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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 2, 2011 9:00am-10:00am EDT

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are really could do anything my pretty little head desired. [laughter] >> that was the perfect way to end the session. [applause] >> i want to thank dr. connie mariano and gloria feldt to share with us and i hope you can continue the conversation at the tent for you can buy both of their books. go to the signing area and books are available for purchase. thank you for coming to the festival. please go to the website as a friend of the festival. . .
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i noticed on your web site it identified me as writing for the washington post had not the washington times. i am not offended. maybe they are. just wanted to point that out. i am happy to talk about my tet offensive project and current events. i would like to address tet.
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my book "this time we win: revisiting the tet offensive". the question i frequently get is where did you get that title? actually it came from a vietnam veteran. i would talk to them about what i was doing about the tet offensive and many times they would say did we win this time? had the title and a one. along with the other old cliche that we were winning when i left, they say. part of the reason i wrote the book was to get the truth out about what happened in vietnam and to honor the men and women who won that war for us before the politicians threw it away. you frequently see tet in the headlines these days whenever anything bad happens in the world. terrorists to its an attack or insurgents to a bombing or something. you see a pundit or commentators say this is just like the tet offensive. iraq or afghanistan, wherever. i saw a headline about tet
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referring to and northern mexico when it some kind of tet offensive was going there. or the wiki leaks document dump was just like the tet offensive. i don't see how you make the analogy but the point is tet is out there. the problem with this is every time you say tet would you are really saying is defeat. what you are saying is whatever we are involved in is like a quagmire. we can't win. the bad guys out there, the terrorists and insurgents talk openly about tet offensive and vietnam and their model. this is how they want to win. terrorism and insurgents i week. they can't defeat as on battlefields. they can defeat our forces militarily. that is why they are terrorists. if they could fight as head to head they would but they can't.
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they tried to attack the thinking of decisionmakers blight in vietnam, and if they conclude the war is no longer worth it they will leave. osama bin laden and others and people like that made explicit statements saying this is what they are trying to do. whenever they do something spectacular and whenever somebody on our side says this is just like the tet offensive we are playing into their hands. part of what i wanted to do is get people to stop doing this. it doesn't help us and it is not really true. when people compare things to the tet offensive. most of the time it has nothing to do with the tet offensive. what most indicated people know about tet and what people know from history books is it was a
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surprise attack, against largely symbolic targets in vietnam. intended to turn the american people against the war, to bring johnson to the bargaining table. none of them are true. it took a lot of people behind a surprise but mainly journalism, washington and folks in the united states for not paying attention. they were taken by surprise the people on the ground in south vietnam knew it was coming. we captured documents that detail what the enemy was planning. u.s. embassy month before the attack gave a briefing in which they talked about what they thought was coming. if you go through january of 1968 which was the month before the attack happened which took place at the end of january our
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forces went on progressively greater states of alert. our decisionmakers talked about the coming attack. there was a story three days before in the washington post talking about the expected spring offensive that was coming. furthermore the enemy when they launched their attack because of miscommunications some of their guys attacked two days too early. some attack the day before they were supposed to. when the attack finally came the day it was supposed to come the whole country felt of the aum was on alert. how do you get a surprise attack out of that? the point is the press settled on a story line. they decided since some of the people in washington were surprised everybody must have been surprised. they asked the johnson administration if he knew about it in advance why did you tell us? the johnson administration says the fact the we knew the enemy's plan doesn't mean we are going to tell you guys.
