tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg July 4, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
an annual budget of more than $600 billion. his academic background may surprise you. he studied medieval history at yale and earned a doctorate in theoretical physics at oxford. i am pleased to have him back at this program to talk about the pentagon and american defense policy, the middle east, and asia as we look to the future. welcome. is it surprising that you with your background ended up and turned national security? >> i came in at it through the physics side. there was in the generation older than i an ethos that goes back to the manhattan project. they said if you were a physicist and had the knowledge that you had some responsibility to advance humankind with your knowledge. that was a little germ that was planted in my professors.
that is what got me into the national security business. >> where do you go now? >> i am enjoying right now the luxury of sleeping through the night and being with my wife and my dog and reconnecting with technology, with learning, and with business. things i've done in my previous career. i have a career or two left in so i am going to take my time. >> it will enable you to apply that in some new directions. >> it is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to sit back and reflect a little bit on the world because even though as the secretary of defense, you may say you have access to this information and
you do. we have more information than anybody else but it is all in the sphere of national security. for me, it is wonderful particularly in technology and catching up in some areas that i didn't have time to keep track of when i was in office. >> is the idea of how we fight wars and how we have influence as a world power changing rapidly? >> i think it is. the united states in particular, i think, we are used to a situation in which our voice and our influence on a situation is decisive. >> and essential. >> i would argue still essential. we are necessary to the solution of many world problems, but we are not sufficient anymore. part of that -- that doesn't have to do with the power relative to others but it has to do with how the world works, how widespread technology is, how widespread social media are. the ability of people everywhere to participate more. that means that our power and
our influence are conveyed in a different way. when you're looking at a situation -- iraq today, syria today, afghanistan and so forth -- the way you approach them in today as the united states is to recognize we are a necessary, but usually not sufficient force to affect the policy objective we are seeking. we have to work with others and we have to work with other parts of society. we've learned a lot in the last years with war in iraq and afghanistan by working in coalitions, working with civilian populations, working with nongovernmental populations, partners and so forth. >> is there an obama doctrine? >> i cannot speak for the obama administration so i don't want to do that. i think something that is very important, was very important to me and still is and to the
president and the country as a whole, is to recognize that we had over the last decade a necessary and very almost single-minded pre-occupation with the wars in iraq and afghanistan and with building our counterterrorism activity. that has been essential to do. now, it is a time to look up and look around and get out of that foxhole and look at the problems and opportunities that are going to define america's future. that takes you to the asia-pacific, new kinds of domains like cyber that are changing the way force can be applied but also peaceful measures can be applied. we are at a pivotal time strategically speaking for this country.
>> i thought the idea of the pivot to asia took place several years ago. at least it was enunciated as a guiding principle of the government. >> i agree. i think that is a very important principle of the obama presidency. it is one of those things that, i think, you need to look at in a long-term way. about half of the population of the country lives in the asia-pacific -- half the population of the world. half the economic activity happens there. the military emergence of japan. the eventual rise of china. all of this is good and has -- will contribute to the prosperity of americans going forward. the interesting thing about the asia-pacific region is this --
it is a region where there are still deep animosities. you see these between the koreans, japanese, chinese. wounds of world war ii. no security structure or architecture the way nato acted to heal the wounds of world war ii in europe. yet, it has enjoyed decades now of peace and stability which in turn led first to the japanese economic miracle, then south korean economic miracle and then southeast asia. today, china and india to rise and prosper. that was possible because there was an overall environment of peace and security. that is not to be taken for granted going forward. i believe, and i think this
helps with the pivot, a key ingredient is that peace and stability which allowed the asian economic miracle has been a pivotal role of american military power in that region. i think we need to keep that going in the decades ahead. it is not that i think conflict with china is inevitable, cold war, hot war, that would be very undesirable. there is enough shift in the power dynamics that we need to make sure there was a stabilizing force. our continued presence in a way that signifies continuity is important to all our allies and friends and all the countries in the asia-pacific. >> by treaty, we are committed
to japan. >> south korea, australia. we have committed to thailand as well. the oldest treaty of all. they are security partners. china, which i think in our objective is to have what used to be called a responsible stakeholder, but a partner in guaranteeing the security around the world. they depend more on middle eastern energy than the united states does. >> since bob zelick uttered those words, have the chinese accepted them and taken notice of them? that they believe in that so they want to be a responsible stakeholder. >> there is some ambivalence because of there was a part of chinese friends that i talked to which says this is a -- we have a good thing going, a peaceful climate in which we've been able to develop our society
economically and politically. that is a good thing. there is another piece of chinese opinion which harkens back to what they call the century of humiliation and a period when they felt like a world system was created despite them without them. they had no role in its creation. they want to contest that. i think there are differences of view in china and within the minds of individual chinese strategists. i think the objective of american policy to the extent we can have any influence is to make the internationalists and participatory impulses prevail over the grudging and historical tendencies. >> there is the question of russia making this energy deal with the chinese to supply them with energy.
