The development of China was the result of miscalculation, stated Vladimir Yakunin, the co-founder and chairman of the Dialogue of Civilizations think tank, in an interview during his recent visit to Geneva.
Vladimir Yakunin was a guest of the Club of Leaders meeting that took place in Geneva on 29 October 2018. According to the former head of Russian Railways, an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, it is time to review the place of Russia on the international scene. He has just released a book, The Treacherous Path, in which he talks about his personal experience and his vision of modern Russia.
On the world stage, US President Donald Trump naturally retains the attention of this influential Russian. “Mr Trump is constantly presenting himself as a saviour, the economic saviour of the United States. But he forgets to say that state debt is increasing drastically, much more so than in previous years. He tries to hide this despite the fact that in comparison with other countries, the US economy is declining. It is on a downward slope. It seems like the US economy is doing well but at root it is a debt economy. The United States of America face the same problems as the global world does.”
When we want to talk about the trade crisis between China and the United States, everything depends, according to Mr Yakunin, on the angle from which we look at the situation. “The United States has taken an active part in creating the Chinese economy to facilitate its own consumerism, providing technologies and financial tools. So, for me it is not appropriate to say that China is losing in this trade war. The fact that it has risen to this level of economic development and political independence is the result of miscalculation.”
“Before Donald Trump, the American presidents indeed considered the development of China as a challenge to counter the Soviet Union. But now, everything has changed. To my mind, sanctions resulting from economic war help neither political life nor economic life.”
Creating a new UN
One of the important traits of Switzerland in the eyes of Vladimir Yakunin is hosting hundreds of international organisations, starting with the UN. “Promoting peace, dialogue, the wellbeing of people … these are essential elements of our world. So, I think it’s necessary, as I already had the opportunity to express, to create a platform to restore what has been betrayed, what has been diminished in recent years.”
The Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, of which Vladimir Yakunin is a co-founder, wants to be an “incubator of innovative ideas where Western thought meets the emerging world and fosters an alternative approach to shaping a just, sustainable and peaceful world in a constructive and non-confrontational way”. One particular way of doing this is the Rhodes Forum on Multilateralism, which the Berlin-based institute organised in early October.
translated from French, view the original text.
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Dr. Vladimir Yakunin speaks on public policy and governance in Eurasia at Peking University