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tv   This Is America With Dennis Wholey  WHUT  February 26, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EST

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>> our guests on "this is america," dr. zbigniew brzezinski, former national security advisor for jimmy carter and professor for -- at john hopkins university, author of "the new york times," best seller, "strategic vision, america and the prices of global power." captioned by the national captioning institute >> the key for coming over and visiting, once again. >> -- >> and thank you for coming over and visiting, once again. >> it is once again. >> yes, you are right around the
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corner. how have things changed in the last 25 years? >> fundamentally. things have changed for domination in germany, involving communism. and then american supremacy. over the last 20 years that supremacy has become more difficult and uncertain. they have become more politically active in the world the way that all of humanity is politically active. the balance of power has shifted from west to east. politically, we live in a very different world. >> when people say that american power is of the blame, is that real or imagined? -- on the wane, is that real or imagined? >> america is still developing. so, we are still growing. resources, tnt, military capability can increase.
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what has changed is that others are closing in on us at a faster rate of growth and are beginning to surpass us in some dimensions. and if current relative rates of growth continue, in the next 20 years they could pass us in an overall more decisive way. >> it is not so much that we are declining as much as other countries are kind of coming up? >> yes. think of it as two people. one is 20 years older than the other. the older person is walking forward, very fast. the younger person is walking slowly because they are a baby. then the young person becomes a grown up and walks much faster, and the one getting older slows down. he is still ahead and moving forward, but it is a question of time before he is passed by. >> wonderfully said. >> can we, as a society,
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accelerate again? can we deal with our domestic problems? can we make ourselves meaningful to the world again? after this time we have antagonized such of the world and put ourselves into some unnecessary military adventures. >> we have paid a price, having not, for the wars that we are involved in right now? we are still involved in iraq. >> we have been involved in two wars recently. one of which was completely unnecessary on the basis of false allegations. the one in afghanistan was necessary. they attacked us from afghanistan. we had to go in and clean out al qaeda. we have to clear out al qaeda and get out.
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president bush more less declared that he wanted to make afghanistan into a modern, western-type democracy. >> why do we think that our version of democracy can take hold in other countries? yes, we want him and rights, freedom of the press, freedom of people to move around, but what we have in america is very special. we cannot impose that on other countries, can we? >> it is special in the sense that what we have in america is an amalgam of different peoples who joined together to become a nation and are self conscious of the fact of american exceptional listen. but, we are not unique. western europe is just as democratic as we are. and in some cases, practices it
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more intelligently. what we have in common with europeans is the concept of society and a people that is self-governing. people who overtime may become the legal reality. what we do not have is a public understanding of the fact that to get there it is a long, difficult, historical process that cannot be imposed on other societies mechanically or quickly. >> it cannot get through a democracy or a semblance of a democracy overnight. cannot be done. >> not with a foreign imposition. >> so, it has to come from within. >> yes. >> when we talk about the east and the west and the shift of politics from the west to the east, what do we really mean? >> in a sense, it is simple. >> it is not only the united states. >> yes.
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it is we and europe. the east really means the far east, mostly. that is to say asia, plus southwest asia, to the east, india, pakistan, bangladesh. a lot of people. >> not such a huge area to the west. those communities are large as well. how do you draw the dividing lines? who is in it? who is out of it? who is in between? >> at one point in your book you suggest a strategic vision -- strategic division, and it is always interesting to see your take on the world. that down the road, the west should include russia and turkey. >> absolutely. in different way, they are
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increasingly partaking in the democratic condition -- tradition. pervasively so, they are a democracy, and have been in cage as such for the last 100 years. they were invited some 50 years ago to join the european union. in the case of russia, it is more ambivalent as an empire. it certainly has not had a deep, democratic and -- tradition. there are increasing signals that russian society is changing. i am relatively confident that the democratic forces in russia will be dominant. it would make the west bigger, more resource full and interesting. >> also, tipping the balance of power? >> with asia, right.
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>> the title of the book is "strategic vision, close " what a critique -- terrific book it is. dr., come back with us on the other side. "this is america." >> "this is america," is made possible by the national education association, the nation's largest advocate for children and public education. the american federation of teachers, a union of professionals. the singapore tourism board, there is something for everyone. singapore airlines, a great way to fly. forging a higher global
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standard. the ctc foundation, a echo communications -- afo communications, and the rotondaro family trust. >> it is a big mess, as opposed to a big other. >> slavic, or fanatic? >> i am not very good with my languages. i welcome the help from you. the middle east is in turmoil. at one point, you say that the european union is irrelevant. and that america is in some kind of decline. that is a fairly bleak picture. and we do not pay much attention to south america and latin america, when we look at the world. >> 67 years ago, who was
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dominating in the middle east? the british and french. they left, or were pushed out, after world war ii. who replaced them? we did. with whom did we have the best relationships there? with iran, turkey, a faithful nato ally from the very moment of their founding, practically. with saudi arabia, the source of oil for us. in different ways, in all cases, it was pretty good. particularly with egypt, it is more mixed. first of all, the global political awakening is taken place in -- taking place in the least.
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-- in the middle east. >> hopefully in 2013, or at least 2014, most of our soldiers will be out of afghanistan. but the commitment is still there. is the premise that iran will have no nuclear weapons, or is it the policy? >> it is the right policy to proceed. they signed up for the non- proliferation treaty. they signed that treaty. it is better for them to not have nuclear weapons. they will stimulate non- proliferation. but, if someone close to me, and an effort to prevent them from having nuclear weapons, they want to go to war, it is easy to
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start a war, but difficult to finish it. iran would ignite all of the middle east. we can cope with the threat of an iranian bomb by making a blanket guarantee of american protection for the states of the middle east that are threatened by iran and israel. we have done this affectively for japan, south korea, north korea. we have done this affectively over the years. for all of the states that are a part of nato. in both cases, more dangerous than iran. >> so, when there are people clamoring that we should not even go to war to prevent iran from having nuclear weapons, you are saying no? >> absolutely not.
