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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 30, 2016 1:00pm-3:01pm EST

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organization would love to have simply by posting fake news like the pope is endorsing donald trump. the broader definition of fake news, the one that might include incredibly hyper partisan news likeke breitbart, that would include truth out on the left, breitbart on the right. those sites would hate to be put in this category because a lot of what they write is true but taken from ab extremely partisan viewpoint. joining us with the idea of fake news, written several pieces about it from magazines. if you have questions 202-748-8000 for democrats, 8001 for republicans, 8002 for independents. tell us all about the section for new york magazine. >> we like to cover technology from a cultural perspective, to look at how it's being used by
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people on a day to day way. this election has been a fascinating example of how the internet has transformed our abilities to have conversations online about politics and political movements. this is monaco we're particularly fascinated and interested in. we also like to post funny videos and funny stories about the stuff online, too. the internet that changed the world. i think we're still reckoning with the ways our lives are different. >> max read, is there a measurable way to say fake news influenced the election for donald trump? >> no, i'm not sure there is. i imagine there's a number of studies undertaken. what i can tell you, there's a recent stanford study last week theoretically sophisticated young people, natives have trouble distinguishing fake news from real news, trouble distinguishing advertising from
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like genuine journalism. you can also look at the raw numbers, a number of people who have seen pieces in these headlines we're talking in the millions. it's hard for me to believe there's no influence. in fact, facebook itself business model relies on the idea the news feed when you put through to facebook's home page and scroll through to your feed, that feed influences you. if fake news doesn't influence the election, if news on the feed doesn't influence one way or another about the election, facebook's entire business model is broken. advertisers should be leaving in droves. it seems pretty clear to me that the act of just seeing something in your feed as you're scrolling through, the act of sharing stuff, which is almost like repeating the news your self, a really important way to form your sense of what's true and what's not true is going to influence what you think about it. does it mean you're going to switch from hillary clinton or donald trump because of the fake news? i don't think so. it will help shore up beliefs or make you decide you don't want to vote at all. i think it changes voting
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behaviors in sulgt and important ways. in an election ultimately as close as this one, that's something worth looking at. >> do you think it changed the behavior of someone looking beyond the news story itself to check other sources to see if it was true or not? >> no. ic if you -- what's the word, if you perform basic media hygiene, don't trust single sources, read a wide variety of sources, immersing your self in a number of ideas, i think you are probably safe from the scourge of fake news. i worry what facebook has essentially done is created a one serving spot for news. something like 40% of adults get news from facebook. something like 170 people in north america use it. that's more than voted every day. that's more than voted in the election. if you use facebook to get news, what you're getting is getting news from sources like "wall street journal" and "new york times," places that have long histories of smart and rigorous
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journalist alongside looking identical to news from places like if you're a busy person like we all are, and you're scrolling through your news feed online, you might not recognize one of the stories you see without reading is from the "times," the other is from ending the fed. it's easy to have that catch in the back of your mind as a way of formulating your opinions about things. i think even people who have a strong sense of media literacy, who are really interested, engaged in news, it can still affect their perceptions of the candidates? >> we have calls lined up for you. our first one is keith from chicago, illinois, democrats line. keith, you're on with our guest max read. go ahead with your question or comment. >> great topic. good morning, max. hey, you know, if we're going to look at fake news, we really
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have to start at the granddaddy of them all and print digital media. that would be drudge report, broke the model so to speak. breitbart came out of drudge, of course. bannon came out of drudge, the breitbart. of course that's supported by a.m. talk radio and, of course, fox news. and that's a triumph of misinformation. it feeds and feeds and builds and builds. the jeannie is out of the bottle. there's no way. >> thanks. >> it's important to look at the history of how we got here.
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it's absolutely an important issue. the places i'd be careful putting drudge in the same fake news category, drudge links to silly and legitimate sources, the others he links to are correct and legitimate sources. he has a partisan slant but that doesn't make him a peddler of lies. i think the big difference the internet he launched in the 1990s and the internet we're operating in now is the concentration of distribution power around facebook. so there's a big difference between having a site like drudge even if you hate it, you think it's the worst peddler of information that exists, alan greenspan a host of other options for you, each of which has its own signaling abilities to demonstrate what it is and what it's about. what worries me is when all this stuff gets crunched into single serving squares in facebook
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feed, make it difficult to distinguish one source of news from another that emphasize the person sharing it over the place the news is coming from, emphasize the comments of the person sharing it over that. i think that cable news is just as important as the internet in terms of forming public opinion in usa. cable news and internet influence each other, feed off one another, so there's no reason to drop attention to fox news or to drudge just because we have this. it's important to pay attention to it wholistically and independently. >> eric from independent line, go ahead. >> caller: thanks, gentlemen. max, great to have you here. you grazed upon and touched upon the issue, question i had for you. it would be to ask you for your opinion, your perspective how
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much at all would you attribute viability and success of this fake news practice that clearly was strategically in this most recent presidential election a circus side show we went through. there's been a lot of reporting on voters who had relied upon stories that did come through, those types of sources that were later proved to be fake. how much, if at all, do you attribute that to the sort of vacuum that has been left behind by formerly legitimate news divisions having been either-or both eviscerated out there, dpathering news and budgets and transformed into celebrity scandal and gossip and corporate press releases that's really kind of marketing/news. what's the roll of legitimate journalism and what are the odds?
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>> thanks, eric. >> it's a really complicated question and i don't have a simple answer. i think the internet has, in fact, eviscerated journalism's business model to borrow your word. it means organizations that were once all powerful, newspapers like "new york times," newspapers in many major metropolitan area are forced to compete on very different terms. everybody -- there's no news organization that hasn't relied in one way or another on what i think we like to think of as frivolous news, sex, celebrity, gossip but also cross words, recipes, cooking, even sports. that doesn't bother me as a journalist. i love that stuff. i read that stuff. i think in many cases that stuff is a lot more important than we give it credit for. what really is happening now is every news organization is required in order to reach an audience that it needs -- the audience it needs in order to survive as a business is it needs to be immediately receptive to whatever the audience wants in a given
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moment. there's been a lot of conversation this week or last couple of weeks to the extent journalists are obligated to respond to tweets that donald trump is sending out. obviously the president-elect, his statements are news worthy but oftentimes they seem to be based in complete -- in his imagination. there's no real relationship to the truth. sometimes they are just sort of vindictive and weird or not fruitful or productive. one strategy in 1960 might have been pretending we had newspapers and twitter but no other internet. you put those utter answers on a18. you put them there because they are important but diminish their importance. now every article can be on the facebook or twitter. it's difficult for editors to make judgment calls on news worthiness. i've sort of gotten off track here. the death of journeymanism as an institution or the change it's
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undergoing means there is an enormous space for hoaxes and lies. i do think it's important to acknowledge that journalism has not served readers in the way it should have over the last 20 years. if you talk to almost anyone about the value of the "new york times," which i think is the greatest newspaper in the world and enormous bastion of old school smart, rigorous reporting, has also had a number of essentially false reports about the iraq war in 2003. that kind of erosion of trust, as trust guess eroded in that way, it makes it easier and easier for the bottom feeders of facebook to seize that space and take those readers. >> in louisiana republican line, jeff, good morning. >> caller: good morning. yeah, i'm 70 years old and i've been watching the news for a long time. to me it's pretty much all either fake or distorted. to give you a prime example,
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generally i tried to watch all the different channels and outlets, but i got kind of curious when comey came out with his findings on clinton and the headlines that flashed across the screen on cnn was comey claims hillary careless. there's a world of difference between extremely careless and careless. that's just one example of how they are distorting it. i don't know -- i'm not a great student of history, but i think that's kind of how the communists used to do it. then 65,000 e-mails come out and there's no mention of it on abc, nbc, and cnn. so as an american, i'm kind of concerned, because i grew up -- i said i'm 70 years old. i grew up when you got the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth and that's far from what's happening now. >> thanks, caller.
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>> yeah. i think that obviously every journalistic outless comes from a specific place and has biases. they don't need to be political biases. they can be business-based biases, stuff they don't want to cover because it would turn off advertisers. stuff they are more excited to cover because they know they can bring a particularly valuable audience in. i think any media literacy education would need to include that. there's no need to imagine cnn is the gospel truth. what i would caution anybody about the current media environment, power is concentrated in a small handful of companies. the healthiest way -- healthiest free press in any democracy is one that has a wide variety of outlets, that allows people to choose between them, to assemble essentially a space where we can all agree on what the truth is and what reality is, because that's the only way we can have a peaceful democracy.
