tv American History TV CSPAN October 11, 2014 8:50pm-10:01pm EDT
>> join as each saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern from classroom lectures in history. lectures in history are also available in podcast. visit our website at /history, orrg download them on itunes. cobbs up next, elizabeth hoffman discuss the u.s. and world leadership. umpire?ca and she argues that america has played the role of an umpire since 1776. this is about an hour. , andank you so much, kay thank you so much for allowing
me to be here. i hopelly because what we are going to discuss tonight is one of the most critical questions of our time. you are not going to know it because i did not turn on the microphone. [laughter] well, where is the button here, jay? well, the green light, right? [indiscernible] light.ssic green [laughter] why the united states assumed the role of world defender. this was after world war ii, and the question is if we should continue this role indefinitely. this question springs from my new book, which i hope is available outside, but also fr om and op ed that i published
last year in the new york times entitled "come home, america." in the essay, i observe that everybody talks about getting out of iraq and afghanistan. but what about germany and japan? i am tryingce, what to raise here, is a very fundamental question: where do we go from here? at some basiclook changes in american policy at this turning point in our own history. history --s, i am i i am a historian. this is a lack of historical self-awareness that makes us a target. that obscures and confuses our future choices. this is why history is important. history shows us the big picture. it gives us those long-range
trajectories that help us make sense of the mess and the turmoil of everyday crises. ien i say every day crises, am aware that it seleka put down, but what i mean is that in world affairs, there are crises every day. we need to understand the big picture, which makes sense of the confusion. i would like to go right to the obamahere, and president said last year when he was addressing our nation, about the question of intervening in the syrian civil war, and he said at that time that the u.s. had been the chief enforcer of international law for the past seven decades. then the president asserted that america is not the world's policeman. well, what do policeman do but enforce law?
after couple of weeks that, he was addressing the united nations, and he said the u.s. sees the world in which state sovereignty is respected. also, sovereignty cannot shield outside intervention. this is a flat covered -- contradiction. , in a sense, what the president is doing is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. but he was really saying is that we see the world where sovereignty is subject to external checks and balances to rights,individual human much as the federal government operates in the united states. and balances, that is such an american term, but in a way, this has to do with the american view, and also i think, the american role in the world. i think this kind of doublespeak is not intentional, and i think
we see it in president after president. this is not a democratic or a republican problem. one that werican suffer from not knowing exactly where we have come from and why. i think it is a lack of understanding about the structure of the world in general. if we don't understand our history, no one else will. the ones whoe write about it, we are the ones who tell people, "this is who we are." by the way, i hate to be a tease, because i cannot possibly answer all of the big questions in 45 minutes, but i will do my best. theuse the fact is that u.s. actually exercises a very unusual role as the nation with the greatest and yet, nonetheless, very limited power in the world. the power to determine outcomes
in foreign affairs. if things go wonky, people always ask, "what is the united states going to do about it?" nobody asked what mexico is going to do about it. 95% of soldiers across the world are americans, and that includes u.n. peacekeepers and troops. we are there to solve problems and some crime -- sometimes great new ones. this raises very important questions and possibilities. for example, are we the world's policeman? or from another perspective, are we a self-important bully that in polk -- that it poses our values on others? or, are we an empire?
number one. are we as many, realists believe, the only power that stands between the world and armageddon? between a repetition of the great depression or world war ii? destruction of the planet? and if that is true, must we played a role forever? regardless of what it cost. what a cost our school, our if the structure, our treasury, our soldier, her psyche. door number three. or is it possible, and this is what my research suggests, that the road that we have been on for the past 70 years has been a detour, a necessary detour, on the main path to which world history has actually been
heading since about 1648, and now is the time for a course correction? if i am right, then my book challenges that and faces the next change. learning from both successes and failures and to be a objective, and scholars must be as rigorous with the identification of what went right as to what also went wrong. cover all ofannot this material and get it out there, but i am going to get pretty close, and for that, you are going to have to read my book. every author puts a plug in there, so i am going to as well. of history andrs we have to make sense of it so we are going to understand where we are going to go. it's a day's talk i'm going to talk about three things. i'm going to tell you why i
wrote the book. i am a novelist and i have a lot of irons in the fire. also want to way we look at the world, and this is a paradigm that the u.s. is an empire. antly, i want to propose alternative explanation. this is a very persuasive explanation, and in fact, people all around america are studied to call america and empire. thatrd john stewart say u.s. is a big imperial, and i said, "no jon, you're so i'd like to propose an alternative explanation which is has imposed new
norms over the past four centuries and that these norms are worldwide and under oppressive catastrophic events states1940's, the united reluctantly reversed its ofg-standing policy political non-entanglement and akin,d a function that's but not identical, to the one it was used to playing among its own states, the role of an compel acquiescence between jabling governments in of crisis and at the time we did this, we were the relevanton with a experience and requisite capacity. so, why did i write this book? won't a long story, i bother you with the whole thing but in a way it goes back to when i was first interviewing to graduate student and i was interviewing for a scholarship, an important national scholarship.
