For the first time since the end of World War II, no country or strong alliance of countries has the political will and economic leverage to place its goals on the global stage. This vacuum may encourage, as in previous historical periods, the ambitious and the aggressive to seek their own advantage. In such a world, the absence of a high-level agreement on creating a new collective security system—one focused on economics rather than the 20th-century dynamic of military power—is not merely irresponsible but dangerous. A G-Zero world without leadership and global cooperation is an unstable equilibrium that threatens both economic prosperity and security. The argument that we live in a G-Zero rather than a G-20 world should not be taken as a normative statement. It is rather just an analytical statement of the world we are in rather than the world of cooperation we should be in. Since most global issues are transnational, with global spillover effects, the need for dialogue, coordination and cooperation is more necessary than ever. And it is possible that the great powers will realize that most global issues—economic, trading, financial, security—are not a zero-sum game but rather a positive-sum game, where mutually beneficial agreements can and should be reached. But true dialogue may require less rigid and bureaucratic fora, where true dialogue and robust discussion may eventually lead to cooperation and agreement on a wide range of issues that includes not only governments but also non-governmental organizations and representatives of the private sector. That is why fora such as the 21st Century Council can be less formal and more substantial spaces, where there is the real dialogue and debates that are necessary precursors to eventual international cooperation and coordination can take place.

more from Nouriel Roubini at NPQ here.