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than the enemy will know that we know what they're up to. we were planning a trap for them but because of the credibility grabbed, he was lying to us and didn't know anything. was an intelligence failure so they stuck with the story line that we were surprised but we weren't. the second point about symbolic targets, the tet offensive was a large scale last-ditch attempt by the north vietnamese and the vietcong to win the vietnam war in tower involving tens of thousands of troops going over a number of days. the plan was to foment a mass uprising in south vietnam because they thought these people were raring to go and join the communist remitted -- revolution of only they had the encouragement. take the cities and foment this uprising and the rationale for the american presence in south vietnam would be undercut and we
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would have to leave. that was their plan. it was a very bad plan. it had no chance of succeeding. it was placed on flawed premises particularly that the south vietnamese people would join in their tax which they didn't want to do and didn't do. because the plan was so flawed people on our side, analysts in the cia look at it and said this plan has no chance of succeeding. therefore they must be up to something else. what else could they be up to? it must be a symbolic attack on our will. they are trying to make a point. the cia analysis the first day of the attacks that they're not really trying to win. they're just trying to make a point. this got to the johnson administration's talking point and the president and secretary of defense made this point before the press. they said the enemy is just
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attempting a symbolic attacks of the press said a okay. it is symbolic. that is critical because if you do an attack through the enemy and you attack and you are defeated it is easy to see you are defeated. you are not holding ground or you didn't reach your objective. if you say an attack is supposed to be symbolic and you are just trying to make a point who is to say who won lost? how do you judge winning or losing with the call up in the air? if it is up to perception? that is the battlefield they can win on because they are arguing the perceptions of it. when they attacked the u.s. embassy in saigon which was the major news story of the tet offensive. the overall and any plan it was hardly relevant. just a little attack. in terms of news coverage and symbolism of the u.s. embassy
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being attacked by 19 vietnam staffers that became a big deal. their objective the personal their orders were to sees the embassy, hold it and wait for reinforcements. said they didn't. they did seize the embassy. reinforcements were not coming. most of them were killed and that was the end of that. but because of this argument over the symbolism of it it became a great victory for them because the on symbolic terms it was an attack on u.s. prestige. also an argument erupted over did they actually sees the embassy building proper or just on the grounds? they actually didn't get in the building. peter arnett said he overheard someone say they were so he reported that and the administration denied it and and and johnson is just lying again so this debate broke out. despite the fact that the -- did
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they hold the building, an argument over the symbolism and so forth. things like that made this symbolic attack story line solidify. sort of handed them a victory. if you are arguing on the basis of symbolism who is to say who won or lost? the press coverage of tet was-. before tet, 79% of editorial comments regarding the war were positive. after tet, 72% were negative. during tet, 100% of editorial comments regarding the war were negative so depress was not too interested in touting the administration. it is easy to blame the media for the loss in vietnam but not everybody in the press was against the war. howard k. smith of abc news was
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very pro war and in his private views, his son actually fought in the battle of the name. maybe you saw the movie we were soldiers that dramatize that battle. his son was in a unit that was ambushed and most of the people were killed and he had to play dead to survive and the north vietnamese used him as a sandbag in a pile of bodies. his nickname later was sandbags smith. walter cronkite became the symbol of the reporter who had been somewhat in favor of the war who became an opponent of the administration policy. from his reporting from saigon and from hue he basically came out against the war and the conduct of the war and said we should negotiate peace and get out of there and lyndon johnson allegedly said upon seeing this report if i lost cronkite i have
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lost middle america. there is great power in that story because if you are a journalist is something to say i wrote a story or did a report and suddenly administration policy changed. i disheartened the president or move things on the grand scale. journalists love that story. but again, is it true? probably not. the images we get from that time are that the american people turned against the war and you have protests in the streets and so forth. one really interesting thing i found from this study, if you look back at the polls and looking at the people who supported the war by age group actually the group that most supported johnson's policies and supported the war were young people. isn't that interesting? i found this in gallup poll, harris poll and internal white
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house polling that young people were more supportive of the war. you will never get that from the cultural representation of the time. before the dump view of history or whatever you want to call it probably because the people who were out there smoking dope and carrying signs were the ones who became professors and wrote books. all of their friends were out there doing it so that is the way it was. if you look at the data young people were more supportive of the war and the group i found that was more supportive than any word draft age young men. for some reason were the most supportive of the war effort in vietnam. it will take a while to rewrite that part of the history but it is worthy of note. the myth of tet is that because of the symbolism of tet the american people gave up on the war and that is not true. if you look at opinion polls that have to do you support
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johnson's policies there was a slight dip after tet. but if you go to the next level and say if you don't like what lyndon johnson is doing what should we do? should we escalate or should we get out? the majority of americans wanted to escalate the war at this point. they understood that the tet offensive was a major defeat for the enemy and the enemy was wounded and if we just put a little more effort into this we could win the war. 60% of americans self identified as proponents of escalation. this number had actually increased from before tet to after tet. the number who identified themselves as doves who wanted to pull out actually declined after tet. it is wrong to say that the effect of tet was to make people in the united states want to give up. it made people want to win because they saw there was an opportunity. in fact the number of people who
