tv Life Liberty Levin FOX News August 4, 2019 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
mark levin is up next. see you next sunday. e televised. ♪ ♪ ♪ hello america, this is life, liberty and levin. we have a great guest, neil ferguson, how are you. it's great to be here. >> i've been a fan of yours for a very long time. you are a fellow over at the institution of stanford university. the phd in philosophy, you've written 15 books, i've seen you here and there, i've read much of what you have written, you're very smart, sensitive
information. that's why wanted you here tonight. i want to talk about several issues, but one in particular, the president has focused on early on and that is china and you write about it and you talk about a second cold war. and that is with china and it's happening now. can you explain that? >> if you think back to the first cold war, we weren' went quite quickly from being the allies of the soviet union of world war ii to being at odds with them, within just a few years. why was back? it was territorial issues that the soviet union it appeared to be expanding in all directions, but it was also technological come the soviet union was stealing technology. it stole the atomic bomb design through its spy network, and in many ways the cold war was a technological race. it created the space race and the nuclear arms race. fast-forward to the late 20th
century. for a time the united states and the people's republic of china was strategically aligned. 60 years ago since henry kissinger went to beijing for the opening of china. as a move against the soviet union and the first cold war it was very smart. it split the communist world to have them aligned, and it has worked brilliantly from an economic point of view in the sense that the rapid growth of china in the late 20th century was very advantageous, but probably more advantageous to china. only relatively recently has america begun to wonder if it has gone too far in encouraging china's growth because suddenly china is not just the junior partner, china is catching up and asserting itself, not only in terms of economics, but it's expanding territorially. above all, it is competing technologically, using
property theft to accelerate its technological advance. i'd argue we've been in the early stages of cold war to for a while but president trump woke america up. if you think back to when his campaign began back in 2015, when he started talking about putting tariffs on chinese imports, the establishment america was outraged. fast-forward to 2019 and there is a bipartisan consensus which there is isn't on many things that they pose a fundamental threat not only to the economic future but a strategic threat. i'm a historian much more than i'm a philosopher and they could look back and say the most important thing that president trump did was to change the direction of u.s. policy on china and wake the nation up to what was a fundamental threat. >> is china, as time goes on, a greater threat to us than
the soviet union was. >> it certainly a far more plausible economic blindfold. even despite its claims that it would overtake the united states, claims that many liberals in the united states believe including paul sanderson but it never got close. china, by at least one measure is already a larger economy than the united states. on a current dollar basis, it could overtake the united states in the next ten or 15 years. the soviets never got anything like that in economic terms. in nuclear terms, china is still a long way behind. i think the key difference is that technologically china is catching up rapidly and not just in terms of weapons technology but civilian computing technology. we all hear every other day about artificial intelligence.
there is only one rival to the united states when it comes to research on ai and it's china. we hear all the time about the dominance of 5g network equipment and in that respect you could argue china is already ahead of the united states. we still pay for things in this country with banknotes. we write checks, we use credit cards, if you go to beijing you won't see any of that anymore. people pay for things with their smart phones because china in financial terms has already overtaken the united states. i think when you look at technology, china is, in many ways far closer to united states than the soviet union ever got. the soviets were only able to copy our military hardware. in civilian terms they never got close. >> you mentioned the president. he's been signaling this is been a problem. has his tariffs on china slowed china down, had an effect on china?