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if people across the aisle can look at each other and agree this thing is true and this is not true. even regarding clinton's e-mails, there's obviously people on the other end of the ideological spectrum that would claim the media covered them too much. there is no difference between extremely careless and careless. i will say in cnn's defense there, they did accurately report that he said the word careless. there is at least a starting point from which we can have a discussion about that. that's several football fields away from the pope endorsing donald trump or an fbi agent attached to hillary clinton killing himself, which is another item of fake news reported by a site called "denver guardian" which didn't exist until about a year ago. >> louise in san antonio, democrats' line. >> caller: max, i was wondering if you could give us some information on info wars put out
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by alex jones, president-elect seems to be really fascinated with him and goes along with a lot of his crazy theories. i hear a lot of it, especially from senior citizens, calling in and making statements that come from drudge and info wars on c-span. i know c-span doesn't like to correct people, but some of the things i hear from callers is just so far out there that i feel like they really do need to be corrected. but anyway, i wish you would give your opinion on that. thank you. >> sure, infowars is probably the most famous site that belongs in the broad definition of fake news.
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it is a conspiracy mongering sort of extreme right, you know, tin foil hat kind of place. i really hate sort of coming object here -- alex jones is a character. he's a hell of a character. for a long time he was that, a character. a crazy conspiracy theorist that had a crazy radio show, that existed in a way that allowed you to enjoy it as entertainment without having to fear it as a real source of news. the rise of social platforms as news distribution venues has meant alex jones is not just a guy in texas with a local radio show ranting about one world government, he's somebody who has an audience of voters and concerned citizens who seem to believe what he says. i don't have a solution to figuring out how to ensure that the stuff that alex --
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conspiracy theories about one world government or whatever else alex jones is peddling. i know recently an article on infowars claiming without evidence, completely baselessly claiming 3 million people voted for hillary clinton illegally in the u.s. election and out of the mouth of our president-elect in the form of his twitter feed. that to me is really frightening. i worry that we're not thinking hard enough about how we can ensure that that kind of totally baseless claim is adequately rebutted and responded to. >> how has twitter and facebook responded, then, in light of this? what technology have they put into place? how does it work? >> well, so facebook has undergone a couple different swings about this. mark zuckerberg, founder and ceo initially came out after the election and insisted that he
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thought it was a crazy idea that news had influenced anybody one way or the other. you know, i think as we talked about earlier, i think that's -- i just don't think that's true. i especially don't think facebook institutionally believes that because, again, they have an advertising-based business model. there's some reporting that a group of facebook employees had formed a secret working group attempting to come up out of the eyes of the executives, attempting to come up with solutions. a few weeks ago mark zuckerberg announced in a post they were taking a handful of steps to try and combat this. one was to consult with third party fact checking organizations to attach certain kinds of labels to news organizations. i actually am sort of skeptical about that direction. i think focusing too much on giving facebook the power to make editorial decisions over the content that appears on its site is the kind of quick fix that's going to come back and hurt us. facebook, the problem at the
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bottom levels facebook just flat-out has too much power. asking it to wield power in ways we like versus ways we don't like is a short-term solution. the long-term solution would be to ensure facebook doesn't have that much power over media conversation generally. twitter, for its part, smaller, more journalists use it, politicians use it, obviously our president-elect uses it. it has less of a problem for fake news for a certain number of design reasons, what it really has is a problem of harassment and abuse especially against journalists, women, people of color. there's a huge anti-semitism problem on it. a few days after the election twitter finally announced some anti-harassment tools that theoretically put to use to stem some of this problem. it remains to be seen whether they will actually fix the situation. >> our guest max read of new york magazine. he's senior editor taking a look at recent piece. he looked at the topic of the
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internet, news comes across, topic of fake news overall. binghamton, new york, republican line. hi. >> hi, thanks for taking my call. as a republican who didn't vote for trump, i think fake news actually contributes to the rise of him. i know me personally, i've seen things object facebook that just weren't true even as a republican. my question for you is what role does the media, mainstream media have in all this? why are they not reporting on the fake news the way they should or educating the public about these fake stories that i no doubt think influenced the election? >> well, there's a couple answers to your question. the first is it's like whac-a-mole. we're talking hundreds of stories a day with no basis in fact. it's difficult to figure out
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which ones need to be rebutted, how you would go about rebutting them without amplifying them. further there's a problem with -- widespread problem with trust in the media period. people just don't think the media has their best interest in mind and is sensationalizing or lying or too biased to be worth it. i think the people who think that are probably the most likely to believe the so-called fake news stories. there's finally the problem that the media is just as beholden to the facebook audience as the fake news sites are. this isn't a situation where there's facebook and fake news sites and institutional media and they are two separate groups that the institutional media should use its power to strapped up and fight facebook. facebook sub assusumed the medi.
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spends too much time worrying about facebook or fake news on the population, it's going to let its powers wane even more. >> katie from apex, north carolina, independent line. good morning. >> caller: yes, good morning, max. i hope that you would address my phone called and your own discussion of professional standards of journalism, which have definitely been drifted away from in that now the conversation is in regard to, quote, fake news, where viewers were seeking information. and the information we were getting was that a lot of these different news sites were extremely biased. a lot of the interviews when people were confronted when things were unfortunately released through wikileaks were flat-out denied and later proven to be true. when you have someone that you're hopefully receiving straight truth from, and then you repeatedly have evidence that that is not the case, then
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there needs to be a commitment first to professional journalism before you're going to have a conversation about fake news. because if you're going to discuss fake news, they be what was the real news? when we constantly give an example of those foundational organizations that you're saying and referring to as we, or mark zuckerberg saying facebook didn't influence, well, then what is fake? was it all fake? >> you know, honestly, i agree with you. i think a big part of the problem here is the decline in trust in the media thanks to its own inability to address the needs and concerns of people who are reading it. i worry that absent a commitment to -- at some point you have to agree on something. at some point as a country we're
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going to have to sit down and say this is a true thing and this is not a true thing. the way we're going to do that is accepting selective media ecosystem and one that reports on things and that we agree those things are true because we trust this particular -- not one particular media institution but in aggregate a number of different media institutions as they circle around something. what worries me is that what used to be that sort of establishment group of media organizations that allowed for make sense of common truth hasn't been -- the right thing to do would be to expand it in a way that allows it to still exist and also allows views that were once held outside of it, views of political, racial, sexual minorities, kept out of the news whose ideas -- you know, certain kinds of social justice issues were kept out of the news. that stuff expands thanks to slow expansion of media and slow expansion of the audience. we seem to have accelerated all
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the way into complete extremes especially on one side and partly on another side while at the same time that initial group of media gate keepers has disappeared. say what you will about the failures, and there have been a number of failures, political and journalic failures of the media, but they were trying. like the macedonian teenagers, they are not even interested in giving you reality. they are interested in buying guitars. they are doing to sell you whatever you want to hear in order to get it. so like at some point, it's not a perfect solution to say, okay, let's all go back to the "wall street journal" and "new york times" and "washington post" and abc and nbc, of course not. but i don't think it's worth replacing those institutions with ending the and denver guardian. >> california democrats line, jane, hello there. >> caller: hi, thank you so much for c-span. i so appreciate you.
