tv William Mary - Global Challenges to Democracy CSPAN August 16, 2019 3:23pm-4:32pm EDT
>> for four years c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country. so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by or local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. >> former defense secretary robert gates, nbc news correspondent andrea mitchell and journalist robin wright talk about global challenges to democracy. this is from a recent forum on the future of representative democracy hold it -- posted by the college of william and mary. it is over one hour.
the final discussion of this day's session will examine some of the challenges facing democratic movement around the world. partisan polarization, mass migration, globalization, and populist movements, these and other new developments are impacting america's democracy and many others. democracy itself faces new forms of attack with the manipulation of social media and while collaboration among free nations is more important than ever, it seems more difficult than ever. does this mean for the future of the democratic experiment? that began here in america 400 does it mean what around the world? to help us examine these thorny issues, please welcome the moderator for this panel, chief foreign affairs correspondent for nbc news, andrea mitchell.
>> thank you also much, it is wonderful to be here, i was here for a dozen years as a trustee. let me tell you how proud and happy i am to be here today, -- commemorating this important anniversary and also how -- i want you to welcome the former u.s. secretary of defense in the bush and obama administrations, the chancellor of william and mary, robert gates, bob gates. and also my colleague and friend fellow, robind
wright. first of all, how pleased i am to be here with both of you and how important this is, this conversation of a part of the discussion of the challenges to democracy globally. i do have my iphone with me. i have it for reason, the last time that i went on stage as a foreign-policy panel without my phone, it was a year ago at the security conference and without my phone, my producer had to crawl underneath and hand me a note to let me know that the white house had invited vladimir putin to the white house. i was interviewing the head of
intelligence, the director of national intelligence dan coats and this note just said, the white house invited put in, this was three days after the helsinki summit. i asked the question and the rest is still playing out. >> is not special? that was the beginning of the end. >> we are here at a fascinating and troubling time around the world for global democracy. the riseall, we face of populism, we see this around the world, political pressures from refugee migration and their growing effects of climate change, globalization.
populations, working communities feeling the pressure and feeling alienated from the international [inaudible] from multinational organizations not only since the economic crash from 2008 but what is now being felt in the [indiscernible] and as you have heard today in eastern europe as well and hungary and the critical hungary, italy, spain, venezuela, brazil, to say nothing of what we are experiencing here in the u.s. so is this the result of the post world war institutions being challenged, the end of the post-world war ii order or the multilateral institutions created in the 1940's and economicato, the other and military alliances that
--lowed world war ii, our are they outdated, are they contributing to the sense of alienation that we are seeing in populations around the world, resentment against the ruling by younger populations too young to remember the the 20thic events of century, these are all questions that we should be examining today and i cannot think of too better people to be assessing them than the former secretary and my colleague and friend robin wright who is the author of not only many books but has worked in conflict zones for decades, has analyzed and examined all these issues most recently in some extraordinary writing for the new yorker and one of the great foreign-policy journalist of her generation so welcome to both. -- let'stary, if it
talk about your thoughts on democracy around the world and what is [inaudible] to these challenges. mr. gates: we had a remarkable surge of democratization after the collapse of the soviet union. 48 time you had almost 300 million people who have lived in eastern europe and under dictatorships, under communist dictatorships all of a sudden experiencing the fresh air of freedom and democracy. and to a certain extent that has been sustained in most of eastern europe. it has not been sustained in russia and we can talk about that. but i would say that there is that extendson from, you have mentioned all of
the different countries where we are seeing this from pakistan to eastern europe to italy to andce, obviously to britain here in the u.s. and i think one discussed on is of a lot of people with the political establishment, with the political parties and elites that had been in power, one party or another for decades and in the view of a growing number of people and elite that has failed to keep their interests into account, that has failed to in the wake of new allnologies and the wake of these different new problems and so on has been -- has not
responded in terms of how you take care of the ordinary citizen under the circumstances. my favorite example and the first example of this was venezuela. of corruptyears political leadership across the political spectrum led to such venezuela that they elected hugo chavez. and we know what has happened since then. sgustt was discussed -- di establishmentcal -- political establishment and feeling on the part of a lot of these average citizens that the political elites were feeding, taking care of themselves and their friends and not worrying average joe or jane.
