tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 17, 2016 2:00am-2:45am EST
allies. we're only going to do things which directly influence our interests very selfishly focused on america, and some analysts have said this opens the door for russia, particularly in syria. maybe we just step away and say, well, our partners russia, they're going to help deal with this mess now. do you not think that that's plausible? >> absolutely. let me talk about syria because it's a good example. on the surface, american policy has been to overthrow the assad regime but in practice it actually hasn't been that at all. the united states blocked anti-aircraft weaponry and anti-tank weaponry until 2013 to the rebels. i was in syria talking to people resisting against the assad regime at the time, and they're desperate for weapons to defend themselves against the genocidal onslaught from bashar al assad.
and what changed the calculus in 2013 was the rise of isis. then the u.s. started , in fits and starts, to send weapons or allow weapons from qatar and saudi to the syrian rebels. but to fight isis mostly. and even to this day, in fact today, president obama -- it was in "the washington post" today, i believe, that obama directed the pentagon to increase the targeting against one of the -- the al qaeda franchise in syria whom is an integral in the rebel movement. it's also a major opponent to assad. objectively what's happened is that the united states has given a few weapons to the rebels but mostly tent really important game-changing weapons away from rebels and attacked its enemies which is isis and al qaeda franchise. now what trump, i think, will have -- there will be a shift
with trump on this but it will be that he'll basically drop the pretense of supporting the other side. perhaps cut off even the weapons that are coming and allow russia to come in and finish the job. that probably was going to happen any way under obama. >> a colleague of mine, katie, a german television executive said that america has officially lost its moral authority in the world and that somebody else is going to step in. i think syria is a perfect example of a situation where on humanitarian grounds there is a disaster occurring, and it has been occurring for years. but in terms of direct american interest, things that's we get in that sense, there isn't any. it's a humanitarian crisis. so how do we square the circle, do you think, of what we've heard from the president-elect, this america first approach that
we keep hearing and situations like syria and many parts of the world. >> well, i think one thing that's important to remember is in the moment, we think about the change in the administration in washington. but when we look at the grand sweep of u.s. foreign policy that goes back to the grounding of this country, we see more continuity in most parts of the world, more continuity than change. with respect to what the other panelists have said, no matter who the president is or what they said on the campaign trail or what political party is in office, we have seen alliances with russia, for example, at the major moments in both of our histories. so it's, like you alluded to, looking for the united states and russia to agree on the syrian question is actually not a surprise. along the same lines, there has been this argument made in the post-war era that we're this moral authority. it's ease to be the moral authority when you just beat nazi germany. when you make yourself the moral authority, the minute you're the moral authority you leave yourself open to charges so the
whole moral question, in my lifetime, has always been wide open. so i would be very welcoming and inclusive of countries that would like to step up to the plate and play a moral humanitarian role. most americans would welcome that involvement and not feel we have to go it alone when there's a humanitarian crisis. i think we'd like that. i hope that happens. >> forrest, in asia, china has been acting as a regional hegemon really and the united states has tried to coalesce allies around china to counterbalance in the pacific. but america's withdrawal or america's focus on itself, would that just open up things for china, and must other asian nations hedge against what america may or may not do? >> yeah, i think the challenge for the president-elect trump is that, is he going to continue obama's rebalancing towards
asia? and getting the u.s. military forces, particularly navy, into the south china sea and strike alliances with the surrounding countries like philippines, japan, south korea? or is he going to, you know, start the trade war with china? and engage in china in a more negative way rather than positive way. i think that's the challee. and the -- if he is interested in the business relations with china, then he might also would have to think whether he's going to continue this rebalancing policy towards asia. already that some of the obama initiative has been backfiring, for example. the philippine president, duterte, has openly attacked
obama and the u.s. policy, and he just turned 180 degrees now to seek help from china. so whether the united states is wise to really play some unfriendly asian countries against china, that kind of t t tact tactic, is wise or not, it could backfire. but the most important thing is that a lot of asian countries do not want to see america believe. countries like singapore, for example. always takes a stance that it want the military political alliance with the united states and economic alliance with china. malaysia is doing the same thing. so you're talking about asia, who is going to really be the leader in asia. i'm not sure china is ready for it. even the united states decides
to withdraw, china will be happy, of course, to see tremendous influence in south china sea, but whether he can take the moral leadership, you know, it's -- i think it's a long way for china to go that way. china is a driving force economically. there's no question about that. that may be the route that china will take to continuously bring this economic benefits through trade with the asian countries. but, militarily, china would be happy to see that the united states or donald trump to move away from this rebalancing and making a more extended military influence and presence.
