tv After Words Newt Gingrich Trump vs. China CSPAN November 10, 2019 9:00pm-9:58pm EST
you can make that apply to modern america i have been looking very much of this chance to chat with you. >> i appreciate that. i'm very impressed i read through your book i am impressed quickly that came out. my last book took seven years to write. maybe i should be more diligent but my research focuses to have an interesting discussion so what did you think of it as a genuine china scholar? i am not. what did you think of the information. >> a tough question. your recommendations and i would agree with.
we can talk about how people different interpretations and it was very problematic and how to pursue power and influence i may disagree with some of the characterizations of china but i wouldn't mind asking you about that. but before getting into the nitty-gritty you mentioned in the intro that the threat of china is something that you have recently focused on so i am curious what exactly sparked your interest? and reading about it and thinking about it since 1960 it's not sudden i have been visiting china with the speaker of the house and i continued to visit china over
the last decade and it was a turning point for me but in 2005 we went to the pearl factory which is a big building downtown beijing that sells goodies to tourist and we were on the 64 we had two people accompany me former national security council analyst and were fluent in chinese. i had two young grandchildren at the time. we went in pajamas we found a woman who had a pajama store and says whatever she says come back with 10 percent above her price. >> i would have said half. >> if you go to walmart there
is a price you don't negotiate. she wants 200 and i come back 20 she will now tell you you are bankrupting her family she cannot feed her children and it shall give you a price. so she came back and say 180 and they said say ten. and then she went through another round. it took about 40 minutes. we finally settled at 50 and my two advisors were disgusted and said she was going to make money at 30. but her ability to negotiate and that cheerfulness that was part of her day is unlike anything trade representatives but to go to an event to get a deal i think the chinese to
negotiate and to talk until they get the deal that they want. so this mismatch of cultural realities and then you begin to see more and more of it. and that consolidation of power. and to be dramatically increased and it hit me that we are diverging from the model which was optimistic and those that wanted to be more like us and that's not the real china. its own ambitions and then to prop up the turkish economy
and in venezuela with american activities and that we needed to reset in order to develop strategies enabling us to survive. that is how i set out to write the book. >> i think that is an accurate characterization of the communist party and the role in chinese society. with that initial recognition of the threat and then devise a strategy in response i agree with your assertion in the book that it is the party with no intention to democratize that has never been a viewpoint of my own but to explore more how to characterize the party so
throughout the book you refer to the government as a totalitarian government so in my study of china we refer as an authoritarian government. it seems like a minor distinction but it is important with totalitarianism it is a society which the government controls every aspect with no social freedom at all for their people. so the caucuses totalitarianism but you wouldn't call that democratization and those that have more freedom and according to the authoritarianism they exercise power i would argue with relatively predictable women. the average person knows what gets them in trouble and what keeps them out. so it could get a lot worse.
we don't have a state like north korea operating in china. so why did you decide in the book to characterize that as a totalitarian government even though most literature databases to characterize that with totalitarian cracks. >> first of all authoritarian governments are by their capacity to exert total control. so look at mussolini fascism you couldn't have a totalitarian state because it was not strong enough to do that but stall and on the other hand and hitler had powers so enormous they could pose a truly totalitarian
society. and the first thing i would raise i would love to get your reaction is here is a breathing society the very speed of which it sped right into the central government into such ferocity that saying they were sacrificed to harvest organs but even if you don't believe that version it is very clear there is some kind of enormous threat even not ideological movement that is deviant but the second example from the podcast with a gentle man who teaches at
hunter college who is a chinese citizen who disappeared the government came along and picked him up off the street. did not tell his lawyer or his family kept them as long as they wanted to and then recently day disappear the most popular actress in china a woman some people believe is the highest paid in the world they just took her out of circulation for six months and nobody knew where she was. she disappeared. to me it is a totalitarian culture not authoritarian. but then to say everybody was. to save we can come after you we will come after you that's most closest to 1984 that a classic definition of authoritarian system. would love to get your reaction to that analysis.