i was very excited and nervous about the process and there was a panel of experts who were interviewing me and i was going into the field of what's called diplomatic history at the time and i was asked, eager young thing i was, why do you want to enter a dying field? i didn't know it was dying until he told me that so i had quickly, and say, well, because we can't let it right? this is too important, the subject of america's relationship with the rest of the world. but he was right. as i discovered, in the field of history, it was dying, i think for a couple of reasons. one is that cultural and social history had become very 1960's andafter the then the 1970's and 1980's. but i think the other reason was, i think that probably a lot of young scholars were instinctively repelled by a only in which there was ever really one answer to every which, if you were looking at what had happened in alwaysld, the answer was
pretty much, america messed up. so whatever the reason, scholars left the field of american diplomatic history and what is that political scientists took it up and they are mostly concerned with modern issues. their knowledge of history is not deep. that's not their field. who stayed inians the field were historians who generally subscribed and often generally still do subscribe to the idea that the american one long story of empire and imperialism and that goes back to george washington and ben franklin. but empire, i think, is a terribly misleading term that obscures the challenges facing us today and a misdiagnosis, as is often more dangerous than no diagnosis at all, with a misdiagnosis, you can make the wrong prescription, and, in fact, there are groups
like al qaeda which also claim the u.s. is an empire to which only one answer, which is death to the empire, or death to america. what i'd like to do is tell you a little bit about who some of these people are. i, myself, even think, am i this, that this is the reigning way of understanding the role of world amongst my peers? i'd like to roll through a you.e of titles for brit, by neil ferguson, a "classus, the rise and fall of the american empire." one, "empire for americana history of imperialism." empires," by"among maier, "american ascendancy and its predecessors."
and "american empire, the reality and consequences of u.s. diplomacy." basics, "empire," the 50th anniversary of this book. "irresistible empire." one historian said that the u.s. europe does not have the monroe doctrine, it's the monroe doctrine. she's not a blonde but it's the same idea. "the empire trap," a colleague at harvard university, talking about as an empire. or, "in praise of empires," a historian at ucla. i want to suggest this is not all criticism from the left. people from the the politicalof
spectrum will say we need more empires and we wish the u.s. was one.ter that's another way of interpreting it. this is one of the most famous who wrote "the empire trilogy" so sometimes i arguing against "lord of the rings." thisnteresting thing about term "empire" is that nobody it with any precision. it is an absolutely sloppy toch-all phrase that's used describe everything from tourism foreigngion to investment and war. why i know you're saying, don't you be more direct with what you don't like about that term, because i feel strongly about this. used to describe most every catastrophe in the world and any catastrophe with the united states is
associated, as an outcome of our to control and exploit the rest of the world, as if possiblehe only explanation for america's mistakes or its successes. so to give you a little sense of the peek into these books, as well. titles.ve seen are the i want you to get a sense of what's the flavor of this criticism. chalmers johnson, for example, described america's bases abroad as "striking evidence, those who care to look, of themperial project that cold world obscured." baseovitz, who sees himself as a conservative, although some historians say to the right that he's come around to the left, ast the intervention in iraq he put it was "a war for the empirrium because the purpose of
american policy in total is to american empirium." the left side, the world socialist web says "iraq was a predatory imperialist war, arried out as part of long-term strategy for reorganizing the middle east for american interests." another british commentator, peopleli writes "when tell me that the american empire is weakening, i say, don't underestimate it. europe and the middle east fall into line whenever the united has to be doneis and that has to be done. so the only really sovereign is the imperial nation." now, this is not just in the that these accusations are booted around. after theery sadly, great tragedy of the boston year, tsarnaev,
the person who engineered that said he his neighbors the around ranting about american empire before setting off the bombs that killed so many last year. and the accusation of the american empire has been out prevalently since 2003 that not only george bush but both comek obama have out about this and obama told "the notiont year of an american empire isn't borne out by america's policy. a world where nations do not covet the land or resources of other nations." the president said this. about an hour later, there was a onmentary about this democracy now, a radio station andciated with the nation, at that time the commentator said, "obama basically came out
and said the united states is an imperialist nation and we are whatever we need to conquer areas to take resources from the world." i don't know what machine he put in to get that translation that whenhe point is you wear certain kind of glasses or maybe a certain kind of aid, you only hear it in a certain way and that's why i think this is a terribly toortant conversation for us have, and so when jon stewart and others say, we're an say, don'ttion, i take that line down, or at least submit it to analysis. why i'd like to step now to talking about the reigning paradigm in the historical profession and on what basis the united states is serious, empire by well meaning, virtuous scholars, many of whom are my personal friends. one of the basis for this is the wason that the u.s.