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-of- couple of comments. first i was very, very unhappy about the framing of this political election by mainstream broadcast media where they give hours and hours to donald trump. meanwhile they would have 16 other candidates and hillary clinton out on the trail and no coverage of their rallies. say hillary didn't have a platform, she didn't have any ideas, and she did. they just were not covered. debates where people would argue over one another with no moderation. then just recently disturbing places like cnn, msnbc, on the west coast covering things like why my husband -- why people marry somebody in prison and stuff. meanwhile rt tv, which is
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russian television has these quite involved debates about what's going on in syria, what's going on in afghanistan, it's from a russian point of view but actually going on. it's so disturbing that we don't have actually broadcast media reporting news that affects the world and affects the country. disturbing to me because people on the left and on the right taking in this fake news. i have people -- i'm a liberal, i'm a democrat. i have friends telling me pizzagate is a real thing, hillary clinton is involved in child trafficking and they absolutely believe these things. >> jane, thank you. we'll let our guest respond. >> i agree. i don't really have anything else to say. it's absolutely true that we have trouble figuring out how in this country to ensure intelligence and level headed
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coverage of presidential elections, for example, doesn't devolve into 24 hour feeding the beast, whatever most attention grabbing thing is going on. obviously to me a big reason donald trump won, it's not quite as simple as cnn or whomever gave him free media, it's that he is particularly tal ended at grabbing tank. he's particularly talented at directing attention in ways that he wants to do it. in a world where your success as a media organization is measured by how much attention is being paid to you, because that's how you sell advertising, that candidate, the candidate who grabs attention, and frankly, obama was always a candidate and president who was able to direct attention toward himself just as trump has been doing now. those are the candidates who are going to get more coverage than their opposition. i think -- i'm not going to come up with a solution to this, because, you know, the answer -- russia today, the russian
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television station is not the answer. it's a kremlin funded, essentially -- i don't want to say propaganda outlet but strong pro-russian bias, it's not independent media. a way to ensure independent media is given the space it needs to bring important and intelligent coverage to voters, we need to find that. i wish i had a better -- a one sentence answer to it but it's going to take a lot of thinking and a lot of thought and a degree of public outcry before it changes. >> let's hear from bob in pennsylvania, republican line. >> caller: good morning. max, you were talking about fake news. i challenge you, i challenge you to come up with one article or sound bite where mr. trump says there's 3 million -- your words, 3 million -- people who voted
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illegally. can you do that, mr. fake news? >> i mean, he tweeted it like a few days ago. he tweeted that they were trying to do a recount and he would have won the popular vote anyway if 3 million people or 2 million people -- maybe i have the number wrong -- 2 million people hadn't voted illegally. newt gingrich said yesterday he thought it was a damaging thing to say and donald trump shouldn't be tweeting so much. independent line, jennifer, hello. >> caller: hello. thank you for taking my questions. i'm a young person. something that concerns me deeply is how fake news contributes to this science especially this information that contributes to climate change scepticism. my question is with climate change being immediate threat especially to my future and also as bernie sanders said, our
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single greatest threat to national security. a complete lack of knowledgement by many -- in the republican party, if there's a threat at all. do you have any ideas about how we might immediately travers the fake news? >> thanks, caller. >> boy, i wish. the climate change issue is interesting in part because it's a really good example of how the sort of accepted -- for a long time we've accepted agreed truth on puristism, scientific method. climate change, public sphere of public opinion has been totally eroded away. scepticism about climate change isn't just a result of fake news. fake news is riding that train. scepticism about climb change is from business interests who don't want to be regulated that
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would help stop climate change, create turning it into a tribal issue for conservatives. what fake news does is finds tribal issues like that, finds these issues that signal belief in a particular ideology or membership in a particular tribe. because social media -- because the way we share news on social media is in certain ways a way to perform our own identities, belongings to a tribe. remember when you share an article on facebook, it becomes attached to your facebook profile, attached to you, about who you are when you share something. you start to share stuff about climate change because your attitude towards climate change tells people about who you are as a person, an american, a voter. you know, climate change in particular, i don't think there's any way to fix that issue versus fixing the whole unfortunately broken sort of system by which we distribute and report information. >> this is john herd in
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virginia, democrats line. you're on with our guest max read. >> caller: good morning. thank for tag king my call. max, this is what happened. a call from pennsylvania, did donald trump ever lie. donald trump when he say muslims were celebrating during 9/11 in new jersey, that's fake news. that is a lie. you know it. the problem that we have here, we have a place like fox news who lies to their listeners day in and day out and never have any consequence. i know reporters today, there's a politician lying about something. they don't stop him. they don't even say what you're saying is not fact. if we don't challenge the politicians when they lie and put them on the spot, nothing can be done about this. you don't have to blame about facebook or anything. reporters i know about whether nbc or fox news or cnn, we're
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seeing people coming on live television lying to the american people and no one challenge them. that is ridiculous. there's no consequences whatsoever. >> john, thank you. >> yeah, it's interesting you say, you know, you mention celebrating muslims is an example of fake news. one particularly interesting and, in fact, scary component of new dynamic we set up is president-elect and every president from now on, i imagine, is going to have his or her own twitter account. that twitter account is no different from the twitter account of the "new york times" or c-span or my personal between the account or yours if you have one, which means in a weird way, donald trump is himself a fake news outlet. he is spreading and disseminating fake news or has the ability to should he uses to like i do. the sharing able to occur on
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social media means stuff you tweet or say can spread loic wildfire at a scale we've never seen before. it's very difficult to figure out how to debunk. i do agree with you, it's important for the states for journalism to stand up for itself and some idea of what truth and reality is but it also has to be people, voters, viewers, readers who stand up and ensure that outlets aren't able to get away with allowing lies to spread. that means both complaining to those outlets, also means talking to neighbors and friends who watch fox news or read the denver guardian, bringing people back into some sphere of shared reality is the most important thing you can do to create one. >> mobile, alabama, republican line, bill, you're on the air. go ahead, please. >> caller: i watched fake news
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being made almost 50 years ago when i was in birmingham i was a student at tuscaloosa but i went to birmingham to visit my parents. i was downtown at the public library. across the street were civil rights marchers. bull conner on the top. it was raining and the people in the library were looking out. they said don't go out there, so i did. when i was out on the porch, on my side of the street, the library side, there was a news man, a camera man and guy who was the organizer, a black guy. the news man was saying to the black guy, you've got to get me something. this is nothing. the guy said, what do you want me to do? he said get those marchers over there where the dogs are. he said i don't want to go over there where the dogs are or they might bite us. he said you give me something or i'm getting back on the plane and google back to new york. i've got nothing. he takes the marchers over near the dogs. dogs start doing what they are doing when they are on a leash and marchers coming toward them. >> bill, because we're running out of time, what's the point.
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>> caller: they have been faking news since time began. >> mr. read. >> i can't speak to that particular example. i don't think you would need to invent instances where the police in the south were abusing civil rights protesters. maybe we could bring it back to an earlier and more famous example, which is, you know, spanish american war. you supply me the pictures, i'll supply you the war. it's absolutely true. the media has at times in its history broadly -- the media at this point we're talking 150 years worth of tabloids, newspapers, tv channels. can you name dozens, if not hundreds of examples, of falsified or fake information. the big difference, the thing that's changed in the last ten years is the scale and speed at which that information can move around. there's no longer spaces in which false, fake, wrong, incorrect, hoax, lies,
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misinformation can be debunked, can be rejected, rebutted. and it is making public discourse worse. >> max read, moving forward as we go into a new administration, what's the warning? what are you looking for as far as this type of news dissemination? >> i think the first and most important thing we can do is demand action from facebook, which they seem to be taking. but i think the broader, long-term goal has to be to diminish the concentrated power that companies like facebook, google, and twitter, and sort of larger media conglomerates have over the information landscape. i think antitrust action should be absolutely on the table in terms of talking about how facebook has bundled huge number of services together, has effectively monopoly control over distribution of news online. there needs to be strong
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regulatory action about this. a hands off approach isn't working. >> max read, the piece with the internet maybe not a tool for democracy after all. thanks for being on c-span. >> thanks for having me. live picture of the u.s. capital here on this wednesday where house minority leader nancy pelosi has won re-election for 115th congress that gets under way in january. democrats continuing to elect other leaders and we expect pelosi and her team to speak with reporters a little later. her challenger for the post congressman tim ryan did offer comments after the election. we'll show that to you now followed by nancy pelosi. first i'd like to thank these members who stood by my, that nominated me. clearly this didn't turn out the way we wanted it to. we knew it would be an uphill battle. we only had a couple weeks to
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put this together but we did a pretty good job, my staff, my members who came out publicly for me. i think, quite frankly, we got the message out that we wanted to get out, as democrats we need to talk about economics, the issue that unites us. many have heard me say this and i believe it in my heart if we're going to win as democrats we need an economic message that resonates in every corner of this country. we come out of this leadership election united as demopolis to take on the challenges we need moving forward. i'm disappointed because i like to win, but i think it was a great discussion for us and i think the party is better off. i'm happy to take questions. >> what message do you think it sends that about a third of the
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democratic caucus voted for you? >> well, i think you all will speculate a lot about that. talking, economics, people, i think, understood that that message is very, very important to us as democrats, especially leaders on the front lines. and you know, in some way representing 30, 40, 50 seats we're going to need to pick up. i think the message resonated. if you heard marsha and eddie nominate me we talked about that. us able to compete in every district in the united states with an agenda that resonates with the american people. >> is there any reason why you didn't get enough votes? why they voted against you? >> i didn't ask anybody. i didn't want my feelings hurt any more than they already were. let me say, speaker pelosi has been here a long time. she has a lot of friends.
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this is her caucus clearly. we had an opinion and we wanted to make sure people heard it. >> do you think the message is getting through to the leadership. you talk about -- you think the message about the heartland is getting through to the leadership? >> i don't think so. a vote of 63 other members agreeing with the message, i would say leadership understands there's a good many people in the caucus who want the message to move in that direction. sorry? >> do you agree that your effort was pathetic? >> yeah. not pathetic. i'm proud of having 63 votes. >> supported you comes from a rural area saying there's no greater divide between urban democrats and rural demopolis and by electing pelosi, got more votes -- [ inaudible ]
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the conversation, certain districts -- that's the problem. >> we are going to compete. you know, at the end of the day, we've got to figure out how to win. i tried to add to that conversation. we're a united caucus and we're going to figure out how to win. >> before tim continues, let me just say this. i'm hearing the tone of this and i don't think it's very fair. we did not lose today. today we won. we may not have won the position but we won a caucus. we have now a leadership that listens to what we are saying. we have now a leadership that wants to be more inclusive and include more people from this caucus. we have now a leadership that wants to hear what we have to say, what we think went wrong, how we fix it. he didn't lose today. today we made a caucus more responsible to its members. so for that i congratulate him. one-third of the members of this caucus had the courage to come out and say we needed a change. i congratulate all of them.
