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tv   A Presidents First 100 Days  CSPAN  January 29, 2017 10:24pm-12:01am EST

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combat art and to learn more about the artists, you can visit the archives blog, "the amendment record -- "the unwritten record." >> a panelist of historians compare the first 100 days of previous presidents and discuss es priorities for the new trump administration. some of the things they talk about include international policy, civil rights, and immigration. this took place at the american historical association annual meeting in denver. it is just over an hour and a half. >> when we conceived of this plenary about a year or so ago, we thought of it as an opportunity for historians to share their expertise with the itemsurgent public policy new president-elect.
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little did we realize that our analysts would be addressing president-elect trump. we are fortunate that we have five historians who have a sense of public purpose and would like to discuss and reflect on some of the major public policy imperatives and context that the new administration that will be faced with. as laid out in the program, we will follow the alphabetical order. first is a scholar of the middle east who has written about u.s.-arab relations. among other topics. the next is of the harvard university kennedy school whose work covers the intersection of race and public policy. his research deals with the construction and policing of criminality in the united states. our third speaker is my
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colleague, margaret o'mara. i always want to say it like maureen o'hara, and she always corrects me. she is currently focusing on the relationship between high-tech and american politics. she has recently published a tuesdays foral elections. the next is author of the much acclaimed book entitled "the great divergence." he will be next. seanast but not least is who has written extensively about american history and a number of other topics including the popular media. fan, youe a bob dylan know that he has authored one of those techs -- texts.
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each one will be speaking for 10 or 11 minutes. at the end of that we will have , a q&a session. if you can come up to the mic, we are not going to be passing the mic around. nathan? nathan: thank you. thank you to professor young and the program committee for inviting me to take part in this plenary. i feel especially honored to be in such distinguished company tonight. thank you all for coming out to a warm room on a cold night. in trying to anticipate the top -- in trying to anticipate the trump administration foreign-policy, it makes sense to compare it to 1953 and 1981. both of those years saw the advent of republican administrations that promised more confrontational foreign policies against america's
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enemies than the democratic administrations they replaced. during the campaign, trump compared himself to dwight eisenhower and ronald reagan. in the case of ike, on the basis of his men into deporting undocumented immigrants. in thinking about the middle east, i would like to propose another year. 1973. that may also help us to understand what lies ahead. that year marked the advent not of a new administration but richard nixon's second term. it was dominated rome early on by the watergate scandal. watergate constrained nixon's participation in foreign-policy making and elsewhere. watergate contributed to and helped to shape the consequences of the arab-israeli war. with nixon sidelined, henry kissinger offered a peace
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process that for the foreseeable future all but closed all the possibility for comprehensive peace. in the case of president trump, his first 100 days are likely to be dominated by the controversy over his relationship with the russian president and the role of russian computer hacking and influencing the outcome of the 2016 election. this controversy is already playing out before investigative hearings promoted by trumps critics lindsey graham and john , mccain. it will also come up in confirmation hearings for his appointees and in particular the secretary of state designation for rex tillerson. no one can predict with any confidence where the russian affair will lead although it will probably not rise to the level of a watergate. as an unfortunate consequence, u.s. contributions to solving international crises that
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requires serious cooperation with russia such as the syrian civil war, will likely be held hostage in the first 100 days to the domestic politics of the russian hacking scandal. democrats smarting over hillary clinton's loss, divided and in the minority in both houses of congress will try to portray putin's potent -- client. they will try to associate him with foreign subversion by the kremlin. this strategy is a mistake in that it ignores the american genealogy of trump's foreign policy and the reason behind its appeal now. in thinking about traps foreign-policy genealogy, in 1934, a democrat congressman from texas, the state were i live, said we must ignore the
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tears of sobbing sentimentalists and internationalists and permanently close the gates of our country to new immigration waves and then throw the keys away. this was the context of an earlier refugee crisis. admitbate over whether to jews fleeing nazi germany. senator who was a republican senator from my home state of ohio, wrote about contributions to nato. he wrote i am willing to support arms to great britain and france to the extent they are not able to arm themselves although it should be a first call on their own budget and arms should not be provided are the united states simply to prevent some reduction in their standard of living. we ourselves are contemplating such a reduction and i see no other reason why the other
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nations should not be prepared to make the same sacrifice. populist nativism and strategic unilateralism both have long pedigrees in the u.s. as trump's america first campaign slogan reminds us. neither is the exclusive property of democrats or republicans. it is impossible to say how the challenges of the legitimacy of trump's election will constrain his foreign policy in the middle east. his most controversial proposal is to move the u.s. embassy in israel from tel aviv to jerusalem. designated hisdy ambassador who has strongly endorsed moving the embassy and even annexing the west bank to israel. trump condemned condemned the
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obama administration for not be telling them that veto -- vetoing the stance. trump has raised expectations. of moving the embassy soon after taking office. if he does, there will be a range of short-term consequences. he would further isolate the u.s. internationally in ways that would undermine his other stated goals such as fighting the islamic state and imposing new sanctions on iran. moving the embassy would precipitate a crisis between the u.s. and its allies and alienate muslim majority countries 's back offended by trump to bar muslim immigrants and his appointment of certain advisers. the palestinian authority indicated it would rescind its recognition of israel and the legitimacy would be degraded at
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a time when violence seems possible. the politics term, of the conflict which shift away from what has been the stasis of pursuing an increasingly illusory two-state solution toward the eventual consolidation of a binational state with a focus being on the democratic or nondemocratic character of that state. practically speaking, there would be legal challenges to moving the embassy to a proposed site in jerusalem that includes properties seized and claimed as palestinian in 1948. you could provide new opportunities in legal forms, in the u.s., and the u.n. for litigating and making visible issues of palestinian dispossession that many assumed were confined to the past. given the negative implications from trump's perspective, he
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may choose like previous presidents to postpone moving the embassy to jerusalem, at least beyond the first 100 days. he could easily blame other actors for blocking the move. some of his advisers like general james mattis appeared to them -- appear to oppose policies backed by trump and friedman. chop has proven receptive to his other views on issues such as the use of torture. as aecision may come down bold step that will strengthen his political support. the syrian civil war presents a special challenge in the first 100 days because addressing it requires working directly with russia. russia has supported the government of bashar al-assad and putin has organized the latest cease-fire after regime gains in aleppo.