>> i think in the book you do mention that as well - - as well and with the ability to organize and inspire when the communist party is threatened there is no holds barred. that they are that current china or like north korea there is a maneuver and then to threat and the sovereignty this other point that i found between the relationship between the united non- - - the people in the crime's party a great rejuvenation that this is the ambition of the party that most of the
book is about confronting the book of the party not of the chinese people but many people are against the re- on - - increased repression but and then to see that to see china stand up to the united states. i am curious about your viewpoints about the relationship between the chinese people in the communist party because i see them as being supportive which isn't any of your recommendations to face a greater challenge. >> i think that's right. the degree to which there is a historic china that is 5000 years old and a deep sense of pride in the chinese.
to have a rightful place in the world. and then wailing up to 1800. and all of those are real. and then to play on egyptian nationalism certainly there is a zone of president xi represents of the chinese people. and that also the gamble was right in to create so much wealth to have strengthen the people's willingness to tolerate the party it is a contract that says he will give you a strong nation to be proud of to have a pretty
decent life and the term of which you stata politics and let us run the country at a political level. now mayor bloomberg in a recent interview suggested a dictatorship because i have to maintain the support of the people but i would argue what you are watching from hong kong and what you see with the process of the appearances and censoring of the internet so the party is quite happy to have a contract that is passive and is compliant and prosperity to be using whatever level of force is necessary to impose continuatio continuation.
>> i just got back from hong kong two days ago and i found a lot of my conversations of my colleagues increasingly frustrated. the way that china justifies this problematic behavior and to say they are exactly like us. but when china does something so the hong kong example i found myself debating you have complete freedom of speech either because you cannot engage in hate speech that incites violence and i say is different limitations china is much more limited what they can say and the chinese government tries to influence the americans ability to be highly problematic.
but that is increasingly difficult to articulate how the united states is different so we haven't done a great job of this. so how do we present to be distinct from china for influence and power. >> so to add to your examples talking to the senior chinese leader about the concentration camps and with an absolutely straight face and said you should not think of them as concentration camps. think of them as boarding schools. if somebody can deliver that line first of all is a master
diplomat because the position is insane. that's the party position he was prepared to say it. maybe even semi- believe it. the second from the soviet era reagan collected anti- soviet jokes the first time he met up with gorbachev he wanted to start with a joke because he wanted to remind gorbachev that we had moral superiority the joke is that says i am as free in russia as i am in washington the reporter says how can that be cracks he says i can go to washington stand up in front of the white house and say ronald reagan is a warmonger and a fool. he said i can go to the kremlin and stand in front of the kremlin is a ronald reagan is a warmonger and a fool.
i am equally free. so they take what is happening with over 1 million people in camps and compare that to guantánamo and then to go back to the korean. they are very good at defining a reality is freedom you have to be a frightened government to chase down people who have breathing exercises. and to disappear your most famous movie star. and we should be much more aggressive on the human rights front and simply asserting that the chinese people have every right to have elections
and speak freely and access to the internet. and that there is an enormous gap between the kinds of things they accuse us of and what they actually do. i think we would be better off with a much more aggressive pro- human rights policy in communicating with the chinese people to develop from the communications program in the cold war. >> one of the favorites from the book is that it's not china's fall. the ways that united states is not competitive with china is not the fault the government but bureaucratic politics and issues with us education. i have a few questions but along those lines to bring up those democratic norms and values, do you think that
president trump and his approach to our democracy in many ways is unique and his approach to democratic norms were that causes difficulties as a moral high ground? >> i think to a limited extent that it does but the difference between president trump's style which is clumsy and offputting for elites and what is happening the president had the idea that i thought is truly terrible to put the g-7 at the golf resort at doral and then within three days that reaction was overwhelming he had to have a hasty retreat and compare that with the chinese banning tv shows because they make fun of
president xi. or one of those comic characters that is like him so they banned it. we had theodore roosevelt who was enormously popular who saved dad baby grizzly bear cub and that became teddies bear or teddy bear by a brooklyn manufacturer who sold teddy bears we are cheerful about making fun of ourselves and you can tell the rigidity and the insecurity of the regime by that kind of behavior. i also point out that of president xi wires in the middle of having congress open the investigate him i don't know what the chairmanship of china would look like but we are a complicated and clumsy