the second i think fitting into this was the economic crisis and 2008, 2009. the elites cannot only make things happen politically they really screwed up the global economy and the screwed up the american economy. come the recovery, the elites did just fine. but a lot of people who were hurt by the worst economic crisis since the depression either took a long time to recover or it never recovered at all. circumstancesose the disparity between what they are earning and what they have seen the elites are earning today is so great that they believe again that the so-called elites are taking care of muchelves and not paying attention to anybody else. a third factor in a lot of these
countries is the whole immigration refugee crisis, europe felt that in dramatic ways as a result of the civil war in syria and the isis , acesses in iraq and syria million immigrants allowed into germany. and people seeing a threat to their culture and to their way of life. by these immigration flows that seemed uncontrollable and where are these people going to go and how will the effect the life in my village in my town and so on. the fourth factor i would mention and these are not exclusive but i think they get most of it, the fourth factor is the effort on the part of russia to the greatest extent and to a lesser extent china and probably ask -- exacerbate all
these problems. it is happening on two levels, the first is to have an impact on elections, through hacking into databases, effecting the outcome of elections or the technology of the voting process through voting rolls and so on, anding up false ads trolling candidates and so on but the second is exacerbating our social divisions. turn ethnic and social conflicts and racial conflicts in every one of these to make those worse and divide us and furthermore at least as far as nato members are concerned trying to turn nato members against each other and weaken the alliance. this is a pervasive problem and
it is affecting us on several levels, not just the technical had we messed around with the makeion, it is how do we life hard for these countries so i think for me, this populist movement if you will is deeply of above a resentment all, political but also economic elites that a lot of people believe have forgotten the interests of average people, i will give you one simple example. when macron includes -- increase the price of fuel all these yellow vests turned out in demonstrations in paris. if you lived in paris or a big city, it was not that big a deal because you had access to the metro and so on but if you live in overall area of france or
europe or you are a farmer, that increase in the price of diesel may make the difference between whether you can survive or not. and it is as though the elitists in paris completely forgot about the potential problems this one move would make in the interest the effectr climate, it would have an overall area. ms. mitchell: the exacerbated political conflicts had been exaggerated and further through social media. when you and i were first covering foreign conflicts and we did not have the instantaneous ability of the russian trolls and bots of the internet in st. petersburg and other actors as well now to influence elections whether it , -- tryingtrying to
to influence the 2018 midterms. this is an ongoing thing. ms. wright: absolutely. with the literacy and technology that comes with it, when you see the majority of the, they are communicate,y can they have access to technology and a broader sense of the world. force for gooda and something that threatens. i want to talk more broadly in a minute but i will give you one telling example, tunisia, the one country that went through, way in where -- lead the the arab spring, it was ignited by social media and it was a young rapper who put out a song
on his facebook at a time that 20% of tunisians were on facebook and talked about tunisians living off garbage and going through school and never learning to read or write. and it resonated. the young were galvanized and and [indiscernible] when pressed for a bribe just trying to sell food on the street in a remote tunisian city stood up and said i will not pay it and the police inspector took because hed he went , hisrted his ailing mother five siblings, and his uncle in and he went from government office to government office to demand, get his produce back so he could support his family and he was turnednot,
back and every post, he went to and setrnment office himself on fire. the song from the young matt -- , they mobilized tunisians and this was in 2011. what is important to understand, i went back to the remote town where this happened a year later and i asked the young, how are you doing? corner and hereet said we have more freedom and far fewer jobs. later i went back and i was in international monitor of the first democratic presidential election. and the lowest turnout in the
held, 22ection ever countries, the lowest turnout was among the young and the lowest was in the city. isis iss later in 2016, appealing to people around the world, tunisian -- tunisia provides the single largest amount of fighters. it is smaller than florida, 11 million people. , another joined isis 9000 tried to leave the country and were turned back i security forces. see where this wave of democracy that we celebrate at the moment and how it can be manipulated so quickly in the one country where we saw that and to be turned into such people.
