tv P.M. Question Time CSPAN September 2, 2013 12:00am-12:31am EDT
i think you have to unplug. i think it is good to be analog sometimes. i think unintended consequences of texting and instant messaging -- social network gaming networking and e-mail, it is very hard to be off the grid and out of touch. sometimes it's hard to think or , and all those things are important for your health and so iuality of your work, think it's up to people to try to figure out a way to unplug or mostly unplug for periods of time. more about the future of
technology on the communicators .n c-span 2 >> a preview of the g 20 summit in st. petersburg, russia. currentcussed the relationship with russia. this is just under an hour. >> good morning and welcome to the center for strategic and international studies. i'm andrew schwartz, senior vice president at csis, and i have the pleasure of presiding over this briefing today with two of my favorite colleagues, soon to be three of my favorite colleagues, one of whom is stuck in traffic.
we're going to be talking about the president's trip to the g-20 summit and we will go through this from a couple different angles. but first i'd like to introduce heather conley, senior fellow and director of the europe program at csis. prior to working at csis, heather served in a variety of positions including deputy assistant secretary of state for europe. and with that, i'll let heather take it. >> thank you, andrew. good morning. well, it's hard to believe that matt and i two and a half months ago were sitting before you doing a briefing before the president traveled to lough erne, ireland and the g-8 summit, and we questioned how much syria would overwhelm the g-8 summit. here we are two months later,
and we're now following the president as he makes his way en route to st. petersburg for the g-20 summit and wondering how much, of course, how much will syria dominate the corridor conversations. i guess you could summarize the president's unanticipated stop in stockholm as russia's loss and sweden's gain. after president obama canceled his bilateral summit with president putin, a stop needed to be added to the itinerary, and looking around the flight path, certainly the nordic countries came to mind. but of course president obama had already been to copenhagen in 2009 for the u.n. climate conference; he had been to oslo, norway, to accept his nobel prize. he is welcoming the three presidents of the baltic states on friday in the oval office, so that canceled out any of the three baltic states, so sweden and finland were certainly the most logical choices. and stockholm won that choice. this is in fact the first time a
president has visited sweden in a bilateral capacity. president bush was the first president to visit sweden, i believe, in 2009 in gothenburg, sweden, for u.s.-eu summit. but this is the first time that we'll have a president visit the capital. president obama arrives in sweden and will be greeted by prime minister fredrik reinfeldt. he has led a center-right government for the last seven years. he will face elections next year. certainly sweden has experienced some unsettled times and its own challenges dealing with integration of immigrants. if you'll recall, in may, about six days of riots in the suburbs of stockholm dealing with a police shooting and continues to be a very great topic of conversation with that immigration aspect. so certainly that would be part of the domestic conversation. prime minister reinfeldt has been very gracious in gathering his four other nordic colleagues to join with president obama in a dinner the evening after he arrives, and i would sense the conversation will be quite robust about the region, and certainly i hope, and csis has
been engaged in a four-year study on the arctic. i think the president may hear quite a bit about the arctic from his swedish and nordic counterparts. secretary kerry, as you will recall, was just in sweden, northern sweden, in mid-may to attend the arctic council ministerial, where a historic decision was made to welcome several asian countries as permanent observers to the arctic council. we have a chinese cargo ship now passing through the northern sea route. so as the opening of the arctic happens, the geopolitical dynamics are changing, and i'm sure the president will hear from his colleagues about that. and finally, one word on the bilateral discussion between president obama and the swedish prime minister. sweden has been an extraordinary ally across a range of issues.
they have troop personnel in afghanistan, approximately 600. they were on standby for operations in libya. they've contributed over a hundred troops in mali. for a neutral country, this is a robust level of engagement, and i think we have certainly appreciated that great solidarity. the breadth of the conversation clearly, prime minister reinfeldt will want to provide president obama with an update on the european debt crisis, although that has certainly faded from the top of the agenda. this is going to be the first time that the president returns to europe after his visit following the g-8 and then to his visit to berlin. i'm sure he'll hear from his european colleagues about the ramification of the nsa prism issue as that continues to be a topic of concern in europe. russia will clearly be a topic, and of course syria, egypt, the middle east and the unrest there. so i believe you'll see a very fulsome bilateral conversation, a more dynamic regional conversation with the nordic
states. and i think it's an excellent preparation to get the president ready as he travels to st. petersburg to meet with his g-8, g-20, excuse me, colleagues. and matt, i'll let you take the baton. >> let me introduce matt real quick, really quickly. matt goodman here at csis holds our william simon chair in political economy. the simon chair examines current issues in international economic policy, with a particular focus on the asia-pacific. but i should also say that matt previously served as the white house coordinator for the east asia summit, for the asia- pacific summit, but he also served as director for international economics on the nsc staff and was responsible for the g-20, g-8 and other international forums. and with that, i'd like to introduce my colleague matt goodman. >> ok, thank you, andrew. thank you, heather. so the president will be participating in the eighth g-20 summit on september 5th and 6th at the constantine palace in strelna, outside st. petersburg.
