EVENT TRANSCRIPT: The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth
DATE: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, 28 May 2019
VENUE: Millbank Tower, 21 – 24 Millbank, Westminster, SW1P 4RS United Kingdom
SPEAKER: Prof. Michael Mandelbaum
EVENT CHAIR: Dr. Alan Mendoza
Dr. Alan Mendoza: Welcome one and all to the Henry Jackson Society for a long time discussion on the rise and fall of peace on earth, which is a dramatic title, I feel, but one which professor Michael Mandelbaum will explain to us is highly relevant to the concept he is looking to discuss with us, which is, of course, analysing the period since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the post-cold war period and the lessons it can lead for us today. Our guest speaker really is a very eminent one. He is a Christian A. Herter Professor Emeritus of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C, which is probably the longest title anyone can have, but it is one that notes the importance of the position you’ve held and your lifetime in thought about international relations.
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Thank you, I have to add that you have, in fact, abbreviated my title, because the former name of the school is the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and somebody once introduced me and said, “You must be the most important person in the world.” I said “well in anyway, the one with the most crowded business card.”
Dr. Alan Mendoza: Thank you for correcting me on the brevity of the introduction. You’ve of course taught at Harvard and Columbia Universities, U.S. Naval Academy at Minneapolis, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, readily quoted in newspapers, Aspen Institute, board of advisors of the Washington Institute of the Near East Policy, essentially what this man doesn’t know about foreign policy is not worth really knowing about, so without further due, please give professor Mandelbaum a very warm welcome.
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Thank you for that nice introduction. I’m delighted and honoured to be here. I had the privilege of addressing Henry Jackson Society three years ago on the occasion of the publication of my last book called “Mission Failure: American World and the Post-Cold War Era.” The current book “The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth” is a compliment to that previous book, and that previous book was about what United States did during the post-Cold War era and this book is about what was happening in the world during the post-Cold War era, and the Jackson Society has been good enough to provide copies for anyone who might be interested in purchasing them after the session and I will be delighted to inscribe any purchased book to the purchaser or anybody else the purchaser wishes to have it inscribed to. So, the Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth is organized around a particular question. And that question is what are the prospects for peace? Well, it is a timely question at any point, and I will give my answer to it, during the course of my remark, but it begs the previous question, not nearly as frequently asked, but one that I do address in the book, and that question is “What do we mean by peace? How do we define peace?” The obvious definition is peace is the absence of war, and that is always welcome but it is not a very rigorous definition because by that definition, virtually every country has been at peace for almost all of its history, since the war historically is episodic, not constant. So, I propose a somewhat more rigorous definition. A peace is the absence, not only of war, but of imminence of war, of the near term threat of war, of urgent preparation of war, of a conduct of foreign policy under the cloud, the ever lowering cloud of war. It is the absence of what political scientists call security competition, and whereas war has been episodic, security competition of this kind, living with war nearby, has been almost constant, and by the absence of security competition of this more rigorous definition of peace, I mean something that was captured by a parking sign that I once saw that said “Don’t even think about parking here!” Well, peace is, by this definition, or perhaps, the peace, it’s better to call it, is a circumstance in which countries are not thinking very hard, if they’re thinking at all about peace. Peace is fallen near the bottom of their agenda. whereas, historically, it’s almost always it’s to the fore, almost at the top. And by my definition, by this definition of peace, there has really only been one period that corresponds with peace that I have defined it, and that is the 25 years following the opening of the Berlin Wall. The golden quarter century from the 1989 to 2014. Now, you will be thinking, there is something odd, perhaps eccentric about defining this period as uniquely peaceful, since there was a plenty of violence during these 25 years, in Central Africa, for example, Balkans, in Syria, so how can I call it ‘deeply uniquely peaceful’? Well, I do so for two related reasons. One is that all of the violence that took place, regrettable as it was, was not on a scale of the worst periods of human history. It was conducted by governments oppressing their own citizens, or armed militias. The violence and the death, and the suffering did not come about because of the clash of the armed forces of the most powerful countries