expansionist and throughout the west, here we are in colorado, that story. the u.s. expanded over native american nations, it went to war mexico, that's why we call the u.s. an empire. other people say, no, the main call the u.s. an empire is because of its 20th dominance, they bases that we have all around the coincidental, coincidental, spread of american values that seem to trail along with the american bases. other scholars will say that it's the 21st century economic dominance and that our economic else do you how explain it -- it must come out imperial quest. the interesting thing is that i book, iing this thought, my goodness, when you takeoff these glasses and
off the hearing device that filters evidence, you actually of veryt there's a lot obvious evidence that argues against all of these forms of interpretation. let's take the first one, the u.s. is an empire because it expanded across the west. that does sound fairly imperialistic, doesn't it, the warly considering against mexico. it sounds that way until you look at the context of that. fact, in the 19th century, this was happening throughout the americas. like this particular picture because it shows what a crazy quilt latin america was after it declared independence and, in fact, what happened is that 21 border wars very similar to the u.s.-mexican the hundred areas following latin american independence because all these elbowing nations were each other for better borders. this one shows you latin america war of the pacific when chile invaded north and peru andks out of
bolivia. similar and justified in almost the identical ways as american expansion. anif we want to call chile urguy an empire or i sayina an empire, but don't because those game nation-states in which the rights were defined in different ways. by the way, the chileans didn't against theirg up neighbors. border warst would 21 similar to the u.s.-mexican war. also expanded against native americans. we all know these campaigns were brutal yet this is what nation-states were doing. we 19th century is the era know of nationalism and nationalism is often not pretty. by the way, the standards of have changed over
the years but we don't call it empire because it's a little bit different thing. the other reason why we tend to topare the united states because of the past is of military bases. that seems logical on the face of it except when you answer that when the united states has military bases abroad, it has it contractual of a agreement with the country that country and the host can kick us out and you know what happens when the host kicks us out? we go. empires don't act that way. they don't. i like to show this slide because this is the years that the united states was in france usore our oldest ally kicked out, after world war ii. they said, yankee go home. sure they said it in a polite french sort of way, perhaps with a glass of wine. but the united states, they left, and they asked us to leave and we did. of u.s. basesue
in the philippines and elsewhere where the united states has left time and inod of fact everywhere the united states has intervened it has left, unlike military empires of yore. willther reason why people sometimes say the u.s. is an empire is because of its economic prowess. i like to say, consider one fact. states has the world's largest economy in 1890. 1890, before the first dough boy hit the shores of france, before the united states joined the united nations, any such thing. so america's economic story is a very different story from that of empire and yet, and this is stuck, we say,t yes, but, the u.s. is the guarantor of world security. why do we get involved? in all thesevolved other countries? by the way, the japanese call the yoshita less
which translates more or less into "let america do it." of world war ii. and in fact, one of the interesting parts of this story one countrye wasn't other than the united states that was willing to sign a peace with japan at the end of world war ii because of its behavior in that war. nazi germany was bad, and it was horrific, but because the treatment of prisoners of war, nobody was willing to sign treaty so it wasn't until 1951 that australia became the second country after the peace treaty. why? because this all took place in foggy week in a san francisco -- this is where out -- what comes happened is in the very same week that the peace treaty was multiple countries with japan, that was at the end of the week. at the beginning of the week,
the united states signed the pact promising australia and new zealand that we would be there ever rose again. immediately after that, the united states signed the bilateral treaty to assure the japanese that we this for them. please, don't pick up a gun, time.do this all the after that, everybody was willing to sign a peace treaty to rehabilitate japan and bring it back into the modern world at great expense to the united states. so the united states undertook this role and part of the reason, part of the reason, i think, it's so hard for us to understand exactly how the world unfolded, is because what we do see is the fact that the united states, its influence has spread at the same time that there has been a spread of certain values which we tend to call "american values" but i don't think we need to explain this as being part of a plot of the united others of autonomy
and resources and the reason for because the very same 70 years in which the united states has had its greatest period of the same period of time in which the number of autonomousountries, countries, able to make their own decisions, has actually quadrupled from 50 to 200 and the time of the greatest all ofc prosperity in human history so how can that be example of imperialism? what's the alternative explanation? talk.three of this this is why i wrote the book and this is why i think the other ideas are wrong. what is my idea? way,nk one way, the best we can explain the spread of american values is because they not american. understand america and the world, we actually need to know something about the world. history shows is
