tv White House Chronicles PBS May 20, 2012 9:00am-9:30am EDT
>> hello, i'm llewellyn king, the host of "white house chronicle. today we have a very special edition of the program which deals with foreign policy, but a very particular aspect of foreign policy, america's attitude towards china. not so much what china is doing, but what we are doing intellectually in our spiritual approach to china -- whether we are building it into something it is not, whether we are establishing in our own minds a
solid path to the future, or whether we are doing something else. our guest for this discussion, this exploration is amitai etzioni, a very distinguished professor of sociology who teaches now at the george washington university, but who used to be a professor at columbia and at harvard and who is educated at berkeley in california. you will find him fascinating. he is one of the most intriguing and gifted men that i have had the pleasure of knowing in my life. after the announcements and after a message from our sponsor, the exelon company of chicago, you will meet this great man, amitai etzioni. >> many have spoken out on the need to transition to a clean energy future. at exelon, we are acting. by 2020, we are committed to reducing, offsetting, or
displacing more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually through greening our operations, helping our customers and communities reduce emissions, and offering more low carbon electricity in the marketplace. at exelon, we are taking action and we are seeing results. >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. and now, the program host, nationally syndicated columnist llewellyn king and co-host linda gasparello. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> i promised to introduce you to the extraordinary professor amitai etzioni, and here in is very welcome to the broadcast, professor. but the way of television, i will call you by your first name even if you're a distinguished
professor. television cuts people down awfully to size. you are concerned with the way -- you are a sociologist and you are concerned about the way we build up attitudes, is that correct? >> let me first say i appreciate this opportunity to sound an alarm, in a sense, to my fellow citizens, that we now -- we are again rushing to make a foreign- policy into an enemy way before it is necessary. i deliberately put it that way, because i am not arguing that i can foretell the future, that china could never turn into an adversary, but it is vastly premature to decide that it is our next war and starred in effect to prepare for war. the last thing president obama announced was that he was pivoting from the near east to the far east by sending marines to australia, not to defend it from new zealand, i assume. it is obviously a movement at
china. he did not send the peace corps, solar energy specialist, but a military more -- moved which clearly signals a much larger decision. the reason why sociologists are concerned about that is the first of all, to be fair and frank about it, all societies have a tendency to look for adversaries, if not enemies. there are many benefits, in the bad sense of return, for societies to have an enemy. it allows you to demand unity, to suppress dissent, to demand people to make sacrifices against the outsider. it is also very easy to blame the outsider for whatever is wrong with us rather than look to ourselves and correct ourselves. and then we have the defense industry, which would not mind at all, i am sure, to build for
the future war. that is the reason i am here. and what i would like to do is take some of the specific things we are told about china, to show that at this stage there is no reason for alarm. >> all right. we have seen the extraordinary journey from the euphoria, the opening by nixon to china, to a country out of the middle ages. a primitive country with an awful lot of people using manual labor, picks and shovels to do construction work, to in no time at all, it seems, a period of years, to being an economic superpower, number two, the second-largest economy in the world. reasonably, i think we have gone from euphoria to suspicion.
>> to this notion that they have become this economic superpower. the way it is usually measured is by the size of the economy. and then people use that figure, and when they make presumptions -- projections, that the chinese economy will keep growing at this rate and therefore overtake us, what they disregard is that china is four times more people than the united states. that means four times more people to feed, to howls, to take care of. >> i think we have a graphic that shows that. there we are. >> income of per-capita -- income per capita is less than one-tenth of the united states and even by the year 2015 will not catch up anywhere near us.