could that be the beginning of a better relationship between russia and china which would be fearful to us? >> i think it is the beginning of a richer economic relationship between the two. i don't know it will be warm politically and i don't think it will be anything we have to fear. certainly in the economic sphere, russia is looking for new markets for its energy. china is desperate for new sources of energy. the russians and the chinese have always had plenty of things that separated them historically as well. >> ukraine. you knew it well. you went there with president clinton. >> i did. i went there many times actually because i was running a program at the time which was the
denuclearization of the world. the consolidation of all the nuclear weapons back into russia. i went there many times and it was always clear to all of us first that ukraine was itself a mosaic. there was the eastern ukraine which long associated itself linguistically and every other way with russia. western ukraine, different. it was clear that russia would always have a problem adjusting to the collapse of the soviet union. what had been the polish question after world war ii would have become the ukrainian question as russia, as moscow's western frontier moved back and became ukraine. now you see that erupting in the contest which was originally between the eu and putin over ukraine.
now seems to be in a situation that one hopes it gets down at some point. what you worry about in a situation like this is a -- we are one incident away from this flaring up again. a tactical decision taking it to a local level. a decision to create an atrocity, a massacre, an incident. if we do not have that, i hope that president putin understands that the reputational and the economic penalty to russia over the long term for doing anything drastic in ukraine will not be worth it to russia. one hopes that --
>> do you assume he does it? he has a bit of, you know -- it is also quoted that the worst thing to happen in the 20th century is the fall of the soviet empire. >> he is exceptionally clear about what he is thinking. what one doesn't know and what he may not know is what the long-term consequences -- right now, it is popular for him to keep this, stirring this pot. it is popular for him back at russia. i don't know about the months and years to follow whether the economic isolation, if it sticks, and the reputational loss, which i think is serious and maybe even irreversible. it would suggest that this
adventure is ill-advised and future ventures are also ill-advised. we are one incident away. >> do you ever expect crimea to ever going back to be part of ukraine? >> i don't personally expect that to be reversed. we are talking about what we are doing from here or further instigation of separatism. >> what do you think would be an acceptable solution for putin? >> i think he wants to, i'm guessing now, make sure that ukraine never becomes part of a military bloc. >> let me move to the middle east and isis. put it in the context of whatever happens in syria and where assad is today. should we have done more -- we did do more, would it have made a difference in terms of an opposition force to assad that was not so outmanned by radical
extremists? >> i think the hard thing to know about the syrian insurgency right along was what composed it? what was its internal composition? we didn't know. i don't think we ever understood exactly. this was a shifting group of -- shifting number of different groups with different views, beliefs, and so forth. i do not believe -- i at least knew either that assad would be ruthless as he proved to be. there were others involved also whose behavior has been not always transparent or predictable. some of the neighbors who have been supporting various actions. there are lots of forces
involved. now it is become regionalized further with the metastasis into iraq where it marries up into a different set of -- >> if we had done more, might it had not -- isis might not have gained the kind of momentum that it did to go into iraq? with the connection so strong, you can argue what happened in syria was a real contribution to what they are doing in iraq. >> i think if the syrian war had raged out of control for four or five years, clearly an environment in which a group like isis could arm itself and propel itself into western iraq. >> ukraine jihadists. >> it would not occurred. it is trickier to know what leverage the united states or any of the other many participants in this might have had over that situation given the intransigence of assad, the
support of russia for assad, and the crazy quilt nature of the insurgency against him. >> did you support doing more when there was a real move to provide aid two and a half years ago? >> i always thought it would be difficult to understand what the breakdown of the opposition was. >> if you supplied weapons and you wouldn't know what happened to it. >> you needed to know -- i think a better approach for us was and is now to work on the political side with those who surround syria rather than on the military side simply because the ultimate solution has to be a political one.
