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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 16, 2015 11:00pm-1:01am EST

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so much economic policy from parts of the community is based. secondly, a fundamental commitment to affordable and quality health and education. because that provides the human capital you need to lift your productivity. thirdly, a prodpresgressismve tax system to fund the quality services that deliver the productivity and peace of mind for people wherever they are and of course, a highly targeted transfer payment system which delivers for those that are left behind. so there are the nunnedfundamentals of the australian experience. >> thank you so much. ed montgomery we do spend a lot of time talking about human capital. can you share your thoughts on those issues? >> yes. thank you. one i want to thank the commission and the work that
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we've done for bringing out examples around the world that other countries have found ways to think about human capital in broader and often more successful ways than the united states. clearly when you think about human capital, you need to start from pre-k. you need to get kids early. you need to invest in them to make the school ready. you need places to provide quality education so they are prepared to go on. access to community college and higher education clearly play a role. another things that we don't put much emphasis on but others have is working on apprenticeship. what do you do for the large number of people that are not going to go onto higher education. how do you give opportunities for them. those countries have opened up a broad range of jobs that pay
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off. they clearly raise earnings. about $300,000 increase in participation in it. the return on every public dollar in some cases $23 for every $1 invested in these programs. they play a vital role for those with less than high school education or high school education for good paying jobs in the future. >> fantastic. i would also like to ask jennifer who provided a lot of good ideas around innovation and innovation clusters in looking how regions can adopt strategies for economic growth. jennifer, can you share your views? >> yes. thanks so much. i appreciate having been invited to be part of this because as the former government of michigan representing a part of the country that really has been the poster child for the loss of middle class jobs. so my obsession on this and i
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think the report adequately addresses is how do you create jobs in a america in a global economy and what can we learn from our allies who are up here? what have they done well? well, one of the things that they have done and we've done in some measure in this country but we need to do a lot more of is to create economic clusters. to really focus on local strategies. governors do not have the ability to compete against china and singapore. so support for research tax credits from the federal government, such an important aspect of creating a cluster. a cluster is great because it doesn't lend itself to something picked up and moved. when you've got a bunch of companies and a bunch of talent in one place. they feed off another. how can states foster that kind of innovation? well support for the universities. to be able to do transfer of
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technology and ideas from laboratory to classroom is one way. having incubators that make sure that those companies can grow inside of a region is one way. having the ability for a state to create access to capital so that companies when they are just starting can actually have access to moneys to would allow them to take their ideas to scale. those kind of other things are done in other countries with the local government and state government. and competitions that allow regions to compete for federal resources to be the good to place for technology. for example ohio competed to become the center for 3 d printing technology, they are creating a whole eco ssystem.
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it is not a hands off approach. it says we can compete with the likes of china and india and countries that are hands off. let's be share in the 21st century where countries are trying to compete being hands off, it's not going to work when our competitors are so hands off. so this report is full of ideas of how our governments can be lands on and have a role in creating jobs in a global economy. >> thank you so much. this is another example where you've had great rer skpeerer experience with shared prosperity. a lot of people have pointed to the banking system and education system. can you share your thoughts on what we've learned from canada. >> thank you. i do want to start by echoing the thanks to nira she was ahead
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of the curve in identifying thing. as ej pointed out imagine how much fun we had in rooms with larry and ed no holds barred economic conversations. i can assure you there were no sacred cows. i think some of the people who gave presentations were surprised at free ranging the ib intellectual debate was and thanks to my fellow commissioners. this was really diverse. on canada you know, i think one of the things -- this may be particularly relevant to a debate happening in other parts the world, particularly the united states right now about financial regulation. one of the lessons of the canadian experience is financial
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regulation is not just for bankers. it can sound esoteric and it is very detailed and specific but if you get it right you can have a very great protective impact on the lives and wealth of the middle class. and that is really one of the lessons of canada over the past 15 years. thanks to some really pressing decisions by paul martin we regulated our banking system and we didn't give in to that vogue of deregulation. the result was canada didn't have a banking crisis. canadian banks didn't fail. they didn't have to be bailed out by the government. that had a really specific impact which you've seen now measured in average canadian household wealth. so financial regulation matters. as larry pointed out it's really important to not let that get eroded as the crisis recedes. having said that, nor mefor me the
