tv Lisa Anderson Discusses Challenges Facing the Middle East CSPAN May 9, 2016 4:55am-6:00am EDT
>> welcome. i'm delighted to welcome lisa anderson to present the third in our series of three talks on the middle east at an inflection point. this is an activity which is support bid the general funds to the middle east program. and it just seems to us as we were looking forward to a new administration five years after the beginning of the arab uprisings it would be useful to take stock of where we are. in my mind, there could be no better guide than our speaker today. i've known lisa for 25 years and she's always impressed me. she just left from the five-year tenure as in cairo where she served as provost for two years.
she was the dean of the columbia school of the foreign affairs. a professor of international relations. lisa has not only had a distinguished career in administration, but as a political scientists i think she has really had a remarkable record analyzing and describing in real terms what is happening and why things are happening in he middle east in an incredibly tumultuous five years in egypt she was there and she was working with the various governments and working with students in the midst of this all. so as we think about the middle east at an inflection point, i can think of no better guide for the perplexed than lisa anderson.
thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much, john. it is a delight to be here. i'm honored to be in the august company of the other speakers in this series. particularly ambass dor who as you may know is the trustee of the american university in cairo. i have lots of things that i could talked abas they were doing my fair well parties at auc they remarked that probably that it probably would not happen again that a president of auc served under four different presidents of the republic. and i think that's probably true. but what i want to do is really a much larger kind of big picture reflection on where the middle east is today and how we really need to be thinking i think in somewhat new ways
about the region itself and about the kinds of challenges that it presents to us in the united states, to its own government, to its own people. it's a very complicated time in the region, as you all undoubtedly know fofment so i think it's important to take an opportunity like this to step back a little and reflect on what i actually think might be called multiple inflection points. so the title is this series the middle east at an inflection point i think speaks to an interesting moment but it also suggest that is we should be thinking that it's not a single thing that's changing. whole sets of things are changing in history. so let me start with a few general observations about what i describe as the historicle arks in which the region finds itself today. and then signal a little bit about how they're reflected in
the current for tunes of particular countries in conflict. so i would argue that there are really three quite distinct historical revolutions of that are scales converging which is why timing was not expected. there were plenty around in this city but there really wasn't anyone who anticipated quite the drama that would . llow in themselves these changes,
these developments were not dineically dissimilar from comparable revolts and political revolutions in other times and places. so we expected the process to look more or less like the fall of the military regimes in latin america or the classic communism in eastern europe. we were ready to look for actors, how hard lined was the military? would civil society create political? and we add add few notes about the neighborhood effect and about great power involvement. nite that the united states was involved in egypt and the saudis in baw rain and so forth. but it seemed like political regime change. even the mess in libya was predictable and predicted. but somehow it went well beyond that.
and this is the second of my three arks of revolution. i would argue that global politics itself is inflecting. and that was to raise the stakes and add an element of significant uncertainty to the dynamics within countries in the region. the apparent end of history, the end of the cold war, and more importantly the revolution in information and communications technologies about which we talk all the time have brought largely unanticipated changes to the character and context of politics everywhere including in this country. in the absence of great power minutes, that is to say the dynamic of the cold war, that seemed to keep people rallied around their flags, and with the new-found access and expertise particularly of young people, the world is seeing a surge of global populism, a growing skepticism about authority of all kinds. and enthusiasm for creative
destruction. not unlike the political upheavels that attended the industrial revolution of the 19th century. so we are in a world historical revolution of important magnitude. from the occupy movements around the world recall that millions of individuals mobilized in flash mobs of protest in madrid, new york, istanbul, santiago, kiev, cairo, and elsewhere in the arab world. from that, which you will recall, all of that was part of this dynamic to the popularity of outsiders of presidential candidates even in the yutes. anti-authoritarian, anti-establish politics is endemic. so you saw the intersection of very local complaints about very local governments and regimes with dynamics that were global dynamics of how protests appens and what kinds of o mod
