Transcript: Can Democracies Withstand the China Challenge? | Apr 29, 2021

An animated slate reads "The Democracy Agenda. A TVO and Toronto Star partnership."

Steve sits in a room with white walls, a low slanted ceiling and several framed pictures on the walls including one of George Drew and one of Walter Kronkite. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue shirt and a striped blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Can democracies withstand the China challenge?"

Steve says WESTERN LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES KNOW... MOSTLY... HOW TO PLAY NICE WITH EACH OTHER. BUT HOW WELL DO THEY KNOW HOW TO CONTEND WITH COUNTRIES WITH OTHER FORMS OF GOVERNMENT, AND SPECIFICALLY, ONE AS LARGE AND AS POWERFUL AS CHINA? AS PART OF OUR BI-WEEKLY JOINT TVO-TORONTO STAR INITIATIVE, THE DEMOCRACY AGENDA, LET'S ASK: IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA: IVAN KRASTEV, CHAIR AT THE CENTRE FOR LIBERAL STRATEGIES AND CO-AUTHOR OF "THE LIGHT THAT FAILED."

Ivan is in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He's wearing a gray suit and a blue shirt.

Steve continues IN NEW YORK, NEW YORK: EMILY de La BRUYERE, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE NON-PROFIT RESEARCH INSTITUTE, THE FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES...

Emily is in her thirties, with wavy dark hair. She's wearing a black blazer.

Steve continues AND HERE IN MIDTOWN IN ONTARIO'S CAPITAL CITY: MARTIN REGG COHN, POLITICAL COLUMNIST FOR THE TORONTO STAR...

Martin is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He's wearing glasses and a striped shirt.

Steve continues IT'S A DELIGHT, IVAN, TO HAVE YOU BACK ON OUR PROGRAM HERE, EMILY I THINK FOR THE FIRST TIME, AND MARTIN YOU'RE PRACTICALLY MY CO-HOST, YOU'RE ON THE PROGRAM SO OFTEN, AND WE ARE, I SHOULD JUST SAY, REALLY ENJOYING THIS DEMOCRACY AGENDA INITIATIVE WITH THE STAR. WELCOME, EVERYBODY, LET'S GET TO IT. EMILY, TO YOU FIRST. A NICE, SHORT QUESTION. WHAT DOES CHINA WANT IN TERMS OF ITS GLOBAL GOALS?

The caption changes to "Emily de la Bruyère. Foundation for Defense of Democracies."

Emily says WELL, CHINA WANTS TO LEAPFROG, AS THEY PUT IT, THE INCUMBENT GLOBAL ORDER, AND TO PROJECT THEIR POWER ECONOMICALLY, MILITARILY, POLITICALLY, ALSO INFORMATIONALLY, ACROSS THE WORLD IN ORDER TO ASSERT WHAT IN SIMPLEST TERMS IS CHINESE CONTROL.

Steve says HOW WELL DO YOU THINK THEY'RE DOING AT THAT RIGHT NOW?

Emily says PRETTY DARN WELL. IT'S BEEN GOING ON... I MEAN, THIS HAS BEEN CHINA'S AGENDA FOR DECADES. IT'S NOT ANYTHING NEW. THERE'S BEEN A... REALLY A GLOBAL AWAKENING TO IT OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, BUT IT COMES RELATIVELY LATE. IT'S COME WHEN CHINA HAS ALREADY CEMENTED POSITIONS OF PRETTY REMARKABLE ASYMMETRIC OUTSIDE LEVERAGE OVER THE GLOBAL SYSTEM AND DONE SO IN A WAY THAT REALLY PERMEATES SUCH A RANGE OF SECTORS AND SO MANY SECTORS THAT AREN'T INCLINED, LARGELY BASED ON THEIR SHORT-TERM INTERESTS, TO WANT TO COMPETE. AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT EVEN... CHINA HAS NOT WON THE BATTLE, SO TO SPEAK. LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES REMAIN THE INCUMBENT GLOBAL LEADERS, BUT IT IS AWN UPHILL BATTLE BECAUSE CHINA HAS ESTABLISHED A REALLY, REALLY STRONG BATTLEFIELD IN THEIR FAVOUR.

Steve says I'M GOING TO JUST ASK YOU TO DO A LITTLE TRANSLATION ON ONE THING YOU SAID THERE: ASYMMETRIC OUTSIZED LEVERAGE. WHICH MEANS WHAT?

The caption changes to "Emily De La Bruyère, @edelabruyere."

Emily says WHICH MEANS I SHOULD PROBABLY START SPEAKING IN ENGLISH.
[LAUGHTER]
I MEAN, MUCH OF CHINA'S STRATEGY HINGES ON DEVELOPING POSITIONS OF POWER THAT ALLOW IT TO SHAPE THE GLOBAL SYSTEM AND RESOURCES WITHIN THAT GLOBAL SYSTEM WITHOUT ALLOWING CHINA ITSELF TO BE SHAPED IN RETURN. SO THERE'S ACTUALLY A LONGSTANDING CHINESE STRATEGIC THEORY THAT OUTLINES THIS APPROACH, IT'S CALLED TWO MARKETS, TWO RESOURCES. THE IDEA IS YOU KEEP CHINESE DOMESTIC RESOURCES RELATIVELY PROTECTED WHILE WORKING TO MAINTAIN THOSE OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM. YOU WORK TO KEEP CHINA'S DOMESTIC MARKETS AND NETWORKS AND RULES RELATIVELY ISOLATED, WHILE WORKING TO INFLUENCE THOSE OF THE GLOBAL ORDER.

Steve says GOT YOU.