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importance of that report in identifying a collective challenge -- i really agree with ed. this is the challenge of our generation. the western industrialized economies are in the mid of a really profound change. there's lots that's great about it but there's lots that's challenging. we seem to be suffering from sec secularsec yule yule secular stagnation. this is a huge problem. please don't treat this as a regular report. my colleagues this is really the challenge of our time. for me what's so important about this report is that it says, hey, this is a really big deal. not only is it possible it is
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essential to do something about it. if we don't we're going to run into real trouble. really, it's not an skajexaggeration to say that democracy will be in peril. like ed, i'm going to face an election this year and things that we're going to be talking with a lot are infrastructure. now is a great time for infrastructure investment. all of our infrastructure investment is declaying. infrastructure investment can fix it. it can be tremendously stimulating for our economy. the imf has been saying this. and to the extend in which this is a global challenge. everyone has been really nice and all of you americans learning from our international experience and we learn from you guys too. we learn from where politics is
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mostly national. capital is global. it's going to be really important in this time when we are all struggling and as politicians, talking to people who are worried about jobs in their countries not to let that give way to a protectionist trend. one of the things i was proud of in this report is the extent to which we continue to call for an open global economy. we're going to have to fix this together. thanks for letting me be part of it. >> thank you so much. let but not least by any stretch, we did learn from your experience in sweden and from the experience of really investing in people, particularly family policy, education policy. could you touch briefly on that and then we'll go straight to
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questions. >> yeah. thank you very much. it's already been said that europe is experiencing very tough times right now. this toxic cocktail of low growth and growing inequality is very dangerous. however there are some countries in the northern periphery that have been better off than average europe. that is the scabbed inn of iana ian scandinavian countries and europe. we have to country mobilized the whole work force not only the male part of the work force but the women. the female participation is higher. this goes back to the 1990s where we started a program to mobilize women in the work
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force. three components. first, generous child allowances of university character. second, free very high quality pry schools and thirdly, a system that allows parents to combine this with work. we have the most generous parental leave system in the world. you can stay home with your kids for 13 months. we call it the parentirrental leave system. this is of course very costly. only the parental leave system cost 1% of gdp however, it delivers one of the highest participation labor ratios. the tax base is widened. so in this sense, in the scanned
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scandinavian context this is a driver for growth. we have proved that. so there's no contradiction between equality and growth. >> great. i'm excited. thank you so much. i am happy to turn it over to questions. i will just say before i do that i would like to call just a few people who worked on this report. there are millions of parents to this but it feels like -- i want to just acknowledge a few people who work day and night writing and helping editing this report. i really want to thank them for literally their days an nights contributing to ideas. now, let me ask questions. we're happy to have questions. if you can identify yourself and someone will come over to give
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you a microphone for the cameras. >> thank you. we're about to publish a guide to resilient prosperity and our research for that indicated that inclusiveness is a major element of that resilience. there's four economic changes that you detail in your report but our research on the guide we're working on indicated another huge economic change that's taken place in the last generation that doesn't seem to be really represented in the report with the exception of the infrastructure investment that mr. summers alluded to. that's the -- for the last 5,000 years humans have been building our wealth based on extraction of virgin resources and the buildings of new cities and the
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sprawling of existing cities, well $2 trillion is now focused on regenerating and revieftal ize vitalizing the cities that we already have. and restoration of natural resources and farm lands and all of that. i wonder if i missed it. is there more reference than what i saw than just infrastructure renewal to restoration. clean up of contaminated sites all of that regenerated work. >> i think the answer is yes. the term -- when we're talking. jennifer talked about the importance of clufters.
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those can be the coming together of firms put particular way in which you can have long conglomerations and some of the big work that has been done particularly in the u.s., looking at what has happened in cities and in the way cities suck in opportunities and build upon them, that's in there. it's also the case that we talk about the importance of making sure the growth is sustainable from the point of view of the environment as well. different countries are different. in our countries, we have a big need for more homes with you an important part of that is around the regeneration of the existing sites and ground fill land. that is reflected in the report as well. hopefully you'll find it there.
