tv Washington Journal Michael Breen and James Jay Carafano Discuss President... CSPAN January 17, 2017 7:13pm-8:01pm EST
♪ >> the presidential inauguration of donald trump is friday. c-span will have live coverage of the days events and ceremonies. watch live on c-span and c-span.org and listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> president obama's foreign policy legacy was the topic with guest michael breen of the truman national security project and james of the heritage foundation and the retiredwashin lieutenant colonel on "washington journal".
>> the foreign policy in a bomb administration with two guestha joining us.f the tr n we are joined by michael green, he serves as president and ceo and james with the heritage foundation. welcome. the big picture when it comes to foreign policy is there an obama doctrine when it comes to approaching these matters? >> to evaluate his legacy we have to put it in a context. since 1945 every american president, republican or immigrant sense truman has tried to carry for the series that says were going to try to prevent future great power conflict and creative world based on institutions like nato, the united nations and it's been an unprecedented network to try to strengthen the liberal order to prevent that darkness that golf the world prior to world
war ii. when you evaluate the legacy of an american president we have to put it in that context. think what you can say about thm obama doctrine is it's been primarily about making sure that no matter what the united stateh does in the world we do it with allies and friends. we try to put forward others in regional solutions and problems for example i think you can see the contrast between the obama doctrine and what came before. iraq is in a good example. it's not a good shape now it was a good shape for president bush's administration. the differences you have a strategy that says united states is going to unilaterally solve t that problem with armed troops and partners.pa are we going to work patiently with great result taking risks ourselves question voice he there's house to house fightinge iraq. that is being done by iraqis and by an army of predominantly
muslim iraq is trying to liberate a muslim city. it's been done with the backing and support of the united states providing only what we can provide in terms of training support and we have more national partners now that we did then. >> i think we both agree there's an obama doctrine i think we disagree and what it was. i think we agree there's an obama legacy and disagreement on what it was. it doesn't really matter. matter. i think that's most important thing. the legacy is about context. so we'll have views on the obama legacy but what we have to understand is it doesn't matter because people's view of that will change over time. when they look at a legacy they put it in the context of the present state and look backwards and say how do we get there. a good example of that is harry truman. harry truman could've ran for president again. he didn't because he knew he would get elected. he was wildly on popular, peoplb are very upset about the korean war and he was rated very low.
for years he ranked at thehe bottom. that started to change in the 1980s. the change because of ronald reagan because people perceive we're getting back into the cold war and turning the corner and truman was looked back at the architect and so his stock actually started to rise and increased in the 90s with a democratic president. truman is fairly well revered.wt look at how that'shi changed ovr cheney time. we'll think things today but that doesn't mean that legacy is fix forever. i guarantee i guarantee the way we think about obama today will not be consistent over time. >> so let me and reduce if you want to ask questions of our guests, for their starting point you can call in. one of the pieces i read this utrning, i know legacy will change over time but the one weird using that piece consistently and that word is
restraint. would you agree that or disagree with that. >> i do think the obama was fundamentally bucket in the world to balance of the way to h do that is i suppose your powers the united states was in conflict with, iran, russia, china and to define some spaces to satisfy their needs and get some balance and then that would allow the united states to draw its influence and rely more on friends and allies, i believe that was a strategy.y. almost all of these things by them so i never form policy. restraint, unilateralism, aggression, defense, isolationism. it's all relative to the peoplea you're competing against an entrance that you're trying to defend. so there's no cookbook answer. even when you have a doctrine which i believe obama did you can't always stick to your doctrine because the enemy gets.
a vote and sometimes the enemy doesn't want to cooperate. >> i think that's right.t. what's in your inbox when heas e shops matters a lot. the enemy gets a vote. vote. we seen rushes a great example.s of this. we've seen people come into office to find some way to rebalance with rush or reset whatever terms can be.ll and that has not worked out very well. so now it's interesting to see the trump administration come in a discussion about how they will calibrate on russia how does that go? i think the russians has consistently decided they're going to do it they're going to do. they will take advantage of whatever disorder and imbalance exists in the system. they been good at explaining that. so you're up against a lot of people around the world were smart as we are. some of those priorities are legitimate.. in american foreign policy that take those into account are not necessarily wrong.
