tv Book TV After Words CSPAN March 16, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
it would have been packed. virginians love to dance and a chance for george washington would be at, this would have been the highlight of the social season to come to a ball with george washington. in my book washington we visit a number of alexandria sites visited by george washington so now we are going to christchurch. right now we are standing in front of christchurch which george washington 10 attended frequently. when they are not having church services there are you can go inside.
this church was built between 1767 and 1773 and when it was bill that was known as the little church in the woods because it was on the outskirts of alexandria. today you can hear all the traffic. this is george washington spewing christchurch. pew number five. he was sitting here with his family martha and depending on what time it is her children are her grandchildren ,-com,-com ma it would have been a pretty full pew if they had the whole family here. george washington was baptized in the church at the age of two months. he was married in the church and he was buried in the episcopal church. his religious life is what you would expect. he supported the church financially and helped out poor people and he supported as president supported --
a small number of the sides discussed in my look but i want people to realize that george washington was all over alexandria. george washington was an important part of it alexander and of alexandria was very important to george washington as well. see for more information on book tv's recent visit to alexandria virginia and many other cities visited by our local content vehicles, go to c-span.org/local content. >> up next on booktv "after words" with guest host jamie weinstein senior editor at the daily color. this week correspondent kim ghattas and her book "the secretary" a journey with hillary clinton from beirut to the heart of american power. and it she examines mrs. mrs. clinton'clinton' s role in u.s. diplomacy abroad and also seeks to answer whether u.s. power is in decline. the program is about an hour.
>> host: i think what we should do is talk a little bit about your biography because i think much of this book is about hillary clinton and her short time as secretary of state and it's also about your experience from beirut to covering the secretary of state around the world, so why do you begin by talking a little bit about where you came from? >> guest: jamie first thank you very much for having me and i am delighted to be here. of course the star in the book is hillary clinton herself but this isn't just a biography of an historic woman. it's also a different take on the whole issue of american power. i do mention -- as you mentioned i was born in beirut in the middle of the civilian war in 1977 and i lived my whole life in lebanon for 13 years in the
war and the rest of the time as people may no beirut is not exactly -- lebanon is not exactly a stable country so countries that we have been through many ups and downs and i've been through all of them which gives you an interesting take on the world, on america's position on the global stage and the first section of my book, i grew up in beirut on the front lines of the civil war and my father always said if america wanted the conflict to end it would be over tomorrow. so it sort of frames the whole discussion about what is americw much power does it really have and to try to find the balance between the illusion of how much power at actually -- america hasn't what's really happening on the ground. that frames the discussion but i have lived in beirut my whole life and i became a journalist
there and the war is what drove me to become a journalist. i was always keen to understand the chaos in understand why i had to live through what i was living alongside the other 4 million lebanese who were there. i covered the middle east specifically syria which unfortunately is going through some terrible conflict right now and then i applied for a job to cover the state department. i was already their correspondent in beirut and i was writing for others as well. i mentioned i applied for the statement does department joe pacheco was an amazing opportunity for me to see another perspective on what i had been covering in the middle east. i was in the u.s. and i traveled there and i have been here on holiday. i have an american brother but it just gives you a front route to the other side of the story. >> host: and if i'm not mistaken you were the only non-american foreign correspondent in the traveling press corps for the state department.
