Transcript: The State of the World with Janice Stein
[A faded logo for the Canada School of Public Service is on a beige background. Text overtop reads, “Canada School of Public Service Presents.” Geometric linking shapes swirl across the beige background, surrounding videos of groups of people and spinning wind turbines. On a distant graphic of the Earth, lines connect different areas of land to one another.]
Narrator: Humanity's most pressing challenges are transitional in nature, transnational in scope, and transdisciplinary in solution. The Canada School of Public Service sat down with Professor Janice Gross Stein, founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, to better understand the current state of the world.
[A photo depicts Professor Stein with her full title. This is followed by a series of clips, including an explosion, US Army missiles on a tank, and the World Trade Center burning.]
Listen to one of the world's foremost thinkers explain some of the most pivotal inflection points since World War Two and what it means for us and Canada going forward.
The State of the World with Janice Stein.
[Text on the beige background reads, “The State of the World with Janice Stein.” The screen fades to black. It is replaced with a murky background of a Soviet Union flag over the American flag. Yellow text overtop reads, “Describe the state of the world during the Cold War.” In a video window, Professor Janice Stein sits in a home office. She is a white woman with grey hair, and she wears a black long-sleeve shirt. Behind her are shelves and a side table, all filled with books. As Professor Stein speaks, footage and video clips are interspersed with the recording of Stein in her home.]
Janice Stein: So, the Cold War, as people lived it, seemed to be an all-out immersive, intensive experience, largely as a result of the fact that it is the first major competition that took place within the framework of nuclear weapons.
[A black and white photo depicts an engineer in a gas mask working on a missile. In a grainy video clip, narrow planes fly low over the ocean].
And nuclear weapons were so frightening because for the first time in human history, we had the capacity to obliterate ourselves.
[In black and white videos, massive clouds of smoke erupt from explosions.]
So, when you read history from this period, it seems this all-encompassing, terrorizing experience where kids in schools were taught to hide under their desks when nuclear exchange broke out.
Now, with the benefit of history, it was far from that. It was actually a limited competition between the Soviet Union and the United States. Now limited, I mean, it took place within constrained domains. It was an all-out security competition and ideological competition between the two, but it largely left—not entirely, but largely left societies untouched. It largely left economies untouched and aside from military technology, it largely left civilian technologies outside the boundary of the competition.
[On a dark background of a bomb exploding, yellow text reads, "Were there any existential threats to humanity during the Cold War?"]
For me, it gets broken into two very different phases, from the time it really starts to escalate in the late 40s until after the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
[A black and white photo depicts a cabinet meeting with John F. Kennedy, followed by a photo of Nikita Khrushchev meeting Fidel Castro.]
Those were the most dangerous years, and why were they so dangerous? People were just beginning to understand what this new technology meant, the nuclear weapons technology. We're struggling really hard to figure out the rules of the road. It got tested in a crucible of a crisis in 1962.
[Footage plays of US military missiles being carried on a tank. A map highlights Cuba. In a photo, John F. Kennedy meets Nikita Khrushchev.]
Coming out of that crisis, both sets of leaders began to develop some tacit but nevertheless real rules of the road for how they would behave in future crises. And that sense of ominous danger really began to recede. Where there episodes? Yes, really fascinating ones in the early 80s. But by and large, from 1962 until 1989, we knew which highway we were on, and the drivers who were supposed to stay in the right lane stayed in the right lane.
[A photo of John F. Kennedy speaking is followed by a photo of Nikita Khrushchev speaking.]
And oncoming drivers, they stayed in left lane.
[Text reads "Describe the balance of power during the Cold War" on a background of soldiers on a beach.]
We had a funny hybrid from '48 to '62. This was an imperial system. The Soviet Union was functioning as an empire in Eastern Europe, where it extended its influence and its control deep into the heart of Europe and then solidified that control behind borders. The United States was the leader of the Western Alliance. It was establishing rules of the world within its way.
[A map outlines the positions of various nations during the Cold War in 1959.]
