tv This Is America With Dennis Wholey WHUT December 5, 2010 9:00am-9:30am EST
>> let me begin by asking you -- all from other countries around the world -- what amazes you, what fascinates you, what intrigues you about america? go ahead. >> what fascinates me about america at this the pragmatism and the emphasis on solutions and the emphasis on what works. and there are advantages because you started a new country. you are not bogged down by system and things like that in the past. >> ambassador, what fascinates you? >> i think it is -- its
diversity, ily reinvent itself,, of course, if there is a problem, fix it. [laughter] >> you are shaking your head. >> i certainly agree with regard to the diversity. i do like in this country that if you do things right, you have a chance to make it to the top, which in other societies, other cultures may not be that easy. >> so is that opportunity. people say freedom. i say opportunity. you have been here for a bit now. what fascinates you? >> yes, 15 years here your vitality, resourcefulness, creativity, diversity, ability to embrace people from different parts of the world and your acceptance of their coming to the united states.
>> what did we miss -- what do we miss when we look at ourselves? what do you see? >> sometimes, you are not aware of what an important country you are, and i think that the role that america plays in the world is very important for the united states to understand that it has a responsibility. i think anybody who has such an opportunity and has the richest and the great knowledge and power that the united states has has an incredible responsibility, and i think this is an important part of the u.s. vision. >> ambassador, you have the last word before we go to the break. >> i personally agree, but what i think you are missing is being the only superpower right now -- your knowledge of the
other parts of the world is very limited. i'm talking about not merely the administration, but throughout the united states. >> our geography is limited or our knowledge is limited? >> your knowledge. >> our knowledge of the world. does the fact that we are so on knowledgeable about the world -- does that bother you a great deal? i have my own map with me, and i was plotting singapore, colombia, zambia, and so on and so forth, and i would encourage the folks at home to do exactly the same thing. we just do not know, do we? let me take a break first, and when i come back on the other side, i want to ask all of you to tell us one thing about your own countries that we should
know. i will say to the folks at home, a gathering together of six women ambassadors serving their countries from the united states may be unprecedented. i do not know, but it is a wonderful group to be with. sit tight. this is america. "this is america" is brought to you by -- hyundai motor america, maker of the 2009 sonata. the national education association, the nation's largest advocate for children and public education. the league of arab states, representing 350 million people in 22 member countries.
the rotandaro family trusts. the ctc foundation. and the american life tv network. we were not practicing. what is that? we are warmed up. we are warmed up, and we are ready to go. you do not need any warm-up. let me ask this -- tell me, ambassador, what is one thing about india that we should know that we do not know that would just blow us away? >> i think that we are the second largest muslim country in the world, that we are a democracy, pluralistic with 1.1 billion people, and that we are
the second fastest-growing economy in the world and have been for several years now. >> is the second fastest-growing behind china? >> yes. >> not behind the united states? >> that would be a bad place to be right now. [laughter] >> let me say, how many billion people? >> 1.1 billion people. >> how many people? >> now we go to the other extreme. 36,000. >> 36,000 in liechtenstein. tell us a couple of facts about liechtenstein we should know. >> you should know that we are more than banks. contrary to everybody's believe, 40% of our gdp is generated by manufacturing industry, and only 29% or 30% by financial services. another fact one should know is that on a per-capita basis, and
that is the only way in which i can impress -- on a per-capita basis, we are one of the most if not the most highly industrialized countries. >> bordered by what countries? >> bordered by switzerland and austria. and the size of washington, d.c. >> ok, good. singapore, city state. what does that mean? >> singapore is a city state. new york city is a state. imagine is a country. it raises an army, such a foreign service, educate people, run a government, a cabinet, but i think people should know that singapore is a country which is about 3.5 times the size of washington, d.c. it has 4.2 million people, and it is a country built out of nothing. we have no resources -- no oil, no forests, no water, and even the air is quite restrained.
we literally build ourselves out of nothing upon the people. >> and not an old country. >> it is a very new country. independence in 1965. >> do people think that singapore has to be given back to china? are people still of the mindset that they did not understand that it is not hong kong? >> singapore is not china. please, we are quite away from china. [laughter] singapore was a british colony. >> i wanted to give you the opportunity to say that. tell us about columbia, just one or two great facts. >> columbia is the oldest democracy in latin america and strongest democracy. it is a country with the greatest bio-diversity. we have mountains. we have snow-covered mountains, and we also have the amazon.