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trump has repeatedly said he wants to partner with russia to fight the islamic state, although it is not clear russia prioritizes that fight over preserving the client regime in damascus. the proposed venue for forthcoming peace talks, kazakhstan, reflects russia's authority over this latest attempt to broker an end to the war. putin is widely thought to have facilitated the participation of turkey, a nato ally of the united states, by reaching a deal with turkey over the role of kurdish forces in syria which are some of the most important u.s. partners in the fight against the islamic state. the question now becomes what tin will attempt to make over syria and the implications for president trump. accept thes. have to annexation of crimea? will the u.s. rollback sanctions
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against russia imposed by the obama administration? will the removal of those sanctions benefit rex tillerson, the head of exxon mobil? will the senate confirmed tillerson before or after the u.s. commits to joining russian peace talks or returns to geneva for negotiations under you and -- under theesh u.n. hospices. will senate republicans go along with or seek to challenge trump's cooperation with putin? how far will democrats go to undermine the new president by associating him with moscow? will trump built abrogated to make a point of confronting putin on some issue to prove he is not beholden to him? these questions will have to be sorted out in the first 100 days. my point in the comparison to 1973 is that they will prove to be a distraction from the hard truth that no syrian peace talks can succeed unless they involve
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the regime and its opponents while providing for the cessation of fighters, weapons, and money furnished by their respective external sponsors. given trumps stated priorities and his domestic, political liabilities, it seems unlikely that the president will be able to contribute to such a broad based effort. to conclude my remarks with a final point about trump's election and the ongoing crisis in the middle east, media often portrays the middle east as a world apart operating according to a different scale of historical time from our own. many accounts suggest that syrian civil war and other regional conflicts have an underlying sectarian logic. ancient in matisse -- in matisse the mesh in matisse -- enmities.
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but the appalling magnitude of the violence in syria can be explained only in terms of staggering inequalities within and between middle eastern states. wealthy governments and sponsors in saudi arabia, the gulf states, and iran have poured money and fighters into syrian stoke flicks and sectarian conflicts for strategic reasons at relatively close call -- low cost to themselves. at the beginning of 2017, we all share the same historical moment, whether in north america or the middle east, our politics reflect how identity-based conflicts can flourish in circumstances of great economic inequality. thank you. [applause]
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>> good evening, everyone. i want to thank you james grossman for inviting me to be on the panel today. i hope we settle some debts. [laughter] i also want to thank my fellow contribution their to this moment and for all of you for sticking around on this cold day in denver. for you star wars fans, today 's plenary feels like a meeting of the jedi council to discuss priorities with chancellor insidious as he sets out to destroy the republic as we know it. [laughter] you'll have to pardon my american studies proclivities. i west episode three over the holidays with my kids i , couldn't help but explain the antifascist roots of the saga and its relevance today. i have struggled but many the past several weeks to make sense
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what happened. what the election results mean for the division in our nation, what the future likely holds. i thought in the first hours he might be a million in disguise doubly deceitful in a good way. rounds them -- wrongs that make a right. i thought he might be able to transport them -- transform himself then he began to tweet about the legal voters. then he began making cabinet appointments from the land of rejects in the land of doom. optimism i had before thanksgiving gave way to fatigue. some strain or variation of his many ism's coursing through the veins of people i know well. loved ones even. . but i always suspected that
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trump and billy bush were more familiar to americans than the editors of either magazine was willing to admit. for these familiar observers, the locker room talk sounded about right. rape culture is real, it is everywhere. but the intellectual and cultural cap insisting trump with the outlier and not the norm. my critique has given way to uncertainty. now is the time for civil disobedience to the inevitable onslaught of obama era reversals. the affordable care act for starters. many of which by my standards were too centrist. friendly to begin with. too many initiatives were modeled on michael bloomberg's fell of governments the mesh
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style of governance -- style of governance and not public policy. the obama era is behind us now. none of us in this room know what is in store for the age of trump. i'm not talking about the fact that we are bad about addicting the future. that line has always rung hollow to me. the problem we face is not that past for search the things that might help us anticipate the future. it is that nothing quite fits. think about it. most every republican candidate for president since reagan has tried to out-reagan reagan. not trump. even if all the demagogues throughout history none has been , elected to the presidency.
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what about the precedents for nativism and xenophobia? the call for a police state in pockets of america. the flirtations with the klan. the appeals for loyalty tests. wilsonian to be sure. purged the federal government of black people. it will unleash the full power of the feds to protect free speech and destroy the left. but woodrow wilson was a man of great intellect and introspection. despite his many flaws, he earned them and honed his flaws within the boundaries of democratic institutions. and indeed helped to extend such institutions globally. trump has no such pedigree. if anything, he behaves like a petulant child. he is an anti-statesman, anti-intellectual. isolationist. no one knows how to advise such a person to lead this nation.
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i suppose richard nixon behaved petulantly. look how that turned out. most is a man who is well-known expression for leadership is saying "you're fired" as host of his own reality television show. at least the celebrity turned president ronald reagan was a charming and decent person. at least the cowboy actor turned politician had been governor of the largest state in the union. the challenge before us today is not simply because we only study the past, it is that the past is missing a whole chapter in this american journey. the robber barons bent the public good to serve their ends by way of their political influence. but the billionaire plutocrats, of which trump is only one, what their cake and to eat it too. they want the prestige of running the state as well.
