tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 21, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
the time we have for this program. please join us again tomorrow for "washington journal." we will go live to the heritage foundation in washington where they are hosting a panel ,iscussion on top again that the resurgence of russian political warfare. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] .
>> good morning. welcome to the heritage foundation in our lewis fuller meant auditorium. and thank you for those who are joining us through the various networks today. if you will make sure your cell phones are turned off, we appreciate it as we begin. and if you wish to send in questions or comments, simply e-mail us at speaker@ heritage.org. posting our discussion is a senior fellow for public diplomacy in our douglas and sarah allison center for foreign policy. she focuses on the government institutions and programs for strategic outreach to the public
and foreign countries as well as diplomacy. she is a fellow at the hoover institution and serves on the journalismolitical at hanover college in indiana. please join me in welcoming hello dale -- hila dale. [applause] >> thank you. politics andssian 30 tricks that we have seen in full bloom in recent months, relating to specifically russia's efforts to dominate and control parts of its former soviet empire. as we look at a highly unstable situation in eastern ukraine and presidential elections coming up in may, these efforts by russia, i think we can all say, can be trusted to intensify.
the russian actions against crimea and eastern ukraine have russiano re-create influence. he is using every means at his disposal, going well beyond military power. hasnew russian propaganda ramped up anti-american rhetoric to a fever pitch. blockedrces are being and pro-russian ngos are being established throughout the former republic, and russian ethnic minority neighboring states are being bombarded with russian link which media from moscow. the on that in crimea and eastern ukraine, russian special intelligence units are igniting separates -- separatist interests. meanwhile from the american , we have secretary of state john kerry and vice
president joe biden spearheading u.s. support for ukraine. terriblyn't find that confidence inspiring, then i'm with you. we have today with us three truly imminent experts on russia and the soviet union to my keen observers of russian behavior past and present. our first speaker will be john linchowski.-- john from 1990 one to 1993, he served in the state department of the bureau of european affairs -- i'm sorry, 1981 to 1983. and from 1983 to 1987, he was director of soviet affairs at the national security council. capacity, he served as the principal soviet affairs adviser to president reagan. with manyn associated academic research institutions,
but he is certainly best known as the founder of the institute of world politics on 16th street , an eminent school of foreign-policy studies, a graduate school that has spearheaded many of the efforts on strategic communication, public diplomacy, and studies. we are thrilled you're here with us today. >> thank you very much, helle. good morning, ladies and gentlemen. it is great to be with my colleagues. i have great admiration for them . adeed, we have too much of society of mutual adoration of here. has asked me if i would give a bit of a background about russian propaganda, or perhaps , and howet propaganda some of the themes and ways and
means of this propaganda relates to what is going on today. tradition,long , in the 20th century that the soviets perfected to a science. spectrum ofentire activities that went from diplomacy,nventional cultural diplomacy, sports diplomacy, things like that, designed for purposes of psychological disarmament, to ordinary information policy, which was heavily manipulated mixing the truth with lies and using the truth where it served their purposes and twisting it --classic pop again to stick
fashion.stic there is a kgb art referring to disinformation, forgeries, and political covert operations. these involved all sorts of things, such as provocations, front organizations, agents with influence that were placed in foreign newspapers, in foreign parliaments, and foreign governments. given that the kgb may have been split up into a couple of different organizations, but never really reformed, given that the kgb was heavily involved in these types of active measures of operations, there is a tremendous institutional memory within russia today about how this was done during soviet days.
unfortunately, we have stopped tracking these kinds of things in the u.s. government. in the 1980's when i was serving there, we had a soviet active measures working group, which collected not only our intelligence community but our dip -- not only our intelligence community, but our diplomatic community collected intelligence that related to ordinary propaganda as well as covert operations. studied andhat we declassify the information that we had analyzed. we disseminated it to other government agencies, editorial boards, to foreign governments in order to sensitize people of and the soviets were doing the very exposure of this type of activity was something that
raise people's consciousness and enabled them to realize the degree to which their perceptions were being managed. problems i hadt with the way u.s. foreign-policy is run and the way people study it, which is one of the motivations for our founding the istitute of world politics, that very few people study propaganda or covert political operations. therefore, they don't know the history or the techniques by which perceptions management can be accomplished. i simply ask -- how do you know you are perceiving foreign reality correctly if you don't your perceptions could be managed by any number of or foes?riends this is an essential subject for the study of international relations, and i think it is a sign of huge, both professional and academic malpractice, that
this is something that is ignored except in a few core doors around the country like ours at iw p that study these things. review ato briefly couple of methods of classic soviet propaganda and , which have been carried on by the russians in the modern era. we in the just say united states not having collected information on this, nor having studied this in any have been fashion blissfully unaware about the degree to which this has affected our perceptions. but there are others, for example, in neighboring countries, but not least of which is ukraine, where people living there are very familiar now soviet active measures, russian active measures, and who
whoin the business of -- actually exposed some of these things and charge the russians for doing these things. this was long before a recent event. we were hearing ukrainian accusations against russia concerning active measures back in the early, mid, and late 1990's. one of the most essential elements of the russian strategy , and soviet strategy, is to define the terms of debate. any good debater knows that he who defines the terms of debate is halfway towards winning. the soviets did this in all sorts of classic fashion. they were for peace. we were for war. they were for disarmament. we were for an arms race. they were for security. we were aggressors who were creating insecurity.
on and on. they are doing the same thing today by identifying the ukrainian new government as fascists and not cease -- nazis. theirrse, blackening opponents is standard procedure. and saying that this is ultimately a battle between them, the good guys, the anti-na fascists in nazi kiev. the men in crimea were assigned, saying basically -- laying this conflict out as russia versus the nazis. a large part of this effort involves distracting peoples attention from the issue at hand. distraction is a huge element of
propaganda and one of the ways that russian propaganda has been doing that, especially as the united states has been involved, is to accuse us of illegally invading iraq, of attempting to co-opt all sorts of people around the world who have questioned the legality and the prudence of our invasion of iraq . in any event, there are other kinds of things like that that suffice it to say, this is one of the major elements. their adversaries of doing exactly what they do, namely covert action. they are accusing us of it. they are accusing kiev of covert action in the east, when it is precisely their own provocateurs who have been involved in infiltrating the country and engaging in these types of
riling up demonstrations, and so on and so forth, stage protests. semantics are another key technique in all of this. one of thesay that in this, and there are many different dimensions you may have seen in recent reports a region ofe of ,outhern and eastern ukraine calling it by a russian name, and claiming he used to be russian territory. one of the other themes is that moscow is paranoid. this is a classic deception theme. it is designed to get everybody in the west that we have to handle moscow with kid gloves --
kit gloves. we cannot provoke them too much. we cannot resist what they are doing, or else it will provoke them and make things worse. and then there is the effort to try to co-opt sympathize -- sympathizers among the enemy. and the remarkable degree to 'sich food and's -- putin anti-lgbt campaign and this sort of thing has managed to attract all sorts of social conservatives not only in the united states, but particularly , let me just say -- there's so much more that can be said about these things and i'm sure i colleagues will address -- my colleagues will address a number of them. i would like to deal with very briefly what the united states
should do. as i mentioned before, i think it is essential that we as a government, and that even our academic institutions and think in this more analysis field. i am delighted that the heritage foundation has seen fit to have this forum, to cast some light on this issue. this is a classic issue that should not just be reserved for crisis moments. it is something that goes on all the time in so many of the different conflicts around the world, whether it is the middle east, radical islam is him -- whether it issm, china. would like to i do is to have a voice of truth. we have shut down so many of our public diplomacy capabilities in this country. we shut down the united agency in what i call a fit of absence
of mind in 1999. it was all supposed to be very efficient and we were going to --we folded a shadow of usa usaid former work. -- diplomacyow work, but much of it is ignored. we have a diplomatic culture in this country and not a serious soft power culture. i would venture to say that the a greaterhas sensitivity to soft power than .he department of state does it understands hearts and minds having recognized the vital necessity of these sorts of things on the battlefronts in iraq and afghanistan. it understands cultural
diplomacy, and it understands it instrument ofgic american power. part of this is the problem of our international broadcast. our international broadcast -- radio, television, and obviously internet -- are the only unfiltered information that we can get into the minds of millions and millions of people around the world. all other information that we by thet is filtered government second troll their , and tos does russia this extraordinary extent that it has started to do. by the governments that control their media, as does russia, and to these extraordinary extent that it has started to do. down in america the
am station. i do not know why the bbq was bbg was notrenew -- able to renew in moscow, but a subcontractor failed to renew the contract and then basically, putin shut the thing down. i don't know where responsibility lies. but the broadcasting board of governors, which runs radio free etc. isradio free asia, a dysfunctional agency, which has a bipartisan board of unpaid who come commissioners only part-time and who exercise executive authority.