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wanted to pull out was actually smaller than the number of people who said let's use nuclear weapons to end it which was 25%. twenty-four% wanted to pull out but over a quarter wanted to use nuclear weapons. that is pretty strong. i am not saying that is what we should have done. i am saying as an independent of public opinion is very significant that the number of people who were nuclear hot, who said just finish it was actually greater than the number who wanted to pull out which history has represented as being the majority. they were not the majority. they were the minority. the final bit is the notion that tet drove johnson to the bargaining table. johnson did not need to be driven to the bargaining table. he built table. he was there all along. from 1964 on, united states
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proffered 70 different peace initiatives to the north attempting to get them to talk. everyone of them was refused. we tried bombing, we tried offers of aid, we tried everything and the north vietnamese refused to talk. when walter cronkite in town sonorous please add it is now time for johnson to go to the bargaining table johnson was already there. it was the north vietnamese who did not want to talk but after tet they agreed to talk because after tet they had nothing left. they were militarily weakened and in danger of the u.s. escalating and attacking them. johnson was not going to escalate any way. the chairman of the joint chiefs suggested this. general westmoreland called for more troops. the administration, should we should we, went on for a long
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time. if we do escalate, all these bureaucratic things. and third news of this leaked to the new york times, headlines about escalation in the works. we call for more peace talks and this time they have them. it wasn't that the cat -- tet demoralized united states, wasn't that johnson lost middle america. little america lost the president. that is why tet was sacrificed. it wasn't just the press. it was mainly lyndon johnson. he gave up on himself. the lessons from tet that apply to to they are things like don't give the enemy credit for having a better plan than they have. sometimes you see people talk about terrorists like they're
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some kind of geniuses, long-term planners with the sophisticated plan the we can't understand. that everything they do is part of this unfolding of history. maybe they are just making mistakes. i don't think osama bin laden fog that ten years after 9/11 he would be holed up in a cave somewhere wondering when a missile was going to come down on his head. i don't think that was part of the plan. he thought he would be head of saudi arabia right now. that was the plan. not what is going on right now. don't give him credit for being a genius because they are not. secondly don't read the fine their objective to the point where they meet them. the terrorists and the bad guys want to win. they want to take power. they don't want to remain terrorists all their lives. when they are not taking over countries or achieving victories don't give them credit that they blew up a guy with a suicide vest or made a small scale attack on a police station.
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these are not significant victories. even if they pull them off their no big deal in the grand scheme of things. don't give them more credit than they deserve. another lesson is in unconventional wars press coverage will be negative. there's nothing you can do about it. in conventional war you can look at a map. have we advanced closer to the enemy capital, have we destroy their armies, have we seized their objectives and report good news but in and conventional wars you are fighting the same place and defending the same village. it goes on and on. bad news tends to dominate and there's no way around that. another point. public opinion is not as valuable as people think. the press reported negative things and the public turned against it and we lost is not true.
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the public was going in during tet in the opposite direction of the press. the press was turning against the war. the public wanted to escalate. wasn't until later that the public gave a. it was after johnson gave up on it. the leader of the country gave up on it and people said to heck with it. if he is not going to fight we are not going to fight but it wasn't the press that was making things happen. i am not saying the president was biased. we know about the mainstream media. they are not the puppet masters of the nation. people have minds and make their own decisions. if the press control everything ronald reagan never would have been president. the final point is you have to have strong executive leadership. you compare where lyndon johnson was to where george bush was in 2007, it is very revealing. george bush was a lot more
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unpopular than lyndon johnson ever was. george w. bush had the lowest public approval ratings of any president. he had a hostile congress in 2007. and a pretty bad situation in iraq but he had a surge plan he believed in and stuck with and kept it going and now we are going to put iraq probably in the win column whereas if we did what people in congress wanted to do in 2007 including our current president and just left iraq would have gone in the lose column. but because george bush stuck it out that one is going to be a victory. lyndon johnson had more advantages in 1968 than george bush did in 2007 but he just gave up on it and that is why vietnam ultimately went into the lose column. call me crazy but in my opinion when you go to war, winning is better. in any case, just to end with a
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little story. in 1968, jack fern from nbc suggested they produce a program showing that while tet had been portrayed as a military defeat it was actually a great victory. senior producer robert northshield told him they were not going to produce a show like that because tet was established in the public's mind as a defeat and therefore it was a united states defeat. as the former south vietnamese ambassador to the united states said, history is written by the winners. eventually the truth comes out. i will conclude my prepared remarks and we can discuss anything that you like. thank you. [applause] >> what do you make of the current situation in the middle
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east? >> there is an easy topic. it is very dangerous. i think it took a lot of people by surprise and has a lot of bad potential. if you go back to december of last year at don't think anybody in the administration was worried about the prospect of egypt falling out of our coalition and becoming a hostile actor in the middle east. now they have to think about that. that is extremely disturbing because we had it good for 30 years with respect to egypt. if you go back before the camp david accord you have a situation where from the founding of the state of israel there were four conventional wars fought over that featuring israel and its backers against various coalitions of arab
