On January 16th 2013, the Paris Office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States co-organized, with the Policy Planning Department of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an inter-ministerial expert roundtable at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for GMF Senior Advisor Daniel Kliman’s presentation of the Global Swing States Report. The report was discussed by Professor Christophe Jaffrelot, Senior Researcher at CERI-Sciences-Po and expert on South Asian politics, and an open discussion was then engaged with experts of the French MFA.
Report co-author Daniel Kliman first presented the results of the research, explaining the choice of Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey as the four “global swing states” and highlighting the main domains in which the United States and its allies should engage these states to secure and develop the world order. He tries more specifically to show how European partners could play a role in this strategy and what they would gain by working more closely with these four nations at the international level.
Analyzing the report, Professor Christophe Jaffrelot developed three main remarks, expressed in the form of three questions: can we rely on these countries to defend the values we would like them to defend, why not thinking to engage existing groups of swing states such as IBSA rather than preferring bilateral relations, and what are we really ready to give them in return to their active promotion of the current global order? Through these three interrogations, Pr. Jaffrelot highlighted what he thought were the limits and the potential of the Global Swing States report: he insisted on the necessity to think beyond a solely state-to-state approach and reminded the audience that it was now up to the Western powers to answer these states’ queries and to offer them a better status in international institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, the UN and the WTO. He also pointed out that some of these swing states – and notably India – would remain very cautious to not alienate China and would therefore be reluctant to take further stances to protect the global order if it is perceived as a way to oppose the Chinese endeavors on the global stage. Finally, Pr. Jaffrelot underlined the importance of the debate the Global Swing States report aims to open, as he shared Daniel Kliman’s opinion about the need for a new Western perspective towards emerging powers.
During the discussion, Daniel Kliman was asked to develop more precisely his positions regarding the integration of new countries as permanent members of the UNSC, and to share his views on the role the EU should play in this engagement with emerging countries, as well as on the real potential for cooperation on non-proliferation issues with the Swing States, and more specifically on the Iranian crisis. Other questions dealt more notably with the Turkish case, as French officials questioned its status of global swing state and of game-changer in the Middle East in the case of its integration in the European Union.
About 30 French officials and members of different departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Policy Planning, Political Affairs, United Nations and International Organizations, South America, North American, European Affairs) were present in the attendance, along with representatives of the Brazilian embassy.