if we can look at the broader bobd and the one thing said, we are all contemporaries and i feel fortunate to have called both of them friends. for the first half of our lives, the majority of failed democracies were as a result of insurgencies. between 1946 and 1999, 64 democracies failed because of coups or insurgencies. it is like a light switch, you turn it off and on and they turned it off after a coup, the lights stayed out for decades -- for a decade. threat to greatest failracy, most democracies because we elect autocrats. between 2000 and
2010, 40% of democracies faced threats from populism and i have seen the transition play out. in 1981 the pope told ferdinand marcos the gig is up and they brought in a democratically elected government. roderigohey elected dutere, who is one of the biggest thugs on the global stage today, challenging all the basic tenets of democracy. the and of covered the soviet union in 1991. i was back in russia and the run-up to the election last year electing vladimir putin who has been in power as prime minister or president for 20 years. , south africa,e
i was at the black township outside johannesburg when a group of schoolchildren led the first lack mass uprising to protest the government decision to change the language of education from african languages , the language of dutch settlers and that gave rise to the mass uprising and led to nelson mandela's freedom. i went back to watch him walk to freedom. today, the average black and south africa is far worse off in terms of the way he lives that he was under apartheid. birth,elebrate the great the latest wave of democratization but there are an extraordinary number of threats and one of them is the manipulation by social media and how states use social media to subvert other countries and then coming together with the threat
of populism. in some ways what we see evolving is single party governors, something that lennon enin created in 1917. ouree right now in america administration embracing some of these totalitarian leaders dutere,it is prudent or or action in venezuela which has not worked to seek -- unseen majuro. they have to drive or show as an example of broad interest in human rights and press freedom.
human rights and in press freedoms? there is andthink really since 1945, only one clear strong voice in democracy and for liberty. and that has been the united states. you cannot impose democracy on another country. but i will never forget talking to people like vaclav hobble in tech is voc yeah - vaclav havel in chuckles voc yeah and let colace in poland - abnnd lech
.alesa in poland and how important it was to them , not turbine intervene because we never did. but to know that we were out there and we cared and we were a voice for the principle of democracy and liberty. we helped them a lot clandestinely. the poles had the advantage, they had three different streams of covert assistance. one from cia, one from the afl-cio, and by far the most important, from the catholic church. and pope john paul ii. but hearing our voice, knowing we were there, we were a beacon for them. something they could look too. if we lose that
feeling on the part of the rest of the world that despite all of our flaws. and believe me the rest of the world knows our flaws, we are not exact, keeping them a secret. but if the rest of the world knows that we still-has always known that at least what we stand for and what we aspire to .e that voice is really important. it is important to, for the turks to hear, who are voting it itouble against erdogan. is important for the opposition in venezuela to know. as important for the people and a lot of these countries we are talking about. so i think we have to be very hardheaded. as much of a realist as anybody. the reality is, the united
states has done business with some of histories greatest monsters. roosevelt never pretended to be in love with joseph stalin. in the real world, we have to deal with these people. but we do not have to embrace them. leaders oftreat the authoritarian states, we can do business with them, but we do not need to embrace them in the same way that we embrace the leaders of democratically elected governments. yourthink, andrea, to lose, i think that if we our willingness to be that city on the hill. to be that beacon. i think we lose a lot of what makes us unique in the world.