dalts there were to protest. so some of this is the global level we foresaw although probable not how quite tantalizing and terrifying it would be. policy makers and analysts did anticipate that there were going to be major shifts adged how the global economy would take shape but not exactly how that would happen. and i want to remind you of a passage i use as an example of how clever we all are, and yet how puzzling the implications of what our insights may be. about 10 years ago, the president of the council on foreign relations, wrote nation states will not disappear but they will share power with a larger number of powerful nonsovereign actors than ever before including corporations, ngo's terrorist groups drug cartels regional and banks and
private sectty funds. will fall victim to the powerful flow of people. ideas that greenhouse gas is good, and weapons within and across borders. the world's 35 years from now will be semi-sovereign ofment it will reflect the need to adapt legal and political principles to a world in which the most serious challenges to order come from what global forces do to states and what governments do to their citizens rather than what states do to each other. ten years in that sounds pretty right, actually, at least as you think about the middle east. and yet we hadn't in that description really thought very much about how exactly that would transpire in any particular place. and i think we can see much of that playing out in the region. but even if we half expected this revolution at the global scale and even if we at least
half understood the revolution at the domestic scale, the uprisings against regimes, we are still working at its implications. and for our purposes in the middle east the dual revolutions of local regime change and global transformation converge in what i would describe as a third revolution between these scales. which is regional. between the local and global a regional revolution or perhaps two is taking place before our very eyes. we are witnessing both -- and this people have written about, but i think to put them together is important. the beginning of the end of the imperial era and the particular states system it left in the region. and -- and internal regional result, if you will. perhaps better a transfer of power. whether this turns out to be a revolt in any seismic way in
the region i think remains to be seen. but transfer of power from the regions fading nationalist establishment and the governments of those countries to the -- to a sort of moveo reesh. the gulf against egypt, kings against generals, with all of the political and cultural implications that that entails. so these regional revolutions are larger than a change in regimes, smaller than a change in the global means and mode of production, but they shape how these other revolutions are reflected in the region itself and are of course shaped by them in turn. no wonder it seems so complicated. i think it's fair to say we now live in an area of quantum politics. i think that will be true forever now. the moment where we really thought we could understand with certainty the character of
politics, particularly in the middle east but globally, is probably over. so the interplay of all these revolutions creates an enormous amount of complexity and confusion for us. so what i simply want to do is tick off a few issues i think are necessary to construct a description of the region and participate what the trajectory of some of these different levels of revolution might be. i think in fact there are some patterns of at least winners and losers or shifts in the way politics happen that we can tease out of this very complicated landscape. in the first place, keep in mind that the state that we have described for now 10-20 years is itself a relatively new feature of human society and there are a lot of alternatives in this state and there have been.
other source of communities all sorts of things have served for millenia as vehicles for regulating social action, organizing production in exchange, ensuring security. and yet in many parts of the eroding, t, parts are these kinds of communities are reviving. and while they may be partly reinventions of tradition they are quite robust. and i will be returning to them over the course of time. the states and the way the state was created in the middle east and north africa in itself contributed to the character of these kinds of nonstate actors. there are two congenital defects if you will in the states as they were established particularly after the first
world war. they have an amgution sometimes hostile sometimes unhealthfully codependent on relations with nonstate communities and eye dentedties and they have responsibilities they could never fulfill on their own with sources. so let me talk a little bit about that because i think it's important to recognize the way the states and nonstate identities and actors have been intertwined from the very beginning of the modern state era in the middle east and north africa about a hundred years ago. and i will start you off by reminding you of a little bit of the language of the terms of the covenant of the league of nations which established the mandates in former otmon territories. it says there are certain communities that's their term -- that belong to the former otmon empire that reached the state of development that their
existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the mandates. and in article 22 the league promised there should be applied the principle that the well being and development of such people form a sake red trust of civilization. so is the language suggests that communities will be recognized as nations presumably to be accorded corresponding states. when actually of course what really mattered in the creation these eeptties is -- to the marine nites, to those -- to the junior partner in the first world war italy and then in libya and so forth and so on. these were not communities that were designed to be nations and accorded states. so from the very beginning of european tutelege state identities were entangled.