the secretary of state is a member of this board, but is effectively in absentia. the result is the bureaucracy there is effectively unaccountable. this is a board that does not report to anybody when it comes , in the consistent with case of the voice of america, b be broadcast have to consistent with the form policy of the united states. the surrogate radios, the freedom radios that serve a separate mission from the voice of america, like radio free europe, radio liberty, act as a surrogate domestic free press for countries denied free media. these are entirely separate missions. them,re worthy, both of
of being pursued. they are extremely cheap. tried to shut down to china ints mandarin and cantonese. on the ground in short wave is an obsolete legacy technology. buy 290did beijing shortwave transmitters in the last couple of years? because short wave is their favorite and almost only effective way of communicating with its own people. short gets to the audience. you can listen to a radio anonymously. broadcasts and tv broadcasts have been incrementally junked by the bbg as if everybody is going to be on the internet, and as if there
are not millions of internet , asce in a place like china if these internet sites cannot be blocked, or the entire web cannot be shut down. event, we have to start getting serious about adding -- getting an alternative voice out there in the world, an entire overhaul of strategic communications. my solution for this is to make radios, and the freedom the surrogate radios, and television stations to have their own independent directors that report ultimately to the white house, to the national .ecurity council there are different ways of structuring this, and reasonable people can disagree. but they have to be accountable.
i also believe we should set up a new u.s. public see -- diplomacy agency where we pull in all of the diplomacy functions of the u.s. government into one big empire. and so that they would ultimately be taken seriously in this agency, i believe that 50% of all ambassadorships should come out of that agency. then people would start taking public diplomacy seriously. thank you. >> thank you, john. and thank you for that ofervention on behalf of u.s. public diplomacy. i know there are lots of talks about reform. maybe in the next few days or a nut -- in a month we will have another meeting at heritage to talk about all that is going on in that field. let me introduce our next speaker, paul goebel, who is a guest lecturer at the institute for world politics. but that is not by any means his
only reason for being here. paul goebel is a longtime ethnic andin religious questions in eurasia. he has served as director and dean in various capacities at the azerbaijan diplomatic academy. theas been associated with euro college at the university of tartu in estonia. he also launched a series there. the work inning estonia, he worked for the state department, the central intelligence agency, the international broadcasting bureau, as well as voice of america, radio free europe, and radio liberty. he has frequently worked in ethnic and religious issues and
has been an advisor to the government of estonia, latvia, theirthuania during efforts for independence from the soviet union. he is fully qualified to give us his opinion there. over to you. >> thank you. has asked me to speak about the relationship between moscow and the russian federation. i will do that, but i also need to respond to john's insightful comments. those of you that are going to counteringrested in what the russians are doing in the propaganda and disinformation wars need to remember the name natalie kraft, who was america's leading specialist on this in the past and continues to work. she has said three things that are relevant to our discussion
today. she said the first problem is that everyone tries to project onto others what they are themselves. it is not only a problem that the russians do, but everyone. we tend not to see it when we do it ourselves. the way this was summarized by natalie years ago was, the u.s. sends the soviet union diplomats and they treat them like spies. -- they send us a spies and we treat them as diplomats. this is a problem. the problem is far worse than many people think. most of the statements that vladimir coogan and his friends make today are outright lies. lies are fairly easy to counter. there is a much more serious threat in the case of disinformation. disinformation is mostly true.