and i think we lose a piece of our national salt. - i think we lose a iece of our national soul. think we can drive hard bargains with a lot of people, including the chinese. i do not think we ever forget who we are. what the roots are in places like jamestown. ms. mitchell: and the obvious question with kim jong-un, and some of the obvious questions. [applause] and what if we gotten for it, there were mitchell strikes just yesterday -- missile strikes just yesterday. being a political and military ally, but there is jamarcus koji. jamalthere is
khaskogi. i'm ever traveling with ronald reagan to moscow. he went to the investors residence and gave a speech to the russian people. the soviet than people. and ronald reagan did not mince his words. and that did not prevent him remarks on control -- arms control and nuclear reduction treaties with gorbachev. there is a balancing act and values have to in some fundamental way be sent to roll to who we are as a country. pragmatic, perhaps not as pragmatic as some people in government have to be. but i recognize this fact. is that a fair analogy?
absolutely. i have done this most of professional life. sitting across the table in moscow from the head of the kgb, i would say that he and i probably did not share very many values. particularly if we were having our dinner in a safe house that berea, been owned by a head of stalin's secret service. that was a little airy. - eerie. think you can blend sustaining your beliefs and values and promoting those values with a very hardheaded pragmatic view of how to deal with the world. , i mean, fromat my personal experience, the
president xi have worked for, i presidents that i have worked for, i think most of the presidents did that. certainly ronald reagan. both bushes. jimmy carter did it. the interesting thing in the say thats, i would jimmy carter pulled it too far the other direction, and was not tough-minded or hardheaded enough. democracy andg human rights. the problem with his policy toward human rights was that we took a very tough line on it, but the only people we could punish were our friends. sanctions ormpose other actions against south , where weothers cannot do anything with respect to iran or the soviet union or china. in terms of far greater and far
worse abuses. it is a balancing act. an mitchell: robin, you're expert on iran, among other things. how do you balance our expectations for iran to prevent some of the more egregious timeiors, and at the same not excessively punish civil populations and hope for response from them a better directions at some point? ms. wright: a great problem is that even as we deal with the tough guys and try to negotiate arms deals with them, in the past there has been more consistency and less deviations. a sense america always does certain things. the problem now is we are seeing such fluctuations.
we went from one policy designed to recognize, to sanction iranians for their bad behavior, to sanction the revolution regards for the middle east, there will missile test but we're still trying to to deal with the most consistent danger which was iran's new clear program or the potential for a clear program. and now we have kind of reversed course. walked away from one of the most important arms deals, whether you like it or not, it was the most get arms deal, major arms deal and a quarter-century. deal in arms quarter-century. it stopped in its tracks what could've been not only iranian nuclear weapons, but also the proliferation of new clear weapons in the wider middle east. becomes, iran as a model, there's a moment where any country that has to deal with united states, is the next president if he does not agree with all the terms, going to walk away from it?
what is america stand for and what are the parameters of engagement with it. that is where our credit ability comes into question. as i said, it does not matter whether you like a deal or not, it is the principal of, can you do as ragan did? can you talk to dissidents and give a lecture, whether it is at the berlin wall or on muska television, the same time you're talking to the leader of a therful commonest estate -- most powerful communist state at the time. i think we face that issue when it comes to saudi arabia. something that i feel very deeply about. knew jamalrea khashoggi as well. this is a man who was a friend of mine for 30 years. this is a man who was dismembered. the anniversary in october and we still do not
know where his body is. and yet saudi arabia was the first country that trump went to, and made the foundation of a broader policy in the middle east. this sends mixed signals. condemn nothat we very vociferously and continued to sell arms. the president veto a deal with togressional pressure not arm the saudi's because of its war in yemen. democracy to be sustained has to represent certain values at a certain kind of consistency. -- a certain common consistency. one of the problems, one of the many reasons for the rise of populism is, what is it that is going to give us stability, give consistency, give us a sense of prosperity and efficiency and productivity. creating-getting us through this awkward transition that the
whole world is going to run globalization. that is where i think we haven't party, otherer than washington, and for me a pox on all their houses. [laughter] and for me i think this is where we have not seen the leadership emerge that defines the post-cold war values and gives us that sense of leadership how we're are going to get there. we by default go to whether it is a, the kind of identities that put us in competition among ourselves, and with others around the world. i would go back to something i said about the consequences -- the consequences of a wave of elections that returned one party to another after another to office and to power feeling empowered to pursue their own agenda and with
a certain self-righteousness that they have got it all figured out. part of the reason for this are these wave elections. to take theproblem, iran agreement as example, if you're not willing to work with the other side of the aisle, and get an agreement like that ratified by the senate, then the -just as you executed the agreement with a signature, the next president can unexecuted with a signature. because it is just an executive agreement. that is much more difficult to do if you go through the process of submitting an agreement for ratification.