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states. the genius of the camp david accords was if you take egypt out of the occasion there is no other group of arab states that could get together to threaten israel because egypt has the location, the manpower, and any other group without egypt in there. they couldn't do it realistically. it was a very smart faint. one of the accomplishments of the carter administration, for 30 years tuned and low risk of conventional war. you had other things going on. intifada and terrorism and stuff like that. now we have a situation where a government could come to power in egypt that will abrogate that and potentially go to war with other countries. that is worse than what we were
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facing six months ago. so we see uprisings in other countries. if the rain most recently. so you have an shechem majority people rain by sunni martine but the iranians have been trying to destabilize the country for longtime. the iranians see great opportunity to try to foment unrest. it is a false argument to say these either are or are not iranian-backed uprisings. it doesn't matter who is backing them. the more chaos you can produce the worse it gets for us. the iranians get their own trouble in the streets. it would be wonderful if we had regime change their but we probably won't. what we wind up with is either
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neutral or hostile regimes in countries that used to be our friends like bahrain or egypt. maybe saudi arabia. who knows? that would really be trouble. i am not saying the regimes are great but at least they like us. now it is all destabilized and people say it is an uprising for democracy and that would be wonderful. it would be great if people power took over and the next day it was like vermont all over the middle east and everybody was having town meetings and it would be beautiful. would it? that is not what we are going to wind up with. the best case is the wind up with something marginally worse than what we have. the worst case is we wind up with groups like the muslim brotherhood and other islamic extremists taking power and people who hate us. the israel issue is important but sometimes that is all people talk about. it is not just israel.
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they hate us. they hate the united states. from our self-interest we don't want to have these people take power even if their democratically elected. it is going to be bad for us. when oil does to $200 a barrel and we have war breaking out in the middle east and the iranians furthering their hegemony in the region and they get nuclear-weapons we will be facing a lot worse problem than we have today. it is wonderful that people want to have self rule and democracy but our hands off policy, you guys work it out and we will intervene later is a big mistake because the actors in the region want to influence events like iran or syria or other bad guy states or libya. they will fill that vacuum. we are either players in this or we will be the victim of it and i think the administration needs to get moving and do something
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about it. >> we weren't speaking about a few things about this crisis before breakfast and two things that are uppermost in my mind are education and following the money trail which is oil. we were all so -- we heard the former ambassador from afghanistan, current secretary of the navy speak last friday and what he was saying in afghanistan is all of the people under the age of 45 haven't had to work their entire lives because of oil. they get in education and three hours a day of their education is sharia law. when they proceed to be professionals and go to college they get three more hours a day of sharia law. most of the countries in the middle east what education they
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get is muslim law and very often sharia, not sunni which is more benign. the other issue is following the money trail. recently there has been a lot of talk about the b a k k e n reserves of oil in the united states and montana. five hundred three billion gallons worth of oil which is easier to process than other places that cost $15 a barrel for light crude to be brought out of the ground. we have the opportunity to educate similar to stones for school through education in those areas to help bring some thing to counter the shia education. we have the ability to get oil and support our own country within our own borders and
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nothing seems to be happening in any way to support our own internal infrastructure and economy which is falling to shreds when we have total capability of doing that. a big long question. please. .. >> constituency to pursue them either not like the defense budget. we should do more in terms
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of doing that and when we have pursued this coming for example, in pakistan, people like the taliban and al qaeda officially denounced the efforts as being imperialists which tells me it is a good idea. if they go mental to denounce it so more of it would be better. >> with respect to energy, it is true to a certain respect refund both sides of the war and for the other side with energy payments. of course, the united states doesn't import most of the energy from the middle east but canada and even if we became energy self-sufficient other countries like china predominately would still be importing middle east energy. you cannot defend the war that way. if we could find a replacement for oil and natural gas that would be
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awesome and fantastic to go back to do whatever they used to do and not play with the excess income to perpetrate. i don't know the solution to that. the president is pursuing this with the windows and magnets and nothing will happen but if we did that to drive the prices at $16 a barrel. >> if that is the economy then we should be on at and have the national programs to pursue that. let's make united states where we have the largest reserves with the dakotas and montana it is all in favor and if you have a strategic view, it is even more helpful. i don't get the sense that the model we just described
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is a model of the administration. if they would adopt that it would be more clear what needs to be done. but that threatens a lot of interest. maybe it will take another administration to do that. >> back to vietnam, you mentioned johnson at the critical point* that it seems to me is when congress with to the financial aid to the south but when that takes place when the congress turned aquantive south vietnamese. >> of congress started about the time of tet it challenges arising with johnson's leadership that is
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when things started to move in that direction. of course, mccarthy challenge to johnson and later robert kennedy prepare he was often tet immediately and use it to denounce the war and the famous photograph of the general killings bugeyes a terrorist to was an assassin in the streets of saigon and kennedy made a speech about bad days later saying this is the moral indictment of the war of the people we are supporting and in my book and who are the people involved and why was that guy getting shot and the aftermath? the photo is black and white but reality is not. the very famous pulitzer prize-winning photo if you just look the real story is a lot more interesting.
