tv Book TV CSPAN December 26, 2009 3:00pm-4:00pm EST
>> it seems that violence was actually instigated by agents themselves in the hopes that this would happen. if you have soviets shooting at germans -- germany has 900,000 troops on its soil, foreign troops, and more nuclear weapons than anywhere else and not under its control and there's the potential for a lot of violence and chaos. you know what else you're going to do if you have bloodshed if you have that. it doesn't happen that thanks largely -- -- but there is a venue by which this happens. the revival federation seems to be viable, becauseñr the whole
generation of german leaders believe that it might be the idea behind day taunt. he announced ate as policy, so that seemed to be a viable alternative. the heroic model never really crystallizes, so it's harder to judge. but you see similar sentiments throughout the -- throughout eastern europe and the soviet union. one thing that emerged very clearly to me, and this is relevant more generally, not just to 1989, is that there is a real dichotomy between the people who caused the event and the people who shaped the reaction. the people who bring down the wall, end communism, solidarity, eastern protesters, gorbachev, reagan, they didn't shape the post-war. the e.c. is a big part of this. those should be considered as well, the euro is a big part of this story.
s if gorbachev had gotten his act together with a number of east european leaders, who are pacifists, who wanted the lesson of world war ii to be that central europe should be permanent nently demilitarized, forever become a neutral zone, not just a neutral germany, but a neutral zone. the only crickcally elected leader was strongly opposed to east germany going into nato. his foreign minister resigned. if they had ever gotten their act together and come up with some coherent alternative that perhaps could have gelled. as they pointed out in a breakfast session, we were aware that there were all these other things involved that would make our life difficult. our job was to keep the pace moving. one of the great virtues of prefab is that it's already there. you don't waste any time on
conceptualizing, and this is the last point. people in the east knew what they were getting and they wanted it. they saw the benefits. they saw the western lifestyle. and when push came to shove in the east german election of march 18, 1990, which by virtue of its timing is really the end game in the commission -- competition, they voted for prefab, because they wanted it. >> can i just say one thing? as a political scientist on the panel, aside from the chair, the most powerful country in the world wanted prefab. the most powerful country in the world wanted prefab. >> prefab it was. thank you very much. let me take the chair's privilege and make one last 30-second comment. this panel and the papers have really helped sharpen something for me. this problem -- i think
consensus has emerged about prefab or metaphors or social science paradigms dragging down, if you will, providing excessive weight to our analysis when walls come down. assuming we can all agree that a wall is falling, there seems to be a concern on the panel that analysts, academic and policy realm, do not lose sight of what's really happening. really understand that things fundamentally change, of course, this raises the question that has emerged and some of the questions from you, is it possible to make the opposite error, to have no ballast, no weight. can bruce cummings' doll have no sand in it? this, to me, is one of the question that emerges from this analysis. please join me in thanking our three panelists for a fascinating discussion. [applause]
>> tonight on "america and the courts," encore presentations from c-span's supreme court week special. supreme court journalist lyle denniston and joan biskupic of "usa today" on covering the court, also, former solicitor drew days and maureen maholm knee on arguing before the court, that's tonight, 7:00 p.m. eastern, here on c-span. >> tomorrow on "washington journal," a discussion on u.s. foreign policy with barbara slavin of "the washington times" and jonathan broader. after that, a look at president obama's achievements in his first year in office from stephen helps of the brackings institute and dan thomason. that's live here on c-span starting at 7:5 a.m. eastern.