that is to say, you create a set of expectations and then you introduce one or two falsehoods, and that has enormous consequences. that requires enormous resources to find out. it is easy to deal with blatant lies, but do not think that the blatant lies are the only challenge out there. and third, as natalie grant wrote, dealing with disinformation and efforts to influence, one has to realize this is a long-term problem. you cannot dip in and did out of it. the united states is increasingly short-term in its approach, and that means we come in and we don't see what has been going on. we don't understand how much we have been manipulated already by the first 4.5 acts of a five act play. what is going on in eastern ukraine today is nothing especially new in some regards
all stopped in other ways, it is a serious change and we will talk about that. things i've seen was whenort in august of 1998 the russian ruble collapsed. because it was collapsing, citizens of the russian federation rushed to spend their rubles because -- so that they would have goods because the ruble would not be worth anything. the tragedy was in the city of us -- was in estonia, there were russian ethnic speakers rushing to the store to buy goods with hard estonia and crohn's because they have been washing -- watching russian tv and did not make the distinction between the estonian currency which was hard currency and the russian currency that had collapsed. even reporting that
may be accurate has consequences when it is put into a new context that people are not paying attention to. i would like to very quickly cover three things with you. first, i would like to say something about the tragedy which is inherent in the russian state and the russian people and has been for at least 700 years, which goes to the issue of who is russian and who is not. second, i want to focus moscowcally on why approach the so-called ethnic 1991 and 2010en one way and why vladimir putin has made a bet in the other direction now. in some respect, what putin has done is to violate even the rules of the game that moscow had sort of accepted after the settlement of the end of the soviet union. and third, i would like to make
45 comments at the end, following -- four or five comments at the end following my usual approach about what we have got to do now. we have certain capacities that we can run up very rapidly and there are other things that we better be ready for if we care about the future. of the russian people and the russian state can be expressed in a single sentence. and that is, that the russian state became an empire before the russian people became a nation. enormous number of consequences, one of which, of course, means that the russian state has never been a nationstate. it has always been an imperial one. and on the other hand, it means that ethnic russians have always been defined by the state rather than themselves. when we say ethnic russian, we act as if we are talking about a category that is at the same level as the category of the
irish or the germans or the french. it is simply not true. these are categories defined by the state. defined by the state for very particular reasons. point -- that first point is that general process. and the second is that the state has always defined who is a russian and who is not. things that has been terribly important in the last few weeks is vladimir putin cost people realize how weak -- vladimir putin's people realize how weak ethnic identification really is. it is a fact that russian extraordinarily weak. russian national identity is far weaker than the national identities of any of the central asian nations. that will noting be accepted by people in this
city, because if you were trained as a soviet specialist to my you were trained as a russian specialist. and in fact, you were trained as a moscow specialist, which means you only passed the ring road to get the sure match at the airport. russian identity is very weak because of a series of policies first under the empire, then under the soviets, and more recently now. under the empire, the czars did all they could, including never asking the question of your ethnicity, never, not once. they knew that the non-russians were more numerous and that the russian state did not have the capacity to will place together, unless it kept the russians from mobilizing as an ethnic community. soviets, there was a faustian bargain under which ethnic russians got to run things, but only as long as they denied they were doing it. it truncated nationality. since then, the russian federation has been seriously
copper mines in its ability to allow the emergence of ethnic -- has been seriously compromised in its ability to allow the emergence of ethnic identity inside the russian state the russian federation, recognizing that, that is the crumble lookto roman. if you get russian nationalism at home, you get the end of the russian federation. if you allow russian nationalism to develop, not only will you develop non-russian nationalism, but it will require kind of state authority, the authoritarianism that will preclude economic development. that was the trap that the soviet union found itself in in the 1970's and 1980's when a had to choose between civility and developing. gorbachevat under they try to choose develop and edit all came apart. has -- and it all
came apart. that problem has not gone away. and a third part is critical. that is, the russian government, including god in your putin -- including vladimir putin are terrified of something we need to talk about. namely, the russian ethnic immunity, however you want -- community, however you want to define it, has ceased to be an assimilated nation and is being assimilated i others and is breaking into fragments. what that means, of course, is that if you don't get an authoritarian state -- and putin thinks he can outlast that through oil and gas revenue -- andwill have siberians, others, and the ethnic russians outside the federation. the ethnic russians outside the federation, my primary subject, are going to drift away. it is only those in moscow and the west that except that
language and identity are the russiana that gets speakers to ethnic russian to people loyal to moscow. it is simply untrue. times, there was a great joke. what do you call people who speak three languages? trilingual. what do you call people who speak two languages? bilingual. what you call someone who speaks one language? an american. we bring this to the table and we think language is identity. nonsense, if you look around the world, you will see many national movement that took off when people stopped speaking the language of the empire, or started speaking it. and it goes in a variety of ways. aparthe soviet union came -- the second part -- when the soviet union came apart in 1994, there was great expectation among people in the west, and roughlymoscow, that the
25.4 million ethnic russians in soviet republics and occupied baltic countries would be people that moscow would reach out to. it did not happen. why? there were two reasons, i think, one domestic and one foreign. russianromote a national strategy at home, it would have led to the further disintegration of the russian federation. because you would have promoted russian nationalism at home and more sales and could not have contained that state. is, there was a view of the yeltsin government that the only way that russia could have influence in the neighborhood was by promoting good relations with the government that were headed by different nationalities. promoting ethnic russian nationalism among these non-russian groups, what would
that do? it would be viewed as an unfriendly act, as i can testify that the estonians and latvians view that as a nun from the act to this day. consequently, despite a lot of talk about it, moscow did relatively little to play the ethnic card, except in estonia and latvia between 1991 -- estonia and latvia. between 1991 and 2010, very little. but there was a third reason will stop most of these people did not see themselves as ethnic russians the way we want to see them as ethnic russians, as members of a coherent national community. instead, they saw themselves as speakers of a language. and because their identity had been defined by the state, if the russian state was weak and somebody else was offering a better deal, that is what you should take. i have a picture of a demonstration in the westernmost region of the russian federation
from about seven years ago showing a group of russians marching around with signs on which it said, i would rather be a second-class citizen and estonian than a first-class citizen and russian. and these people were russians. what vladimir putin has done is understoodause he that if the only way you can promote that original proposition that i said is with authoritarianism. and he believes he has the capacity to do that. but what he has now done, and this is the real crime in crimea and ukraine, it is a real crime that he must be opposed. -- and he must be opposed. he is the first leader since 1945 who has said that ethnicity as he understands it is more important than leadership.
it is something that is dangerous to the neighbors of russia. it is dangerous to russia itself because it will lead to its explosion. and it is dangerous to the rest of the world because it will be copied. to go allow the rentable unchallenged, as we seem to be unfortunately, that citizenship is not the defining thing, what ethniti get is the zation of policy. idea01, we bought into the that there were still bad things, but we assumed they were all sub state actors. what crimea should be a reminder of is that there are evil things in the world and some of them are in states. of the idea that ethnic russians abroad are a coherent group is not true. true withonly not
ethnic russians who live in is pakistan and estonia and ukraine -- there are enormous differences. the important thing to keep in mind is that those people are disappearing. you may have seen the articles last week in moscow saying, where are the 3 million ethnic russians from ukraine? they disappeared. sure, they decided that they may speak russian, but they are now identifying not only as ukrainian citizens, but members of a ukrainian civic nation. and that is what happens when you make ethnic identity, as the russian state has, dependent on state power. what do i think we should do? i will go back to three things. first, we have to recognize that the problem we face with moscow ,s not something moscow's lies
not simply moscow's disinformation directed at ethnic russians abroad, but in and in thestructure reporting by russian television to neighboring countries is in a self -- in itself subversive act. to supportre we have those governments like latvia and lithuania that have blocked the distribution of russian television as destabilizing. rather than condemning it as a violation of human rights, which i have heard from people in this town, we've got to support it. support, andve to with money and also provide political cover to the post-soviet states to do something that is extraordinary difficult for them to do and which they have been reluctant to do for obvious reasons. that is, they need to begin producing television and radio programming in russian to make
sure that the ethnic russians on their territory do not just look at moscow tv and listen to moscow radio. latviansed by the whether they should shut down moscow television. they said, absolutely, but that is not enough. what you need to do is to create a latvian russian language tv for the russian speakers in latvia, one that they would rather watch. it is an enormous task, but not impossible. and it is something these government can do if they enjoy the protection, the cover if you like, that our support could provide. and third, we desperately need revive u.s. international broadcasting. we need to begin broadcasting immediately in crimea and tartar and we can do that. we had crimea into tar -- crimean tartar programming
before. they've got the people. we can do it. you've got to revive short wave as a halfway house before we can get up to speed to do direct to home television programming. that, we have got to into russian definitions of where we broadcast. in the history of u.s. international broadcasting, the united states has never, not time,xcept for one broadcast to a region of how moscow divided up the place with other languages. that one exception was in 1986 when briefly, the united states broadcast into ukraine and the russian far east. you may know that in the russian 3r east there are roughly
million to five million ethnic ukrainians. that broadcasting was done from japan. it should be done again. place.t is not the only i would be happy to talk about where you can do that. we should be taking the bow right back to moscow and we should be broadcasting in a whole bunch of languages that you maybe haven't heard of boryat,, like gloria -- and so on. point, we have to understand that we have richard a world that too many people in this city thought had been permanently put to bed. that is, we are now dealing with denied areas. is extraordinarily difficult to get information in some places. itre areas are denied, where is difficult to get information -- and the internet is not solve everything, despite the mantra of some people in the 21st
century. you need real expertise. you need to spend the time gathering things. i was privileged to work in the research department at liberty and i can tell you how much time it took when these were denied areas to find things. but those are the only kinds of broadcasts that make sense. by cannot short-circuit that assuming you can get it all off the internet. that is going to require us not only to restore a research function that we cannot slough off to universities -- it is simply not going to be possible because you have a real-time issue. besides looking at my picture of the russian citizens demonstrating to become second-class citizens of estonia, each morning what i had paced the room i can -- what i
have pasted over my computer 1944, thein 99 -- canement that americans always be relied on to do the right thing after they've tried everything else. to 20% gdp are down and headed to 10% by the end of this decade, we have to be smart and clever, because we cannot afford to be wrong with the assumption that we can always catch up. if we do not do something to challenge what moscow is trying to do, we will watch a much more .icious, much more violent war and we will watch a much more rapid disintegration of a variety of states, including the russian federation. what moscow is doing in crimea will ultimately destroy the russian federation. that story needs to be told, but it will destroy a bunch of other , like those with
overseas chinese and those where language and identity are confused. thated to be clear about and we need to understand that the people around putin are lying, but they also misunderstand what it is about. putin is doing this to justify an authoritarian regime. but just as the soviet union died not because gorbachev moralize, but because he turned to the right -- liberalized, but because he turned to the right, the russian federation will die because of a turn in the direction. the challenge of the cold war was never just communism. it was soviet russian imperialism in europe. and we are watching russian imperialism once again misusing categories, misusing information. and if we don't counter it now, we will have to later.
