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- 연구원소식 - JPI PeaceTalk
JPI PeaceTalk
Subject The Future of Regional Cooperation and Integration in East Asia and Europe
Author JPI  (admin)
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2017-11-08 오후 2:16:55

 

 

 

My name is Mark Beeson and I am a professor of international politics at the University of Western Australia.

 

 

Q1. Shortly after his inauguration, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Could you briefly explain your opinion about whether TPP must continue or should be abandoned?

 

 

It depends on what your perspective is and what you think is really important in this agreement. It is important to remember that it is a trade agreement and even when the United States was part of that agreement, many people were very critical of the content of the agreement. So there is one set of issues about whether it is a good trade agreement or not. But the other bigger question is what the TPP represented for the United States as a part of their overall foreign policy towards the region. In that case, many of the United States’ principle allies like Japan and Australia are very disappointed that the United States pulled out of the agreement because they had made a big effort to try and make the agreement successful and spent a lot of time negotiating it. So they are very disappointed.

 

The question now is what happens. My feeling is that for political reasons, it will be a good idea if the other states in the agreement carried on because it would demonstrate that they are capable of arriving at an agreement together that could be useful for them. The alternative is a set of regional trade agreements that will likely be dominated by China, and for a number of countries in the region that is not necessarily something that they are going to be happy about or feel is a good result. So I think they should probably carry on but not necessarily because of the detail of the trade agreement itself.

 

Q2. Over the past few years, globalism, regionalism, and liberalism have prevailed in the context of our political and economic lives. Do you think such ideas are correct? In other words, do they make us happy?

 

It very much depends on what you mean by globalization, regionalization, and liberalism. These are all very big ideas and I think sometimes people do not try to unpack them and make sense of what these ideas actually mean. They mean different things to different people. You can make an argument saying that all of these things have either been good or all of these things have been bad, and people make the same arguments about the same things. It really depends on who is making the argument and what point they are trying to make.

 

But I think there is unambiguous evidence that “globalization”—if you mean extra trade, extra-regional economic integration—has been a good thing, if only because it has helped to raise living standards around the world. It has also been a force for stability and peace, particularly in places like Europe where it has been associated with not just rising living standards but also greater stability and helping to pacify what is historically a very difficult and dangerous region. For all these reasons, regionalization and globalization has, generally speaking, been a good thing.

 

However, the other thing to think about is, who is “us”? When we talk about “has it been good for us?” we need to think about who we mean. For some people, global elites, businesspeople, people in China who have gotten new jobs and rising living standards, for many people around the world it has been a good thing. But for quite a lot of people around the world, it has not. People in North America have lost their jobs, and they see their jobs going offshore to China. That is part of globalization, too. So it is not possible to say either it has been unambiguously good or unambiguously bad. It has been both of those things for different people in different parts of the world. And that is why it is so difficult to have a clear set of arguments about the benefits or disadvantages of something as complicated as globalization or regionalization.

 

Q3. Since the start of the Trump administration in U.S. and the Brexit referendum, it seems that global politics and economics are entering a new phase where ideas of nationalism and 'My country first' are becoming more popular. These ideas contrast with globalism and regionalism, which are largely based on 'free trade,' 'rule of law,' and 'human rights.' So, do you think that liberalism is in crisis? What do you think the future of our world will be?

 

This is a very difficult and complicated question as well. But I think one thing to recognize is that individual states always pursue what they think is in their national interest. So nothing has changed in that regard. Donald Trump has come to power saying, “America First”, but he is just articulating and giving expression to this idea in a different way perhaps than we have been used to seeing. Barack Obama was also interested in putting American interests first and doing what he thought was in America’s national interest. All governments at all times have done those kinds of things. The difference now is that somebody like Trump is making this the major centerpiece of his policies, and I do not think he really appreciates that “America” has benefited a lot from globalization, integration, and the kinds of policies that America encouraged for many years before Trump arrived.

 

My point would be that countries have always pursued what is in their national interest. The difference is that somebody like Barack Obama and many presidents before him recognized that it was in the United States’ interest as well to be part of this complicated international set of institutions that the Americans were largely responsible for creating after the Second World War. Those institutions and that idea about globalization actually worked in America’s interests. All countries always pursue their national interest, but what is different is that some countries are much more sophisticated about the way that they pursue those interests and some countries actually recognize that being involved in international institutions could be, and possibly should be, a big part of how that national interest is pursued. It is dependent on being involved in a complex set of international institutions from which potentially lots of countries can benefit.

 

Q4. As you have seen, the Brexit referendum seems to tell us that Europe's solidarity might begin to crack. Will the European collapse or overcome this event?