that the spread of useful techniques of human governance and economic production have their spread outward from point of origin, that a lot of these values, some of them did not originate in the united even those that did, becauseead outward other people wanted them, not because they were coerced in any way. to give you an example of this. about 30 years ago anyone had said to you, you will all have a computer in your pocket in 30 years, you'd be thinking, my god, how would i walk if i had a computer in my pocket? and yet the fact is that we all now have computers in our becauseand this is not apple had to coerce anybody to buy its iphone. people line up to buy the iphone. so we now have these devices siberia.con valley to in many ways, i think what we have to compare this to is the have also been other monumental changes in human history, which we don't and similarly, human
governance has changed. similarof this as being to the transition from the patho neolithic. paleolithic is the fact that they didn't have farming. when plants were discovered, downy had to force farming anybody's throats. everyone said, this is better hunting and gathering. the other change in human destiny was the industrial revolution. nobody has to go around saying, you must drive a car. theyeople want cars and want machines because of the value they bring to human life and we don't go around, when we a sandwich, saying i'd iraqi ham and cheese on bread because wheat was i want ad there or mexican corn dog because corn hybridized in mexico.
but the fact is, and i think this is absolutely true, in i know it's true, that a similar ethical transition has gone on in human government and the united states has been a big part of that but so have other countries. a sense of this, the united states, i think, became a big part of the transition, which was a transition that took place over many centuries, from monarchical empires that competed militarily, towards republics that compete economically. have.he world we and the u.s. has been a big part of that not because it forced do this.ple to rather, they elected to. but it was also a big partly of of -- part of it because it embodiesed so many of these characteristics. and in a way, stature grew iphone, it washe cool. to give you a sense of this, the latin american republics after formed,ed states was
20, 30 years after the united states was formed, latin they weren'ttries, countries yet, colonies, began to break away from spain and all declaredy themselves republics like the united states had done. the united states make them do this? no, we were a tiny country at that time, we did not. they went one better than us. they took the ideas and ran farther. they abolished slavery 40, 50 years before the united states did. declared a republic. did we make them do that? no. but nevertheless, united states was important because it showed that certain things could be had, things that people talked about for generations and generations but they thought silly pipe dreams. the united states showed that you could have a chief executive who retired after a designated also, that it was possible, who knew, to create a among competing
states, in which would be on basis other than a volatile balance of military power. and thirdly, that you could have open commerce across borders. if you want to know why the united states was wealthy by 1890, on global terms, much had open commerce across state borders. we had the european union a long time before they had the union.n in any case, what the united states did, is that it showed kinds ofe were certain pipe dreams that you could actually realize, and as was said by a french observer at the francois borbaiux, and he was the diplomat for france who the louisiana purchase, and he came back to see america marveled at it.
former, "i saw a president walking along the sidewalk." he thought that was the most theing thing and he said government of the united states has no model in ancient or modern times. statesunited demonstrated possibilities, much demonstrated that the world wasn't flat. magellan didn't make the world round. simply circumnavigated it. so my book argues that there way, genericn a principles that were a part of and i call these access, arbitration, and transparency. life,k it's better than liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, because those have an american flavor, and these are really world values and they took place greatide another geopolitical transition, the transition by which nations replaced empires. this happened, and this has happened over a period of many years. really, it begins with the
of westphalia in 1648 when the europeans basically papal authority and say, no, we are states unto ourselves, and it continues through the breakup of the soviet union in 1991. it's a long process, but it does happen. and i'dean by these -- like to explain them very i like, i think access, to begin with adam smith who inte "the wealth of nations" 1776 and he talked a lot about the fact that if nations were open, that if trade could proceed in an open way, that not society become freer but it would become more personally fulfilling and also prosperous and wealthy. this, we think of the hidden hand of the market and all of that. of access -- but my more modern example is this sho ping because we
have to talk about china. historians to believe the united states is an empire, they often talk about the open door empire it back to u.s. policy towards china in the 1890's but is that the united states not only advocated equal markets for all foreigners in also the maintenance of chinese sovereignty. at that time, it was a china wouldthat become like africa, divided into parcels and parceled out to the europe and u.s., always defended sovereignty and that's what got us bombed at pearl deed goesause no good unpunished. what they found, however, is off all access was becomingchina 1979, and poorer so in ping did a 180. not because china lost the cold because china ceased