>> they have. they slowed down china, not massively but the cost to china impact is roughly four times greater than the impact on the u.s. economy. conventionally liberal economists say this is all crazy because the tariffs not paid by china, their paid for by american consumers. that isn't quite true. some of the cost of being absorbed by chinese companies as they try to offset the impact of the tariffs. i think the most important cost is being borne by the chinese economy as a whole. it has significantly slowed down. it probably will grow at around 6.1% in the second half of this year. that's a lot higher than you will see in any developed economy but relative to the double-digit rates of growth that china saw ten years ago, it's really quite a meaningful
slowdown. i think that impact is important because what president trump is doing is using tariffs to apply pressure on china to chains change its ways. they have been negotiating extremely effectively to force the chinese, not just to increase their imports on american soybeans, that's not a meaningful change in chinese policy. he is pressurizing china to stop the kind of property rights, to stop the systematic ranking of markets in favor of chinese companies that are central to china's industrial strategy. the chinese joined the wto back in 2001. in many ways i think it was a mistake that we let them do that or it was a mistake that we didn't really enforce the wto rules on the chinese. they've essentially had the benefits of free trade with the rest of world so not
really allowing free trade with china. if you are a u.s. company, whether you're investing there or selling there, your chinese competitors will always have the upper hand. if you don't believe me then ask any of the major u.s. companies that are trying to make it in china whether you're talking about google or whomever. the president strategy while it makes free traders very nervous, i guess i'm a free trader, when it comes to china, with the president is doing is using tariffs as a lever to try to change china's behavior. i think it has to be in american interest to do that. the previous policy looked back at the obama administration in its second term essentially was to acquiesce in china's ascendancy. there was this pivot to asia that didn't amount to anything. the u.s. was accepting that china was going to be number one and well, what can we do.
i think it's important that president trump stood up against that and said we actually do need to do something about it. now, what's interesting to me is having started with tariffs, with the president has done is to achieve a sea change in attitude right across the american political spectrum because in the space of less than a year, i think more or less the entire foreign policy establishments have come to agree with him and so has big tech and silicon valley. this is why it has the policy of the cold war. in escalation of tariffs to affect their behavior and trade to other policy measure restricting the export of sophisticated micro processes and actually trying to prevent from coming the dominant player around the world. not to mention the kind of pressure we need to apply in military terms to stop them from turning to the south
china sea into an area of their own military expansion. imagine getting started on one belt, one road which is a chinese strategy for global expansion all around the world. when you look closely at it isn't a particularly pretty picture. it involves not just investment but also it involves establishing chinese power over local governments in ways that are not conducive to human rights and democracy in those areas. their expanding in a number of different dimensions. the united states has woken up to this challenge. i think it's president trump who has taken the lead but with remarkable speeds, democrats and republicans have fallen in line and we now have a remarkable consensus in the country that china is a challenge we have to do something about it. >> china looks at things for the long-term.
our government really doesn't. elections have consequences. we talked about obama who did basically nothing. trump acted. democrats support what he's doing whether they say so or not as a policy matter, trump leads. the question is, you said this is a new cold war. who wins this new war. is it too early to know? do you think the spirit of this country is strong enough to engage this war for the long haul? what do you think? >> i think china's president expects that china will win this war and thanks that china has a number of advantages, not just its much larger population, but also perhaps he thanks it's stronger work ethic, something that always impresses me when i go to china, and i think china's leaders are seeing that democracy is our weakness.
the last thing they would ever dream of is to introduce it in china. we remember the 30th anniversary of the democracy movement which was so crushed. they learned one big lesson from the last cold war and that is, don't do what the soviet union did. don't do what gorbachev did. don't liberalize. i think they're optimistic that they will win this because they are catching up with us economically and because of our political system and because of our internal divisions, we're just not going to be able to. [inaudible] >> when we come back, your view of the history. how do you think we fair. you think they win. how do you think united states fairs. ladies and gentlemen, virtually every weeknight you can watch me on levintv. go to blaze tv.com/mark to sign up.