using the most modern weapons, which is historically the greatest source of death and destruction. There was none of that, and these powerful countries weren’t seriously thinking about war. War was farther down their list of national priorities than it was for almost all of their history beforehand. So, this was peace. Why was this period so peaceful? Well, I don’t think it was accidental. It was because of the unusually robust presence of three peace-promoting features of international relations. One was the benign hegemony of the United States. Even countries, governments that weren’t very happy about the primacy of the United States didn’t feel it prudent to challenge the status. That is the first reason. The second is, or was, economic interdependence. This was, of course, one of the great ages of globalization, and we know that the countries that trade with and invest in each other on a large scale are reluctant to go to war, because it cost them money. The third peace promoting feature was democracy. This was also great age of global democracy. The first time, as I note, in my 2004 book, called Democracy’s Good Name, The Rise and the Risks of the Most Popular Form of Government, this was the first time that the democracy was the world’s most popular form of government. Now, by democracy, I mean a combination of two things. Democracy is properly understood, I believe, a hybrid form of government combining two things, fusing them, that for most of modern history, was regarded as incompatible. One of these constituent elements of democracy was, and is, a popular sovereignty, that is free, fair, and regular elections, but the second component of democracy we understand it was, and is, liberty. And liberty comes in three varieties. There is economic liberty, which is actually the oldest, going back to the ancient Rome, economic liberty is private property. Second, religious liberty, freedom of worship, and third, and actually the most recent, political liberty, encompassing freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of press. Democracy is a powerful promoter of peace, for a number of reasons. In democracies, the public has some control over its sometimes bellicose leaders. Moreover, democracy is pre-eminently a political system in which disputes and conflicts, which are inevitable in any society, are resolved peacefully, and when the norm of peaceful resolution of conflicts within countries is transposed to the relations to the other countries, it leads to peace. So, these peace promoting features made this golden 25 years, the era of peace. Now, I don’t mean to suggest that the presence of all three, let alone two or one of them guarantees peace. Nothing can guarantee peace. There is no iron law of history and politics comparable to laws of physics. So think of these peace promoting features as modular blocks that when placed one on top of the other, create a fairly high barrier keeping out the ancient scourge of war. That’s what happened in these 25 years, but the golden age of peace is over. It is now in the past. The security competition, not outright war, but the greater heightened prospect of war has returned to the world. It’s return because in three crucial regions, one important country adopted policy designed to give it a regional dominance using force when necessary. In Europe, Russia invaded and occupied Ukraine. In East Asia, China claimed, contrary to the international law, most of the western Pacific Ocean, built artificial islands there, and contrary to the leadership’s promise, installed military facilities on those isles. And in the Middle East, Iran sought influence, even dominance, in other countries using proxy forces and pursued nuclear weapons. The three major chapters of the Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth, the heart of the book are devoted to describing and explaining how and why peace ended in each of the three regions, a chapter devoted to each region. And each one is a complicated story. Otherwise this would have been a much shorter book, but there is, I believe, and argue in the book, a common feature to all three, a common denominator for each one. In each case, the aggressive foreign policy that ended peace had a particular domestic cause. It wasn’t the only cause, but it was an important cause in each case. Each of the three disturber of the peace was/is governed by a dictatorship whose tenure in power rest ultimately in coercion, but in each case, the regime felt the need for popular support and political legitimacy. And in each case, the familiar source of popular support and political legitimacy came to seen by the second decade of this century, a wasting asset. The Russian and Chinese regimes depended for such popularities they enjoy, and they did and do enjoy significant popularity. Of course, we have no way of knowing, because they would never submit to a free vote, but such popularity as they enjoyed was the result mainly, not exclusively, of economic success, economic growth. But the prospects for economic growth, began to look dim, by the second decade of this century. In Russia, because of its heavy reliance on the export of its energy resources, the price of energy is all important, and when Vladimir Putin was the first President of Russia, the price of oil in the global market went from something like 24 dollars a barrel to 132 dollars a barrel. My friend Dan Bager who is here, who is an energy expert, will know the