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>> over here. >> thanks, rav sanchez from the daily telegraph. i had a question for ed as well of the your cochair began this presentation saying now is the time for interest rates are low for substantial infrastructure investment but in your speech in the labor party conference you seemed to rule out any borrowing for capital investments. i wanted to ask you whether now you disagree with your cochair that now is the time to borrow and investment and i ask mr. summers i might ask whether you would urge to rethink his position on that. >> i am always happy to respond to an urging from the daily telegraph to try to spend more on our long term infrastructure. what we say is different countries are at different
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points in the economic cycle. go back two or three years ago when our growth had stagnated absolutely there was a need for more action and that was something that we strongly'd voekate advocated. britain has moved from a lack of growth to low productivity. we've got to focus on the long term decisions which we can make which will improve the underlying productivity of our economy. part of that is making sure we get the most money out of the capital intrastructure. it worries me during the government's current plans they are seeking to reduce capital investment but in the future years they get the capital investment profile rising again. what i talked about is making sure we do more on the housing site than on the overall capital program but you're right in britain today we aren't making any proposal for traditional
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spending. what we're really focusing on is the productivity of the infrastructure program in the next five years that's already been set out. >> is there a question here? >> bill klein. i'm a retired army physician. i was going to ask about inflation but in the conversation what i've been more interested is the question of citizenship. i am wondering if you think that poor citizens make poor economics. in the benchmarks more than 50% of eligible voters didn't vote. i think we elected a mayor with 15% of voters. how does that link with poor economies es peshldpecially when you think the classes you're talking about are the ones with higher number of people not voting. >> one of the reasons when we focused on the problem of demo democracy and the lack of
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prosperity is the affect it has on the morale of citizens. i think if you look at what happened in say the last election. i think there were a lot of voters who stayed home because they did not think that proposals were on the table that would substantially improve their lives. someone could take issue with that but i don't politicians particularly on the progressive side made a case to pull them into voting. the other thing i want to sort of call attention to in the report because it doesn't jump out but it jumped out to me is in talking about things that can be done that are counter cyclical. there's a lot of emphasis on national service and the opportunities for national service. i always thought that during at the depth of the recession, a vast expansion of national service opportunities would get particularly young people having trouble finding jobs, get them
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to work with youbut would also do something very important in getting them devotion to country. >> we have time for one last question. over here. >> so i want to thank the report for talking a lot about the need for improving our labor relations because that's key to having wages go with productivity. i want to ask a quick question object democracy issue because i didn't hear, i thought enough. so the challenge i think in the uk in the u.s. and in europe is increased social diversity. the majority of american children are now children of color. there wasn't a lot of mention of that. this goes beyond just what you say for full employment. 10%, closer to 11% of the americans who earn a degree in computer science are black. in silicon valley, 2% of the
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workers are black. here in washington and the dmv, 22% of the workers are black. so it's not just more education. it's not education in the right field. it's not education in the rising fields. it's a deeper problem. the problems we have in the u.s. with policing. the problem that uk has in absorbing and being inclusive of social minorities. so i'd like to hear your thoughts about making growth inclusive and that i think will help with also the democracy question so i want your thoughts on that. >> so i will just say briefly -- i don't know ed montgomery or anyone else, larry would like to add. in the report, we do make as a primary value that inclusive economics has to be inclusive of diversity, racial diverseitydiversity, economic diversity, it is a key point as progressives that we
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articulate that a vision of economic growth has to be inclusive for all parts of society and this is a challenge not only in the u.s. but increasingly in europe. you're seeing a response a very zeno phobic response that as progressives we need to stand against. i think i can speak for the commission that it was a university view. ed, did you want to add to that and then larry might just say a point. >> yeah, i think you make a good point. i think part of what we were trying to do in writing this report is to think about inclusion but not get into country by country specific details. what we have here are necessary things but not sufficient. there's room together. creating jobs is a necessary condition to help minorities. improving conditions, having a work place where there's democracy and voice is a necessary condition. there are other things we can envision and think about on top
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of that that are part of attacking the problems but we were trying to think a report that would expand things in the united states but they might be different than in sweedden and australia. >> whatever any thoughtful american believed about the need to make further progress with respect to racial issues in the united states, six months ago, i don't see how that thoughtful american could fail to see a much greater need today than they did six months ago. i would also the judgment education, economic empowerment, and a well functioning middle class are crucial civil rights issues of our time because
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precisely as you suggest, the victims of inequality are disproportionately the members of minority groups. so success in achieving the agenda laid out here will be as we say, an inclusive prosperity that will benefit many but i believe if you look issue by issue, whether it's early childhood, education or those who will be involved in constructing the infrastructure they will disproportionately be members of the minority groups. i appreciate you bringing that out. >> other questions? right over here. >> thanks. melissa carney with brookings and the university of maryland. i'm curious as to whether the commission explicitly did or did