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the question is, how do you think united states fairs? >> in cold war one there was a striking bipartisan consensus on the need to resist sovereign expansion. it really took the u.s. from the years of harry truman right away through to lyndon johnson. it only began to follow part during the vietnam war. he ran for election claiming eisenhower was too soft on the soviet and was failing to maintain u.s. dominance. if we can re-create that bipartisan consensus, if we can persuade democrats that there really is a threat from china and we need to contain the pressure that the current administration is exerting, then i think we should be in good shape. if we allow ourselves to be divided to the point that the democrats essentially want to
refute the check repudiate president trump's national security strategy that i think the chinese will sit back and wait for us to fold. remember, one of the most interesting things that happened in the first trump term was a major reshaping of strategy. hr mcmaster did a superb job in reconfiguring what had been terrible national security strategy. they clearly identified china as a major threat to the interest of the united states. if the democrats sign up for that and say yeah we get it, then i think united states is okay. there's a bipartisan consensus on trade but i don't really see that it's their national security. one of the first things joe biden says and he still the front runner for the democratic nomination he said he was relaxed about china, china's not a problem. if that's what he's going to campaign on them president trump should when the
reelection easily. what's interesting is that all the americans get this to the surprising extent they think people have woken up to the chinese threat not just as a threat to manufacturing jobs which is i think where this conversation began back in 2015, 2016, i think that americans see this as a threat that's more profound. they understand china is a one-party state. they understand it's not going to become a liberal democracy but the clinton vision, bill clinton's vision which i think hillary clinton shared was that china was going to evolve over time because of economics and are. [inaudible] they also see that china is posing this major technological economic threat around the world so there's been a kind of awakening in middle america to the chinese threat. that gives me some reasons for constance because what made america accessible in the first cold war was that a fundamental commitment to
individual liberty which meant that americans wanted their presidents strength against the soviet union. when jimmy carter failed to do that he was gone. he was a one term president. i think there's a similar moment where the american people, even if the political elites have been slowed, they worry there's been a fundamental challenge and we have to win this cold war. you asked are we going to win it pressure and will we work for sure gonna win the first cold war. we could've lost the cold war against the soviet union on more than one occasion. i'm not sure the united states would necessarily have prevailed. they certainly had as many if not more in the 1970s and they probably could have withstood the cost of a world war iii. i don't think we should assume we have a guaranteed to win the first cold war. >> you also make the point
that all history isn't driven by economics. we've talked about economics, tariffs and so forth and mark had this notion about materialism and economics and so forth. what is it that drives societies when you look back on the history. >> it won't come as a surprise to you, i'm not a marxist historian and i've tried to show history isn't some kind of inevitable deterministic process in which economic forces overwhelm individuals. i think it's just as important to ask questions about culture and institutions. civilizations are not just giant economic machines. there held together by volumes, shared volumes. leadership is crucial. we need to remember at critical junctures, in the 20th century it was strong visionary leadership that saved the west. think of the role winston
churchill played in the 30s and 40s. a lone voice who saved not just britain and its empire but western civilization. when one looks at history from my vantage point, the thing that leaps out is that economics is not all-powerful, and sometimes it is morale, it is culture that dominates. if economics predicted all wars outcomes than the united states would've won the vietnam war and the korean war. >> in the context of china, how does china fare when it comes to culture, putting aside economic issues, tariff issues and so forth. does it farewell or not. >> if you go as i frequently do to china and listen to chinese academics, they nearly always begin their speeches by
saying their civilization is thousands of years old and has this extraordinary strength and continuity and therefore you newbies who only just created your republican 1776 should be intimidated but this is all really rather implausible because in reality chinese history is a history of great upheaval and turmoil, the biggest war of the 19th century was not the american civil war or any other war, it was the rebellion in china and rebellions of peoples are characterized chinese history, but the most recent was the revolution that produced the communist regime we know today. that was only in 1949. they are a long way to be able to celebrate even their 100th birthday. i think if one spends time listening to china's leaders a little bit more carefully, you can realize they feel
insecurit insecurity. they feel insecure about their domestic situation because they know after all the upheaval in the. [inaudible] it depends on delivering growth. it's a fact i've taken hundreds of millions out of poverty to keep the communist party in power. not any great ideological commitment to ideology because everybody knows that it's just something the leadership pays lip service to. everybody knows party has become extraordinarily corrupt as a result of the money being generated. i think there's insecurity i think there's insecurity there and that's the thing
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[♪] aishah: live from "america's news headquarters." i'm aishah hasnie. virg i wills in two american cities marking a very deadly weekend for our nation. in dayton, ohio, mourners pay their respects to the 9 people killed. police tell us he was able to fire off at least 100 rounds of ammunition in 30 seconds before officers took him down. the dead include the quiller's own -- the killer'ser on sister. the motive is unknown.