in the mid 1990's, he was named one of the most 50 influential people to watch in cyberspace the since then he's completed blackplanet.com, helped found a charter school in brooklyn and explained new technologies on oprah. sunday night he talks about his current studies at harvard and what's ahead on c-span's q&a. >> in just over half an hour, a former british ambassador to the u.s. testifying on british involvement in the war in iraq. but first, a special presentation of our documentary, "the blair house -- the president's guest house" begins. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009]
>> the first blair home, the original part, and that where the green awning is, that's the primary entrance. that's where presidents, our own and foreign leaders, arrive and depart from. blair house is now the entire block. today we have about 109 rooms. that's 70,000 square feet. and just to put that into perspective, we are 5,000 square feet larger than the white house is. >> its primary mission is to be a guest home for world leaders that come to visit the president. and it's used for that purpose. and in that mission it has never failed. >> since 1942, just about any
world leader you can think of has walked through this door. and this is the same marble floor they've all walked across. >> when you first come into blair house, it's easy to look at it and say, wow, this is a wonderful home or a beautiful museum. but it's much more than that. blair house is a tool of diplomacy for the united states. this is a way that the nation really opens its doors to guests that we want to honor in a particular way to say this is our home, we are opening this to you, and you are here as our guest. >> when it was acquired by francis preston blair in 1837, as his reputation built in the city of washington, it eventually became to be called blair's house, and then later
on, simply blair house. >> the custom has been that the house is offered to an incoming president just before their inauguration, that they would stay here for a period immediately before their inauguration. >> this is the story of a house on pennsylvania avenue, usually eclipsed by its famous neighbor, the white house. guest house for foreign leaders, home to presidential advisors, respite for presidents, temporary quarters for presidents elect. all these describe blair house. >> now you've entered the original blair house, the oldest part of this facility.
it was built in 1824. if you had been here on may 1,1850, you would have been among the wedding party for william sherman, who was married in this room. what's amazing about this house is that everything is still here. the decoration may have changed, the colors may be different, but these are the same walls and the same floors that andrew jackson walked on, that abraham lincoln walked on, and that everybody in-between and since then. >> in the 19th century, because the blares were so politically active, mostly behind the scenes, but prominent, almost
all of our political figures -- daniel webster, whose portrait is here, henry clay -- were entertained here in this house. >> living here and being of the blair family and so close to the white house, this was one of the main venues for social entertaining between president jackson and lincoln, certainly in van buren's time, maybe a little bit in the beginning of polk's time before their falling out and certainly through andrew johnson's time, as long as he was president. >> and no president took more advantage of that hospitality than abraham lincoln. >> i'm sure that lincoln felt that he could come across the street any time for a chat, and i think that's how blair house really functioned. it could be an escape, it could be a place of privacy where things were not overheard. as far as we know, the president could relax in front of a warm fire with a nice
brandy and talk over difficult issues and get good, sound advice, as well as a sympathetic shoulder. the last blair to live in the house, when he was just a 4 or 5-year-old boy, remembers abraham lincoln sitting in his father's study off the blair front entrance deep in conversation with their feet propped up on the fireplace mantel. so confidences were still shared. there was a closeness. and certainly the night that robert e. lee was invited by both montgomery blair and his father, francis preston blair, to dinner at blair house, and either over dinner at the blair dining room table and probably continuing into the study with the cigars and the madera, at lincoln's request, francis preston senior and his sons
present offered the command of the union army to robert e. lee in blair house, in that study. so that is testimony to the blair family influence and power. >> in the center of the wall is a large engraving depicting president lincoln and his cabinet. the oldest blair son, montgomery blair, served in lincoln's cabinet. montgomery is standing on the far right in that image. he was the postmaster general. at that time that was a full cabinet post, which it is not today. under that is a very rare matthew brady photograph of general sherman and his senior advisors. another blair son, frank blair jr., is in that photograph. he was one of the senior advisors. what's phenomenal about this photograph -- and remember, this is civil war photography. matthew brady has superimposed him into the image. frank blair was not present the
day it was taken. >> a head of state usually only gets to stay here at the invitation of the president. so not every leader that comes to visit the president stays here. it is usually by individuals that are representing countries that we have very good relations with or that we want to have good relations with or we're trying to establish better relations with. when they are guests at blair house, they are guests of the united states, just as they would be at the president's home. it's really the guest house -- we call it the guest house for the president, but it's really the guest house for america. ♪
♪ >> this house has -- besides being the president's guest house, it has a key role in diplomacy. first of all, it's often a linchpin of a visit of a foreign leader. this is one of the great benefits, as a leader comes to visit with our president, of being able to stay in this house. it is a very important part of our diplomacy. whether this house is offered or not as a place for a leader to stay is often a sign of great respect and great hospitality on our part. one of the most important responsibilities of the protocol office is blair house. if a leader is going to be staying here, well, then we have an assistant chief of protocol, who is the manager of
the house, blair house, who will actually take care of the party that will be staying here. we have to make sure that our guests are comfortable not just for staying overnight or two nights or three nights, perhaps, but also, that they have to work here as well. this is a base of operations for them, and we want to make sure that they feel entirely comfortable while they're here. >> most of the world leaders who meet with the president want to stay here. there's a very set formula on how the invitation is issued, so there are fewer who get to stay here than want to stay here. >> you don't invite everyone into your home, even if you have a business meeting with them. but the ones that you do invite into your home are ones that you either want to send a message that you have a very good, solid relationship or you want to build a better relationship.