the question is, are we attempting to reach a better situation with adversaries and people who don't share our worldview or are we adopting it. stepping into their shoes too much.s >> i think that's an important point. i was at a dinner with madden albright the other night. and she said something really important. she said no president starts with a blank page. so that's important. part of it is what you inherit from the previous president.legacy of there are no do overs in history and no blank pages. so you pick up where the other guy left off. oftentimes we do disservice ines some ways when we talk about the legacy of a particular presidena because in many ways it's a continuity of challenges that transcends individual presidencies. they'll they'll be partially true for this president as well.-obama
historians a decade from now may be talk about the bush obama. instead of the obama time.be the with that thought in mind, under the previous president, president bush we had iraq, that morphed into al qaeda, now we have isis. talk about the ability of this administration to pivot met the challenges and changes as you describe them. >> i'll pick up on iraq, i think that's a fair criticism. the reality is when president obama came into office nobody was dying in iraq. iraq was essentially at peace. we withdrew our our troops andof the president had no way of knowing that it would break out there would be a civil war in syria. one of the consequences becauseo we withdrew our troopsed sta
essentially the war had ended. the united states forces were literally there to reinsure the iraqi people. because those forces were gone when the civil war broke out that doubled over into iraq and destabilize iraq. that became a major chief challenge. al qaeda's back.k. i think most analysts agree that al qaeda has a bigger footprint than after nine/11. isis is a real threat. he said in his remarks that there has not been a terrorist attack foreign terrorist attack on american soil since he took office and that is true. actually there hasn't been since 9/11. but it masks the nature of the problem and that has change. isis is global. it manifests itself different in different parts of the world. u in the united states it's about isis getting people to attack for them.in and there we've seen an eighease. the number of islamic related terrorist plots have dramatically increased the last
eight years.xclude the number people who have been killed by islamic related terrorist attacks in the united states excluding 9/11 is higher under obama than it was under bush. >> i would gently push back because i thinks it's an important point. thus the question of the withdrawal of the u.s. troops to lead to the isis situation. i think it matters not in a point m scoring way but because it speaks to the nature of the-inti problem. there's high intensity u.s. engagement in iraq that led to that nonviolence in iraq that you're speaking of. it was a military strategy intended to buy political time.t it was intended to create space for the iraqi civilian government to heal the ones thas existed between the shia and the populations in the country. the withdrawal of u.s. troops as part of the story mostly about
the mala key government. in the face of violence the sunni leaders broke with al qaeda despite an excess dental fear and put the faith and their government what they got in return was minority oppressions, economic marginalization and imn saw military commanders cut out of the structure and they are marginalized. isis was able to come in and make the case thatat we affect our and we are your only defenders.ol that's a political crisis that leads to isis leads to the situation. i don't know what difference 10,000 american troops troops with residual force were to me. i don't think it would enforce the political disintegration of iraq. we talked about terrorism i think terrorism i think we have to acknowledge that. that's the core of what allows these organizations to exist.. p a parasite on the lack
of stable governments and the lack of democracy and freedom in the middle east. until those dynamics change we will continue to play whack a woul against these nonstate actors. >> i don't disagree with that. but the the 10000 troops would've been helpful in backing up the iraqi army and preventine -- and if they had stayed engaged in iraq the united states would've had more influence in the political process. the point is is we are where we are. i think being honest when all is said and down and most was taken down, if the thing that's holding iraq together is the fact that everybody's fighting isis. as soon as they're done fighting isis they will start fighting each other because we have to have political progress. if the united states doesn't want iraq to go back to the mesr
it was when isis rolled in i think the next president is going to find is actuallyar president obama did that the united states is going to have to be engaged. although it's an iraqi war, there's lot of america contractors there and if america was not deeply engaged in this iraq would not be recovering and it would then walk away like we did last time when the black plague comes to the muzzle. my my guess is that if you don'tt want iraq to go back to that challenge it it will be no. >> john from florida, you're our first guest. >> good morning. i would like to ask your guests concerning latin america, president obama early on outreach to venezuela, nicaragua, and in the case of cuba they started out with the