So, on top of the Westphalian State System, it was familiar to us where states had autonomy in theory in their foreign policy. On top of that was this imperial structure, and the rules were different for the superpowers than they were for the rest of us. If you were a superpower you functioned on top of that structure, and you had enormous sway and influence. For the allies, the smaller allies living inside those structures, there was a whole different set of foreign policy challenges. And interestingly enough, and this is going to tell us something about the future, the challenges for the smaller but important allies in each sphere was, "How much autonomy can I rest back from the leader of my alliance?" So, it wasn't only the other superpower that was the threat; there was always this dance with the leader of your own alliance to pull back and recapture as much autonomy as possible.
[In black and white footage, a group of Indian people walk outside. Hundreds gather and sit together.]
Many of these states, and of course, led by India in 1948, comes out of the colonial experience and again imbued with a fierce sense of independence. If you look at Indian foreign policy for the first twenty-five years of its history, there was one imperative: strengthen our independence.
[In a black and white photo, Indian president Jawaharlal Nehru meets a government leader. In another photo, an Indian official digs a trowel into the ground in front of a crowd. More photos depict Nehru meeting various governments' officials.]
And it was called, and rightly so, a non-align because alignment was understood as a sacrifice of independence. There's a large bloc of powerful countries, although both Soviet Russia and the United States underestimated how important they are and would be. We're talking about India. We're talking about Indonesia. We're talking about Nigeria. I mean, when we look forward into this century, the 21st century, these are all countries of weight and significance. But we look in the history books of the Cold War, which are mostly written by Westerners, frankly. So it's quite a one-sided history.
[Overtop an American flag and a Soviet flag with their leaders in the era, text reads, "Describe American and Soviet Union relationships toward the end of the Cold War."]
So, first of all, I would describe it as they designed a set of seatbelts. So, these were no-go zones. So you did not interfere in the other superpower's backyard. And it's really interesting because we tend to think of this period as such an ideological purity, but it was very pragmatic.
[A photo from the Dutch National Archives depicts a dozen men in plainclothes hanging off of a truck. Half of them are armed.]
So when Hungary explodes, of course, Hungary explodes in '56, but let's take Czechoslovakia in '68.
[Another black and white photo depicts two dozen men on and around a tank.]
In what was a fundamentally bottom-up democratic revolution, the US steps back and everybody in Europe, in Western Europe stands back. So that's what I mean by the seat belts. There were rules of the road that you observed, and the Soviet Union never really engaged in the same way again in Latin America and South America, the way it had in Cuba. And so you got, actually, tacit recognition of zones of influence. And you do that—why do you do that kind of thing? You do that because you want to control the traffic because you recognize that the risk of friction is just too great. So you don't challenge each other.
[An American flag and a Soviet flag fly, their poles crossing over one another.]
Even while both of them were saying to their own domestic publics, "we are in all-out ideological conflict and virtue is on our side and the arc of history is going to bend our way."
[In a black and white photo, Nikita Khrushchev raises his fist in emotion during a speech. In a colour picture, Ronald Reagan is in the oval office with a US government official.]
And Soviet leaders said that all the time and US leaders said that all the time and domestic publics supported their government in the belief that that was the case, even while leaders were extraordinarily pragmatic and prudent throughout that whole period. So the dominant narrative was very different from the practices when you look at the practices.
[Over a photo of Ronald Reagan, a quote reads, "'It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history... [It is] the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.' -Speech to Britain's Parliament, June, 1982, Ronald Reagan." This is followed by a video clip of thousands gathered at the Berlin Wall. A man beats at it with a pickaxe. At another section, the crowd cheers as a portion of the wall comes down. Text reads, "Did the fall of the Berlin Wall mark what Fukuyama called 'The End of History'?"]
Even at the time, it was the most widely read article, it seemed to capture the moment, right. And it had a terrible title, "The End of History."
