Eurasia’s Bremmer: Welcome To The ‘G-Zero’
May 01, 2012
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Ian Bremmer’s latest book, “Every Nation For Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World,” is perhaps the first work that takes a thoughtful look at how the United States has been affected by the financial crisis of 2008. To that extent, it’s must-reading for any investor trying to take measure of what happened and what to expect in the coming years.
When IndexUniverse.com Managing Editor Olivier Ludwig chatted recently with Bremmer by telephone, the president of the geopolitical consultancy Eurasia Group made clear he isn’t one to sell the U.S. short for a second. But he does argue in the book that the U.S.-guided world that has prevailed since the end of World War II is definitely over.
In place of U.S.-led institutions such as the G-7 and the World Bank is what he calls the “G-Zero,” where effectively no one is completely in charge. That’s more than a little unsettling. But what stands out from an investor’s perspective is that the competition for resources is likely to keep heating up, which could mean the future could be rife with food riots, political upheaval and, not least, game-changing technological innovations.
Ludwig: President Clinton used to say, “Get used to change,” and your book raises the bar on that whole concept, doesn’t it?
Bremmer: I think it does. But if you ask me, “Is all lost to the United States?” I say absolutely not. There are a lot of folks out there who want to throw in the towel. I happen to believe the whole decline debate is narcissistic and not very useful.
Ludwig: But you seem to be very tuned into what the financial crisis has done to the United States.
Bremmer: I do think the timing of it and the nature of it are actually relevant. If it had been a different sort of crisis globally, it would have had a different impact on the world order, and on the perceptions of U.S. power.
Whether or not the United States is in decline, it isn’t going to bail out Europe; and whether or not the U.S. is in decline it isn’t going to bomb Iran; and whether or not the U.S. is in decline, it isn’t going to take the lead on global climate change. And it’s not going to remove Assad in Syria. These are points that we have to get our heads around.
Frankly, at some point, the Chinese and the Indians and others have to realize that the potential closing of the Strait of Hormuz to oil is more their problem than the United States’. And I would argue they’re not close to realizing that.