when andy gets here, he can tell us how to actually pronounce strelna, and not to mention st. petersburg. the g-20, as you know, just to recap, is a gathering of leaders of 19 individual countries and the european union, which has its own seat, and then another five invited guests, including spain, singapore and a couple of african countries that i've forgotten at the moment, tanzania, i think, ethiopia and one other, and then a number of international institutions, the u.n., the imf, the oecd and others will be in attendance as well. the schedule begins, actually, with sherpa meetings, that is, the leaders' senior economic advisers, will meet starting september 2nd, together with the finance deputies, because the g- 20 is really built on a finance ministers process, as you know,
and so the sherpas and finance deputies will meet in parallel and then together in the days leading up to the arrival of the leaders on the 5th in order to hammer out the communique and the deliverables, as it were, such as they are. incidentally, this will be the first summit attended by the new u.s. sherpa, caroline atkinson, who replaced mike froman when he moved over to ustr. mike has been at all the other obama g-20 summits. there will probably be - well, let me - let me quickly go through what we understand the schedule to be. this hasn?t been formally published, but the formal summit plenary sessions will begin after lunch on september 5th and go through dinner that night. the next morning there will be a continuation of discussion, but interrupted this is a small innovation by the russians. they are going to have an interaction with business leaders during the morning, the
so-called b-20. there's a proliferation of alphabet groups that have the 20 after their name, and the b-20 is the business grouping, and there will be an interaction that morning and, as i understand it, some separate bilateral time as well for leaders. and then the meeting will continue through lunch into the sort of mid-to-late afternoon and end with a press conference on september 6th. there will undoubtedly be bilaterals on the side that president obama will be involved in. those have not been announced yet. when andy gets here, i think he'll tell you that it's unlikely that president obama and president putin will have a bilateral, which is the normal practice that happens at these summits. but, and one can speculate that there will probably be a summit with the chinese president, president xi, and japanese prime
minister abe, but none of that has been, as far as i know, has been made public. in terms of the agenda, the russians have laid out three, well, one sort of big theme, which is sustainable, inclusive and balanced growth and creating jobs. and specifically, they have three specific priorities: growth through quality jobs and investment, growth through trust and transparency and growth through effective regulation. those are all sort of ways of reorganizing and capturing the long-standing g-20 agenda, which really covers and they list the eight areas that have traditionally been covered under summits, so those include strong, sustainable, balanced growth, jobs, international financial institution reform, strengthening financial regulation, energy sustainability, development, so all of those things will be will be on the formal agenda. not all those things will be talked about by the leaders.
and at the end of this, there will be a probably lengthy communique and then attached documents. it would be probably unreasonable to expect that this communique is going to be significantly shorter than the los cabos communique, which is the last g-20 leaders' statement, which ran to 85 paragraphs. i would be surprised if it was significantly shorter than that because it has to cover all of the topics i mentioned. what the leaders will really talk about probably will revolve around in addition to syria, which will not be on the formal agenda this grouping, unlike the g-8, really does not have a formal place for discussion of broad geopolitical issues. but of course, inevitably, it is going to dominate the corridor conversations. in the in the actual sessions among leaders, the agenda or the formal agenda will cover economic and economic-related issues, and i would say probably three or four big topics.