ping communist but because saw china falling through the cracks and he initiated a policy and as aening up result of that, 300 million chinese have been pulled up out of poverty. how can wee ask me, trust china? and i say we don't necessarily can to trust china but we trust the process. the process that has made it in self-interest of nations like china to open up their markets and compete with others. principle of arbitration is a very old principle. is the peace treaty of westphalia of 1648 in which the idea became, maybe, instead of nations warring with each advance their interests, maybe they could arbitrate their differences and onlywould be a better, not a more moral way of getting on in the world, but a more of getting along in the world. the first example of this was but ince of westphalia
modern times, the formation of the united nations is the culmination of this age-old that far predates the united states by at least 125 years, something like that. states has its equivalent of it and i like to point to the constitutional convention, because you see, america was kind of weird. america still is weird. its weirdness was that the idea that you could have states that were neighbors and normally the traditional idea was that your neighbor was, youre always going to be worst enemy, and why? your stuff to steal first? it's your neighbor. look at ukraine and russia today? neighbor to watch out for. so the united states formed a byd of arbitrational process creating a federal government designed basically to corral states that otherwise might come blows. the last principle is the principle of transparency and i show mikhail gorbachev
because transparency serves arbitration and serves access is not just a western value. glasnost was the policy of gorbachev who instituted this for the benefit of his own because they lost the cold war. this has become a transnational value. have you noticed the swiss have recently trouble because of non-transparency in banking? who ever thought we would see a swiss bank in vault? this is truly an international value. of new toolspread for human organization and self-organization explains the american values without coercion. theit doesn't explain why united states got involved, why withnited states jumped, both feet, in 1947, into the today. continue to have
and i think that the answer is not just an answer which naturally enough historians will say, world war ii and then the cold war and the soviet union the verge of being western europe, everybody else wouldvastated, who else take this up, and this is true. all that is true. british were on war-time rations until 1955. until 1955, the british were on rations for butter and cheese and meat and other basic foods. in any case, the united states, i think, did this for reasons go beyond simply the historical moment. there's something in our d.n.a. our d.n.a.,thing in and it goes back to this word "umpire." it was a word that our founders used to explain what they were trying to create by creating a of sovereign states that would prevent ultimately these
sovereign states from falling out amongst each other. and so in the federalist papers, they explain this, and if you read the federalist papers, quotes.ee such john jay, one of the authors, dispute between the states, the umpire would despite to compelem acquencence." alexander hamilton said the be anl government would "umpire to inspire the parties states butting up against each other develop rivalries." james madison said, what better be desired than those in federal congress. they developed a higher sovereignty with the job and thative responsibility
had playedtropoles throughout history but in this thatwithout a hierarchy so new states could come in, no state could expand borders into the federalte, and government inextroneus would intervene if truly existential crisis happened and you can on one hand the number of times the federal government has dangerousbecause it's out there. the whiskey rebellion of 1774, the nullification crisis of 1833, the civil war of 1861. the little rock integration crisis of 1957 and so on. and so today, the united nations enjoys a status which is similar to the u.s. before we had a constitution, which is to say that there is a union among states but the u.n. security council has limited powers of enforcement. taxation.powers of
it has no army. it has no navy. can it exercise this role? part of what happened at the end of world war ii is when the u.n. fell upon hard times fairly immediately and the u.s. was pressed, truly pressed, by its allies, not the soviet union, fulfill thiso role, the united states had experience in the role. uslains why when france told to leave, we did, because the umpire is not there to take the place of the states, it's there facilitate the functioning of the states. so what has been the all of this for the united states and the world? because being an umpire is a difficult job, and the consequences, when you get it wrong, can be terrible, whether it's south korea, or south carolina, because our was in southr carolina, began in south carolina. been mixed.ts have i think in many cases the united in someot it right and
cases we got it really wrong. the u.s. held the line in west out veryd that turned well. south korea, as well, we're still holding the line in south korea. what looked at the time like a similar line in south vietnam, and that was a terrible mistake, terrible disaster. of we've had to make a lot terrible and hard calls. misdiagnosed03, we of massweapons destruction. and we did function as an not an empire. cite they isez canal crisis. defended the territory of egypt, threw france and britain out of the game. did not take the place of a government in egypt and after world enteredhe what is called an economic golden age. also true that in every
second worldthe war, violence between states has decadewn in every single since 1947. been for the results the united states? those are the results for the world. some bad, some dramatically good. one of the problems for the united states is that we have become the defender of all. allies spend 1% to 2% of their gross domestic product on defense. we spend 4% to 5%. 90% of our defense budget goes to the protection of shores than our own. as our muscles bulge, everybody muscles atrophy because that's what happens with muscles when you don't use them. we have close to a couple of dozen aircraft carriers.