>> i may be trying to thread a needle here, but tying some of these issues together, i guess one of the points i want to emphasize is that words matter in foreign policy. and even if there is ambiguity in what president-elect trump has said at one time or another, sometimes in the same interview about what he would do in a region of the world, it seems like there's this presumption we're still in a unipolar moment that the united states is the superpower that matters and we can do what we want, but the rest of the world doesn't necessarily have to deal with that. they can form their own regional alliances or hedge with other powe powers. how do we deal with this uncertainty when there is ambiguity in what's going to happen but other countries may be preparing for the worst? you want to kick it off, katie? >> absolutely, words matter but it's also important to remember
the world we live in now and not the diplomatic world that used to exist. so the words don't just come through the embassies anymore and they don't just come through business. now they come through twitter, facebook, and we worry about president-elect trump's twitter account sometimes. i think we also understand that the apparatus of the united states government in its diplomatic function is quite wide and deep and foreign policy professionals also understand this and they have to deal with leaders of other countries sending out twitter messages and making statements that can be contradictory or confusing. as consumers of this information, we have to deal with all this conflicting information. while words matter, they just come from so many difference sources now that they take a different role the same way all of our different media does. >> absolutely, words matter. that's why you'll see a different tenor to the words that come out of the white house versus what happened on the campaign trail from here on out.
also the debate or question of america retreating to itself and focussing on its interests being a global actor or moral leader, i would argue that america has always only focused on its interest. all states only folk ous their own interest. america is no different. the most powerful state probably in the history of the world. tonal focuses on its interest and the debate isn't whether to do that or not but how to focus on its interest and do we actualize our interest -- not our interest but this is for the point of view for the american elite. is this done through active military campaigns? this is done through diplomacy? this is done through various other ways? and that's always been the question. that's a tactsical, strategic debate. there's no debate in the public discourse about america's role in the world in terms of a moral role. there's been no debate about that. it's been from trump to hillary clinton, it's been united that we need to defend american
interests. how do we do that? if you ask iraqis or syrians or afghans, they would look at you very strangely if you said america say moral leader in the world. they'd find this very odd. afghanistan today, it's a divided country. half the country wants the u.s. troops to be there. half the country, very roughly, wants u.s. troops to leave. even those who want the troops to stay there, the very pragmatic, understanding of why they want the troops to stay there. well, that's the only force keeping sort of the civil war from happening. but they don't think the americans are a moral actor. nobody in that part of the world thinks that americans are a moral actor. that's something said here and we have to come to terms with that. >> i think it's difficult to imagine that this world without the u.s. leadership. i think the u.s. leadership role has, you know, since after world war ii, has played such an important function in
maintaining generally the absence of global war. and if we look at the 19 -- is it 1993 when the united states first invaded kuwait, i mean iraq? and you imagine if the united states did not go in there to drive saddam hussein from kuwait. who is going to do that? and i actually often ask this question when i give lectures in china. would chinese come and do it? would russia do it? i don't think so. this world is, despite the united nations and all these regional regimens, still is in need of a leadership. this leadership not only in terms of playing a police role but also, you know, in other areas, whether it's military, humanitarian or, you know, the
role of economic growth. i think the u.s. is still the largest market in the world, and without u.s. market, a lot of countries, including china, will not necessarily see what they've achieved so far. and certainly, democracy is another way that, again, that the united states is championing for. i don't think europe will take up that role in championing for the promotion of democracy throughout the world. so all of these, i think, points towards this important, i think, role that the united states is going to play. i think if donald trump really wants to withdraw the united states into this cocoon of isolation, that will cause tremendous anxiety and worry from all over the world.