cuban dictatorship and we've seen human rights in those countries deteriorate greatly. we see nicaragua and venezuela, disenfranchised and democratic practices. you have opposition leaders murdered in cuba. 100,000 cubans flee to the united states and now they have close the door on them.io were seen human rights situation. nicaragua purchasing 50 tanks. >> color we have a lot of things out there.ub let's go to cuba because maybe that's more relatable., >> i think these are all fair points. i think the question is, on cuba does i decade after decade, after decade of isolating the island and effectively, they had connectivity to the entire world
except for the united states in a lot of ways. hasn't done much? i think the think the answer pretty fairly is no.n't the decades of ineffective u.s. embargo didn't really work for her the castro's improve human rights situation. so attempting to open up ties with the world's most vibrant democracy, the united states, does that help or hurt cuba? i think that's too early to tell. i think we try to calibrate off this. the interesting to see what the administration chooses to do. do they the administration chooses to do. do they try to open things up? it remains to be seen will be better for the human people. isolating them for that time did not improve their situation. >> i say the evidence is clear that it empowered the regime and human rights have not improved, it has deteriorated somewhat.
the regime is only stronger because of this but that's where we are today.e. i think it would be unfair to blame president obama for the situation in venezuela. it's the closest thing we have to let america to a failed state. they like the worst of the days. that's not all president obama's fault. coese were decisions made by h h government that was disastrous.i so i would say i wish we had spent more time last couple of years dealing with that in preparing the countries around to the shock of the extract i think there's where we could've done in latin america because i think there is a war between the nicaragua's, cubans and venezuelans in countries like colombia and panama which had been trying to go in a different direction and i think we could help more there. i think venezuela may not be aes
legacy for president obama big could be a legacy for mr. trump because that's a state thatco could be dramatic problems in the coming months and years.calr >> it from baltimore maryland. >> caller: good morning.an my biggest criticism of obama relates to american integrity.s i think the redline comments and actions in syria were commppointing but in ukraine my understanding and the deal was ukraine we give up the nuclear weapons in exchange forty and america's guarantee of its territory. clearly clearly we walked away from that. what is that mean for the trust that governments have an ascent also for nuclear nonproliferation's and nuclear weapons was a big part of that?e
>> i think it's a mistake to think that ukraine has been free for russia. certainly we can go back and forth and say should we have done more or less. i my own opinions about that.t, in a situation like that first of all, it is worth recognizing some of the politically difficult things europeans have done under american leadershipas recently. gas pro sanctions were not for the germans to do. they're dependent for most of their energy supply onrush itself. so these were tough decisions for the europeans to make but they made them out of the alliance between the united states and europe but that was something that was still important united states.would so we have made moves in ukraine. have they been been as effective as we had hoped? the reality of the situation is that you have one of the world', largest are land armies on thery
board of ukraine fighting in ukraine. question is does does the united states try to counterbalance out military force in a and doing that are we escalating that. it's like a game of card. every time we ante up the russians have the incentive andl ability to ante up more. it's very hard to imagine an escalation letter in which the russians don't have the final race on this. it's on their border. so that it's a reality we have to grapple with. when you talk about countries have massive nuclear arsenals you can't ignore that.tion. so we have to be firm in ukraine but we also can't lose sight of the context that this is not easy. >> you can talk about the syria red they come i do think that's a challenge to the administration's legacy. i talked to a lot of folks and embassies around the world and there was a sense that was a
moment where the administration came in. secretary carey talked about this and he talked about the redline math. nobody believes it. history doesn't see that. the the administration had a redline, i think secretary carey was the chief architect of that the president went out long because he thought he would never have to enforce it. because the aside would never use chemical weapons but then he did. and the president did not want to escalate things to return to congress and asked for permission to do it knowing fule congress went to it. so i know how we got out of that, but that was in error of state. had to rewrite history to suggest anything about that would not be worthy of the administration.on
>> i think that's clear this is the one major area where i've been publicly in disagreement with the administration for years. there's a lot to say about syria. i would not want to lose larger context of the conversation which is important for going forward in a situation like syria have my differences with the administration choicesw but i have differences in the context of what else should we have done?e? think that's a tough question. it's a big mistake to pretend there's an easier answer that military force would've' predicted the result. >> in syria they're going to stay as i the russians and iranian wanted there. i if we want to kick assad out when i can go to war with syria, we have interest to defend thei, but there's countries around syria that we are concerned about a lot. jordan, israel, and i agree we