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congress turned against the war at that time and after 74 you have a very left-wing democratic congress come in after iraq nixon's resignation in the elections the big majority it is that congress that cut that aid to the lame-duck congress the communists said one week later the north vietnamese had a meeting and decided now is the time to invade the "south park" ave did it in the spring and that was the end of that the because the united states abrogated treaty agree macquarie told the south vietnamese we would support them in congress said we will not honor that agreement and that is the end of it and it is a great moment of shame for us to abandon our allies but this is what the terrorists say to the regimes of the middle east look at how the united states to the regime of saigon. that is what they will do to
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you the states will cut and run when the going gets tough and 10 of the key to pass enhanced our reputation with respect to supporting our allies. >> going back to the middle east a little bit and the ramifications here in the united states and maybe some very similar aspects in the middle east better both here and what would happen, we see young men with no hope of unemployed, educated, connec ted with twitter, facebook food prices they can afford because we're off on a tangent using our corn for ethanol. and you have countries like spain that have over 40 percent of their young people between 18 and 26 who
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are unemployed. when you have young men with no hope and connected, you have problems. aren't refacing that a similar situation here? and do see the contagion of going country to country may be spreading to europe? >> the main difference between the middle eastern regimes and the united states or western europe is that we live in a democracy where people can reasonably say they have a voice. in a country like egypt door bahrain or where ever, people have a lot less of a voice or no voice. lot of the frustration you see in the streets are people who want to have been site and have just been denied systemically. i think that is one difference. you do hear the sentiments from some people who were activists in this country particularly with the tea party movement that the
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government is a closed shop of people being reelected in what we need is rotation at the top and term limits but in this channel differently. not into occupying the mall in washington to build camps in calling for the resignation of the president although there are people i am sure willing to do that. is channeled into political activism through the system that we have. that seems to be sufficient if you look at the results of the last election people are upset over the composition of congress of a radically changed its. nancy pelosi have the lowest opinion rating of any speaker of the house that we can find. she lost power. rightly so. i don't think we will see that kind of demonstrations for a change in this country because people do have been put to where they don't in those countries if people
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start to conclude our system is a legitimate and if we cannot come to grips with our economic problems and if for some reason the political system is not responsive to these folks, then in those circumstances we could see it but it i think we are a little ways from that now. of the last election to not go the way it did i think we would be seeing that because there were a lot of people who were really upset. if through some message the democrats that held onto power in the house, i think we would see more of a revolutionary type of thinking going on here in this country. >> luckily our system responds with their stone to. that is why we see this. >> i also don't think any iranian-backed political groups make much headway we don't have to read about that is much, i hope.