precise figures, but that is in the ball park. The price of oil skyrocketed. Money poured into Russia. Putin took a very significant share for himself and for his cronies. By some estimate, Putin is now the richest person in the world. But there was enough left over to spread among the Russian populace. Standard of living rose, per capita income rose, Putin’s popularity soared, but when he returned to office for his second stand as a President, the price has fallen by half and shows no sign of skyrocketing again, leaving Putin with the problem of finding an alternative source of popularity. In China, the Communist regime presided over an extraordinary three decades of double digit annual economic growth. Unprecedented anywhere in history. That growth surge, protracted surge, had three bases. One was a large scale movement of Chinese people from the countryside to the city, the second was very heavy investment especially in infrastructure, and the third was the ever increasing exports. First to the United States, then to the West in general and now globally, especially to the East Asia, but by the second decade of this century, that formula was beginning to fray, looking like a wasting asset and indeed as far as we know in the past several years, the Chinese rate of economic growth has fallen in half, and we can’t be sure exactly what it is, because Chinese economic statistics are not particularly reliable, but assuming that the growth rate has fallen from ten to five or even four percent, well that would be a remarkable and entirely welcome growth rate in the advanced industrial democracies, it is not what the Chinese people have become accustomed to expecting, and that puts some pressure on the Chinese regime. Here, Iran is an outlier, a special case, because it turns out that since they seized power in 1979, the clerics who control Iran have never chopped up a good economic performance. it has been four decades of economic stagnation, but that is all the more reason for the Iranian regime, for the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to look for an alternative source of popularity. Because all three regimes needed a new source of popularity, among other reasons, each of them turned to aggressive nationalism. Each of them portrayed the policies it chose to carry out beyond its borders, at the expense of its neighbours, as necessary to ward off the predatory designs of the West and the democracies led by the United States, which the regime said to its target audience, to its own people in each case, was determined to weaken, subvert, and even cause the disintegration of the country in question. This was the message that the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian regimes broadcast to their own publics, and they also broadcast the message that their aggressive policy, which, of course, they claimed in the first instance were defensive, were also designed to restore the country to its rightful place as the dominant power in the region. That is to say, each dictatorship ended the peace at least in part as a strategy for preserving its home rule. Well, regardless of the motivation, what happened determinate this golden age of peace, raises an obvious question. How to restore peace. The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth does have an answer to that question, although as you will shortly see, it’s not an entirely satisfactory one. Of the three peace promoting features of the international system, in my judgement, democracy is by far the most potent. There are many studies undertaken in the last three decades that demonstrate that democracies have a very powerful tendency not to go to war, at least not with one another and not since the second half of the twentieth century. So, democracy is the key to peace, in so far as there is one, which means that the restoration of peace requires the installation of the genuine democracy encompassing both popular sovereignty and the protection of liberty, in Russia, China, and Iran, but as it is obvious, such a transition, a consummation devoutly to be wished, though it may be, is far more easily said than done. In fact, one of the other things we’ve discovered in the last thirty years, while countries do become democracies, they cannot be made democratic from the outside, and the United States has some unhappy experience in trying to do just that. Democracy in order to take root and flourish, has to come from within. So the responsibility for making Russia, China, and Iran democracies, rests almost entirely on the people of Russia, China, and Iran. And when or indeed whether this will happen, we simply have no way of knowing. That means that the central message of the Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth is both optimistic and pessimistic. There is both good news the bad news. The good news is, we have a formula for peace, the bad news is we have no idea how to implement it. Well, all of this implies yet a final question. Given that the democracies cannot produce peace by installing democracies in these three revisionist countries, what can we do to make peace more likely? And I think that there are three things that can be done to nudge these countries toward democracy, although even carrying out to the maximum, the policies that I am suggesting, certainly do not guarantee democracy in any of them. First, the democracies can resume, revise, and reconstruct the cold war policy of containment, During