tv The Long Game CSPAN November 7, 2016 6:00am-6:51am EST
money joe kenny and jack kennedy and traveled in very high social circles in fact, higher than the kennedys so the kennedys did not stair him down. so i thought that was pretty good. sometimes you have to be able make people to listen to you in this case was money and social standing. me, i take it any way i can get it and good policy is good policy but the main point here, this is not a partisan book, i just want america to get moving again. we've got to turn less than 2% growth over a couple decades now back to 3 to 4% growth which is what we do historically and to get there we are going to have to take strong remedial actions particularly on business and tax cuts to grow the economy as 5 or 6% for several years in order to get us back on track. kennedy and reagan showed, proved historically that it can
>> good morning. author of the elongate how obama redefined washington. with the foreign policy aspect of his administration. please silence your cell phones please buy a couple books on your way out. we will have a few minutes to sign books. we will talk about ten minutes and then well had q&a. you will look all look very smart. i'm sure you all have a lot to say.÷÷÷÷÷÷
and most recently at the u.s. secretary of defense he is currently a council and senior advisor. on a regular contributed to defense one. the previous books include america between the more. he lives in washington dc with his family. let's give him a round of applause. >> how did you end up in dc. all with all of these important meetings. and the situation room. that you talk about. give us the cliff notes
version. i really want to thank everyone for being here this afternoon. and braving the rain. working in washington dc for over 20 years i'm from lincoln nebraska my first like many is probably college football. and worked in and out of government for 20 years. it's a very typical dc career. and then eight years ago exactly to this day i joined the obama -- obama biden transition team. working with their teams as they transitioned into the government. taken over from the bush administration. working with secretary clinton did in the white house. in terms of how i got in the
room where it happens i ask myself that question oftentimes. but i what i wanted to try to do with this book is not right about my experience. i try to buck the trend. there is usually one of two kinds of books. it's a kind of book that places the author at the center of every pivotal event that occurred while they were in government. also the kind of book that says all of their former colleagues screwed everything up and if they've only listen to the author than everything would be great. some of them try to do both at the same time. i try to defy that in this book. it draws on my experiences serving as a state department. as i think about obama's foreign policy in the america's role in the world. in the debate we've been
having. in a challenging question that we have before us on military intervention u.s. leadership. it draws on my experiences but it's not about that. this is a book that tries not to just of defendant president obama the foreign policy legacy as we will reflect upon starting early next year. in the years ahead will be seen as a positive legacy for the united states in the world. that's why i call it the long game. i believe it will be remembered as a very consequential president for the better. and i build that case by drawing on many of my experiences in government. >> why not you remind us what the foreign-policy situation was like obama enters office in january of 2009. >> i am struck in our current political debate how there is
a healthy degree of amnesia about the state of the nine states if we were sitting here eight years ago. we would be talked about a hundred thousand americans easing their -- losing their jobs every month. unemployment above 10% look at america and the world where at the november 2008 we have a hundreds of the 5,000 troops deployed abroad in combat in wars that were not going well into many corners of the world including among many of our closest partners in the united states was identified now with hope and opportunity but torture and guantánamo bay. there was a quite serious deficit that we were in.
on one of the first orders of business for president obama was to arrest the decline that we were in and put us in a better position to lead the world and also to help solve problems around the world. when it was in our interest to do so. >> you have a fastening sentence that the typical american doesn't understand how complex foreign-policy is. i think it is hard for anyone who's not in the mix to understand the complexity of it. i thing it's one of the most humbling things for any of us who serve in government particularly if we come from the outside and we enter government with all sorts of grand ideas about how things should work and then once you get into the middle of it and you see how difficult everything is i think that is what i wanted to try to do in this book. not try to make excuses for tough choices.