then you actually have to reach out to the other party, .s you are negotiating i remember when president reg and was negotiating the inf had a -- we actually consult and a group with centeredness from both parties. consulting with us as we did it. was it was actually fairly easily ratified. so you have agreements with brian from both parties, it provides a stability -- when you have agreements where you have buy-in from both parties, it provides us to a stability and predictability, not only for us but for other countries in the world, that we do not have when these are done by wanting a party. it is the same thing when a piece of legislation is passed with the support of only one party. the next time the other guys are
in powder, they're going to get rid of it. -- in power, they're going to get rid of it. this has increases instability and frankly, could draw the fed back. this paralysis in washington feeds this populism that our government does not work because the politicians who are running it have no interest in making it work. they just want to keep themselves in power. in fact,- ms. mitchell: in fact that is true of domestic issues as well, issues that are decided on sing apart he bows. in washington now that's on single party votes. in washington now reflects what is happening in the country and the feedback to it. how important is a free press to the survival of democracy? secretary gates? mr. gates: i personally think it is critical. that given ae said
choice, in essence given a choice between a free press, hee and a free would take a free press any day. as a better guarantee of liberty. my own experience in government, and i have been through a lot of crises in government. i joined cia in the middle of the vietnam war. administration lied consistently to the american people about what was going on. and it was the press that basically revealed the reality. when i was secretary of defense, it was the press that alerted me to the mistreatment of outpatient wounded warriors at walter reed hospitals "washington post.
it turned out the story was absolute right. i did up firing the hospital commander. surgeon general of the army, and the sec. the army. and we got it fixed. it was the press that alerted me to the moraines using a handful of armored vehicles in embarq province in iraq that had v-shaped holes that were dispersing the blast from iud's. - ied's. we looked into it, and ultimately we bought 27,000 of those vehicles for $40 billion. and they saved a lot of lives. but i would not have known about it if it had not been for the depressed. and i tell ceos the same thing i told the generals. when you read a story in the press, do not automatically curl up in a fetal defensive position. you may have just been told about a problem in your
organization you did not know you had. and so go find out the truth. go find out the facts. and if you find out the story is correct, then fix it. and acknowledge that you found out about it through the press, and that is how you learned how to fix it. and if it is not true, then you have the facts to push back and say the story is not true. i went out to the press and did a weekly press briefing every single week i was in washington as secretary of defense over four and a half years parade what in front of the cameras. -- went in front of the cameras. have the time i did not have anything to say. but i wanted to be able to take questions in my head, that is the way a secretary of defense in the middle of two wars, that is the wac communicated with the american people about what we are trying to do. and it was the way i communicated with 2 million young men and women in uniform.
set i first got the job, i i would like to set up an in mill account like i had at texas ,&m, where -- and email account like at texas a&m, where students can email me directly and i could deal with their problems. i wanted to do the same in the military. my chief of staff said that there are 2 million of them. i said ok, that was a really bad idea. [laughter] i feel very strongly about this. in fact one of my biggest worries for this country manytically is that so -- inpers and media medium and small towns are closing. well who is going to keep an eye on the mayor? or the town council? or the people doing the contracting? who is going to keep an eye on them. clearly hit a hot
button for me. ,n my experience in government let's just say i have not led to of the most press friendly organizations in the world, the central intelligence agency and the defense department. strongly thaty more than anything else, other than perhaps an independent judiciary, free press is critical to preserving our freedom. [applause] guest: and there have been -- ms. mitchell: there have been restrictions in the past two years that have been pretty dramatic.