and particularly, i think the asian countries. i think the asian countries are looking forward to this continuous involvement of the united states, both militarily, security wise and economically in that part of the world. >> another refrain that we've heard from trump has been he's going to rip up some of president obama's accomplishments. you look at the iran deal, which trump has lambasted the entire time. the climate agreement, which china would probably pull out of, if the u.s. is wavering at all. trade pacts all over the world. i mean, there are a lot of things that are on paper that can be undone or can be started to disappear very quickly. how do we come to terms -- these are very different topics, of course, but -- ka? >> i think the two things that are going to be different in going forward, and i don't think it's just president-elect trump.
this is american politics when we think about u.s. foreign policy and the role that the united states is going to play in the world. our trade and immigration. when we look at those two issues within foreign policy. like i tell my students, immigration isn't even in the books. it's not on the map. when you poll republicans and you poll americans about their critical concerns to this country right now, they will register immigration and i don't think it's just the american people. i think from the war in syria, the same concerns about immigration that's spread across europe. and all democracies are going to have to ask fundamental questions when we provide welfare benefits to people who come in. who is going to be the recipient thieves benefits and who is not. that's a fair question to ask. the second thing has to do with trade and whether or not we'll continue tong of trade as a universal good. that is not just president trump. those are very serious questions that were not addressed by either political party up until
this election and really need to be rethought, regardless of who is talking about a specific agreement because we've not really paid attention to people who have suffered and not been beneficiaries of globalization. all industrialized democracies have to think about all of their citizens. >> anand? >> i totally agree. you look at the issue of immigration, it's interesting because the trump empire, the business empire of donald trump relies on undocumented labor, of course. like all other -- like american capitalism relies on undocumented labor. where i live in new york city, there isn't a single restaurant that you can go to where the kitchen staff aren't undocumented. i single one. and this is sort of a bedrock of the economy. and these are captains of industry and people who run these businesses who hire undocumented workers who know this. and donald trump i'm sure knows that he's not going to start paying $9, $10, $11 for someone
to wash dishes. he's going to get someone you can pay them $1 an hour and if they complain, he can threaten to call i.c.e. on them and have them deported. employers need that leverage to turn the profits they have to turn. so then why is he doing this? why is he doing something that seems to be against his very interests as an employer? i think that actually speaks to the core of what it means, this rhetoric, what it does. does whipping up this xenophobia and racism, is it something that enables people like him and the business community to continue to hire undocumented laborerers and to keep them marginalized because there's always a threat of having them expelled from the country. but that also means that trump is not a real -- he's no champion of ordinary working people. he uses this rhetoric but it means i'd be shocked if he actually did something to actually make it -- i would be
shocked if he built a wall. i wouldn't understand how he'd run his businesses. i would be interested to see how that would happen. what's more likely and plausible is this is useful rhetoric to get people themselves dispossessed, and cleveland is a perfect example of what's happened in this country over the last 30, 40 years and to scapegoat people and say that's where your problems are. vote for me and we'll solve them. if i haven't solved them in four years, i just need another four years. >> we're renaissance city. i want to put that out there. we're coming back. i want to open it up for questions or comments. if you have a question, please come up here and line up at the microphone and we'll get to them one by one. don't be afraid. we'll address them politely. i did want to ask a question about businesses. i was reading a piece in the "new yorker" today from evan osnos. he said that presidents are n
bound by the same conflict of interest statutes as cabinet and white house staffers which means technically, he could remain control of the trump organization, even though he said he would give it to his siblings. i thought that was very interesting because the trump organization has had fascinating deals in turkey and azerbaijan. katie, with your experience, i'm going to give you this easy question. >> it is easy. >> how do you deal with that with a president who controls a corporation, as he does, with conflicts of interest? >> it's not just any corporation because he can't just divest or turn control over like other people have done in good faith to try to turn it over to a blind trust when your name is on things. when that's what you're selling is your name and your brand, it's impossible. journalists raised these questions consistently. i'll be shocked and very happily
and pleased when his audit is finished and we see his tax returns and we can see where the trump organization business dealings, what's foreign countries would pose the most conflict of interest questions. we would welcome that. this is the great unknown what the future holds. but absolutely, it -- he couldn't do it, even if he wanted to. he would have to take the company apart for the years that he's president to really do what other presidents have done in terms of conflict of interest. >> is this is true, though, are there any safeguards to prevent a commander in chief from enriching himself personally while in the office? >> in fairness to president-elect, i think those charges have been leveled at previous government officials and their connections to companies involved in the war in iraq, for example. vice presidents who had interests in blind trusts that were presumed to haverofited greatly. i think, and correct me if i'm wrong, but in iraq, we were the
number one country, great britain was the number two in contractors in the current war in iraq that's winding down. so there have been other government officials where there have been these questionable relationships with businesses. this one happens to be particularly egregious but hopefully because it's egregious, people of good faith who have the ability to vote will ask these questions and keep pressing our officials and do something about it next time we have an opportunity to vote. >> we have four years of things to ask about. >> thank you for sparking this super interesting conversation. and thank you for raising the issue of american leadership. so i'm wondering, one, how do you think we should -- the next president should define american leadership in the world? two, what should be his top three foreign policy agenda items when he takes office and this is a complete throwaway, who do you think he should appoint as secretary of state?