obviously, the global economy will dominate. you'll have some european - and here's andy joining us. great. good timing. i'm stalling here, andy, just to [laughter] to make it . >> dr. andy kuchins, ladies and gentlemen. (laughter.) >> so the europeans will obviously probably crow a little bit about their second quarter gdp numbers, which were positive for the first time in eight or nine quarters, i think. the u.s. will probably still express concern about the fact that while the u.s. economy is doing better, it cannot be the only engine of growth in the global economy, and it will express concern about the risks and the imbalances which remain in the global economy. emerging markets are probably going to talk about the financial market volatility, which they attribute in large part to the concerns about tapering by the u.s. and the u.s. fed and other monetary authorities from this
extraordinary period of monetary easing, which they also were uncomfortable with precisely because it created these sorts of financial risks. the advanced countries will probably push back that those things, those reactions in the markets are, first of all, a natural consequence of strategies by these countries, the u.s. and japan and european countries, to keep the economies growing, and inevitably, these policies are going to have to end. they will also argue that a lot of the problems in emerging markets are homegrown, so the problems in india or brazil or other countries are - as i say, are homegrown. this issue is not going to be resolved, but i'd say, on balance - and i would - and i think it's fair to say, also,
that there is, as that little discussion has just revealed, that there is not the same sort of sense of consensus and shared sense of crisis in the group, although i think the sense of crisis generally may be starting to pick up again, but not everybody agrees on what the causes or solutions to that - those issues are. but overall, i think it will be it will be largely conversations about those issues. there will also probably be a significant amount of discussion of international tax cooperation, both to deal with tax evasion and tax avoidance. this was a major theme at the g- 8 summit, and certainly, the g-8 members are going to be interested in talking about those issues. and potentially, there could be there won't be any kind of breakthrough agreements, but there could be a reinforcement of some of the work that was
agreed to in the g-8 oecd work on tax-sharing and information- sharing and so forth. and then a third area would be trade. i think that there will be a fairly robust discussion of trade. the g-8 - the g-20 has several times now laid down a commitment, a standstill against protectionist measures, which they've most recently extended through 2014, and they may be likely to re-up that. of course, this commitment has been honored in the breach, but they will probably make a strong stand. they will also talk about the doha round. i think at this point the main focus is on the bali ministerial in december, which is the last
real chance i think to potentially save a doha round. but most people i think in the trade world don't think that that's likely to happen, that there may be a more focused look at what the g-20 can do to push forward specific agreements in bali, say, on trade facilitation, for example. but whether that's going to progress or not remains to be seen. and then there may be some discussion about development issues, food security, infrastructure investment and so forth. finally, i'll wrap up and let andy talk about the interesting stuff in russia. but i would just say, i think that the white house certainly feels the g-20 is an important forum. it's the only forum in which the leaders of what - group of countries that represent 85 percent of the global economy can get together and talk about both the short- term risks to global growth and the longer-term challenges of sustained and balanced growth. and it is an opportunity to sort of broadly set the agenda for
the global economy and, finally, to build habits of cooperation among the members of the group that have not had the same experience that the g-8 countries in particular have had in guiding these issues. so i think, broadly, this is still a trip that the - syria notwithstanding, that the president looks forward to as an opportunity to engage on this set of issues. i'll stop there and turn it to andy. >> dr. kuchins is our - the director of our russia and eurasia program, and he will put forth what's going on with the russians. >> thanks, andrew. and my apologies for being late. unlike mr. putin last year in deciding not to come to the g-8, and unlike mr. obama deciding not to meet mr. putin in moscow, i did decide to come to the press briefing today. it's kind of an odd role. you know, in russian literature, there is a tradition of the "lishniy chelovek," the superfluous man. and in some ways, i feel a bit like a superfluous man talking
about a meeting that is not going to happen, but in a relationship which, frankly, is not in a good place. how's that for an exciting quote? some might call it a train wreck. it's been like watching a slow- moving train wreck for nearly two years right now. what's the good news? well, the good news is that this is not the cuban missile crisis. the good news is that this is not even the georgia war of five years ago in which one could've imagined the possibility of u.s. and russian military forces, perhaps by accident, come into conflict with each other in the in the black sea. but one thing is clear to me, that this is the worst personal relationship between u.s. and russian perhaps even u.s. and soviet leaders in history. and one has to kind of think about, you know, what does that
mean? what does that - what does that hurt in the relationship? i really i think these two guys, mr. putin and mr. obama, don?t like each other at all. i think there's a deep degree of disrespect. i think when our president says something like comparing mr. putin to the kid in the back of the classroom, kind of slouchy, not really interested in things, well, you?ve taken the - you've taken the relationship to a personal level - even more so, i think, than the comment he made, which it was i think a mistake, four years ago that mr. putin had one foot in the cold war and one foot, you know, in the - in the future. mr. putin is not a person that forgets, i think, any personal insults, and that certainly has not played well in the relationship.