[A black book is labelled, The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama. In a photo, Fukuyama sits at a garden table with a newspaper on it. He is a Japanese man wearing a dark suit and red tie.]
There's a kind of hubris about that, right? Who would think that history ends? And so what he really meant that this was the triumph of democratic capitalist. That, you know, socialism was vanquished as the Soviet Union disintegrated into splintered parts. And his view of why the Soviet Union had split apart was because of its authoritarian structure. And that's an interesting argument sometimes, again, we don't pay attention to.
[A government official gives a speech. Soldiers gather in their camo gear. A military ship rolls into water and the soldiers set out on it.]
In the United States and in the West, the feeling was, well, it was the overwhelming military superiority of the West that drove the Soviet Union to overspend and bankrupted it. That's a very limited view of the internal dynamics inside the Soviet Union. And Fukuyama's perspective was better, although not there. His perspective was, no, no, it was these authoritarian politics which made the system so rigid that it actually was unable to innovate. And when we left behind the period and economic history where industrial production was enough to push you to the level of a great power, which is how the Soviet Union really became a great power. And we began to move into the area of information technology, information revolution, Soviet Union could not compete because of its authoritarian structure.
[Over a sculpture with the Soviet hammer and sickle, text reads, "How does Sam Huntington describe the Post-Soviet Era in his book?"]
So, but here's what's interesting about his book, as opposed to Fukuyama's.
[Samuel P. Huntington's book appears: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. In an author photo, Huntington smiles. He is a white man with greying hair, red glasses, and a tweed suit.]
He never saw an end to history. There is no end to history for Huntington. The level that he worked at was not the state level where we started, it's at the civilizational level. He argues there are civilizational cultures that create agglomerations that go way beyond things like states in this world. And he saw the West clearly as a civilizational culture, which it is. It sees itself... the state architecture is a piece of it, but fundamentally it's much more about the way we live our lives in society and in relation to the state than it is about the state.
[In a black and white photo, thousands of people gather at Mecca. In a colour photo, a man stands on the balcony overlooking the crowd. Two dozen people sit in front of a mosque.]
And he saw Islam as a civilizational culture, which it is. I mean, Islam is a way of life for people who practice it in which the state plays a role, but it's a subordinate role, again. It's not the principal driver of history. And in that, from that perspective, he was getting something profoundly right that others had missed.
Where the argument goes wrong is he saw an inevitable bitter and generational conflict coming between Islam and the West. And what does the book miss? It misses centuries of interaction between the West and Islam, where each gives to the other, each learns from the other.
[In black and white footage, scientists work in a lab.]
And there are periods, as we know, when science in the Arab world was way ahead of Western science and scientists in Britain learned from scientists who came from the Muslim world, and then that the current flows the other way. Art, literature—there is so much interpenetration, and that's what the book really missed.
[Huntington's book cover pops up again.]
All these books that are become icons of the period that defined the zeitgeist of a period are always oversimplifications, right? And this one is the same.
[Over an American flag, text reads, "Describe the United States in the Post-Soviet Era."]
That's a really, really interesting period in American politics because, as I said, this is a period of triumphalism.
[A photo depicts Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration. Hillary and Chelsea stand with him. In another photo, Clinton gives a speech.]
And if you look at the Clinton administration, which would govern the United States, well, most of this period, for eight years, this was probably this was a regime on steroids and it was the high watermark of what we have come to call globalization. Which, and just to let me go back and draw a picture of a century. Globalization, which is the exchange of goods, services, people, ideas, data, everything, took off in a recent period in 1870, reaches a high watermark in 1914, and then the war disrupts it. And interestingly enough, it does not reach that level of 1914 until about the early 1970s. That's how long it took to knit back together trade and foreign investment and movement of people and new ideas. And so it starts again to reach those levels in the 1970s, but takes off in the 1990s.
[Various government officials meet. High-tech machinery moves car parts in a factory.]
And so the world of integrated supply chains that we know today, trade growing faster than the global economy that characterized the first decade and a half of this century, that world is created in the 1990s when the United States sees it overwhelmingly in its interest to push hard for open global economy.