in texas a mass shooting claimed 20 lives and injured many more at a walmart. all the bodies have been recovered at the scene. the accused killer is in custody. police say this is a case of domestic terrorism which means the suspect could face the death penalty. mark: neil ferguson, you talk about the soviet union and it does not exist anymore but there is russia and who did we talk about china and russia, putin are a great threat is it a society that unraveling? how do you see it? >> russia is a defining power is the classic symptom of imperial decline which is the leader wishes it could somehow be arrested but if you look at the signs of russian economy it's relatively minor force. russia has considerable literary capabilities and a huge arsenal
of nuclear weapons but because it's relatively economically weak it has to fight in what i will call low-budget ways. information warfare, meddling in other people's politics is a pretty cheap way of disrupting your enemies and that is something the russians have been doing, not only in the united states and they tried in 2016, but have done in other countries, too. ukraine is their experimental and i think it will be surprising if president putin, at some point, does not try to challenge nato as an institution and does not try to break that alliance. i think he must calculate that there's a possibility he can drive a wedge between the united states and the european union, during his presidency one, for example, the germans have a negative view of president tru trump. if putin wants to exercise that option he may not have unlimited
amount of time to do it so i think we need to watch for russia trying it on a baltic state in the hope that nato does not ram . mark: what would that look like the mac. >> a bit like what happened in ukraine with unmarked russian troops began violating the sovereignty of ukraine you can imagine something like that but it would be combined with information warfare and involve trying to mobilize the russian ethnic minority in the country and we seen the playbook before. the question would be what nato hold together under the article five rule that an attack on one is an attack on all or would we find that between berlin in washington it was uncertainty and division. other point and make about russia is remember although putin has been aggressive not only in ukraine but also in syria the price of that has been increasing dependence on china and in many ways the closest relationship in the world today is between president xi and
vladimir putin and they see one another very regularly but there's no question in my mind that putin is the junior partner. for many russians there's something unnerving about the fact that they are playing second fiddle to china and that's an anomaly historically. traditionally those event rivals and enemies and came to blows in war in late 1960s. that's the odysseys about our world today, russia and china partnership and one i think u.s. policy to try to break up. mark: how would you do that? >> even if president trump settled on trade and a trade-off between now and the election i think in all kinds of other domains technology south tennessee and other issues i don't think the u.s. and china are about to become testes again the question is can the united states improve relations with russia and is there some way of taking this relationship between president putin and president trump which is then so controversial and turning it into something that is of value
strategically in my view has always been a lot of the arguments in 2016 would diminish if there was benefit to the united states and i do think at the moment is partly that we are on a permanent war of footing with moscow weather stations or other issues and it's probably that president putin simply cannot put himself to trust the united states. i think the only way to improve the situation is to improve relations with russia and that is not going to be easy. mark: it won't be easy because the democrat party may not permit it. russia collusion, russia collusion. >> and there are republicans who feel much the same way. it's a big problem i think with president trump and he needs to try to figure it out. between now and the election, i would say, improving it geopolitically with the change of the subject so that next year were talking about a situation improving but only with respect to trade in china but the situation improving with respect
to north korea and we not talk to iran and if president trump is a smart he will change the subject to foreign policy next year and this is what richard nixon did so very successfully in 1972 when he was running against a left center democratic candidate and able to unroll the foreign-policy breakthrough of which the opening to china was problem at the biggest and win the election by a landslide. i do think there's much that can be done with respect to foreign-policy and to decide next year that in a way will be very difficult for the democrats from their relatively weak position. democrats want to have an election about healthcare and race relations but if it's an election about foreign policy of the american strength i don't see how any of the democratic candidates could win. mark: i want to ask you about domestic policy when we come back with have they pigeonholed themselves as hard left?
