tv [untitled] May 31, 2012 5:00pm-5:30pm EDT
more voice. but i have to say it seems to me that obama as an administration has done less on this than i would have anticipated in 2008. so again, i point to the difficulties here. it's not because they didn't enter office thinking it was important. it's because it was flood did hard. because the collective action challenges are very real. the states are playing chicken in the sense they know they have to participate in the global systems and they want to wait to see what terms they get it. everybody is in a game of chicken here. that's very risky. so the second point of homi -- what i agree with is the two-year point up-front. we should be waiting now and we don't have two years to play with in terms of do we take an approach of trying to tighten up the alliances, trying to tighten up the institutions? i would put less weight on the formal institutions and even there i think the obama administration has sort of vacillated between yeah, we're
going to kind of going all in on the g-20 and now we like the g-8. neither of the bodies are particularly well crafted right now. still a lot of work to be done in forming the architecture of the kind of international arrangements and alliances that can manage the global economy that we find ourselves in. >> do you see a difference on what mitt romney would do on the issues? >> i do worry because i was emphasized the point you can't judge entirely from the campaign rhetoric, but it does worry me that the phrase asia doesn't really seem to come up in his voc voc vocabulary. he doesn't appear that japan or asia are allies. so there's a kind of cast back to the kind of trans-atlantic, u.s. and europe picture of the world that i think is just outdated. clearly that's the case of obama's life story is much better suited to kind of the century or a period in which
asia is very important and that kind of cast of characters is changing. but obama himself has found it very hard to navigate that space. it's not as if it's an easy issue. >> i have a few more questions but i want to open it up to the audience. what's going to happen is there's a microphone somewhere. there it is in the back. so if you could identify yourself and speak clearly into the microphone. we have lots of recording going on, so please be aware of that. i think we have a question up here in the front. and the one thing that i'd ask of all the questions, we want to keep this focused on the presidential election so that the three gentlemen can talk about many, many things when its comes to the foreign stage. let's keep them focused on mitt romney and barack obama. >> thanks very much. i'm garrett mitchell. i write the mitchell report. i want to pose the question in the form of an hypothesis. so it has a question mark at the end. but it seems to me directly from right down the line if you think
about bruce's excellent paper some time ago about the u.s. as the majority shareholder in a liberal democratic order, strobe's i think highly important point about the extent to which the electoral process itself, getting us to the first tuesday has not only -- is not only unseemly, but makes governing more difficult than ever. and to the point about the need to form new alliances and then you jumped to the question of given all of that, which president, a romney or an obama, "a," can we predict what they would do, and "b" would have the greatest likelihood of doing the things that need to be done? the hypothesis that i want to offer is this. very little difference, very
little difference because presidents have far less room to maneuver. where the difference will be made is in the congressional elections and particularly in the senate. and particularly given the effect of rule 22 in senate and the unfortunate growing role of minority interference in the governing process, which depending upon how it comes out on the first tuesday will make it as difficult for a president romney as it would for a president obama, given the cast of character that seems to be taking the place and the most recent example of dick lugar being replaced by somebody who has a different definition of how to work. so that's the hypothesis which i think comes to the question of
that's central to this panel. so it's leave it at that. >> who would like to go first on the hypothesis? >> i'm not sure i buy it. gary, i mean, but i also am absolutely sure that i'm not going to say which of the two. i think it really matters who the president of the united states is and it will matter in january of next year who the president of the united states is. of course, the composition of the congress will be immensely important. the big question mark about barack obama is will he in his second term be able to succeed to a degree that he has not been able to succeed in his first term to a lot of things that he wanted to do in his first term. if you go back to his speeches on the campaign trail in 2008,
grant park, and his inauguration, he kept talking about a planet in peril. and how that had to be a priority. it was not a priority at the beginning of his administration. health care was a priority at the beginning of his administration. the cliementd issue -- the climate issue faded and ultimately failed to get anywhere. now, obviously, that was a joint mistake on the part of the handling both of the executive branch and the legislative branch. so the big question on that issue and he had some success on reducing the nuclear peril, particularly with the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty with the russians, but no such success of course on the test ban. so the big question will not be what his intentions are, but his ability to deliver on those intentions. with regard to governor romney, we have to see what his priorities are. and hear how he lays them out. and then take him seriously