as i write? >> guest: that is correct although my colleagues at reuters may want to point out that they are not american but i was a nonwestern. i have a dutch mother but for all intensive purposes i'm very much an arab woman. i grew up there and lived there my whole life and that is what i bring to the table. although i have a western perspective on some things because of my background. my mother's nationality and the time is spent traveling in the west but yes i was the only nonwestern and specifically the first non-british person to cover this. >> host: i think one of the most interesting parts the book is actually learning the process of the secretary of state going from country to country and you kind of take us there is hillary clinton traveled all around the world. let's just talk a little bit about that. when the book opens in the first chapter after the introduction and you were with the traveling press corps and you mentioned
that the press is starstrucstarstruc k with harry. you think that affected the coverage in any way, that she was such a big figure that you know they were trying to pull back a little bit? >> guest: i don't think so. i really don't think so. there was this moment when someone with her celebrity walks into a room and it applies to world leaders as well. it's not just journalists and of course to reassure the viewers that there was no clapping. there was a lot of clapping which he walked into the building for the first day and her first day on the job. there was this instance of being a little bit starstruck because she is hillary clinton. not all of us had met her in the past so there is that first moment of wow hillary clinton is there but then it's immediately followed by what are the tough questions that we want to ask her? and we certainly didn't shy away
from asking those questions throughout her tenure both from myself when i interviewed her. we had exchanges but always very fair and very much designed to broaden the conversatconversat ion and further the understanding about the issues. and there was a little bit of wariness on both sides because she hasn't had to put it mildly a great relationship with the media so she was a little bit wary of us and who had a press pass to cover her and how were they going to write their stories and we were wondering how is this going to wear? this is a political personality in the wonkish world of diplomacy where every comma matters and it's all about the nuances. how's it going to work so it was a certain degree of wariness when she arrived. she also brought with her a little bit of -- as it was dubbed by the white house. >> host: i was trained by the
the -- one day you're an islamabad in the next date in united emirates. you are constantly updating where you were going in the information but there is really it seems like time to actually digest what you just did and where you are going next. even in the midst of one trip i think you mentioned planning a chip to latin america in two weeks. is this good? should there be more time to digest what's going on? is this how mistakes would be made? >> guest: let me first tell you about what it was like for me. yes it is very fast paced and unfortunately it's the nature of the world we live in. you don't have the luxury to sit back and press pause on world events and let me save let me first digest before i turn my attention on pakistan. obviously i'm a journalist covering daily news whether it's in washington right cover
foreign-policy and that's what motivated me to write "the secretary" to step back and everything i've seen and everything i'd learned. i learned a lot being in in the front row seat to history and diplomacy, watching all those different events unfold. writing the book was a very maturing experience as well as i digested some of what i had seen and tried to come to some of the conclusions i was trying to get out. but when it comes to the secretary of state and the people around her, i think that what i found striking is her ability to stay focused at all times as much as possible on what is happening. she doesn't get distracted by the details if they're not important and the details that don't matter but she has an ability to stay focused on the big picture. how is what is happening in afghanistan impacting what they
are doing in the middle east and how is what is happening in in the middle east impacting with airtran to do in asia? she had a good sense of what is the strategy here and she's surrounded by people who are helping her. i have to carry my own suitcase but she has staff and that allows her and i talk about that a little bit, that allows her to stay focused on road really matters. she doesn't have to worry about whether or not lynch is served or not. it will just arrive while she is thinking about the bigger picture. but of course mistakes do happen and i think that's inevitable but it's also important to acknowledge that. that is part of what motivated me to write the book not just for an audience in the u.s. but for an audience around around the world who has this impression that america is this all-knowing power that has the answers to everything and has all the facts and has a foolproof plan for everything. it does not work like that. americans are in fallible human beings who don't always have all the answers and are trying to do the best they can and sometimes
it doesn't work out. >> host: i want to explore that later because it's the question of america's role in the world. but i think maybe we should turn to some of the examples of some of some of the country to travel to and i think there is no better place than they route to start. you traveled there early on with the secretary of state. what was it like returning to beirut as part of an american delegation. you are covering it and you run the convoys. you are a little annoyed as a child in beirut growing up. what was it like? >> guest: it was very unsettling and writing that chapter for the first time i really said very much about it. it was the first time that i've put into words how i felt about being there. as you mentioned yes, growing up in beirut there were often mixed