the military tool is a trickier one. >> should iran be at the table? >> i think they have their hand in both of the pots. it is part of the situation. >> and a solution? >> yes. >> bring me to isis and how you see it and what has to be done. you have enlightened me in you have written about the central power position of tribal leaders. >> the -- here again, you have a situation in which the collapse of the iraqi security forces was directly the result of the unwillingness of people in western iraq to believe that the iraqi security forces were there to protect them, that were on their side which in turn was a failure of the government of iraq to truly communicate it was
an evenhanded, multiculturally, evenhanded government. that was an objective the u.s. had in iraq. it failed in that objective to the extent that people in western iraq in this period even if they had back in 2006, 2007 when the u.s. was there in great numbers, people refused to side with the iraqi security forces. that is what left the door open for isis to come in. >> is this a correct -- some of the people supporting isis are the same kind of people that supported the united states at the time of the surge. they switched from al qaeda to the united states. they gave up on al qaeda and didn't like the way al qaeda
conducted itself and didn't like the ruthlessness of it all. >> one hopes something like that occurs again, if they turn against isis. there is another thing then and now which is there has to be an attractive force in baghdad that is a government that signifies to them it is protecting all sects in all parts of the country. >> was it a failure of intelligence not to know how strong isis had become and how they used their gains so well in terms of how much money they've incorporated by taking on the banks of places they capture and once again, creating a situation where there was support for them in syria and now that support extends.
a whole network of people that supported al qaeda. >> it is undoubtedly true that isis surprised everyone with the rapidity with which they were made to cause the collapse in the iraqi security forces to the west of iraq. i think that surprised isis as well. again, the underlying cause of that really was the unwillingness of the iraqi security forces to fight and the unwillingness of the population there to support a fight for now, at least, against isis. why was the population unwilling to support? >> they regarded that as a fight. >> the maliki government aggressively pursued them.
>> that more than anything else is the underlying cause of this. >> what should the united states do other than simply pursue a diplomatic solution involving the neighbors and the parties? >> i think that is the main thing. there has to be a political solution to this. ideally, that would result in a successful, multiethnic government of the territory of iraq remaining. that is the paramount thing. we are not going to get a military solution to this. i think our advisors who are there will give us insight, some influence there, but that's the most important benefit of having them there. it is a political struggle as it is in syria.
i think the main thing is to focus. the united states policy, which is what we are talking about, important as it is will be influential, but it will not be controlling. it is necessary, but not sufficient. >> what if there had been 15,000 american troops left behind in iraq? would this be happening? >> i don't think that anything anybody might've done in the years past would've been effective had it not been -- had maliki not succeeded in transcending his own sectarian beliefs. what i think maliki as shown is how mired in sectarianism he is and how hard it is for him to rise above that. that is the critical ingredient here.
>> he basically made a point to say the united states -- he had an order that had not been fulfilled. that is something you would know about. >> i do know about it. the issue there was always training the iraqi pilots. i actually met some of them when they were being trained. it has more to do with maliki wanting to spread the explanation for the collapse of the iraqi security force. >> how much influence does iran have in iraq? >> i think it has a lot. >> is that to be feared because they are there with lots of militia coming in.
>> it depends on what it is being used for. if iranian influence is being used to try to create or re-create in iraq a tolerant, multi-sectarian or nonsectarian government in the state of iraq, that is something that is congruent u.s. interests. if it is going to fan the flames of sectarianism -- >> we want leaders to tell us which it is. what is the intent of iran? >> i think iran so far has behaved in a way that has tended to reinforce maliki's sectarian tendencies. that has been unfortunate.
