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Nina Hachigian is a Senior Fellow at American Progress. Based in Los Angeles, she is the co-author of The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive as Other Powers[…]

Nina Hachigian on the next American century.

Nina Hachigan: Well, given the reality that we have these new, big powers on the scene, our recommendation for the United States is to follow a policy called Strategic Collaboration, and there’s four elements. And the first is Compounding American Strength. So, basically, solving some of the problems that we have here at home, doing a better job of educating our kids and getting universal healthcare, and a number of other things, all for very specific foreign policy reasons, not just because they’re the right thing domestically. The second is developing relationships with these powers that are on the basis of a partnership, so we might not like them, but that we ought to approach them as partners in trying to solve some problems that we collectively share, and that we all want to solve, like terrorism, contagious disease- so that’s the second element. The third is to try to lead these powers toward constructing a more robust world order. The world order- all the organizations that really carry U.S. water are in deep trouble and some were flawed from the beginning, but they are all- they all need attention and the fact is that all these powers benefit from them being strong, so that’s the third. And then the fourth is to cover our bets, because we don’t know, at the end of the day, what the trajectory of these powers is going to be. The United States has not a great record in terms of trying to predict who’s gonna be the next big power. We- you know, we thought it was Japan in the 1980’s and we thought it was Russia- we thought it might be Germany, we thought it might be unified Europe and all those, you know, faded away, and now it’s China that’s our focus, and we don’t know what China’s trajectory is. China doesn’t know what China’s trajectory is, so it makes sense to think about thirty, forty years from now, to not discount the possibility that an aggressive China might emerge. But the fact is that our policies toward China now will be a key element in making sure that does not happen.

Recorded on: 5/14/08