france has one. china has one. et cetera. capita first in per income in 1950. we are 17th in per capita income today. we are 50th in the world in life expectancy. structural trade deficit beginning in 1971 and we sinceeen a debtor country 1985. our trade imbalance was $40 billion a year in 1992. $40 billion a month. a prosperous and vibrant country but we don't umpire remain the only of the world. former defense minister peter toay has called for allies help share the burden and i more andneed to hear we need to do more to create the expectation that it's time for others not to just step up to the plate but step behind the umpire. the this won't be easy but it is possible. as world will occur
history amply shows but the most stable system is one that all want and most are prepared to defend. or unrealistic in had thinking america can or should those who describe america as an empire are naive only washington wants or writes the world. the other problem with the use word empire is that -- popular never pop about and by definition they can't win. to volunteer for this label, large "kick me" sign on the back of ourselves. because umpires do make mistakes. entirely neutral. their field of vision is imperfect, and they cannot win. wants to play the game without them. understanding the need for better, more equitable, more sustainable mechanisms for allows us toement
have better conversations here, in denver, and around the world about how to make this happen because good leaders develop new leaders. placing responsibility squarely and other regions that benefit just as much as we do from a peaceful world is not a of cowardice or decline. test of our courage. thank you. [applause] thank you very much. and i think jan will take some questions. the questiontake but she's going to help me. think i've solved everything. >> thank you very much. i haven't had a chance to read your book and you may have this.ed to but when you talk about the role of umpire, could you explain the the c.i.a. in that? could you also just talk a bit about assassinations?
we can talk about all those itund the world, and what that role? what is that role of america? absolutely. and the word umpire, it's not a perfect term, obviously. an umpire on a ball field doesn't have a secret service running around, et cetera. states, what's happened, is that the united states took up a security role sometimes we've played that very badly and sometimes we played that very well. i try to give you, i think there's some measures which suggest that overall it's gone well. in somee disastrously places. one thing it certainly has done is bring us right into the thick all the age-old forms of isorcement, and enforcement rarely pretty. police officers today in america, they're armed, them are armed. it creates very ugly situations
and the united states has had a policy. we ruled assassinations out and in. ruled them it's been back and forth. but it's certainly created very ugly scenarios. think those are inconsistent with the idea, however, that this is what has a part of modern truecement, whether that's of the interpol. nation states, especially those of any size, do have secret services and intelligence services. the other weird thing about the united states, which goes back to the transparency, the united the only country i'm aware of in world history that secret agency and then announced it. 1947, the united states passed the national security act ad they said, we're starting spy agency over here! by the way, when did britain acknowledge the existence of mi6? i think it was 1994 or 1995. another very
transparent, enlightened nation, acknowledged the existence of secret intelligence service in 2001. so spy services really are a modern world but the united states is an odd hybrid. we try to do it consistent with values but at the same time it's a tough situation. other questions? by the way, i've got to tell you, i, myself, am shy about questions. you do not believe this but when i sit in your seat, i'm thinking, oh, that sounds dumb, i can't ask that. so any question, i'll be thrilled. >> i have one. back to your interesting and provocative introduction, what now?ns where should we be going? do you have any thoughts? well read,are not as and your background brings such comprehensiveness to it i thought you might have thoughts on our future? this is where historians fear
to tread. self-evident that if you have a world system that rests on one pillar, that's just as stable as a system that has multiple pillars. certainly it was the case that both franklin delano roosevelt harry truman fully expected that all american troops would come home after world war ii. that the united nations would bee on this role that would a bumpy process -- as winston the worstsaid that thing about fighting with allies was not fighting alongside allies, so there was an expectation that the world butdn't be a perfect place with multiple supports, it got because of the devastation across europe and war ii,er world
especially considering the expanse of the soviet role at the time. so 70 years, i think, is enough. know this is hard and it's frightening but that's why i say to see history trajectories. we can say, listen, we're not ones whose interests are at stake here. in fact, i thursday to an who was friend once giving it out to me about we americans are such bruisers, and know, dion, we could thanbly afford better almost anybody -- if anybody was going to be not trading with the we could rollrld, up our carpenters from europe to and be more self sufficient than most countries. said, you wouldn't go home, though, would you? because the fact is that the pay and the lives that we spend and families that when peopleours so say what are you going to solve in pakistan next week? are you going to correct
isis and iraq the week after think we must begin to say, what are you going to do? your homesestly it's that will be bombed and it's your lives that are on the line. to sit it's so easy back. i think china's a good example south korea. what are we doing there 60 years later? upholding an armistice. there's not a peace treaty and peace treaty because we make it possible for that armistice to go on indefinitely. to see peace there but obviously 60 years of doing the thatthing isn't producing and maybe these countries which -- prosperous, thriving, democratic countries in the case of south korea and there's more they can do and maybe there's more that china can do because we be bad cop if china gets to play good cop and it's time to reverse those think unless we
step back, others won't step back and it's a frightening process. tail.e the tiger by the but unless you establish a goal, you will never get there. >> you touched on what my was, but, you know, i think after afghanistan and including me,us, wanted to say, let's just look let's look at what we can do for america, we have a lot of needs here, let's stop this. and then isis comes along. russia andking at the ukraine and i'm thinking why involved in what russia does with the ukraine? that any of our concern? right now,tion mark whether they really are a threat to america or not. yeah, if you would comment a little more about that, i would love it.
