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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

#Tomorrow13 The World Order: Facing Tomorrow's Challenges

This is a liveblog of #Tomorrow13's The World Order: Facing Tomorrow's Challenges. I had to leave to go to a meeting for a couple of hours and now I'm back at the conference. Miri Eisen is moderating. The first speaker is Stuart Eizenstat. By the way, this is the only panel in which all the panelists have come here from abroad.

Eizenstat says that the world is now multi-polar. The old G-7 has been superseded by the G-20. Israel needs to adapt and is beginning to do so by deepening its relations with other countries. Israel has $10 billion in trade with China, a country that has no history of anti-Semitism.  The US is no longer a rising power, but it will remain a power to be reckoned with for a long time. Only country that project air, sea and land power everywhere. Defense spending still more than the next 15 countries combined. Within five years - if not less - US will be largest producer of natural gas and by 2020 will produce more crude oil than Saudi Arabia, which will lower energy prices and make US more competitive.

China has its own problems.

Globalization is a major force, powered by the internet and the digital revolution. This is a net positive for Israel because Israel is adaptable.

How to manage the struggle for the hearts and minds of 1.6 billion Muslims. Eizenstat says that we shouldn't view this as a battle between the West and Muslims - rather it's a battle within the Muslim world itself. Arab revolution has aggravated this by bringing political Islam to power. Has had dramatic influences on alliances that US created over six decades. Those alliances are now shattered.

US and Israel have opportunities from this crisis, and need to grab them. Israel has important indirect role. Has to reach a rapprochement with Turkey. For sure Turkey started this in Davos when Erdogan walked out on Peres. The Mavi Marmara could have been resolved two years ago, and the agreement still has not been implemented because of a dispute over money.

If Israel can demonstrate that it can be proactive on 'peace process' it will help moderate Arab states. He admits that 'Palestinians' may not be able to make compromises now but should not stop Israel from demonstrating that it can make compromises. Advocates 2002 Saudi plan and says that we should dismantle outposts and allow only 'natural growth' in 'settlements.' (Sound familiar? See the previous post).

Eizenstat says that the delegitimization issue has added an economic element because Europe is our number one export market and what we're seeing is European multinationals refuse to invest anywhere in Israel because of Arab boycott. As we speak, 14 foreign ministers are calling on European Commission to impose labeling requirement on 'West Bank,' which is an incentive not to invest anywhere in Israel.

Cites Richard Falk saying HP, Elbit and others should be boycotted. (Does anyone listen to Falk?).

Because Israel is not alone, for almost all the issues he mentioned Israel has the same interests as other countries in the region.

Josef Joffe up next.  Threats today not as bad in many ways as threats of previous generations. But Russia is back and that means that the 19th century is back. Russia gives great stuff to teach International Politics.

Other not good news from Obama's America - proposing to contain and neutralize itself. Leading from behind in Libya and not leading at all in Syria. No great power has ever done this to itself before, and what we may now be facing is creeping anarchy. For the first time since World War II, the US is involved in nation building at home. Putin and Khameni have reached the conclusion that opportunity beckons from Obama's America.

Antony Leong next. He's actually from Hong Kong. Chinese have great admiration for Jewish people. Why does China have so many fewer Nobel prize winners than Israel? Lots to learn.

China will grow 7% per annum for the next decade if not longer. China has to increase domestic consumption. Urbanization will bring lots of room for growth. Urbanized consumers consumer more. Only 50% of Chinese urbanized - typical western country is 75-85% urbanized. Seek similarities to other countries, but allow differences to coexist. Whenever there's a problem, US thinks of law, logic and relationship. China is reversed.

Five factors young people are seeing in tomorrow: Globalization, new technology taking away jobs, huge debt burden in most western countries (especially where there's one person one vote), inflation, aging population.  In the last ten years in the US, 1% of population has captured 40% of wealth created.

Leong says we have to think about what kind of education we provide our young people, what jobs we find for them, and changing from a wealth creation bias to a wealth distribution bias.

Professor Dominique Moisi is next. 21st century will not be Asian or Chinese century. This is the first time a company has come to prominence without a universal message, only concerned about itself. And China won't do it: If China doesn't fight corruption, it's doomed, but if it does defeat corruption, the party is doomed. But three key words give hope in the continuation of Chinese growth. Decadence, fear. (Sorry - I missed the first one).

No American century. Europe being fragmented. But too early to bury Europe.

(Sorry but I am really wiped out...).

Ambassador Terje Rød-Larsen is next. Population growth, technology and identity are mega trends that are changing the world. He believes that the Middle East will maintain its centrality in geopolitics but what defines everything has changed. Israeli-Arab conflict no longer defines every conflict in the region.

The key to Iran is not the nuclear issue but that Iran's aim is to dominate the region. Iran's nuclear program is just a tool. But if they get nuclear weapons, the NPT will collapse and everyone else will seek nuclear weapons. Note that no one really worries about Israel's nuclear weapons because everyone knows that Israel doesn't want to dominate the region (as you read that, keep in mind who this guy is).

Moderator asking questions. Larsen says that the UN is losing its legitimacy and that's unlikely to change because Security Council permanent members unlikely to give up their status. Eizenstat says we've created an interdependent world where the seven countries that make cell phones cannot go to war. There are two great threats to US leadership to which it must step up by the end of this year: The Iranian nuclear threat (cannot let negotiations drag out while centrifuges spin; military solution better than nuclear Iran) and Syria (where if Hezbullah and Iran are seen as victors, it will have drastic consequences for the rest of the world).

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