May 10, 2022
Chan Heng Chee
President, Eurasia Group
Former Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
From climate change and supply chain issues to the digitalization of the economy and a rise in inflation, global risks are rising in 2022. Addressing these challenges requires close coordination between the private and public sectors.
During a panel discussion on day one of the 2nd annual Global Forum, Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sat down with Her Excellency Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Singapore, and Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group, to discuss these ongoing geostrategic risks and how business and government leaders can
There Are Many Pressures of Decoupling in the Face of Global Challenges
Ambassador Chan recommends thinking of decoupling in two ways: the geopolitical decoupling threatening to take place and the geo-economic decoupling.
“The Ukraine war forced a … new world order with the United States and Europe on the one side and China and Russia on the other side,” she said. “When you look at the UN vote happening at that time, many countries … voted to uphold the UN charter [and] were against violation of territorial integrity and so on.”
However, Ambassador Chan added, far fewer countries adopted sanctions, aside from Western countries with allies.
“I believe very many countries want to belong to what I call ‘a third space,’” she said. “That is, they don't want to take sides. They want to reserve the right and independence to support a U.S. initiative and a Western initiative if it’s in their interest, or a Chinese and Russian initiative if it is in their interest.”
“They do this because if have a sense of agency, they have a sense of their self-interest, and they don't think is contradictory,” continued Ambassador Chan. “I think as time goes on, you're beginning to see this grouping.”
“The framing of this conflict as one of autocracies versus democracies is decidedly unhelpful,” added Bremmer. “The developing world is not on board with it, there's no international community on this issue, there is advanced industrial democracies together, and that's about it.”
Bremmer added that the United States leads the world in many ways, from technological innovation to global military capabilities. However, he said, “democracy is not one of them.”
“Presently, that's the weakest suit in America's hand,” Bremmer said.
The U.S. and China Must Be on the Same Page about Technology and Data Protection
Ambassador Chan noted that while all countries use technology, not all of them are on the same page about data protection. For instance, the United States has a laissez-faire approach. At the same time, Europeans emphasize the protection of the individual and data privacy, while China prioritizes the greater and common good.
“Then there are countries like Singapore which say, ‘We are for the greater good, we’re pro-innovation,‘” Ambassador Chan explained. “We try to take what's best out of these, and we come up with our own model.”
However, as each country comes up with its own data protection acts, Ambassador Chan stressed the importance of developing global digital rules to ensure everyone is working together.
“There must be rules of the road,” she said. “You cannot develop rules where the United States and China are not at the same table. … If they are going in different ways, it's not for the good of all.”
From the Series