and noisy society but that's also how we preserve our freedom to reckon some of those differences it is very important not only to the chinese people but also foreign policy to react around the worl world. >> i will give you a parallel example. after the russians had launched sputnik we got into a frenzy and then they launched sputnik part two. we were really trying to catch up so the rocket that brought upon the launchpad on national television. part of the reaction in russia was the americans are so confident that they can show off their failures because it doesn't frighten them. so yes we are a country of great turmoil and be deeply
divided yes the loki doesn't like president trump but it is a free society and therefore one of our greatest ranks is out of all this turmoil be produced a new synthesis and move forward. and the chinese find themselves deeply crippled as president she can trio controls to escalate when he tries to control the credit system he will find in ten or 15 years much less a flexible society people that are mostly frightened. there's a lot of imaging that i see on both sides so it's hard from the chinese perspective after he was elected there was a march of 1 million people that took to the streets a friend called me and asked if the us government had been overthrown because in
her mind of a million people take the streets that is a violent act and that i had to explain we have a right to peaceful protest and it's not the end of the world type of occurrence but the imaging is very problematic. and you mention more people need to understand china but those studying 12000 american studying in china but over 360,000 study here. and one of the concerns is that that they are worried about studying in china because they think it will close them off when they come back into the united states because of clearances and
other issues and suspicion of their time. this is an ongoing debate in the scholarly community. so how can we encourage americans to feel that they are safe at home for having that interaction. >> part of that is how well we do the vetting process. when the cold war began we had far too few people who understood the nature of communism and were prepared to develop that kind of program that we needed. we had to invest a great deal into the cia very heavily in education programs and maybe in a similar situation you do have to have some level of concern because they are very good at what they do and they are very systematic in trying
to intimidate people but at the same time to understand china to have enough people around who are capable of interacting with fluidity in chinese circumstances this may be one of the great keypads and we have to support how to learn how to do that while vetting people to make sure they don't end up being chinese agents. >> so you talk about the different tactics china uses to the father china dream to be the dominant power of east asia and you mentioned six strategies in detail.
for our audience can you describe these and why you thought these were the most problematic? >> first of all we were very struck this is naïve on my part but we were struck to the point of that was made by lieutenant colonel at the army war college and picked up by kissinger that the most common sophisticated chinese game is not chess which is an original japanese game has a different model of success than chats. the national goal association here came to teach us and spend time with us and walk us through how you think in those terms and part of that is you think very long term and the whole board. you never allow yourself to get sucked in at one thing if
you think of the long-term and again i try to tell people if you want to understand chinese strategy is much more important to not read the german response to the pulley on a course about 500 years before christ and describes a very different system that uses long-term planning and psychological warfare and spies and bribery and deception so the greatest of all generals so it's not just cataclysmic bad ass central battle and some if you are really clever you will never find a central battle you outmaneuver them until they collapse so one of the best example is the south china
sea. so in the 1930s the nationalist party issued a map of the south china sea that showed a series of dashes and basically said everything inside this line is china. it's an extraordinary claim and nobody has ever claimed you could occupy that as a sovereign territory. after the chinese communist when they started to think about this and they began to develop it so they go out with a series of skirmishes with the vietnamese and filipinos and then they come up with a clever idea they will build the islands so they build a series of artificial islands where they say initially now
this will not be a thread or naturalized we just want to support the fishing fleet it's peaceful now it's a large part of the equivalent of the coast guard or a coastal maritime unit with a variety of national security reasons. now they have added an airfield in the start to bring in missiles so that they are doing they are creating a framework of violence which forces the us navy hundreds of miles further away from the chinese coast in a wartime environment. it is a brilliant strategy. second the road initiative now they have made it open ended. so now they are interested
being initiative a part of the arctic ocean because the chinese are building a huge number of icebreakers i think the united states has one and the chinese have 15 or 20 a huge disparity. so why does the chinese need this many cracks because what they are thinking about using the arctic first four looking for oil and if you ship from china to europe to the arctic use to save an enormous amount of time so they are looking at 20 or 30 years and also going into places like africa where they currently there are 36 different ports being developed by the chinese my wife was the ambassador to the vatican we spent a lot of time in italy they recently signed on in chin china.