in the white house and the hill secretaries of state omega point, democrats and republicans , secretary of state always made a point when they went to a totalitarian government if their host country did not have a press briefing on their visit with the foreign minister, they would have when unilaterally, whether as moscow or beijing, wherever they went, and kara. .he second -- ankara the secretaries would do that to show that when the america decile in america when the press is traveling with the secretary of state, we have access. i remember one moment in khartoum at a photo opportunity with condoleezza rice and the dictator there and asked him about terrorism and then got manhandled by his security people and dragged out. secretary rice would not leave sudan without getting a formal apology. to her, because it happened in front of her. and to her traveling press corps, who she said were part of her delegation.
similar, not as dramatic, but similar statements were made. it was noteworthy that stephanie grisham, the new white house press secretary on her first trip on the job to the dmz to herself in front of the security people from north korea. i cannot stress how difficult that must have been. and showed her stuff to get the press card in. -- press corps in. i spent in cairo when this wonderful advanced person for vice president pence whom i was traveling for the middle east, absolute he faced down a 6'5" tallshe is about this -bodyguard demanding that they vice president press pool get in for a photo opportunity with the egyptian leader who was no friend of the press. this is an american tradition that is not always followed. but i think bob gates certainly best,ied the best of the
in terms of cabinet leadership in that regard. robin, we have seen the importance also of the decade -- over the decades. in ancient times when i was a young reporter, that information is such a potent form of democratic empowerment. he referred to the afl-cio in poland. i think it was my late friend in leader, asstrong well as you point out whatever democratic institutions were doing. nobody knows this more profoundly than madeleine albright, given her history and chuckles back yet. and her parents -- in czechoslovakia. and her parents history. the problem we face now is with these russian trolled and others, with china and around. russia most notably. how do we get facts to people?
one of the problems in america's that everybody is in their tribal nations heard nobody is entitled to their own facts. >> the problem has become one that we in america do not share the same facts. and certainly people around the world are getting misinformation. ms. wright: let me do from some thing bob said. me the waying to that 12 years ago or 25 years ago, cnn really defined in a national news. they were the one that set the priorities and that people around the world watched. today you have already which is russia today. you have the chinese cctv which are prevalent on cable networks around the world and have studios in washington.
and are probably available on local cable networks. aen it comes to having megaphone to broadcast your when followers, converts, whatever, other natures -- other nations have learned from our example. and they are feeling this void whether it is a local newspaper, particularly as people increasingly get their news from visual media rather than the pratt media -- print media. and in social media, they are not even labeled as russian television. absolutely. an alternative world of data that reinforces each other. whether it is on twitter or on television, and we find this is permeated all of society. in a way that cnn once did with the rest of the world. it has maybe flip-flopped.
about as much the economic component of it. , liberalg time democracies, western democracies, kind of created the model for the rest of the world, what people aspired to, in terms of getting prosperity, efficiency, productivity, stability, and so forth. today what is really striking is the idea of authoritarian capitalism which is providing those goals. productivity and asperity and stability, that increasingly are seen as an alternative to liberal democracy. more stable environments. you look at the turmoil we are seeing in the west, in western societies. and it comes together in a way turning maybe at a point. the 18th century gave us the birth of democracy. the 19th century gave us the muting of democracy. the 20th century gave us the
global embrace of democracy. the 21st century is giving us the challenge to democracy. the study at harvard done recently suggested that western democracy may no longer be able to regain the position they once had as the model. and that is something we take for granted. all this may be a moment that we are struggling or we are seeing , democraciesments challenged in importing countries like turkey, which has been a freefall -- in freefall since 2014, and the second largest intruder to nato. poland, the second country to challenge soviet domination in eastern europe. any look around the world and in every continent except australia and antarctica has these challenges. remember the famous book, the end of history, assuming that democracy was a wave of the future.