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for those who voted for our leader, i think that's great. i think she's a wonderful leader. but what i do know is when i go home people are going to ask me what did you do to make this better. doing nothing doesn't make it better. today we won because they hear us. >> mr. ryan, do you personally have confidence nancy pelosi can bring this party back to the majority? >> yes. yes. >> why do you have confidence in here? >> because we're going to work our butts off to make that happy. not just nancy pelosi. it's a team that energized a lot of people that want to get out there and contribute. i know walking out of that room today we have a more energized caucus than we had. we obviously have people who have a lot of courage to step up and say to the leadership what marsha just said and how important that is. so i think our prospects are
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improved just because of this conversation. as i said from the very beginning, we're a family. sometimes families have to have tough conversations. you can go back to the first interviews i did. nobody wants to have them. we try to delay those conversations. we try to ignore them from days, weeks, months, years. every single time you have that conversation, that tough talk, you come out of there stronger. whether it's a personal relationship or a family event like this and i think we come out stronger than we went in. >> who is the future of the democratic party? >> well, i haven't thought about that, casey? >> nancy pelosi? >> well, you know, yeah, to some extent, this is our leader. this is who our caucus chose and we're going to support them. >> do you think the problem democrats have in a nut shell, who is going to lead the party for the next four years. >> we're all going to participate in leading the
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party. it's time to step up, which is why i wanted to do it. this crew here, a lot of young members stepped up and went public, which is unheard of in a political caucus like this for young people to stand up. we have a lot of people ready to participate. i'll take one more question. >> working class voters who voted for donald trump if your leadership is from san francisco and new york? >> well, we're going to have to figure that out. that's going to be part of what we have to figure out. obviously that was my case that i made. you know, we didn't win the day today. but as marsha said, there's a lot more people who are participating. i think the conversation is shifting to a more economic conversation. i think that's going to help all of us and that's going to help us try to be able to win the house back. >> your voice and your ideas are going to be heard in the caucus by pelosi? >> yeah. thanks. we've got to get back and vote.
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is it still morning? no. good afternoon, everyone. in a short period of time, we will have the election of our full leadership and we'll all come out, but it's taking a little longer so i thought i would just come by and tell you how exhilarated i am by the strong vote that i have from my colleagues as we go forward. they have honored me with this leadership role and as speaker in the past and that's exciting. but today has a special excitement for me, because i think we're at a time that is well beyond politics. it's about the character of america and how we go forward in our caucus to put forth our values which are what unite us as a caucus to differentiate between us and the administration that will come into washington in january. to take that message clearly to
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the public is something that is of historic challenge. the american people see the urgency. we have a responsibility, and we embrace the opportunity that is presented. we know how to win elections. we've done it in the past. we will do it again by making that differentiation. but again, this is so much bigger than politics. this is about the character of america. it's a responsibility to the people. our obligation to our founders, our gratitude to our men and women in uniform. i respect the aspirations of america's children and their families. i have a special spring in my step today, because this opportunity is a special one to lead the house democrats, bring everyone together as we go forward. my heart is broken that we did not win the white house this
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time. it's a pain. not for me personally but for what it means to the american people. so i would trade anything not to have this opportunity of opposing an administration. where we can engage well, where we need to oppose, we will. but nonetheless, this does afford an opportunity so the congressional democrats can go forward and remove all doubt that never again will we have an election where there's any doubt in anyone's mind where the democrats are when it comes to america's working families. so with all of that, we'll be back soon with our full complement of the leadership but i wanted to just congratulate tim ryan on a good race. i look forward to working with
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all of our colleagues from the beautiful diversity of our caucus to put forth a message that does connect with the american people. thank you all. >> and back now to a national security and foreign policy conference with the panel discussing foreign policy of the incoming trump administration. >> i don't want to talk up a lot of time. i do want to give each of our panelists their due introduction. dr. mark jacobson is a senior fellow at the pell center in rhode island. he is a lecturer at george washington university school of international affairs. he served in a number of positions in senior advisory po roles in the pentagon and afghanistan and senate armed services committee. a combat veteran and earned his ph.d. in history from the ohio
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state university. >> the. >> sorry. the. so mark will be talking about the possible lessons learned from the carter administration days. next up will be pete monsour. he holds a chair in military history at the ohio state university where he earned his ph.d. in history. he graduate numd ober one in hi class at west point. he served with the distinction in the u.s. army for more than a quarter of a century. he was the founding director of the army's counter insurgency center at for the leave enworth, kansas. putting that into practice, he was the executive officer to general david petraeus in the iraqi surge period. pete will talk about the bush administration. last but not least, max boot
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will provide his thoughts on the obama administration. mark is a former editor of the wall street journal. he is currently the jean k kirpatrick fellow. max has three wonderful volumes on gorilla warfare technology and evolution of warfare on america's small wars, each of which has won much praise and distinction. max is also a practitioner in that he was an adviser to various commanders in both iraq and in afghanistan. not resting on his laurels in the books he published and embarrassing those of us who struggle to get an op-ed out occasionally, max is in the process of writing a book both on ronald reagan and on edward landsdale and the vietnam war. so we will proceed in the following order with mark and pete and max. the format is really quite
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simple. each speaker will go ten to 15 minutes and then hopefully we'll have enough time for questions from you all. i will try to keep track of people when they raise their hands and hopefully we'll also have some back and forth discussion from the panel. just one short comment on my part. again, i realize we only have an hour. i'm not going to do a lengthy interest duks. i worked in the white house. i'm a trained political scientist. i think of a dog. but nevertheless chls. maybe professors thought that. it was interesting, i recently -- my wife and i built a new house. i had a library at home. we were moving things. of course, like anybody living in a place for 30 years, you try to figure out how little more than -- how less you can move. my wife said, why don't you go through your books. then also recently, the american
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enterprise institute where i work has moved. again, i had a fairly substantial library at the office that needed to be trimmed down to fit into my new space. for the last two years i've been going through books. one of the most interesting things that struck me when i was doing this process was how many mrit can scientist books that i was tossing out. even though they seemed relevant at the time, they seemed dated when i looked at them anew. interestingly enough, the preponderance of the library is history, which chronologically, of course, is less relevant. but some serious fundamental ways, more relevant to figuring out what state statesmen shouldd what state craft should be composed of. with that as an introduction and a praise for fbi starting this history program, we'll begin with mark. >> thank you very much, gary.
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thank you very much, chris, for the kind introduction. i'm glad to see not only is gary not moderate but he shifted from political science to history. it's a positive step and a great evolution. >> historians should be wary. >> i think it's a great segue into this -- into saying how thrilled i am in terms of what mark has been doing. i believe there's a crisis in historical literacy in this country. i think it explicitly has damaged our ability to create effective state craft. i'm glad to see this is at least a start in terms of getting people more engaged in understanding that history can help inform. it's useful. it's not just something that you picked up in your undergraduate courses. with that in mind, the other nice piece is actually history does change or how we interpret history and what happened in the past. i think president carter is a great example of that.
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when i was considering which president to approach here, there were a couple that mark and i discussed. i through out jimmy carter. i thought, you know, kind of saw mark's reaction to this. i said, hold on a second here. carter's actually one of our least studied presidents. i hope when you listen to this, you will understand why. i think -- i will tell you a story. most presidential libraries have very generous or for graduate students and academics, generous travel fees. the carter library has none of that. donors over the years who supported this establishment of carter's library don't support it anymore. he never -- even though he is seen as our best ex-president, people didn't like him at the time. even his own staff years later find that he was or at least
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talked privately about him being a horrible manager, not a nice person at times as well. so the legacy that carter has left is one that discourages i think the active stu did i dy o he has done. those of us who came of age during the carter administration, 1979 and the iran hostage crisis, always look negatively on carter. for me he was the president who gave away the panama cancel, canceled the b-1 bomber, was weak on russians, lost iran, didn't pay our military. when you look at carter -- i know this is a little hyperbole. people forget, the b-1 bomber in his view, in the view of his defense secretary was canceled because it was this thing called the b-2 bomber under development, at least in part. carter didn't want exotic weapon systems. he wasn't edge gaungaged in wha call the revolution of military affairs. there were a lot of things going on. i would say that without carter,
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there's no ibadabad. we think to the response to the iran crisis. there's the failure and the establishment of the counter te counterterrorism secretary. carter asked them to establish the capability outside the 100 day window. but in july 1977, before any of this stuff is going on. there's a mixed record there. i think it's hard for many of us to get through the emotions and the perceptions of the carter administration. with that said, i think it's fair to say that there's a mixed record at best but what is true to this day is that one of the worst things you can call a democratic politician is worse than jimmy carter. thinking back to -- in fact, democrats when you ask them or mention, what did you think of the carter administration, i receive some language that i won't be able to print when i finish my book.