the cold war, democracies resisted the political designs and blocked the military initiatives of the Soviet Union. An updated version of containment will do the same vis-a-vis Russia, China, and Iran. Now it’s important to note that an updated containment will certainly not be the carbon copy of the cold war containment for at least three important reasons. One is that the containment during the cold war was directly against a single global threat. Now it would be directed against three regional threats. Second, the cold war was an ideological contest. Marxism/Leninism was a full-fledged system that its practitioners sought to impose around the world. That’s not true in this case. Russia and China certainly seek to expand their influence, but they don’t have a mission to impose a particular form of a government. Iran does have such mission to impose its own Shia version of Islamic fundamentalism, but that has no appeal beyond the Islamic world and apparently a very little appeal among Sunni Muslims. Finally, the cold war was a contest between the two blocks, which had virtually nothing to do with one another, whereas in the post-cold war era that we are now part of, there is real economic interdependence between the democracies and the revisionist powers. It’s important for Russia and Iran, but it’s important for the West as well as China. In the Chinese case, all this means that while containment in the 21st century will likely to be less fraught and less dangerous than it was in the 20th, it will also be more complicated. Second point to be made about the Neo-Containment, is that it can only be undertaken by the regional coalitions, which means that the alliances are still important, and a third point to make is that it’s not clear whether the democracies will undertake such policy. Written at greater length on this whole issue in an article in March/April issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Well the second suggested policy in order to make peace marginally more likely or prevent it from getting worse, is to take whatever modest steps possible as in the cold war to weaken the three revisionist regimes, and third, it’s important, as I argue in my book Democracy’s Good Name, democracies spread namely by example, it is important to ensure that the democracies remain powerful and attractive examples of democratic political system. To repeat, none of these things by themselves or together will ensure democracy and therefore, peace. That is up to the Russians, Chinese and the Iranians, but these three measures are what I believe democracies can do to help create the circumstances in which peace, having risen and fallen, can rise again. Thank you.
Dr. Alan Mendoza: Thank you for that. I think the theme was three. We had three reasons for peace, three reasons to restore peace, or ways to restore, and three potential enemies. I’m going to open up to the questions, but I’m going to ask the first one myself. There is no reason, surely on your view, that we should tackle all three at once. If you had to play how on the adversaries you would tackle, who would it be and why?
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Well, that’s a very good question. First of all, I have to say, you noticed the recurrence of the motif of three. My mentor, my academic mentor, a formidable academic Stanley Hoffman, who had a French education, apparently the French always divide everything into three parts, but he used to say that the world is divided in two, those who divide everything in three into three, and those who don’t, so I’m in one of those categories. I argue in my Foreign Affairs article, that it is possible to pursue the strategy of containment of all three simultaneously provided that there are serious coalitions in each case. The United States can’t go it alone, and maybe I’m excessively optimistic, but I do think that the neo-containment is possible simultaneously in all three regions, and the challenges vary. The long term challenge is of course, the most formidable in the Chinese case. Russia is not remotely powerful as the Soviet Union was, but the Russians are bound to determine to make trouble, and they have already invaded a neighbour, so there is a sense in which the Russian is a bit more urgent, and I would argue that, at lease make the case that the Iranian challenge is the most urgent because they have been most successful in extending their influence. And the Middle East does matter for one major reason and that’s oil. The oil from the Persian Gulf is still important for Asia and Europe. Not important for the United States in the sense that the United States is much closer to being self-sufficient in its imports and correct me if I’m wrong, come mainly from the Western Hemisphere, from that beacon of stability, Venezuela, but as long as the United States wishes to continue its position as the leader of the West, and I don’t think that can be assumed, but for now that seems to be the general American inclination. As long as that is the case, the United States has to be concerned about the Middle East, and the Middle East is also difficult because it is hard to form a coalition there, because while most of the countries in the Middle East are anti-Iranian, they also have grievances against one another which in some cases outweigh their fear of Iran, so what I’ve given you is an assertion that we don’t have to make choices with an analysis of why that might not be true.