>> this is one of the old rooms you will see occasionally in the media. for protocol terms, the lower-ranking person should go to the hire-ranking person for meetings -- higher-ranking person for meetings. and for us, that means that all of the cabinet secretaries come to blair house to meet with prime ministers and monarchs who would be staying here. ♪
>> the wallpaper in the room, definitely the most striking part of the room. >> that is 18th century hand-painted chinese wallpaper for the export market. it is rice paper, now completely rebacked and restored. that was acquired by kennedy's secretary of the treasury, c. douglas dillon and his wife near westminster, england. the panels were only eight feet high when they arrived from their home in england. here our ceilings were 11 feet high in that room, so the upper portion and lower portion were painted in.
>> from 1948 to 1952, blair house became a president's home. harry truman and his family moved there because the white house was under renovation.
in his biography on truman, david mccullough wrote about the president's temporary quarters. "the house itself, even with the quick cosmetics applied the year before, was not only nothing very grand, but a bit dowdy. it creeked and groaned, trembled noticeably when streetcars passed by outside. its dark old cellar was full of rats, as was well known by the seet hated ever to go down there. of all the presidents they had known, some of the secret servicemen would later say, only harry truman would have been willing to live in the place."
but not everyone felt that way. margaret truman remembered it this way in her biography. "i fell in love with the place the moment i
walked into it. every room, especially on the first floor, was a little master speaks of architect and decoration. almo3( every piece of furniture was a rare antique from 18th century america or from france. crystal chandeliers gleamed above rugs, magnificent gilt-framed mirrors redoubled the beauty of the drawing rooms and the wood-paneled dining room was utterly charming." >> this house has an unbelievable history much -- of great moments in history, moments where wars were discussed and committed to and peace movements were committed to. >> date, 1950. place, this blair house dining
room. president truman and his advisors make critical decisions about u.s. involvement in korea. truman biographer david mccullough wrote about it. "that night, after supper alone, truman summoned another emergency session, a second war cabinet meeting at blair house, and decided to provide american air and may haval support to the forces of south korea and to press for immediate united nations support." >> i don't want to go to war, truman said, with a force they would all remember. everything i have done in the past five years, he remarked sadly, as the meeting ended, has been to try to avoid making a decision such as i had to make tonight." ♪
>> for president truman, this is the temporary cabinet room. many of his meetings were here, even not west wing was not affected by the renovation work, and he did have use of the cabinet room at the white house. this became a convenient cabinet room for him because it was just 20 feet away from where he was sleeping. historically and especially for european guests, this room is incredibly significant, because in this room, at this table, the first concept and the first draft of the marshall plan were created. this is also where the truman doctrine originated. we know that this is where the
president signed documents that committed american troops to the korean war. out's also where he made the final -- it's also where he made the final decision to fire mcarthur, and it was the scene of many of his famous midnight poker games. during the time that president and mrs. truman lived here, this was their primary dining room. this is where they would have hosted dinner with princess elizabeth, with churchill and count l others. -- countless others. >> sometimes i would have dinner alone. i'd walk into the dining room. one of the butlers was one of
my servants, too. he would pull out my chair, push me up to the table, bring me a fruit cup. takes away the empty cup. fields brings me a plate. barnett brings me a tenderloin. fields brings me asparagus, barnett brings me carrots and beets. i have to eat alone and in silence in a candle-lit room. ♪ >> this is another very special room to blair house history. this is truman's office.