we have the greatest diversity in birds and amphibians and frogs, said there is a lot of options to go and visit columbia. it has a strong economy. it was growing at 7% before the economic downturn that we are all suffering right now, and it is a very safe place to visit right now, and we welcome tourists and investment. we have had more than $10 billion of investment the last five years, which shows a new confidence in colombia. >> you are the first woman ambassador from the arab countries. >> that is right. arab countries have women ambassadors in other countries, but i am the first one to the united states. this has not been easy because it is my responsibility to get out this misconception that arab women are back word, not
educated. women in the arab world have the same rights as men. when we came over, we said every girl and boy would have the same opportunity. it has not been easy because when i make appointments to see a congressman or senator, my name could be male or female, so, of course, when i go there, they are expecting a man because coming from the arab world, it is a woman, but it is a woman that speaks english. this is something that it is up to me right now to remove this conception right now about arab women being backward. >> beautiful country. just seeing dvd's of the country, absolutely beautiful. >> we host set -- one of the --
zambia hosts one of the seven wonders of the world, victoria falls. zambia is about the size of texas, and it has a population of 12 million people. it is in the southern part of africa. it was very friendly. the whole liberation of southern africa was done in zambia, and namibia, south africa, zimbabwe, and all that was done in zambia, and the process of the congo, of angola was initiated in zambia. after world war ii, those were
executed, some of them ended up in zambia, and they are very warm and friendly people. >> ambassador from oman puts on the idea of being a woman and what you have to do. let's talk about being a woman ambassador in the united states and in washington, d.c. where they're great hurdles to get to be the ambassador in your country? and please just jump in. do not wait for question/answer, question/answer. we will be here all night. >> i never even thought a woman can be an ambassador. >> what were you doing before that? >> i was an academic. i spoke up a lot against my government, which surprised me enormously when they picked me to be the ambassador.
i really did not feel the hurdles. i just worked. that is it tough being a woman ambassador in washington? >> once you get here, yes, it is not easy, but it is not tough either. i think to get here may be the tough part. i have a similar career paths. i was at the united nations first. i was the first woman in our foreign service. getting here is much more difficult than being here. >> what is the priority -- you have been here now for six months or so, and your prime minister was just here in washington. you did not have to crash the party. >> i did not have to use my in dignity.
>> what would be the priority that you have? >> i think that's the priority is to strengthen the u.s./india partnership across a very broad spectrum. we have several colors from security to defense to counter terrorism to economic relationships where trade and investment are growing in both directions. >> that is horrible that they found at that someone from the united states was involved in the tragic mumbai bombing. >> yes, and they have charged him with actually staking out all the places which were targeted during the bombing, and it took planning of several years, and a concealment of his identity as well. he changed his name and identity, so as to dealing from his background -- >> so that is something you
would have to be involved in. >> in fact, one of the things we did during the visit was to initial an mou -- memorandum of understanding -- on counter- terrorism cooperation, and we hope to increase intelligence sharing, information sharing, and capacity building. >> let me ask -- ambassador, africa. a lot of things happen under the bush administration. you put the focus in africa. as the ambassador from zambia, it is a bilateral situation. what are you trying to achieve? >> it is to enhance friendship and that investment. >> it is a very poor country, is it not? >> actually, it is a middle- income country. before the economic collapse, --
before your economic collapse, our country was booming. >> let me ask you that, just between us, without anybody else listening -- [laughter] have we owned up to the fact that we caused this? >> no. >> we have not? and we did cause it? >> yes, zambia like other countries that are mining countries, we were the first to be affected. china is not buying the copper because they are not able to buy the product. but we are not really having a pity party. we are trying to do the best we can. we are diversifying our economy -- tourism, agriculture and all that to get out of it. >> we are also diversifying, but our versification is different. we are trying to diversify from
dependency on the oil. >> what is the role of the ambassador in the united states? >> there is lots of things to do. when i first arrived here, it was to negotiate a free-trade agreement. it is not easy because -- >> you will have your chance in a moment. >> it is an up or down road, so you have to see as many congressmen or senators just to get their votes, so this is why i said sometimes -- to me, it was kind of an advantage being a woman because when i went up there, they were expecting a man and where pleasantly surprised to see that it was a woman. instead of asking for a vote, i could have asked for the moon at that time. [laughter] but thank god it passed, and we have a free-trade agreement. >> your mission here must be for that free trade agreement, right? >> it is one of the very
important missions. >> columbia and korea and panama, three free trade agreements. do you notice a shift in the president jose -- he was very strong during the campaign of putting these free trade -- but we need trade, don't we? >> the president has come out and talked about trade. he talked about the importance of the trade agreement, so we hope to be able to move ahead at the right moment, which we hope will be sooner than later. >> is that your priority? >> that was the priority i was sent out with, so i'm working very hard. last year had 630 meetings of on the hill. this year, i'm up to 300, and that is where i spent most of my time. one time, one congressman said to me, ambassador do not come up here because you are starting to make us feel guilty. >> that is ok. whatever works, right? >> especially because it is so
important for both our countries, and it makes sense from an economic point of view and geopolitical point of view. columbia has been a very good friend of the united states. i make this a joke, but it is an important agreement for both of our countries. >> can i make a point about trade? i would say that all the countries around the world are hoping that the united states, the largest trading nation in the world, would come back to the trade message. that is why we were very enthusiastic, very pleased to hear president barack obama say in tokyo that the united states would engage in a trans-pacific partnership with the members of membersttp -- members of the tpp to reach standards for trade investment job creation, so this is something we are looking at.