have marginal things we can do, but important things we should do. it wa ukraine was not a treaty ally of the united states that's when nato is so important. we have clear obligations to defend nato and it's in our interest to do so. ukraine don't have that. on the other hand the security of ukraine does affect the peace and stability of europe so we da have an interest there. we have made obligations under that agreement. i would hope within the next administration would press for press for the russians to honor that. >> the next call is from theexer democrat line. >> reporter: no. wante >> i just wanted to go back a little bit towards iraq and talk about the fact that seems to me
the american people have forgotten that at the time that we obama pulled out of iraq that's what the american people were screaming for. they wanted that. they wanted us to pull out of there, they didn't want troops there, they felt this is into place we belong, why are we placing the rest of the world. that kind of atmosphere that was going on.. and now all of a sudden everybody seems to have forgotten that that's what everybody was screaming about wanted. if it did or so they're saying we pulled out and that created isis. i'm not, not, say whether that did orhavg didn't, but i think we need to remember what happened. having said that, i really do believe that obama tried to do peacefully some of the things round the world that everybodyde wants to but is much as i kinda liked obama i still believe that
in the united states if we don't operate from the position ofwh't strength than the enemies around the world, those people that don't care are going to takeas that as weakness and they are going to lash out. when we had the ship in the middle of the ocean and the russian planes - like those ships and we did nothing all that it was emboldened the russians. i think that's the kind of things we need to look at. >> that's an interesting question. to get back to the question of iraq, i think that's good context and right. w i think public opinion turned very quickly. i remember experiencing that i was one of the guys who is in iraq in 2003 and four in the early days where the u.s. armyoe uniform. i remember what it was like when public opinion started to change dramatically as the war went
from a couple of months and a quick regime change operation te what happened to be a decade of counterinsurgency. which is no picnic. i think there's a deeper question which is with the american people prefer all the rhetoric aside with the american people prefer the fighting in iraq be done by an army of iraqis, supported by americans special operators and theyractors we prefer the iraqis imperfectly and slowly as they are fight through the streets of most all that they do the house to house fighting? or would we rather our own 19 and 20-year-olds do that. it's one thing to talk about america's strength in the world world and another thing to back that up with the work our own treasure and blood. whenst mistakes happen is when e united states draws lines or make security commitments or talks tough and is not prepared
to back it up through action. people see through that clearly. i think many of the mistakes come from that basic disconnect that happens between your rhetoric and what you're prepared to do.incomi that's a mistake i don't think the incoming administration can afford to make but it's difficult to avoid. america's want to hear their leaders talk tough. we believe that signal something around the room but unless it's backed by commitment everyone else knows it's meaningless.y >> here's the legacy of treatment has relevance. truman was getting into the korean war look at the prospects of writing for president again. americans freaked out when the war broke out because for the first time they might end up in world war iii. these were people who live through world war ii and the devastation. the last thing they wanted was to fight another war to end all wars. they looked at truman and were
angry. lots of decisions truman could've made that would've been politically expedient that could've served as politicsel better cinema for reelection but they were not the decisions best for american foreign-policy and not just for liberating south ei korea but preventing the conflict. he made made the tough calls which is why we look back and we admire truman so much because he made the tough call even when it went against his political interest. americans were popular and widely for the iraq war until they weren't. otherwise they are paid to look out to the interests of the american people. sometimes the people are unhappy sometimes a happy. their job is to balance the
politics and interest and put the interests first. there's a difference between popular popularity. popularity is do i like wheaties today. poplars do in my willing to be governed. americans have enormous popular will. we believe in government and democracy sometimes we hate our president and boycott stuff but. was still believe and expect things. president needs to remember that sometimes you're going to do things that are unpopular. unpop but if you believe there in a vital interest of the united i states you'll do them anyway. recognize that if americans hate you they'll go along with it. the caveat now. americans turned against were 1968, that might be true. but we did might be true. but we did not leave vietnam until 1973. we did not caught the vietnamesu off until 75. this is a war were unwilling to fight but presidents found out a way to carry on for long time.