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republicans are a bit more measured on this. i think it's worth going back to 2012, 2014, there's just some choice quotes that represent this. ted cruz, the obama foreign policy is as fekless as carters. obama makes jimmy carter look better by the bay. to president carter i want to offer an apology. it's no longer fair to say he was the worst president of this great country. president obama has proven me wrong. again, so there's this nastiness about the carter administration. i think it's important to understand that if you go back to those first 100 days, you can start to see the seeds of what i believe caused the eventual demise of the carter administration. i'm not saying that as a warner that within the first 100 days every president could fail. but there's something a little bit different about the carter presidency than when we talk about the first 100 days in more recent times.
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for example, i'm sure both peter and max will talk about when we think of the first 100 days, we think, well, presidents have domestic agendas. all of a sudden, they're hit with foreign policy crises. well, that's really not what happens during the carter administration. i want to make a couple of broad points. the first is i think you have to look at the overall foreign policy lessons of the first 100 days within the context of carter's overall record. maybe that's the same for all presidencies. but with carter, it's very difficult to decouple the foreign policy from the domestic agenda, because the first 100 days are defined by the larger context within which he assumed office. i will go into more detail there in a minute. second, as i suggested up front, the perceptions of the carter record, more so than the record itself, has driven our interpretation of not just the first 100 day but of his overall successes and failures. third this will be my most
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important point, style and tactics can cancel out substance, especially over last-term. for the carter administration, if there's one thing i would like to you walk away with, that's the style and tactics put the white house very quickly at odds with not just the political opponents but with their allies. in fact, with about every other power center in washington, the media, congress, and in the end i think this dooms the carter administration well before the economic, energy and foreign policy crises and initiatives that tend to get a lot of play. first let me say i think it's critical to understand the broader context in which carter comes to office. this is in the wake of vietnam and watergate. the crisis of confidence in government. i think it's difficult to overstate that. we all see a bitterness in washington now. we see sort of -- at least in
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the foreign policy community, a depression. think of this as maybe being similar to the post watergate and post vietnam era. the late stanley hoffman argued the aggressive reassertion of american idealism by the carter administration in that first 100 days was really their great success. that it was -- again, you can't under estimate the importance of tapping into the national reservoir of moral enthusiasm. in fact, during the campaign, of 1976, carter sought to unite as part of his campaign, not after the campaign. his top priority -- if you look at his campaign pamphlets, the top priority is always -- i'm going to quote here -- our whole system depends on trust. the only way i know to be trusted is to be trustworthy, to be on, direct and honest. it's an simple as that. he was calling for a government that was honest and decent and
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fair, competent and truthful, as idealistic as the american people, as he stated. this was again part of the successful campaign against ford. carter sought to tie ford to really the disgraced nixon administration. ford, of course, did hisso sohi favors in his 100 days, within his first 30 days ford pardons nixon. of course, for those saturday night live fans, that's my first memory is the chevy chase impression of gerald ford which president ford went to an absolutely unbelievable undergraduate understand, the great football team. but snl's lampooning of ford had an impact. really made people think that he had a low intellect, was clumsy. that stuck. i don't think it had the same impact that social media can have today. but again, this is part of the theme. carter saying we're going to
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change, we're go fing to be trusted. we're going to change washington. let me get to that later because that's an important part of carter's first 100 days. he is not met with the plethora of foreign policy crises we're used to today. i suspecting are to deal with the existential threat of the soviet union makes up for that. but again, if you look at some of the key initiatives on the foreign policy side, it's quiet by today's standards. secretary of state vance confirm and sworn in on the 23rd of january. let's see how quickly things go this january. he is sent to the middle east within a couple of weeks of carter assuming the office to try to restart the gn eneva conference. it's attempt tofor peace in the middle east. carter sends his famous letter to andre sock arof basically
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carter saying, we support your movement. this is something that had great bipartisan support on both sides. the human rights agenda. in fact, it's never an issue over whether or not carter -- the united states and the carter administration should be promoting human rights around the world. it was more an argument over how much emphasis should be placed on human rights when it came to bilateral relationships with specific countries. again, things are going well there. he really upsets the soviets which politically in the u.s. is a good thing. there are some setbacks. i think in my own view, the carter administration fumbles the salt two -- attempts at the strategic arm talks negotiations with the soviets at the time. again, they have four years at this point. then, of course, in april '77, carter has his first meeting with anwar is a do the which is
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probably the administration's greatest accomplishment, the accords at camp david. i think it's more important to look back home. in fact, looking to the first 24 hours of the carter administration to understand the challenges and really some of the problems they created for themselves. in fact, i'm not sure if this is the first act but it's pretty close. on the 21st of january, carter fulfills a campaign promise and pardons the vietnam war draft ee va ford had offered certain clemency. carter's pardon wasn't blanket. if you had committed a crime, been involved in protest violence, you weren't eligible. but still, it came across as a blanket pardon. it alienated in particular the veterans groups. created a political liability for him and fed into something he was -- fed into this view he was anti-military. even if you can argue that he was a little more hawkish later
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on in his presidency, it didn't matter. it was very difficult for carter to overcome what he had done within the first 24 hours of assuming office. before sort of giving you some broader themes and wrapping up, let me talk to you about in terms of style and tactics. carter came in believing that it was his duty, hisse a administration's duty to repair this crisis in government. carter's style in doing so reflected in many ways a personal flaw. frankly, a holier than thou that he and the team knew bet ater tn anybody else. in today's terms, drain the swamp. change washington forever. washington would be a good and moral place. there would be complete transparency. there would be no old style politics at all. as one historian put it, really
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it's about carter but think about this in terms of some other presidencies. there was an innocence and arrogance about the idea that could you run the country with your at la atlanta state house team. most presidents bring people who are seasoned, understand washington and know how to move around the city. that just wasn't true of jimmy carter and it proved amateurish. i made this statement or read this quote without reference to atlanta to a senior administration official a couple years ago. they asked me what newspaper that was in. is that in today's paper? where is that? again, people are -- there are some things that can be learned. this was the attitude from day one. in fact, the relationship with the press as quarter's press secretary put it, it was absoluabou absolutely atrocious. it was always a hostile environment. in particular, it's the carter administration's relationship
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with congress that begins on the wrong foot in the first 100 days and i think hampers him throughout. white house staff didn't just feud with republicans but they upset tip o'neill, the democratic speaker of the house, an incredibly powerful speaker of the house with unreturned phone calls, real and imagined insults, depends whose side you are on there and an unwillingness to trade political favors and engage in pork barrel politics. this impacted carter's agenda. no way to reach compromise. it hampered on the domestic side incredibly. and on the foreign policy side as well. there's argument over when you talk to former staffers over which committee foreign relations or armed services committee forced carter to go back on his pledge to remove u.s. troops from korea. the staffers do agree upon was that it was congress that forced the administration's hand. carter really never understood
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how to work the system. this was very uncharacteristic. you are talking about an intellectually curious individual. nuclear engineer to a fault. those of you who remember the pictures of him crawling around three mile island. i will fix this. i got it. very bad move from a pr standpoint. again, he is intellectually curious, but he never wants to understand how washington works. he doesn't care. by may 1977, at that 100 day mark, carter had as one news week art put it, upset pretty much everyone in washington who had been an ally, the democratic party. his chief of staff screamed to his team, can you name a single group that is supporting us right now? again, this is only after 100 days. at the same time, it was still that arrogance and hamilton jordan as effective a chief of staff as i think he was dismissed the need to engage with groups and felt we can run
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everything from the white house. in fact, here is eye great irony. carter's economic program was a little more conservative than the democrats would have liked at the time. completely alienating labor, especially the afl\cio. again, there's an inconsistency that carter gets into right away. goes back on campaign promises, alienates his own left, his own base and in the end, you get what i believe causes the loss for carter even before he general election, and that's a primary challenge from the left from ted kennedy which although it doesn't succeed, i think damages carter considerably. i think just to make one or two final points, from the beginning, i don't think carter is as liberal as he is pointed. before the invasion of afghanistan, we see a hardening in his stance. a as people have talked about,
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they battle it out for carter's -- for the hearts and minds of the white house in terms should we be tougher on the soviets or should we be a little more conciliatory. i think the problem is that it's really the style and the tact s tactics. he alienates his base. he upsets his potential allies. of course, his adversaries while perhaps content with the white house were certainly never going to support him in the way he wanted. then, of course, icing on the cake, the foreign policy crisis in iran really damages things. whether you are talking about the first 100 days, same things happen in all administration. confirmation battles. battles over the panama canal. it's his approach to style and governance within the white
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house and executive branch, an approach that almost resulted in vice-president mondale resigning by late '78. and carter's overplaying his hand on trying to change washington. i'm going to kind of just note one last thing. to really twist a phrase by robert comber. if you don't know robert comber, you need to read bureaucracy does its thing. bureaucracy did its thing to the carter administration. the failure to recognize that governance cannot just be done by the executive branch alone. foreign policy, domestic policy. requires congress, requires engaging the media, requires working with constituency groups, advocacy groups, lobbiests. carter's failure sets him up for
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failure and that begins in the first 1 0100 days. >> other than that, how was the play, mrs. lincoln? >> exactly. >> pete. >> i'm going to try to be brief upon pain of waterboarding as my moderator threatened us if we didn't leave time for q & a. i'm going to talk about the administration of george w. bush. like all presidential administrations, it also had a checkered record of success. there were some successes. the strategic outreach to india. the aids initiative in africa. i'm going to go well beyond the first 100 days though. if you all remember back to 2001, president bush came into office, he wanted to be the education president. you probably all forgot that. foreign policy was not his forte. we're going to move into the war on terror and the foreign policy
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after 9/11. although the circumstances surrounding each presidential administration are unique, i think there are four broad policy lessons that the incoming administration can learn from the administration of president george w. bush. the first one is not to let ideology guide policy without examining the historical context and the current circumstances of whatever issue is in question at the time. hal brance has written a terrific book on grand strategy from the truman administration to the george w. bush administration. and in it he says basically of the george w. bush administration that it tried to push a grand strategy that was simply too grand.