[Text reads, "How did 9/11 change the world?" over a photo of the Twin Towers.]
This is a profound shock to the United States, profound. It's difficult to overestimate how shocked the United States was.
[Smoke pours out of the top floors of the World Trade Center. Another plane hits, and flames engulf the second building.]
The United States is a large continental power, separated by everybody, from everybody but us by oceans. And we've never been much of a problem for them, frankly. And no attack on the land mass of the United States since the War of 1812 when we, with the British, burned down chunks of Washington. That is a long time. It's two hundred years when the United States was immune from any attack on its land mass. And then this attack comes, and as you say, it doesn't come from a state with overwhelming military power or with weapons of mass destruction, which is what everybody had planned for and thought about and invested in. It came from civilian technology.
[The video clip of the plane attack replays.]
And that is that's what starts this century, that there is no longer any separation between civilian and military technology. Almost everything is dual use if you only have the imagination and the creativity to use it that way.
[In a grainy photo, Osama bin Laden speaks. A machine gun leans against the wall behind him.]
And the 9/11 attackers had imagination and had creativity. And look at the sophistication, in a paradoxical way, of what they chose to attack. They went first in the person. They didn't attack the Pentagon, but that was not their first object of attack. The first was the heart of global capitalism, which was the World Trade Center.
[Black smoke pours out of the Twin Towers. One of the buildings collapses to the ground. Massive clouds of smoke billow over New York City.]
That was not by accident. And all of a sudden this threat didn't come from outside, only it also came from inside. And that's when the world starts to close down right after that. The promise of open borders, free movement of peoples, frankly, that dream died on September the 11th. That era was over. And we get what I think is the defining characteristic of the decade that we're coming into because the future is always rooted in the past. We don't invent, we just strengthen some and weaken others. And what comes out of 9/11 is what we call securitization.
[At an airport, a woman goes through a metal detector and a TSA agent waves a handheld detector over her body. Suitcases are scanned in a machine.]
Everything becomes a potential national security threat. Box cutters, pilot schools. All of a sudden, arenas that would never have been of any concern to the national security establishment become a huge concern. Monitoring social media, where does that start? It started after 9/11.
And so you got NSA and CSC in Canada expanding its remit to listen in on chatter under the flimsiest of pretext, frankly, because all of a sudden chatter within your own society can give you a clue about links outside. And all of this is among civilians.
[George Bush gives a speech. In an office, Dick Cheney watches a news report. In a desert, a soldier wields an automatic weapon.]
So you get the blurring of lines now. And national security expands to encompass almost all conceivable civilian activity. And when technology becomes dual use, you're in that world.
[A question reads, "How does the Internet change this new century?" over a photo of a person typing on a laptop.]
The Internet, when it starts to grow—it was started by the military, as we know, by the Pentagon—it was just a way to hook up computers in universities that were working on very abstract problems, and it grew out of that.
[In a black and white photo, two people work at an old computer with a thick monitor and a table of buttons. In another photo, four people look at an early computer's external tower system.]
But when it begins to reach civilians, there's this euphoria. And if you go back and you read what people are writing about the Internet in the 90s, we were all going to be publishers because all of a sudden the intermediaries fell away. And we can write blogs and we could email. We were going to be more globally connected. It wasn't only going to be government to government and trade to trade. It was going to be citizen to citizen.
[Three people work at a modern three-monitor computer setup.]
We were going to reinvent democracy because all of a sudden, citizens had so much power and they were just intermediated. We didn't have these gatekeepers anymore. You didn't have to rely on your national newspaper to publish your op ed. You could do it yourself.
And there was this moment of euphoria, democracy, and it fit neatly with this broader narrative that democracy had triumphed, that democracy was the arc of the future. All those lines working around together. Now again, after 2001, slam the door on that. "Oh my, all these 19 attackers planned the attack on the Internet, we just weren't looking, we weren't monitoring. Oh my, the Internet is not a safe place. Bad things are being planned on the Internet and we need to find ways to monitor what's going on."