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that could become very destabilizing for the entire region. can we really extricate ourselves from afghanistan? they have a lot impenetrability into afghanistan. -- a lot of panic ability into afghanistan. -- penetratability into afghanistan. a. -- to it. as a result, more specific kinds of ethnic, religious differences. >> a federation of the kurds, sinise, and shiites? -- sunnis, and shiites?
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>> it could be very destabilizing. this is why in israeli war with iran would be so damaging to us. >> turning our attention at home, we have to -- horrific national debt, a financial system that is a disaster, the business of income and equity at play right now. nothing gets done in washington, because of the gridlock. as you pointed out, americans know very little about what is going on. these are huge domestic problems. how do we even begin to tackle those? >> you cannot begin by saying that you are going to tackle just one of them. you have to tackle all of them.
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>> we do. to maintain momentum and make sure that we're not surprised by others. i also think that public education is absolutely critical. we have an enormously, amazingly, global geography and very little knowledge of global history. very little, minimum understanding of global complexities. that foreign-policy is dependent on public support. what i particularly deplore is the primitive level of any discussion of foreign policy of the so-called presidential debates amongst republicans. just a slogan or two, that is it.
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>> that probably augurs well for the president in an election. >> well, it should. >> i see, i see. so, we need an american spirit of will to be able to go around the world. we have tried to use the program to educate people around the world. >> how many people on the social scale, a national scale, as we have the best higher educational system in the world. our top universities are here. there is less and less as you go down the scale. on top of that, the public has
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very little exposure. >> is that true in other countries around the world? or are they much more knowledgeable than we are? >> there is many more cross- border invasion to provide historical perspectives on education, which are more significantly basically a continental society that does not catch on other major companies -- countries. >> is it because -- canada and mexico might disagree with you. >> major countries in terms of being global players. now, the mexicans have had. one of the risks, and that was stupid on behalf of their immigration policy, it could reawaken their historical memories.
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looking at the map of mexico, let's say 180 years ago, compared to today. >> immigration policy, how would you change that? >> the policy of rounding people up on the streets is appalling. >> and beneath us, i think? >> i do not think it is compatible with who we are. i have been to the white house and we have talked about the highest issues of national policy. this is what is so wonderful about america. i have not changed my name. on having the right to walk into the oval office any time that i wanted to, looking at how to spell and pronounced.
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>> he did not send me that note. [laughter] i have to learn it. you are saying not only do we have to have a national will, but we also need the leadership, which really falls to the president, does it not? >> it does. it depends on his historical instinct. in difficult moments, his determination to lead may not be politically expedient. >> what would be wrong with a series of presidential talks to the american people to educate them on our foreign policy? or the world? >> i have been urging that. he still has the bully pulpit.
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the presidency, if he did it, everyone would scream. it is better to do it when you are not running, but are in office. the president gave some terrific speeches before and after. then he got bogged down on domestic problems and he had not been able to continue that. >> what do you think that china wants? >> status. influence. the reassertion of what it views as its normal historical role. this is a country that has been a state for 6000 years, with occasional breakdowns. it sees itself as a central power in the world. the question and the challenge for us is how to make them compatible with our very important role in the world. we can sustain its. that is the challenge that both of us face.
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quite frankly, i have to say that to some extent, both of day and we are delinquent in doing that. we have let ourselves slide into an increasing, acrimonious kind of exchange, which runs the risk of something very bad. >> they need a strong america, do they not? it serves their interests? >> it does. think what would happen if they decided to pull out all the dollars they had invested. >> absolutely. so, we have a mission. kind of summarizing mission with strategic vision, putting those in parallel, what are the next steps? what has to be done? >> in a consistent fashion,
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trying to draw turkey and russia into the west. turkey is doing it, russia is doing it better. in the far east, we opted not to get involved in mainland wars. europe in the 19th century, the external balance and the external source of intervention and influence to mitigate conflicts, reconciled, japan and china began with a partnership with the chinese. a self evident military edge to it. trying to operate on the assumption that they and we share a common interest in accommodation and will suffer very badly, each of us, if we get into real hostility.
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>> we have to accommodate them, in a way? accommodation? new say that they want status and their role in the world. they also want to be an economic and military player, right? >> military power, if one sided, can threaten the other. we have to be sensitive of their concerns as well. we patrol by air and sea, right up to the territories. they did this to us in san francisco. >> if you were the national security adviser now, and i certainly hope that from time to time the people in the administration reach out to get
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your thinking on subjects, what scares you most? what concerns you most? what would be your number one priority? >> the number one issues are the longer-range historical issues. in terms of the immediate issues, there is a possibility for renewed conflict and a region-wide crisis in which the problems of israel and iran merged with afghanistan and syria and iraq. we will be confronted with global economic well-being and regional stability. >> will it be the last? >> longer than i think we would wish. >> months or years? >> it has been a long time these days.
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>> this is a terrific educational book. if the president cannot do it, maybe some fireside chats will educate people. >> thank you so much. >> we call it "this is america," this is the world. i could not the face the debt ceiling clock all -- all over the world. thank you so much for visiting. >> good to be with you. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> for information about my new book, "the chance of a lifetime," and online video for all "this is america," programs, visit our website.
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"this is america," is made possible by -- the national education association, the nation's largest advocates for children and public education. the american federation of teachers, a union of professionals. [unintelligible] corporation, forging a higher global standard. the ctc foundation, afo communications, and the rotondaro family trust. rotondaro family trust.
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