 

There are a couple of ways of thinking about this particular problem. Britain’s withdrawal from Europe will be a disaster for the British economy and, arguably, Britain’s place in the world. Now this won’t be revealed immediately, but over the next few years it will become clearer and clearer that this was a bad decision for the British people to make, and they will be potentially major losers from this particular policy option. What that could mean for Europe is that it may, paradoxically, encourage Europeans to be more cooperative. There are already signs of this happening that other European countries are recognizing that this may be bad for Britain and that there are good reasons for them continuing to cooperate. They may be driven to put aside some of their national differences because they are seeing what is happening to Britain. They are also seeing that the United States is not likely to be a big supporter of the European or of European development more generally. Again, Angela Merkel has already said that Europeans have to be more self-reliant and have to band together to adjust to these very difficult and challenging external circumstances, which being more unified may help them to address. That could be what will happen Europe might actually become stronger.

 

However, if that is going to happen, a couple of other things have to happen in Europe as well. One is they have got to fix the economic problems, particularly around the Euro, because if they cannot sort that out it is going to be a continuing difficulty and a problem and a source of division within the European countries. The other thing that they have got to do, of course, is to convince the people of Europe generally that the European is still in their interest, that it is still capable of improving their lives, and that it is still capable of acting in ways that are going to make them feel secure and prosperous. All of those things are uncertain at the moment. There are questions about the control of Europe’s borders. There are questions about the European Union’s ability to be able to act in a democratic way that allows ordinary European people to feel represented and that they are being heard. Those questions are still unresolved.

 

The big point to make is that the European faces some really important challenges, and it is not obvious that it will be able to solve those challenges. But if it can, or at least if it can look as if it is making progress on those issues, then it is possible that the European will continue to be an important organization. Whatever happens, even if the European cannot solve some of those problems, as an institution it will continue because it is very difficult to get rid of institutions. The European will continue in some form, but whether it is a powerful and effective institution will depend on how the policymaking elites in Europe actually respond to the challenges they are being faced with at the moment. 

 

 

Q5. Undoubtedly, Western values, such as liberalism, have dominated the global geopolitical landscape for a very long time. If we assume that they have reached a critical period now, then will Russia, China, and other Asian-Pacific countries construct new values and take the lead in global politics? And what makes you think so?

 

 

It is very difficult to give a simple answer to that kind of question. But what we can say is that there are two kinds of liberalism that people are interested in: there is political liberalism and economic liberalism. In places like East Asia and Russia, neither of those ideas has ever been strongly supported or been that influential. So there is an initial question about how widespread different forms of liberalism have been in the past, never mind in the future. Arguably, it has only been in Western Europe, North America, and places like Australia and South Korea, too, that those kinds of values—either politically or economically—have been really important and significant in shaping the way that the country actually operates. That is one thing to keep in mind.

There is a big question about Europe and North America’s role in promoting a form of political liberalism at the moment. That is the set of ideas that is most in danger at the moment because it is the most difficult and challenging to sustain. That is why what is happening to Europe is so important and that is why what is happening to America is so important as well. Clearly Donald Trump is a different kind of political leader, one who does not, I think, really understand what political liberalism actually means. He does not seem to have much respect for the basic institutions of American government and the legal system in America that make America such a distinctive place in theory and in history. There is a big question about America’s support for this. There is a big question about the European Union’s ability to maintain support for those practices and institutions as well. Because they are under challenge from a lot of different areas, not least radical Islam and those kinds of things.

 

Can anybody else offer a different model or way of organizing the world? That is a pretty interesting and important question. I think the only country that really can is China but there is a big question firstly about China’s willingness to play the role of a so-called “global hegemon” and offer not just leadership but the kind of collective goods, as economists describe them, that the Americans, to some extent at least, offered for fifty or sixty years or so. That means opening up your domestic market, allowing your currency to float, those kinds of things. There are big questions about whether China is willing to do that and of course there is a big question about what kind of political model China offers to everybody else as well. Even if people thought that the so-called “Chinese model of development” was impressive and attractive, there is a big question about whether other countries in Africa or even in Asia could actually follow that model and reproduce the kinds of policies and successes that China has enjoyed over the last twenty or thirty years or so. It is not at all obvious that the Chinese model, or anybody else’s model, certainly not the Russian model, is attractive or transferrable. That was the great strength of the so-called “Washington Consensus” and the model that the Americans championed for so long that other countries could buy into that to some extent and enjoy its benefits without having to do terribly much. It is not entirely clear that the Chinese model offers a real alternative to that at the moment.

 

 

Q6. Populism will remain a critical issue in domestic politics as well as world politics. If this poses a serious challenge to democratic values, what would be a reasonable strategy to overcome it?


One thing to remember about the United States is that it is not just the most important country in the world economically and strategically, but it still occupies an important symbolic place in the world as well. People, rightly or wrongly, still look to the United States for leadership and as an example of how you can organize political practice in a country. Historically, as I was saying before, there are important checks and balances in the American system that have placed an important constraint on any political leader in the United States, whether they are enthusiastic democrats or, like Donald Trump, something of a populist. So the impact of populism will depend on the country that we are talking about to some extent. In America, hopefully the checks and balances that do exist there will constrain Donald Trump and what he can do. Hopefully the majority of the American people’s ideological commitment to democracy as the best way of organizing political life will continue and it won’t become problematic.