if -- in either case. if he lays out priorities that align with those of us as individual citizen, then he will be a very strong candidate for the presidency. but there's one other point and it goes back to the economy and it goes back to the pogo factor. what is extremely important for our ability to lead in the world, both by example and also by having the resources necessary to back up our soft power with hard power and of course leadership of international institutions of whether or not we get our economy back in shape and that means addressing -- restoring fiscal sanity to our national household. and to doing something about the deficit. so a big question about each of these candidates as they go into the homestretch is going to be which one of you has a credible
plan to do that and the four letter word t-a-x has to come up in that. then "a," will they have the political will to drive those issuesed f issues forward and getting enough support from the congress. >> homi, do you want to respond to what strobe said or the hypothesis? another question here in the third row. >> thank you. i'm bridgette, with the friends committee on national legislation. i'm struck by the conversation not including the word afghanistan or much talk until now mention of hard power. and i know, bruce, you address a little bit the balance or imbalance between hard power and military power and civilian power. but it seems to me that one of the areas of not enough light and not enough alternative
approaches coming out of this campaign and the rhetoric on the campaign trail itself is this question of what admiral mike mullen has called overmilitarization of u.s. policy and lack of ability to really invest in and muster the diplomatic solutions that we need. the discussion here has been about the real problems that require diplomatic solutions that the world is facing. so part of that is it just that on the campaign trail they speak to domestic politics? they're not speaking to the realities of implementing u.s. foreign policy? or is there any hope that a next presidency whether it's obama or romney can help shift that balance and get out of this overmilitarization cycle of u.s. foreign policy which relates to the congressional question that was raised as well, given the
budgeting challenges and where this congress goes. just a final question about a related assumption, one of the core assumptions that's -- you know, there's no light between the two sides. is about this question of u.s. exceptionalism. i think until we can get out of what i think is now an outdated idea for today's world of u.s. exceptionalism, being the grounding for our u.s. foreign policy, we're going to be stuck in not having the right solutions to the world's problems. is there hope for getting to the different approach to how we see our place in the world? >> let's take the militarization first. >> this is one of the central arguments that either president has to invest more in the diplomatic tool. that doesn't necessarily translate directly into increasing funding for state department, right? but investing heavily in the diplomatic tool and the capabilities we need to do exactly what homi talked about,
knitting together new alliances and new arrangements. i think this has become a partisan issue in the sense you see congressional action to defund -- to reduce the state funding or block increases in state funding, et cetera. in fairness, the previous administration in the second term also tried to kind of increase funding to state and bolster state, et cetera. i think this becomes an important issue. do we have the right tools of government to forge together new alliances, to kind of manage issues in a much more complex stage? i don't think we have an honest conversation about this. it should be do we increase or decrease the state budget conversation? which is one piece of the puzzle. it's currently staffed and trained is the right tool for managing the world. we need serious reform in the state department in terms of who we have there, what backgrounds they come from. what languages they speak. what training they get. but i do think the emphasis that
you make and the need for an emphasis on diplomacy -- and the diplomacy isn't a issue issue. it's question of managing alliances, of managing institution, of organizing collective action. including military action. collective action using force isn't a military action. it's a diplomatic one. there's use of force and then that's military. i take your point. we don't know which of the two presidents would be more likely to do this. but i think the congressional point is real here. i would say there are a lot of people around romney who understand this point, who understand the need for serious investment in diplomacy and there are some people around him who clearly don't. >> just if you want to take up that or the exceptionalism question. >> yeah, i agree with you the whole exceptionalism issue has gotten goofy. you know, president obama gets off the helicopter and he's caught red handed reading fareed
zakarius. and then he says, no, we're reading bob kagan. we like fareed too. the two terrific books are not diametrically opposed. i noticed in the speech that president obama gave at the air force academy i guess it was a couple of days ago, he went out of his way to do two things. one was to say this is an exceptional country. i guess he's covered himself on that. the other was to say in libya, nato is out there leading from the front. thereby laying to rest forever the ryan lizzal line that was unattributed or blind attributed about leading from behind. but i think the serious point is
we're an exceptional country. we are an exceptional country. there is no country on earth that has the convening power, there is no country on earth that has the global military reach or the diplomatic capacity. again, on a global basis that we have. and with that comes responsibility, obligation and lots of opportunity. we're stuck with it. >> want to jump in? >> yeah. the one thing i wanted to add that was interesting to me that you talked about investing in diplomacy. i would argue for investing in development as well. and there i think that there's much less difference. i mean, one of the great legacies of former president bush was in fact his -- his prioritization and focus on development and he did quite a lot to raise the amounts of resources going into u.s.