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not consider the role of demographic changes that have accentuated inequality]xi) in the united states and what i have in mind is the number of children in the u.s., in particularly born to lower educated parents outside of two parent families in the u.s., these trends have exacerbated income inequality and are also distinctly american. our rates of kids growing up in single parent households are twice more than in australia and an canada. >> this is obviously a significant challenge in the u.s. the u.s. has a distinct challenge that other countries don't have. in fact all the other countries seem to do a better job of family stability. now, i would just say because of the disproportionate issue of
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the challenge, we didn't spend significant resources discussing it because countries are so different in the analysis. but i would point you, the center for american progress put out this monday the precise issue of family stability. the way i think these issues interact in the u.s., houfwever, is the economic dimension of what's happening to families who are low income, working class is profound. it is having an affect on family stability. this is a reinforcing issues. economic disruption is hurting family structure as you know as well as anyone. family structure for high income folks. it's low income folks who are addressing these stresses. so addressing these challenges would provide in our view -- would strengthen family
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structure but we have other ideas beyond economic as we outlined as part of our cap work and we did this this monday. >> i'm not going to try tell you about family structure because you are one of the nation's leading experts. i would say -- i would say this -- i think there's a fair amount of evidence that it is related to economic issues and something we under appreciate in the united states. we in the united states to be trend proud and celebrate our flexible labor markets. if you use a very simple comparison what fraction of 25 to 54-year-old men are working? the united states does dismissally on that standard. our fraction that are working is lower than in france. is lower than in most of europe.
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and i can't help but wonder whether that isn't related our difficulty in formation of families and persistence of families. >> one thing because obviously i'm not an expert on the american debate but i know quite a lot about the uk debate on these issues and i think it is different but we compared to other european countries have a much higher rate of pregnancies among very young parents but when you look in our countries and you ask the question, what is the average age of a single parent i have been on television and radio and famously asking john humphreys what is the average age of a single parent it is 35.
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what happens in our societies, the longevity of relationships is diminished. there's some negativity to that but there's also positivity as well because there are many women decades ago who were struck in relationships which were not good relationships to be in. i think what you -- you knee toneed to understand all the causes but make sure your policy gets to the heart of the issue. the heart of the issue is children do best when they are supported by caring and loving parents rather than because you have imposed or you're trying to incentivized the longevity of a particular family type. there are very children who do extremely well because a married parent and then becomes a single
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parent and then maybe gets together with another single parent and forms a new family. the debate in our country there's only one family that's acceptable. the birth of a child from one man and woman who live together for the live of a child. that's not how people live anymore. you can still do good things to support children in child care but to say that is conditional on a particular family structure is a bit outdated. i'm sure that's not what you're getting at here but it's an interesting point. >> i just want to thank you for raising the question. it does seem to me. i identify very much with what larry said. this is one conversation that i wish we could wall off from all the other partisanship in the country. although i am absolutely certain we won't unfortunately but still would like to put a bid in for that because it does seem to me
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that progressives need to take very seriously the cost of family break down, whatever phrase you want to use for it on the lives of children but it also seems to me that our conservative friends need to take what declining opportunity does for family formation. and if we really care about this problem, we have to think about both causal arrows if you will. i would love to see a genuine national conversation as opposed to simply an i gougeeye gouging debate where we might try to help some of these kids and some of these families. >> that's clentexcellent. we're up for that. any final questions? >> i want to thank our commission members, our chairs. the cap staff and ed balls' team and larry's staff for all the fantastic work. we'll be available to answer any
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questions on this. contact cap or any member of the commission. we appreciate you all being here. [ applause ]
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president obama gives his state of the union address to a joint session of kncongress on tuesday. we'll have the president's speech president reactions from you. live action begins at 8:00 eastern on cspan. >> newly elected senator will
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give the response to the president's state of the union which we will also carry live. >> tuesday night president obama delivers his state the union address. live coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern including the president's speech, the gop response delivered by newly elected senator and your reactions on open phones live on cspan and cspan radio. on cspan two, watch the reaction from the congressional capital. >> on the martin luther king holiday, we're featuring all day programming on cspan's book tv and monday morning cornell west on six african-american leaders
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and impact then and now. at 4:00, gayle sheehy and then at 9:00 former congress man allen west on the importance of preserving the core values of faith and family and feels they are under attack by the far left. 8:00 eastern on monday jaun juanita at 8:00, historians talkstalk about race relations in ferguson missouri. find our complete television schedule at and let us know about the programs you're watching. call us at 202-626-3400. join the cspsaan conversation.