The big test is can a populist leader change the domestic political institutions of a country so that the country operates in a significantly different way? That is what Adolf Hitler did in Germany before the Second World War and that is why he became so dangerous. This is also why other leaders in other countries, if they change the political system and the kinds of institutions that govern it, become very hard to get rid of. There are lots and lots of examples of authoritarian leaders who have done just that and become very difficult to dislodge.

 

I am not as worried about America because I think there are some very smart and educated people who are committed to maintaining a liberal political system in that country. In other parts of the world, in Eastern Europe, in places like Hungary, which is part of the European Union, it is not as clear because similar processes are in place there and some of the institutions of that country are being reformed. It is not clear that that commitment to democracy will prevail or continue in the way that many people in Europe expected when Hungary and other countries joined the European Union. Again, it depends on which countries you are talking about and what their political traditions look like, how strong the commitment of the general population is to democracy, and how well the population understands what is at stake and what is happening in the country of which they are citizens.

That is why education, generally, is such an important issue because if you have a population that is well-educated, has some understanding of the political process, and can take an active part in that process, then democracy is much more secure and populism is much less of a threat. Sadly, that is one of the things that is worrying about the United States, because the education system there is either absolutely brilliant or absolutely appalling. And if you are one of the people who has an appalling education in the United States, it is quite possible that you will be a supporter of populism and of Donald Trump and maybe not understand quite what is at stake in some of these big issues that are unfolding and playing out, not just in America but in other parts of the world as well.

 

Q7. Should we make certain decisions right now for the future, given the reality that populism, nationalism, and an America-first policy have appeared in Europe and the United States?

 

Partly, it is about the sorts of things I was talking about before. It is important to have an educated population. It is important to have people who understand political processes and who appreciate the value of the way things can be organized and the benefits that can flow from particular ways of organizing not just national societies but international societies as well. This is why I am personally a very big admirer of the European Union, although that is quite unfashionable now. Maybe it is partly a generational problem. The first people who established the European after the Second World War recognized that they were involved in something really important, not just for changing the economic status of the European and rebuilding that part of the world but also in creating a system of relationships between countries that would actually make war and conflict more unlikely. Let us not forget that Europe was one of the most violent, disordered places in the entire world for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. And yet for the last fifty or sixty years or so the European continent, Western Europe at least, has been peaceful, stable, and prosperous.

 

The danger is that people do not recognize or remember how that process was achieved and what needed to be put in place to allow that to happen. They take for granted some of the benefits that have been generated by the European and they forget about what the alternative might look like. The big lesson from history is to think about what Europe looked like before the European existed and the period between the two wars was when nationalism, populism, and fascism rose to prominence. We know what happens when Europe becomes divided in that way and populist leaders emerge – it ends badly, it ends in conflict and war.

 

The big danger around the world is that people once again start looking to strongmen national leaders who seem to have easy answers to complex problems. These strongmen may not appreciate the benefits of these much more difficult, complex kinds of transnational relationships, which ultimately are not only the best way of trying to secure peace and prosperity but are also the only realistic way for trying to address really important problems, like global climate change, for example. That is, I think, the most important challenge we all still face collectively. It has bigger and more far-reaching security implications than any other problem you can possibly think of.

 

The only way we can possibly begin to address something as complicated and transnational as climate change is through international cooperation. That is the only way it can be done. One nation cannot do this, no matter who it is being led by or how popular he may be in the short term. That is the very dangerous and depressing thing about Donald Trump. He is repudiating all of these kinds of international agreements and saying, “We can do this on our own, it is America first and we are going to do this.” But the reality is that America will also suffer if we do not get things like climate change right as well.

 

Q8. Please briefly explain your opinion about the future of regionalism.

 

It depends. It could go in different ways. In Europe, as I mentioned before, it is a complicated picture. But it may be positive at least in the short term that people will react positively to Britain’s leaving Europe and Trump’s hostility to Europe and decide that maybe it is a good thing to band together. The other possibility is that we may see regionalism taking very different forms in very different parts of the world. Regionalism in Europe may continue to be characterized by high degrees of democracy, cooperation, and reasonably powerful institutions. My guess is that in East Asia, in this part of the world, regional institutions have been much weaker and much less effective. They have much less power to influence the behavior of their members. My guess is that, unfortunately, that tradition will continue.

 

Regional institutions will continue to be weak and ineffective. But my guess is that will suit some of the important, powerful countries in the region, particularly China. This is because China does not have any interest in being involved in an organization or an institution that can tell it what to do or put restrictions on its sovereignty or freedom of action. My guess is that regionalism will continue in some form or other. It will look different in different parts of the world, but in this part of the world, in East Asia, there is a good chance it will be dominated by China in the long term. China will come to dominate the region generally, I think. But the form of regionalism that may emerge in this part of the world as a consequence may be very different to the sort of thing you see in Europe. That might be precisely what East Asian leaders want, and it won’t be terribly effective or meaningful as a consequence, I don’t think. ​