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and this was the case. if you think about the two broad policy initiatives, the war on terror and the freedom agenda. these are really broad, sweeping attempts to reshape the world by expanding democracy and free market capitalism and to do a lot of it by force of arms. but the freedom agenda had a fatal flaw. and that was that it assumed that the democracy and liberal market capitalism are univers universally shared values. if you lifted the grip of dictators on their lands and gave the people freedom, that this was what they would automatically choose as their form of government and their form of economic organization. the good book on this by michael mcdonald called overreach lays it out fairly nicely. for much of the world, that's simply not the case.
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they lack a lot of the world lacks the fundamental basis of individual rights and robust civil society that makes democracy function. however imperfectly. in retrospect, cia director george tenet concluded, we followed a policy built on hope rather than fact. and i think the invasion of iraq, which is the signal failure of the bush administration and its greatest strategic blunder, underlines the failure of that administration to pay attention to the historical context of the situation, the cultural underpinnings, the religious overtones of the middle east. it simply went in not entirely ignorant but not paying attention to how those factors could affect the aftermath of
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the invasion. the invasion was undertaken to disrupt the link between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, besides the fact that saddam hussein, there was no evidence that he was going to use wmd to support terrorism. and as well to plant democratic governance in the heart of the middle east and begin the change of the various governments there. but that invasion unleashed forces that few in washington really understood at the time. the administration got too narrowly focused on the application of military power at the expense of a deeper understanding of the type of war they were embarking on and the nuances of the land and people that american forces would concur and at least temporarily govern. and in this regard, if you read
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president bush's memoirs, which i think highly of, actually, because he is so honest about it, it's astonishing how few of the decisions surrounding the iraq war were teed up for discussion in the national security council. the disbanding of the iraqi military, none of them reached the nsc level for discussion. teeing up issues for discussion is not enough. you have to have the right people in the room. you have to have a variety of viewpoints so that you don't end up succumbing to group think. you have to temper the excessive optimism that can come from people who all are of like mind about how great their policy is or how great the war plan s. strategy is best fashioned when there's a lot of competing arguments and a lot of really
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stiff discussion over what could go wrong over second and third order affects of whatever the strategy under consideration is all about. the thorough debate lays bear the assumptions underlying various strategic approaches, lays out things that could go wrong with execution and had the bush administration done this as the president admits in his own memoirs, it may still have debath phied iraqi society and disbanded the iraqi army but it would have done so with a much clearer vision of what could have gone wrong with those decision and the second and third order affects that might have come about had they turned sour. which they did, of course. the second lesson is to avoid
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strategic overstretch. the bush administration attempted to sustain american high gem any around the world on the cheap. it thought it could do this primarily with the military instrument of power. and it thought it could do that more or less indefinitely into the future. certainly beyond its administration, it could hand over the unipolar moment to whatever administration followed it. it comes at a steep price. the american people as we have seen soon tired of paying the bills. economic, moral, human. of being the world's policemen. and you could tell that the bush administration was not being realistic about the cost and its laughable predictions about how much the iraq war would cost the american taxpayers.
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initially the figure it put forward was $20 billion. it's more at i think the latest estimate is 1.7 trillion, with a "t." and probably another half a trillion in expenses for iraq war veterans in the future. taken as a whole, the war or terror is the second most expensive war in american history, right after world war ii, which is astonishing. the american people are right to wonder what they got for all of the blood and treasure they poured into it. i think the iraq war might have been avoided all together had president bush and the nsc not underestimated its costs, risks and uncertainties. and this again shows that presidents, including the incoming one, must consider the potential down sides of various courses of action and not just
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the benefits should their policies succeed. the bush administration waged the iraq war in a best case analysis with little thought put into alternative outcomes. there were warnings. former commander tony zinni serving u.s. army chief of staff eric shinzecki both warned that occupying iraq would take hundreds of thousands of troops and would take a lot longer than the administration was planning for. if you remember back to those days, invasion took place in march. the plan was to be out by september. this is what the retired lieutenant general, head of the office of reconstruction and humanitarian affairs, who was supposed to take care of iraq in the aftermath of the conflict, he got his team together in
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kuwait city before heading up to baghdad. he goes, let's review the bidding. we make sure the humanitarian -- there's no crisis. turn on the lights. turn the government over to the iraqis and we leave by september. some person in the back of the room raised her hand. probably megan o'sullivan. which september? which was the right question. the bush administration failed to balance strategic ends with the means available. simply put, waging two wars at the same time was one too many for the united states, even for a nation as rich as the united states. the result was an under resourced war effort in afghanistan, the results of which came home to roost in the obama administration. chairman of the joint chiefs of staff admiral michael mulen put it plainly when he stated to the
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house armed services committee, our main focus militarily in the region and in the world right now is rightly and firmly in iraq. it's simply a matter of resources of capacity. in afghanistan, we do what we can. in iraq, we do what we must. had the bush administration limited its efforts to winning the war fin afghanistan and defeating al qaeda and focusing on that effort for its entire time in office, we would now be discussing the successful application of american power in the post-cold war world. sadly, we are not. the bush administration could have husbanded american power in other ways as well. primarily by not creating more enemies than it had to. by listing iraq, iran and north korea as enemies in the famous axis of evil speech, the administration basically put those regimes on notice that
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their time was numbered and they were in our crosshairs. the problem was is the administration only destroyed one of those regimes. the other two, iran and new yor korea made a beeline for the nuclear threshold. north korea crossed the threshold in 2006. iran was getting there until the nuclear agreement, which i'm sure max will talk more about coming up. in the case of iran, it also armed, trained, equipped shiite militia groups that could attack u.s. forces in iraq, turning iraq partially -- this is part of the reason why iraq turned into a quagmire. iran is directly responsible for killing upwards of 800, 900 american service members during the the conflict. the bush administration would
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have done better to adhere to rooseve roosevelt's admonition to speak softly and carry a big stick. the third lesson is that war should be a last resort, not the first tool of state craft. war is inherently risky and should be thought out ahead of time. most important act of judgment according to that famous military the military theoryist, here is yours, is to understand the kind of war in which they are embarking, neither mistaking it for nor turning it into something that is alien to its nature. the bush administration believed that the wars in iraq and afghanistan would be over quickly. they would be waged with shock and awe, speed and fire power, substituting for numbers and mass. what the administration
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officials didn't understand is that that may be true for the conventional operations to destroy the enemy's army. but the losing side isn't simply going to roll over and accept the results of conventional battle when they have other options, to resort to terrorism and gorilla warfare and continue the fight with the weapons of the weak. these wars were existential conflicts for the taliban and for the regime. much more thought needed to be put into what actually happens when kabul and baghdad falls. because military victory alone as we discovered in germany and japan and south korea, does not ensure political success unless conditions are conditioned conducive to long-term stability in the aftermath of conflict. pundits can decry nation building all they want to. but fail your to stabilize post
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conflict societies is a recipe for continuing conflict, especially among those people who are on the losing end of the struggle. the fourth and final lesson is that -- perhaps one that needs the most emphasis to the incoming administration. is that allies are critical enablers of american power. america's unipolar moment is over. the united states cannot go it alone and expect to achieve its national security goals in the world today. allies are not just window dressing to provide political cover for unilateral american military operations. certainly, the united states needs allies for legitimacy, because votes in the united states do have an impact. they express the voit of the international community in support of diplomacy. but allies give us far more than
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just diplomatic support. they provide basis that enable deployment of u.s. forces far from the homeland. they provide troop commitments with real capabilities that support coalition operations. and they provide forces that balance those of regional powers such as russia and great powers such as china. now, we can encourage our allies in europe and asia and the middle east to do more in their own defense. but we should not jettison them. by going it alone in iraq, without real support from america's allies, the bush administration squandered the good will generated after 9/11. if you remember back on those days, they played the star spangled banner in the changing of the guard at buckingham palace. there were american flags being flown all around the globe. i think two nations didn't like -- didn't support the united states after 9/11. think about all that good will
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that's been squandered in the succeeding 15 years. we lost a real opportunity to harness the power of the international community against the forces of disorder, chipping away at global stability and peace. the trump administration, for all of the uncertainty surrounding it, has the opportunity to do better. it remains to be seen whether it will seize it. thank you. >> max? >> what a depressing panel discussion. there's not a lot of foreign policy successes to brag about. i feel that this is going to be such a downer that i almost want to switch from obama to the reagan foreign policy. i will stick with my original brief and speak with the obama foreign policy which has not been a resounding success. i don't know if i would say obama is worse than carter.