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james fallows used trump has the election as the most grievous blow the american idea has suffered in my lifetime. the kennedy and king assassinations and 9/11 attacks were crimes and tragedies. the wars in vietnam and iraq were disastrous mistakes. but the country recovered. for the democratic process will elevate a man who expresses no love for democratic norms is worse. the american republic based on norms. standards of behavior, conduct toward fellow citizens. and especially, critics and opponents that is decent young what the letter of the law dictates. trump disdains them all. given these uncertainties and trying to wear my big boy pants, here is a sketch of what i think should happen with president trump.
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this is not about specific policy proposals. it is more about a way of opening communication and possibility for impacting his choices. in many ways, i am less worried about him in particular than his cabinet choices and empowered far right republican majority. on climate change, i would ask the president and his first 100 days to sit down with leading scientists. there may be no more urgent a need for open lines of dialogue than that. he has never had reason to listen to environmentalists. he needs to hear their side of the story, to let them make the case that fossil fuels may be unnecessary evil and profitable one but investments in alternative energy are not an option, time is ticking now. other coastal any temple of wealth won't do so well underwater.
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that is a fact that might peak is self interest. might put his feet on the ground. brian stephenson, a lawyer in alabama teaches us how important , proximity is to creating empathy. there is a lot trump doesn't know because nothing about his profligate life has demanded more of him. when he sits down with black lives matter activists for the first time, i know he will be different. whenever i taught red county students at indiana university many years ago, i knew some of them were not happy learning a more complicated story of the past. from course evaluations, i knew how much they resisted me for delivering lectures. i also knew exposure was an to the journey of indifference. my job is not to shake their ideas but to help them identify
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their own by seeing the menu options available. trump has been in bubbles inside of bubbles for a long time. billionaire bubbles, celebrity bubbles, bully bubbles, bigotry bubbles. outside the election contest it , is time to pop some of those bubbles and puts menus in front of him and his administration the stakes are too high, the work is too difficult, the choices are not simple. in my field of expertise, criminal justice, policing is tough stuff. border security is too. trump's campaign promise to nationalize stop and frisk. ins is not beyond the pale mainstream america. it is an opening for dialogue. making him the bogeyman is not only counterproductive but would belie the recent history of liberals and conservatives. northerners and southerners responsible for our current state of affairs. everyone is implicated.
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why people died in small-town texas and chicago. and eric garner in new york city. there are black relatives and friends of mine in chicago were some of the most brilliant young 100l activists from project can be found mentored by our own them --n welder for biographer. these people despise trump. yet they are thinking out loud about whether or not it is time to call in the national guard to end the plague of violence in that city. policing's connection to inequality and mass incarceration is not even on their radar. why should it be on trump's? meets with activists, he can bring kanye west with
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him. perhaps he can get out of his bubble as a result. if he opens channels of communication early on rather than relying on security and , he willnce apparatus be exposed directly to new ideas that will help bridge the divide between black lives and blue lives. on border security, barack obama did not build a wall or a big fence as trump has promised. but he did build the biggest system in the nation's system. criminal justice he captured the unprecedented title of deporter in chief. i have already admitted that i have no idea what trump is really capable of. if the charge tonight is to believe in the force, that force has to be one of communication
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and dialogue. a historically informed understanding of our shared responsibility for the nation we have built. this may sound quite quaint for those ready for massive civil disobedience. it is a democratic tradition right for expansion. in the context of the successful protest of the standing rock sioux tribe, he writes weighted writes waves of protests in the days after the election look less like spontaneous outrage and more like a preview of what the next four years may hold. descend on the capital today after the election. democracy may be under attack in the white house and congress, but it is likely to thrive in the streets. civil disobedience is not democracy at work, it is a form of communication and dialogue.
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another way to think about all of this is this. as long as we keep talking, we are not killing each other. episode three of the star wars saga ends with a bloodbath, but with the rise of darth vader. the mass killings of the jedi knights, the young ones are slaughtered. the date of survivors are -- yoda andsurvivors are obi-wan kenobi. they go into exile but not before saving luke and leia. sometimes, our way forward is the -- demands looking back. this evening reminds us we are keepers of the past, storytellers of humanity and stewards of our civic culture. we are communicators. we have an obligation to face the facts before us with humility, drawing on the wisdom
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of the ages. the work we do off-campus has always been as important as what we do on campus. but we have been doing far less off-campus lately according to the american academy of arts and sciences. let the first 100 days renew our collective energy. let this be a time to teach our students and neighbors. college administrators and local politicians how to think historically and how best to wait a choices and decisions that we face as a nation. the candidate demagogue may transform in time just as did darth vader in the end. this much is true. whatever comes of the age of trump, it will not last forever. let's be prepared. remember your pre-trump ideals. make sure they survive into a post-trump world. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you so much. it is great to be here. thank you to all the people responsible for organizing this. i hope i can do my best to add to this conversation. i'm going to talk about the economy, stupid, to talk about a bit of recent history. in the 2016 election, donald trump ran and won while breaking all the rules of modern presidential campaigning. he didn't have high-priced consultants, field operations, he blew past all the low energy republicans in the primary, seized the electoral college victory over hillary clinton in the general. it was a true at the
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establishment change of election that united states has not seen in some time. and we have change elections with regularity. tossed aside republican orthodoxies like an embrace of free trade. he is not doing daily intelligence briefings, he is doing his own thing. but on the campaign trail, he was very conventional in one dimension. and i think this will follow up on his remarks. this gives a window to where things might go next. on the campaign trail, he adhered to one familiar ritual of campaign season which is making big, bold promises to bring back jobs and american prosperity and start doing it in the first 100 days. when it came to the economy, he sounded like a lot of other would-be presidents on the