Emily says SUPPLY CHAINS. WHERE, FOR EXAMPLE, CHINESE CONTROLS CRITICAL MINERALS AND THEREFORE THE GLOBAL ORDER HAS TO DO CHINA'S BIDDING WHEREAS CHINA WORKS TO SHORE UP RELATIVE AUTONOMY.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD. ONE OF OUR OTHER GUESTS, IVAN KRASTEV, HAD THIS TO WRITE ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF AGO. I'M GOING TO READ IT AND THEN WE'LL COME OUT WITH A QUESTION.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "China is different." The quote reads "China is not dreaming of being imitated by the rest of the world. China does not believe it can be imitated. This is not only because of its belief in the superiority of Chinese culture, but also because its model of having and projecting power is not based on the creation of copies. China lacks the universalist aspiration that was integral to western politics after the end of the Cold War."
Quoted from Ivan Krastev, Eurozine.com, October 28, 2019.

Steve says IN WHICH CASE, HOW DOES THAT TRANSLATE INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF CHINA'S GLOBAL AMBITIONS IN YOUR VIEW, IVAN?

The caption changes to "Ivan Krastev. Centre for Liberal Strategies. Co-author, 'The light that failed.'"

Ivan says YOU KNOW, FOR ME IT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT TO MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE SOVIET UNION AND CHINA. IN BOTH CASES IT'S HEGEMONIC CONDITIONS. BASICALLY CHINA WANTS OTHERS TO DO WHAT IT WANTS. BUT AT THE SAME TIME UNLIKE THE SOVIET UNION, DURING THE COLD WAR, CHINA IS NOT DREAMING ABOUT BASICALLY ALL OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD, ADOPTING THE CHINESE POLITICAL MODEL. WHAT REALLY CHINA IS INTERESTED IN IS CREATING DEPENDENCY. SO FROM THIS POINT OF VIEW, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE IN THE BUSINESS OF CREATING A COMMUNIST PARTY... IN THEIR KIND OF NEIGHBOURS. THEY'RE GOING TO BE INTERESTED VERY MUCH IN THE NATURE OF THE POLITICAL REGIME. SO AT THE MOMENT THESE GOVERNMENTS ARE DOING WHAT CHINA IS ASKING THEM TO DO, PARTICULARLY IN ECONOMIC TERMS. AND THIS IS WHY ON ONE LEVEL WE HAVE A MAJOR CHALLENGE FOR LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES. BUT ON THE OTHER, IT'S VERY DIFFERENT THAN THE MODEL AND THE TYPE OF CHALLENGE THAT THE LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES HAD DURING THE CLASSICAL COLD WAR PERIOD BECAUSE THE SOVIET LIKE THE WEST WAS A UNIVERSALIST POWERS. IT CLAIMED ALL COUNTRIES WOULD BE LIKE THE SOVIET UNION. THIS IS NOT WHAT CHINA IS DREAMING OF, IN MY VIEW AT LEAST.

The caption changes to "The Democracy Agenda. A TVO and Toronto Star partnership."

Steve says MARTIN, I'M GOING TO SET UP MY FIRST QUESTION OF YOU BY PLAYING A CLIP OF SOMEONE WE HAD ON THIS PROGRAM NOT THAT LONG AGO, THE CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO CANADA WHO CAME ON THIS PROGRAM AND I ASKED HIM ABOUT CHINA'S FALTERING IMAGE WITH LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES AROUND THE WORLD AND HERE IS PART OF WHAT HE HAD TO SAY ABOUT THAT. THE CLIP, IF YOU WOULD, CHAD.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "March 30, 2021."
In the clip, Steve and the Ambassador appear on split screens. The Ambassador is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short black hair.

Steve says IF YOU LOOK AT POLLING IN OTHER COUNTRIES AS WELL CHINA IS SEEN UNFAVOURABLY BY THREE QUARTERS OF BRITISH PEOPLE, SEVEN OUT OF TEN GERMANS, SEVEN OUT OF TEN FRENCH PEOPLE, 86 percent OF JAPANESE, THREE-QUARTERS OF SOUTH KOREANS. DOES IT MAKE XI JINPING CONCERNED THAT NOT JUST CANADIANS, NOT JUST AMERICANS, BUT SO MUCH OF THE WORLD HAS AN UNFAVOURABLE VIEW OF YOUR COUNTRY RIGHT NOW?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Cong Peiwu."

Ambassador Peiwu says WE ARE NOT CONCERNED AT ALL BECAUSE FIRST WHEN IT COMES TO THE SITUATION IN CHINA, THE CHINESE PEOPLE ARE IN THE BEST POSITION TO JUDGE THE SITUATION, WHETHER IT'S HUMAN RIGHTS OR OTHER SUBJECTS. AROUND THE GLOBE, I THINK YOU JUST MENTIONED A VERY SMALL NUMBER OF WESTERN COUNTRIES. BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE COUNTRIES, THEY ARE IN SUPPORT OF CHINA'S FOREIGN POLICIES, A FOREIGN POLICY OF INDEPENDENCE AND OF PEACE.

The clip ends.

Steve says OKAY. MARTIN, DO YOU THINK THE AMBASSADOR IS RIGHT, THAT CHINA'S REPUTATION IS MUCH BETTER IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD?

The caption changes to "Martin Regg Cohn. Toronto Star. @reggcohn."