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>> back to vietnam, do you consider vietnam's a just war? should be have gotten involved in could we have one? >> yes. too both. it was a just conflict we were there defending an ally against communism and i have no problem with that on a moral level. our western type system is more lee's appeared to the communist system plus we have obligations we had made to them to say we would help defend their freedom. the south vietnamese government may not have been a model of democracy and inclusion and good government but was of heckuva lot better than what ho chi minh the rest in the north. i go into the difference between the massacre that people are very familiar with the new-line massacre
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of troops went out of control to kill south vietnamese civilians. the second took place during t 14 tet when they were controlled for any make of time if they proceeded to systematically killed thousands of people who were considered undesirable cold blooded systematically not just like they went crazy they had a list coming into know who they wanted a once they got them with those they made more and more. even when our forces were driving them out of the city come in a round of the people they had not killed at to take them outside the city to kill them. it was very systematic like the killing fields. there is a tremendous moral difference between those two things. uncased it was broken up by other american troops who came onto the scene to threaten the skies to say we
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will kill you if you don't stop. they stops, their investigations and people were investigated not acting under orders. on the other side there were acting under orders systematically killing folks who were completely innocent and i don't know if the killers survived but if they did they probably got metals. those are two very different moral equations yet the first massacre is held up as emblematic of the war effort to say this is what you're up to. it is not. river there to defend south vietnam and those who did the massacre were wrong and they were punished. on the other side have communists who will plan was we will go down to kill anybody we don't like her who is a liberal or a democrat or a shopkeeper or catholic or whoever they didn't like at the time. not only was our war a moral cause but it was immoral we
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could have won but lyndon johnson did not want to win by the time nixon came in the whole equation of the war had changed and then we were pulling out so there's no chance but even at the end when we had the paris peace accord framework where we would just give their support and material support to the south, we still could have won if we kept our agreement but we did and cut the allies lose and that was it. very shameful episode. >> dr. robins i am interested in a sense about your comments about the hacker networks on the iranian nuclear program? and the feedback of that from a private internet association and affecting the nation in that way.
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>> with the attack on the iranian nuclear program? it is fantastic. it is great. these people are geniuses. how did they get it answer did in to the network? how did they do the whole thing? i was reading about it. it is just amazing. it is a great example the way to use tools other than force to try to reach the conclusions that you want. there's a lot of four games dealing with how could the israel bond the iranian nuclear program like it did in the iraq or syria and somehow knocked out that way but deeply underground and it may slow them down but here they figured out whoever did it figured out a way to get inside their system and completely messed them up. solutions like that are
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fantastic. it is clever, nonviolent and gets the job done. we need more things like that. hopefully our hackers are better than the other teams because united states is completely vulnerable to things like that and it is highly dangerous for things like that to go on but is it more dangerous to try to lose the bugs in the system lowered to allow tehran to give a nuclear weapon? i say nuclear-armed iran is the worst threat that we face. i am fully in support of things like that. whatever we can do. this use of force it is a bad thing better than 50 but if they can do that through hackers' figuring out code that messes up the islamic regime more power to them. >> the turmoil seems to be worldwide.
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not just minorities with north korea and what sort of responsibility do you put on the current in fenestration for the people? >> i don't know if i could blame the current administration for everything that is going on. of course, someone to take credit for it that somehow it has inspired people for open change in the middle east or something like that. we will see what the outcome is of this it will be interesting is to keep taking credit for it once it spins out of control. but in a larger sense, and the united states for many decades has had a preeminent leadership role in the world is the leaders of the free world and post cold war as the top economic power in jenna lee being looked to for a kind of leadership. the current administration
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specifically draw back from that to say we don't too be the leader of the world anymore. the president has welcomed the rise of competing economic powers like china and has welcome the fact the united states cannot dictate terms anymore according to him. this is very damaging the question is if the united states doesn't lead the world then who is? and the answer from the administration will be we have collective leadership or organizations that international organizations can do it and don't too do it because every country in the world has a self-interest and they will push through no matter what we do. if we choose not to pursue our interests, that is fine. but we pulled back from the middle east and we ignore latin america and venezuela is right there building the alliance system that hates us. there are a lot of people
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who don't like us in the world. but we have to pursue our interest the current administration has a flawed view of what american interests are in the world and the acceptance that declining u.s. influence is very damaging because as a principal of politics like to tell my students the power is defined by its exercise. if you do something and people acknowledge it then you have the power to do it. if you don't you do not have the power because somebody else will do it. if the united states, it is one thing for the u.s. economy were influenced to a shrink and another for the president to draw attention to the fact to consciously say it is shrinking because then it will shrink even more because a lot of what goes on in the world is influence but if you abrogate that then find you have lost it. it is hard to get back.
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with all of these things going in the pond is a consequence to some level of the drawing back and you see the same thing of the 1970's that it was very bad. and the only good thing that i can say is so far the mistakes of the administration have resulted in something that is profoundly negative for us. there are potentials for bad things but they may come in the next two years will be interesting. >> doctor, what about china are they destined to be a strategic adversary or the prosperity they are in july will that create an opportunity for the rule of law or self-determination to spread with that large country? >> we saw the results of chinese aspirations with tiananmen square.
