tv [untitled] June 2, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT
i have no doubt that there was stuff being leaked against me from the state department. i could even name the people, but i'm not going to. and i suspect that some of my staffers were also doing the same. now after all these people work very hard. they work very hard with the principal, the secretary of state or the national security advisor. they go to cocktail parties. they move around the city. they're asked to comment on issues. they're asked to comment on personalities. they become part of the game. part of the game is to show how important they are, how wrong the other people are and that escalates because then it comes back as gossip to the principals and they do get excited at some point do you say was he really saying that about me. that's human nature. but i don't think the conflicts with vance between vance and me were in any way comparable to the rogers kiss jer stuff from what i've read.
>> does any other government from your experience have the same situation where you have the different departments trying to outdo one another? >> oh, sure. absolutely. maybe in the u.s. case it's a little more dramatic because in a sense you have this post of the secretary of state which has all the trainings of protocol and ceremony. and the illusions of power. and then you have the national security advisor who's close to the president. if the president is interested in foreign affairs. and wants to run foreign affairs. the national security advisor just overshadows the secretary of state. because that is the guy, or woman on whom the president relies. and sees just like that. i would walk into the president's office without knocking any time i wanted to. now obviously i wasn't running in there all the time because i'd be kicked out at some point. i literally could walk into his
office any time i wanted to and indicate there was something i need to talk to you about. i would see him x number of times a day. he would call me in the morning or in the evening. the day started between a meeting between him and me the very first meeting and very often the day ended that way. that places a person in that office at a tremendous advantage vis-a-vis is secretary of state who is sitting somewhere over there in the department of state. last but not least just a little point, but not irrelevant, if you want to sort of create a situation in which you also have some upper hand on policy issues, it helps if you can have the opportunity to say that the president, you know, it's about time the secretary of state went on a trip to latin america. we've been neglecting that region and a nice ten-day trip
is really what's needed that also affects how the process operates in the meantime. there are just many advantages to being close to the president. if the president is interested in foreign affairs. >> what was your reaction when henry kiss jer was both the national security advisor and secretary of state at the same time in jerry ford's time and richard nixon's time. >> i thought it was an overcon ten trags of authority. remember ford was not really that interested in foreign affairs. so in that sense that gave the secretary of state extra authority. but henry briefly retained position of the national security advisor at the same time. when i came into the white house i was shown the different telephone arrangements in my office. push buttons and all that and i was shown something that would ring in my office and that's when the president calls you. it rings in your office. not your secretary answers, you auns. by the way there's another button here that rings in your that's the secretary of state. he cannot reach you directly.
i said, oh. and can i ring him and it rings directly in his office? and they said, no. there's a split in when mr. kiss jer was in the state department. so i said, and then continued as national security advisor, but stayed. i said, well take the telephone out. disconnect it. >> what was the reaction on mr. vance's part? >> there was no reaction. i think he realized the asymmetry. if he wants to call me like this, then i should be able to call him just like that. so he didn't object. >> let's go back to 1989 again. i want to show you what you had to say about japan and china. >> on china, i don't think there's too much division. everybody recognizes that american-chinese relationship has evolved very well first president nixon broke through and established a contact.
thn president carter broke through and normalized relations. since then the military relationship has grown well. and president bush has a lot of feeling and sensitivity with china. he understands china well. he is in my judgment the first president we have had for whom our relationship with the pacific is just natural. felt to be as important with our relationship with atlantic. >> japan. >> same thing goes for japan. he has that feeling and that grasp. there's no doubt that our relationship with japan on balance is a good one. we have issues with the japanese. but the white house is very right in saying when bush was leaving for japan that this today is for us, the single most important bilateral relationship with any country we have in the world and it's true. >> is it still? >> not quite. i think one has to parse that
and probably say the relationship with china is just as important. but certainly the relationship with japan is one of three or four most important relationships in the world. i would say the relationship with the european union as a whole is the most important of all. after that, china and japan are probably comparable in terms of importance. though the relationship differs in substance. then after that, you're at a different level. either with specific european countries, great britain has a privileged position, obviously. germany is extremely important now that it's reunified and that it is the leader right now of the european union and playing it very constructively. and then resingly of course russia is still important. >> go back to china. how are we doing as a country in that relationship? >> i think reasonably well. i think we are adjusting to the reality that they are a major
world power in the process of emergence and certainly the number one mainland far eastern asian power. and that china is clearly on the historical rise. the chinese on the other hand, have also adjusted to the reality that they're not going to be dominating the world in the near future. and that it is in their interest to be part of the system that already exists financial, monetary, economic, social, political. and that as their influence rises, they can then start changing that system to their own advantage to accommodate their interests more. and that we're intelligent enough to accept that. that's a big difference in my view between the current situation involving a rising new power and the situation that existed in europe prior to 1914. prior to world war i. when imperial germany was
rising, but in different ways france, great britain, russia were not prepared to accept it and there was eventually a collision and explosion and a world war. >> our relationship with japan. >> i think it's close. it's good. japan is becoming an important not only economic and political partner, but increasingly security partner of the united states. japan is beginning to assume more security responsibilities, peacekeeping and so forth and has potentially significant military power that if push comes to shove in the far east in some fashion, could be mobilized by the japanese on their own behalf, but also on behalf of the u.s.-japanese alliance. >> want to show a chart that you have in your book, "second chance", which by the way i understand is already on "the new york times" bestseller list. >> that's right. i was amazed. >> how short a time?