hat's been true as everyone in this room is undoubtedly ware. except in the most established states, turkey by the way got 80% of the bureaucrats of the otmon imperial administration. hence, its state was instan tainsly very strong, well equipped, well trained in the 1920s. and most of the former otmon provinces in the arab world were diluted of their bureaucratic capacity. iran, turblingy, esquipt, tunisia, to some extent, had formal institutions of bureaucratic states. but apart from them, those institutions are always a big of a feeg leaf in fiction. or as the ambassador said in 1951 it was a last resort and
expedient. it was not obviously something that he had a lot of confidence in succeeding. the alienation from and hostility tolt modern states of the middle east is occasionally expressed in support for violent political movement against governments and their supporters usually when sectarianism was politicized. but not that often. certaintly not as off as is the case today. but what happened was it was routinely exhibited and what looks like the bureaucratic states perspective like corruption. that is reliance on friends families money changers even criminal networks to obtain the necessities of daily life. and these of course these networks ate away at efforts to create the formal institutions of a modern state. you had the scaffolding but most of the way that is scaffolding was deployed was fosh the purposes of other kinds of networks and eye
deputies. the second congenital defect was the proposition of well being of people form a sake red trust of civilization. including what i just called the necessities of modern life as an obligation on the part of these states may not seem like a bad thing. but the introduction of the standards of a modern welfare state in country which is had not developed the economic base capacity or fiscal apparatus to pay for it was to mean most remained at the mercy of xternal patrons. hardly the hallmark of robust sovereignty. so inside and outside the states were as much the appearance as the reality debilitated from the start. expected to meet standards barely possible even in the most developed states why
bereft of the economic assets and elementary institutions. it was unclear what constituents they were supposed to serve. so they weren't very robust to begin with, as you can tell. and over the course of time they failed to meet the standards they set for themselves. they never deliveed. never. and they slowly and in the beginning began to fail. we now talk a lot about failed states. but failed states don't usually fail instan tainsly. they fail over time. and what you saw were states that were being hollowed out. the they were failing before it was apparent. but a sexenstri world developed. it wasn't -- you don't have failed states and then at mized char on the land scape. today, i will give you an example of in what -- in the country that has one of the strongest states actually in the region, egypt, well over
half the commercial transactions are unrecorded. 7% of adult egyptians have a bank account. and this is not for want of assets. mobile phone is 115%. so there are more mobile phones than there are people. but the same people who have mobile phones smart phones and so forth don't put their money in banks. so even in a country which as i say has a fairly robust state capacity, this is not a country that is managing its own fiscal pparatus, its own monetary policy. none of that is taking place in any sophisticated way after decades of "fiscal reform" ntax revenue in egypt is 10% of g.d.p., described as very low for a modern economy like
esquipt. so in essence you have a layer of the appearance of a modern economy like ejipts. and blow that or beside it or around it is a different economy. as i say egypt is a fairly robust state. if it has virtually no reliable data on the economic opportunities we can hardly expect our counter parts to know more than the egyptians know. the informal world in the middle east is often called the dark sector of the black market or the gray economy but it's actually quite vare gated and colorful. their personal relations, friends and associates, move money around and other goods and services in a constant churn of activity. ideas move, money moves, people move. form, reform. constantly. informal savings
associationings like egypt's credit unions permits small investors to access net works. and sometimes when people talk about the informal economy of any place but in this region particularly, they behave it is only for people who are relatively poor. these have them. they're not for poor people. particularly for people not reliant on the formal banking system. causes settlements circle all the major cities and some are quite posh. this is not simply the informal slums of the big cities but the gated demuents that are developing all around cairo for example i think are fair to call them quasi legal. health care, child care, legal assistance, job leads are all rtrd in exchange among
networks often cement bid ties of ethnic or religious affiliation. it's been happening everywhere. as the sosheyolings put it gangs, neptistic privatizations, trafficking of influence, tolerance of drugs, the so-called blackning economy have been obstacles. t to remain at this level is inadequate precisely because the gangs are the survival of groups marginalized by the states as well as forces mapetted in those states. and i will return to this. i think the condemnation, the description is corruption and therefore not rising to a level that we can actually address systemically. as been part of our analytical and therefore policy failure. the failure of the states of the region produced and