feelings about the united states weather for me or in lebanon. i grew up in an environment where we did tend to look to the west for support or help but i had a lot of friends who grew up on the other side of the divide who don't see the u.s. the way my friends or my family to. but inevitably america is a superpower and it comes with sharp elbows sometimes and big motorcades and big fortresses and embassies and that can be a bit -- so it was really interesting or perhaps revealing for me to be on the other side all of a sudden. it's totally different prism through which to look at the issue and to look at my own country. i am in the convoy and sitting there in the convoy and two cars ahead of me as another car in
that same motorcades rounded by security escorts. there is a secretary of state and there is jeffrey feldman who is now the secretary of state at the state department who used to be ambassador to beirut and it was his convoy that used to a people in beirut and they used to annoy me when i was stuck at an intersection waiting for him to drive through. and i think it's always worth remembering that you have to try to look at things from other people's perspective if you want to understand what they are going through. whether it's as a lebanese and what the u.s. is trying to do from their perspective or whether it's americans like jeff saltzman or hillary clinton to say what does it look like if you are in pakistani? was it feel like if you are living in beirut but also it's quite emotional. i write about how i landed a
route and i call my sister and she is like what does it mean for is? what is the plan? there is the question ,-com,-com ma what is the plan as though america has it on the table. and then there is this moment that i share with the secretary of because it's the first time she goes to beirut. she has never been to my country before and she knows she knows that i'm i am lebanese at a press conference she mentions that in public. i can just imagine what people might've been thinking across lebanon. there might have been people cheering, oh my goodness she recognized my friend or colleague and i'm so proud of her are people thinking it's not exactly a badge of honor. so it's those conflicting emotions that come with suddenly finding yourself on the other side. >> did you get any calls from family members or friends asking you, questioning youth traveling with with the delegation and anyway? >> well obviously a security
issue with beirut. beirut has a heavy history when it comes to its relationship with the united states with the united states; to some details about that. an american ambassador and cia chief was killed. the. the embassy was bombed. the marine derricks were bombed in 1983 so there are many reasons why the u.s. feels they are very wary about its security and the security of its diplomats in the country. so we were under instructions not to say anything to anyone about our arrival because we didn't want to compromise the secretary security and our own because we were traveling with her in the motorcade. i wasn't able to tell anyone that i was coming but the minute i landed i called my family. my sister was there and i called her and they then could only spend four hours in beirut for that trip.
i stayed behind and then everybody comes up to me and i have lunch and breakfast and dinner with friends and it's a very social environment in beirut. everybody is asking me, what are the americans doing about this and what are the americans doing about that? what does it mean? what is she going to do? those are the questions that i used to ask myself about the united states when i was in beirut and it was not for me to try to answer those questions with whatever it is i didn't know. >> host: and one of the issues that any administration, usually at the end but in this case the beginning that palestinian arab arab conflict, parcel bomb president obama's you mentioned or book his first call as president was to the head of the palestinian authority. how did that get derailed? it seems like it's no longer --
maybe it's become a front runner's shoe but at least for the first three years as a presence he went to the back burner. what happened there? >> guest: several things and it certainly wasn't for the lack of trying on the part of this administration. you can summon up by saying executions were raised -- expectations were raised too high by the administration's was a belief that perhaps there was a window of opportunity that could be used to advance the talks but all the misreadings in the united states about what had changed on the ground in israel and the palestinian territory and where each of the players was. netanyahu and mahmoud and there is also the sense that if you are the american president you can make anything move. then you bump up against reality. there is a certain reality on the ground.
sometimes the personality of a president can help make things move along but you have to remember that players on the ground have their own agendas, their own domestic considerations, their own fears and concerns about what they can give up on are not give up on and then there was this moment where hillary clinton showed her loyalty to the president. without giving too much to the readers about the plot, there is a moment where she showed loyalty in a statement that the president had made in a way that the players on the ground and the israelis feel they are stuck in a certain position and they have to unblock that. some are thinking well we are not going to be more british than the british or more royal than the king. we are going to wait for the americans to deliver what they said they would deliver. >> host: and it's interesting we are talking about settlements here.