the portrait of truman we have is by creda kempton, who also painted the official white house portrait of the president, and she copied her official work specifically for blair house during the reagan renovation of the 1980's. the mantel in this room was a part of the white house. that was installed in the white house during the 1901
renovation. during the truman renovation, it was brought to blair house so harry truman would have a visual of the white house during the years that he didn't get to live there. the president's favorite color was green, and the walls were green, the draperies were green, the carpet was green. he had a small desk that sat in the middle of the floor with his back to the fireplace. quite amazing to think about, because you're only feet off of pennsylvania avenue with traffic on the avenue back then, trolley cars were out there then. and here sat the president. ♪ >> this is a sitting room, an open passageway. before 1982, this was the
master bedroom of the house, and so this would have been president truman's bedroom. this was the window he ran to on november 1, 1950, when he heard gunshots outside and he actually witnessed the gun battle where one of his agents was killed, one of the attackers was killed. >> in 1971, this room was dedicated to president dwight david eisenhower. this is the president's prayer that once hung in the oval office. and these are two oil paintings done by president eisenhower.
it was an incident in this room that happened in the 1980's that led to the renovation. a telephone call came to the chief of protocol from president reagan's deputy chief of staff. >> he called me one day and said, mrs. reagan, i feel that you must shut blair house down. mike was disturbed, as was mrs. reagan, when she heard that a chandelier had fallen on the
principal bed and while the tunisian president was in residence, the boiler had blown up. and so that was enough. and also, it was not looking very good. it was really looking a bit raggedy. before the restoration plan, the money had to be approved by the government every year and was summoned to congress, because they didn't want to fund it at all. and senator abner, who was the head of the committee that was being so negative about it said to me, well, mrs. rosa, i don't understand why you have to spend all that money just to do over an old house. he was just very difficult about it. he said, why don't you just tear it down and build a new house? i said over my dead body. finally we worked around this. i was grateful to paul lacks all the, the senator's aunt, who was able -- lacks at, the
senator's aunt, who was really able to get it through. but there was a very interesting stipulation in the bill. the money was to be used for bricks and more tar, building the new addition, all of that, but not one cent could be allocated for decorating. so what does that mean? obviously, we had to raise it. >> in 1988, blair house reopened. congress had appropriated $8.6 million for the infrastructure improvements. $7 million was raised for decorating by the private blair house preservation fund. on a wall at blair house, several plaques acknowledge large gifts to the fund.
>> we always invite you to add another page of history to the blair house guest book. and we're honored to have you in the house for the third time and in the future. thank you. >> the guest book is really one of the great historical pieces in our collection here at blair house. it has every president that has been here, u.s. president, and also every foreign leader that has stayed here. it's a fantastic, fantastic
collection of comments from significant world leaders that have changed the world through their actions. >> in 1942, there were a series of visits. the king of greece, king george of greece, i believe, king peter, young king peter of yugoslav ya, foreign minister molotov of russia stayed here. winston churchill is there, harry truman and his family, their signatures are there for when they stayed for f.d.r.'s funeral in 1945. blair house is really an important asset in foreign affairs. we want to put our best foot forward. we want to make whoever comes to this country feel welcome and happy to be here. and with a house like that, believe me, it really has a psychological effect.