Martin says NOT REALLY. BUT I DO THINK HE MADE AN IMPORTANT POINT TO DRAW A DISTINCTION BETWEEN GLOBAL PUBLIC OPINION AND DOMESTIC PUBLIC OPINION IN CHINA. I THINK THERE'S AN ARGUMENT TO BE MADE THAT A LOT OF CHINESE AT HOME ARE HAPPY ABOUT WHAT THIS NEW KIND OF... NOT JUST PROJECTING THE POWER THAT EMILY SPOKE ABOUT AND THE ECONOMIC HEGEMONY, FOR WANT OF A BETTER WORD THAT IVAN SPOKE ABOUT, BUT THIS IDEA OF BEING TOUGH, OF ACTING TOUGH, AND THEY CALL IT WOLF WARRIOR DIPLOMACY. THE AMBASSADOR WAS VERY MODULATED AND RESTRAINED IN WHAT HE SAID BUT HIS PREDECESSOR TALKED A LOT TOUGHER AND A LOT OF CHINESE DIPLOMATS AROUND THE WORLD ARE PRACTISING WHAT WE CALL WOLF WARRIOR DIPLOMACY BASED ON THE CHINESE KIND OF RAMBO ACTION SERIES WHERE PEOPLE ARE ACTING TOUGH AND THAT AND MOCKING OUR PRIME MINISTER, A CHINESE DIPLOMAT IN BRAZIL WAS BELITTLING PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU. SO THEY ARE PLAYING TO DOMESTIC PUBLIC OPINION. I THINK SOMETIMES CONFUSING THAT WITH CHINA'S NATIONAL INTERESTS. DOMESTIC AND PUBLIC OPINION, NATIONAL INTERESTS. A LOT OF COUNTRIES DO THAT, INCLUDING CANADA AND AMERICA. BUT YOU PAY A PRICE FOR ALIENATING AND ANTAGONIZING INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC OPINION. CHINA HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT PROJECTING NOT JUST POWER OR MILITARY POWER. IT DOESN'T WANT TO RULE THE WORLD, NECESSARILY. BUT SOFT POWER IS VERY IMPORTANT TO CHINA, AND THAT SOFT POWER IS CRUMBLING AS WE SPEAK. THE POLLING THAT YOU TALKED ABOUT IN ALL THOSE COUNTRIES, IT'S NOT JUST A FEW SMALL... A NUMBER OF WESTERN COUNTRIES, YES, IT'S CANADA, AMERICA, BRITAIN, SWEDEN, WHERE HOSTAGES HAVE BEEN TAKEN JUST LIKE HERE IN CANADA. CERTAINLY COUNTRIES LIKE INDIA, VIETNAM, TAIWAN, THE PHILIPPINES... ALL OF THESE COUNTRIES ARE DEEPLY WORRIED ABOUT THE NEW CHINA OR THE RESURGENT CHINA.

Steve says I'M GOING TO ASK EMILY NOW A FOLLOW-UP ABOUT NEW ZEALAND. WE'RE GOING TO GO RIGHT OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD BECAUSE IT RECENTLY DECIDED TO, I GUESS, AFFIRM ITS INDEPENDENCE FROM THIS GROUP CALLED THE FIVE EYES, THIS INTELLIGENCE ALLIANCE, THE AMERICANS, THE BRITS, CANADIANS, AUSTRALIANS AND A NEW FOREIGN MINISTER SAID THEY NEED TO MAINTAIN AND RESPECT CHINA'S CUSTOMS, TRADITIONS AND VALUES. WHAT DOES THIS TELL YOU ABOUT THE SOLIDARITY WE LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES THINK WE ENJOY?

Emily says THAT UNDERLINES THE DIFFICULTY OF THE CHALLENGE AHEAD OF US. BEIJING'S APPROACH WORKS BEST WHEN CHINA IS ABLE TO FRAGMENT ITS POTENTIAL ADVERSARIES, WHEN CHINA IS ABLE TO DIVIDE THE U.S. FROM CANADA, FROM EUROPE, TO BREAK UP THE FIVE EYES ALLIANCE. AND IF LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES DON'T WORK TOGETHER IN A CONTEST THAT IS LARGELY CENTERED AROUND SCALE, THEN THEY'RE NOT GOING TO SUCCEED. AND IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT. AND CHINA IS REALLY ADEPT AT DRIVING A WEDGE AMONG DIFFERENT PLAYERS. THE NEW ZEALAND CASE, IT'S ALSO RELEVANT BECAUSE CHINA HAS... IT'S GLOBAL INROADS ARE REMARKABLE. THE INROADS AND THE DEPENDENCIES IT HAS ESTABLISHED IN NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA ARE ALL THE MORE SO, SIMILARLY TO THOSE... TO TAIWAN, TO JAPAN, TO ALL THE ASIAN PLAYERS THAT MAY BE RESISTANT TO CHINA AND MIGHT HAVE RECOGNIZED THAT THIS IS A BAD ACTOR BUT JUST DON'T HAVE ALTERNATIVES. AND THAT ALSO GOES TO NOT ONLY THE DIFFICULTY OF WHAT THE TASK IS FOR LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES BUT ALSO WHAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO AS A RESPONSE. MANY OF THE REACTIONS THUS FAR HAVE ORIENTED AROUND DEFENSIVE MEASURES, IN THE U.S. IDENTIFYING CHINESE MILITARY COMPANIES, FOR EXAMPLE, AND RESTRICTING THEIR ABILITY TO OPERATE IN THE UNITED STATES. BUT NO PROGRESS IS GOING TO BE MADE UNLESS LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES WORK TOGETHER TO INVEST IN POSITIVE ALTERNATIVES TO CHINA, ACROSS ALL THE DOMAINS IN WHICH CHINA COMPETES. SO WHETHER THAT'S RESOURCES OR THE COMMERCIAL SECTOR OR THE INFORMATIONAL AND MEDIA SECTOR, OR IN TERMS OF DEPLOYING THE NEW EMERGING INFRASTRUCTURES AND TECHNOLOGIES OF THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.

Steve says IVAN, LET'S TALK ABOUT EUROPE. IF EUROPE IS THE SORT OF NEW BATTLEFIELD BETWEEN THE WEST AND CHINA, WHAT'S THE BATTLE FOR EUROPE OVER?