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campaign trail. in franklin roosevelt talked 1932, about putting men back to work and fighting for the forgotten man. in 2016 trump promised to , massively increase jobs and called out to the forgotten men and women. in 1992, bill clinton talked about creating good jobs for our people. in 2016, trump talked about fair trade laws, different variety, and turning america into a magnet for new jobs. in 1980, ronald reagan declared america time to put back to work. for those who abandoned hope, we will restore hope. we will welcome them into the great national crusade to make america great again." in 2016, trump, you know the rest of that. the prompt of this session is what do historians add to this
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conversation. we are not pundits which can be a good thing. this was not a good year for political punditry. what history shows us is that in some ways, despite all of the rule-breaking and destruction, that in some ways trump is similar to his predecessors and the -- in that he is coming into in handth promises and the 100-date framework. the study of what does and does not happen in the first 100 days is important and useful. be first 100 days have labeled status in american presidential politics. roosevelt's tornado of legislative activity in the standardin 1933 set a that has loomed over every president who has followed. it is an impossible standard to
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meet. first, first 100 days happened at a time of national crisis that vastly enlarged the scope of political possibility. because of this distinctive moment in 1933, even though president after president has subsequently made old first 100 days promises, it does not go as well as planned. a fierce opposition in a democratic led congress and didn't get much legislation passed. although his popularity remained high. bill clinton had control of the house and senate trade that did not go well either. he came in with a hugely ambitious agenda. by the time they got to the end of the first 100 days, none of them have gotten done. they were still working on the economic package and that did not get done until the end of the summer. when it comes to actually
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, newcing economic results jobs, job growth, immediate result, the have fallen short first 100 days every time. 1933 included. the first 100st days as a fair assessment of is that presidents who had frustrating first 100 days went on to be two-term presidents. upy ultimately ended presiding over economic expansion that went someday to meet their big campaign promises. what this history tells us and tells the president elect is that meaningful economic and job growth is not a product of the
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100 days. first it is a long game. and often, the credit for economic growth is shared across many different presidencies. that may be something that to the president-elect may not be welcome news. economic growth comes from public investment in people, ideas, and technologies for which there is not a market. on this, let me focus on the story of the technology industry, something i know about. it is an industry that trump has demonstrated a great interest in. he sees it as an important engine of job and economic growth going forward. in eisenhower's era, developments in research propelled and age that fueled the high-tech revolution that gave birth to the large
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companies whose leaders were sitting around the table at trump tower two weeks ago. these were not economic or job creation policies, but enacted in the name of cold war defense. in the kennedy and johnson years, a similar high-tech boom came out of the space program. rockets needed high-tech components in them, so the launching pad for silicon valley was the rocket program. the second place that economic dynamism and jobs come from, the job growth that happens over time, is from internationalism and immigration. history shows us that the opening of america's doors, bringing in people, and having exchanges and a truly global outlook on the world has been
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very good for the economy. now, it has also been the culprit for the imbalances in the economy, but focusing on the high-tech industry, you see powerful examples of how immigration opened doors, was a cornerstone of the prosperity that trump is trying to recapture in his program. you have international exchange programs started under harry truman that continued under subsequent presidencies that bring the best and brightest scholars from the world to american universities. the american university system is leading in the world, not because americans are the best, but because the best in the world have come to the united states to teach and to study. and many of them stay. similarly, the expansion of the immigration after an act in 1965 has been a huge job creator. it has created small businesses at a rate of a greater number
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than native people do. trump has pointed to this as an engine of job growth. if you want to keep that engine primed, you have to keep on opening those doors. an example from silicon valley is a vivid one, there has been no better place to see the impact of these new waves of immigration, post-1965, then the valley. indian and chinese foreign entrepreneurs were at the helm of 24% of the technology enterprises started between 1980 and 1998 in the valley. that is a lucrative time for high-tech from pc to internet era. the economic upside of the open door policy has been clear to the most successful occupants of the oval office. reagan declared that are stand -- our strength comes from our immigrant heritage and our
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welcoming of those from other lands. this is a truly long game indeed, income security. the remarkable 25 years of rising incomes that happened after world war ii were not just because of these big investments in industry, but also in government programs that increase individual economic security. this was not just a top result of top-down action on the part of politicians, but the result of sustained activism and protest from the bottom up. telling that story of how critical that is to be broader economic prosperity is something that historians can bring to the table and bring to the conversation. the tech industry is another great example of this. most of the people who founded iconic tech companies were not born rich. steve jobs, his father was a
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machinist who did not finish high school. the founder of intel was the son of an iowa clergyman. they grew up in a moment of political commitment to expanded opportunity to prosperity, of higher education, a job opportunity, and of growth. it was fueled by a different outlook on the role of the federal government than we currently hold -- then the leaders of both parties currently hold. this would be something i would be saying if hillary clinton had won the election. this requires a change that goes beyond the result of this particular election. so what should the next president priorities be for the next 100 days? ce and compromise. if donald trump really wants to create jobs and lasting economic
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transformation, he needs to be ready to play it long. some of the people who could help him and the people around him and the people in the political realm in washington understand the multiple dimensions about long game, our historians. teachers of history and students of history, in the academy and beyond it. let's get to work. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. as i understand it, my job is to talk about china. the united states and china has a lot of of issues with each other, i would say. reflecting china's position as both an american partner and rival. some cases where the
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relationship is ambiguous, like china's investment in asia, should be welcome to the united states in so far as that investment helps these countries develop and give some of them on alternative to market dependence on russia. it is probably not so welcome in that it encourages development of fossil fuels or resource grabs at predatory prices. these are all intertwined, with some issues have a stronger historical dimension than others. what can a historical analysis tell us? first, historical memory matters even when it is inaccurate. it is a big stretch to say that taiwan has always been an integral part of china. chinese rule of the island lasted from 1683 21895.