because of that, the trip to asia was very successful. the american press has been very unfair on the trip. it trashed the trip to asia, but the trip to asia for president obama was a very good trip. >> how did they trashed it? i can tell you are angry. >> because i think the trip to asia was a good trip. the united states -- the president of united states went to asia in the first year of his presidency. it is the fastest-growing region in the world and will be so for the 21st century, so emphasis is placed where it is, and going to singapore and the meetings, the press surrounded him, and everybody said the united states is back in the game, and that is good. he went to china. he was criticized for a scripted
town hall meeting, for not mentioning human rights, but the united states mentioned climate change targets and reduction of emissions. the chinese came out with targets. there was a resolution, you know, which was before the iaea. china voted for the resolution. this was not by accident. they must have talked about it on the trip. so it was successful. >> one last thing about trade -- >> do not wait for me to call you. >> i think this is a very big can misconception. trade has been the motor of your economy. trade is an important way to create jobs. many times, the people who are in manufacturing do not realize that what they are producing is for the foreign markets. we are hoping that as you look at new ways of creating jobs
that trade will be one of the ways that will be considered very seriously to create these jobs, so that is a message that sometimes is not understood, but it is very clear that trade is very important for the united states. >> i agree with you because there is a misconception that to have free trade with the country, that we are taking away jobs, and we are not. frankly, we are creating jobs for americans. for the benefit of the united states, the products can come to the united states. >> that includes zambia and africa, which is not a country. it is a continent. that is very important. right now, we are buying a lot from the united states. if we had money, so it is a good
thing to interact. africa specialty is really agriculture, and some of the agriculture products you really do not have here, so i think it is to the advantage of america really to be open with trade. >> i would very much stress that trade and economic cooperation is a two-week process which brings benefits to both sides. sometimes there is a tendency to look upon that as a zero-sum game. particularly if we look now at the way the india/u.s. relationship is developing. it is clearly something moving both ways. indiana for investment to the u.s. has been higher than u.s. foreign investment in india, foreign direct investment in
india, and indian countries who have invested in a range of sectors from steel to information technology to hotels to 8:00 coffee, which we are not having just now because we are having water -- [laughter] >> ambassador, i will say, we will have a staff meeting about coffee or water on the table. colombian coffee. we will take our underwriting whatever place we can get it. even in kind. there you go. >> let me ask this one question here. when you look at the government in action or government inaction, if i could play around with words just a bit, does it mystify you sometimes?
look at what is going on with the health care thing. when you were talking and your fire was there about trade, i was thinking about without taking sides, it appears that the media here is still looking for conflict, so looking for the negative, and i want to ask you about this -- if obama chooses to wear loafers instead of tying shoes, that will be a huge thing that someone can grab a hold up and create a problem for us. ambassador? >> i would say that the indian media is perhaps more aggressive than the u.s. media, and the u.s. media appears very polite compared to the indian media. >> is that true? for online video of all "this is america" programs, visit our website, thisisamerica.net. "this is america" is brought to you by --
hyundai motor america, a maker of the 2009 sonata. the national education association, the nation's largest advocate for children and public education. the league of arab states, representing 350 million people in 22 member countries. the rotandaro family trusts. the ctc foundation. and the american life tv network. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.