Ivan says LISTEN, EUROPE IS IN A DIFFICULT POSITION BECAUSE EXACTLY AS WE ARE TALKING, EUROPE WAS PERCEIVING CHINA VERY MUCH AS AN ECONOMIC POWER. UNLIKE MANY COUNTRIES, IN ASIA, EUROPE IS NOT YET THIS TYPE OF A CONTENTIOUS RELATIONS SO FAR WITH CHINA, SO DURING THE COLD WAR BASICALLY CHINA WAS FAR AWAY. SO THE EUROPEANS A NEW SITUATION COMES ON THREE LEVELS. FIRST, FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION, IT WAS QUITE IMPORTANT TO KEEP ITS SOVEREIGNTY, SO THIS IDEA OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE WEST AND BASICALLY SOLIDARITY WITH THE UNITED STATES PARTICULARLY WAS ALWAYS IMPORTANT. EUROPEANS VERY MUCH ENJOYED THE FACT AFTER THE END OF THE COLD WAR THEY GOT MUCH MORE SOVEREIGNTY THAN BEFORE. SO DURING THE COLD WAR, EUROPE WAS A AMERICAN PROTECTORATE FO' GOOD REASONS. THIS IS WHY THEY DON'T LIKE... THIS IS LIKE FOR A LARGE PERIOD OF TIME, EUROPE WAS TRYING TO SEE HOW IT COULD RECONCILE A CERTAIN TYPE OF CHINESE INTEREST AND AMERICAN INTEREST. SECONDLY FOR EUROPE, WHICH PARTICULARLY IS NOT A TECHNOLOGICAL POWER IN THE WAY THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA ARE, EUROPE WAS VERY MUCH WORKING FOR THEIR OWN GLOBAL REGULATOR, TO TRY TO BASICALLY COME WITH THE COMMON RULES THAT ARE GOING TO BE FOLLOWED BY EVERYBODY EXACTLY BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE GOOGLE, WE DON'T HAVE ALIBABA. THIS HAS BEEN OUR WEAKNESS AND OUR STRENGTHS. THIS STARTED TO CHANGE AND IT STARTED TO CHANGE EXACTLY BECAUSE WHAT EUROPEANS STARTED TO SEE WHILE WE SHOULD BE THINKING VERY MUCH IN TERMS OF FREE TRADE AND PROTECTIONISM, WE BASICALLY DISCOVERED THE [inaudible]. YOU'RE TRADING TO CREATE INTERDEPENDENCIES, BASICALLY TO PUSH PEOPLE TO DO CERTAIN THINGS OR NOT TO DO CERTAIN THINGS. ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS ABOUT CHINESE FOREIGN POLICY WHICH EUROPEANS STARTED TO SUFFER FROM, WHICH IS IF YOU WANT TO TRADE WITH CHINA YOU DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO CRITICIZE CHINA. DON'T DARE TO CRITICIZE ME, IS RULE NUMBER ONE OF CHINESE FOREIGN POLICY. A VERY FAMOUS EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY CENTRE AND BASICALLY THE CHINESE AMBASSADOR IN GERMANY MADE IT VERY CLEAR TO THE HEIDELBERG BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THEY HAD A TIBETAN FLAG. THE CITY COULD BE OUT OF REACH FOR THE CHINESE TOURISTS. AND I DO BELIEVE THIS TYPE OF POWER DIPLOMACY WHICH OF COURSE ESCALATED VERY MUCH IS SOMETHING THAT EUROPEANS STILL VERY MUCH KIND OF PRESSED FOR AND BASICALLY PUSHING EUROPE TO REPOSITION ITSELF. BUT DON'T FORGET, CHINA HAS A REALLY STRONG PRESENCE IN EUROPE. FOR THE MOMENT, FOR EXAMPLE, CHINA IS TRADING PARTNER NUMBER ONE FOR GERMANY. CHINA AND GERMANY ARE TRADING MORE THAN BASICALLY GERMANY AND THE UNITED STATES.

Steve says THAT IS QUITE SOME DEVELOPMENT. ALL RIGHT. MARTIN, LET ME BRING THE STORY BACK HOME TO CANADA. AND YOU'LL WELL REMEMBER A FEW MONTHS AGO THAT THE FEDERAL CONSERVATIVE PARTY KIND OF TRIED TO CATCH THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA IN A BIT OF A TRAP, AND YOU COULD ARGUE THEY DID SO QUITE SUCCESSFULLY. THEY TABLED A RESOLUTION IN PARLIAMENT CONDEMNING THE TREATMENT OF THE UYGHUR MINORITY IN CHINA. PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU AND PRETTY MUCH THE WHOLE CABINET STAYED AWAY FROM THAT VOTE. THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER OF THE COUNTRY, MARC GARNEAU, WAS PRESENT, BUT HE ABSTAINED ON THAT VOTE AND HE ABSTAINED, QUOTE, UNQUOTE, ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA. WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU ABOUT CHINA'S ABILITY TO INFLUENCE OUR DOMESTIC POLITICS?