different than the united states not only in terms of a lot of practices you already mentioned which are problematic but out of the region they are the economic and political power. they see the desire to be the global policeman having that military footprint involved in domestic politics as something that's costly and when i read the strategies, they talk about the military as yes they want to be dominant militarily in the region, but then they just want to have the economic and political policy to ensure other countries accommodate their interest so we talk about wanting to dominate and in my own viewpoint i wrote in the superpower i think they do want to dominate the region and granted the region has expanded down northeast and southeast asia to include central and even
south asia but i don't think that they want to be able to challenge the united states militarily here in europe for example or even in the middle east. it's also how you see china trying to exercise its power? >> i think what you said is largely right but with the caveat in the age of the cyber capabilities and the age of space you can become a global power without rebuilding the military and in fact one of our weaknesses may be that we are in the 20th century system we don't realize how many changes are underway and so i would start there. it i don't think they have any great planning certainly the next 20 to 25 years to take us on militarily in the traditional
sense but i do think they are trying to build a kind of cyber capabilities that this is an extraordinary asset for them and i think they are trying to build the capability in space both of which have global implications. also we underestimate the extending capabilities. if you begin cooperating on some things with the germans with both a russian and chinese collaboration where they are now being joined between china and germany and i think they are open to working with virtually anybody. and the goal would be to ultimately create an alternative coalition, not with china by it self to take us on that for example with china, russia, iran coalition they would be fairly
formidable and it would be hard to see how the united states would win a conflict in which they were allies. >> some of the examples you mentioned they are happy to work with any governor and regardless of how they treat their people. they have state owned enterprises they can address and then also they have walls on the books that make it so they can compel private companies to support their overall objectiv objectives. we know that there's issues of corruption. in djibouti and ethiopia two years ago i found out the united states and other countries have offered basically a grant to build the road, but instead they went with the chinese and the rumor is because some key officials have been taking bribes to allow that. i often wonder, and i'm curious about your response to this comment to democratic values
make it harder to compete on the international stage or do you see them as an asset? >> guest: they make it harder just as they made it harder to compete with the nazis and the soviet union. in the long-run problem with corruption is that it leads to a very sick state nobody can trust anybody. when chernobyl occurred, the bureaucracy had been so corrupt that the only accurate information he could get was from norwegian and swedish television. the whole system was corrupt so in one of the countries they made promises they are not keeping it in a number of countries they said we will go build a bridge.
instead of hiring local people and creating these jobs, they've increased resentment, so it's not like they are 12 feet tall or infallible. they have significant weakness weaknesses. in the short run, bribery is effective and as i had a diplomat say to me recently, there are a lot more folks in the world that wants to join the american club and want to join the chinese club and i think that is almost certainly true. >> to go back to the south china sea, i have been working a lot on this issue and push this idea that the critical nature of the strategic competition militarily you mentioned some of the problems associated with the united states being pushed further out and turned against china get eroded when they can't hold them at risk and it's
difficult to protect countries including many of our allies from chinese coercion. but i look at the administration and they obviously have recognized the challenge of the rise of china and have articulated we are in a competition with china but for some reason they have not been at the top of the agenda. the last i checked, he never talked about it during his time as president and as far as i know in terms of the public sector, it's never come up with discussion. so, i'm curious given how important it is and we've outlined the importance in the book, how has this been an issue that hasn't risen to sort of the national leadership level? >> on one issue is with the military they are vividly aware of it. on the other hand, i think strategically what they've been doing is wrong.