[George Bush sits at a conference table with a dozen men, including a high-ranking military officer.]
And that's where the Internet, that is one of the earliest harbingers of where the Internet is going to go. It takes us to the huge problems that we have today. It is a very, very important virtual world, but it is not a world where Democrats who can ignore borders thrive, frankly.
[Scissors cut into a $20 bill. Text overtop reads, "How did the 2008 financial crisis affect the world?"]
That's, I think, that... 9/11 starts it and 2008, 2009 reverses globalization. We know that, and we'll talk about how we can measure that afterwards.
[A USA Today newspaper headline reads, "Dow plunges 778, parties point fingers as rescue fails." A Daily News headline reads, "Wall St. in crisis," with sub-headings "Fools on the Hill vote down bailout" and "Dow takes biggest point plunge ever." Outside a Scotiabank, a man stands by a digital sign. Text on it reads, "TSX 12474.14. -295.44."]
But, you know, just to think a little for a moment about what went wonky, you know, we could describe what went wonky as, "Oh, this or this just happened by accident. It was random." It wasn't. People were deliberately selling mortgages when they knew the people who were buying them could not pay them back. And they were seducing people to buy the mortgages by very artificially low interest rates that would go up within 18 months to two years. And they knew the people who were doing it had no—there was no reasonable basis that those people would pay them back.
[A building's sign reads "Lehman Brothers." A man brings outside picture frames outside from the lobby while a crowd of people take pictures. More people bring full cardboard boxes down to the lobby and outside.]
"But who cared? Because I was going to get my bonus this year on how many mortgages are sold" and "Oh, by the way, in case anybody looked, let's make this as un-transparent as possible. Let's slice them up and repackage them and sell them as securities." Which is what happened, because then you would really have to dig in order to see what was inside that package that was all wrapped up with a bow that seemed such a good investment.
And the reason I tell the story this way is there are two very large consequences that came out of 2008-2009. One is really well known, which is globalization simply takes a huge step back.
[A photo depicts the European Parliament building. In another photo, Angela Merkel meets with a politician.]
The rest of the world looks at this and says, "What superpower? What model? Is this a model for the future? Fundamentally a system that allows this to happen and then export its crisis to the rest of the world. And the Europeans don't fare very well either, because, frankly, their banking system is worse.
[Professor Stein laughs.]
I don't—maybe worse is too far. Maybe I should say "as bad." But the structural problems and liquidity problems in many European banks was just as bad as the United States. And so the rest of the world looks at this and says, "Hey, hold on a moment, maybe this is not for me."
[People walk past a digital sign reading, "FTSE 100. 4682.04. -2.84%. Europe, Asia Fall as US..."]
And so trade drops as a proportion of the global economy never recovered. Foreign investment drops, relatively speaking, never recovered as a proportion of the global economy. And with a combination of close borders that are not as open, you get a retreat of globalization. And people were stunned.
Now, if you know any history, this is not the first time that globalization is retreating. We've always had periods of accelerated globalization followed by retreats, they just vary in length of time.
[Barack Obama sits at his deck in the Oval Office. At the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy, three officials huddle together while two others convene nearby.]
But there's a second part of the story that I don't think gets as much attention as it should: nobody paid a price for what happened. And that's a crushing blow in a democracy which is built on citizen trust of government institutions. And what happened, and voters are—I always say voters are much smarter than we think they are. What really happened here is banks were bailed out. So the risk was socialized, as we say, but the benefits were privatized. And if you look at who suffered most in 2008—not dissimilar from the period we're living in now. Who suffered most from 2008-2009?
[A foreclosure sign hangs outside a house. On a street, protesters hold banners reading, "Foreclose on banks, not people. Occupy Wall Street."]