but to try to give a better explanation for those of you interested in these issues on how we got to where we are today. we're able to look at a particular issue in isolation as though there was nothing else happening whether that's happening in syria or libya or china. the challenge for a president and those who are advising the president. to have an overall strategy not just to worry about how we fix uplift particular problem. when it fits with what our goals are also around the world. he is playing a long game. he often talks about decisions to turning an aircraft carrier. we have to do to set a new course is to do great turns
which means over a long distance or overtime nothing to be quite a shift. it often demands for much starker more severe term. it might be something that could capsize the ship. i think obama has the long game strategy and has tried to put america on the course for leadership over time not just today which i think is markedly improved today but also in the years and decades to come. >> eastman a specific and amount of time. with them particularly in egypt. an invasion of ukraine and also iran. this is some complex stuff. it's like sitting down and playing a game of war.
which do you think in many ways gave obama the most headache. whether it is what is happening in libya or serious today. the iran nuclear threat. these head been the most time consuming and the most challenging issues that president obama and his team had faced. i think of those issues looking back the crucible in many ways will be syria. because of the dramatic tragedy that is occurring every day in syria. the mass migration that has been sparked.
the way the conflict is in many ways what were seen in the world. that's not to say that there's a bunch of easy answers that the president and those of us who are advising that we decide not to take the easy way out. just like a dr. sometimes need to deal with the disease that there's no single cure for. on the best the dr. can do is mitigate and buy time into try to extend the life of the patient it's applicable to foreign policy foreign-policy as well. there are problems that defy easy solutions. they have that. it's not doing something or doing nothing if the in between. we've seen things that we can
bring to try to affect an outcome but it's all been very difficult. >> in the book you talk about obama was big on that. he encouraged it that is not do this or do that. it's about finding some kind of compromise in the middle. you also point out that obama's critics call and say it makes the u.s. look weak in the eyes of the world. it is a bit of a paradox. you've one side of the debate that you been hearing a lot about that says he's weak he doesn't believe that america is a great country he doesn't like to use military force but that then on the other side of the debate you hear obama is not that he uses it to a little. he uses it too much.
an unprecedented and counterterror campaign using tools like the remotely piloted aircraft. in our debates it likens to look at things like either or. he's the in between. i actually think it's a more subtle complex conception of what leadership is. is more fitting for plane a long game. then the black or white solutions. once you i'll be glad when it's over. i can't wait until tuesday night. what advice would you say. if hillary is elected what her foreign-policy approach will be.
despite what trump says publicly in reality if you selected what do you think his foreign policy course will be. with clinton. i have the opportunity to work with her for two years very closely and of course one i was at the white house and she was still the secretary for two years. a lot of interaction with her. she was at terrific secretary a terrific secretary of state. i think it gets lost in the debate she ran the department very well. she was a rock star around the world. i think again. take ourselves back to eight years ago. it's a price everyone. they were predicting that it was can be atrophied -- tricky relationship.
to me the most remarkable thing of their partnership was how will it worked. whether it is climate change the effort to rebalance america and if attention. she was a co- architect of many of those policies. there is no greater statement of the closeness of the relationship than what you see tomorrow. where her closing rally will be she and her husband together at a rally in philadelphia. president obama has been campaigning his heart out because he understands the stakes in the election. he understands and what is to
come. although she has articulated some honest policy differences on certain issues and trade on situation in syria. i think this story is for the large continuity. with trump you don't need me to tell you it would probably be the greatest disaster in american foreign policy in modern memory. it's one of the reasons why you've seen most of the foreign-policy establishment the community all either saying they're not for traversing or even republicans saying they're going to vote for secretary clinton. i spent a lot of my time around the world especially in europe. they feel like the stakes for themselves are as high as for any american. i was in the baltics last weekend. and they see their future directly related to the decision to bring in a make
tuesday they have a very different relationship with russia. it is a very scary prospect for our friends and partners around the world. [inaudible] [inaudible] on obama's decision on syria is it not strong or did it not become strong. the delay caused it you have it with a comment on that. i had two chapters of the book that deal with the syrian crisis in different dimensions.÷÷÷÷ he gets into the detail of the
episodes when syria and they used chemical weapons in the united states prepared for a military response to the use. i was at the pentagon at the time. i was part of the group planning and advocating for the use of force we decided to go to congress to gets congressional operation. i was one of those folks that spent a lot of time with members of a congress trying to advocate. we were met with a lot of skepticism about the wisdom of whether we should use of force in syria. he ended up achieving number design but something that was very improvisational and made us all safer. it was the peaceful removal of 1300 tons. i exploit --dash i explore this.