the administration's mission was for settlements beyond what the word calling for to negotiate. once the president made that the issue, and away than the president -- that was an example and it was interesting because it was an example where you said hillary clinton agreed with the president. >> guest: as far as i could tell she did not voice disagreement at least not forcefully. she picked up one of five within the white house. it was all about showing bb netanyahu who is the boss because remember her husband bill clinton was in power in the 90s when benjamin netanyahu was prime minister and there was a lot of frustration there. i describe it a little bit to explain the context within which people were operating. she was in the policymaking
aspects of the white house back in the 90s but she remembers what the interactions were like. rahm emanuel was back not necessarily -- is certainly an adviser and there was president obama and it informed a little bit of the move of needing to be oldish and needing to be strong when it comes to dealing with benjamin netanyahu because everyone has been there before. i have had american officials tell me benjamin netanyahu thinks he can wait this out until we leave but we are going to be here longer than him. so we can just try to move the ball forward a little bit here and there until he is edged out of the political scene because that's the nature of politics in israel but benjamin netanyahu had just been reelected. there were a series of miscalculations, but i think what i would like to remind people of is that there is a
tendency in the arab world and possibly around the world to always say it's america's fault. americans did not deliver and to some extent there is absolute truth to that but it's important for people like me and people in the arab world to come to grips with their own responsibility about what they can do. obviously it's very difficult for the palestinians to feel like they have the upper hand because it's very difficult and they are not the strongest party at the negotiating table. but it doesn't help the issues to just lay everything on the united states and that is something that is ingrained in a lot of people's thinking. >> host: i guess what bothered me is the jumping off point between the president and hillary clinton on how you approach the palestinian-israeli
conflict. where there are lots of disagreements that you could tell between the president and the secretary of state on how to approach varying situations around the world? what was really her role as secretary of state? was she shaping polities -- policies to a significant ask them to? >> guest: going back to the israeli-palestinian discussion i think she didn't necessarily voice her disagreement about the approach the administration was taking because within the first year of her tenure all she wanted was to show loyalty. that is only my reading of what was happening so she may have thought i think this is the right way to go about it but she didn't voice that very forcefully. i'm not sure there was an openness and that is an interesting aspect of the relationship between two former rivals who were willing to work together now as president and
secretary of state. but overall the big picture, i think that she did carry a lot of weight when it came to the decision-making. i think she was both an influencer and an implementer. she was one of the heavyweights at the table alongside updates and her cabinet in the first term of president obama. she had a lot of experience and she was the big player on the global stage. president obama knew what when he was elected he wouldn't be old to travel around the world. he was going to be busy at home with economy so there is a clear reason and one of the many reasons why he chose her as secretary of state. he knew she could do that for him them on a daily basis around the world. and that is why i think that she would bring to him an accurate reading of where things stood and what she could deliver to him in terms of moving forward and in terms of agreements and
where the players were when it came to libya for example. what was needed for him to make the decisions. she lost some battles was certainly influenced a lot of the decisions libya being one of them in asia definitely. >> host: it was a very interesting scenario and what happened there. one last question on the israeli-palestinian conflict. i was covering a pack in 2007 hillary clinton spoke at the conference and she mentioned that the time something that i thought was interesting. she said destinations from the conflict where she would be traveling that issue would come up in the second or third issue and it struck me as unlike the that people would be focusing on this far-flung destination and once we saw wikileaks come out and we saw --
[inaudible] did you get the sense that beyond maybe israel's immediate neighbors and beyond europe that that was one of the top issues of discussion that people wanted to talk to hillary clinton about? >> guest: it comes up often and beyond those regions but if you are in pakistan there are immediate concerns that pakistan has but america's relationship with israel comes to the florist that way for people to explain what america's prism is when it deals with international affairs. i think it's a conflict that grabs a lot of headlines. it's intractable and it's ongoing. it does resonate around the world, all the way down to africa and latin america because it is one of those conflicts that is going to be in the headlines. i am not sure whether that world
leaders she met with wanted talk about the arab conflict but it did come up. >> host: it struck me as one of the things that might want than to address the conflict leaving it was linked to so many other things but the arab spring i think showed other things are going on that are necessarily focused on the israeli-palestinian conflict and obviously dominated a lot of her time as secretary of state and it happened suddenly. no one was anticipating it happening. they believed down the road stability would not be maintained and it would be a dictatorship. what was it like to be covering the state department at the time of the arab spring and how was the state department handling all of these things happening at once? >> guest: do know they were really scrambling to keep up with a the change. i think everybody was. the europeans and the russians, the chinese into a lesser extent
they are much further like to have their own domestic concerns but again going back to the point i was making at the beginning, what a reminder that the power is run by real people who are certainly thinking of go my goodness what is going on, what are we going to do and what are the long-term consequences and how should we handle this and what happens if we say to mubarak we have to go? what happens to relationships with other countries in the region's? if we suddenly tell mubarak you have to step down what are the pakistanis going to think when we are just trying to rebuild their relationship with them so it's a reminder that. i think the arab spring, the chapter around the arab spring is an example of what the book is trying to do. it's trying to bring the reader into, or give the reader a front row seat to diplomacy in action.
