Lawrence Summers, the ex-Treasury Secretary, expressed concern over the “worrisome” indications that the United States is forfeiting its global clout, while other dominant nations are forming alliances and gaining popularity among unaligned countries.
“There’s a growing acceptance of fragmentation, and maybe even more troubling, I think there’s a growing sense that ours may not be the best fragment to be associated with,” Summers said on Bloomberg’s “Wall Street Week” with David Westin.
During the spring meeting of international financial leaders in Washington, Lawrence Summers spoke on the sidelines. The central topic of discussion at the gathering was the potential “fragmentation” of the global economy as the United States and its affluent allies strive to restructure supply chains, diverting them from China and other strategic rivals.
“Somebody from a developing country said to me, ‘what we get from China is an airport. What we get from the United States is a lecture,’” said Summers.
While the International Monetary Fund and World Bank held their spring meeting in Washington, the President of Brazil, the twelfth largest economy in the world, paid a visit to China, underscoring the growing ties between the two nations.
The bi-annual gathering in Washington, D.C. occurred shortly after Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other OPEC+ members surprised the world by reducing crude-oil production, adding a new hurdle for developed nations such as the US and euro zone, who are attempting to curb inflation.
Lawrence Summers emphasized that the strengthening connections between Russia, China, and the Middle East, including the recent reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, signify a substantial obstacle for the United States.
“We are on the right side of history, with our commitment to democracy, with our resistance to aggression in Russia,” said Summers.
“But it’s looking a bit lonely on the right side of history, as those who seem much less on the right side of history are increasingly banding together in a whole range of structures.”
Washington will need to consider how to address this new challenge, he added. The structures of the IMF and World Bank will also be a key longer-term issue, he said.
“If the Bretton Woods system is not delivering strongly around the world, there are going to be serious challenges and proposed alternatives.”