>> over the years since the united states left. there is the question of the use of drones. how do you approach this? >> recently and consistently, people have raise the question of whether drones are an appropriate tool in the counterterrorism toolbox. the thing i always try to ask myself is first of all is the objective here which is to strike someone who is attempting to attack the united states, is that necessary to protect the country? the second thing you need to ask yourself is is there any other way to do that than with a drone? >> if so, you should go the other way? >> there is one last thing -- you have to ask yourself this is a convenient tool. am i doing this as part of a more comprehensive counterterrorism strategy and not as a substitute for counterterrorism?
i think in all the cases i have been familiar with, the answer to the first two questions was yes and the answer to the third question was a yes also. it is a question well worth asking and it is going to become more insistent because we didn't cause others to get drones but others around the world are going to get drones in the coming years. it matters whether we articulate a set of expectations. >> is that a genie of a bottle so to speak? we use drones, other people want them, the technology is there. >> other people were using drones before the united states military was. it is not like we caused others to begin using them. yes, they will have them. yes, they will use them. yes, it is a matter of interest to the united states that we articulate our own understanding
of when their use is appropriate and hope that others will take heed of that. >> how do we do that? >> i think doing the kinds of things you saw -- there was a report issued earlier this week that showed john being really reflective about the use of drones. i think that the issue of whether you have a comprehensive strategy towards counterterrorism, that is an important backdrop to if we use a particular tool or forces. do you have a wide strategy for doing that because counterterrorism is something that is not going to go away. >> is the threat today bigger than it is ever been and are we
9/11? -- are we looking at another time like 9/11? >> i do not think -- i think that -- >> even though osama bin laden is dead. >> there are lots of sources of terrorism all around the world. i think in the longer sweep of history, charlie, if you stand back, you have to conclude that there will always be a problem of the few against the many. there will always be the possibility that small groups or individuals will have access to destructive tools and use it against society for whatever reasons. people who are in the security business whether in law-enforcement, defense,
intelligence -- we are always going to have counterterrorism as one of the capabilities we are expected to have. >> terrorism is not a new idea. >> it is important to be good and judicious at it and to have the acceptance of the population and the steps we're taking are lawful, appropriate, and necessary. that is why i think it is fine to have a debate about drones. >> is the success of isis a setback for the american foreign-policy and what they hoped to achieve in iraq? >> we are going to have to see what happens there. i think that in the next phase, we will see whether iraq can endure as an inclusive state or whether it fractures. the former is very much preferable than the latter.
>> those are the two options? >> or chaos. a fracture along sectarian lines and/or the preservation of a single multiethnic state. i think that last is by far and away the preferable one for the people of iraq, but also the order in the region generally which is one of the interests the united states has. >> what would the american place in the world and its essential necessities be? >> there is tremendous opportunity in the ideas that have constituted the american experiment and the american role in the world.
to be able to carry them forward, to be associated with them is a privilege of a lifetime. i would ask them and challenge them to join in it. >> what about this -- here we are with all the remarkable things we have done and yet, the government in washington is essentially in gridlock. can we just say that is democracy? tough luck? >> that is. it is something i had to live with everyday and all of us have to live with everyday. that is very unfortunate. at the same time, i am an optimist about the united states. i think that the inherent strength of our country is the vibrancy of its innovative capacity, its capital markets,
its political openness, its willingness to act on its values. all of those things to me are very positive and greatly outweigh the fact that every once in a while we make a mistake, we overreach, we argue too much, maybe we are overweening. at the same time, i think that we have over the last 10 years or so, 15 years since the end of the cold war, i think the united states has done a pretty responsible job of trying to forge a better world than the one we had during the cold war. >> and having done so without being imperialistic.