it's a great way to travel around the world sitting in your chair, getting a history lesson on international affairs and learning how to connect, learning how one crisis affects another, another region and how what happens and far-flung areas affects people in the united states and i tried to do it in a very accessible way that makes it engaging for people sitting in you know florida or oregon who are not quite sure why they should care about the arab world. >> host: an interesting topic jumping off the point in the discussion of american power because of this talk about american decline the rate the book -- in the book no matter how some people in the region see america as always a benevolent force in the midst of that storm or of these revolutions no one is calling out to china for recognition. they are still calling out to america in some way or another.
yes go they are and when america doesn't respond they get very upset more so than in china doesn't respond. no matter its faults the u.s. should stand up for democracy and human rights etc. so whatever the history of the united states, whatever the interest that it has to pursue, that is the expectation. >> host: he you write that it's almost like a catch-22. one official says if we intervene they say we are meddling and if we stay back they say where to standing up for human rights? no matter what we do we do we ae on with some site of criticism. >> guest: that is the fate of the superpower. it is a catch-22. people want you to deliver for them but they don't necessarily want to give you what it takes to deliver further so it's all about your own interest.
i do quote this official who says we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. the pendulum swings constantly and cystic wiggle thing. look at syria now. people are very upset in syria and in the region and here in the u.s.. you hear senator john mccain very upset that the u.s. isn't doing something. not as upset under the bush administration as there was upset because of action. it's a struggle to find that fine line. >> host: i think it's break time. >> guest: great.
>> host: and then there was libya which you could argue it's a success and some people argue it's a distraction or whatnot but certainly a place where hillary clinton played a pivotal role. she travels to france as you don't mean in your book and she basically wants to make sure that other people are going to contribute. it doesn't seem like the obama administration is going to and she wants wants to make sure that people will act with the united states. explain what she is doing in france. >> guest: first left me give you the concept of that trip because it was one of the most interesting trips that i've been on. everything was on the move. you had the earthquake in japan with the tsunami there in the nuclear crisis. you have a crisis with pakistan
where the contractor raymond davis was contained. you have had the revolution that was just ending in egypt. hosni mubarak had just stepped down. tunisia already had it. the occupy tour was ongoing in libya and syria was just erupting. and you had a couple thousand saudi and emirates troops marching into our brain to quell the unrest there. all of this happening at the same time while we are on this flight to paris in the u.s. is coming under intense pressure to do something about libya where mahmoud abbas he was threatening to level the town, the city of benghazi. that takes me to the first question you asked about, it's all fast moving and how do you make sure you're not taking any
mistakes? you don't have the luxury to stop. you have to handle it all at the same time. it's this one tiny little window into how dynamic it is to address all those challenges. hillary clinton goes to paris to try to assess where everybody is on the issue of libya because this administration is not going to get involved in any sort of military intervention unilaterally. there is no repeat of that and the administration and they don't want to be leading the charge and then find out that everybody is way back in the back and criticizing them for having gone forward. so they are keeping their cards very close to their chests and hillary clinton is in essence lining docs or as they say in the book going through your checklist. what do we need? what does the u.s. need to make
the decision to go for intervention? she goes about marian barry methodically lining that all up. she goes to the french to figure out exactly what they are going to contribute and if they understand what it entails. she explains that the no-fly zone is actually not enough and you need to do more. there are placas called for a no-fly sound so they are on board and that kind of moves the needle on the decision made king for the united states. and crucially she meets with the opposition leader to size up who is this man and what can he bring and what will you deliver? who are we doing business with? is when she gathers all those elements that she makes the call and decides that it's time to tip the balance in favor of intervention. that is very often how she operates as far as i can tell in conversations with the president she gathers everything she needs to make her case and then she does it by making that case to
the president and in essence came to the natural conclusion of what is the next that you take. >> host: i think in the scene with the same new yorker leading from behind. traditionally you would imagine america would make the decision and it's within america's national interest together a coalition and we are going to tell people are argue for people to join us but if we don't join us we will make the decision to do what we are going to do. your example is if they are going to do something then we will consider doing it. she is not saying that this is what we need to do and this is in america's national interest but she's waiting for other people to commit to the united states before doing it. i think in a real way it's a very different way than we have seen in past administrations in america. >> guest: it's actually not that different from the coalition put together by bush
senior for the first gulf war. it's a collaborative effort. the united states was leading openly and vocally but wanted to make certain that everybody was on oregon wanted a broad coalition. what hillary clinton and president president obama do with libya is say you know it's really in our national interest at this stage to get involved in this but it matters to our european partners and the world is asking us to help in a way that though they are willing to put their money where their mouth is because she also talks to the krypton ace and they will participate. that is often the danger. they lead the charge and they participate militarily and then they criticize the u.s. for getting into a war in another
country. so it's about making sure that the perception of what was happening was accurate. do you want to call a meeting from -- leading from behind? i'm not sure it's the right characterization. i think it's a more collaborative approach to how you exercise american leadership and how you bring people onboard? >> host: do you think the united states would have gone into libya had the arab league not been pushing for it and promising -- >> guest: possibly not because the french were absolutely adamant that they wanted to go ahead with this and i think that was part of -- one of the factors that shaped the conversation when people were debating this within the administration. clinton tells the president look the french are going ahead with this. we may just as well get in there and shape this to look like something that we can work with.