sustained nonstate actors all over the place. not simply as political and military challenges to the states but in the daily lives of nearly everyone who lives there. this is important. what the general, a speaker in this series, has called a transizing transnational nonstate terrorist group -- isis is operating in a sea of nonstate actors of a whole variety of kinds many of which are quite benign and are well regarded by their beneficiaries. so how do you make those kind of distinctions in a way that is opposed to what seems violence. that's important but not clearly the only one. i think the importance of these kinds of nonstate actors some of which are quite benign and well regarded is visible in the second element of the regional
revolution. so i've talked about the effort to create recognizable states. i've talked about the fact that those states virtually from the beginning were designed to fail and that they did in most places. i think there's also something else that is going on in the region that i think is important. the advantage that the monarches of the gulf jordan and morocco enjoy in a world like this. they make no claim to operate any other way. dine stick rule which is so tested by the formal and personal rules of the modern state is entirely consist nt with in both principle and practice the operation of these are personal and correct ties. that these regimes have adetroitly managed the oil revenues of which so many are beneficiaries to strengthen their client tells within their own countries and across the region has attributed to and
perhaps acceleration the erosion of states and the ideology they espouse but it's also permitted them to operate in a way that is consistent with the lived expeerps of many of the people in the region. the egyptian blog who writes sand monkey wrote a piece several years ago about egypt being trapped in the 1980s. about how egyptians sort of stopped paying attention once they got to about 19r58 and thought they were the most modern country in the region. but what it does not do is just at the moment egypt became complacent the gulf took off and quickly overtook egypt. and as the area within the region of innovation and prosperity. frankly, i think a lot of people didn't notice that both within the region and beyond.
but the initiative in the arab world has clearly moved east from egypt at least for the foreseeable future and as it did the authority of the impersonal state in regional politics was further weakened. now, by 2011, popular dissolutionment and cynicism was expressed. in some places the states of the region. the flash mobs of protest we saw all over the world solidified into guerilla forces supported by transnational networks of money and sentiment. in working those and challenging the legitimacy they have challenged notions of crime and corruption. the rulers of the criminals, the states are corrupt are natural communities of friends and coreligionists and so forth are in fact the uncorrupt, the moral, the way we ought to be behaving.
so today there are many challengers and few defenders of the formal and personal welfare states who failed to deliver on their promises nor the state system that stabilized them in the region. outside powers including the united states are understandably puzzled about how to contribute to shaping an alternative system. what are the alternatives? in the first place i think we need to think about how much we want to invest in the state as an institution and the particular states in the region. this is an existential reflection on what richard hobbs projected if states are not going to the be the powerful mechanism by which we organize global politics and economics what is and should we be trying at the end of the era of the state to shore up states. again, i think there is strong burek sis. israel turkey iran egypt tunisia but these institutions are themselves becoming increasingly the tools of particular purposes.
and not serving the sort of formal -- as the sort of formal impersonal apparatus that can effectively collect taxes distribute goods and provide services equityably among citizens. iran is already deeply sectarian. the ethnic and sectarian coloration is becoming more obvious. this has been jockeying for supremacy. even in israel the attachment to mid 20th century norms is giving away to open expressions of religious and intimate bias. so clearly eevep in the strong states the question of whether these are going to be serving the citizens as opposed to some ethnic religious familial purposes is an open one. elsewhere in the vacuums of
almost completely failed states alternatives proliferate. that we have an impoverished vocabulary to describe these and that we have spent the last century or so condemning them as corrupt does not make them any less powerful. a dilemma suggests we need to find a way to talk about these that goes beyond condemnation and revullings. not necessarily to endorse them but to understand how they work. the black market in the gray economy of the region cannot remain opaque to us if we were actually to play a productive role in improving human life. so if i were to give one piece of advase to the next president of any country including this one, follow the money. find out where things are going. as is repeatly observed about this part of the world, the data on numbers of people,
financial transactions, anything that has a number attapped to it is terrible. and that's not coins dental. it's because there are essentially two worlds operating here. but the formal world, the formal economy, the formal numbers is what these governments supply to the world bank and so forth and so on is a small proportion of what's actually going on. and if we really want to nderstand how people are living their lifes we need to know much more. what's below the water line. so unless we're better at doing that in our own track record the american track record is scantless obthis score. physician, heal theist. so we have to do better on our own terms but we also have to know much bet wrer the military budgets of these countries is going, what they're buying.
