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

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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.

America can play an active role as conciliator between Japan and China just as it did in Europe between France and Germany and between Germany and Poland – but without the direct kind of military involvement on the Asian mainland that the US has had in Europe. Perhaps the better analogy with respect to the US and China is the role Britain played in the 19th century as a stabilizer and balancer on the European continent.

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