Anne-Marie Slaughter on America’s Urgent Challenges

Slaughter: The challenges the United States faces right now are greater than at any other time in my lifetime and probably comparable to what we face in the 1930s where you had an economic crisis, but you also had numerous possible security crises around the world and those were both driven by ideology in those days, Marxism, Fascism, Communism, but also great power rivalry.  So, today, we’ve got traditional problems, so, you know, Russia invades Georgia, that’s pretty traditional politics where you’ve got to deter other powers from using military force.  You’ve also got to ensure with the rise of China and India that the systems stay stable, because you don’t have to think China and India are threats.  I don’t.  But, if you look at your history, when new powers rise, old powers often get nervous.  The good part of that story is when the Unites States rose, Great Britain was able to move over.  The bad part of that story is that when Germany rose, we had World War I and then World War II.  So, you still got all these traditional issues and you have to look out for those.  But then you have an entirely new set of problems.  First, non-state actors, so we’re the first generation ever where individuals can do the kind of damage that only states could do before.  If a terrorist group got hold of a nuclear weapon, they would be able to do more damage than any major attack by any state unless it were an all-out nuclear attack.  So, that’s a whole new set of problems, and it’s not just terrorists.  We always focus on terrorist, but actually their global criminal networks of money launders and arms traffickers and drug traffickers often that can be connected to terrorist groups, but also trafficking in women and children which is a rising phenomenon that is in many ways like the slavery of our time.  And then, finally, we have the problems of Mother Nature herself, so climate change is obviously the one we are thinking about most, but I always tell people that when I wake up in 4… I always tell people when I wake up at 4 in the morning and worry about what could kill my kids, I’m actually more worried about bird flu, global epidemics are a very real threat.  So, you’ve got traditional state-to-state threats, non-state actors and Mother Nature makes for a very complicated picture.

Anne-Marie Slaughter details the challenges ahead.

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