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until the first half of the 20th century, even chinese nationalists rarely talked about recovering control there. compared to the same people talking at enormous length about holding or recovering last parts of manchuria and mongolia, as well as treaty port concessions on the mainland. the obsession with liberating taiwan began only when it became chain kai-shek's last days. none of that changes the fact that by now that taiwan is part of a single china is deeply ingrained. no chinese leader would refrain from retaliating about any overt challenge to that claim. investments on the mainland are hugely important to chinese countries. they can restrict tourism in both directions. taiwan needs the foreign exchange from mainland visitors.
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many taiwanese want to see their ancestral villages on the mainland. even short of using force, they have plenty of tools at their disposal. they do not want to be used as a marketing trip on other issues. because they can target taiwan rather than the united states, a also will not fear counter escalation. quite support for taiwan may make sense. it has become an admirably democratic and prosperous society. it is one under considerable stress. it is interesting to note that taiwan's per capita income has grown 50% over the past 20 years, while real wages have been stagnant.
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sound familiar? it echoes the pattern for much of the developed world. in taiwan, this is not led to the rise of extremism. that is something to support. let me switch to advice to my fellow academics, perhaps something to study as well. loud support for taiwan is likely to back off. the taiwan situation is also a specific example of a second historical generalization. the people's republic never got the memo about the inevitable the client. they are absolutely obsessed with internal security and stability. in many cases, this makes them conservative. in the 1990's after the soviet union collapsed, china settled a number of border dispute with the central asian republics unfairly generous terms. excepting considerably less than half of the disputed territory, even those best even though those new states were weaker at the time. that is in contrast with their aggressive stand against stronger adversaries in the
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south china sea and the border with india. one key reason for the difference, the central asian states, the chinese perceive potential partners in monitoring muslims and strengthening their control over the province. that commitment about what they call, non-interference, has other uses for the united states. the chinese have clearly hacked into the computers of many u.s. politicians and of both political parties. they do this as a matter of espionage. they have never tried to weaponize that intelligence to influence an internal political process the way the russians did. because they saw that interference as a red line that
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nobody should cross. that is the other side of it. it is not that reassuring. the prc has an expansive notion of what noninterference is an mean. nothing that is happened in the last two years has made liberalization look more attractive to them. the new laws regulating everything from the branches of foreign universities to the u.s. china business council, the american bar association, and hundreds of smaller and feist year groups environmentally -- monitoring the environment, is a much more restrictive law than a de facto regime. internet censorship is getting more vigorous. government has a new plan to assign people social credit scores based on their speech acts. the government has gotten much more bold about pressuring other
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states to extradite chinese dissidents abroad or to look the other way while some of them disappear. china's leader is the most authoritarian they have had for 40 years. the situation is not unique to china. he seems genuinely worried if he does not crack down hard on corruption and foreign thought, the basis of rule could be undermined. it is impossible to say that he is completely wrong here, regardless of what we think of his strategy are dealing with that. and regardless of the fact that corruption rather than foreign ideas is the real problem, combined with a slowing of the economy, horrible environmental problems, and other sources of discontent. it is not clear how much foreigners can resist some of these measures without being counterproductive, but some things can be expanded beyond its own borders.
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the new ngo law holding parent entities abroad responsible for the allegedly subversive speech of ngos they sponsor in china need to be revisited. both on the matter of ideals and as a matter of preserving a level playing field for economically relevant nonprofit activity. moderating weather guarantees of these in labor conditions of a supply chain are being honored her -- are being honored. if you care about america being able to compete, you should care
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about the labor standard of people overseas. there is no way those standards will be enforced entirely from the top down. we have more than just an ideal interest in protecting the space in which groups like labor and environmental ngos function. this leads me to one further observation, and one last area for discussion. the observation is that the accession with security -- the obsession with security is about short and long run security. everyone in china is an insider. they think about preserving the system for the long term. that means that though they will bargain hard. they are genuinely interested in playing constructive roles in climate change and of gaining prestige of having a leadership role on that issue will give them. on the nuclear issue, and making the iran deal work, all bets are off if they sense these efforts are likely to collapse anyway. then they will take full advantage. the area that this leads to, which you probably expected to come up earlier, is the economy. here, while the past matters, we
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also have to remember things change. china was artificially depressing its currency for a while. there is move for argument over how many u.s. jobs that might've cost. regardless of what you think of that, they are not doing that anymore. they are not likely to in the near future. they are now much more worried about capital flight, stoked by the anticorruption campaign and by a lack of attractive places to put assets in china right now. real estate and stock markets are overvalued. equipment looks less attractive than they did when both prospects -- when both projections were higher. the moment they want to inflate the currency.