well, these contemporary crises are always frightening. makingually involved in a documentary right now on this very question of the balance andeen guns and butter, what our foreign involvements do of our ability to invest at home and how to but ie those things out, agree. i think we have a concern world. we're part of the and the united states is a vibrant member of the international community, the u.n., is a big funder of many international institutions and that would and should continue but i think it's time to start distinguishing exospecialy between crisis, which affect the entire and things that are regional in character, as horrible as they are. syrian war with our civil war because they happened at the same time. there was a syrian civil war at the american civil
war and what happened in the syrian civil war of that period, 1860, was that the europeans were horrified at the bloodshed and they decided, should we intervene? and they did. they sent troops, they stopped the bloodshed. war -- byrican civil the way, 10,000 syrians died. in the american civil war, 700,000 americans died. the europeans also looked upon oh, conflict and thought god, should we intervene there? it's a humanitarian nightmare? didn't. our war burned out. out.entually burned and it's sad and tragic, as it it accomplished an important task, it was a very tragic war for us and i'm not sure anybody intervening in that could have changed that for us. war continues.l always thetion isn't best thing. yes? discussionu for your
tonight. much of your andion follows along supports the obama doctrine, if i'm right, that we are strong, leaders, we don't oressarily need to intervene intervene with warfare, we are already intervening with our and our influence. there in the ukraine, right now, putin is not renegotiating borders of the ukraine. he is choosing to bring, to with the military. how does that fit into -- how should we respond, how should does thisespond, how fit into this new obama doctrine? >> several questions going on
there. as a part of this work i'm doing right now, this documentary, intervieweding, we general jim mathis recently who david patraeus, marine general jim matis, in iraq. one of the things we pointed out, he said, "our enemies will us the opportunities for coalition building. " it's like the old saying that don't make peace treaties with your friends, you make them with your enemies. we need to make coalitions with unusual partners, whether in fighting isis or the crisis in there's neverd going to be a good moment to say we step back, you need to step up. because there's always going to a flash point. but we have to start somewhere, process.o begin that is that the obama doctrine per se? actually, i think the american showing, as one lady here just said, that not just call war weariness, i
think it's a wisdom. there's been a poll taken since the early 1960's asking should we intervene in the rest of the world getlet the along on its own and since 1960, the numbers saying we need to world make its own way, has gone up and up and for the first time this past year it's above 50%. that's not just a democratic sentiment. ironically, condoleezza rice, george bush's national security saying, was famous for in foreign affairs before the election in which george bush elected, although that was a disputed election, we won't go before his inauguration, she said it's time take on every not humanitarian crises because people will see us as an empire and we need to let other people own dirtyof their laundry and then we're presented crisis, 9/11, and when
there's a crisis that hits us you can see why it's important to respond. but something that's 8,000 miles where there are a lot of other competent, decent, democratic nations, surrounding that area who can weigh in if they choose to and if they shame on them. does that effect us? do we need to go in there and save it? no and, of course, the odd thing about the end of the cold war is that it gave us more people to we knew there was curtain, everybody backed their heads down and left behind the lines. the iron curtain goes up and we have all the others on our laps. part of the problem, this is a larger question and at hoover discussed thise with condi rice who i understand denverng to town here in soon which is very lovely but she was confirming something i as thinking about as
historical problem but one of the things that happened, asionalism has taken hold empires have disappeared. it's like when predators go prey proliferate? we got more deer when you get rid of the grizzly bears. there are no empires so the number of small nation states year, theing every maps have to be changed. the problem with that -- there's but good things about it -- one problem with that is that when nation-states aren't competent, nobody picks them off anymore, the herd, so to speak, so what happens is you have a lot of small nation-states and we all applaud that but at the the fact is that not all these nation-states are competent to run their economies. they struggle with internal cohesion. and again, they has also the number of possible people we have to defend because they have a right to self-determination. but why us? only us?t