>> that is true. >> do you worry that we might enter into a period of who lost iraq? if things turn bad like china. >> it is hard when you look at iraq. it is hard for all americans to look forward and not look back. i think for iraq we need to look forward to what we are trying to achieve there. first of all, we are not in control there. we have some influence. there are others who are playing a part in that. the objective that is best for the iraqi people and for the region and for the united states is one of which if it is still possible to have an iraq which is inclusive and a government which is successful in winning the allegiance of all of the people within iraq.
i hope that is still achievable but that is the objective. >> do you think we will see a cyber war? >> i don't know if we will see a cyber war per se but there is no question that cyber will be part of -- >> it will be a battleground for espionage, warfare, competition. >> it is already, but i think that the most important thing for the united states is the protection of our own networks, our military networks upon which we now depend on. our young people are used to having their devices and used to operating on the web. much of our critical infrastructure depends upon the continuing functioning of the internet. we as a society and other societies are vulnerable to that
kind of attack. we need to be able to defend ourselves. that is a principle responsibility of government even as it is to defend the country against other kinds of attacks. it was a major commitment of mine and responsibility of mine. it is something i care a lot about from the technological perspective and the national security perspective because our commerce as well as our security depends on the continuing functioning of the internet. >> did albert einstein influence you personally to become a theoretical physicist? was some sense of how one brain could have such influence on humankind part of it or did you just like it? >> you mentioned that i also studied history. that was a right brain, left brain kind of thing. i enjoyed and still enjoy history because it is the single
discipline from the world of learning that most informs action in the world. if you ask world leaders what guides them in making a decision about a new circumstance that they just encountered, it is usually -- it is a little like this. it is like something else that happened in the past. they use that much more than the they use political science or economic theories. in history is the default methodology of thinking through the world for most people. it is very much worth studying. physics was the other side of things because it's intellectually very stimulating but it is nice to know how things work. secretary panetta used to tell me you know everything works around here. it is nice to know why things
are the way they are. that is what history teaches you. it is nice the way things work if you know those two things, you are on the road to figuring out what to do next and how to make the world a better place. >> thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> we will be right back. stay with us. ♪ >> fleur pellerin is the french minister for foreign trade, tourism, french abroad. she served as minister for digital innovation. she is the most prominent face of the campaign to stimulate the digital economy. initiatives to bolster startups to turn paris into a competitive tech capital. she was the architect behind the french president's recent trip to silicon valley in march of this year. i am pleased to have her at this table for the first time. welcome. tell me your story. >> actually, i was working as a civil servant in france. i was with the court of auditing public policy. i was involved in three
presidential campaigns. the 2002, 2007, and 2012. president hollande asked me if i wanted to take part officially in the campaign and if i wanted to be an official letter of the team and i said yes. >> before that, how did you end up in france? did your parents come from korea? >> my biological parents were from korea. i was adopted when i was a baby. i was raised by french parents, loving parents from a modest background. they taught me values like merit, financial independence. my mother did not have a chance to study very long so she transferred her ambitions to my sister and myself. i grew up in a very good environment and stimulating
environment. >> your interest in politics -- where did that come from? >> i think it came from the idea of engagement to society. i think in many ways to do politics and not only to be in a political party, if you were an ngo, you are doing politics as well. i was committed previously i did the campaign and this campaign in 2012. i was very committed in an association that promotes diversity. to try to boost the renewal of the elites in france. this commitment was very political from my point of view because even though it was not a political ngo, not a right or left ngo, but it is very important to have conviction.
the way that you can make society progress and make it a better place for the citizens. >> you also want to see france assume a significant place within the digital revolution. you want france to become a magnet for capital and innovative companies. how are you doing on that and was it -- did you approach this with some sense of real concern? >> i am not concerned about french young people trying and taking initiative of building companies elsewhere in the world because i think we are leaving an open economy. i think the chance for french students or french talents to be able to go see how that looks like and try to fail and try again. i think it is something that is the sense of history. it is something we need to be very fine with.
my concern would be that all these people never want to come back to france. some of them might want to live their life, their whole life abroad. that's fine. i want to tell them when they come back to france it will find the right environment to build the business, have a balanced life. france is a very nice country. >> do you think there is an impression that france is not necessarily -- it is a very state centered economy and not necessarily responsive to entrepreneurship and innovation? >> we have some adjustments to undergo. i think we must see the future and the change as an opportunity. we need to change our philosophy. we need to be more fancy about ourselves. we need to have more self-esteem.