there is no point having just a no-fly zone. if we are going to be doing a no-fly zone for tenure, what's the point? you need to actually have a result and that is where the discussion comes in about including the measures to protect civilians. that is the final resolution that gets voted on at the u.n. as we are flying back from the region, back to the u.s. on that trip that we were discussing. we went to paris, to egypt and then tunis and it's enough course of four days of that decision is made. the conversation was very much you know ,-com,-com ma the french are to go ahead we can let them do whatever they want or we can try to shape this into something that is going to deliver for people. >> host: i think my favorite chapter in the book is the trip to burma perhaps because it might be the most historical and just talk about what made that trip so unique.
obviously not many people are traveling to burma from united states at that time. >> guest: at the time it was very novel. you know, it was a very special moment and it goes back to when you look at the big picture of what my book will do for readers this is a book that is several things. it is my personal story about american power. it is the story concept of smart power which do you in a challenging world? but states politician, whether you like her whether you don't like her she has global stature and she is a celebrity.
she has a strong personality and she has been in the public eye for several decades but they think the readers will discover things about her that they didn't know and see her in a different light. that chapter in burma achieves part of that as well where you see her as a woman who is meeting another historic figure, the nobel peace laureate, two amazing women both are very different reasons, who come face to face who had never met before and it's quite emotional and very historic because of who these two women are. and in a way, i can whatever you think of hillary hudson, i think everybody can agree on the fact that she is a global figure with an important stature on the global stage. she probably rarely meets women
or people in general who are on that same historic level as hers and i write in the book about how there is recognition and for aung san suu kyi as well. she has been under house arrest in burma are for so long that she has the opportunity to meet world figures like that. so it was that moment that made the trip very special and that is why it i agree with you that it's a great chapter but it's also to see american diplomacy in action and to see a tangible if you want to use the wonkish word, deliverable. there are certain deliverables in this day and age of diplomacy but the opening up of burma, still going and no guarantee of long-term success that they need to be in going in the right direction, that was quite
special to watch as well. it was done again very collaboratively. the united states working along with hard in the region to make this make this moment happened. >> host: something you said when he landed in burma traveling around, was the only time that the reporters were looking outside the window not because of leasing unique or interesting which it probably was but because there was no blackberry service. >> guest: indeed. we still have blackberries on our trips trip says people are in washington as well. sometime looking around you you don't have time because you are writing your story or checking with your editor and what they need and some people checking back home with their families. is everything okay? i will be home for my daughter's birthday etc.. so you have to be hunched over your laptop are looking at here black very. but communications were very limited and the internet was very limited.