but - and it's something to think about. i mean, really, i don?t think there's been a case, even in the soviet period - obviously, mr. lenin didn't meet with any american leaders that i know of. we know about the relationship between 'uncle joe' and fdr. but clearly, to me, this is - this is the worst personal relationship of a u.s. and russian leader in history. and i think that's obviously not a - not a good thing. let's look a little bit more at the recent history. now, the obama administration made an effort in the - in the spring and early summer to engage russia, to try to put the relationship that was obviously, for a number of reasons that i think are clear to everyone in this room, that was - that was on the rocks and getting worse. but basically, mr. putin was not interested in what the obama administration was trying to sell them. and i think, essentially, what
the effort to engage mr. putin was principally around the issue of further cuts in offensive nuclear arms tied to some kind of agreement about their modus vivendi on missile defense. and that was that was a, like i said, that was a deal that mr. putin had decided he just was not particularly interested in. i think that is what the effort begun with the trip of former national security adviser tom donilon to moscow in the spring was about, mainly, and that's what this - so this effort to bring - to bring the two sides together. now, i mean, it was pretty clear
from the g-8 meeting that [chuckles] - just looking at the body posture as to what - how much that can actually tell us, we don't know, but it was a pretty powerful statement. but you have to wonder, you know, what was the thinking in the - in the administration at the time that gave them some degree of hope and optimism that there would be enough of an - enough to agree on at a meeting to justify a summit meeting in september. you know, i don't know exactly, but it looks to have been a miscalculation. and then, of course, we have to factor in, you know, just how much of an effect the snowden affair had on the decision to cancel the summit. now, the snowden affair you know, i was not particularly impressed with the way it was handled on our side, to be frank. i think there was far too much so-called "public diplomacy," if you want to call public demands diplomacy. and i don't think there was adequate behind-the-scenes backdoor communication between the administrations at a high enough level to make some kind of face-saving deal possible if, indeed, that were possible in the - in the first place. you know, i think, to me, i
constantly ask myself the question, let's imagine that edward snowdenov arrived in dulles airport with the same kind of information about the domestic and foreign surveillance system that the russian federation was using. you know, would we have extradited him back to russia? i think almost [chuckles] - i think it's almost impossible to imagine that we would have done that. and so it does make me wonder why did we think that the russians would do it in this case. i think - i don?t know this for sure, but my sense is that the administration thought that they were making progress in these
discussions through law enforcement channels. but frankly, you know, this was a case where i think if there was an opportunity to resolve this, the only way that you could have done it, i think, was for mr. obama to pick up the telephone and have some very, you know, frank conversations with mr. putin and try to work it through a personal relationship and try to find some kid of face-saving solution. but i won't go - i won't beat that - well, the horse is not quite dead yet, but i won't belabor that point any longer, because frankly, you know, we don't - you know, we don't know whether there would have been a summit if there hadn't been a snowden affair, you know, if in fact it was the decision that there wasn't adequate progress on key issues in the bilateral relationship. we don't know, and we're not likely to find out for quite a long time. where do we go from here? gosh, it's pretty tough to find a way in which or find a reason for which either leadership is going to, you know, want to find or see the incentives for themselves to resurrect the relationship.
i think it's very likely that we could see this relationship muddle along at this, you know, very, very kind of unpleasant level for the next three years, you know, until we're looking at a new administration in the united states. and who knows how long we're going to be looking at the same administration in moscow. so just to cut it short - [chuckles] - always try to find some kind of silver lining in this one. well, ok, here, i'll just pull one out of left field for you, ok? because it's not really about the u.s.-russian relationship. there are some interesting things going, actually, in the russo-japanese relationship, and, you know, i had thought that one of the reasons why mr.
putin and the russians had some incentive to try to improve their ties with the united states going back four years ago was their concern about the growing power of china and that they would like to have a more balanced foreign policy. well, it looks like, i think, mr. putin is trying to address, you know, his concerns about the possibility of being overleveraged to china in other ways, and i think the russo- japanese relationship is number one on - number one on the list. now, i'm not going to make the prediction that the northern territory issue is going to be resolved, but i would say i think that the possibility of resolution of this longstanding issue, now 68 years, is greater than i've seen at any time in the last 25 years or so that i've been - that i've been following it. you have two leaderships in both countries that are relatively strong domestically, which i think is necessary, and i think
both have the outside factor of their concern increasing about chinese activities. and we may see this finally, in the next year or so, lead to a breakthrough in that relationship, which would frankly be good for the u.s.- russia relationship, as well. so with that note from left field trying to bring some optimism to the discussion, let me finish my prepared remarks. thanks. >> we're going to open it up to questions in just a second. if you could identify yourself and if you're at the table, please speak into the microphone. this briefing will be available in transcript form later today. i'll mail it out. i also want to assure you that we still do have a board of trustees. as many of you know, you know, dr. brzezinski's around, dr. kissinger's around. we're moving our office in a couple weeks, so that's why we have such sort of emptiness here. our new building will be at 1616 rhode island avenue, and you can
follow us on twitter, @csis, for more updates about that. but it's an exciting moment in the 50-year history of csis, and we're looking forward. actually, i think this will probably be the last press briefing we do in this old building. so thank you again for being here. with that, i'd like to open it up for questions. right here. >> dmitri kirsanov with itar- tass. i would like to ask the members of the panel to put a little more meat on the issue of what's going to happen next in the bilateral relationship. and since mr. goodman mentioned that probably there will be no bilateral meeting between presidents - >> [inaudible] [laughter.] >> well, i would like to hear that. is there any chances that the summit might be a warming-off point, or none at all? >> thanks, dmitri, for the question. i was thinking this morning i would - you know, it could be a statements-like - statesman-like move on the part of president