it is something i learned. we have great entrepreneurs even in france. we have great talents. we need to be more proud about that. we need to focus on the promotion of these people because they are the gold mine of our economy and our society for the future. we need to work on things that are not all right which exists as every other country, but we need to do more to regain our self. >> what is your plan to do more? >> we have many small businesses. they don't succeed to grow and expand in france. usually, they go and seek equity in other places. we need to find the way to build a strong venture capital industry. we created new instruments that companies can find the means to finance the growth. we worked on the spirit also. i was mentioning that we should fail and try again and we do not have that spirit in france because we are so afraid of failure.
we are afraid not to try because we are too afraid to fail. i was trying to explain that through conferences, creating programs in schools to give the students, all the young pupils to take risks. >> what was the view of the president with his visit to the silicon valley? >> it was symbolic. it was important that the french president came to the silicon valley. it was a symbolic move for him to come because usually the french president comes to new york whenever there is something to do with international organizations. the only fact that he chose to go to san francisco was a very important message. it meant that france wants to be a landmark in innovation and in the knowledge economy. and is one.
the second one is that we create bridges between the states and france between the ecosystems. french art of resorts, startups, american on to endorse -- entrepreneurs. >> if you are not in policy, you might like to be in onto the door -- an entrepreneur? >> in politics, you are a bit like an entrepreneur. you go and try. you fail and try again. it is true, people expect some politicians do have a different way to do policies. i think european elections -- >> new ways for the government to find private and public sectors to work together. >> it is not the old way to do politics.
when i was working with innovation, i wanted to create a roadmap for encouraging innovation, financing innovation. i got all the actors, private and public, and we sat at the table and we decided to go build together a a bunch of measures that we implemented. we were discussing in elaborating a policy with private actors. that is always lobbies that comment have some requests for the government. the fact we sat at the table and it was a very official process. we went and decided what was going to be implemented for innovation which was very new and people are very happy about this way to work. really, i think, things are changing. the way we make political
decisions has to be more modern today and involve the public more. >> mark andreessen is one of the top venture capitalists in silicon valley. he said about you -- more modern than i expected from a french politician. >> i met him actually twice it silicon valley and paris. this sentence is the perfect. we need to get rid of the clichés because france is changing. we have a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurs. mark told me that when we spoke in silicon valley. he said he didn't expect a french politician to be able to be business friendly, to understand the concerns of businesses. i said, well -- >> if you ask what the new france is looking like, you were looking at it. give me a snapshot of where you think the french economy is that today. >> it is on a slow recovery.
things are getting better because of the economic environment internationally is becoming better. in the eurozone recovery, but we still have a lot of work to do. i think we have done a lot for the past three years. i think it is very difficult because the political cycle, five years, is a very short cycle to see the results of structural policy. >> do you think the act of governing has changed president hollande'ideas about what is best for the economy? >> i think he is very consistent in his choices. you can be consistent and then have a reality which is very difficult because i cannot deny france is in crisis. it has been that way since 2008 and 2009. we are slowly recovering from this crisis.
even though we have a very clear view of implementing what we should implement structurally in france, sometimes we need to take more time because society cannot absorb all these policies and once. i think the president didn't want to change his views in the political direction, economic in terms of microeconomic policy, but sometimes they need to be adjusted to the reality. >> too much public debt? >> we have said and repeated during the president to campaign. we said we cannot go on with the deficit and the level of debt that we have. it was 900 billion euros in 2002. when we came into power, it doubled. doubled in 10 years. it was impossible to do that.
we spent more on reimbursing the interests of the debt than on education. that is why we committed to make 50 billion euro spending cuts and the spending years which is a very huge effort. >> you are here because of general electric. what do you think of that deal? >> i think it is a great example of how we can cooperate with american partners. we have many others. it must not be seen as france is trying to look. we had the president come to united states and he repeatedly said that we can create great partnerships with me france and the united states. we have the occasion when we commemorated the award at the beginning of of normandy. to reaffirm our will to have a strong partnership with the united states.