as you know we rely on a model of bishops doubled over than 12 miles and routinely go through and we have been organizing so that french and canadian and australian and british and others have also been going through to maintain the weight passage. i think in the long run that is a dead loser because of the conflict environment, you wouldn't be able to maintain it and i've been arguing to zero effect that what we ought to do is take the chinese model and say this is terrific the idea of building these waters is great and go to the west of the chinese violence between them and the chinese mainland. the minute we announced that, they would go nuts. we are not going to let you
establish a de facto dominance in the region and i think that the challenge here i'm guessing, let me be upfront i know a large number of people are aware of the south china sea. do you try to figure out how to associate the model, do you worry about building roads, there are so many different components under way that it's been hard to get a coherent grand strategy, and i think that part of the reason i wrote this book is to make the argument that we need to recognize this is not all of government. this is all of society. we are in a competition where we need to think about all of the
chinese as a competitor and how we are going to overmatch that and that is going to take a fairly good amount of time. in the cold war it took us from 1946 to 1950 to finally think through what we were doing and that was when the generation that found world war ii were used to thinking on this scale. we had a few people in the bureaucracy that were capable of doing that kind of thinking. >> testifying on the hill, one of my colleagues testified that he mentioned a statistic about the difference between the soviet union and china and it went something like with respect to the united states they are spending half as much o have ase military to deal with the challenge. so, it seems that we are in a better resource physician then we are in the competition with china. getting your own experience in
congress and in the american politics, but do you think are some of the changes that we need to make domestically to make sure that we do have the resources to compete with china? >> that's part of why i wrote that the chapter. a lot of what has to be done is not china. when you have six schools in baltimore and last year not a single student in six schools, not a single student could pass the state math and writing exam you have a crisis that would be there whether the chinese existed or not. so, we need a ver very dramaticp reforms in our own system. we need to reform the pentagon. this is a tired bureaucratic structure and i try to remind people it was originally built in 1943 so that 23,000 people
using carbon paper and manual typewriters could manage a world war. now we have smart phones etc. and 23,000 people. it's maniacal and slows everything down and makes everything too expensive. they are mopping up all different organizations they basically bribing countries and people end up either being the leader were picking the leader for the amazing range of organizations. we are not even repair to start thinking about the campaign on the scale of complexity that we are going to need in places like the food and agricultural organization or the world health organization. just go down the list and it's astonishing how methodical it is. we are going to have to, if we are serious and determined to
overmatch the chinese, we have to get our act together and go through some very painful and very profound reforms in the ant of the reason that i wrote trump versus china was to set the change in the recognize the right general direction is about 10% of what we need to do if we are going to be capable of competing with china this code you wrote about the inertia at the pentagon and i have my own career experiencing it firsthand and made a number of suggestions that have not been widely accepted. the united states military at the highest strategic level they get the thread could have understood this as a challenge long before president trump articulated it publicly.
but the overall bureaucracy is still a lot of focus on asia. i will give you one anecdote as there is a professional military education in the air force that was just revamped to allow for studies once you get to a field grade officer level, and they include every region of asia and this is the new study that just came out that they are putting online now. the amount of time i learn with the tribal leaders that while we are very relevant and important to me to be relevant for the great competition. we do hope that some of these recommendations about how to influence the bureaucracies is a lower-level of students taken into account because i think
that is so amazingly important. when you talk about the threat you do mention a book that you think is an existential threat. my own interpretation i love and i think they are challenging the united states in the global states and they are a threat to the region. the site may be harassing a few u.s. companies or americans who are deeply engaged with china, the average american doesn't feel the influence of china but in your book you talk about how you do think it is an ex essential thread so i wondered if you could articulate about why you think that it is a deeper threat and potentially others had previously characterized. >> i think it's an existential threat in two different ways. the first is they could create a coalition which would have a balance of power against us in a
way that we have not experienced in american history because for much of the 100 years we were behind the royal navy and for the second hundred years a huge worldwide alliance so we don't know what it's like to live in a world where there is a hostile dominant force that has a coalition capable of overmatch in us. that would be an access control threat from the outside. the problem with the cartoon but is now banned from china because it had a show that was ridiculed. they begin to move into defining the new top gun.