it's not north korea but it's quite closed or it has been for the last few decades. so what was a great opportunity for us to just sit back and look at the beautiful scenery and take in what was unfolding in front of us. >> host: let's take on the broad subject that we discussed a little bit but let's tackle it head-on. i think as we said this book is really an exploration is in many ways of i and power in the world than questions of american decline and if it's happening and is it not? is it a good thing, is it not? what is your conclusion on those really big questions? >> guest: in some ways i'm hoping that my readers will draw their own conclusions when they have read all those different chapters, all those nuances. the book is about international
diplomacy and international affairs done and a fun engaging, colorful way. i have had people remark that they were exhausted just reading the book because they're sort of a frenetic aspect to it. i think that that is what i gained from writing this book was greater understanding of what it is like to be a superpower. it seems easy but it isn't. and i've had the turkish prime minister say that to me as well. he says you can do whatever you want. it actually doesn't work like that and it's important to acknowledge that and to recognize it and see how you than behave in accordance to that. whether you are american or whether you are overseas. i found that in my research i knew on an instinctual level but
i went into the intellectual aspect of it, i knew the conversation about american decline was cyclical because the headlines about american decline were there when i was growing up in beirut particularly after the bombing of the marine barracks. american decline, big boat to america and a big blow to american credibility. america is over. it is done. 20 or 30 years later america still there in one way or another in the conversation is back to does america have influence in the middle east? i think absent flows depending on what else is going on but i think no one can dispute the fact that america is no longer a superpower. it has rifles. it has allies who want more of the same it has friends like turkey who are arising and want to have a bigger stage on the table. what i found interesting was clinton's approach to that and to some extent the president's
vision as well. don't try to suppress that they work with it. how can you turn it to your advantage? how can you work with turkey to bring them on board and work toward a common goal? it sounds great and easy, but i think that clinton, her adviser 's and i mentioned jake sullivan who was the chief of staff working on national security for the president people around the president as well. a collaborative approach to power and more realistic long-term strategies for maintaining global leadership for the united states. now if you don't want american leadership wherever you are sitting, somewhere in the world, if you resent american power than that something you have to learn to work with. but i think as clinton told me
in one of the many times i interviewed her, 19 times as she sat down with me and for the book as well, it doesn't work anymore to say that you are with us or you're against us. but the united states isn't in that position anymore if only for economics. it's not a rival super economic power in the morning doesn't have the money anymore to get done what it wants to get done. >> host: i saw you coming to terms asking questions about -- some people might want american decline american decline but what is american decline but what is the main? d. want china to replace american would that be good for the world or no power, would that be good? i took away the impression in some ways personal terms because it's not only the broad question of american power that back in beirut and what you've learned with the secretary of state as
america having the strongest presence in the world even if you think it's relative decline. am i misreading that? >> guest: the decline thing, think american power is changing. i think the whole notion of power is changing. i'm not actually a big fan of the work declined because i don't think it reflects necessarily the reality. i am not a policymaker but from what i am finding is a journalist and as someone who has lived if you will on the receiving end of decisions made in washington, i'm not sure that the work declined is the right one but it is the one used in the debate. what i have found was that there was no one else who could take on the role that the moment that the u.s. has. china isn't ready to take on the role of the superpower and i also discuss how having no one superpower or no leading
superpower can lead to global gridlock and there have been many books written about how if you don't have one power it leads to this g. zero which was coined by -- because the u.s. is unsure of what to do no one is doing anything. the saudi's are arming and the turks want to do this but no one is coming in and taking charge and that's what happens when the united states puts his foot down sometimes and says what we should do. the way that they then approached that and how to move forward requires the united states to do as i've been saying in a more collaborative way to get people on board rather than lecturing them and bullying them into doing something.
they may be wrong. in a few years we will see the world changing again. i'm not sure. i don't have a crystal ball but certainly at the moment it looks like it does still require american leadership even if it's collaborative to get something done. >> host: people still on the ground is we mentioned then you talk about a trip to beirut he took in the summer of 2011 in the midst of arab spring or in some cases aristide opposed in egypt. and you have two friends, not just one. >> guest: i have several. >> host: asking basically this was orchestrated by american they wanted to be rid of dictators. what was her plan with lebanon? they couldn't imagine that a superpower like america was not pulling the strings. >> guest: you know it was an interesting moment that i found very revealing of the continued
perception of america as a master puppeteer pulling all the strings but it was this inherent contradiction in what my friends were saying over other people in the region where simultaneously they were praising people power which had brought down mubarak which had brought down a dusty and brought down -- in tunisia in tunisia and at the same time they were convinced are convinced that the united states was pulling all the strings. i don't know how you reconcile those two images. my explanation is that when chaos erupts around you you want to find the explanation for why you don't have any control. that is certainly what syria would like growing up in lebanon. there is war and i can do anything about us why must be somewhat responsible. beyond that militia leaders in my country somebody must be
pulling the strings somewhere. it must be america. it provides a neat explanation for why you are powerless. it's not in accurate explanation, not always. america certainly powerful and pulls quite a few strings but it doesn't have control over thing and it doesn't have control over the outcome of the decisions that it makes. look at the iraq war. it was supposed to be an insurgency plan it didn't work out quite like you had anticipated. there's this constant contradiction and i don't know whether we would move beyond that but i think that one thing that clinton did very well as secretary of state and her relentless public diplomacy was to be very sort of pragmatic in the way she explains to people with what the u.s. was doing and very as matter-of-fact about it.