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>> now a conversation on the recent paris terror attacks and how extremists view the west. we hear from paul bremer who served as the coalition provisional authority under george w. bush from the patomic institute for battle studies. this is an hour and ten minutes. all right ladies and gentlemen, welcome. thank you for joining us today. we've got a very, very special in my judgment, operation for
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you today because in ambassador paul bremer who has really served our nation for our 40 years in many crucial din lowmatic alow mat diplomatic assignments and has a wealth and treasure trove of knowledge, some of which he will share with with us today. because he has as unusual a great group of commitments and the like. we're just reminiscing a little bit together just to tell you how old i am, i first met the ambassador in 1976 when he was a boy state department gentleman in the embassy at norway and i was of core the commander of the marine forces that were involved in reinforcing norway and the likement our paths have crossed many times since then when he was ambassador in netherlands
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and of course later on we crossed trails again in 1979 when the federal bureau of investigation held their first real big meeting, if you will, on global terrorism. of course the ambassador was there as were many others. the point i want to make here is all through the years he was one person that we as a nation or that we as a member of the joint chiefs of staff whatever the particular assignments we could go to for good sound advice and thought process on terrorism and on a whole group of other subjects as well. so he's well educated as we all know. went to yale. but then later advanced education in paris and of course like all people who try to be more important than they really
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are, went to harvard and got a little business training but at any rate we're delighted that you could find the time to join us ambassador bremer. the floor is all yours. >> thank you very much. i am reminded i usually paraphrase president kennedy when it comes to that and say because i didn't study at all in new haven, i say i had the advantage of a hafbrvard education and a yale degree. i am going to talk about that in a minute actually. when i had actually agreed to do this event i was thinking i would talk about the broad geopolitical problems in particular the problems that we face in the united states. the challenge of our leadership. i will get to that.
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inlight of this audience and my own experience of fighting terrorism and the events in terrorism, i better start by talking about the events in paris and try to relate that to the broader situation. now, i have sort of three points. contrary to what all the pundits and so called experts and journalists have said, the events, the attacks there, do not represent a new form of terrorism. they are a tactical adaptation as part of a broad long-standing terrorist strategy. that's the first point. and i will talk a little more about that. secondly, this jihadist strategy is a stranger to the united states. it poses a significant danger to the united states as it did after 9/11. how we respond going to be very important. that's the third point. the way in which we respond.