>> well, it came out in the second week of march and by march 17th, it gained a place on "the new york times" bestseller list which appeared for the first time on april 1st. >> how did it work that fast in your opinion? >> it's either freak or because it's a very good book. >> what kind of attention did you get for it right away? >> it got a terrific review from "the new york times." a very generous commentary from david ig nashs in "the washington post." and then in short order appeared on a couple of shows, radio, television including the daily show, which is very bright, lively, intelligent, sta tierical show. i think that is all of that created that initial impact. >> what did you decide to go on "the daily show with john stewart"? >> to be perfectly frank i never thought of doing it. but my publisher convinced me it would be a clever thing to do and gave me the list of all the people that i know and respect
who have appeared on it. so i said to myself if they survived that show, i think el probably survive it, too. >> what was it like? >> it's damn good. he's a bright guy. very entertaining. very engaging guy. we had a lively semiserious, semiamusing. but more serious than amusing. >> let's go back to this chart. it really is your rating. it's maybe hard for some people to read your rating there of the last three presidents. george bush one, and bill clinton and george bush two. you gave an overall solid b to george herbert walker b. an uneven c to bill kline and a failed f to george walker bush, why? >> because i think george bush firsthandled really brilliantly the disintegration of the soviet union. and the military phase of the gulf war. but i don't think he deserves an
overall a because he really didn't seize the opportunity particularly in the mideast to give the peace process a breakthrough push which he could have done. and he didn't seize the moment, articulate a vision for the future for which is moment was right and which the world was expecting. and that gradually slipped into a kind of imperial posture particularly in the defense posture statement that his staff developed for him. and then of the authors of that defense portion later on resurfarced in bush two administration. clinton did pretty well on some issues. in particular in terms of american appeal to the world, american identification with global issues, and he certainly was energetic and creative in expanding nato there be creating a larger more secure europe. and he handled very well the
kosovo in. he flopped on the mideast. he only got seriously involved in the very end. beyond that he kind of nurtured unintentionally a mood of national self-indulgence in this country maybe even he did it personally. that had the effect of america becoming more unresponsive to the new global dilemmas which cannot be addressed if we are willing to exercise self-constraint, self-denial. i think it was a matter of missing real opportunities. bush two, the third global leader i think plunged the united states into a war of choice on the basis of false assumptions. demagoguey with catastrophic consequences for our position internationally with painful losses for thousands and
thousands of american families, with horrible consequences for the iraqi people. i mean we don't even appreciate remotely in this country how much suffering we have inflicted on the iraqis. 4 has at the same time adopted a posture of total pa sifity on the israel and palestinian conflict. which is so damageling. it breeds profound insecurity among israelis. exposes the palestinians to continue in repression and suffering and the united states has been passive. so i think overall assessment has to be very critical. last but not least as you know, i'm very critical also the domestic exploitation of that slogan war on terror. which has created a culture of fear. literally created a culture of fear in this country. to me america is nothing but confident historically. that's what i've always loved
about america. its sense of dynamic confidence. now you can't walk around washington and going into a building without being reminded we're in a state of siege. >> where were you in 9/11? >> i was in beijing. >> what was your reaction? >> i was in total shock and amazement. i remember the moments vividly. i had a hard time getting back. i had a hard time communicating with my family. at the time shock and outrage. but at the same time i remember as a child being at some event which had something to do with some dancing school that i was being forced to attend by my parents and the event being interrupted by news that pearl harbor had been attacked. i remember the determination and confidence with which america responded. and i find the present abetting of fear, not just by the government, but now by the mass
media, the so-called terror entrepreneurs, entertainment industry, pernicious and destructive. i don't deny the reality of terror. but i think precisely because it is a reality it is something we have to view with a sense of perspective and determination and calm if we're going to be successful. >> what was your reaction when the president used the axis of evil comment in the state of the union? >> i wasn't particularly impressed by it. it seemed to me to be a slogan. a slogan. now unfortunately, you know, people several years later have a different interpretation of what the axis of evil is composed of. there was a very painful public opinion poll just a couple weeks ago around the world conducted by the bbc which asked respondents close to 30,000 respondents to rank the