in a really severe totalitarian society like north korea, you could disregard people, star of them and put all of the resources into the military -- >> we have information on the screen derived from the world bank. but this is happening, though. you cannot buy a piece of clothing in the united states that was not made in china, practically. i am sure proud of his jacket, made in haiti. it's sort of looks as though they have taken us over, in a sense, and it creates anxiety and also the great sense that our jobs have gone to china. >> first of all, economists tell us this increase in trade benefits everybody. so, we are getting cheaper jackets than otherwise. but i actually agree that to the degree we are opening ourselves up to china, it must be much more insistent that they will
open up to their markets, and their control and currency and the many, many limitations they put on an investment in china -- just one statistic. you know just about everything -- how many foreign films china allows to be imported in a year from the whole world? the answer is, 20. >> how many does it still -- steal? >> that is another issue. but it does not mean the solution is to go to war. if we put our economic house in order, if we would not be so dependent on china financing our debt, our deficit, by buying our treasury, we would be much more insistent on china either opening up as much as we do for them, or we would retaliate. the reason why there is reluctance to face up to all of
the economic pressures we face on china, is because we are so dependent on them, due to our own -- but looking at the economy is just one consideration. let's take another one. the argument that they are aggressively pushing their sovereignty by demanding most of the south china sea become part of their exclusive economic -- >> well, there are three areas in dispute, i think, in the south china sea. but particularly, the dispute is north vietnam, those islands, and off the philippines, the fishing. but underneath that, there is concern about oil around the perimeter around the south china sea. there is a tendency, one perceives -- and the chinese, because it is all -- called the south china sea, that it is
their territorial property and everything happens in all the way up to the other country there is theirs, and they have been pretty relentless and that demand. they have not been accommodating, they have not sat down and said this is yours, this is ours, but it has been a relentless demand for the shoreline of the south china sea. and that is very disturbing to those countries. i heard this talk about a great deal being in asia, their designs on the south china sea. there is a tendency, in asia, to name waterways of countries -- the indian ocean, and those countries tend to think they own those waterways. >> the south china sea is a fair test of the issue i am putting before us. if indeed they are pushing it aggressively and relentlessly and are going to use their military might and new power to capture the south china sea,
including the pieces which many people consider maybe belongs to malaysia, the philippines, then i would indeed sound the alarm and say we cannot stand by and about any nation to push everybody around and capture their land. but this is not happening, at least not yet. >> there have been some territorial disputes. >> they have done what every american lawyer dozen on the go to court, they make extraordinary claims verbally, and thenta s start the negotiat. if you put the other piece i brought with me, it shows one of our most distinguished legal scholars at nyu law school, that when you examine the many, many territorial disputes china has with its neighbors, without exception, they settled them not by fighting. >> we have a graphic that is a
little out of date, but it says 17 out of 23 settled. >> china was quite willing to -- more than it took. but there were some incidents -- but just to illustrate my point, the philippines and china got into a hassle, china delayed importation of their bananas. it is a long way from a shooting war. what is happening here, is we have to keep our cool. when you start framing the differences -- let me give you an example. canada claims -- let's say canada claims suddenly they own that huge territory around the north pole. nobody is taking -- making a fuss about that.
countries make claims all the time in the beginning of negotiation, but not always a step toward. >> islands are a source of a lot of stress, whether the islands off of vietnam claimed by china and vietnam, or the islands claimed by argentina and chile or islands off of japan claimed by russia and japan or what did lead to war, the falkland islands, nominally owned by britain and claimed by argentina because of the proximity to the argentine mainland. islands are a special problem. but they are away -- and how do we know the chinese are not doing this -- of riling up the people. those we get people are taking our islands. he always had in china, the taiwan situation, to build up a sense of false pagers is some
and therefore deflect public attention from the failings of governance that home. >> you are not acting as a lawyer for these people, are you? >> i am simply -- >> you are getting my juices flowing. i would like to suggest exactly what you are saying. let's make that a litmus test. they are going to do what happened to the falklands, if they are going to war, we would respond -- at the moment, the military power is extremely weak -- and i will come back to that in a moment. but i am willing to make a test case. i would predict they will settle the differences peacefully and divide the difference, the way we often settle disputes. there is an issue that deserves additional attention. tine it is very much dependent on the input of mock material -- china is very much dependent on
the inputs of raw materials because it has very few resources of its own, and the population is very demanding. so, we could try to frustrate that and we could get to blows, or we could say, that is what we are inviting all nations to do -- participate in the global economy, export what you can, by what you can come up as long as you do it in a peaceful manner -- buy what you can, as long as you do it in a peaceful manner. china has to attend to its people. talking about north korea, a country that is so tyrannical that it can disregard its population and an investor in the military. the chinese elites long decided they will not fall into the trap. their political stability is not only based on communism and that ideology, but based on
bringing a high standard of living to more and more people, half of whom don't even have running water or use an outhouse as their toilet. so, they cannot shift resources to military use. >> i am going to pause a moment for station identification, particularly for the benefit of our many lessons on the siriusxm channel 124 potus channel 0 here this program every saturday at 9:30 a.m. eastern time, 3:30 p.m. eastern and 9:30 p.m. eastern. it can be heard and seen around the world on the voice of america and 200 american television stations, public and public access -- educational, political, and public access.
we are so glad you are with us. i'm llewellyn king, and i am talking today with professor amitai etzioni of the george washington university, one of our most distinguished sociologists. our subject is how we are reacting to the growth and expansion of china. and whether we are developing a chinese will be or not. professor -- chinese phobia or not. professor, continue -- we were told china would be a perfectly when it entered the world trade organization and it has not behaved perfectly. it has been a naughty child. >> let those who behave perfectly cast the first stone. unfortunately when it comes to international relations, there are very few saints. we used to have a quota on the
importation of steel and cars and textiles, and president obama called on american corporations to bring jobs back home. we can go on and on. we have an export and import bank that decides to subsidize exports. there are very few things in international trade. the wto is the place where issues are brought forward by china and the united states. so far, they have been all resolved peacefully. let me go back -- political scientists like to distinguish between capabilities and intentions. an interesting point on the intention issue. china looks like the soviet union -- after all, they have a similar political issue. what they saw it is weak, the united states, succeeded in driving them into bankruptcy. president reagan, one of the
things he did is accelerate the arms race because he knew the russian economy, which was much weaker, could not keep up and would end up broken, and that is exactly what happened. one of the many reasons the communist regime collapsed. in china, the economy is much, much smaller per capita than ours, they looked at the experience of the soviet union and decided they would not fall into the trap. they would not allow us to force them into an arms race and it bankrupt in their economy. >> over the last several decades we have seen various concerns. in the russians were coming, they went away. the japanese for coming in the 1990's, and they got an economic hernia. the germans -- the germans are still there but we look rather kindly on them and their economy as doing fairly well.