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we in the west will have a lot to say about what kind of century the 21st century is going to be. now, let me take the point that it's not new. i have a vivid memory of a wednesday morning in paris at the ministry of interior. at the time the minister of ins interior was a rough person. when a corsigan is rough he's really rough. we had very close relations. i was the ambassador at large for counter terrorism. he had called me to come over tomorrow. i have got some news for you. i flew over night. in his ornate office, he told me
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that they had discovered a cache of weapons. so they staked it out to see who came for the tough. that tuesday a group of hezbollah terrorism came and started digging up the stuff. what he told me that their stated objective was to establish the islamic republic of france. now in 1987. that was pretty shocking news, i can tell you. i've been fighting a lot of terrorist but i've never heard anybody talking about the islamic republic of france. spin the clock forward ten years and i was appointed chairman of the bipartisan national commission on terrorism, five republicans, five democrats, appointed by the speaker of the house. we studied the question of
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terrorist and reported to president clinton, the american people and congress 15 years ago now, this june, that the united states faced a new form of terrorism an extremist islamic jihadist oriented terrorism and we predicted as it turned out unfortunately correctly that these terrorists would conduct mass casualty attacks on the american home land. this was 15 months before 9/11. why did we say that? we read the report. we read a few of the comments that came to our attention. he said those who study jihad understand why islam wants to conquer the whole world. it says kill all the unbelievers just as they want to kill you. the founder of the muslim
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brotherhood said quote, the ultimate objective is carried to the hole of man kind in 1995. an indonesian terrorist because it's not just in the middle east said in 2005 islam and the west are at war and islam must win and the westerners will be destroyed. the head of al qaeda in iraq, while i was actually in iraq said now you see before you people who love death just as you love life. kimming killing for the sake of god is their highest wish. now let me say these do not represent the views of the majority of muslims. i'm not even taking a position whether or not that represents a
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valid interpretation of islam. i'm not qualified to make it. i'm just telling you what they have said and itsthe precepts in which they have exacted. sometimes people say what is this cause of the hatred of the west of the how can we deal with it? it's really quite simple. in their speeches, in their press conferences and more recently on their websites and blogs, these extremists, starting with obama bin laden and all the others have made it clear that the thing they hate most of all about the west is the west. they hate us for who we are not for what we do they hate us for who we are. how do i know that, because they say, we are against freedom of the president, we are against free trade unions, we are against women's education, we are against elections. we hate most of all democracy.
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the current head of al qaeda still alive and well somewhere, has said democracy is a new religion that must be destroyed by war of the there's no question about what they think. now with people like this with extremists like this, there's no compromise. there's nothing that they are asking for that we can give them because they want us the western civilization actively to go away. to be conquered. to be killed. that's their agenda. they have said it over and over now for a period going back as long as 70 years. that is the view of islamist extremists that we are up against. this is a global war. these extremists the warriors are sprinkled everywhere from the eastern shore of the mediterranean to the indus river to the deserts of north africa all the way across the red sea down to the arabian peninsula
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across the watteders of somalia and in africa's largest country with boko haram has declared itself a new one. now the relationship of this to us with the attack last week onin france, freedom of speech is a core value of western civilization. it's not a coincidence that it's the first amendment to our constitution. it's not a coincidence that the terrorists chose an element of the press in france the free press as their target. yet here in the united states and in europe, there have been signs of a sort of unilateral, intellectual disarmerment in the
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face of those kinds of threats. we all saw the initial reaction of sony by the threats of the north koreans. we saw that the associated press, pulled cartoons from its dpal gallery because they were afraid some might be quote, hurtful to some pextople. for a week, the washington post were afraid to post the cartoon. but they did publish them on the editorial part last week. the american government took quite a while what to cause these events. the government took a while to call it. they fail to call it what it really is.