development assistance, something that president obama has also tried to do. >> and secretary clinton big time. >> secretary clinton enormously. so i think in terms of the resources and the ability to commit in countries like afghanistan to a long-term process of support i think both will probably be able to both make that commitment and stand by it hopefully because that certainly will be a necessary element of moving forward in any of the fragile states that are -- you know, have become so important a part of u.s. diplomacy. >> i'm interested in strobe, you talked about president obama and
his sense of exceptionalism. that discussion was major part of the republican primary campaign. mitt romney talked about it a lot and it's one of the main attacks that he makes on president obama is about this issue and whether obama stands by it or whether he's apologized for america. what do you think -- this is to anyone -- given what was said in the republican primary campaign and where you see romney talking about this, how does that affect his foreign policy as he were to go forward if he's president in 2014? >> well, generally speaking, isaac, i think it will probably net out to much more harmony between what they're really saying as opposed to the way in way they're saying it and the accusatory way they're saying it. it goes back to what was bruce's original point. and we'll just have to see. i was interested when senator
marco rubio was here last month and he is one of quite a number of up and coming republican political leaders who has talked -- who is talked about as a possible vice president. he gave a foreign policy speech from this lectern here. it was a very thoughtful speech. i don't want to get -- i don't want to ruin his chances for getting on the ticket, but it wasn't wildly different from a speech that i can imagine coming out of the department of state or even the white house. i mean, making a few amendments and a couple of lines in it. this is a good thing. we have -- i and others have expressed some dismay about the polarization of our politics and the breakdown in civil discourse, but i do think that there has been a shaking out process that has gone on here. if you look at the field of
republican candidates, this is truly a nonpartisan comment because i'm making it entirely about the republicans. there were really two of those candidates who i think many americans including independents and probably some democrats who are disappointed or disillusioned in their party this year could depending on where -- i'm referring here to ambassador/governor huntsman, and to romney, that those two were by far the most centrist. and that's what the process delivered which is a good thing and now let's see if the process can continue this business of reconciliation on the foreign policy issues because the really tough issues facing the next president are going to be domestic and economic. >> do you want to say anything on this? >> no, i think that's well said. >> all right.
a question towards the back on the aisle here. microphone coming from the back. . >> thank you. given the fact -- >> i'm sorry, can you identify yourself? >> yeah. robert warner. given the fact that europe is undergoing three simultaneous crises, political crisis and economic crisis, and china, not in a meltdown but a substantial slowdown, what do you think the responses might be and the differences might be between obama and the second term and romney with respect to those -- this very deteriorating economic financial situation? >> want to start? >> i think that there's a very serious debate that's now going on about the best route of the current crisis and that debate is essentially on the getting
the balance right between fiscal consolidation and, you know, what's called austerity versus new growth programs. and, you know, i think that that debate is being now joined in europe. europe is not unified by any manner of means in terms of how it is going to, you know, where it's going to come out on that balance. i think in this country as well. the two parties are quite different in their positioning on this. china i think is rather different. china is indeed slowing down. but china will almost certainly start to implement stimulus measures, both monetary and fiscal to try to take care of it.