Martin says WELL, I THINK FOR THE REASONS THAT IVAN SKETCHED OUT, EVERYBODY IS CAREFUL ABOUT CHINA. YOU DON'T WANT TO BE GOING OFF IMPULSIVELY. BUT IN FAIRNESS, OUR AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS BOB RAE HAS BEEN RELATIVELY OUTSPOKEN ON THE GENOCIDE QUESTION ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT. EVEN BEFORE THE AMERICANS DECLARED IT A GENOCIDE ON THE LAST DAY OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, SO THE AMERICANS HEDGED THEIR BETS AS WELL. THEY DID IT AT THE LAST MINUTE UNDER TRUMP. SO THE QUESTION OF GENOCIDE FOR THE UYGHURS IS AN INTERESTING ONE, AND CANADA HAS BEEN RELATIVELY FORCEFUL COMPARED TO AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND. I THINK IT'S NEW ZEALAND THAT WAS MORE CAREFUL ON THAT PARTICULAR ISSUE. SO EVERYBODY DOES THEIR OWN CALCULATIONS. I DON'T THINK CANADA HAS BEEN PUSSY-FOOTING ON THE GENOCIDE QUESTION PARTICULARLY. I THINK IT SENDS A SIGNAL. OUR PARLIAMENT IS RELATIVELY STRONG ON THIS. THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT QUITE THERE YET, BUT THEY HAVE CALLED FOR AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE GENOCIDE AND YOU KNOW THAT BOB RAE AT THE U.N. GOT BLASTED BY THE CHINESE AND BEIJING, IN FACT, FOR HAVING GONE OUT ON A LIMB THERE. I THINK EMILY AND IVAN HAVE SET THE TABLE IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC LINKS. LET'S NOT FORGET THE BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE WHICH IS A CHINESE FANCY TERM FOR RECREATING THE SILK ROAD TRADE ROUTES AND AN ECONOMIC BELT WHICH IS BASICALLY A NETWORK OF INFLUENCE. IT ISN'T JUST THE TRADE LINKS WITH THE INDUSTRIAL POWERS LIKE GERMANY, AMERICA, CANADA, AND SO ON. IT'S THE INDEBTEDNESS THAT A LOT OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRIES WHICH HAVE BEEN GETTING THE CASH FLOW IN TERMS OF BANK LOANS AS BEING UNLIMITED. SO COUNTRIES LIKE SRI LANKA AND ALL ALONG AFRICA AND PARTS OF SOUTHEAST ASIA ARE NOW LITERALLY IN DEBT TO CHINA. SO IT'S COMING AT US EVERY WHICH WAY. AND ONE QUICK POINT. YOU MENTIONED THE FIVE EYES, WHICH IS THE ANGLO COUNTRIES THAT SHARE INTELLIGENCE. BUT THERE ARE OTHER KINDS OF COOPERATION AND COLLABORATION. THERE'S THE QUAD, YOU KNOW, FIVE EYES, QUAD, FOUR COUNTRIES... JAPAN, INDIA, AUSTRALIA, AND THE U.S... COMING TOGETHER. I THINK CANADA SHOULD BE IN THERE AS WELL SOON TO COUNTER OR COALESCE AGAINST CHINESE BULLYING. NOT TO TRY TO PUT CHINA IN ITS PLACE. BUT TO, AS EMILY SUGGESTED, MEET SCALE WITH SCALE. IF WE JUST LET CHINA PICK OFF ONE COUNTRY AFTER ANOTHER BECAUSE IT'S BEEN PICKING ON AUSTRALIA, PICKING ON CANADA, PICKING ON SWEDEN, PICKING ON INDIA, WE'LL ALL COME APART. SO CLEARLY THERE IS A COMMON INTEREST, NOT GETTING TOO FAR OUT AHEAD OF PEOPLE AS THE TORIES IN CANADA, THEY WANT TO DO IT UNILATERALLY. NO. YOU WANT TO COORDINATE TO HAVE MAXIMUM IMPACT.

Steve says ALL RIGHT. LET ME SHARE WHAT WAS A VERY TOUGH TWEET A FEW MONTHS AGO FROM THE ENGLISH WRITER MARTIN JACQUES WHO SAID THE FOLLOWING ON THE SUBJECT OF WESTERN RELATIONS WITH CHINA. HE TWEETED THIS. HE SAID...

A tweet by Martin Jacques (@martjacques) appears briefly on screen. It reads "THE WEST IS IN ECONOMIC DECLINE, POLITICALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY OSSIFIED. Their anti-China crusade is a lost cause. Time for new thinking. Once we were good at it. The West must embrace the world as it is becoming not as it was. Otherwise it will only hasten its own decline."

Steve says ALL RIGHT. LET'S GET THAT. EMILY, WHAT DO YOU THINK? TIME FOR SOME NEW THINKING?

Emily says IT IS SUCH A REMARKABLE NARRATIVE ON TWO FRONTS. FIRST OF ALL, THE SELF PERPETUATING NARRATIVE OF THE WEST'S DECLINE WHICH IN TURN MEANS THAT WE SHOULD SIT BACK AND ALLOW THE WEST TO CONTINUE TO DECLINE? IT'S A MYTH THAT CREATES THE VERY LOSS IT TALKS ABOUT. BUT THE OTHER THING IS, REGARDLESS, SINCE WHEN IS THAT SOMETHING THE WEST DOES? WE HAVE BUILT AND CURRENTLY LEAD A GLOBAL ORDER BASED ON NORMATIVE PRINCIPLES, ON IDEOLOGY, AND ON VALUES. AND SINCE WHEN DO WE SIMPLY SIT BACK AND SAY: GREAT, THERE'S AN AUTHORITARIAN POWER THAT INTENDS TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD, THAT COMMITS GENOCIDE THAT LIES AND CHEATS AND STEALS ITS WAY TO THE TOP AND WE'RE GOING TO LET IT HAPPEN. THAT'S THE WORLD WE'RE ENTERING. WE MIGHT AS WELL LET IT GO. THAT'S NOT THE WAY WE APPROACH THINGS. ALSO, CHINA'S ENTIRE APPROACH HINGES ON SETTING INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS. THAT'S THE ASYMMETRIC DEPENDENCY. THEY TRY TO FORM THE RULES OF THE FUTURE. THEY DECIDE THE EMERGING ORDER IN CHINA'S INTERESTS AND AGAINST ALL OF OUR NORMS AND VALUES.

Steve says IVAN, DO YOU AGREE WITH THE NOTION OF THAT TWEET, THAT SOMEHOW THE WEST HAS BECOME INTELLECTUALLY OSSIFIED AND THEREFORE UNABLE TO WAGE AN IDEOLOGICAL BATTLE WITH CHINA?