to deal with weapons of mass distraction that turned destruction that turned out not to exist. we're still dealing with the consequences of that decision. in syria we did not use force and we ended up dealing with the mass destruction threat. it was as much as ten times greater in what they thought that was a mistake. i tried to dive into that puzzle. i get into that. that is separate. it is separate from the fundamental drivers of the syrian civil war on what the nine states united states could have done differently in the years 2012 particularly when it comes to the use of military force to affect the outcome in syria. and this is the explanation part of the book. we considered a lot of options. that was my job when i was at the pentagon.
to influence outcome. there was a lot they can do but they opened up a lot of questions about where this would lead to what sort of future it would be for american policy. we were very mindful of the lessons of iraq. it was a war that president obama we were involved in that war in 2011. we decided after 2011 for the united states not to be a central player in the post- libya. and we see where that is today. those lessons were very much in our minds when we are considering about what to do about syria. i don't think anyone involved in the making of the u.s. policy is satisfied with where things are. but we also are greatly humbled by the limits of what the united states can actually do about this problem.÷÷÷÷
>> do you think it was dishonest of obama to use to use the ms from 2001 for the authorization of syria with the yemeni situation. i don't think it was dishonest and i think the president has been very eloquent on this himself. we need it. it was what congress passed in the two weeks or so after the 911 attacks. it has been the operative legal operation. for the activities in many parts of the world. but principally the middle east. and that is the current domestic legal authority that the united states is using for our counter iso- campaign. recall about two years ago the administration offered a new authorization to the congress
and said let's retire this authorization must pass a new law to give us new authorities to persecute the campaign and congress unfortunately like on sony other things has failed to pass that new law. despite the administration asking them to. it will be the first order of business for the next president however she is going to be. [applause]. i will throw out two topics and let you choose. one is compare clinton in character. on the other is blues allen. the contractor and the massive security breaches. i will take the clinton in
cary. they outsource their different source. in the united states that is engaged in the world that is out there leading and trying to bring countries together to solve problems and believes that it is not just defense but what we call the three d's. that we need to use the full toolbox of american power to try to affect outcomes and both of them have shown that they are willing to throw long passes it's a vigorous example that i believe is the right style of leadership and i would expect the next secretary of state will carry that forward.
i like to reflection back in 2008 to see how much progress we have made. but one of the things that is disappointing to me is the lack of strategy on drones which i thought at the time was another huge issue and i'm a little bit disappointed that i don't think there's been any former policy on the use of drones which i think such a terrible precedent for the future so my question is this. do you know that there has been any discussion about why or why not that was happening and i would like your opinion is it's as big of issue as it might be to you or do you think it's a relatively minor issue the use of drones and how they could be used in the future. it is an example of the tool of american power that has advanced in terms of the technology and the ability to be more precise that is only
going to continue to advance overtime. united states is not the only player in this. we will have more and more companies be able to pilot that. this is been an issue that has been on president obama's mind thinking through his successor and the rules that that person will operate under for the use of this particular tool. he has actually done more than any other president laid out and tried to be transparent as possible. for the use of drones around the world. he talked openly about the use of drones this was after i left government. the white house has released several documents documenting the times in which they were used outside of combat theaters then also declassified the rulebook that
this administration uses for conducting those kinds of operations. i think it's very important to have that transparency because you all need to be part of this discussion. in order for this to be sustainable over time the american people need to be bought and to why we are doing it and understand the best they can white they use this tool and also we need the role world to buy into this because were not the only actor here we want to have some standard that is set and they acquire this kind of capability they are held up to the same standards that we hold ourselves up to. >> if secretary clinton wins the election do you think there is a list of names who might come into a defense. i stay out of the name game. it's kind of a cottage industry.