who is funding the gangs, the sheiks the t th net works. who is buying the guns? unless we know better a lot of that we will never understand the politics. and we should not -- we should not know more about iran's nuclear program than about egypt's military budgets. so certain of these kinds of things are just matters of information. the u.s. will have to work with the governments of the established states tunisia and egypt easily the strongest states in the arab world. turkey iran and israel who struggled over the uses of the state apparatus continue. in the gulf the skillful outsourcing of state functions from military to economic policy making to education and health care has permitted reliance on family and political sects religious sects have flourished.
the welfare and development of the people can be fulfilled in novel ways. maybe you can outsource a lot of the welfare state. but because there's little difference between the public treasury and the privy purse in dine stick regimes, the call is much more difficult. privatization is a way of moving things out of the public sector and out of the glare of publicity. so too are public fear in which citizens debated policy is difficult to outsource. and the importance of a realm of open and unfettered debate should not be discounted. so i think those are the kinds of things that within the region anyone, any outside power, any internal government will need to be grappling. the apparent paralysis of the great powers or what used to be called the great powers, notably the one we are sitting in but also europe and in many ways even russia is partly a
complex of the challenges. but it also impacts the global revolution that i was talking about globally. the anti-establishment streaks which is shaping everywhere is distracting attention and sapping the confidence of foreign policy establishments everywhere. governments are beleaguerd or have anen surget frame of mind. see the president of russia and at least one of the political parties here. are modern assessments disappointing in that context while inflammatory claims and fear mongering will produce unworkable and dangerous policy. lookinging over the region the last time -- and thgs my final comment. the last time globalization was imploding into war about 100 years ago suggests some lessons
not least that outsiders risk getting tangled in local feuds in which they will never be more than tools. this time however there seems to be little appetite for taking on the responsibilities of rendering administrative asvice and assistance on the part of the civilized world nor probably more importantly even a clear consensus about what exactly is civilized. it is indeed a world at an inflection point. thank you. >> why don't you sit and we'll have a conversation and then open it up. thank you very much for those very thoughtful and thought provoking remarks. i think the first question that strikes me is that the shift the gulf states made to sort of modernizing keeping personal politics.
was facilitated by spectacular wealth. what does the advent of scarcity in the middle east, with much of the world places probably certainly much lower for the next ten years than they were for the last ten. what is the rise of scarcity mean for the ability to keep the personal sailings? because in a sense that's the great thing about bureaucratic politics is they're efficient. or they should be more efficient than personalized. it doesn't have all the extras. does scarcity change this game? does scarcity just make the game more vicious? w should we think about this >> well, i actually think there are two things. first of all, our sense is bureaucracy making thing more
efficient is not the lived experience of most of us, actually. anybody who has had to renew their drivers license doesn't feel like bureaucracy makes things more efficient anywhere in the world. so i think the lived experience of bureaucracy, yes, he was right you can do a great deal more with a bureaucratic organization. but there are even limits to that. secondly, part of my concern is when you think about the region you think about scarcity udge about what's above the water line. you're thinking about what you can see. i am not persuaded yet that we are really entering that kind of -- so egypt is a country where scarcity is the word and it's been on the verge of collapse since 2011. every one uarter says it's run out of everything. it doesn't live that way. the experience of being able to
continue -- there's a staggering building that's .oing on in the superbs so it doesn't stop. so i don't understand how the formal economy is connected to the informal economy. so the element that is the formal economy of distribution of oil revenues will be reshaped. but since so much of that is sifend into -- has always been sifend into an informal economy whose traces we really don't follow very effectively. i'm not sure that it's going to feel as scarce as it's going to look on paper on the one hand. and secondly, i have no idea how actually the choices will be made when they're -- should they have to be made. then i'm going to have to cut out some of my clients' because i can't afford it. i'm simply not as convinced