Ivan says IT SLIGHTLY REMINDS ME OF THE PERSON WHO DECIDED TO KILL HIMSELF BECAUSE HE FEARED THIS SO MUCH. IN A CERTAIN WAY THERE IS A COMPETITION AND THIS COMPETITION IS THERE. AND THIS COMPETITION IS NOT IDEOLOGICAL. CHINA IS A MUCH STRONGER ECONOMY THAN THE SOVIET UNION EVER WAS WITH RESPECT TO THE WEST, AND I SHOULD RECOGNIZE AND WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE THE FACT THAT BASICALLY CHINA SUCCEEDED IN CERTAIN THINGS. ON THE OTHER SIDE IN THE WEST THERE IS A KIND OF TOTAL FASCINATION WITH THE CHINESE POWER AND FROM TIME TO TIME I'M NOT AN EXPERT ON CHINA, WE TRY TO SEE CHINA FIRST AS STRONGER THAN IT IS AND SECONDLY KIND OF LESS VULNERABLE THAN IT IS. AND FROM THIS POINT OF VIEW ONE OF THE STORIES THAT... PART OF THE DISCOURSE ON CHINA THAT YOU'RE SEEING IN CERTAIN CIRCLES IN THE WEST ARE MUCH MORE REPRESENTATIVE ABOUT KIND OF THE CRISIS OF SELF-CONFIDENCE THAT WE HAVE. THEN SOMETHING ABOUT CHINA. THIS IS NOT THAT BASICALLY MANY OF THE PEOPLE WERE SAYING THAT THE WORLD HAS GOT TO BE CHANGING, THAT THEY'RE DISAPPOINTED IN THE CHINESE POWER BUT THEY'RE DISAPPOINTED WITH WHAT THEY SEE IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES. I DON'T KNOW. LISTEN, IN 1983, ONE OF THE BIG POLITICAL BEST SELLERS IN AMERICA AND IN FRANCE WAS A BOOK CALLED "WHILE DEMOCRACY WILL PERISH." IT WAS BASICALLY 1983. SO FROM THIS POINT OF VIEW, THIS KIND OF A CRISIS OF SELF-CONFIDENCE IS VERY NORMAL FOR A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY. BUT ON THE OTHER SIDE, I REALLY DO BELIEVE THAT CHINA IS A VERY FORMIDABLE KIND OF A COMPETITOR AND WE SHOULD TALK SERIOUSLY ABOUT WHAT IT FOLLOWS, WHERE ITS LEGITIMATE INTERESTS STARTS AND WHERE THEY END. IT'S NOT DEMOCRACY AND TOTALITARIANISM. COUNTRIES RESISTING CHINA IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD... VIETNAM IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY AND VIETNAM IS BASICALLY RESISTING CHINA'S INFLUENCE NOT BECAUSE THEY WANT TO SAVE DEMOCRACY BUT THEY WANT TO SECURE THEIR SOVEREIGNTY.

Steve says LET ME BRING YOU A QUOTE FROM THE ECONOMIST MAGAZINE, THEY QUOTED A VETERAN DIPLOMAT WHO SAID CHINA'S RULERS VIEW THE WEST AS ILL-DISCIPLINED AND WEAK AND VENAL AND ARE SEEKING TO BRING IT TO HEEL LIKE A DOG. DO YOU THINK THE CHINESE ARE WRONG TO THINK THE WAY THAT VETERAN DIPLOMAT CHARACTERIZED THE WEST?

Martin says YEAH, I DON'T THINK ALL DIPLOMATS THINK THAT WAY. I THINK DIPLOMATS ARE PAID TO LIE FOR THEIR COUNTRIES AND THEY DO IT HONORABLY, I SUPPOSE. BUT NOT ALL MEMBERS OF THE CHINESE DIPLOMATIC CORPS ARE PART OF THIS WOLF WARRIOR MENTALITY OF PRETEND SUPERIORITY. A LOT OF THEM UNDERSTAND THE WEST, WERE EDUCATED IN THE WEST, I WENT TO UNIVERSITY WITH ONE OF THEM. AND SO IT'S MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT. THAT'S IN SOME WAYS JUST RHETORIC. THIS WHOLE IDEA OF DEMOCRACY CRUMBLING, I THINK IVAN ADDRESSED THAT WELL. TIME WILL TELL. AND TIME HAS ALREADY TOLD THAT STORY. YES, WE DON'T HAVE THAT KIND OF RIGID DISCIPLINE THAT ALLOWS CHINA TO CLOSE OFF THE COUNTRY IN HALF A SECOND AND THEREFORE SUCCESSFULLY WE THINK MAYBE CHOKE OFF THE VIRUS, AS OPPOSED TO INDIA, WHICH IS A WILD AND WACKY DEMOCRACY WHICH I HAVE COVERED, AS I HAVE COVERED CHINA. SO YOU HAVE RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS HAPPENING SPREADING THE VIRUS. THAT IS A TERRIBLE PRICE TO PAY AND I THINK THE WRONG DECISIONS WERE MADE. BUT DEMOCRACIES AND DICTATORSHIPS WILL ALWAYS HAVE DIFFERENT OUTCOMES. THERE IS A TENDENCY IN THE WEST TO, LIKE EVERYONE IN THE WORLD, TO PLAY VICTIM AND THINK, OH, YOU KNOW, IS DEMOCRACY UNDER THREAT? IS CANADA GOING TO HAVE TO ACQUIESCE TO CHINESE HEGEMONY? OF COURSE WE WON'T. WE WILL PUNCH BACK AND PUSH BACK IN THE WAY THAT AUSSIES DO AND, YES, NEW ZEALANDERS DO AND SO ON. WE'RE NOT ON THE FRONT LINES OF THIS FIGHT. HONG KONG IS ON THE FRONT LINES OF THIS FIGHT, AND HONG KONG HAS FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES FALLEN. I'M SORRY TO SAY THAT BECAUSE I LIVED THERE FOR SEVEN YEARS WHEN I WAS BASED THERE. BUT HONG KONG HAS FALLEN BECAUSE IT WAS NEVER NOT PART OF CHINA. IT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE HANDED BACK. THE CHINESE HAVE MADE A PROMISE TENTATIVELY TO... IN A TREATY TO ALLOW FOR A DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION IF THAT'S WHAT THE PEOPLE WANTED. OOPS, THE PEOPLE WANTED THAT AND THE CHINESE CUT IT OFF. THEY CONTROLLED TIBET. ALSO ESSENTIALLY HISTORICALLY PART OF CHINA. WHERE THE UYGHURS. TAIWAN IS ITS OWN ENTITY, CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT, IT IS A FLASH POINT AND THE ISLAND THAT I HAVE BEEN TO AND I'VE SEEN THAT FLASHPOINT, THAT STANDOFF, TAIWAN WILL BE... IF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT DEMOCRACY IN CHINA, TAIWAN WILL BE AND IS NOW ON THE FRONT LINE OF THAT DEMOCRATIC CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS, IF YOU WANT TO PUT IT THAT WAY PITTING CHINESE DEMOCRATS AGAINST A CHINESE DICTATORSHIP. AND THE WEST IS NOT GOING TO, I THINK, ACQUIESCE TO IT BUT I DO THINK WE WILL HAVE TO THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT HOW TO INTELLIGENTLY AND CONSTRUCTIVELY AND FAITHFULLY SUPPORT DEMOCRACY IN THAT UPCOMING FLASHPOINT.

