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Despite unrest in the Middle East, economic uncertainty in Europe and the persistent threat of aggression and terrorism from Russia and Iran, the world is safer now than it has been in any point of our lifetimes, says John Major, the former British prime minister.
Major, a member of the Conservative party who led the United Kingdom from 1990 to 1997, gave the keynote speech Tuesday during Zions Bank's annual trade and business conference in Salt Lake City, giving a rundown of global economic affairs.
His key point was that the interconnected nature of governments and business has all but snuffed out the threat of another world war.
"We all need one another and more than ever before we are all dependent upon one another," he told the crowd who had just finished their lunch at the Grand America Hotel. "During a turbulent time that is surely a very comforting thought."
Major also had a positive view of the United States' position in the world. Despite a massive national debt and a fractious political system, he said, the United States is in the midst of an impressive economic recovery and has taken great strides toward becoming energy independent. As the United States has experienced this growth, China has seen its economy slow down.
"Politically and diplomatically, the U.S. is still immensely powerful. Militarily she can not be challenged in a serious war," said Major, whose father lived for a time in the United States. "However China grows, whatever the European Union's fate turns out to be, and however the Brazils, the Indonesias, the Turkeys of this world comport themselves, overall, and by a large margin, the United States is still the biggest kid on the block."
Major expressed cautious optimism about the nuclear negotiations with Iran, saying that if a verifiable deal is struck, it would be a major step toward bringing a "pariah state back towards, [if] not into, the international fold."
China is part of those negotiations and has increasingly become a player on the international stage. He said China, the European Union and the United States are not "soul mates" but they are the world's biggest markets and together they will continue to lead the world.
His advice to the business leaders in the crowd was to continue to expand, noting that the world is expected to add 2 billion people by 2050.
"Don't be satisfied with the market you've got, look at the market you don't have," he said. "It is a huge world."