mark: niall ferguson, domestic politics, upcoming election, has the president successfully - it does not look like it would be successful in defining democrats and democrat party they pretty much defined himself as hard left and though these titleist democratic socialist and clearly that benefits him. do we see parallels with recent history in this campaign coming up? >> i think in many ways the democrats have done this to themselves. president trump has not had to work very hard because almost all the running in terms of media and especially social media has been made by the so-called squad of young,
radical congresswomen led by alexandria ocasio-cortez and congressman omar. nancy pelosi's nightmare is that they are getting all the airtime and the more your time they get the more left-wing the democratic party looks. think of aoc's green new deal. i call it the green leap forward because it would apply such radical expansion of the power of the federal government over economic life that it would be more or less the socialization of the u.s. economy and the end of economic growth. that stuff is extraordinarily damaging for the democrats hopes in the 2020 election because you don't have to travel too far away from cambridge, massachusetts or berkeley, california to find the people think socialism is a pretty dangerous thing. the only americans have a positive view of socialism are the so-called generation the, people who are circa 20 and in college being indoctrinated by
market professors for the rest of america still thinks socialism is a pretty bad idea. as long as that is the case at the democratic candidates associated tendentious lead with socialism i think the major problem in trump does not need to do too much to achieve that. when the democratic party has gone left it tended to lose and so that's why i'm i'm attracted to this 1972 analogy with the government democratic candidate to for a pretty leftist center and set of policies and got destroyed by richard nixon and ran on foreign-policy achievements and that would be my playbook if i were advising president trump. first of all to make sure everybody gets how left-wing the democrats have become including even sleepy joe biden and then change the subject from domestic policies to foreign-policy issues where i think they are
extremely weak. mark: look like the democrats trying to define it? there was a poll a year ago in august that showed the president making headway in the african-american community. 22% looking at him favorably but the news reported almost immediately the democratic party won the chorus looking for every opportunity to call him a racist even though he attacks anyone who attacked them, regardless of race. even the most recent example with respect to baltimore so on the other hand the trying to define him, pigeonhole him and do you think that will be successful? >> if one looks at recent polling there's clearly something going on that is alienating suburban women from the president and suburban white women from the president in particular. i'm not somebody who thinks that
it's a slamdunk and that he gets reelected. i think it could be quite tight and reasons to be uneasy about the way, for example, healthcare is the number one issue in so many states, including the key swing states that gave him the presidency in 2016. i think the democrats are making a mistake by putting identity politics from front and center in trying to insist that trump is a racist and ultimately he stands for white supremacy because i don't think that's a credible argument. i think most americans don't want to feel that their lives will be dominated by the racial question could my senses that's a mistake but there are weaknesses the democrats can exploit and i think one of the obvious ones this question of healthcare. in the end the republicans made a huge blunder and it was not the president trump doing but their failure to repeal and
replace obamacare and the minute they failed to do that obamacare with all assaults become their problem rather than the democrats problem. my sense is if the democrats want to make headway they should focus on that issue because people in america care more about that than they do about reviving all divisions. mark: are they even getting that right? >> i don't think they are oddly enough. if one looks at the way, harris was a formidable candidate in many ways has blown this by shifting her position back and forth to the point in which i'm not quite sure what she now stands for i think it's hard for them after all it's hard to reform american healthcare. let's face it, it's an extraordinary complex system and you would not bring it here if you're building it on you. that's the republican candidates are most vulnerable and that's why i think the smart strategy for president trump is to emphasize foreign-policy issues and in particular the chinese set.
the country is a funny country and i speak as an immigrant newly minted american citizen one year old and to me fascinating think about this country is that there isn't a meaningful threat in the divisions are opening up at home in a way that is alarming it one of the benefits and the sounds paradoxical but one of the benefits of cold war to is that it will help us to heal some of our internal divisions with makeup to the fact that there is a communist board superpower out there that want to eat our lun lunch. mark: don't forget to check me out most week nights on live in tv. place tv /-slash mark or give us a call at 844-levin tv. we love to have you over there. don't forget to get your copy of my book. we'll be right back. ancestry...gave us context. this...whole world ...of people ...adventurous people... and survivors.