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moreover, china passed an important historical milestone a few years ago, thanks to the rapid aging of the population, the total labor force has started shrinking. the pace at which that happens will accelerate at -- as lower birth rates continue. the urban workforce will continue to grow for a while as people leave the countryside, but that has limits to. we are facing a china that is going to have very different priorities. priorities that could make it easier for us to work with them. there is less obsession with capturing export markets at any price, and more with a priming domestic this consumption, though that is going to be hard until home prices level off. it will be switching towards
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services, crucial for meeting environmental goals. we can focus on china's air pollution problems, but water problems are arguably even worse. there are over 100,000 water related protests incidents as the government calls them every year in china. this is a matter of enormous importance for them. they recognize that the only way they will cope with their environmental problem -- they will have to do many things, one of them is they have to move toward a service economy. that is something that is good for us. they will be targeting higher value added kinds of production. there continue to be significant sources of economic tension with china over intellectual property, the safety of certain chinese exports, nontariff barriers, subsidized products
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abroad, labor standards, environments are standards and so on. one step would be to coordinate more closely to the eu who have similar complaints. the bargaining table should not be cluttered with yesterday's issues, even if they are red meat for some american constituencies. this is the most important bilateral relationship in the world at the moment, and probably will remain so for quite some time. i've touched only a few parts of it here. the point is there is no need to make it more complicated than it is by also fighting yesterday's
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wars. meanwhile, conducting the relationship via tweet and soundbite will only strengthen the chinese leadership's conviction that they have the better political system and can wait us out on those issues. a view that has been strongly reinforced by recent events in the west. after years in which opinion on that point was much more fluid and diverse. thank you. [applause] >> let me add my thanks to the previous speakers. i have learned a lot. i do not have a particular expertise in any part of policy. i've learned a lot. i have different remarks. i think this is just a guess, but my presence on this panel has something to do with the fact that the organizer might have thought that donald trump
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not be president-elect, but that hillary clinton would. i had that speech all written. it did not work out. [laughter] >> so i had to figure out not only what i was thinking, but when i had to say tonight. now you're going to get a really pessimistic talk. [laughter] >> i'm going to concentrate more on donald trump and trying to understand him historically. i will get to that in a second. i have a couple of tech to start with -- texts to start with that, i i've. they follow what i want to say tonight. one comes out of the daily news, the headline says donald trump appears next to convicted felon and new yours eve party. donald trump rang in the new
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year together with a convicted felon with ties to the notorious gambino crime family boss john gotti a recently released video has revealed. the video obtained shows donald trump run through a number of campaign promises before the campaign --. the taxes are coming down, regulations are coming off, we will get rid of obamacare. supporters, their fist in the air. his appearance with trump may raise some eyebrows. beyond the felony conviction for possessing stolen artwork, he's to be friends with john gotti. he was also shot three times and left for dead in a 1980 incident.
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it goes on to talk about trumps relationship to the man. there is nobody like him. he is a special guy. i'm quoting donald trump. the other article, the headline was le pen hurts putin. she pledged to russia -- to recognize russia's annexation of crimea if she became president. she portrayed her center-right rival as too right-wing. it put paris on a collision course with london and berlin which both condemned the annexation. the national foreign leader who hoped russian banks would fund the election campaign, went on by expressing support for a president assad of syria. miss le pen set out on election strategy based on leftist
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economics and an anti-economic stance. and the shift on foreign policy in moscow. evidently, it can happen here. ever since november 8, reporters, colleagues, students, friends, and family members have asked me to tell them how and why it happened and whether there is any precedent in the history of american presidential politics. i expect many of you have had people asking the same questions. my answer is no, there is no precedent. some backers say he is a 20% -- 21st century andrew jackson, i disagree.
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as to how trump won the 2016 campaign, i have my own views which i will be happy to share and debate. because they sometimes cause me to break into a rant or descend into gloom, they are that are left off the record and after hours. i want to give advice to the incoming administration. i have come up with some citizen lead bits of advice. before i get to those, i think it is worth talking about how we ought to think about trump historically. trump is very difficult to pin down, that is the way he wants it. i would like to suggest at least one possible historical approach to understand the america from which he has emerged, which may
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something about the man himself and had -- and how he will cover as president. first, it comes as a surprise but not a shock that a man of trump's talents has won the presidency. even if they doubted the prospect, observers have long pointed to the facts and forces that could cause such a thing. before philip roth or sinclair lewis wrote their chilling novels, well before the rise of modern authoritarian politics, writing in 1888 in the second volume of the american commonwealth, james bryce included a section on liability to be misled where he took note of american traits. the tendency to sentimentalism, which marks all large masses of men. and how those traits left people vulnerable to what he called the valet schist -- palacio's reasoning of adventures. with the checks and balances of the constitutional system, the same that impeded good legislation in completed a stalemate on which demagogues
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could thrive, those checks made it improbable that an adventurer could clamber into the residential chair and could conspire with a congressional ring. it looks a great deal more probable if we re-examine the writings of another man on the underside of the 1890's legacy. nowadays, many american u.s. a story and -- historians think it a best exaggerated slander on social movements. who can doubt that he captured a powerful and persistent and triumphant strain in our past and present politics. dedicated to restoring a bygone mythic american greatness. founded on what he listed as a few key elements.
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the idea of a golden age, the constant of national harmonies, the conspiracy theory of history, the doctrine of the primacy of money. he went on to locate precisely those paranoid elements in the mccarthy eight conservatism of the 1950's and the goldwater movement in the 1960's. you might find it easy enough to find connections to the tea party and the trump campaign. there are some american political and cultural archetypes that may appear to prefigure trump. most of them do not really fit. andrew jackson, whatever you think of him, declared war on precisely the kind of swindler capitalism that trump not only practices but celebrates. jay gatsby was no full gary and. iran -- ayn rand's character was
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a perfect ideologue. trump comes closest to embody the egos of those described in "the fury of the leisure class." studied avoidance of anything written resembling productive labor. trump was formed in a very different place. that place was the manhattan of 1970's and 1980's as described best by tom wolfe in "bonfire of the vanities." a very particular world of self-declared masters of the universe, driven by tabloids, cynical public servants. this was the manhattan that fred trump's boy wanted to conquer.
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if you could make it there, he could make it anywhere. to knock it is part of this whole mix. trump never really would make it. he never will really make it. it helps explain the projection and raise that are among him -- his hallmarks. the way he went about trying to make it, he became the donald trump with whom we must now reckon. at the very center, new york in 1970 and 1980 was embodied by one man. not the roy cohn that most historians know, but the later roy cohn. he did the most to inspire and
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instruct and in fact construct the donald. you can see at last, 30 years after his death, america has made way for roy cohn's greatest creation, donald trump. they're a have to be a new scene or new act in "angels in america." after the viciousness in the early 1950's, cohen is credited with opening a law practice in new york. the clients included the mafia bosses like john gotti and others. it was also the law office of the catholic archdiocese of new york and the new york yankees. [laughter]
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>> it was only natural for the young trump to seek out the man to do battle with the nixon justice department who was suing that she was being sued by racial discrimination. donald was awestruck by his take no prisoners style. he took to donald as a handsome and suggestible acolyte. in his clutter, in his townhouse on 68th street, and on the dance floor studio 54, the self hating jew showed trump the ropes. introduced him to all the right people. taught him how to game the tabloids. forged important trumpian connections, including links to his clients. a man who own their cement used for trump tower.