and i said in the book, we don't have a magic wand that we can just wave. everybody knows that on the intellectual level but there are still expectations. it's a fine line you have to walk as an american leader to say well we don't have all the answers but we are still the superpower. so how do you project power but at the same time don't raise expectations too much. it's a very difficult line to walk. >> host: all right, legacy time. what will history look back at and say of heller clinton's time as secretary of state? >> guest: there are her critics and people in between so let me tell you a little bit about what i've heard. we have her critics who say no peace in the middle east and nothing with korea nothing with iran and pakistan perhaps a little bit better but still a mess. what has she achieved?
that's a very valid point. there are many pieces of paper that she can hold up and say this this is the granite designed with this country and we achieved peace there. you have the fans are the people that her of liked her approach to diplomacy who say what she really did was change the way the u.s. does business around the world then apply this concept of power where in her own words deployed all the toolbox in the -- tools in the two blocks of american diplomacy. so i think that in a way will be part of her legacy but it's very much a work in progress and we have to see whether welding off of that continues with the new secretary of state, with president obama but i don't think from what i've seen as a journalist that it is an approach that deserves to be looked at seriously.
and i think that is her overriding legacy. she was very much about the big picture. she realized that she came in at a time when there was a lot of talk about american decline in america was facing a financial crisis in the world was facing a financial crisis than she was struck at the perception of the people had of of the united states and people were asking her, what are you? what you stand for? everything seems to be going into meltdown in washington. she reasserted that perception of america as a global power, repaired some of the damage to alliances that america had around the world and tried to help improve the perception around the world of the united states. and then one last point, several foreign ministers in the book, because this is a layered book with a lot of different
perspectives woven into the pages. i have to say i was really struck by how much praise and how effusive people were in their praise for hillary clinton weather was the turks or the french or even the pakistanis. imagine that the country with which the united states has such a difficult relationship. the pakistanis had a lot of praise for hillary clinton and the way she approached thing from a very human dimension as a mother. i write in the book about how she constantly connects with people on that level and that human level. people say she was one of the greatest secretaries of states that the united states has ever had. i think history will tell and uis have to wonder the celebrity factor that surrounds her winch who walked into her room contribute to that perception. it's something worth examining. >> host: the president himself has said she will go down in history as one of the greatest
secretary of state sand as you mentioned it's a hard thing may be to make a case for without necessarily any signature agreement and you mentioned in the book she chose not to make a signature issue out of any one problem around the world. >> guest: except for women. women is one of the issues that she did take on and very much made part of the mainstream conversation. with every single world leader that she met, she discussed women's issues and she put it in very pragmatic terms. do you want to improve your economy? you have got to include the other half of the country. otherwise you are not going to move forward. officials at the state department and across washington and overseas as well, women's issue. it's a nice soft power thing to have but there's not the urgencn of the day. she is very much part of the discussion and she has made people realize, if you want to move forward you cannot leave behind half of the population.
>> host: i found it interesting that in one of the cases you make and set out in the beginning of the administration is to repair american image in the world. while that in some cases was up poll and in places found a striking and pakistan and jordan in beirut, down in egypt. this was down from from the last year the george w. bush administration but i want to ask one last question before we and i think we should touch on benghazi a little bit. how do you think that will affect hillary clinton's legacy is that all? will it be a lasting tarnish that she won't be able to escape or something that history does -- >> guest: very briefly on the polls. i think polls are not always an accurate reading of what is going on in no doubt the perception of united states will continue to go up and down