very last observation, the strength of this country has always been in its soft power, and its ideas and influence, far more than the cemetery strength or economic power. the united states wins when it plays -- far more than the economic strength or military power. the united states wins when it in that position. if we do not promote soft power through broadcasting, through public diplomacy, we will eventually be driven to use hard far more,it will cost and be far more difficult, and be far more dangerous to our goals and interests, as well as everyone else's. clicks and our final speaker, from the senior
russian center on studies here at the heritage foundation. he joined the heritage foundation in 1992 and earned his doctorate from tufts university in massachusetts. he served in both the executive branch and in the private sector , thelicy on russia caucasus, and central asia he is also a member on -- of the council on foreign relations, and the association for the study of nationalities. appeared onso media intelevision and russia, here, everywhere. much,helle.u very both of my colleagues here are a
difficult act to follow. me, it is déjà vu all over again, as yogi berra said, because i started in radio free research. i continued with a masters paper at the fletcher school of masters thesis on front organizations as a tool of soviet power projection in the third world, and then wrote my phd on russian imperialism and development crisis. all of these pieces are coming together and i feel young again. when you listen to the rhetoric coming out of russia, such as "russia is raising from its as claiming the political opposition as traders you shudder.
you wonder where this comes from and it is very much the rhetoric of the darkest ages. at the same time, russian from the head of the --titute of democracy russian propaganda, from the head of the institute of democracy out of new york writes that hitler in 1939 was a brilliant petition, and his that,n counterpart says "the aryan slavic tribes came down the caspian mountains and conquered the space between the baltic and the pacific." and nothing happens. , like theot shut down
tv station, like some of the down.es have been shut and i guess, the political opposition should be happy. i spent yesterday reading the transcript of the five hour vladimir putin a couple of and of what wast chartered by the late hugo by the sms questions. and he said, what do these people want? they are not thrown in a camp like in 1937. i guess they should count their blessings. when you are encountering this new political environment, new notions, some of which were mentioned here, such as nova russia, described
in the southern and eastern parts of ukraine, this terminology was used in imperial russia. it was describing essentially the national, liberal, and nationalist forces that overthrew president yanukovych as fascist and blurring the notions of russian speakers and .thnic russians whereas clearly warning the russian nationalists in the same five hour q&a that the russian people had absorbed many genetic brands or strains, said mr. putin, so that no blood as this
is the -- ethnicity should be allowed full tub because that is very dangerous. with thisre dealing new environment, you also have to look at what the terminology and notions are that are being used as propaganda. for example, what is really the federalization of ukraine? that is rendering you -- ukraine impotent as a nationstate. it is dictating a constitutional change to a neighboring country. and i'm wondering what federalization would mean for russia itself. as the saying goes, live in glass houses should not throw stones. as estonia and its neighbors
produce a good chunk of the diamond production, and others reduce a lot of the oil and gas -- produce a lot of the oil and controlthey start to and regulate, the russian federation will not look very good. these newhe channels notions are being distributed through? of course, it is russian media, but a new russian media. we remember the russian information agency that was reformed and run for 10 years and underwent a massive change with the appointment of a new , a man who, for example, in the same time said that he relatedssia is strength
trangulated. to which putin said, don't worry, we can strangulate anybody. how this is being used and promoted by the propagandists. as ave russia today television channel in english, .panish, and arabic note that there is no russia today in chinese, because the chinese told them they do not want russia today in china. russia today is a channel through which these notions are distributed around the world. legitimacy -- the legitimacy of
the ukrainian state is totally undermined. mr. putin said twice in his q&a that he sees the new government andkraine as illegitimate by the implication that yanukovych is still the legitimate resident. again, the people who are for separating eastern and southern ukraine from the rest of ukraine are locals, when it is very clear by the way they bear themselves, by the kind of scopescopes and infrared and silencers that they carry on their rifles, these are special forces. said that in has crimea, yes, there were special forces, which he denied at the time. and now he's saying that these
in ukraine are not special forces. these are little green men, or activist i can buy infrared scopes at every local hardware store. another tactic that russia is using is that local separatists are putting women and children .n front of them and the ukrainian commentator compared that with the attacks hezbollah using women and children as human rocketsas they shoot from school rooftops into israel. causey respond, it may civilian casualties. this is what these local activists are taught or so there willdo,
be casualties allegedly caused by the ukrainians. litany of broader complaints against the united states that are repeatedly articulated by russian .pokespeople that there isons no international monetary policy controls over the u.s. dollar, therefore the u.s. dollar has no right to be an international currency. that u.s. violated international law not just in iraq, but in afghanistan, kos of oh, serbia ovo, serbia. and therefore, the united states are broadly defined as out of lips -- out of its
legitimacy because of our that theolicies russian orthodox church rejects and we are -- civilization. it is very much in terms of hunting clash of civilizations in terms of a conspiracy theory in which the world is not world by selected governments, but by intelligence services and other conspiracies, be it bankers, rockefellers, rothschilds, that is a propaganda narrative you find in contemporary russian leadingand among russian ideologists. notthose of you that did read dugan, i strongly recommend
how generates just to see bizarre some of these conspiracy theories are and to recognize that he is consistently occupying positions as an advisor to do much chairman. -- duma chairman. these conspiracy theories have one problem with them. it is not that they are wrong. people start to believe them. the policy is built on these conspiracy theories. to conclude, what can we do? i agree with my colleagues. we need to pay more attention. we have to have systematic study propaganda and tools
that are used to disseminate it. i do not understand. i am the first one to support freedom of the press and expression. i do not understand how the russian government shuts down the voice of america, creates a lot of problems for the radio liberty and we have something like hundred journalists here on new york avenue from russia today. russia today is a channel that they can invite you and if you are foolish enough to come and speak, they shout you down. i am not doing russia today again. -- i sounde need to like a broken record. reform international
broadcasting and bbg. nothing is happening. like as hobbling along three legged cat. rethink it, decide if we want a separate agency -- which i think we need in terms of public diplomacy. or, we need some kind of dotted that.etween the state and there were here-brained -- thatbrained schemes collapsed within about a week. we need to recognize the other side.
