Parag Khanna: Well, the #1 reason for a lot of influence in those countries is not the fact that we [the USA] have had a military-driven strategy in the Middle East.
Second world countries are everywhere from Malaysia to Colombia. It's not just about the perception that we are acting imperially in a distant part of the world. There is a lot more to do. It’s not seeing the benefits of the American engagement and investment in those countries, while actually seeing larger pay offs and more efficient payoffs from dealing with China or Europe.
And the fact is that, even if we get our act back together, it doesn’t mean that Europe and China will disappear. They will continue to do what they do, so the most we can hope to achieve is to stabilize our position, but we have to recognize what others are doing and construct more attractive packages for each second world country.
The reason I wrote this book [The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order] is because I wanted to show what countries think and what they want, in a case by case basis, and say, before we craft a policy towards country X, let’s first look at what it wants rather than just what it has and what we wanted to do, and if we have a better understanding of what they want to be able to, craft a more attractive packages and incentives and offerings to them.
I think that’s the process that's only just beginning, they answered you hearts and minds' questions is really a derivative of that.
Recorded on: 3/3/2008