>> sometimes there are as many as 25, 26, 30 visits a year, and, of course, some of them go on for three or four days. so it's quite a task. housing leaders, and making sure that every single need they have is met. you know, diplomacy doesn't happen until two people engage. and our staff here is involved in diplomacy. they are all diplomats. and just by nature of what they do, offering personal service and caring about someone who's arriving -- and it's not even on a political level. it's our gracious -- what we hope is our gracious hospitality to a world leader, to a leader from another country. and so it's very personal and meaningful for them. >> the honor is deep and intense, especially times when, you know, we're hosting the president elect before inauguration or whether we are
hosting the widow and the family of a deceased president for a state funeral. >> president reagan once wrote me a letter and said, "form and substance, the opposite sides of the same coin." and i never forgot that. and we represent form. but to give the visitor a warm welcome in an atmosphere that is really beautiful and not overbearing, but where he can be comfortable or she can be comfortable is our aim. and then maybe the substance will go a little bit smoother. and that's what we aim to do is to set a nice tone for the visit, no matter who it is. even if it's somebody we're not
having a good relationship with. maybe that can improve it some, because hospitality is very important. ♪ >> in this week's presidential address. president obama and first lady michelle obama mark the holiday season and discuss sacrifice he made by american troops overseas. they are followed by representative duncan hunter of california with the republican response. he also talks about american troops and republicans' priorities in the new year. it's about 10 minutes. >> hello, everyone, and merry
christmas. as you and your families gather to celebrate the holidays, we want to take a moment to send greetings from our family, from me, from michelle, from malia, sasha, and from beau. >> this is our first christmas in the white house and we are so grateful for this extraordinary experience. not far from here in the blue room is the official white house christmas tree. it's an 18-foot tall douglas fir from west virginia and deck indicated are -- decorated with hundreds of ornaments from children all over the country. it symbolizes the blessings we're thankful for this holiday season. >> that's right. especially as we continue to recover from an extraordinary recession that still has so many americans hurting, parents without a job who struggled to put presents under the christmas tree, families and neighbors who have seen their homes foreclosed and folks wondering what the new year will bring. but even in these tough times, there's still so much to celebrate this christmas.
a message of peace and brotherhood that continues to inspire more than 2,000 years after jesus' birth, the love of family and friends, the bonds of community and country, and the character and courage of our men and women in uniform who are far from home for the holidays, away from their families, risking their lives to protect ours. to all our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guard men, i've been awed by your selfless spirit, your eagerness to serve at the may haval academy and west points. i've been energized from bad dad to the korean peninsula. michelle and i have been moved by your determination, wounded warriors of walter preed and bethesda fighting to recover to get back to your units and i've been humbled profoundly by patriots who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
and the caskets coming home at dover, so the quiet solitude at arlington. after years of multiple tours of duty, as you carry on our missions in iraq and afghanistan, your service, your readiness to make that same sacrifice is an inspiration to us and to every single american. >> and so are your families. as first lady, one of my greatest privileges is to visit with military families across the country. i've met military spouses doing the parenting of two, keeping the household together, juggling play dates and soccer games, helping with home homework, doing everything they can to make the kids feel ok, as they try to hide their own fears and worries. i've met kids who wonder when mom or dad is coming home, grandparents and relatives who step in to care for wounded warriors and folks trying to carry on after losing the person they loved most in the world. and through it all, these
families somehow still find the time and the energy to serve their communities as well, coaching little league, running the p.t.a., raising money to help those less fortunate than they are and more. but even these strong military families can use a hand, especially during the holidays. if you live near a military base, you can reach out to your workplaces, your schools, your churches. there's so many ways to help. with child care, with errands, or just by bringing over a home-cooked meal. even if you don't know a military family nearby, your family can still help by donating or volunteering at organizations that support military families. >> you can also reach out directly to our forces around the world. kids can make a card that will bring a smile to an american far from home. adults can send a care package or a pre-paid phone card that makes the tour just a little bit easier. every american can do something