>> you want to start for , forr? >> well, i think for the leadership question, the american foreign policy we often say is the product of bipartisanship. so since world war ii, the american foreign policy has consistently, you know, reflect some of these leadership qualities, whether it is leading to free trade, whether it is promoting democracy or engaging humanitarian or even security. donald trump doesn't have to create even more leadership positions. all he needs to do is to continue some of those bipartisan foreign policy.
but what is the area i would like him to see, although i think that could be a challenge for him is the leadership in promoting more environmental, you know, protection throughout the world. fight against global warming. i'm not sure you -- he could have done that because, obviously, he's for the coal, energy and all of this. he promised all these coal miners in west virginia about their jobs and all that. but that's certainly, with regard to this pressing global warming issue, that's really requires american leadership in th that. so, you know, i think -- would be a good secretary of state. her articulation, and i just hope she could be more involved in the foreign policy issues. >> anand, thoughts on american
leadership? >> i think the model of american leadership is one in which the united states acts according to the ideals it holds itself up to. you mentioned democracy. thousands of protesters came out to the streets in ba rahrain as part of the arab spring. i can be here for hours and give other examples. right now as we speak, saudi arabia is bombing yemen, killing thousands of vilians. saudi arabia's targeting hospitals. targeting hospitals. and u.s. planes are refueling saudi planes and are sharing intelligence, and this is happening not just with american acquiescence but american approval. so a division of leadership i'd like to see is the united states actually upholding democracy
around the globe and just picking and choosing which democracies it likes to uphold because it suits its interests. >> thank you. thank you. >> actually, i have two questions. i'll pass on the trade economic fair trade question and ask you the nastier question, the military question. first with europe, mr. trump has said he was wanting to defund, pull out of nato, but he's also prodded nato to take up terrorism, which they have done. what has been his effect on nato. and the uglier one deals with china's influence over north korea and threatening to pull back. president-elect trump has been talking about providing anti-missile missiles to japan,
south korea and possibly taiwan as a way to force china to rein in north korea. i'd like you to comment on my belief if he retreats from that area, will there be an effect of japan, south korea and australia getting together to form a nuclear arms protection group? thank you. >> thank you. >> you want to take nato first, katie? >> yeah, the easy one. yeah, i know. let's think about this, though, again. we're in a transition, and i can't read president-elect trump's mind. but i do know what the obama administration has just finished after the last eight years. one of the stunning differences we've seen in the obama administration is president obama introducing the notion of
restraint and that actually restraining ourselves in some foreign policy situations can be its own form of action. choosing not to intervene in the war in syria, he defends with the idea that restraint is its own -- is its own policy goal there. by the same token, president obama has introduced this whole notion of leading from behind, of being a force but not always being the force out front. it's hard for me to believe that just what i know about donald trump that he is not going to want to have more of a leadership role than president obama has taken. now we all hope that his advisers and he modify some of the language and some of the direction that he has spoken about in the campaign, but i think that sometimes people forget what the world might look like when the united states does step back. and you do -- earlier when you said we don't have any interest in syria, i disagree with that on the grounds they're not just
humanitarian. the humanitarian crisis has spread throughout europe and our allies are under an awful lot of strain. it's threatened the european union, nato, it's threatened our allies in europe that we care about and have business trading relationships with. so resolving these problems is going to be an issue, and it's hard for me to believe that president trump isn't going to just want to be the first one out there leading them any more than president obama. >> forrest, can you talk about the influence on the north korea situation? >> obviously, the current north korean policy, whether it's from china or from the united states, doesn't work. and the koreans continuous ly explore its nuclear programs. the chinese concern about north korea, obviously, is if the west presses so hard so that the regime collapse, then this