Steve says IN WHICH CASE, EMILY, GIVE US SOME IDEA OF HOW THE WEST MIGHT PUSH BACK AGAINST SOME OF THE THINGS THAT MARTIN JUST REFERRED TO? MAYBE TAKE NATO, FOR EXAMPLE, AS ONE OF OUR LONGSTANDING STRONG INSTITUTIONS. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THEM DO?

Emily says NATO IS A GOOD CALL BECAUSE SO MUCH OF CHINA'S RULE-SETTING AND CHEATING APPROACH HINGES ON MANIPULATING INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND IT THEREFORE BEFALLS ANY APPROACH TO TRY TO FIND ALTERNATIVES TO THOSE ORGANIZATIONS OR TO REWORK EXISTING ONES SO THAT THEY CAN BE USED TO COMPETE. BECAUSE WHETHER OR NOT DEMOCRACIES CAN FIGHT THIS FIGHT, CERTAINLY NO PLAYER THAT DOESN'T COMPETE WILL BE ABLE TO FIGHT THIS FIGHT. AND NATO IS SO PRIME FOR REPURPOSING. IT HAS A FUNDAMENTALLY COMPETITIVELY ORIENTED APPROACH AND IT'S A MECHANISM OF TRUSTED ALLIES AND PARTNERS. TO MY MIND, THE THING NATO COULD DO IS A MULTILATERAL APPROACH, FOCUSING ON EMERGING INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR NEW GLOBAL SYSTEMS. 5G IS LIKE THE OBVIOUS HOT BUTTON EXAMPLE OF THIS, BUT THERE ARE ALSO A NUMBER OF OTHER ONES THAT AREN'T AS DISCUSSED BUT ARE EQUALLY AS FOUNDATIONAL. FOR EXAMPLE, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LOGISTICS SYSTEMS. IT'S BORING, NOBODY TALKS ABOUT IT, BUT THIS HAS THE POTENTIAL TO DEFINE HOW THE GLOBAL SYSTEM WORKS MOVING FORWARD IN BOTH MILITARY AND CIVILIAN DOMAINS. AND THEREFORE PLAYS REALLY WELL TO NATO STRENGTHS. SO THAT COULD BE A BODY THAT'S REPURPOSED WITH A COMPETITIVE MANDATE FOCUSING ON EMERGING STANDARDS FOR THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION OR HOWEVER WE WANT TO FRAME IT, THAT'S ACTUALLY SOMETHING THAT CAN HAVE A REALLY STRONG AND POSITIVE COMPETITIVE INFLUENCE ON THE GLOBAL ORDER.

Steve says WELL, IVAN, LET ME FOLLOW UP WITH THIS: DO WE IN THE WEST HAVE ANYTHING THAT IS COMPELLING ENOUGH IN THE WAY WE ORGANIZE OUR SOCIETIES, IN THE WAY THAT WE ENJOY OUR FREEDOMS, THAT THE CHINESE PEOPLE MIGHT LOOK AT THAT AND SAY: WE WANT MORE OF THAT, AND THEREFORE, THEY POTENTIALLY REPRESENT A THREAT TO THE ESTABLISHED CHINESE ORDER?

Ivan says LISTEN, I THINK IN CHINA THEY'RE DIFFERENT PEOPLE AND WE'RE TALK ABOUT THE CONSUMER SOCIETY, ONE OF THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHINA AND THE SOVIET UNION IS THAT CHINA MANAGED [inaudible] AND BASICALLY YEARS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH. IT'S BEEN VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE LEGITIMACY OF THE REGIME. THE PROBLEM IS, CAN THE REGIME CONTINUE TO PROVIDE THIS? BECAUSE IF YOU'RE BASICALLY... YOU HAVE THE FEELING THAT YOU CAN ACHIEVE MORE THINGS IN LIFE, THEN HAPPINESS PROBABLY IS BECOMING MORE IMPORTANT FOR YOU THAN FREEDOM. IT DOES NOT MEAN THE CHINESE ARE GOING TO BUILD THE WORLD EXACTLY AS WE'RE BUILDING IT AND THAT [inaudible]. BUT I DON'T BELIEVE THAT THE CHINESE ARE VERY MUCH HAPPY THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE BASICALLY GOVERNED BY PEOPLE THAT THEY'VE NOT ELECTED. I'M SURE THAT MR. XI IS GOING TO STAY FOR THE NEXT TEN OR FIFTEEN YEARS, THEY'RE GOING TO BE SLIGHTLY EXHAUSTED BY A COUNTRY RUN BY THE SAME PERSON FOR A LONG TIME. SO FROM THAT POINT OF VIEW, I DO BELIEVE THE CHINESE SOCIETY IS MUCH MORE DEMOCRATIC AND MANY THINGS THAT THEY SEE IN THE WEST, OBVIOUSLY IT'S INTERESTING FOR THEM. WE'LL HAVE TO SEE HOW MANY CHINESE STUDENTS ARE COMING, HOW MANY CHINESE TOURISTS ARE COMING. BUT ON THE OTHER SIDE WE SHOULD ALSO BE VERY CLEAR THAT MANY OF THE THINGS THEY SEE IN OUR SOCIETY THEY DON'T LIKE. BUT HONESTLY SPEAKING WE ALSO DON'T LIKE IT. WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIAL INEQUALITY OR CORRUPTION, CHINA IS COMPETITIVE, THEY'RE DOING EVEN BETTER THAN US. BEING MORE CORRUPT AND MORE SOCIALLY UNEQUAL.