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those links lead trump to a long length of useful mob related figures. amply documented by two reporters. it was in this underworld where donald trump thrived. lessons which to this day trump says were absolutely invaluable -- invaluable to him. another of trump's proteges has said that trump learned from a master. "a brilliant strategist who understood the political system and how to play it like a violin." as it happens, when the elections outcome was certain to be very different from what it turned out to be, i had the opportunity to appear on a panel
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with roger stone. i asked him what he thought roy cohn would it made of his boy donald trump becoming a useful idiot for vladimir putin. [applause] >> apart from calling my reference to roy cohn a low blow, we were talking to a liberal audience, but stone avoided answering. you can see what trump sees in the x kgb authoritarian. it goes beyond where trumps i've isolation is a -- isolationism mixes with prudence schemes. schemes.s they cannot have to do with money. it is helped trump come back from his bank properties of the late 90's. in party with political that putin's intelligence agencies
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gave trump important, if not crucial assistance in the 2016 campaign. there is a closer affinity, and affinity that has nothing to do with ideology, even though the national political appeal of what might be known as "the putin turned," are nearly identical from prague, to paris, to trump tower. in a recent issue of the new york review of books, and silent russian writer -- an exiled russian writer talks about putin's power structure. given trumps formation at the feet of roy cohen, it is a
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warning to be taken seriously. what advice can we give to what may turn out to be an abnormal white house? more of family regime than an administration. it has been said that if trump fails, it will because he succumbs to incompetence, corruption, or authoritarianism. even though the first two could be handled by the constitutional system, the third, not so much. imagine if evidence were to come out, as i suspect actually happen, that there was collaboration between the kremlin and the trump campaign and words like "treason" were be in bandied about the senate, a -- how president trump could react. it could be very dangerous.
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my first piece of advice is obvious, mr. trump, this is for the entire administration, adhere to your oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united state. the second suggestion tries to capitalize on trump's lack of ideology and fascination with men of authority, especially military men. trump frequently cites his admiration of george patton and douglas macarthur on the basis of a single conversation with his designated secretary of defense james madison, -- james mattis. he repudiated waterboarding as an interrogation technique. my second piece is to follow the advice of another american general. a general who also happen to be elected president of the united states.
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among other things, like the -- dwight d eisenhower is remembered for the military industrial complex, but he equal -- he offered an equally emphatic and prescient warning. "to attain any success, it is quite clear that the federal government cannot avoid or take -- escape responsibilities which the mass of people believe should be undertaken by. if the rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything. even to the possible and drastic change in the constitution. this is what i mean by my confidence in moderation in government. should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws, you would not hear of that party again in our political
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history. there is a tiny splinter group that believes you can do these things, their number is negligible, and they are stupid. [laughter] i would tell president-elect trump, that though that number is no longer negligible, that splinter group is now trump's nominal political party. it now controls every level of american government. nevertheless, the general's words are just as clue now as they were in 1954. to keep them, trump would have to fire the entire cabinet he has just named your it is a long shot. but trump made his mark as a celebrity by firing people. just maybe coming from a general, trump might pay attention to his words. just do not tell him what
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president eisenhower thought of roy cohen. thank you. [applause] >> we had a few minutes for questions. not very many minutes. keep your questions concise and to the point. please step up to the microphone if you have any questions. audience member: thank you. i teach in canada and i am a united states historian and was born in the u.s. what would your advice be, anybody can pick it up, to what is left of the democratic party?
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what bothers me, although i did like what one of you pointed out, some people we may like in our parties. it's obama saying i can deport more people than the 42 other people that had held that office for the previous 200 years. it did not seem to get many liberals very upset. i'm leaning to telling the democratic party to become the democratic party again. what would you say? >> does one of you want to answer that question? >> one year ago, everybody was talking about the collapse of the republican party. it did not happen that way. the republican party is in bad shape too. the democrats are in terrible shape. they are a minority and they
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have no leverage anywhere. the thing about the trump administration is that there is no place for the opposition to hold onto. the question is whether the democrats do what mitch mcconnell did and say no to everything that they push through. or whether they should try to triangulate with them on things like infrastructure. i am no political strategist, but i think the first of those is actually smarter for the democrats. any trump victory is going to help trump. that is just a political guests. who is the democratic party now? nancy pelosi? chuck schumer? governors? it is pretty small. you need people in the end.
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how you're going to find the party -- it is not so much even mending the risks that were left after the last primary. a lot of people did not show up for her because of what happened in the primaries. i am not convinced that that insurgency is going to transform the democratic party. i think that the democrats are going to have to survive. >> other question? >> everybody is in shock. [laughter] >> i would add to that that they need to survive and make sure the constitution survives. as important as all these policy issues are, the most important thing of all is ensuring that in 2020 we have a reasonably fair election.
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i think the democrats would have a reasonable chance of winning, as weak as they are, because i do think that trump will crash and burn on a whole lot of issues. i was critical of the president for not saying more about the hacking before the election. i think national security was at stake. that was an attack on our system of government. they were pretty sure that is what was going on. i was quite disturbed by that. then the fbi and director comey, this is a tainted election. there is no way around that. the question is how we are going to move on after this? what hangs on the investigation is where we go with our next election. >> one practical matter which often goes on remarked upon is
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that they rigged the primaries. they need to do a better job of rigging the primary where they do not get caught, or they need to convince the party that the best person will emerge, and not the person that has been given denomination on a silver platter which is what happened with clinton. >> just to add, as we know, the death sentence has been predicted for one of the major two parties again and again. they always survive and adjust. we went into this election day with two parties that were in big trouble. we came out of it with two parties that were in big trouble with internal divisions.