Everybody who lost their home, who might probably should not been a homeowner, again but nevertheless, their expectations were raised. They took every cent they had saved and invested and lost it all. And looked around and said, " Who is responsible for this?" Nobody, nobody was held accountable. And I think that is the biggest single mistake of the Obama administration. If nobody is ever responsible for wilful misbehaviour as opposed to a mistake, democracy is in big trouble.
[Text reads, "What does the Syrian refugee crisis tell us about the current times?" over a photo of dozens of refugees at a barbed wire fence.]
We have literally three quarters of the Syrian population who are officially refugees or internally displaced. The country's in ruins, and it was the combination of all those waves that start after 9/11 and wash up in a storm in Syria.
[Dozens of people trek along railroad tracks in the countryside. By a forest, people wrap themselves in aluminum blankets.]
When I saw those waves effectively a walk by a million people who were desperate into Europe. That was a defining moment for Europe. Is Europe what it says it is, which is—are they open democracies that are genuinely multicultural in the sense that we in this country use that word? Frankly, no, they're not.
[In a photo, Angela Merkel stands at a podium with a male politician.]
That's what they told Angela Merkel, who is the Chancellor of Germany, who said we can do this. She was right that what they could do was build housing and provide food and create jobs. But she was wrong that the Germans wanted the kind of real cultural diversity that would come with the influx of that kind of immigration. And you saw the visceral response on the ground. You saw countries like Hungary putting up fences, "Don't come here. We are Magyars."
[A Hungarian official gives a speech, followed by a French politician.]
Marine Le Pen derives so much political energy from people who talk about French history and French civilization. So, French history and civilization is something you export to those who have to join you in the arc of history. But that narrative is not consistent with importing others into the center where they have the opportunity to change your own culture. And both of those reactions, the urge to export your own values and refusal to import others, just ignores, as I said, a thousand years of history before the modern times when cultures were intermeshed and exchanged and people moved. In a paradox way, ours is the most closed period in history.
[Over a photo of Donald Trump, a question reads, "How does the election of President Donald Trump reshape the United States?"]
What Donald Trump does is launch an all-out onslaught against the order that the United States built from '46, really, to '49. So, he attacks institutions that the United States had built in the world because virtually every single presidential administration from Harry Truman on down is convinced that the United States pays a price that is heavier, but it does it because it's bigger and more powerful. And that is a good deal because the United States benefits from peaceful, open world.
[Donald Trump gives a speech. At an event, dozens of people sit behind Trump. A sign above them reads, "Buy American – Hire American." In the Oval Office, Trump signs a document with a marker.]
Donald Trump is convinced that the United States is the principle victim of an open world. And he literally takes a hatchet and wrecks as much damage as he can in the four years that he's in office, along with the message that he repeats over and over and over to American voters, which reaffirms their intuition, "The system is rigged. The system is corrupt. The system is rigged in favour of the elites. It deliberately is set up so that you small people like me—" which of course is a joke, but leave that aside "—you small people are always going to get the short end of the stick with this system."
[Two Donald Trump tweets pop up. The first, from May 2, 2018, reads, "A Rigged System – They don't want to turn over Documents to Congress. What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting? Why such unequal 'justice?' At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!" The second tweet, from June 22, 2020, reads in all capitals, "RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!"]
And you hear that over and over and over for four years, and it culminates in Save the Steal, and an all-out assault on the Capitol in January.
[Hundred of people swarm the Capitol building. Some wave confederate flags and Trump 2020 flags. The air is thick with smoke.]
You can trace the line, you trace the line right through from 9/11 through to 2008-2009 to Donald Trump to that assault on the Capitol.
[On China's flag, text reads, "Describe the recent rise of China."]
China is, in fact, one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Very proud, very proud.
[A Chinese temple sits amid a forest, which borders a massive city. The Great Wall of China stretches for miles along bumpy hills.]
And just as Americans tell themselves they are the shining city on the hill, and it's a profound belief that Americans have. Chinese tell themselves that they are the oldest, richest, most sophisticated civilization in the world. And everybody else needs to pay tribute, whether it's financial tribute in the days or in our own world today, whether it's the kind of cultural tribute that recognizes the sophistication and the contribution of their civilization.