to support our troops. even fit's as simple as just saying thank you. for more ways to let our troops know you care, go to www.white house.gov. to all our men and women in uniform spending the holidays away from home, whether it's at a base here in the states, a helps hall in iraq or an outpost in afghanistan, know that you are in our thoughts and in our prayers, and this holiday season and every holiday season, know that we are doing everything in our power to make sure you can succeed in your missions and come home safe to your families. >> and to all americans from our family to yours, merry christmas. >> merry christmas, everybody. >> i'm congressman duncan hunter, and i represent the 52nd congressional district of california, the area around san diego. in this holiday season, i hope we all take time to offer thanks and prayers to the men and women of the armed forces. many will spend the holidays
away from home on the front lines in iraq and afghanistan, at bases and on ships around the world. i understand that sacrifice -- the sacrifices they are making. i quit my job and joined the marine corps shortly after 9/11. i was deployed to war zones on three separate occasions, twice in iraq and once in afghanistan. just last month, actually, i had an opportunity to visit with our troops in afghanistan. i know we all wish everyone could be home for the holidays, but this is not a time for sadness or regret. thoughts of home remind us of why we serve, because we're proud to be americans, because we want to pass on to our children the blessings of liberty that we inherited from our forefathers, and because nothing matters more to us in protecting our homes and our families. our hope is that as a result of this determination and sacrifice, we will never again see our cities and citizens under attack. i hope we also take a moment this year to reflect on those suffering here at home. for too many families, this
will be a difficult christmas. one in 10 americans are unemployed. nearly 6 million of our citizens have been looking for work for more than six months, the most on record. all year long republicans have offered common-sense solutions to put more money back into the pockets of hard-working false and to help small businesses create more jobs. we've also outlined a plan to lower health care premiums by up to 10% and we have proposed an all of the above energy strategy to create more american jobs, ease the strain on family budgets and clean up our environment. just as important, these solutions do not raise taxes, grow government or add to the already skyrocketing debt burden being placed on our kids and grandkids. after all the promises and spending we've seen out of washington this year, out-of-work families are right to be asking, where are the jobs? republicans believe our top priority when it comes to the economy should be simple -- first, do no harm.
so let's resolve in the new year to end misguided efforts to create new laws that will cost even more jobs, whether it's the cap and trade energy tax, the government takeover of health care, card check or even more tax increases. working together, we can make the next holiday season even brighter for all americans. thank you, happy holidays, and god bless america. >> tomorrow on "washington journal," a discussion on u.s. foreign policy with barbara slavin of "the washington times" and jonathan broder of c.q. weekly. after that, a look at president obama's achievements in his first year in office with stephen hess of the brookings institute. that's live at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> in the mid 1990's, "newsweek" named him one of the 50 most influential people to watch in cyberspace. since then, he's created the social networking site blackplanet.com, helped found a charter school in brooklyn and
explained new technologies on oprah. sunday night he talks about his current studies at harvard and what's ahead on c-span's q&a. >> former british ambassador christopher meyer testified before a committee examining the circumstances which led to the 2003 invasion of iraq. mr. meyer served as ambassador from 1997 through 2003 and authored the book "d.c. confidential," which received criticism from the british government. the former ambassador talked about his relationship with members of the bush administration and 10 downing street. in his testimony, he told members it was pointless to resist the u.s. charge to war.
>> well, welcome, everyone. just a few opening remarks. the purpose of this session is to examine developments in the united states policy towards iraq between 2001 and 2003 and the u.k.'s response, and we're continuing this theme in hearings next week. i think i should emphasize that the focus of the inquiry is, of course, on the united kingdom government decisions, actions and policies. but to understand that, it's important also to understand the development of united states policy and the interaction between them. so this session will cover foreign policy priorities and
decision-making processes in the u.s. administration in the period, the evolution of policy on iraq and the middle east in washington from 2001 until early 2003, including the decision to take military action in march, 2003, and the u.k.'s relationship with the united states over the period. i'd like to make two general points, again, as before each session, to recall that the inquiry has access to many thousands of governmentçó paper including the most highly classified for the period we're considering, and we are developing the picture of the policy debates and the decision-making process. these evidence sessions are important in informing the inquiry's thinking and complementing the documentary evidence. it's important that witnesses are able to be open and frank in their evidence while respecting national security, and i remind every witness that they will be later asked to sign a transcript of their