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which has the upper hand? >> [inaudible] was a great economist said socialism bound to win in the end partly because the intellectuals would be seduced by it and also because the bureaucracy would be seduced by it. the good news is he was wrong in the 20th century. socialism lost out but if you told me back in 1989 as the berlin wall was coming down that socialism would make it come back 30 years later in the united states i'd assumed you were smoking and legal substance but here we are, democratic socialism is what bernie sanders identifies with an a front-runner for the nomination and aoc pinup star of the democratic left is also a self proclaimed socialist. the good news is i don't think many young americans know what socialism is because when pressed alexandria cortez said she saw sweden as being a socialist country and i don't
know if she's been to sweden lately but it ranks in the top ten of the free market economies these days so you drill down and found that what they mean by socialism is canceling student debt and free healthcare and that kind of thing and want ultimately to move the united states closer to the western european welfare state and it's ironical because the very moment those western european welfare states have troubled difficulty in growth and are collapsing in europe the trying to revive socialism in the united states and i think that the case of the stick and identity and also a flawed political strategy. mark: is it harder to explain capitalism? is social is an easier from an emotional perspective? >> looking at the polling data if you say to americans are you favor of capitalism they say oh man but if you say are you in favor of free market that much more positive but if you say are you in favor of small business a
much more positive. i think part of this is a branding problem. capitalism is a left-wing work and it became popular mainly because karl marx used this a lot and i sometimes worry we should not use the word at all because raising capitalism were implicitly conceding its equality or its parity with socialism and i prefer the free market because it's about individual freedom and ultimately what we learn from the 20th century is socialist have to limit economic freedom and limit people's ability to control their own wealth and control their own income to achieve their goals of egalitarianism and equal society. whenever you try to achieve that they don't achieve it but end up with a corrupt and inefficient society that eventually collapses on itself and don't believe me? take a trip to venezuela which is the latest example of a country destroyed in the name of socialism and when that was happening the american left was cheering hugo chavez on and it's
worth reminding people how much nonsense was talked about it. mark: when asked about capitalism, exactly what the prime minister benjamin netanyahu said i talk about free markets i don't talk about capitalism because anyone can port what they want to into that word but what is interesting to me is that younger people tend to reject [inaudible] and socialism is about authority and i think if we can get to them and teach them properly what free markets are about free markets are about individualism that i won the "best of" i casweepstakes it. and i get to be in this geico commercial? let's do the eyebrows first, just tease it a little. slather it all over, don't hold back. well, the squirrels followed me all the way out to california! and there's a very strange badger staring at me... no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with geico. uh-huh, where's the camel? "mr. big shot's" got his own trailer. ♪
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♪now i'm gonna tell my momma ♪that i'm a traveller ♪i'm gonna follow the sun transitions™ light under control™ new transitions™ gen 8™ lenses ask your eye care professional today and learn more at transitions.com mark: niall ferguson, alaska question i ask a lot of gas. where do you see the united states and five-1015 years?
>> there no such thing as features with the historical process is not fun inevitable thing. we get to choose. i think america has a clear choice. it can continue reassessing itself geopolitically and making itself more dynamic economically and go down that road and prove that america is still number one in the state number one. that's option a. option b is that we can embrace a foreign policy and domestic policy that slows the economy down, begins the united states as a great partner and opens the door to a tiny century. it could divide us domestically and we can thus internationally. as i said, history is about choice about leadership but in a democracy it's about the individual citizen making the choice we get to choose i want to be an optimist. i'm an immigrant and a two little american boys and what
the next five, ten, 50, 100 years to be great but i'm keenly aware that it hangs in the balance and it will be determined at the ballot box next year. mark: a or b, at least it starts this next election and it's that important? >> i think it's important that were told each election is a huge turning point but this is a difficult one and it's hard for some of my friends who think themselves of never trump and they were critical and were not really supporters of president trump either but in the end we have to ask ourselves what the choice is what is the alternative? it's all very well to say you are never trump but the is that mean ready for the biden presidency or the war in presidency? that is the choice that we face and it's central to our democratic system that we have to choose between perfection and evil but often we have to make difficult, tough choices. hope we make the right one next year. mark: it's been a pleasure.
thank you. don't miss us next time, folks. on "life, liberty and levin". >> united states reeling from 2 mass shootings. one of the attacks now invested gate as a case of domestic terrorism. i am jon scott, we'll join tox x news sunday in a few minutes, latest happened in dayton, ohio, a gunman wearing body armor opened fire on a crowded downtown street, killing 9 people before he was shot and killed by police, the horror unfolding as police pro-- process a crime 16 in el paso. there is a news ca