countries which in their view played the most neg nif role in world affairs and judgment of this number of people was that the three most negative countries are shockingly, israel, iran, the united states. so to many in the world what has now become the axis of evil. >> if this president asks you to come see him in the oval office and give him some recommendations on how to change this, what would you tell him? >> i would tell him to reassess very seriously where the present circumstances are headed if they're not altered. and that he shouldn't bequeath to his successor the war in iraq because 20 months from now is too long. that he should avoid escalating that war. not only because more people will die needlessly, but if he escalates the war, he may create circumstances nilly willy that
will produce an enlargement of the war because escalation and continuation of the conflict can generate incidents that are unpredictable but which can have very destructive sudden effects and i have in mind particularly the risk of some collision with iranians that precipitates an enlarged war. if we get an elaerched war we're going to be stuck for the next 20 years in iraq, in iran, in pakistan, and in afghanistan. that's what i would tell him. and the recent incident with british sailors which just occurred very recently i think highlights the validity of the concern that i have about a war continuing and potentially escalating. >> saudi arabia. what would you do with our relationship there? >> i would let the saudis deal with their own internal problems as they are dealing with them. i think they're dealing with them. i think they're beginning to
loose up their structure but at their own speed. not on the basesy of preaching from us. we have to -- this culture of superiority. different societies have different historical roots. and if they crave anything more than anything else, collectively and individually it is dignity and not someone preaching to them from the standpoint of moral superiority. the saudis are dealing with a terrorism problem i think with increasing efficacy and they're beginning to change their society but at their own pace. we have to have respect for that. >> for 22 years prince bandar was the ambassador to the united states from saudi arabia. do you know him? >> yes. >> we've also seen a lot of the friendship between the prince and george herbert walker bush and that bush one, president bush one sent the prince to see his son in 1999 do advise him on
running for the presidency. how about a relationship like that? is it too close or okay? >> well i don't honestly know the details and i don't know how important that advice was. i'm not aware of the fangt that the current president was resistant to the idea of running for the presidency. i don't know if those facts are really valid. >> the reason i bring it up if you've ever heard our call in shows you know we have people that think about the conspiracy theories of people like you. you would be oposter child for these people obecause you have served on board of the council for foreign relations. you helped started the trilateral commission and the builder board groups. >> i haven't done it for years, but that's partial redemption, but otherwise yes. >> what does belonging to all those groups. we talked about the trilateral
committee, what about the association with that. are people too close in this world, people in business too close to the governments? >> well, you know, there is such a thing as insidious influence. if question is how does it operate? does it involve bribery? and does it involve some sort of psychological domination of individuals? i don't believe in this notion of some sort of secret societies controlling people. but of course, in any political system there are sort of over the table and under the table arrangements. as far as organizations that you have mentioned, they're all on top of the table organizations. we know what they are. we know what they do. we probably exaggerate their influence in many cases. but most important of all they operate overtly. anybody who wants to know what the council of foreign relations
does, can very easily find out. once that person finds out, they'll discover it doesn't run the world, but makes useful recommendations. for example, we are all confronting the problem of iran. well, i don't know maybe this will re-enforce the conspiracy theories. but two years i co-directed a study on u.s. policy towards iran for the council of foreign relations. i think still a very good study. i said i co-directed. who was the other co-chairman? robert gates. currently the secretary of defense. maybe that re-enforces the conspiracy theory that we're pulling the strings from behind the scene. but alternatively maybe it tells you something that it is an open process. anyone can get the recommendations, read them, know what they are. assess them whether they stand the test of time or not. i think that's all good. >> what did you learn about
robert gates that ugsd share with us? >> what i learned about him was many years back. he was my executive assistant in the white house. and he was next to me. we traveled together. i came to know him and i respect him. i think he has very good judgment. he's very solid. he's very serious, intelligent person. and with a seps of patriotic commitment in this country. i don't think he undertook that job just to advance his personal interests to enhance his bio, which is quite impressive anyway. he did it because he thought the country was in trouble and he wants to serve as best he can. he obviously works for the president and therefore has to follow the president's lead. but i think the president has gained there be by someone who will give him solid, serious judgment and it will come from someone who is not responsible for the decisions that have gotten us into this deep mess in which we finds ourselves.