>> to have a collar for marilyn on the democrats line. >> caller: hello. thank you for giving me the opportunity to ask a question. i want to know from your guest, american american with theo middle east and afghanistan how long do you think without pulling out, i want to know he pulled out on the taliban andns how long can america sustain in these countries for long time?tn and someday there'll be every american out that country. >> first well, if that part of the world is at peace in the american forces are contributing to the peace and stability we
can kind of stay forever. a majot nato. we have been in there for a really long time and there has not been a major land war in europe and the time of europe's modern history. if u.s. troops in the middle east might've been fine because nothing was happening.ened did'' it's easier to have troops there and have nothing happen happen then to have troops there and fight. >> yes, thank thank you for your service and continuing service.t yes, u.s. troops deployed around the world under peaceful conditions with the consent of the people who live in a place where the troops are is a good thing. it's easier to be thereae than to try to get there on something goes wrong. what that's what the u.s. legacy had europe has been. none of this is risk-free.
two points about popularity and form policy, can forget that one of the big pieces of form policy is a choice as a president gets to make to send americans to kill and die in places they were not born or would not have gonee otherwise. that is a massive responsibility and as we've come to rely on a military which had eight dividends under national the security, that said i'm concerned that it is isolated that question of what the american people are willing to buy into and sustain versus what presidents want to do. these long wars are tougher country like the united states. it's really tougher in american families to have their son, or daughter deployed abroad at risk for years at a time. we have
sustain this this form policy through two administrations on the backs of a small -- than we ever had. . . eight or nine tours in the middle east and the have not been nintendo tours. the is, can continue to sustain that? sustain that by further isolating our military from the democracy? it is a dangerous game to play. popular decisions are courageous and certainly, iran in organization named h but we cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that this is a democracy and that means especially when we put our people in harm's way there is a sacred compact between those we freely elect to make the decision and those who will pay the price. >> it is something i think we actually agree on. i think neither one of us think ãand i think this is something that is true the last eight years, the united states should be the world policing.
>> i think realistically people don't ãthey don't think is was a practical idea but ãnobody things that is the right thing. >> the united states when it uses force records it puts our men and women in harm's way, should do so when there is a vital us interest at stake. and that that is the best way to protect and defend them. and i think the american people get that. if you are doing this for the right reason, we are with you. and the men and women who volunteer they get that. i mean yeah they have had eight tours but there is a reason why they keep going back. they love this country. they love defending this country. they never apologize for that. now i agree with you, their lives are being thrown away, if they are being put on a mission that is for ãtherefore someone else and they are not defending us then they would he frustrated and angry at that. but when they feel that they're out there and fighting for us, as you know because we were both in uniform. we didn't have a problem doing
that.that is what you want every president to do. when every president to sit at the desk. and when you say the first thing out of your mouth, this is in the best interest of the united states and are we doing the thing that is suitable, the right thing to do. and ask everyone to make that at the forefront of how they make their decisions. >> you just heard from james jay carafano, vice president of heritage foundation, foreign and defense policy studies. also michael breen president and ceo of truman center for national policy. as we look at president obama ã glenda is on our independent line from savannah georgia. good morning. >> good morning. those arguments you made were fantastic. we backed into vietnam but we walked in to iraq. and they've always been there. when saddam got mad at somebody because they were shooting soldiers in the back he would take the village that was shooting at and he would line
them up and he would assassinate them. when somebody gave them trouble, they gave big trouble back. our young men and women were trying to create a new society and they have this on limited number of fighters of disaffected young muslim men with no jobs, no families, no hopes. please, i just do not understand. we had some really smart people who invaded iraq. how, and the status is, people in okinawa had a status. they want us out of there so bad because the kids ãthey get drunk, the young may get drunk, they do all kinds of things. the okinawans say get out of here, leave us alone. and they aren't even ãi don't, i don't know how we think we