it may be that democracy is really only the interlude, and that it needs more work done to sustain the system. coming up with a sense of common good. and human goodwill. oft we jeopardize the future what has been the most dynamic, hopeful political system in the world. in the world history. i think we can actually do a lot more to defend ourselves. i think we have allowed ourselves to be pushed around too much. to thefinally waking up disadvantages we have been operating with, in terms of our economic relationship with china. and are now pushing back on some fundamentals. not just the trade balance, which frankie i think is a secondary importance.
-- which frankly i think is of secondary importance. but of reciprocity and intellect so property protections. when it comes to joint ventures. investment and so on. -- intellectual property protections. it should be simple. we will even total reciprocity. what are companies can do in china, year companies can do in the u.s.. what we cannot do, your companies cannot do. and of sentence. when it comes to some of these television networks, it is pretty one-sided trade rt what they refer to, russia today, is operating freely in the united states. has studios in the united states. the chinese networks have studios in the united states. how many studios do you think american networks have in china? zip. so, here are the rules. do in the allowed to
united states, the united states is allowed to do in russia. and vice versa. same thing with china. there is no reason to allow these countries to basically run roughshod over us using our own freedoms. is that an impingement on our first amendment? maybe. but i think allowing some other country to broadcast propaganda into your country when you cannot broadcast it into theirs , his simple diplomacy. -- it is simple diplomacy. i think we can be much tougher and using our own methodologies to send some messages back to their countries about what is going on inside their countries. at about the corruption. and about environmental issues. at about a host of other things. they try to like -- they like to try to divide us.
two can play that game. cia guy kind of the old coming out. my attitude is. maybe we ought to start playing hardball with some of these guys. and away we have not been doing in a while. -- in a way we have not been doing in a while. and show that democracy, by god, will defend itself. ,nd there is a price to be paid for trying to interfere with us. , at a minimum, we ought to make them identify themselves. the chinese are buying up all kinds of communications capabilities in this country, and a lot in africa and asia and elsewhere. to the point where they will dominate the mass media and a lot of these countries. and we are not doing anything. are somek that there
counteroffensive things we can .ndertake antitype back to her be started, it all debt -- and to tie it back into where we started, it also shows we can get some things done, we will defend ourselves, we will defend our ants to tuitions, we do believe in our institutions, we do believe in freedom, we also believe in reciprocity and a fair playing field. and we are strong enough and tough enough to make sure that happens. [applause] ms. mitchell: how important is it for american leaders to have good relationships with our allies in nato, and in other defense accords? mr. gates: well, it is important. but the truth is those relationships have varied with every president. know, i will tell you the hardest thing i ever had to do with successive american presidents, was to get them to meet with the president of the
e.u.. they just hated it. who is the e.u.? and why do i have to meet with them. why do i have to waste my time with these guys? and let's just say the relationship between president bush 43 and jacque chirac and gerhard schroder was not exact a warm and fuzzy. truth is they cannot stand each other. -- could not stand each other. i think the leaders themselves sometimes placed too much importance on these personal relationships. leaders do what they do because it is in the interest of their government, other country, or their own political interests, love these they american president. love the american president. the more american presidents came to grips with that reality, the less time they would waste them using some of these guys who are not worth schmoozing.