>> what was it like for you having a former student madeleine albright as secretary of state in which you had some disagreements with? >> actually, i didn't have disagreements with her other foreign policy. in issues such as nato expansion and the response to bosnia we were very much in the same mind. >> biggest problem in the future in your opinion? >> i think the biggest problem in the future is whether the united states can effectively resume a really significantly constructive leadership role in the world. i think that can only happen after we terminate the war in iraq. after we resolve the israeli-palestinian conflict. after we get engaged in a serious and constructive negotiating relationship with the iranians because the mideast is now the arena in which american leadership is being
tested. just as europe was the arena during the cold war. and therefore it's very important that we be successful. if we are successful, then i'm reasonably hopeful about the future. if we fail, then i think we'll be sliding into a more anarchistic phase in world affairs. >> what would you do with the troops? >> i would bring most of them out of iraq. i would probably try to work out some arrangement whereby by mutual consent some american military presence is maintained in kurdistan within iraq. that would help to offset the possibility of any collision between the kurds and turkey or maybe iran. i would probably try to work out some arrangement for residual american presence in kuwait, which is very close by. i would try to set a date jointly with the iraq leaders for american departure.
not just do it ourselves at our peak that they're not delivering. i think we have to make that decision jointly. there are iraqi leaders with whom we could seriously talk. and i would like to set in motion the political process whereby all of the countries around iraq are engaged in trying to contribute to iraq's stability. because the fact is in different ways every one of iraq's neighbors, iran, turkey, syria, jordan, saudi arabia will be afflicted negatively if iraq explodes upon our departure. >> your first book april 2, 1989. here's the last clip where you talked about capitalism. >> struging signs came to life, are they to maturity, would that mean that capitalism was its own victim? >> well, it could. but that i doubt because the one area where capitalism is really successful is in ratifying material wants and desire for
the satisfaction of material wants is still a very major source of social motivation. so i don't think it's going to be a crisis of capitalism as much because of these cultural difficulties. it could be simply a crisis of social commitments, social virility. we could become a decadent society. it's not a crisis of capital im. if we become a decadent society we could be vulnerable. >> have we become a decadent society? >> no, but i fully subscribe to what i said then. i think the major risk to america is in this really interwoven, interdependent world in which we now exist, we will try to be an island of self-gratification. of head onnism deattaching ourselves from the rest of
humanity there be producing resentment against us and more chaos worldwide. i think in addressing global problems i think we have to be increasingly concerned about the moral cultural dimensions of the potential crisis that the world will face if we're not more responsive. >> have we deteriorated in the last 18 years toward that decadent end? >> that's hard to say. i don't necessarily say we have really deteriorated significantly. i don't think we've turned around enough. i don't think we're interested enough in these problems. i think public ignorance about the world is part of the problem. i think our emphasis on self-gratification, self-amusement is part of the problem. i think our mass culture as reflected in mass entertainment is a serious problem because of the kind of values it propagates. and i think we as a country have to ask ourselves if the globe is to be effectively cooperative,
if the crisis that we face in the environment but also in social affairs, political affairs, religious affairs is to be overcome, what kind of obligations does that imply upon us? >> his book is called "second chance." last with us 18 years ago. thanks for joining us. >> great to be with you. for a copy on dvd or vhs tape call 1-877-662-7726 for tree transcripts or to comment on this program visit us at q and a. q and a programs are also available at c-span podcasts.
>> sunday on q and a -- >> i think the problem with walter cronkite people see him only as the friendly man, which he was to everybody, but there is another side of him tlapted to be the best. he was obsessed with ratings of beating the brinkley report every night. he is probably the fearest competitor i've ever written about and i've written about presidents and generals and cronkite's desire to be the best was very pronounced. >> best-selling author douglas brinkley on his new biography of long time cbs news and anchor walter cronkite sunday at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span. each sunday evening at 7:30 now through labor day weekend, american history tv features our series the contenders. 14 key political figures who ran for president and lost, but changed political history. this sunday the great