could have invaded iraq and ? >> sorry i cut you off to see my apologies for that. michael breen. >> i agree with you in the decision to invade iraq. it is very old history in some ways it is still with us. i think you have to be very careful when you decide that you're going to apply a bunch of military force to a shaky political order and try to get some political order that is better. because what you are doing is creating more disorder. your shattering the order that exists. and pre-2003 iraq was no picnic. this was a pretty terrible country for that with a live there. however, i think if you asked iraqis if they would rather live in iraq in 2008 or 2002 they would choose 2002. universally that is what they would say. they lived in a pretty bad dictatorship and end up with a civil war that almost consumed
their entire society. you want to make a point because i think this is one of the stories we tell ourselves about what just isn't true. the sunni shiite split happened thousands of years ago. for most of the time since that split, sunnis and shiite have been living in peace and great cosmopolitan cities and created the great gifts to humanity in art and culture and science that most of us benefit from in our lives. i spent time in prewar syria before the collapse. again, a country under a brutal dictator but had a vibrant cosmopolitan culture. the intermarriage rate between sunni and she it was about 35 percent. these two joke ãthey would call their kids sushi. you did it these two factions have been in a violent work for thousands of years, this is a social order that is recently shattered.not entirely by us. i'm not taking responsibility for that by the united states. i think it has been largely driven and exploited by extremists in the region who
have forced and brutalized people in iraq, syria and across the region into conflict with one another. destroying holy sites, acts of terrorism, death squads, designed to force people to seek shelter and extremist groups. certainly the vision of iraq did not help that process and in some ways it may have been the starting. but i think it is a mistake to look at the middle east today and think it has always been that way. and it will always be that way. and those people are somehow different from us. for most of their history they certainly have not been. >> i think the wonderful thing about the question that really gets to the whole segment and how do you create a legacy and, how do you grade presidential leadership. an informed policy and think the metric really is are you protecting and descending the vital interest of the united states? >> but what makes the challenge truly america, in a manner in which america is a force for good in the world.
that i think makes, that is part of what i think does make us an exceptional nation. other countries can go forth and do things in their interest with no regard to the human rights and the consequences of anybody else. but we believe that, that sovereignty is a product of the individual people and the people have the ability to rule themselves and that their ability to act in their natural right and the god-given rights to exercise their freedom and liberty and it would be wrong for us to try to go forth in the world and take that away from anybody else. and pursue defense of our own interest. >> there is a tension ãwe are, my job is to protect americans. but america wants to be a force for good. and i have an obligation on part of the american people to represent them while doing that. i think that is what we should grade every president by. >> i think that's right.and
think about again, legacy. the president spoke about this in his farewell address. i think we ought to listen to it. the great tragedies in the united states, he said i will quote imperfectly was that, the worst thing that we can do is to become just another big country. that throws its weight around against small countries. to become just another self-interest in the world because america has been and continues to be and has the potential to continue to bay. -- >> think we lost focus between the obama years we left into this conversation about is america isolation, do we do nothing or go out and conquer every country in the world? i think it is a false economy. and the president rejected that. i think rightly so. but, the answer is ãnot just do something, right? like the opposite between doing nothing and everything.
as long as i'm doing something, i am ãi don't think that's right. i think obviously america is not going to be successful, we are not going to run the planet, we will not be the lead in every country but as long as i'm doing something in the middle that's okay. no, it has to meet that metric of you protecting our vital interest and enforce for the good in the world? >> mike from ohio. thank you for holding on. go ahead. >> good day sir, how are you? >> you are our guest good morning.>> yes sir. it seems to me that white men speaking with a forked tongue here. i mean chaos throughout the middle east, can you hear me? >> yes you are on. go ahead. >> okay. chaos, that is what the bush administration will exit when dick cheney was president after the ãthe summer before 9/11 when they came in they wanted chaos throughout the middle east.