[Boats pass through a canal in a high-tech Chinese city.]
In that broad narrative of Chinese history, there's a hundred and fifty years. Let's start when the West forces its way into China because it was a military stronghold. Forces open ports, starts to trade in opium. And we want to talk about the Purdue of one hundred and fifty years ago—those were Western navies that forced their way in and imposed the most humiliating terms on China.
Now, why do I tell this story? That narrative of humiliation lives in every Chinese journalist or scholar or businessperson that I have met. It is just beneath the surface. And if there is one thing that unites Chinese people right now it is, "Never again. We will never again be humiliated by the West Wing. That was an anomaly in our history." So when they talk, "how did this happen?" They talk about their recovery which really begins, first of all when the Chinese communists take power and stop the civil war, because when you're bloodied in a civil war your economy doesn't grow.
[Chinese citizens pass by Mao Zedong's portrait hanging on the Tiananmen gate. Deng Xiaoping shakes hands with a naval officer in a row of hundreds of sailors.]
But then there was a disastrous period of leadership under Mao, which was ideological and resulted in millions and millions of death and famine. So the contemporary period begins under Deng Xiaoping, who does what leaders in the West have done, he opens up its economy and he establishes trading ports along the coast, hoping to limit the internal disruption.
[On a port, huge machinery moves cargo. In factories, workers package food and sew clothing.]
We'll keep those open ports just along the edge there, and we'll reap the benefits and China became the factory to the world. Now, how did that happen? It happened because in the United States and elsewhere, globalization. "Great! Just in time delivery. Let's assemble our products in nineteen countries and let's find the cheapest and the best place and oh, by the way, let's engage in tax arbitrage so my company pays the minimum of corporate taxes wherever it is." And we get these globally integrated supply chains. And that's what allows China to break through the extreme poverty and become what it is today, an economic powerhouse and a technological powerhouse.
[Over a world map, text reads, "How will the world change over the next decade?"]
One, that nice separation between security and economy, gone.
[Professor Stein chuckles.]
And that's why when we look back at the Soviet Union, that was easy. That was the easy one. This is much harder. We can't siphon off the conflict and say, "OK, we'll continue," because the economies are so intermingled. Technology, no more single use military technology or not much. Mostly dual use. So how, then, do we engage in partnering on technology when all the technology we produce can be dual use? And we—9/11 started that conversation, but it's always almost the whole virtual world that we live in that is so fundamental now to our economic future and our social future is a world we share until now with the Chinese.
[On a map, lines bounce off one another and connect to different areas.]
But is that a world that we're going to continue to share with the Chinese or are we going to try—and this is what we see in my field, we see the reterritorialization of the Internet where states are moving to re-impose boundaries on the digital world just like we do on the physical world.
And finally, what we're seeing, and it's interesting, we did not see this under the Trump administration—and this is going to sound so funny for some of our listeners—but we are now seeing the emergence of ideological conflict. Not from China alone...
[Professor Stein laughs.]
...but from the Biden administration.
[Joe Biden stands at his desk in the Oval Office. In a newsroom, he gives a speech.]
President Biden is saying, "This is a conflict about fundamental values. This is about democracy. This is about our most cherished values and we are in all out fight." Now, when you escalate a conflict—"our relationship is all about fundamental values that I cherish and I will die to defend because they are so important to me"—you narrow the room.
[Over a photo of Joe Biden, a quote reads, "'This is a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies. We have to prove that democracy works.' -Joe Biden." Over a picture of the Canadian flag and the Chinese flag, a question reads, "How can Canada build a better relationship with China?"]