that as -- people always say well once you have fiscal austerity you have to stand up and fly straight. i'm not convinced we're confronting that. >> one of the thing that is you feel is also happening is the decline of the state after a century of not only the rise of the state but also the spectacular relevance of modern states where they haven't existed before. the only borders that have changed in the middle east in the last 100 years have been israel palestine and the two yemens united. >> now the saudis have gotten there too. >> these states have proven remarkably not only durable but
there's no near peer competitor even with the rise of all these other institutions and from the perspective of the united states government, the european ion, china, they only have gears to interface with other governments. there's something about the external environment which seeks states to interface with. does that create a life line for the state? does it mean that all the states just decline together? and nonstate actors across the world become more powerful? or is there something where nonstate actors in the middle east are already on the weak side? does this give the states a new lease on life? >> no. i think you're right. the -- as with subsaharan africa there was in essence an agreement saying since it would be such a catastrophe if we really fought over all of our
borders we're not going to fight over our borders. and moreover it is easier for the rest of the world to have an interlock tur that it recognizes. and that's the presidential powers of a country. and a member of the united nations. so there's a kind of international consensus is that this is the way we're going to operate. but the difficulty is that it stays at the level of appearances, if you will. and most of these countries -- and i would argue this is not unique to the middle east. if you look at much of subsaharan africa you have much of the same sort of pattern. that they are sitting on the top of societies that are very loosely linked to that system. the parts of the world, the united states and so forth, that are much more invested in the state system figure out a way to force that connection of the states and their populations in the region
and elsewhere. or more likely even in the country that is were the origin of the international state system that will begin. and basically it doesn't matter what we want to do. corporations are going to be more important, international ngos. everything is going to be more important. and the state system is going to be only one of the many ways in which we interact with each other. but you're right we have very limited mechanisms. the states system international law the united nations so forth and so on we understand how that works. we understand how you give foreign aid from one country to another country and how the military regime ought to inter sect with each other and so forth. as we struggle snow with this business about corporations moving their headquarters to avoid taxes, it's slipping out from under control even in the
arts of the world in which you would expect there would be a fairly strong capacity to monitor and control and so forth. so i don't know that there's going to be a -- and this is what i was suggesting before. this is part of the real puzzle. this is not an easy time to try to make policy in general. but to say well we should shore up the states in the region at a time when the other end of the spectrum they're beginning to shred doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. on the other hand, since you don't know what a stable equilibrium will be, you're either confronted with saying we're going to deal with nonstate actors even though we don't know how to do that. or, we're going to continue to deal with states because it's the only thing we know what to do. so this is the tool i have so i have a hammer everything has to be nails. >> it sounds from your presentation like you think the
foreign corrupt practices act is a nice idea but probably not well tuned to the world in which we live. is that an accurate extension of the argument? >> yeah. >> so that shouldn't be where we're focusing energy. >> well, i do think that it is a complicated challenge to be thinking about what we want our own domestic rule of law to look like. there are dge that whole worlds in which that -- ou know, that's not going to just not the lens through which people look at things. so i do think that the issue -- mean, there is a growing smallish political science literature now on the growth of pat moanal standards even in the united states.
that you now have many more of the wealthiest people in this country are families in a way that wasn't true 50 years ago so forts and so on. so it may be even here you're beginning to see different standards and criteria for how people are permitted to operate. i think the -- i would be reluctant to say we're abandoning our own legal standards simply because it would be easier if we did because that's always the rationale for handling legal standards. on the other hand, i think with do need to be alert to the fact that these kinds of standards for how we interact with each other in this country and beyond are changing. so whereas 50 or 60 years ago neptism was something we thought was unacceptable in the united states. that is no longer as unacceptable as it once was. >> encouraging the way we approach the world.