we think the russians think like us. the russians think information is part of something called information operations, which started with computers and hacking and disseminating messages that will mess the opponent up and interfere with management. just -- weelse is need to understand how the russian information warfare theory works. we cannot tolerate the spokes people that are implanted on our soil. why is he here? i do not understand. we need to hire political we did it for successfully in the 1970's and 1980's, and before that, they
radioterrific job on liberty. -- we haveituation political exiles from russia and that they could do a terrific job being international broadcasters. i don't know if this administration will do it or the next, this is a huge undertaking. you cannot do it on the cheap. -- it iseed to do it an important part of our survival. of our foreign policy. thank you very much. >> thank you. [applause] some great presentations and lots of thoughts. this is almost an invitation to have another topic later on what we can do for our -- due on our
end to follow-up. we will have a couple of microphones and i would like to identify you by name and affiliation. there are a number of people here from broadcasting services and people that have been involved in the past. it will be a lively discussion. we will start in the corner. someone i know will have a strong opinion. >> good morning. i served on the broadcasting board of governors. in some cases, it was a great honor and pleasure to serve our country and those amazing represent ourt country. i agree with many of the things you have said about fixing the broadcasting board of governors. the problem is a bit complicated and i will try to be short and
to the point. you have to understand what is going on. the governors that serve, they serve at the pleasure of the president. they are paid when they serve. they have to respond to the concern of the united states senate and house of representatives of what is going on. on the other hand, they meet monthly. many of us, who live here, met more frequently. they rely line is -- on the information that is delivered to them about the various entities that we were er of aible for by a pe senior executive service career management. you are hearing a filtered source of information. dead wrong.h is a strategic plan that was flawed. the idea and many of us have fought for the preservation of
short wave radio. it must be protected. trying to protect russia -- which we could have stopped. the question is -- we have to look at the term of winning the hearts and minds -- i would throw that in the toilet. i would return and come back with a term called strategy. up can sit here and come with wonderful ideas about what you would do in the future and how you would change it, but there are a couple of things you have to think about first. you have to go to the united states senate foreign relations committee and encourage them to beef up the money because -- you figure this out -- china outspend us 8-1. that is not even figuring out how much rush out spends us. the most important thing, if i were going to tell you to go in and fix it immediately, the
newsroom. the newsroom is dysfunctional. we cannot even keep up with bbc. we were the last one to talk about ukraine. we were talking about little tough skis. -- little huskies. if you're going to fix it, you have to have these guys and gals do journalism. we have wonderful journalists who have been serving in the voice of america and they are being turned impotent, they are bullied. they are not allowed to do their job by a senior level tier that is crippling them. -- a former for and governor. i try to help them. you are talking about russia and all of the eastern european divisions, yes we have to focus
on that, but if you're going to do strategy, if you're going to play the game, you have to think who else is playing ball. when you think about venezuela and you talk about the president. who was there? the russians, the iranians, the chinese. the most important influence on the air right now -- they have a media police. it is the russians. we have to look at the map. i know i sound frantic. i believe it is dysfunctional. i think if you, and the great with the voices and connections that you have too some of the people in the house and senate, to be able to help, i know the board members -- they are not perfect. you're stuck with them. they will be hiring a ceo. you can help with that. you do not need someone coming , you need to have
people that come into the broadcasting board of governors and be able to figure out a strategy of how to say what you have and enhance what you have and get some money to boost it istsnd to get those career who are crippling and intimidating the talent you have in there and put them someplace else. thank you. [applause] >> we have some responses. >> i would like to make 1 -- as hisone who has served career in broadcasting and was involved in a number of to oneons -- i would -- the assumption that we would useshort wave -- if you a.m. and fm broadcasting, you have to be close to your target audience.
once you do that, you put yourself at risk. the first risk is even worse than being closed down. it is people that say we must not take risk of criticizing these people because we might be closed down. that happened. relyholesale decision to on fm broadcasting in these countries put us at enormous risk. people were told this. was that in the united states, people listened to fm radio and they do not listen to shortwave, therefore should be whatever. we believe there should be fm broadcasting into these countries, but from neighboring countries, not in them. the minute you put a station on the ground, under the control of any of these regimes, there is a risk. technology, that error and, strategic
i would urge that in thinking about what needs to be done with u.s. international broadcasting, one starts with the technological underpinnings, that unless you can get your message to somebody, the message that you're going to worry about is very interesting. and i was at radio liberty the late 1980's, people said you exist, thatause we gives people in washington yield good time. plug,ld pull the electric save money. it is the distance that matters, not getting the message. that was silly. able to reassure audiences and you have to have the technology that lets you do that. internet is only so good. the kind of research about who listens and who does not. the fact is -- there is some good work being done by scholars
at the russian academy of sciences on how people use the internet and how different russian internet use is from internet use in germany or the west. that needs to be factored in. -- iecision to go to fm wanted to go direct to home satellite tv broadcasting because -- it is more spencer -- that is one of the things -- it is more expensive. it is one of the things that was thrown out. out of being controlled or so burglary -- or lyb verbally -- subvert influenced. >> i wanted to comment on the
apropos recommendation that we should be thinking about strategy. you cannot rely on the broadcasting board of governors innovators of american national strategy. american national strategy has the president of the united states, the national security council, and the stateent members of the of defense and the national security advisers. they are serving those be anmakers and it has to integrated strategy that takes cs ofl of the ar statecraft. the bbt structure is legally divorced from national strategy. it does not report to anybody in the executive branch and has not accountability towards anyone in the executive branch.
can happenime that is if there happens to be a strong national security advisor rs ins ready to assume powe competition with the secretary of state and if there happens to be an nsc staffer that is ready to take on that, which they're almost never is. why a structure, where if you had a u.s. public diplomacy agency, where its head was a deputy secretary of state, where, within that, you had our , i understand there are serious arguments about why the surrogate broadcaster should be an independent entity the way they were during the cold war. i understand that. i also believe that if there is -- that there can be some kind
of arm's-length arrangement with the surrogate broadcasters. even under the structure of a public diplomacy agency. i recommend the director of that agency be a natural for a member of the national security council observer.me a natural then, as they say, public diplomacy will be there at the takeoff of policy and not just during the crash landings. the budgetary part of it -- if this agency, by the way -- i conceive every public diplomatic function in the u.s. government be put in it. and peoplees usaid
will argue with me. it is a curious argument. corps,cluding the peace which is another orphan child that is not related to u.s. national strategy. think when we start thinking about these things strategically and when people are forced to do funding also think problems need to be solved. >> we seem to have lost coverage of our live programming and are working to reconnect. we hope to reestablish our connection.