ms. mitchell: we certainly see that result now and the u.k.. do you have any projections as to what break that will mean. iny face a no jailbreak set october. that's a no deal brexit in october. mr. gates: i would say one word, disaster. this goes probably to the dinner panel. i think it will have some in terms of our relationship with britain and britain's role in the world. ms. mitchell: and putting on your own house again, how does any of this -- your own hat again, how does this affect relationships with our key intelligence partners? and do they get nervous when say --eone who is, a partisans when partisans become in charge of all our intelligence agencies, which is maybe not that case, and maybe everyone changes when they begin to take a job. do they begin to hold back? does it make us less safe? mr. gates: i do not really think so. they deal with us because it is in their interest and because we
have a lot to offer. the truth is, a lot of intelligence services, including five eyes the arrangement, or held by flick lapointe he's -- held by political appointees. by people who are cabinet members or political officials and not intelligence professionals. distinct minority of heads of u.s. intelligence have been intelligence professionals. some good, some not so good. actually will not make that much of a difference. i've ever the big argument when we made the switch in the mid-1970's to really serious oversight of cia and the other intelligence agencies, everybody was saying no one will ever talk to us again, don't will share their sources or anything else and it all ended up being buncombe. nothing changed at all.
robin, we talk about the media and the pressure .n us now from our sources and officials who are skeptical of what we are doing here and abroad, how challenging is it in that their social media, to fact check, to make sure that we do not get swept away by false rumors. how different is the climate right now. as i hear for my colleagues covering the white house, it is very very hard, given a president on twitter and other >> you don't have the secretary doing daily briefings.
now it is like a game. how much is held back. i have heard from a number of theyean countries that have withheld intelligence because they were afraid it got ,o certain places in government whether it is the russians, they did not want that information shared. there is some reticence and about how respectful the intelligence relationship is today. i don't think they are what they once were. it is the general sense of collegiality.
hard it is for us to come up with a common policy. with that kind of polarization on issues that used betweenmmon thread politicians of different tribes, how do we get past this? my own solution would be more fact-based education, reporting, involvement by young people, college students. about ourng more history and our foreign policy. i see we are out of time so i will be very brief. in some ways it goes back in this country to the previous panel. with theagree more
issues relating to the teaching of american history, particularly in high school and the teaching of civics. about how government actually works. i think returning to that agenda that david rubenstein and others were talking about is critically important. reasons why the organizations like boy scouts and girl scouts are so important. they teach this stuff. in terms of here at home, the teachingthing is people to think for themselves. i remember a dinner i had 25 years ago.
it really gets to the heart of what you are talking about. with 450 ofinner the smartest high school students in the country. and i was there as the head of the cia. the head of the fbi was there. a lot of very successful business people. i was seated between bill gates and barry diller. before me speakers was oliver stone. this was the same year that the movie jfk came out basically accusing the cia of assassinating jfk. , i stood up my turn and i told these high school seniors, you are too old and too smart to be spoonfed american history by anybody.
whether it is the government or oliver stone. ,f you care about these issues this was 25 years ago, go to the library. research it. figure it out for yourself. one way to get at this whole fake news and all of the rest of it issue is multiple sources of information. college,igh school and teaching critical thinking. that if theyle care about something, to go find out the facts for themselves. to getre they can go reliable sources of information. universities and schools can teach how to differentiate sources. they have been doing it forever. they did it when i was a student. there are some sources that are good.
there are some that are terrible. here's a utility difference. that is a long-term solution to the problem. part of it would be helped if the media could do a better job of disguising some of its biases. and people had more that critical sources of information, of what is going on in the country and the world, were more reliable in terms of being evenhanded. [applause] ms. mitchell: thank you. for your all of you commitment to these issues. [applause] ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for earlier this week, democratic
representative rashida tlaib was part of event organized by workers in detroit -- and highland park, michigan. what's that today on c-span. c-span's "washington journal," live every day. coming up saturday morning, legal foundation attorney and a defender of wildlife discussed changes to the endangered species act. then mario parker talks about the impact of the trade war and tariffs are having on farmers across the u.s. watch "washington journal" saturday morning, and be sure to join us for sunday's washington journal as we talk about the 50th annivsa