millions of refugees coming to chinese borders. that's why the chinese government recently sent more humanitarian aid due to the flood and et cetera. there is a really concern that in china, in north korea that united states unilaterally take actions against north korea because they are concerned that the united states is not going to see actually north korea develop nuclear bombs. i'm not sure that the president-elect has a north korean policy, but from the obama administration, i'm sure there is a plan to either engage in some kind of nuclear surgery or try to further press the north korean for giving up nuclear weapons. so that will be a challenge for the president-elect. how he's going to deal with
north korea. i think he probably most likely will press more on china to do more. and because he said several times that the cheese should take care of north korea because that's -- and i think if he does that, it probably is the better approach. the question is to what extent can you press the chinese. the question is whether a failed north korean policy, would that affect the japan/south korea or other asian countries? i think the impact will be serious. and most likely, japan will just go alone in developing its nuclear weapons because, obviously, japan can literally develop a nuclear program overnight, and south korea might
also seek some security measures. so that means this so-called, you know, the northeastern asian alliances will break down. so that's very serious. i don't know if donald trump has thought about it. he probably needs good advice on that. >> i did read that trump had said maybe it would be a good idea for japan and north korea to have nukes, which was kind of going against what we've seen for decades. >> i want to thank the citadel, the city club for offering this because we've prabrought up som amazing topics that restore my faith in democracy because these conversations are so important. you brought up some disparate points. you know, talking about america
is the moral authority versus the vulnerable populations in syria. you have also talked about promotion of democracy. when i'm not even 100% sure democracy as it stands is the form of government that i think protects the people. because i don't know how we're protecting the minorities. any minority. even white men, if that's the minority you want to talk about because they are, obviously, super angry, and they voted for donald trump. so that being said, right, with all these pressures you're talking about. religion, vulnerable populations, economics, many countries with many views on how this goes, and this guy who is ready to go off the wall on twitter at any minute with whatever he's thinking at 3:00 a.m., right, my question is, we've got a really vulnerable crisis that's not only occurring in syria but that's been occurring for
generations in palestine. you have got israel and palestine as nations that are religious basis democracies. and not how we believe democracy should be where there's a breakdown of the religion and state. so i wonder how you think donald will deal with that hot button issue. >> thank you. anand? >> well, i think actually, if i'm not mistaken, trump's first call was to netanyahu in israel today. so that's an indication of how he'll deal with that issue. somebody in the israeli government said the idea of a palestinian state is finished now with trump in power. so that's, i think, how he's going to deal with that issue most likely. ironically enough, just because he actually has anti-semites in his movement as well, just to show what this trump phenomenon actually is.
so i think -- but whether you're talking about trump or it's going to intensify what's happening inside israel is interesting because there's a right wing in israel over the last 10 or 15 years and i fear that trump is going to bolster that sentiment and i think it's very dark times or palestinians or israeli's as well because really the only solution i believe ultimately is a democracy and it's a very simple thing which is everybody gets one vote and they decide how
they want to run their country. that doesn't exist in israel right now. you have to be a particular background to have rights in israel and it's a very dark time unfortunately and i think trump is making that worse. >> yeah. i'm glad you actually raised this issue. i really wanted to use this to clarify my position i think when i said american leadership a democracy, i didn't mean that the united states would go around imposing the system on a lot of the countries because we don't need a more electoral college system, right? what do i mean? by promoting democracy i really meant by promoting democratic principles of freedom, equality, will of law, now these are the principles i think a lot of developing countries need.