>> we will move on from here. we will attempt to record the remainder of the program and bring it to you on the c-span network. joe biden is in ukraine today. according to the white house, he will be meeting with lawmakers. he will also be briefed on the situation by the u.s. ambassador and will meet with u.s. embassy staff. the vice president will speak with officials about the short and long-term energy system in the ukraine. the obamas are hosting families at the store a role at the white house. tomorrow, the president will head out of the country for a weeklong visit. making up for having canceled the trip during the government shutdown. coming up live later today at 4:00 eastern, live coverage of a
forum hosted by georgetown university law center. human rights activists are taking part. the second panel will feature stephen breyer. topght at 8:00, some of the first amendment authors and scholars will debate the future of free speech. here's a short portion of that event. >> i would argue that in practice, the wonderful balancing tests which we do so finely, even setting aside that big issue of can you have these fine tune the tests that we talk about, i would argue that the history is absolutely on my side and i have lived it. i have seen hate speech against is a resource in the
liberation of gay people in this country. i would not have said that 20 years ago. fred phelps -- what he did would be illegal in any country. he picketed military funerals with signs that said "god hates fags." that is pushing it for me. that is way out there. the human rights can hire this guy because he did so much to expose the hate on the other side. it helps only have these people to argue against. anhave 20 years of extraordinarily successful minority rights movement in this country to prove it. tonightan see that starting at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. the boston marathon is taking place today. members of congress have been tweeting about the race today. republicans right of luck to all in today hoss boston marathon.
one messages were like this -- good luck to all the boston marathon runners. senator jack reed writes have a happy and safe patriots' day. special thanks to all those who find ways to serve our nation with hatred as i encourage each and every day. >> during this month, we are -- please tobmit present our entries in the studentcam competition. the question we asked was, what is the most important issue the u.s. congress should consider in 2014? second prize winner will ratliff is a junior from jenks high school in jenks, oklahoma. he believes the farm bill is the
most important issue. >> hi, i am will ratliff, and welcome to the farm. farmers -- we are a large part of making america what it is today. without us, there would be no food to eat, no clothing to wear. farming has always been around since the beginning of civilization. farming has always been a job with lots of risk. every season we gamble with crops and we gamble with equipment and we gamble with mother nature. but now we have another force to contend with. recent farm bill legislation and holdups in congress have many farmers worried for the future of farming. we will take a look at these concerns and how to prepare -- to remedy them. the farm bill will have an
effect on everybody. the reason congress should be concerned is not only does it play a significant role in terms of budget issues that the congress and people are facing right now, but it also is a piece of our food production system that needs some attention. one specific example of how the farm bill is helping folks really goes back to its origination. when roosevelt proposed this as part of the new deal during the depression, we were experiencing an oversupply of certain commodities. so this was implemented as a way to manage that supply while also keeping the people in production, agriculture, employed and in business. >> so if we look at how farmers or those in production benefit, the picture would be different than what we would have without the farm bill. an example might be that people
were to experience significant weather volatility. not only will they provide risk management options for those in production of agriculture come at it funds a lot of the conservation efforts for different resources around the country. it also even looks at funding research, helping with financial assistance and lending practices. with all those things together, they promote production of agriculture and make it more efficient. >> however, the farm bill does not just affect farmers like me and my family. the farm bill also contains the snap program. the snap program is more commonly referred to as food stamps. food stamps cost the american taxpayers over $74 billion. it helps provide food for people providing for their families.
with all this talk, you would think that the farm bill only deals with food. but in fact it also deals with the fuel industry. the farm bill regulates ethanol subsidies given to ethanol producers to buy corn and produce ethanol. this costs the u.s. $45 million, and nobody understands the effects of these subsidies better than my dad, an american farmer. >> if, for example, the farm bill subsidizes a certain crop over another crop, it incentivizes the farmer to plant that crop, and in the end you may actually end up with more supply of that grain or product than what the market really needs. you see that over and over where we subsidize -- where the government will subsidize a certain aspect of production,
and guess what? we will produce that. then we end up with warehouses full of a product that goes un utilized. then the government has to step in and bail out somebody who went bankrupt because the prices would not support that much product. >> the modern farm bill should not create planting, marketing, or international trade distortions. let me be clear. target prices should be decoupled and the government should not set prices at a level to practically guarantee profit instead of acting as a risk management tool. >> careful to minimize government programs on farmers decisions of what they grow and how much they grow. that ought to be their decision based upon the productivity of the land and what it is suited for and what the market demands. >> we need regional equity that
allows the same opportunity and protections for all types of commodities, not just in certain areas. we need an epa that helps farmers comply with the necessary regulations and not aggressive, police-like agency punishing those trying to yield crops. >> the farmers and measures of georgia and as well as farmers across this great nation that we uphold the strength of the safety net at american agriculture depends on in this farm bill. >> as we have seen time and time again, farmers are the backbone of america. without us, life as we know it would not be possible. however, the volatility of the economy and congress' inability to pass a new farm bill is creating a lot of uncertainty for the future of the agricultural industry. that is why congress needs to sit down today to plan out a
better farm bill that will benefit the future of america. >> to watch all of the winning videos and to my more about our competition, go to c-span.org and click on studentcam, and tell us what you think about the issue that this student wants congress to consider. post or comment on our facebook page or tweet it using the hashtag studentcam. >> >> next, supreme court -- sonia sotomayor talked about breaking barriers. this discussion is about 90 minutes.
>> good afternoon. thank you for being here. i wish to express my deepest appreciation to justice sonia soto mayor. it is an honor and privilege to have you here at georgetown. i speak for everyone in this room in saying we look forward to hearing about your reflections. i look forward to introducing him to you. thank professor eloise.
to each of you, thank you. thank you for joining us for this very special event. this is going to get good. i do a lot of these. i can tell you this is going to be fun. the symposium was created in memory of marv or and shave a bernstein. he served as president of brandeis. for the last seven years of his life, as professor of politics and philosophy here, on our
campus at georgetown. it is a privilege to host this symposium in his honor. in past years, we have hosted others as part of this symposium. tonight, we have the privilege of welcoming justice sonia .otomayor a smile o she has served our decade -- our country for decades. tointroduce her, i wish introduce chief judge robert katzman. appointedclinton
judge katzman to the federal bench in 1999. he began his service as a judge on september 1, 2013. like his mentor, he is a valued member of our community. he currently is the president of the board of visitors of our law center. he currently chairs the u.s. judicial conference committee. the fellowllow of studies program at the brookings institution and served as the institute and taught classes at the university 2001,gon and ucla area in he received the charles e merriam award.