Audience 1: Paul Maddrell, Loughborough University. Thank you very much for your interesting paper, professor Mandlebaum, but it is hopelessly flawed. I mean it is so one-sided, it is unacceptable as it stands, because you present these three regional powers as responsible for the decline of peace, but there is much stronger contender for the position as a destroyer of peace, and that is of course the United States. It’s the United States that adopted the doctrine of pre-emptive security in 2003. It is the United States which formed the coalition which unlawfully declared war on Iraq in 2003, and destroyed the security throughout the Middle East. It’s the United States, which waged war on Kosovo in 1999, it’s the United States that over bombed the hell out of Libya and overthrew the Gadhafi regime, going beyond any lawful authority they received. It is, and it may be the use of that hegemonic (inaudible) to do that, and the whole concept of pre-emptive security is security competition in the form of an aggressive military doctrine, not merely that you said Russia, China, and Iran are aggressive nationalist regimes, it’s the United States, which stirred up quite artificially an aggressive nationalism to justify the war in Iraq, even freedom fries and so forth. The United States is just the kind of aggressive nationalist regime you’re talking about, and is doing so. So what you say as these three regional challenges, there is a great global challenger that is destroying peace and it’s long before these countries ever did, and they are obviously responding to that, and you’ve left them out. It is the United States that has maintained security competition so far. So what do you think of the U.S. policy?
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Well, thank you for that question. You said that my argument is unacceptable, so in the same spirit of friendly tolerance, I will say that your argument is rubbish. The United States doesn’t have the perfect record, but the United States is certainly not responsible for the security competition in East Asia, it’s not responsible for the security competition in the Middle East, it’s not responsible for the security competition in Europe. It doesn’t have a flawless record in the Middle East, but the United States did not go to war against Iran, ill-judged though that might be, in order to dominate the region, or certainly not to occupy Iraq, the evidence of that is that the war-planners assumed that they would just leave, and in fact even when it became clear that this was not going to be a cakewalk, but there was considerable resistance, the high officials of the American government said “let’s just leave,” and it was the President Bush who wanted to stay, and wanted to stay and therefore the United States did stay, on the grounds that it would be irresponsible to leave Iraq in chaos. Now, that may have been a misjudgement. Finally, the evidence against your argument is that all of the non-revisionist countries in the region, virtually without exception, want the United States there, depend on the United States, are worried about American withdrawal. It’s true in Europe, it’s true in East Asia, where incidentally, unlike in Europe, the non-Chinese countries are all increasing defence spending, and it’s true in the Middle East. The non-Persian countries in the Middle East are very concerned about this administration, precisely because they fear that it would follow the policy that follows logically from your analysis, so with all due respect, I don’t think you have a point.
Audience 2: Thank you very much. Jung Grant I’m a former law enforcement and intelligence analyst who’s worked in the ex-Soviet states (inaudible). My question, I am very much on your side, I’d like to make that quite clear, my question is based on a long-standing observation of the bureaucracies of European countries, (inaudible), and particularly the European Commission (inaudible). Their resentment of the US, because you have the cruise missiles, you used the cruise missiles to end the Bosnian War Who is listening to you in the European setting? Academia, political, administration. Because I think it is doable, but I’m not sure it is doable in Europe for the reasons I’ve just mentioned.
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Well, as the question of who’s listening to me, the circulation of this book, as fair minded person would obviously be persuaded by what I argue, so I’m happy for anybody here to (inaudible). The resentment of the United States is chronic in Europe, and that’s true for a number of reasons. Not true in East Asia, by the way. Well, one reason is that Europeans always dislike Republican president, because the Republican party in the United States maybe, who knows where the Tory party is going, but the Republican Party really has no analogue in Europe. It’s socially conservative, neoliberal in its embrace of free markets. There really isn’t anything in Europe that corresponds to it. So that’s one reason that resentment of the United States is chronic. And there is the replacement. Europe once ran the world. That hasn’t been true since Europe destroyed itself after 1945, but there is still this lingering resentment in the sense that the Americans are sort of (inaudible) who lack the subtlety of the Europeans. You can certainly make a case for that. And then, Europe has a left-wing which has defined itself since the war as anti-American. We just heard an example of that, and it seems to dominate the Labour Party at this point. And it’s just a fact of life. So on the other hand, although they don’t like to say so out loud especially now with the incumbency of Mr. Trump who is about as alien a political creature as Europe could encounter, although he does have his analogue here in Mr. Farage who came top of the polls, so maybe England and Europe are changing, although I wouldn’t wish that on you. But European governments understand what the stakes are. They make it clear privately that they don’t want the United States to leave, although they have difficulty in mustering higher level of defence spending, so in my view, the threat to the alliance comes from United States, from the Americans, because what Mr. Trumps says about stumping up more money makes lots of sense to Americans. In fact, American presidents and Secretaries of Defence has been saying this since 1952, they just haven’t said it publicly, or as emphatically, or as grossly, if you’d like, as Mr. Trump has, but the last secretary of defence, not the last one, but Robert Gates who served both George W. Bush and Barack Obama gave a farewell speech, in which he said, Americans cannot care more about European security than the Europeans do. No American politician can disagree with that. So it seems to me that the danger to all of these coalitions, or potential coalitions comes first and foremost from the United States getting tired of, as Americans would see it, and not altogether wrongly, being exploited.