that's not right, and i don't think it's not just not right, i it's not sustainable, it's not practical. are practicalns people. yes? to nuclearpect proliferation, how do you see that issue evolving in the future and why does the role of the united states or any other in europe,t is et cetera? >> that's such an excellent and nuclearquestion about proliferation, and that's the kind of issue where we can say, is an exostential issue, it the destruction of major cities and devastation of the planet. there, american leadership, using the soft power that we have, you know, putting forward example than we have continuinges, efforts that were made during detente, during
the presidency of george h.w. on nuclearl back arms, i think those are incredibly important initiatives. the united states will be and an excellent world citizen in most ways. some ways we have been terrible. who's perfect? and some time it's been with terrible consequences. the fact is that we need to exert leadership on this kind of question. have to distinguish between the big questions and the small, regional ones. anjust a question, using analogy of a swamp and the alligators. theink we can all agree on long-term goal and the movement now peoplebut right in our government are saying we should bomb in syria regardless we have boots on the ground or not to bite the head of isis. others are saying, don't do that, let the locals take care of this, this is not our problem. dilemma and maybe
tomorrow night we'll hear what is going to happen but from your perspective, if you had to make that decision now, i'm hearing you, i think i know why you're going to go but i don't know because i don't know you. if you had to make that decision now, do you bomb ahead in without boots on the ground or do you say, you guys have to step up, we've done part? what would your decision be? call in the air force or say pull them back? it were me and i'm an unelected individual perhaps for say,reasons, i would absolutely you people need to figure this out. bad.ecause it's not but first of all, isis is not going to invade new york, right? to bomb a new try york tower -- i mean, bad stuff happens. is that the sunni shia divide which is part of that's all about.
the caliphate is a sunni thing, the shias hate it. to figure that out and there are sunni governments which are not stepping up and are noternments that stepping up and if we go in there to solve this problem, important problem, but if we go in to solve it for will probably not solve it. we started that press in 2003. not gotten better for the most part, despite heroic sacrifices. yes? >> bill clinton has said that his biggest regret of his interveningas not in rwanda? powerful, rich, wealthy nation, have a moral to intervene in a humanitarian crisis like genocide? thehis really comes under rubric of what the united nations is now calling the responsibility to protect which was, as i understand it, i'm not deeply familiar with this, but this was canada mostly
initiating this motion and essentially the united states gets nominated to take on the responsibility. again, thank you, canada. this responsibility to protect is important. to thely, this goes back holocaust and the belief that we should not allow things like to happen, again, and part of this goes back to the problems, the proliferation of nation-states, small nation-states, where you do not imperial power which has responsibility for policing the local populations. know that's bill clinton's greatest regret. that other african nations had a much greater responsibility. did the united states under clinton apologize for not helping this country, which is 6,000 miles away, but i think maybe -- maybe it was holland, somebody else also apologized. i did not hear an apology from organization for african unity. i did not hear an apology from
the arab states. i think that if we believe as a world community that these are important, we must put the responsibility on the world community. again, for us to take the shame of having not done that, i ups a little more everybody else's expectations for all the problems that the states should, shoulda in countryda solved after country when countries are not competent to solve their own problems. so it is tragic and my heart goes out to these people -- isis to ukrainians. it really, really does. as a historian, you become very involved in the lives of people who have suffered historically. my heart is engaged now. but i think that long-term solutions, not band-aids, are solutions. >> i think that's a terrific to stop. i think i thank you. i'm not sure.
[applause] sure of is that you have given us a whole new analyze our thinking against, and it's going be tough and i will also say that if you missed it last night, and you want to hear a different point of view, go look at don lemon's oslan, lastth reza night on cnn. he has a fairly different point view, particularly about isis. and it was interesting, to me, tonight, having heard him last night. i think we all thank you so much denver and we hope you'll come again soon. >> thank you. [captions performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> here on c-span3, we show you congressionalant
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author discusses the fall of the confederate navy. at the start of the year, the confederates were at the peak of their seapower. but the loss of two important ships in the union victory at mobile bay crippled the fleet. it was part of the symposium hosted by the emerging civil war blog. >> our next speaker is a good fellow polish boy. a lot of man love between the two of us, let me tell you. it's a good thing. a lot of people have been coming up and, i love your. -- your book. once upon a time chris worked here at the spotsylvania national military park but has