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one thing to a previous remark, one thing this has done is it has activated activism and protest in a way -- we also do not like to engage in counterfactual, but if there had been a hillary clinton victory, there would have still been this index -- discontent in the democratic party. the democratic party would still be in a pickle. my answer when people ask me is if is that the state and local level. that is something -- we focus relentlessly on the presidency and national politics. the intention is to always focus on washington d.c., but there are two other levels of political drama that is going on.
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that contributed significantly to how and why the pattern of voting in 2016. the rebuilding has to happen on all three levels of government. >> i agree with that. winning is always better than losing. the democratic party would be in much better shape if clinton had one. there were ways in which the division inside the democratic party was not as profound as many people think. it might have even been narrowed. i know that was on the minds of people who thought that she was going to win. that did not happen. defeat is an orphan, but it can also kill you. that is what the democrats have to worry about. >> it is interesting that the subpanel for this panel's priorities for the new president. the question about the dilemma
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between the democrats deciding who they are and where they stand and overcoming their own internal divisions when facing the trump agenda. >> my allegiance until recently shifted from the democratic party to the republican party. in the last election we saw a white working class for -- workers vote for the republican party. states that had larger white populations were pulled into the republican camp.
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i'm wondering whether there is a future for the two party -- parties to appeal to white working-class voters. >> i have the advantage of ignorance here. i do not study the united states because it is far too strange. this talk of the white working class shows that there is an enormous amounts we do not know. there is an interesting piece in
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the times about the white working class. when he followed it, that term turned out to mean is whites without a college degree. that is not the same. it is a very different story. there are basic things we do not yet know. you feel -- you see all this data and think it correlates with voting patterns and incomes. as historian's, we know that your economic status is not about your income. the person making $60,000 a year and lives in a house that they inherited debt free from their parents is very different from the person who makes $60,000 a year and is trying to pay a mortgage. the data never seems to have that kind of information in it. there is a tremendous amount that we do not know and that we should not assume that this
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trump vote is a revolt of a working class in the traditional sense. >> i would like to add to that. i've been thinking about the future dissertations and books written in 30 years. i think there will be interesting one written on the modern media of 2016 created class consciousness in many ways. one of the things about this election, a lot of college educated white voters voted for trump too, it was not just a question of race and hillary clinton in particular. we talk a lot about trump's personality.
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this was a look -- an election based on two personalities. really, the presidential election was about a candidate centered election of a magnitude we have not seen in him had. -- we have not seen in some time. probably because the candidates were both negative. as parties, they do the nominating of candidates. these two individuals have been in the public eye for more than three decades. people have very strong and fix opinions about these people. particularly hillary clinton. >> to put it in context a little bit more. 80,000 votes in three states and we would be having a completely different conversation then we are having now. it would be remarked on how hillary clinton managed to get enough of the white working class voters to windows three
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states and to carry off a pretty big electoral college victory. we should be careful about seeing the margins. this is a very strange outcome and a very strange campaign. when i say it is tainted, i mean it. the outcome is so clouded by the events that happen, especially over the past month and a half of the campaign, that i do not want to make too many strong sociological judgments about the voting patterns without all of that out there. i just do not given the closeness. also, given certain bad decisions that were made by the clinton campaign and how they handled it. but that is inside baseball. i would to be more careful about making grand judgments. the second point is that we have been here before. there is a book about how a county that went for trump carried reagan in the 80's.
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they go back and forth. this year enough of them either did not show up or voted for trump that made a difference. again, it was a very narrow difference. audience member: i have very much enjoyed all of the remarks tonight. i am very struck in an election where gender played an enormous role. no one has addressed gender as an important issue for the first 100 days. any comments on that? >> we all have gender. >> we certainly do. >> let me think about this. part of the problem is if hillary clinton had been elected, we would have different answers about this. roe v wade will probably be killed. planned parenthood funding?
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it will likely disappear. as far as those issues, it looks like it will be a disaster. i'm not sure what trump's policies be gender are except reactionary. in some ways your back to 1973 for a different reason. it goes to the fact that -- >> i did mention that 200,000 women are going to washington, d.c. the day after the election. , it is clear to me through all of the coverage of trump voters who represented the former obama
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rainbow coalition, particularly latino voters, that a number of latina voters would continuously respond to the badgering questions about supporting trump and being a woman. they kept saying that they were not concerned with being a woman, but were being concerned with the economic future of the country. there are women who are concerned at the polls who are conflicted about what those gender issues mean. we have to come to terms with that. i do not think trump is going to be the arbiter of that. it will depend on what takes place in the national conversation.
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>> women voters have been confounding expectations since 1920. the assumptions about how women are going to vote and then the reasons why they do vote have been interpreted and misinterpreted again and again. this cauldron of race, class, and gender in which everybody is operating. yes, a female candidate who was boundary breaking and that she was the first major candidate for a presidential party and came close to winning the whole thing. she was a woman who was atypical in many ways. two is a public figure. she was incredibly privileged. she had been living in a bubble for a long time. she had the weirdest job in american politics, first lady. a highly gendered job. we know way too much about her marriage.
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those things clouded our ability -- maybe when the got -- when the dust settles in a couple decades, we will be able to make better sense of how and what the ultimate impact was of her candidacy and how historic it was in what the legacy will be. >> since we are running late, maybe one last question. audience member: thank you for your comments. anybody who believes in women's rights can be at the march in washington. as a resident of north carolina, we are going to be the only ones that actually have elections. donate to north carolina. [laughter] >> we approve of this message. >> thank you all. [laughter]
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[applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> interested in american history tv? visit our website, american artifacts, road to the white house, and more. >> sidney blumenthal spoke about the political forces that shaped the 16th president's views on slavery. he is the author of a self-made man.


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