Audience: David (inaudible). How would the Iranian and Chinese regimes in the future continue to support the legitimacy of their people if they have some existential threats, for instance, a water crisis or something? And how would the Russians and the Chinese regimes deal with the situation where there is a potential for a mass migration of Chinese into an empty and wide-open Siberia, as what ifs.
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Well, you make a very important point, and that is that over the medium term these regimes face serious challenges that they may not be equipped to handle. The Iranian regime is already failing, as you say, there is a serious water problem there. And also let’s not forget, Iran is about 50% non-Persian. So there is a potential for nationalist upheavals, which is already going on and it’s not in the Azeri part and they are the largest minority but in Baluchistan. To what scale, we don’t know. So, they are not competent and the Russian regime is not competent either. It hasn’t produced economic growth. Sometimes, I thought of writing an essay making a case that Mr. Putin is in fact a CIA agent, because everything he has done is weakening Russia in the long term. He’s driving it toward a status of becoming a natural resource colony of China. The Chinese government is competent, and has coped with challenges very effectively over the last 30 years since the demise of Mao and the ascension of Deng Xiaoping, but the crackdown that Xi Jinping has imposed seems to me to suggest and to others, to suggest at the very least, a fear that the Communist Party will ultimately lose power and of course, the Party control is a supreme value there. So, all of which is to say these countries, these regimes do face very serious challenges. My argument is that their way of meeting these challenges is to divert the opinion in the nationalist channel. That is not going to solve these challenges over the long term. I don’t know what they would do to solve them, and they don’t seem to know, and that gives one a very mixed view of the future. On the one hand, when regimes fail, they tend to weaken. On the other hand, as they weaken, the temptation to become ever more aggressively nationalistic increases and that’s not good news for anyone.
Audience: With the exception of the Cuban Missile Crisis, there was an absence of imminent prospects of war between the Soviet Union and America, until the Soviet Union collapsed, and the reason why that was, was because of the mutually assured destruction. Now the three powers that you have named, with the exception of Iran, which seems in the process of acquiring nuclear weapons, why would not mutually assured destruction is sufficient to maintain peace between the United States and China and the United States and Russia? And also, despite this apocalyptic form of Shiite Islam, between Iran, because the Iranian regime is not going to want to commit suicide.