and what did they do? they sent james baker the third into the middle east and he set up contracts and offices throughout the middle east before 9/11. then it came and we had traces of nano ãin the twin towers. and it led into the heroin epidemic in this country with our soldiers in the heroin fields being guarded three times as much production now and we scratch our heads and wonder why. >> okay thank you mike. changing topic a bit. [indiscernable] >> he is worried about that the middle east ? >> i think we all agree it is a troubled area. in against is something that another thing you can grade president on, obama and the next president as well. there are three parts of the world where the united states does have a vital interest. where a large scale, the regional conflict in that part of the world actually is
something that would be of such disruption that it would really impact us. maybe, maybe not directly but certainly would impact our vital interest and potentially lead to a larger scale war.in those three parts of the world a europe, the middle east and asia. and so i think when you're looking back to president obama and saying how well he did or where looking forward to president trump, what are things you want to evaluate? are you helping bring peace and stability to europe, the middle east and asia? not that they had to be the land of milk and honey because the middle east has better days and worse days. we got that. but there is no expectation that everybody in the middle east can't be happy and there can be anybody shooting anywhere. but there is a potential for conflict and to stay out of control. i think that is important task for the president. >> i think that's right. that's an important point. and it kind of goes the point you made at the beginning of the show about legacy and survival in the future.
i think that is, that is an interesting question in this context right now. i think it is a fair argument, fair to say that we just had probably the first presidential election in ãfor decades that was in some ways a referendum on whether america should continue this project. continue the project that will have this strong nato, strong alliances, deter great power conflict in asia and stand by the allies there. japan was debated hotly. it is our alliances about neutral benefit or alliances in term of good or a pay for play system. we have had a lot of these debates that we have not had in decades. and so i think we will see because we have an incoming administration that is going to question all of these things. and if you look at the front page of most newspapers this morning you'll see a lot of uncertainty in europe and a lot of uncertainty in asia, a lot of pretty tough rhetoric going back and forth between the united states and china.
what that produces in a real policy context we will see. inauguration day is not here with us. i think this discussion of the continuity of american foreign policy is critical at this moment. because we will see but i think you know the legacy of the obama administration, i hope will not be i mean this was the last american administration to hold to that ãand it is very difficult so far to tell. which way this will go. >> i, will i certainly agree that this election is about foreign policy. but you think about this, normally americans think about foreign and domestic policy exactly opposite terms. domestic policy like obamacare i like it. foreign policy is normally i like you. and i trust you to come up with a policy that will protect and defend us. and very rarely do americans give you a mandate for a veto on foreign policy. again, an example ãamericans foreign policy was front and center. the reason why truman didn't run and eisenhower got elected
was americans ãthey were voting. the 2000 election i think americans were deeply upset with where things were in iraq. that was a referendum. we don't like foreign policy. but what is remarkable to me is even a foreign policy is very rarely front and center in the election unless there's something like a pearl harbor or korean war or the iraq war something ãi mean here essentially, okay we are still at war i get that. but the level of conflict is not on the scale it was eight years ago. and if you look at the polls, foreign policy graded really really high.terrorism graded really really high.it wasn't something that was talked about a great deal during the debates between the candidates. but obviously americans, if you just look at the numbers, are not happy with the direction of foreign policy. >> so when you say you know, can we have something different? my answer is gee i hope so. because americans aren't happy and i talked to people all around the world. people are not happy with
american foreign policy. and they're not even sure where even operating or maximizing in our interest. i think people do want to change. >> americans differentiated pretty clearly terrorism and foreign policy. >> they rank them both pretty high. >> client preferences but they preferred hillary clinton's foreign policy about 20 points. but then donald trump on -- >> and it was also the republicans and independents and democrats. republicans were well up there and democrats were up but not as high as in 9/11. we are actually seeing a bipartisan split. >>. the presidential inauguration of donald trump is friday. c-span will have live coverage ll