Parag Khanna: I think we should do better than just demand that countries develop sustainably. I think that we should help them do it. I think that we should be providing the leap-frogging kind of technologies that allow them to industrialize, but still remain energy conscious. We have those technologies and they are expensive. We need to provide them at a certain cost, or low cost, or package them together with our investments in those countries.
They will be grateful in the long run. Progressive leaders will say, here, we are getting a package of investment that includes high technology, that allows us to modernize and increase the value of our exports while not damaging our own national health or infrastructure resources.
So it can be win-win if our policies are more broad-minded in that. It doesn’t really help to tell a poor country that they have to assert universal or at least nationally human rights or labor standards when they don’t even have the capacity to enforce any other kinds of laws; that’s just dreaming.
We need to help the countries actually do it. And if we show that care and depth of policy and concern and hand-holding working together with partners and training countries as partners, I think will go a long away.
Recorded on: 3/3/2008