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Well, two points. It’s a very good question, and I do address it in the Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth, so anybody who’s interested in the answer to that question is urged to buy a book although of course I urge you to buy a book even if you’re not interested in that question. But two points. First, having lived through most of, well, all of Cold War, really, but not in the early parts having been an experts or at least somebody who studies this subject, mutual assured destruction in retrospect was crucial, or seems to have been crucial in preventing war, and in fact there is a book by a friend and a colleague named John Mueller which came out in the late 80s called retreat from Doomsday, which he argued that nuclear weapons weren’t necessary to keep the peace because the WWII was so destructive in non-nuclear terms that it would have deterred the two sides. Agree with it or not, at least it is an argument, but throughout the Cold War, the United States was never complacent, always feared that the prospect of actual war, thought that the details of the nuclear balance was extremely important, great debates about what now seem to be very recondite and obscure issues about the nuclear balance, technical issues, which in retrospect seem like arguing about the number of angels dancing on the head of the pin, but certainly did not seem so at that point. Second point, and this is the point I make in the book, all three of these regimes have been very clever in extending their influence through which, a former colleague of mine at SAIS writing a book with a co-author calls probes, that is initiatives that are substantial enough that when they succeed, they bring strategic benefit to these countries. They tilt the strategic balance in their direction, but not so dramatic as to evoke a serious response from the West. It used to be called Salami tactics. And that is the term that was coined to apply to Hitler’s tactics in overturning the Versailles settlement. And I give examples of those. The danger is that if enough of them suddenly you find yourself waking up on the wrong side of the strategic balance. So, although nobody wants war, the Chinese certainly doesn’t want war, because any armed conflict would depress economic activity in East Asia, and that’s the basis of their legitimacy, and because in the age of nuclear age, who could want a war? So, I think nuclear deterrence is still effective, but there are these other considerations.
Audience: (inaudible) private business from Pakistan. My question (inaudible). You mentioned China, in terms of the Belt and Road Initiative, that they are taking up in almost 140 countries have signed up for it and the balance of power might be tilting. Where do you foresee that might impact the peace going forward, because obviously…
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Can I just answer this briefly? I don’t think that it will have any impact on war and peace. I think that Chinese will find that the countries in which they are operating are not necessarily friendly. The countries in which they are operating will find that the terms of the infrastructure are not necessarily favourable. I give you my own view, I don’t see why the democracy should be worried about that. If the Chinese want to build infrastructure in Africa, fine. The West isn’t going to do it, so I don’t see that as a disturbing feature, but that is my view.
Audience: You mentioned what Pakistan and India (inaudible) Pakistan and India in every few years tend to (inaudible) nuclear powers. You mentioned that every few years they say that we want a world war, so how does the West foresee that making impact on peace?
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: War would be a terrible thing, but the presumption is that it would isolated to South Asia.
Audience: My name is (inaudible). I’m a supporter of the Iranian democratic opposition in exile. I’d like to ask do you know about this democratic opposition and how America try to not allow to function and (inaudible) very distinguished people America was supposed to take (inaudible).
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Well, I’m both glad and sorry to say my answer can be brief. I don’t know enough to make an intelligent comment.
Audience: (inaudible). You mention that examples of democracy might influence these big powers to become democratic. Do you think that the Brexit discussion in the UK might influence them? And the real question is if Europe with or without Britain does become closer politically as they declare their intention, would that be supportive or against the weakening of these dictatorships?
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Well, I’m sorry to say that in my judgement, it’s not only my judgement, Brexit does not have any resonance beyond Europe. And second, and this I have written on, although there is a strong case for more Europe, for greater integration, for the Macron program, I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Audience: A little question about matters green. (inaudible) I have a background in psychology. Very recently, we have seen something of an upsurge of green, what might be called ideology. On the other hand, many of the things that you said in (inaudible) position, encouraged the continuation of economic development (inaudible) and the world’s economy. The green movement seems to contrast that.
Prof. Michael Mandelbaum: Well, I’m glad to say that I’ve written a column in the last ten days about the green movement and the prospects for, which I think are poor, for structural reasons, just to hard to get people to sacrifice in the present to ward off some distant harm that may be distant enough so that it won’t affect them. Although the green movement obviously did well in the recent European elections, it really doesn’t have much purchase in America, let alone in China or India, so I’m sorry to say that when it comes to climate change, prevention isn’t going to do much. We all have to adapt rather than the next generation would have to adapt.
Dr. Alan Mendoza: That is the end of our allotted hours. I want to thank you Professor Mandelbaum for outlining your thesis and for taking all comers in such a spirited manner, if only it was as easy to bring peace as it was to have a discussion here today, we might have achieved something, but the book is available outside. Professor Mandelbaum will inscribe it if you so wish or not, depending on how you like it. And we remain just to thank you for giving up your lunch time this Tuesday after joining us. Thank you.