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and thinking back on those times with the picture of the guy standing in front of the tank that is very is regional, i advise people to think of what happens at night with a clean them out of the square. the one debris there than the next day they weren't, the tanks did not stop for you can find pictures online. what happens when the tank does not stopper it is pretty gruesome. the chinese communist party knows how to deal with aspirations for freedom. and they do a very cleverly and systematically paths they do not one tiananmen square to happen again. i do not have hoping for that with respect with china being a competitor. the recently passed japan but with the early 90's people thought japan would be the new hegemon and per-capita gdp was 150% back
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then. that is pretty astounding but 1995 they're economy hit a ceiling and flattened out and it has not grown since then. maybe china's growth curve will flatten out for some reason. and their per capita gdp is 8% of hours. the economy is growing but they have so many people they are not that wealthy when you divide it out. also do they have aspirations? some indications they do they're not as active as we are they all project power the way we do they do it more cleverly through agreements and they do have some troops around the world but not that many. they also have offensive nuclear capabilities and there is a story they will start looking into aircraft carriers. they have one they bought from the soviets in a fire
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sale after the wall came down i think they turned into an amusement park. [laughter] it is parked somewhere on display but they will build a real 12 project power. things like that are disturbing because in my opinion there is no reason for it any country in the world to have aircraft carriers other than us. [laughter] we should have a lot of them other countries don't need them because we keep the piece of the sea. that is our job if other countries want to do that we have to ask why? we're doing a great job. why would any other country if no country had in 80 other than coastal defense i would be happy. yes we may see chinese carrier task force cruising around in the caribbean making ports of call in cuba. i don't think we would be very happy with that. if we start to see things like that we have a problem.
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i would not sound the alarm yet but the potential is there for china to get involved in as we see them start taking steps come 1/2 to ask why are you doing that? but sadly our administration will not ask china anything apparently. again a problem to be left for the next president whenever that happens. >> what will it take for these folks to go back to work to keep our economy moving? >> you do it. not the government. >> last question i am confused because of the media i really don't understand they made us think it is a good thing and democracy but every group that could takeover is to splintered. there is no group other than the muslim brotherhood except, am i correct that the military is trained by
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us and this would not be a bad thing if they take over? or am i confused? >> that is accurate the military in egypt is probably one of the better organized and more pro-western if not anti-western groups in the country and we do train a lot of their officers into a lot of combined exercises and have a very close relationship with them and give them millions of dollars. it would not be a bad thing if they have a lot of influence certainly appeared to the muslim brotherhood the we would like to have zero influence if we had our head screwed on straight time and a loss to explain why the administration tells us the muslim brotherhood is not a threat when they are openly saying things that are threatening some of them have figured out we are no
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problem we're not interested with sharia law and even our director of national intelligence testifies before congress yesterday saying similar things. this is ridiculous. they're not a secular group. just look at their name. they are the muslim brotherhood. not a non religious group, the whole agenda or program is to have more religious lot in egypt and if they just wanted to live on their own and live under sharia law and live life, fine. that is great. but it's so it has greater implications of national security and western europe where they try to export this thinking and ideology. of course, for israel it has huge ramifications because
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their survival is on the line. i don't get why the united states puts his hands off approach for me to reinforce the people who like us and egypt to promote their agenda then we might have a better outcome. but instead, it seems to me almost the intellectual game and the quest for the moderate muslim brotherhood man. it happens every time and they say the same thing about communist. they don't exist and our search for them with the politically correct approach leads to bad things and the administration has to get its head screwed on straight about the severe risks that we face in this crisis and it can lead to something good, no doubt but it is more probable to lead to something bad if we don't get involved. but however they do with
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whether behind the scenes or overtly but we cannot just let a spiral into chaos to say is integrate they have democracy? we could go back to play to go to find critiques of democracy saying it could lead to bad things or worse dictatorships then you have never seen as so far the iranian model is still operative they threw out the shot then they had liberals' facing off with the extremist and let me tell you, every time the extremist win because they are extremist introducing is the locals won't do to win the. the russian revolution, a french revolution, all through history it is the same pattern. first day throughout the bad guy then they are left facing each other and who wins? the extremist then they start killing each other. that will happen this time to if we don't watch out and it will be bad for us.
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