he was named the fellow of the american academy. we are honored to welcome you back to campus this afternoon. we thank you for your leadership, your generosity, your sustained commitment to our community. [applause] >> thank you. good afternoon, everyone. thank you, president, for your extremely kind remarks. it's always great to be back at georgetown and to have a chance to see you and my many colleagues. many here this afternoon stirs the mystic cords of memory. it's a very personal experience. thinking back some two decades ago when the bernstein lecture was launched with vice president
gore and continued with so many luminaries. and i must also mention another great mentor of mine, daniel patrick moynihan. it's been great to be connected to this georgetown community. i've enjoyed coming back here, enjoyed being on the board of visitors for many years. i've witnessed the hard-headed leadership of dean treanor in these very difficult times. i knew bernstein very well. he really was one of two people who was responsible for my joining the faculty. before we get to the main event, i'm going to speak to you very briefly about three people -- marver bernstein, sonia sotomayor, and eloise pasachoff. my friend marver bernstein admired individuals of professional excellence, committed to public service, of high moral character, and striving to reach beyond their
seaming grasp until they attain their aspirations no matter the difficulties. marver bernstein would have loved sonia sotomayor. you students here at georgetown may primarily know of justice sotomayor as a trail-blazing supreme court justice that she is. upon her nomination to the supreme court, the third woman ever nominated, the first latina, her name and fame skyrocketed so that to this day she can't walk down a street with someone, without someone, a cab driver, a bus driver, anyone, coming up to her and telling how inspiring her life story is, what she means to that person, to that family. i've seen it happen every single time since we've gone out since her appointment. she is accessible to everyone. indeed, she is the people's justice.
people of all youths feel a connection with her. those who must struggle every day, often people of color, feel that their dreams can be realized because of her. the warmth and respect given to my friend is palpable. sonia, regardless of what is going on in her life, is always friendly, takes a photo with the person who comes up to her. she gives it her all to everyone 24/7, 365 days a year. who is she? who is sonia sotomayor? i remember sonia sotomayor in law school. she stood out for a number of reasons. she was brilliant, principled, hard-working, determined, caring about others, generous and full of life. after law school we lived in different cities had different jobs. and this being before e-mail and internet lost touch. but our paths crossed again when
she was considered for judicial appointment to the southern district of new york by president clinton and senator moynihan. i can well remember saying to senator moynihan when he said, "who is sonia sotomayor?" i said, "well, she's brilliant, principled, hard-working, determined, caring about others, generous, full of life, and will make an outstanding judge on the district court and beyond." i joined the 2nd circuit in 1999. she was on it beginning in 1998. we fast became close colleagues. on the second circuit if asked how would i describe her, i would say, well, brilliant, principled, hard-working, determined, caring about others, generous and full of life. and now almost five years on the supreme court i would say pretty
much the same. as someone very proud to call sonia a close friend, i can personally attest to her extraordinary prowess and excellence on the bench. she is a judge's judge, a lawyer's lawyer. no one loves the law, its structure, its history, its language more than she does. taking apart an argument, pulling apart the pieces, analyzing the logic, tracing the precedent, connecting the case of the constitution, relating the issues to history and today's world, satisfy her intellectually and i think emotionally. she loves what she does. no one on the bench is more prepared than she is for oral argument. no one more eager than she is to explore what is going on on a case in the effort to get it right, to get that decision right. thinking about sonia sotomayor, it is not just her professional
dedication and excellence i admire. it is also her incredible generosity as a friend to so many. she is a friend, as i've said, for all seasons, in good times and bad. i also admire her ability to live a full life, to incorporate life's great pleasures be it travel, dance, restaurants, an expansive social life. now, whether you're interested in law or not, the justice 's story of her life can't help but interest you. each of you here today is the beneficiary, will be the beneficiary, of an extraordinary gift. the justice is my beloved world, extraordinarily autographed by her for each of you. think about that. 1,000 copies autographed by a busy supreme court justice. [applause]
by the way, i know you're going to love that book so much. it's free to you, but you're going to go out and buy some more copies. [laughter] it's available in paperback for your siblings, your friends, your cousins. i fully expect that of each of you. "my beloved world" is a book for the ages, attesting to the extraordinary life, an industrious life, of a highly accomplished and truly accomplished cosmopolitan lawyer and judge. the world inspires us, gives hope to dream, to overcome obstacles to not give up, to realize the potential that is within each of us no matter our life circumstance. no wonder "my beloved world" within days of being published was ranked number one on "the new york times" bestseller, where it lived for weeks and weeks. for us, her readers, "my beloved
world" is now our beloved world. and for many reasons, as we will explore, this compellingly readable, multi-layered memoir about an important judge is already an american classic. justice sotomayor and i share in common a former clerk, eloise pasakoff, now a distinguished professor of law at georgetown university law center. i first met eloise nearly a decade ago. she was not only an amazing law clerk with a penetrating mind, sharp analytical skills, and mature judgment. she was and is a wonderfully giving person. her career has been nothing short of spectacular, few beta kappa from harvard, mpa from kennedy school of government, harvard law school. she was in 2012, the steven s.
goldberg awardee for distinguished scholarship and education law, already a beloved teacher. her teaching and research interests include education, social welfare law and policy, administrative law, governance, and regulation. i predict that if she's not a dean or a university president or a judge, who knows, the sky's the limit. she's really extraordinary. so when thinking about this evening, eloise pasachoff immediately came to mind. it is now my great honor and privilege to present in conversation the extraordinary eloise pasachoff and my friend and my sister, the truly extraordinary associate justice sonia sotomayor. [applause]
>> well, thank you, judge, for that incredibly generous introduction. hello, justice sotomayor. >> hello, eloise. >> it is such a pleasure to be with you here today. >> i always love having you back. i don't think he mentioned that she was my law clerk my first year as a supreme court justice. that's what we share in common, but we share a whole lot of other things in common. when he called me sister, i called him my brother. and you can see why. no one could have a more loyal and supportive friend than
bob katzman. and i joke with him all the time that there is a protocol in the federal system. you get to be chief judge by seniority. and i was appointed before bob. and in the normal course of things, i would have been chief judge first and he would have followed me. so to speed up his appointment, he managed to get me appointed to the supreme court. [laughter] >> so i actually wanted to start by talking with you a little bit about your first day on the supreme court, which i was privileged to watch as one of the law clerks your first year. so just to set the scene a little, the senate confirmed you on a thursday. i recall i think you were sworn in over the weekend. >> mm-hmm. >> and monday morning, 9:00 a.m., there you showed up for work. >> i did. but actually, it was earlier because i showed up and went to the gym first. >> oh, well. [laughter] as judge katzmann says, she lives a full life. has a good set of priorities. >> and i went to the gym, and i came back.