first as missionaries we have been investing in civil society around the world. should we stop? should we do it in different ways? should we be more targeted? how should we think about the project investing in societies that work more not obble like us but is the way we should work even though if we're not working that way all the time. >> i think you put your finger a challenge that is a reflection of the fact of how little we know. so as i was saying we don't have data. so we go in and we'll say -- i mean, it was everybody who went into libya the first couple of incredibly re optimistic about they were going to create these little civil society organizations. were simply taking the instruction manual of something
that would have happened and they weren't really listening or attending to help people in libya, has become accustomed to living. doesn't mean people want to continue to live that way but it's where they're starting. they're not starting where you start on the upper west side of manhattan. they're starting from a different lived experience. so to take the instruction manual without listing was a mistake. we need to know more about how people live. and some is simply listening and some is collecting better data and knowing more about how money moves around. but i do think if you go and say -- and honestly, it was something that many people period on during the of elections after the beginning of the arab spring. the extent to which people came with just, you know, instruction manuals of how to
run elections and so forth and so on that they seemed to believe would work anywhere. they said we know latin american, eastern europe. and there was very, very well known political scientists who will remain nameless who had never been to egypt before. and gave a list of 18 points to give to the government of egypt so that the transition would work well. >> so there are two issues. one is doing it the right way. and the other is whether we should be doing it at all. should we be trying to move countries towards having a model that we see more compatible? should we be investing in it? when we differ with governments should that color our relations? i mean, this comes up not only in egypt but around the region.
>> right. well, i do think that there's a -- you know. so on the one hand you're talking about government to government relations in the expectation that these governments are in soment way in control of the states that they are governments of. and i think this adds a level at which until there are other kinds of nonstate institutions that we recognize and understand, we're going to have o be operating at. but i think that can be fairly modest and fairly restrained. that's the level at which you can operate, if you will, national interest level. there are lots of other things that happen in the region including if i can put it this way, university relationships and connections and so forth and so on that don't have to be driven by national interest, don't have to be understood in terms of national interest. but if you're so inclined can certainly contribute to the
well being of people. so my view is that it doesn't all have to be -- i mean, i don't think you have to say ok we're going to be isolationists and we don't really care because we think it's beyond our rift to be concerned about the well being of anybody. i think you can say there are other levels of interactions of people which again so it's a little like pandora's box. if you look at the things that said were going to be released. then a little hope has to be released as well so that kind of thing being able to say other things being equal it's a good idea. certain kinds of skills are a good idea. it doesn't need -- so that can be driven by businesses that want to invate small businesses, by various kinds of investments. by acquisitions -- i don't care how you do that. that doesn't need to be at the official level. the official level could be
fairly modest in saying we only deal on things that are a national interest but we also understand the globalization is going to bring other kinds of relationships. we want to keep people safe but beyond that it's up to them. >> should we -- >> ignore them. >> ok. i turn it over to you. we have microphones if you would please wait, identify yourself. ask just one question until we have a chance. i see all the way in the back. that's you. thank you. >> welcome. i think everybody has laste of three revolutionary elements. and your first two guest: were very pertinent. i was surprised on the third that you didn't mention anything about transnational ligious zeltry as a new or a
striking phenomenon of this era. in fact you went back and talked about states instead. do you think that's less important or not particularly striking at this time? >> i think -- well, no. i think when i say that there are these networks of relationships that are not states there are nonstate actors include religious groups, include family networks, include all sorts of communities with which we can affiliate ourselves. so i intended to encompass that as well. i don't know that i think that this is entirely new. as somebody who studied for example the san seea in the 19th century, large transnational religious groups were all over thele region for centuries and centuries. how they interact given the fact that there's more money
sloshing around than there was. and given the fact that they are also having to intersect with states which are presumably trying to inhibit or enhance their capacity to be transnational. that's new. but the impulse to be traps national is not new. >> the gentleman on the right. >> dave from the wilson center. i'm wondering whether we should rethink promoting democracy. and i'm thinking -- iraq is a perfect example. political parties. when you -- and democracy you've got to have political parties. political parties in the middle east. look at iraq. they're all shiite, sunni, kurdish, you name it. in fact, democracy revives these very traditional forces you're talking about. so my question is the, has
democracy promotion actually been part of the problem and we should not doing it? >> i don't know if it's been part of the problem. i think it's been ineffective. i think after a certain point you should stop doing thing that is don't work. at i would regret however is encompassing in abandoning democracy promotion which i as i say i don't think it's worked so i don't think there's much value in continuing to do it. but what i would be sorry to see is say we actually don't care about people's well being. t well being accountable government, access to certain kinds of services, assets to education and information and so forth and so on i think what we really need to be doing is
paying less attention to the formal institutions and more attention to the substance that they're supposed to serve. and it's those particular substantive ends can be served in a variety of ways. that's what i would really care about. >> thanks so much for the very nteresting presentation. i think your point is very well taken about the reception of states and the global era. however, i guess i'm thinking about laws and legal institutions as still being very much state based and in particular law enforcement. the case of egypt if we're talking about the transnational global networks maybe not listening to the state and rather supporting civil society for instance directly as we know right now there are civil societies sort of criminalized as they work with foreign
entities. how do we think about these transnational networks while laws still take base? >> an expert way of framing the problem, actually. because i don't think -- over the course of your lifetime probably you will see legal reform in order to accommodate the mobility of everything. ideas, people, money. all the things that everybody talks about. right now we're not there. we're not there in very simple terms. in commercial terms. now, much less these other kinds of ideas. so rm -- so, you're right. we're caught at a moment where we know that there has to be some kind of legal regime for access to information pfment globally. there's going to have to be. you can't do that state by state.