the tiny city state as singapore is held up as the invincible. now we have a very large country, where at a time our rate of growth is about 2%, to 0.5%, and there is is 10% -- a rate of growth is 2%, 2.5%. they will overhaul as if it continues. >> i like that. if it continues. it is already -- already not continue. data should prince -- protect us from straight line projections. >> straight line projections are a horrible word. i knew a man once who said the problem with the 20th-century was graphing paper, you can draw the line out to infinity. >> they are slowing down. i think they are much closer to 7% than 10%, but i would predict
-- and i would be happy to be judged by the prediction -- they would slow even more. but more important, the face enormous environmental and demographic challenges. a fellow just wrote a book about china, who lives -- life expectancy in beijing is five years shorter than in other ac the pollution is so, so bad. he himself and everybody knows had various upper respiratory bonuses. i know you have been to beijing and i have been to beijing. it is rare that you spend one of two days without coughing. this is just a symbol of a much deeper issue. and they just cannot physiologically continue at this. they have to shift resources for environmental challenges. they are aging very rapidly. the one child policy, they have
very skewed demographics. we are also aging. japan has also aging. we because of immigration, especially of latinos. basically staying relatively young, but they are rapidly aging. but the combined effects of the environmental challenges, demographic challenges, and the need to distribute wealth much more widely -- and you see it in this notion that the economy will go and go, it is simply erroneous projection of the future. most and pour in, we have time. people talk about china -- most and portraits, we have time. people talk about china hedge. even if we do not know what will happen 20 years from now, we should start building warships and fighters because maybe we have to fight them 20 years from now. nobody argues they could pose a military town -- challenge and a feature, but to start now -- i would argue the other way
around. there is time for what kissinger called for, for trying to work with them as partners in the world order, rather than turning them prematurely into enemies. >> how many phobias can a country deal with and one time? if we are developing what about china, we have a pretty established a robust phobia about islam. can we have a duality of hatred, if you will, or dislike? >> that in many ways one -- is one of the reasons i am here. our immediate threats in the next two or three years clearly lie in the middle east. al-qaeda, which we kind of defeated in afghanistan, it is succeeding in yemen despite the fact we took some people out recently. the situation in pakistan is extremely serious. they are accelerating their
nuclear military program in response to india, and their nuclear weapons are not secure. there have been several and dances in which al-qaeda or taliban -- instances in which al-qaeda or taliban have already broken to their bases. my immediate concern -- i don't know anybody in the security business that does not agree that nothing threatens us more than a combination of a nuclear weapon and a terrorist. so, our immediate challenges lie in the middle east. at this point, we shift our limited capacity to the far east, it is just a premature pivoting. >> china is shifting out of the far east and is -- has essentially bought its way into 48 countries in africa and most of the countries of latin america by buying up the raw materials, establishing chinatowns, buying off the
governing people. the thing that astounds me not is that they have done it but they have had the skills people to do it without any colonial experience, and yet to the end of the african countries, that is a major achievement and far exceeds anything the british and french empire of the belgians and the dutch have succeeded in terms of imperial penetration of third-world countries. >> you start throwing these words around, imperial and stuff, and colonial -- >> well chosen, used advisedly. >> you are extremely good at this. i think it is a fair challenge you put. only the difference is, that the and buyers conquered and occupied these countries. the colonial meant taking over and governing the countries. the chinese and doing nothing of that sort. >> the colonials could not by those countries, there was nothing to buy. now there is something to buy
and the chinese have bought it. it is very interesting, but it means they are no longer contained in china. they are global already. >> in the best sense of the term. exactly what we want people to do, and reston other countries, by their products and sells the -- invests in other countries, buy their current -- their products. they are trading peacefully. the best news is it is extremely self correcting. not only did vietnam and the philippines and and a lot as such move away from china -- even burma, one of its closest allies just canceled -- >> there will always be shifts -- look at the countries in and out of occupying egypt. there is a case when one is defending china to recognize that china has the agendas that we have never seen before. i am afraid that is the end of
need to transition to a clean energy future. at exelon, we are acting. by 2020, we are committed to reducing, offsetting, or displacing more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually from greening our operations, helping customers and communities reduce emissions, and offering more low carbon electricity in the marketplace. at exelon, we are taking action and we are seeing results. >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. from washington, d.c., this has been "white house chronicle," a weekly analysis of the news with insight and a sense of humor featuring llewellyn king, linda gasparello, and guests. this program can be seen on pbs stations and cable access channels. to view the program online, visit us at whchronicle.com. to view the program online, visit us at whchronicle.com.