evidence as to the effect that the evidence they have is truthful, fair and accurate. and we have with us today christopher meyer, who was our ambassador in washington throughout the period and discussion this morning. >> good morning, and i apologize for my delay in coming. the reasons were beyond my control. >> thank you. without further adieu, we'll have the first question. >> my first question relate to the election of president bush. i wonder if you could tell us briefly what you learned yourself during those months of the views of the senior members of the incoming administration, in particular, donald rumsfeld, district cheney, colin powell and condoleezza rice with regard to iraq. >> well, it wasn't until fairly late in the day in that year that we knew who were going to
occupy the chief's positions in the bush administration. so until that became clear, to find out what was going on, what was being planned, it became necessary to speak to members of a group who were known informally as the vulcans. the vulcans were a group of american advisors who advised george w. bush when he was the presidential candidate. and when i went down to texas in early 1999, which was shortly before he declared himself as a candidate, he said to me with much frankness, i don't know much about foreign policy, i'm going to have to learn pretty damn fast, and one of the things i'm going to do is surround myself with good people. and the good people turned out to be this group, called the vulcans, led condoleezza rice and paul wolfowitz, who has become deputy secretary for
defense. so my team and i folk tussed on this group. and after 2000 went by, certain policies began to take shape. and i think the most definitive account that i had of where the bush administration was likely to go -- and always bear in mind before 9/11, was a conversation with condoleezza rice at the british assembly, if i remember right, december 6, 2000, followed by a conversation with karl rove, who was president bush's chief political strategist at that time. >> i already had instructions in london to put in a few fixes on how we wanted certain things
to develop. and i have to say to you that iraq and the middle east did not feature very prominently in this account of where bush's priorities would lie. there was an enormous focus on russia. not russia as russia, but on nuclear and missile defense and what was going to happen to the treaty, which she and later the president would make, i think, top foreign policy goal of the period before 9/11. on iraq, i just wanted to say a little more in context about iraq. but on iraq, it was we need to look at this. things aren't going well. the policy of sanctions is in tatters. the smuggling -- smugglers are getting away with blue murder and we need to do something about that. so i suppose the batting order there was nuclear missile defense, russia in that
context, not a lot about the middle east. i remember her saying to me, we don't want president bush to become the middle east desk officer, like bill clinton. because clinton was in the final throes of trying to fix the problem, which eventually failed. nor were they intent on doing that into northern ireland either. so we got a heavily missile centric account of foreign policy. two days later -- i think it was two days later, i saw karl rove, and he more or less gave me the same account, but emphasizing that as with most presidents of the united states in the first few months, you focus on other things other than foreign policy. there was going to be tax cuts, health care for senior citizens. >> it's interesting that in your book, "d.c. confidential," you write in the first few
months about colin powell, that he was always skeptical about belligerent notions of dealing with salaam hughes. -- saddam hussein. >> well, it focused on financing iraqi dissident groups. if you went up on the hill, as we did quite frequently, what you would hear from republican senators and their staff was there's some really good dissident groups out there. we need to finance them and arm them and shake saddam's foundations. now, the group of choice was something called the i.n.c., the iraqi international congress. most of the members seemed to be located in london and who were led by tal bee talabi.
and he and his people were really in opposition to hemolytic uremic syndrome. they would -- despite a -- opposition to saddam hussein, and that they should be able to do the trick. if you went to the state department, in particular, colin powell and his deputy, they would say the i.n.c. is no good, we shouldn't rely on them. but that was the belligerent trend running through the administration before 9/11. let's focus on the opposition. meantime -- and this was the greater strand of the two, if you like -- the focus, particularly from colin powell, was on what we termed in london "narrowing and deepening sanctions." for a variety of reasons. sanctions itself was pretty tepid. the process of approvals in new york had become totally consty
pated. there was a heavy propaganda against them and saddam hussein was saying the children and women were suffering from sanctions, and a lot of people bought into this. so we felt uncomfortable, both for technical reasons, the sanctions weren't doing their job, and also, because it was being used as a stick to beat us around the head. to the late robin cook focused for whatever it was, eight, nine months, on trying to do narrowing and deepening and they failed. >> after the visit to washington, which, of course, you were there, what was his input at that time with regard to the sanctions debate? >> he had -- i didn't want to say this, but somewhat to my surprise, struck up an extremely good relationship with colin powell very quickly. powell had come to london in eier
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