it doesn't make any sense. at the same time, there is no such regime. and what efforts there are at this point are certainly not well integrated and accepted and so forth. so you do run into the problem of saying. so this is the problem of if the government says you shouldn't talk to them, you doll anyway, and then you're going to get in trouble because that's the legal regime you're living in. i understand that. i still think that it makes sense to try and be thinking about this in a way that does acknowledge that there are these kinds of relationships and networks and so forth that there are conceiveably ways to put your thumb on the scale of supporting people's aspirations which aren't necessarily the rt of cleeshed democracy promotion so forth. and but you're right.
it's a particularly challenging moment to figure out how to do that. i think you see that all over the world. again, we care about the middle east. but we see it all over the world kind of touted support some of the protest movements in other parts of the world that is effective, has proven to be a challenge. >> there is no doubt that the very of failed -- a large number have failed. ince the 90s we have yugoslavia. but the result of all these state failures is the nurl of states have multiplied. it's not that states have become less important. it's just that we have
different states come to the surface. and this is what's happening in the middle east. now, in the lave ant, i don't think isis is going to last as a territorial state. but i think probably we are going to have not one but two states of that title probably not going to disappear. what i'm getting at is iran seems to be capable to go beyond the concept of the state as a way of organizing human societies. in other words, all these organizations that you talk about do exist but we still don't seem to hang on collectively to the concept of the state. would you care to react to that? >> well, i think in a way yes of course. but the expectation -- so at the global level if you look at this as an international relations exercise. yes, of course rg states are
the county. there isn't any other way that there's a little bit of the international financial institutions. there's a little bit of the world trade and so forth. but basically it's state-based interactions. so if you have a piece of territory, somebody has to have planted a flag. there's no other way that we can think about it. and that will presumably obtain for some time in territorial terms it may be that somebody has to be assigned responsibility for a given territory forever at this point. that's not the same thing as saying that the way these entities operate internally is recognizeable from the perspective of the people who established an international community of states in the united nations. so if you look at central asia, yes, of course there are the central asian republics and they are members of the united nations and so fords. but the way they're operating
internally is not the way the soviet union operated. they're not small versions of the soviet state. they are pat moanal systemles. they operate very much more like the nonstate actors that i was talking about. they just happened to have captured a state. so some of our nonstate actors are nonstate actors. some of them are nonstate actors that are operating officially as the representatives of states. that's perfectly fine. but that's not the same -- so i think what we need is a vocabulary and conceptual apparatus to say there is a state. it can operate as a european style bureaucratic state with a rule of law. then we have these states that are captured by nonstate actors but because of the language it doesn't make any sense. >> back to tribes and -- >> on that note i'm afraid we're going to have to cut things off. i want to thank president
eastern to continue work on an energy and water spending bill. it will be the third time a vote to advance the legislation has occurred. the house returns for legislative work tuesday. they begin the week with a eries of bills to combat ipoid abuse. >> here on c-span q&a is next with former u.s. ambassador. then at 7:00 we open our phone lines and take a look at today's headlines on "washington journal." ♪ announcer: tonight on c-span,