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ayesislamic terrorism. jihadist terrorism. why is there this reluctance to call things what they are. in my own view it is political correctness that has overtaken america and europe, i must say. if you look at colleges and universities, there are these codes of verbal conduct, things that are allowed and not allowed to be said which have had the affect of tamping down freedoms. let me tell did you the two things that the general mentioned where i went in yale. yale published self weeks ago an academic book of the danish cartoons, and decided not to put the cartoons in the book. an exact of exemplary cowardice
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at yale. at harvard, the president of harvard had the temim timid it saying that women are not as well represented in the hard sciences as men. he thought that would be something that a hard academic would be studying. why is that? he got fired. he's no longer the president of fired. so this unilateral intellectual disarmerment is a serious problem. what are the implications for all of this for american foreign policy just to move to a broader point. first of all, first of all 3/4ths of all meshes americans alive today were born after world war ii. they have grown up in a wormedld
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ever expanding freedom free trade, freedom of the high seas of the they take for granted the liberal, political atmosphere we live in. i use the word liberal so i don't confuse people in the classic sense of liberal, open and free. progress towards a more liberal world was not inevitable. as a scholar known to many of you robert kagen has reported, the values of the world at any given time determine the values that are adopted by the international community. and the internationally liberal order in which we live today, we've grown accustomed to is actually quite young. it dates only to the 1830s which
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is when britain abolished their corn laws to open their borders to trade. outlawed slavey. reforms the rottenburrow political system. for the next century, it was the royal navy that policed the seas to have freedom of the seas. this was not inevitable. as kagen points out, if you go back to spain under philip ii or france under the louies or the soviet union or nazi germany, none of those countries would have imposed a liberal economic and political value system. now at the end of the second world war, the united states inherited the role of britain. britain was exhausted. we got the job of being the hegimon and policing the
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freedom. promoting the freedom of the seas. promoting free trade and defending the freedoms that are listed in our very constitution. all of this very order, it seems to me is potentially at risk which is why it's so important that we react vigorously just to these acts that happened last week but more broadly to this overall geopolitical problem. now, i know from reading the polls and listening to all the pundits that americans are quote, tired of war. for the first time in 70 years polls are showing that both political parties are calling for america to pay more attention at home. we hear from politicians not only are they tired of war but it's time to mind our own business or polls show the
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americans no longer want to be the world's policemen. of course these comments raise two questions. what is america's business? what kind of world would it be if we're not the policemen? >> you know in my speaking around the country. been to a lot of cities. i often ask when this question comes up about not being the world's policemen if i'm talking in chicago. do you have policemen in chicago, do you have policemen in des moines, do you have policemen in eugene, oregon. of course you do. what kind of world would it be if there are no american policemen? now american defense trending is at an all time low as a percent of the federal government. i won't go through all the details but if the budget and sequestration stay in place, we're on track to have the
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smallest army we've had since 1939 the smallest navy since 1917, and the smallest airforce in our history. that does not suggest a country which is prepared to continue to be the leader in defending liberal world order. now, of course, military power isn't the only way to defend and advance american interests because as fedrederick the great said who knew a thing or two about diplomacy or war said din loam as diplomacy without arms is like music without notes. it ain't going to work. now some people argue -- we've heard it for almost 20 years that the era of great power conflict is over. but this is exactly what the
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punned pundits said exactly 101 years ago in 1914. in the early 20th century the conventional wisdom was that the nation state itself was becoming irrelevant. don't forget in the 1890s and right through the first 15 years of the 20th century, travel is freer in europe than it is today. there was no need for visas or passports. don't forget that britain and germany were each other's largest trade partners. their royal families were inner intermarried. they regularly visited each other. i sometimes point out that sometimes visits to the annual rigotta were always conducive to better relations between germany and britain but the fact of the matter is absolutely nobody thought there would be a reason
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for great power war or particularly between britain and germany and yet europe 101 years ago stragaggered into the biggest political catastrophe of modern history. it was an absolute catastrophe. so it is not enough to say that just because everybody gets along, there isn't going to be a war. now, i know, history doesn't necessarily repeat itself but it's the great american philosopher said, mark twain said sometimes it rhymes. it's worth paying attention to where we are today because we've all heard the same arguments. modern communication, ease of travel. the internet. dependence on each other for trade. those are all the things that were said all throughout the 181918 1890s for the first 15 years of
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the previous century and yet the war came. so here is the question for us. if america is not prepared to be continue to be the global police leader? what are the alternatives. i see there three in theory. none of them very tasteful. the first is that we get replaced as the world's leader. okay. there are three possible replacements. russia, china, europe. one can dismiss russia and china rather quickly if you want to have a liberal world order. no need to argue. neither of them are politically or economically liberal. europe, certainly shares our values, and has significant soft power but the europeans are completely transfixed by their
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political and economic problems and cut defense that they cannot even project power across the mediterranean without american help so there isn't going to be a single one to replace us. second alternative is you have a multipolar world. you don't need a leader, you can have everybody get along. wince one of my professional deformations as a historian, i would just point out that the multipolar worlds of the 16th 17th and 18th centuries led to essentially perpetual war.
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