with that principle they can come up with their own systems but it is very important that we uphold the principles. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you for joining us tonight and presenting your views and thoughts. it's been a great conversation. i want to talk about trump's comments about putin and russia and we seem to get this idea that sure the existing alliance structure that america has is great but we're not getting enough from our allies and we'd like to see more and if we go back to 2003 we even saw president bush is a lot of frustration with his european partners and try to find new alliances and try to work with russia and try to work more with china and in the end i think he found that well, you know, there's reasons that we haven't worked very well with them in the past. it's because there's not a lot there that we agree on. so i would like to take the
president elect's idea seriously for a moment and ask all of you, where are there opportunities for establishing new or better strategic alliances around the globe. where are there possibilities for a new or improved relationship where we could take this idea and grow something. >> any thoughts. >> one thing i would say that i don't know if it's a direct answer to your question is we think about these elections and all but what drives foreign policy is very reactive and for americans one of the at the fining moments after the end of the cold war was 9/11 and what i think changed for the united states after 9-11 we are a country that lived with two oceans on either side and secure borders on the north and the south and for the first time in our history we were in an unprovoked attack. our whole sense of security and our wellbeing and our own place was threatened in a way that
americans had had never been threatened before and when we think about european history it's the exact opposite. at the end of the cold war around the same year, around 9/11 it's a moment where europe for the first time was secure and europeans were feeling like they wesren't worried about a european country invading. so what does concern me is the whole idea, the fact that the european union is thinking about rearming a common defense budget and thinking about the threat that russia poses but i think it's important to remember the insecurity that's reforming there at the sail time the insecurity is forming here so rather than answering your question in terms of a direct country i guess what i'm saying is looking at these as the disturbing trends and then trying to understand how we are
going to live in a world where we will be subject to unprovoked attacks, the world has changed. >> thank you. it's a great honor to have events like this in an unusual context. we talked about the moral authority to lead the world and trump's business interests but sort of an interesting situation now is president elect that has two pending trials against him and i'm not trying to prejudge but they'll say we have 30 solid cases here. if we have president elect or an elected president or president in power that is convicted as opposed to, think back to clinton years when we had a big conversation within the congress and so on about do we lose the moral authority to lead if we have someone that is being sensors or impeached or if we have a convicted felon, he could potentially pardon himself and
so on but if you could speak to -- i mean that's a fact. he could actually pardon himself. you can't get out of impeachment but the idea of thinking about having a convicted felon as a president is an interesting thing. can't exactly be brought to trial but of course we take them down a peg or two in term of what they can be thought to exist. >> the charges are against him regardless of whether or not they prove to be anything with content there. i guess the example i would look to when i thought about it is president nixon and what happened is that the republican party went to the president and said, you're not behind you if
you go through this impeachment trial. that was very different than what happened to president clinton. the democratic party didn't react the sail way so we can talk about the party differences all along. what we won't know is what president elect trump's relationship is going to be with the republican party going forward. it looks like it's going to be bad to me. when we were talking i think the republican party has a lot more to worry about in the next couple of months than the democratic party that have reasons for nothing more than what we're talking about tonight and i don't want to rule out the possibility that there aren't still good republicans of principle and would not play the same role. i do think that people have those kind of concerns and if they don't, we at midterm elections are still a democracy and that's what we should throw out if they don't stand up for
that. that's just my view. >> i got word from friends overseas. and laughed at him when he heard about the election results. a friend of mine from germany and another from morocco asked me what happened. they couldn't understand what happened in the election. they were very confused but i think what we heard tonight is the world does continue to turn and we need to stay informed. we need to stay engaged and keep an eye on the process and hope for the best so thank you for coming out and thank you for the panel. have a good night. >> follow the transition of government on cspan as donald
trump becomes the 45th president of the united states and republicans maintain control of the u.s. house and senate. we'll take you to key events without an eruption. watch live on cspan. watch on demand on cspan.org or listen on our fee cspan radio app. >> thank you very much. welcome to congress. >> over the next couple of hours executives in the auto industry talk about how they're working to protect motorists from car related cyber threats. this is the first ever automotive cyber security summit held in detroit. it's a little more than two hours. >> so before -- now it is my privilege and honor to introduce to you mary barat chairman and ceo of general motors. mary and her leadership are transforming the automotive sector. consider that under her
leadership in the last year alone gm launched the sharing service and purchase cruise automation and invested $500 million and announced the upcoming launch of the chevy bolt in our hall today and a particular relevance on gm was the first major car manufacturer to form a disclosure program. that mary's the ceo would open today's conference. . ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage. the chairman and ceo of general motors mary bara.