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i'm not sure i would go that far if only because i actually, like the rest of us, i grew up under carter. so those are still vivid dark memories in my -- from my little self to my current big self. i think suffice it to say that president obama has not lived up to the vast expectations that greeted his ascension to office. of course, we all remember -- i assume everybody is old enough to remember 2009. there was quite a bit of good will in the world towards barack obama who got massive points and a nobel peace prize for not being george w. bush. he came into office on the expectation that he would magically make the oceans rise, recede. that he would bring happiness
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and good will to the entire world. he would transform america's image. he would end our wars in the middle east. he would make everybody if not love us at least like us. and he would not be caught in all of the problems that so greatly hobbled the bush administration. well, here we are. it's hard for me to see that president obama has achieved any of his objectives. now, i will get to that in a second. in the interest of fair and balanced analysis here, i will give him a few points of praise. i don't think it's all been entirely horribly negative. i think on the personal front, i think barack obama is a very impressive, thoughtful, dignified person who i think has
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been an exemplar as president in the way he handled the office. there has not been a single scandal on his watch. amazing to see. i think the image that he projects has been a positive and dignified one. and he has been very thoughtful in the way that he has tried to exercise power. these are attributes that we take for granted. a few years from now we may be pining for some of these attributes in the oval office. i think he has done some decent things on foreign policy. i think he is a born again free trader who is knocking free trade treaties during the 2008 campaign but basically gone into office, woke up and smelled the espresso and realized that free trade is in our benefit and tried hard to but not very successfully to push for greater free trade. of course, now his -- the transpacific partnership is derd
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th deader than a door nail, unfortunately. i think president obama has been a big supporter of alliances. he has been a good friend to nato. some of the things he has done to expand nato capabilities have been positive. in particular, the decision that he pushed with our european allies to expand the nato forces is a very positive step forward given the russian threat. i hope it will continue under the new administration. he has now kowtowed to north korea. it's hard to say his policy towards north cokorea has been successful when we have seen an expansion of north korea's nuclear and missile capabilities on his watch. but he did not follow the failed policy of the bush administration with the six party talks which didn't really get anywhere in attempts to alternate -- attempts to appease
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north korea by lifting some sanctions, taking them off the foreign sponsored of terrorism list. did he not do those things. this is a one dictator that did he not kowtow to. the most important -- the biggest -- best thing that i can say for president obama is that he did not immediately upon taking office carry out his campaign promises. because if you believed his campaign rhetoric, would you have imagined we would have left iraq very quickly. we would have seen a very fast draw down, which did not occur. i think it was kind of a combination of -- while we were -- we did not leave iraq quickly and we did build up in afghanistan to a greater extent than would you have expected. i think that really comes from two factors. the first of which is that he was pretty uncertain of himself, especially in the realm of foreign affairs. this is a guy who was a first
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term senator who was not that far removed from an organizer in chicago. he didn't have a background. he tended to exceed to -- to a substantial degree to the team that he put into place, which i think was moderate, responsible and reasonable folks like bob gates, hillary clinton, general petraeus as well as cia. and then other appointees like panetta and so forth. he listened to them. i think he moderated some of his initial impulses once they told him it was not going to fly in practice. i think the great moment and the great unraveling of the obama administration also occurred during while president obama would probably cite as the high point of his administration. the greatest -- i think this was the greatest moment of
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administration but also the greatest moment of hubris setting up -- him up for his downfall. i refer, of course, to the raid that killed osama bin laden in may of 2011, which is what assured president obama's re-election. he could run as the guy who killed bin laden and kept general motors alive. i think what happened as soon as he killed bin laden basically was that president obama no longer felt shy or bashful about doing what he wanted and what his closest aides, what they wanted to do, he no longer felt he had much to learn from the wise men and women of the washington establishment, the swamp that we're all sitting in today. he basically said, okay, i'm the guy who killed bin laden. i'm going to go out and do what i think is best because essentially my right wing is covered. nobody can accuse me of being weak on defense. i'm the guy who killed bin laden.
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as a result of that, i think in the second term in particular he veered off into -- even before the first term, really immediately after the bin land raid he veered off in the wrong direction. because it was later that year that he pulled u.s. troops out of iraq over the objections of his military commanders as well as many of his senior civilian appointees. the intelligence community certainly anticipated from everything that i know, the intelligence community anticipated what a distant fehr would be. we don't have time to go into the ins and outs of it. i'm pretty confident that if president obama had wanted to keep u.s. troops in iraq, they would have stayed in iraq. this whole issue about the -- it was a red herring as witness the fact that today we have over 5,000 troops in iraq.
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none of the troops are being prosecuted in iraqi courts because there's no iraqi court that's going to prosecute u.s. troop troops. it was -- that was the excuse that basically allowed president obama by christmas of 2011 to pull u.s. troops out of iraq, peace has dawned, democracy has dawned. we no longer have to stay in iraq. we saw what happened at almost the same time is that the civil war was breaking out in syria. all of a sudden the united states pulls out of iraq and president obama refuses to get more involved in doing anything to end the syrian civil war. he disregards the advise he is getting from petraeus and others to have a large assistance program for the syrian rebels. he stands back. he doesn't want to get caught in this quagmire because he thinks that's the mistake his predecessor made. he is not going to make this mistake. he makes a fresh mistake. what happened in the obama
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administration is we veered from a high degree of intervention under bush to a high degree of non-interventionism under obama. i think we have seen in both cases the costs associated with those policies. the case of iraq, obviously, the costs are more immediate and horrific for american citizens. in afghanistan and iraq, we have lost thousands of troops. we have had h many more maimed and wounded. we spent a ton of money as pete was alluding to in the wars in iraq and afghanistan. those costs are real. those are the things that obama was desperate to avoid, because he didn't want to be a war president, he didn't want to be an interventionist. so he didn't do any of that. what happened? he has presided over the worst strategic and human rights disaster in the world. a war that killed as many as 500,000 people, that has displaced over 10 million people, created 5 million refugees who have fled syria. it has destabilized europe.