For us to live with China, we need to do two things: we need to affirm our own values for ourselves, and we need to allow China to affirm its values for itself. And not have a naive expectation, as Frank Fukuyama, did that there will be a point of convergence where we will construct a universal civilization. That's never happened. We've never had a universal civilization. We've had hopes for it. We've had myths about it, but it's never happened. And if we can frame it that way, we then can do the hard-headed analysis. What do we—and I talk about Canada now because the United States will make its own decisions and we will be implicated in those decisions because we're always implicated in what the United States does, but we still have a voice—what is in our core national interest?
[Justin Trudeau meets with a Chinese government official. In a meeting room, Canadian and Chinese politicians sit across from each other at a long conference table.]
Is it all right that the Chinese embassy threatens Canadian citizens who happen to be Chinese in origin? No, it's not because that conflicts with our fundamental democratic values, to give an example. And so we take the strongest possible stand because it is core. That is different from a discussion, frankly, of what China does inside China. Now, those are subtle distinctions, but we have to return the discussion of democratic values to where they belong, which is to us. And we have to understand that this century is going to be about living among others who hold a different view of history and value a different way of life. And that's going be hard.
[Over a waving Canadian flag, text reads, "What is your advice for Canada moving forward?"]
We are small. We're thirty-eight million. We are small, we need to understand that the world is hard for us.
[Water flows by Ottawa's Parliament building. Two Canadian flags are mounted on a building's façade.]
I've said we are going to go through a harder period in the future than we've ever been through because the fortunes of history were such that when we were born, Britain ruled waves and we derived advantages. And when Britain was exhausted by WWI, we just transitioned seamlessly to a superpower that was on the way up. And we had one hundred years under the US umbrella. That period is over. And in the Biden administration, you hear it. Yes, there is support for international institutions, but there is also "Buy America." There is also a lot of Trumpian tones in the language. I hate to say this because when you show this I will get infuriated emails from people.
[Professor Stein grins.]
But it is about, "We will protect American workers first. The elites do not work in our advantage. I am a little man. I am one of you." There are populist undertones to what Biden says.
And so Canadians have to understand that the world—that America is going to be less friendly than it has been and that the world will be less friendly than it has. And two things I think, really come out of that. The first obligation of any government of Canada is to enhance the security of Canadians and the prosperity of Canadians. And so a lot of what we took for granted came to us because it was easy. We could look across the border and the border was open and we could grow and we could be secure.
I think the first thing we have to understand is that the easy ride is coming to an end. And so we have to develop muscle to make hard choices about where we're going to invest our scarce resources to advance this country's economic opportunities and to provide the kind of protection that Canadians need.
[Cell towers stand high in the countryside.]
So, we are having a discussion in this country about who builds our digital infrastructure. What country would allow anybody but first themselves or their friends to build a digital infrastructure? I don't know why that has taken more than five minutes, frankly. And that's what I mean by hard-headed, clear-eyed discussion.
Secondly, we have to do a lot of work on improving our own democracy. And improving our governance and our institutions because we will need to be more nimble, more risk taking, more entrepreneurial and more accountable to our citizens all at the same time. And, boy, that is hard to do and that's going to take energy and investment.
Thirdly, we're going to find interests, converging interests among like-minded.
[Windmills spin on a farm. The sun shines on huge rows of solar panels.]
So, Canadians care a great deal about climate change. When we look at our publics, and that was a great evolution of public opinion. Well, China's likeminded on climate change. So if we want to build a like-minded coalition to advance a global climate change agenda, China's part of that coalition. We care a lot about democracy and fundamental human rights. China is not part of that coalition with us. So we have to start becoming far more sophisticated in the way we articulate what is fundamentally important to us and be nimble enough to invite to the dance whatever partner is going to advance that court and not expect that we're going to have a stable set of partners across all issues to make life easier for us.
[Professor Stein's video fades out. The animated white Canada School of Public Service logo appears on a purple background. Its pages turn, closing it like a book. A maple leaf appears in the middle of the book that also resembles a flag with curvy lines beneath. A URL reads, canada.ca/school. The government of Canada Wordmark appears: the word "Canada" with a small Canadian flag waving over the final "a." The screen fades to black.]