Steve says MARTIN, WE'VE GOT A COUPLE OF MINUTES LEFT HERE AND LET ME PUT THIS TO YOU. WE HAD ON THIS DEMOCRACY AGENDA SEGMENT, AS WE CALL IT, A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO PRESTON MANNING, THE FOUNDER OF THE REFORM PARTY OF CANADA, AND HE SAID HIS GREATEST CONCERN VIS-A-VIS DEMOCRACY NOWADAYS IS THE COMPETITION BETWEEN OUR WESTERN STYLE CITIZEN-DRIVEN DEMOCRATIC EFFORTS VERSUS THE KIND OF TOP-DOWN AUTHORITARIAN-LED DEMOCRATIC EFFORTS, IF YOU CAN PUT IT THAT WAY... I MEAN, THEY DO VOTE OVER THERE. ONLY ONE PARTY TO VOTE FOR BUT THEY DO VOTE. AND HE'S WORRIED ABOUT THE OUTCOME OF THAT COMPETITION. HE'S WORRIED WE'RE LOSING IT. ARE YOU WORRIED TOO?

Martin says WELL, I DON'T LOOK TO PRESTON MANNING... NOTHING... HE SAYS LOTS OF INTERESTING THINGS BUT I'VE NEVER REALLY BOUGHT INTO HIS GRASS ROOTS STYLE OF REFERENDUM DEMOCRACY, POPULISM. I'M A BIG BELIEVER IN REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY THAT ENTRUSTS OUR POLITICIANS OR ELSE WE CHANGE THEM. BUT I THINK YOU'VE RAISED SOME REALLY INTERESTING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TRAJECTORIES OF DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM, FOR WANT OF A BETTER WORD. THE GREAT TRAGEDY OF CHINA, FOR SOMEONE LIKE ME WHO HAS BEEN A CHINA WATCHER FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, IS THAT I DON'T THINK WE WERE DUPED BUT I THINK WE BELIEVED THAT THERE WOULD BE A PROGRESSION AS THE ECONOMICS AND THE OPENING TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD THAT COMES FROM TRADE AND EDUCATIONAL LINKS WHICH I MENTIONED EARLIER... I MEAN, THERE ARE SO MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CHINESE WHO STUDY ABROAD AND WHO NOW TRAVEL ABROAD. THAT'S A VERY RECENT THING. IT'S GOT FROM 10 MILLION TOURISTS IN THE YEAR 2000 TO OVER 150 MILLION TOURISTS A YEAR, MORE THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY AS A SOURCE OF TOURISM. STEVE, IF YOU GO TO THE LEGISLATIVE BUILDINGS IN TORONTO, YOU WILL SEE A SMALL BUS LOADS... WE'RE NOT A HUGE DESTINATION LIKE PARIS OR LONDON... BUT BUS LOADS OF CHINESE TOURISTS WHO LOOK AT THE PROTESTERS FROM FALUN GONG, DESCRIBED AS AN EVIL CULT IN CHINA. SUDDENLY THEY'RE LOOKING AT EACH OTHER. DO I THINK THAT'S INFLUENCING THE TOURISTS? NO. I DON'T THINK THE CROSS POLLINATION HAPPENS AT WARP SPEED. BUT THERE WAS AN OPENING. XI JINPING HAS CHANGED THAT FOR REASONS I BELIEVE OF A CONSOLIDATION OF POWER AND I THINK IT'S GOING BACKWARD. I DON'T THINK IT'S SUSTAINABLE. BUT OVER THE LONG TERM. BUT CLEARLY OVER THE SHORT TERM, MID-TERM HORIZON, CHINA IS GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. THE OPENING UP WE SAW AND THE SOFTENING OF THE ROUGH EDGES WHILE TRYING TO PROJECT ITS NATIONAL INTERESTS AND ECONOMIC INTERESTS, IT'S NOT GOING THE WAY WE WANTED, OBVIOUSLY, AND ALL COUNTRIES THAT DEAL WITH CHINA ARE SEEING THAT, IN PARTICULAR CANADA.

Steve says EMILY, IF YOU CAN GIVE ME THE LAST 30 SECONDS OF YOUR RESPONSE TO THAT? ARE WE WINNING OR LOSING THAT FIGHT FOR THE HEARTS AND MINDS AROUND THE WORLD VIS-A-VIS OUR STYLE OF DEMOCRACY?

Emily says THERE'S BEEN A TURNING POINT OVER THE PAST YEAR. THERE HAVE BEEN A SERIES OF WAKE-UP CALLS THAT ARE POTENTIALLY WATERSHED MOMENTS. I THINK COVID AND CHINA'S COVERUP IS A PRIME EXAMPLE, IN CANADA THE TWO MICHAELS, AND XIJIANG, I AT LEAST WOULD NEVER HAVE EXPECTED TO BE THE FLASH POINT THAT ACTUALLY RAISED AWARENESSES AND HECKLES ACROSS THE WORLD BUT IT HAS TURNED OUT TO BE ONE. I THINK THE TIDE IS TURNING ON HEARTS AND MINDS.

The caption changes to "Producer: Wodek Szemberg, @wodekszemberg."

Steve says EMILY de la BRUYERE, MARTIN REGG COHN, IVAN KRASTEV, REALLY GOOD OF THE THREE OF YOU TO JOIN US FOR THIS DEMOCRACY AGENDA SEGMENT ON TVO TONIGHT. THANKS SO MUCH.

Martin says THANKS, STEVE.

Ivan says THANK YOU.

Emily says THANK YOU.

Watch: Can Democracies Withstand the China Challenge?