am very happy to see the new attempts of Western cooperation. But high-income democracies must avoid some dangerous traps. If they are to lead, they need more coherent ideas than they showed on G7. In addition, they must try to avoid catastrophic conflicts with China. Whether you like it or not, cooperation is essential to humans. In the long run, first of all, if high-income democracies want to save themselves, they must look inward. China is not the greatest threat to our interests and values: we have encountered enemies, and the enemy is us.

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