The president of the world’s largest political risk consultancy firm says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can talk until he’s blue in the face about democracy and human rights, but it’s not going to make a lick of difference in China.
“Justin Trudeau has been exceptional on the global stage in talking about human rights, in talking about diversity, in talking about, sort of, whether it’s gay rights, or women’s rights or all the rest,” said Ian Bremmer in an interview with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos.
“None of this plays in China. They can’t stand this stuff, and Canada’s small.”
Bremmer, whose Eurasia Group consultancy recently released its annual list of the top 10 geopolitical risks, said Canada can probably establish strong bilateral relationships and trading partnerships in many nations, but China “isn’t one of them.”
WATCH: Trudeau wraps trip to China without a trade deal, detained Canadians
Pursuing a trade pact with the economic powerhouse isn’t risky, he cautioned, just hard.
“Certainly Justin Trudeau embodies this idea of rule of law and openness and liberalism. But China is the opposite of that, and increasingly it’s the Chinese model that seems to have more pull,” Bremmer noted.
Overall, he added, China’s rise to the status of world power has prompted a fundamental shift in the global order that’s extremely destabilizing, and happening much faster than anticipated. The election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency has flung the door open for China as it seeks to assume a global leadership role.
“Clearly we were moving towards a world (where) American leadership was going to erode,” Bremmer explained.
“But the Trump presidency, his lack of capacity on foreign policy, the massive disagreements that are getting leaked all the time between himself and members of his national security team, all of that leads to a more precipitous decline of U.S. influence globally.”
Bremmer also addressed the threat of nuclear programs in both North Korea and Iran.
He said the likelihood that one or both of those nations could reach a tipping point in terms of nuclear development or attacks this year is increasing.
“You want it to be a lottery shot, and it’s not,” Bremmer said. “The potential for miscalculations to cause very significant geopolitical confrontation — the kind that we haven’t really experienced since 9/11 and haven’t experienced from a state since the Cuban missile crisis — those things are real in 2018.”
– Watch the full interview with Ian Bremmer above