all i can say based on my past experience in 2008 if we were having this conversation like anyone in this world. the way of saying don't believe it until you see it. i'm wondering if obama and the connection to kenya plays much role in terms of foreign --dash the foreign policy. i don't cover that in my book but there had been others who have talked about that since as he grew up obviously spent formative part of his life in indonesia but he also grew up in hawaii. the longest time he ended up living in the continental united states was when states was when he went to college. he has a view of being an american from looking from the outside in this is way beyond
the scope of my book. i can't help but think that perception and not just the united states in american looking at the u.s. from the outside. it has to inform his thinking. i think that's one of the reasons if i'm right about that my he has made some foreign policy decisions that i think are ones that the world has actually liked. he has in his mind. >> does anybody ever consists --dash confuse you with ed snowden. that's a first. i have a broader question that deals with this regime change. sometimes they say it seems
like my problem with the foreign policy is they've been overthrowing secular nationalist regimes in the middle east and those regimes were oppressive but they were oppressed also with the jihadist movements. we support the overthrow of government. so obviously there with the bombing and supporting the overthrow there. and then also in syria they supported the insurgents which included isis. so, is there any planning post overthrow. this can be replacing them. >> a couple of comments on
that. when you look at what is happened in the middle east over the last several years what you're seeing is indigent as to what's going on in that region. it's not the united states going to impose its will on the people of the middle east. the challenge we have when the arab spring was still considered a spring when it was seen as hopeful was how we adjusted in reacted to what was happening on the ground in those countries. when the people of egypt crowded the square to call for their overthrow of their government. or when they rose up in benghazi libya and were calling for recline for democratic change. in their peaceful protests were about to be put down by the government when peaceful protesters took to the streets in 2011 and 2012.
and as they began the brutal crackdown others protest. and oftentimes here in the united states and in the region there is an over interpretation of how much we the united states is actually driving a lot of this. it's not to say we don't have any tools at our disposal but it means that oftentimes what's happening is indigenous to those places in the question for us is how we respond to appeared how we try to shape in a way. when it comes to the post conflict reconstruction. is what we spent a lot of time in government. we have learned a lot of hard lessons over the last 15 years. when the actually occupied two countries. we seen how difficult that can be.
the kinds of reform in the development needs. the good news is there's been a lot of for extended to try to get better at this. that is what is foremost on the leader's mind when it comes to thinking about post a sound syria. we should just go in there. we can do it. if there's one thing they have shown it can take down governments. the problem is what comes next. who is on the hook for that. i think it explains to me what many perceive as a very
deliberate way that we've gone about trying to handle some of these crisis. >> with time for a couple more questions. do you think were able to have any meaningful influence great question. a great boss of mine. has a sane that we can't want peace more than the parties themselves. that we have a huge role to play in secretary carey and clinton tried very hard to play that role to bring the parties together and find ways that we can and will be of the parties themselves that are going to need to want that solution.
can you talk a little bit more about how you think the legacy will be viewed. >> great question. one of the reasons why i wrote the book was not just to put myself into a therapy and work out what i experienced in government but also to try to explain to you all what happened. as an early attempt to think about president obama historically. as you're sitting on the stage. about the legacy. one of the ways you can evaluate that legacy. if you compare him to other presidents. it's interesting where to start. it's where obama compared himself to on foreign policy. the two presidents he compares himself to our george hw
bush. >> it's interesting. a political comment. i can't think of any national republican leaders today who want a foreign-policy like that. with a democratic president those are the two guys that he mentioned. when you look back on those two presidents it's very striking in the parallels between their foreign-policy leadership to eisenhower's address. the theme of the address was balanced trying to have balance in your foreign-policy. balance in the tools that you're using. is not just all about military force. involvement and economic tools. balance has been a big thing for president obama as well. in the way that he goes about
conducting foreign-policy. you look at george hw bush. and of course we remember him now as a very good foreign-policy president who presided under historic. but at the time when he left office in 1992 he was criticized for not intervening enough in places. he was criticized for leaving who dumps the same in power. and for being humbled in ways that the u.s. should project its power around the world. those are traits in our political debate which wants to head leaders do's things that are really decisive hits the idea of strength which is the macho idea of what it means to be strong. you don't get credit in the moment. we think of them is really good presidents. i think that's over to think