it gives a flight under way right now where they are refusing to edit the movie to meet the needs of the chinese censors but if that is the one that's not just to tell us what happens inside of china but what ought to happen over here, and i think that's why it is a genuine access control threat. >> host: i would just mention there is a great book by the professor they outlined the various ways they use the market to compel movies to take one plot line over another and as a specialist every time i watch a movie in which they come in as the heroes i know to finance the movie that definitely does have an influence. >> guest: yo
>> guest: you just gave me a future podcast. this would combine two of my passions into one podcast. >> host: she knows a lot about this topic and i found in the presentation was quite interesting. i myself between china and the united states and one of the things i look at our a lot of our allies and partners in the region. a lot of people would argue this is a key strength for the united states. like australia, japan what are the ways we could revamp the alliances or do more with the alliances and the competition that goes beyond the region with china's impact on our society and the impact on the world.
>> we have to look at what we are going to be doing to put people together in a more permanent basis. for example in the south china sea we have an interest because they have a huge interest. the south china sea i think is one third of all of the world's shipping go through it. so, every exporting country has a huge interest in the south china sea. we also have complexities. i was just in japan a couple of weeks ago and it still exists between korea and japan going back to the occupation from 1905 to 1945. that is still very real and it makes it harder to get them to work together in the alliance because there's still so much friction. at some level you've got to be constantly working to open those up and i think in the case of
the australians they've turned the corner and discovered from some painful experiences that the chinese are not necessarily good partners and that the weight of china can be very disruptive and uncomfortable. so i think we are in good shape there. but in the long run, we also want to put together i think all of the smaller countries. we've done a little bit of that in the past but it's good t gote more methodical because the chinese are pretty good at institution building. they've taken over something we used to do well and the british used to do well. we've got to go back and get back in that competition. when we do go there we have a huge success. people still have a bias being afraid of the chinese and wanting to keep the u.s. actively as a player in the region but then we've got to pay our dues and have people president and vice president, secretary of state and others actively engaged with those
countries so that they have a feeling that we are taking them seriously. >> i agree the smaller countries have become increasingly important in this competition. and in mind that the cost of conversation offers peace and war time i lay out how they often times leverage them to pressure the united states to constrain the ability to act in the contingencies so the ability to be more competitive but have to pay attention not only to the alliances but obviously to other countries that maybe our allies like malaysia and indonesia that play a critical role in the region i think is an important way forward. >> in that process let me say that's the way we need to think about the society. we need to have our charities and corporations. we need our military and diplomacy all aligned in the same direction working with these small countries in which
case we could have enormous influence because we still have huge advantages in that kind of a competition. >> host: i think being the security partner of choice is no longer enough for a lot of countries even if that is what the united states offers they have the political climate of china they need to offer a lot more so all those agencies actually having the whole of government approach when i speak to them they are very worried about it and i wish that we were as organized as we think they are. >> we need a whole society approach. it's a brilliant example of creating a corporation that is competitive on a global basis such as the chinese government, but nonetheless it is a corporation. there is no american competitor and we should feel disgraced by that. we dominated telecommunications. we invented most of the
telecommunications and yet our big corporations are so loaded down with debt there's so much looking inward in the united states they are so bureaucratic lacking in the imagination you couldn't even imagine this 20 years ago. >> it's been great talking about the book. if you just have one last sentence or take away the final say to the potential readers about what they need to take away from your book, what would it be? >> it's very simple. he's the general secretary of the communist party. the chairman of the military commission and the people's liberation army is the arm of the party, not the government. and the president of the people's republic of china in that order. and as long as you always remember that you are dealing with the general secretary of the communist party you understand all of the negotiations in all of the meetings dramatically better than if you allow them to be a