and sitting in the outer office talking to the law clerks was justice stevens, who became a dear and very close friend in the year i served with him. we went into the office. he welcomed me to the court. and i said to him, "i had just asked the security guards that morning if you were in the courthouse and they told me you hadn't arrived yet" he said, "i wanted to beat you to the office." so we're talking, and in walks sandra day o'connor. now, you have to understand, from the moment i had been nominated by the president on memorial day in that may, something happened to me where i had an outer body experience. for a year and a half it seemed to me as if i was watching myself go through these
incredible things that were happening around me. it was almost as if i had to disengage from my emotions or i would become so overwhelmed that i would be ineffective. and this was yet again another one of those continuing moments where two icons of mine in the law walked in to say hello to me. that was the start of my morning. as you must understand, it is breathtaking. i lived for a year and a half hoping nobody woke me up from my dream, that nobody would pinch me and that i would wake up and think this was just a fantasy. but that was the start of my day. >> what a start. >> yeah. >> so i wanted to ask you about one of my recollections of that first day as well. in addition to meeting all of the other justices who were in the building, you also made a point of going around and
meeting all of the elevator operators. we went to the cafeteria, and you made a point of meeting the workers. >> we had lunch. >> we did have lunch. >> are you going to tell them they made me chair -- >> they made her chair of the cafeteria committee. she does important work. >> yeah. and the following july "the washington post" did an evaluation of the government cafeterias in the city. and the supreme court cafeteria got an f. [laughter] >> i think it would have gotten an f-minus beforehand. >> at any rate, the chief sends me a letter the next day because elana kagan had been nominated. he said, sonia, you're fired. i wrote back and said, "this was according to plan." [laughter] at any rate, yes, we did do that that day. i was overwhelmed by the building, by the way. >> it is a beautiful building.
>> for those of you who are coming to this university, if you don't take the time to come to the supreme court and take a tour, you're doing yourself a big disfavor. it is not only a beautiful building. it's an impressive historic building. and our tours will teach you so much about the law and about the constitution and about our seriousness as justices concerning the role we play in protecting the constitution. so i encourage everybody. i know how busy you can be as students. i was one of them. i did very little exploring of the community i lived in, but it is worthwhile to take advantage of coming to the court one day. it's important. >> one of the things i took from your meeting with the justices, from meeting with the elevator operators and the folks in the cafeteria is that in addition to the majesty of the law, in the
ways you've just spoken of, that the law is a human institution and that relationships matter. >> well, one of the things that i became struck with my very first day and it continued and has continued to this day is how many employees in the supreme court have been there either since the beginning of their careers or for decades. one of them that day came to visit me, the head of our historical society. he said to me, "justice, i love this institution. and because i love this institution i will be your friend forever and i will guard you and your reputation and the court's reputation with my own life." that attitude sort of comes through the building. but what you're asking is something a little bit different. i very much understand that in
one succeeds by themselves. i often hear some people say, "i made it on my own, nobody helped me." and i keep thinking inside of me that's just not true. it can't be and isn't true of anybody because whether you run a business or you're in an office or you're a supreme court justice, you've got people working around you to support your effort. and if you don't take the time to recognize that, then you're forgetting that basic truth. we don't work alone. you have to be grateful to those who help you. and that's in part what my book was about, was to talk to people about looking around their lives and recognizing those who have participated in reaching where
they are. >> let's talk a little bit about that more. there's a real theme in the book about the role of mentors and the role of being open to finding mentors, working with mentors, but also about the role of taking ownership of your own learning and seeking opportunities to learn out. there's a wonderful story in the book about how you sought out one of your 5th grade classmates to ask her how to study. i wonder if you could tell us -- well, tell us that story. it's a great story. then maybe tell us a little bit about how you see these themes of working with mentors and taking charge of your own learning at the same time maybe in a way that would be relevant for the folks in the audience. >> you'll learn in the book that i started out in grammar school as a not very good student. i attribute a great deal of that to the fact that i had started my life learning spanish before english.
and it wasn't until i got to school that i actually began to be taught english. so rather four rocky years of school of not quite understanding what was happening around me. and obviously my grades reflected that. then my dad dies, and we had a prolonged period of time in which my mom was depressed. i fled to reading to be able to escape the sadness in my home. that may, in some ways, have saved my life because it gave me a window of another world. i tell kids all the time reading is your passport to the universe. you can visit anyplace, not only in the world but in the entire universe, just through books. now, for most of you, you're doing it through television and
the internet, but ere's still something very special and magical about using words in books to paint pictures in your head. that's where i think creative talent comes from. so it was real important when i was writing my book to paint pictures of my world with words. and that's what i tried to do. i hope i've succeeded. i think i have. what i understood in that 5th grade class was -- i do have a competitive nature. i say in the book that mostly it's competition with myself, but i had a 5th grade teacher who did something a lot of teachers don't do now, which is
she would give you a gold star every time you did well on an assignment. and i wanted to collect those gold stars. but i didn't know how to study. so i was trying to figure it out, and i couldn't because if i had known how to do it, i would have done it. ok? what i realized -- in part it came intuitively, but i understood that there was something i was doing wrong or not doing right, as the case may be. and that there were other kids who knew how to do it. so i went to my friend, donna -- she's still a friend now -- and said to her, "how do you study?" i think she was a little shocked and looked at me and said, "you don't know how to study?" and i said, "no. how do you do it?" she explained her method. i went home and tried it. and after that i did pretty well in school. and obviously over time i figured out my own shortcuts, my own ways to do things.
i'm often asked what's the greatest obstacle in your life. what's the greatest obstacle to success? i tell them it's the fear of being embarrassed, of not asking for help when you don't know something. how many lawyers -- i'm sure you saw it in the year that you were with me on the supreme court and i know i've seen it in my 20-plus years as a judge in my different courts. you ask them a question, they don't know the answer. and instead of saying i don't know the answer, they blunderbust and try to make something up. and then they're skewered by the judges. ok? it's not much fun. but they seem to fear more the saying i don't know, the embarrassment of that, than the embarrassment of failure in
finding the right answer. and i think for me, i understood very, very early on that asking for help is the most important thing to do. that's what finding mentors is about. for me, who should be your mentor? someone who can do something you can't do. and someone who can do something you can't do and knows how to do it well so that you can learn from them, so you can take from them their experience, their knowledge, and try to adopt it to fill in a hole that you may have in your learning. that's how i define a mentor. and everybody -- one person doesn't have to do everything for you. a lot of people think that a mentor has to be the only person you go to to ask questions.
i think you look around in every part of your life and you try to figure out who is doing that thing that i would like to do better, knows how to do it, and what can i learn from them. now, obviously when you pick a mentor, please pick somebody that you respect and like. it should be someone whose values, whose sense of integrity, whose sense of interacting with people are things that you think are worthwhile to emulate. if you do that, you're likely to be picking a person, a, who has a heart and, b, who will take the time to teach you. if you find somebody that you can't make a mentor of through your efforts, then they may not be worth it. look more broadly as to why not. because i do think that people
who have those qualities i spoke about -- integrity, a sense of fairness, a sense of caring -- they're people who if you work with them will give back to you. >> those values fit perfectly with another theme i wanted to ask you about, which is the importance of public service. there's many moments in the book, in your life, that you've had the opportunity either to seek out some important kind of public service or that somebody has asked you to participate in public service. so i wanted to just ask you to reflect a little bit about why and how you sought those opportunities out and maybe what they taught you about yourself and the world. >> there's nothing more boring to me than living in my own head all the time. no, seriously.