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Brzezinski: Can democracies thrive with financial systems that are out of control?

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Gardels: A two-speed Europe?

Brzezinski: Why not? There is nothing wrong with a Europe that is in part and simultaneously a political and monetary union at the core, which accepts the leading role of Brussels, surrounded by a larger Europe that doesn’t share the single currency but does share all the other benefits, for example the free movement of people and goods. That is consistent with the post-Cold War vision of an expanding Europe whole and free.

Gardels: Japan changes prime ministers every few months. It is coasting into a retirement trap based on the accumulated wealth of the past and not looking forward. Is it possible to keep such a Japan within the West, or will it drift toward the Chinese center of gravity?

Brzezinski: I feel confident about the authenticity of Japan’s commitment to democracy. Its political culture is now more Western than its traditional political culture. But, of course, Japan is in the East. A good relationship between it and China would contribute immensely to stability in the Far East, and to a better US-China relationship.

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