Zbigniew Brzezinski writes: If we wish to reflect on the common challenge inherent in the ongoing transformation of global politics, we would be wise to start by recognizing what I believe to be the three fundamental facts of the present era. First, global peace is threatened not by utopian fanaticism, as was the case during the 20th century, but by the turbulent complexity inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening. Second, comprehensive social progress is more enduringly attained by democratic participation than by authoritarian mobilization. Third, in our time global stability can be promoted only by larger-scale cooperation, not through the imperial domination prevalent in earlier historical epochs.
The 20th century was dominated by fanatical ideological efforts to recreate societies by brutal totalitarian methods on the basis of utopian blueprints. Europe knows best the human costs of such simplistic and arrogant ideological fanaticism. Fortunately, with the exception of some highly isolated cases such as North Korea, it is unlikely that new attempts at large-scale utopian social engineering will arise. That is largely so because in the 21st century, for the first time in human history, the entire world is now politically awakened. The peoples of the world are restless, they are interconnected, they are resentful of their relative social deprivations, and they increasingly reject authoritarian political mobilization.
It follows that democratic participation is in the longer-run the best guarantee both of social progress and political stability. In the global arena, however, rising populist aspirations and the difficulties inherent in shaping common global responses to political and economic crises combine to threaten international disorder to which no single country, no matter how powerful, wealthy or strategically located, can effectively respond. Indeed, potential global turmoil—coincidental with the appearance of novel threats to universal well-being and even to human survival—can be effectively addressed only within a larger cooperative framework based on more widely shared democratic values.
The basic fact, therefore, is that interdependence is not a slogan but a description of an increasingly insistent reality. America realizes that it needs Europe as a global ally; that its cooperation with Russia is of mutual and expanding benefit; that its economic and financial interdependence with a rapidly rising China has a special political sensitivity; and that its ties with Japan are important not only mutually but to the well-being of the Pacific region. Germany is committed to a more united Europe within the European Union and to close links across the Atlantic with America, and in that context it can more safely nurture mutually beneficial economic and political cooperation with Russia. Turkey, which almost a century ago launched its social and national modernization with Europe largely as its model, is assuming a greater regional role as an economically dynamic and politically democratic state, as well as a member of the Atlantic alliance and Russia’s good neighbor. And Russia, recognizing that its modernization and democratization are mutually reinforcing and vital to its important world role, also aspires to a broader collaboration with Europe, with America and, quite naturally, with its dynamic neighbor to the east, China.