and at the end of the day, you know, chinese growth probably will slow down but the probability of a very hard landing in china or if their growth rate starting to approximate zero growth and the advanced countries still seems to be low. but certainly between the united states and europe i think this is a very active debate and based on different philosophies about what generates growth in the short run. >> i want to take the question and use it to make a slightly different point about this which is that one of the things we're not talking about here yet is which president would do a better job at educating the american public about the change in the world that we live in? the point from your question is this. i think we begin to understand that our economy at this stage in history rises or falls with the global economy. the days in which our own
production and our consumption isolated us are long gone. china slows down, europe slows down, we slow down. china grows, europe grows, we grow. simple as that. but i don't think that that is deeply understood in the american public. so the question then becomes, which president can do a better job at explaining to the american public and communicating to the american public about the fact that we live in a changed world and what that means for us and the way we orient yourselves? here i think it's a tough call. i would say so far obama who clearly understands this reality has not done that good a job at explaining this to the american public. it's a hard argument to make and hard to make it during tough times. easier to make it during growth periods. with romney, we don't know if he'll come across. there could be a kind of nixon
to china element to romney here. but there could be a well, you're one of the bain profitists who profits from this and we don't know. we don't know what romney will be like. certainly there's nothing in his campaign rhetoric that would suggest he's good at it. but presidents and campaigners are different. >> strobe? >> it's just a thought that occurred to me in listening to bruce's very good answer. the one-word summary i think of what a lot of us are saying and it's built into your question is interdependence. by the way, the fate of china's great experiment is completely dependent on the health of the global economy and going to bruce's point i think one reason that president obama who really gets it on interdependence is not out there making this case is because in tough -- in
economic times talking about interdependent makes you soft. and that's the achilles heel of any democratic candidates including incumbent presidents who are seeking re-election. they don't want to look soft. and with -- and with us feeling that, you know, the europeans are about to screw everything up and the indians are taking our jobs and the chinese are eating our lunch and so forth and so on, to say as an interdependent world says, you know, you're not protecting us. so that is a fundamental difference and a fundamental factor and i think the president -- he's got no way around that between now and the election. he's got to find ways to talk about it. that if they don't sound robust at least sound very, very optimistic. and that's why i recommend to all of you, just read the text of the air force academy speech.
it was reagan. morning in america. the sun is shining, we're going to be fine. but i don't think the word exceptional appears in there. but not interdependent. >> homi, i'm curious given how much of the economic situation and the global economic situation is part of your paper and your thinking on this, the question that bruce has posed here of which one of these candidates would be better able to explain to the american public the situation that we're facing, what's your answer to that? >> i mean, you know, i had found it interesting that on things like gas prices which is a clear example of the interdependence. there's been this suggestion that it actually really does depend on the president and there was some fascinating polls
showing the way in which these views about the president's ability to control gas prices flip over time, depending on who's in power. so it's not a matter of deeply held beliefs but really a matter about communication to the american public. it does seem to me that that is enormously important. i mean the fact of the matter is not just in the united states, but in europe the honesty of the conversations around economic problems is disappearing. and that's -- you know, it's part of the reason why the europeans haven't been able to solve their problem is because, you know, in germany they still have this view that all the greeks are lazy. well, greeks actually work probably 25% longer hours than germans. so, you know, these perceptions become very important in terms
of the way in which economic policy ends up being formed. and at the moment, i think there's a real problem with the honesty with which that communication is happening. >> now a question, over here on this side. >> thank you. i'm with phoenix tv. i would like to talk about the issue of china. actually, yesterday, romney just released an ad on china and the white house responded quickly that hey, we are tougher against china. so i'm just curious, whether the china issue will intensify throughout the campaign, and whether either one elected will
they full fit their promises? also, today treasury just released exchange rates report, and it claims that china's currency still significantly undervalued. although secretary geithner admits that the chinese currency has actually appreciated 40% in five years. why the exchange rates still the issue during the campaign? thank you. >> before the first person jumps in, we're running a little bit short on time so if we could keep these answers short and get to one or two more questions. but -- >> i would say yes that the china bashing will intensify and let's count on chinese patience. we get to january, we'll be back to something like normal and i'll let homi handle the currency exchange rate. >> you know, i think that this
goes to some extent about this -- about the point i was trying to make about the facts of what's happening on the -- in terms of economics and the perceptions. u.s. exports to china have increased by about 50% cumulatively since 2008. chinese exports to the united states -- u.s. imports from china in that same period have increased by about 20%. so for actually -- you know, this is a trend that's been there since about 2004 or so. the -- when you look at this in terms of growth rates, the u.s. is actually doing really well. last year, u.s. exports to china surpassed $100 billion. so the size of the bilateral deficit is still quite substantial. but what's actually happening is at