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among the incorrect consequences of the syrian civil war, i would argue is britain's exit from the european union, because i think the flow of refugees into europe gave a powerful impetus to the brexit campaign, something nobody would have anticipated. syria has become and remain what petraeus called a political chernobyl. it continues to spew toxins not only across syria but across the region. it has become a breeding ground of groups like isis, the group that used to be known as the al nus are a front. it's where hezbollah can expand. it has become a nightmare. this is what has happened on president obama's watch. there's no way he can avoid responsibility for this disaster. especially remember when he came into office saying that atroc y atrocities were going -- stopping atrocities was
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strategic to the united states. he created the atrocities prevention board to stop the kind of stuff that's going on in syria as we speak. the killing continues unabated. i don't think it's going to slow down any time soon. this has been a horrific failure for american policy that i think could possibly have been prevented or ameliorated with more effective action early on. but president obama was not willing to do that. that i think is going to be the biggest legacy of the obama administration, the greatest failure that he will carry away from office just as bill clinton was haunted by the failure to stop the genocide in rwanda. this is worse because this is not only a human rights catastrophe, it's a strategic catastrophe. looking elsewhere, i'm afraid the picture is not all that much brighter. when you look at the fact that all of our principal state
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adversaries and here i think of north korea, iran, russia and china, all of them have gotten stronger under the obama administration. remember when -- in the case of russia, remember that president obama began his term in office wanting to reset relations with russia? how is that going? it turns out like the old joke to twist the old jek, russia really does want peace. what they want is a piece of georgia. they want a piece of ukraine. they want a piece of the balt baltics. they want a piece of syria. they're getting all those under the obama administration with very little pushback. president obama refused to send weapons to the ukrainians to allow them to defend themselves. he imposed sanctions, but i don't think those are sufficient to create enough pain for the russians to make putin back down. he was caught flat footed by the russian intervention in syria which has been effective in achieving putin's goals after
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obama spent years saying there's no way you can intervene and achieve anything. putin achieves something right away, to reverse the erosion of power that assad and his regime were facing. now with putin's willingness to commit war crimes in aleppo, he is helping assad and his iranian backers regain lost ground, which is good from the standpoint of putin. not good from our standpoint or that of our allies. no matter what happens in syria, it's hard to see how there's going to be a happy ending to this store richltry. you have china getting more powerful and aggressive in claiming the south china 'and east china sea as its own personal domain. we have have not been in a good position to push back in part because of the sequestration hit which our defense budge ot has taken. we have 272 combat capable ships in the u.s. navy. most estimates suggest we need
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350. president obama has not been interested in increasing the army or armed force. he has been willing to preside over the erosion of our military capability which put us at a disadvantage. by the way, you know, iran has been immensely strengthened by the irianian nuclear deal. you can argue whether that is worth paying or not to delay the nuclear program. certainly, this is not an agreement like one we reached with libya in 2004, that actually eliminates their nuclear program. it does not. at most it delays it for a decade or so. the cost of that delay is high. iran is able to fill its coffers with oil money and to expand the new persian empire across the middle east from yemen to iraq to syria to lebanon and elsewhere where it has been an incredibly destabilizing force
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which is leading a reaction from the sunni side like isis and others that have various degrees of support from powers like saudi arabia and qatar. so by allowing iran to grow as strong as it is on the back of the iranian nuclear deal, we're basically de facto empowering them. they are united by one thing which is their mutual conviction that the united states is the great satan. it's hard to say that the story in the middle east is moving in a positive direction. it's hard to say that events anywhere around the world are moving in a positive direction. it does feel a little bit like a 1980-type moment where we have had our jimmy carter and we're
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still waiting for our ronald reagan. very quickly, the lessons i would draw from the obama administration, five, i would say. just running down very fast. first, don't overestimate the power of personality. i think president obama has had a tendency to vastly overestimate the power of his personality. he is a smart guy. he is a charming guy. he certainly wins a lot of popularity contests in places like europe. it has not been enough to defeat our entractable foes. people like putin and others who are not going to be won over by the power of goodness, light and reason. second lesson is, watch what you say. president obama has been incredibly soaring in his rhetoric and his rhetoric has not matched his actions. the classic example, of course, being the red line in syria
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which i think was a catastrophe for american credibility. there was no reason why obama needed to say there is going to be a red line over the use of chemical weapons in syria, me personally i'm not sure why it's okay for the assad regime to kill people with conventional weapons but not okay to kill people with chemical weapons. if you say that, you have to back it up. if you say that assad must go, you have to back that up. in both cases, obama has not backed it up. he lost credibility in ways i think have been very painful for the united states not just in the middle east but elsewhere where from moscow to beijing to pyongyang, people don't take our word seriously when obama says something. the third lesson that i would take away is, don't reflex i havely do things because it's different from what the previous administration did. i think this is something where the obama administration has been obsessed with saying it's not bush. i was just at a debate last night in manhattan over the obama foreign policy.
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where the two debaters who were debating -- defending obama who were very eloquent and very reasonable, but basically singh who was eloquent and reasonable but 60% of their argument boiled down to, boy, bush was worse. you know, we did the best we could with the horrible things that bush did. i think there has been a tendency in the obama administration to -- to think just because bush did something we want to do something different. that hasn't been entirely the case. there has been some continuity especially in the global war on terrorism but especially in trying to move out of a more active role in the middle east i feel that the obama administration has gotten themselves into trouble and by the way this is not just unique to the obama administration. i mean, the bush administration also came in saying we want to be totally different from the clinton administration and i think that also led them astray. i think that's a pretty common failing for various presidents. fourth lesson i would -- i would
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draw from the obama administration is it's dangerous to walk too far back from the global leadership role that the united states has played since 1945. i think president obama has tried to recalibrate the u.s. international presence and has tried to draw down especially in the middle east, he has also drawn down in europe. there wasn't a commensurate build up in the pacific region, inside from a build up of region about the pacific pivot and so forth but president obama i think kind of came into office with the assumption that the states was more part of the problem rather than part of the solution in a lot of the areas of the world and i think now we've seen that's not really the case. that when we step back others don't step forward. the leading from behind doctrine doesn't work because if we don't lead nobody does and the result is catastrophe. the final lesson that i would take away from the obama administration is you have to be willing to change course if you see that what you're doing is not working and on this front i would actually give greater
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props to jimmy carter who became a born again hawk, started increasing the defense budget, became much tougher on the soef i didn't tell union. i'm not sure that president obama has had that born again moment. he has done some minor back and forth in the case of afghanistan, i applaud the fact that he's willing to keep 8,500 troops there instead of pulling them all out as he initially hoped and he has had to send back over 5,000 troops to iraq, but i don't think that there has been a large scale recalibration of his world view or how he deals with foreign policy fall lengths. i think he has basically tried to stick to his core so trying to draw down u.s. commitments and i don't think it has been successful. those are the lessons that i would draw and i would be greatly cheered if i thought that president trump would avoid making these same mistakes, but when you look at the lessons that i just outlined such as don't overestimate the power of
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personality, watch what you say, don't use, you know, loose language, don't go -- don't swing too far away from the previous administration just for the sake of doing something different, don't walk back from the u.s. global leadership role and be willing to change course if what you're doing is not working. out of all those five the only one that i would have any confidence that he might actually take to heart is number five because he does change course all the time. >> but he will be huge. >> so i apologize but we're pushing up against our time limit so i'm going to -- we have time for one question and then if the panel wants very quickly to sort of respond to anything that any of the other panelists say we will give them a second to do that. i feel a little bit like most -- not everybody here, but a lot of folks here do probably remember the show "the hulk" where something would tip off and all
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of a sudden the skin would change and his muscles would pop out, i feel a little bit of that coming on now with resurrecting some political science side to me. i beg your pardon for the political science comment i'm going to make now but one of the most striking things about all three presentations is the degree to which each of the presidents in some fashion or other in different ways but underlyingly overpromise. there is a kind of theme that i think that goes through all three administrations of presidents who come into office and think they can radically change things in ways that they run up against real hard realities, whether it be the world or the washington establishment and the political science side of me wants to suggest that particularly beginning with carter, that's the first president who was selected under what the reforms
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that were put -- took place to change how the parties selected their candidates for office. and one has to wonder whether or not there is a connection between the kind of selection system we have and the resulting result of presidents who have a tendency to overpromise and now we have a president elect who is very good about not overpromising, but, you know, sort of, again, making suggestions that somehow he's going to transform things in ways that probably are not going to happen and the results would be a discombobulated administration for sure. but again, so we have one -- i'm sorry, i apologize again, but i can take one question. so make it a really good question. and if not that's even better, i suppose. any last comments, guys, about anything that you've heard from
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each other? >> i was remiss in not thanking mark moyer for the invitation to be here today and i also wanted to shout out to all the alexander hamilton society students in the audience. great organization so thank you for coming today as well as a couple of my former buckeyes there in the audience. go bucks. we are all buckeye strong today after the recent events. >> well, if nobody has any further comments, please join me in thanking mark, max. well done. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, gentlemen. give us just the amount of time to swap out a couple of chairs and fresh glasses of water and we will be back with general h.r. mcmaster. once again, thank you all.
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so that wraps up this day long national security and foreign policy conference. earlier conversations with house armed services committee chairman mack thornberry and senator ben cardin, this panel and the rest of the conference
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are on our video library starting later today as in a couple minutes we will take you to the brookings institution live for house budget committee chair don price who donald trump has nominated to head up the department of health and human services. we will get with that with mr. price talking about the federal budget process. house democrats who hadding their leadership election. minority leader nancy pelosi reelected after a challenge from ohio representative tim ryan. here is what mr. ryan had to say to reporters earlier today. >> first i'd like to thank these members who stood by me, marcia fudge and ed perlmutter who nominated me. clearly this didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, we knew it would be an uphill battle, we only had a couple weeks to put this together but we i think did a pretty good job, my staff, my members who came out publicly
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for me and i think, quite frankly, we got the message out that we wanted to get out and that's that as democrats we need to talk about economics, it's the issue that unites us, many of you have heard me say this a million times in the last two weeks and i believe it in my heart that if we're going to win as democrats we need to have an economic message that resonates in every corner of this country. we come out of this leadership election united as democrats to take on the challenges that we -- that we need moving forward. so, you know, i'm disappointed because i like to win and -- but i think it was a great discussion for us and i think honestly i think the party is better off. so i'm happy to take any questions. >> what message do you think it sends that about a third of the democratic caucus voted for you? >> well, i think you all will speculate a lot about that but i think it says that, you know,
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talking economics, people, i think, understood that that message is very, very important to us as democrats, especially leaders on the front lines and, you know, in some way representing the 30, 40 or 50 seats we are going to need to pick up. so i think the message resonated and if you heard marcia and eddie nominate me they talked about that is correct us being able to compete in every district in the united states with an agenda that resonates with the american people. >> stadid you get any reason ony you didn't get enough votes? >> i didn't ask anybody. i didn't want to have my feelings hurt any more than they already were. let me just say leader pelosi has been here a long time, she has a lot of friends, this is her caucus clearly, but we had an opinion and we wanted to make sure people heard it. >> mr. ryan, do you think the message is getting through to the


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