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tv   Destined for War  CSPAN  August 26, 2017 4:30pm-6:03pm EDT

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if we can get book thursday kids' hands, will go a long way in the country in terms of making this country more compassionate, more thoughtful, a little less of a -- a little better judgment when we're dealing with the political process, et cetera, et cetera. >> thank you for being on booktv. >> yeah. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. i'm a senior fellow at the hoover institution and the codirector at the center for international security cooperation here at stands are. we're delighted both institutions have come together to co-host this become event today with graham alice union
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and niall ferguson to discuss desfinned for war. can america and china escape the trap. the book is available for purchase outside and graham will stay and sign a few copies imhope at the end of the talk so you can't escape the the trap of the book store. graham allisn is founding dean of hard railroad venezuela kennedy school of government. i vividly remember my first time walking into the kennedy school for my first forum event. back in 1986. it was an intoxicate is police and you can feel the brain power working and the policy being changed in the room, and graham
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allison has been me merlin behind the magic for a very long time. setting the standard of policy level of scholarship since i think the time he was ten years old, back in 1986. ultimate triple threat, serving in a enemy orr distinguished positions in academia, the government and private sector has an special adviser to the secretary of difference under presidents reagan and assistant secretary of defense for policy planned under president clinton elm lets has been a trusted adviser to seven secretaries of defense. both democrat and republican. he currently serves to the advisory boarded to the secretary of state, the secretary of defers, and the director of the central intelligence agency. he has the sole distinct of having been award the wished public service medal, first by cap weinberg exertion then by bill perry who is here with us today.
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graham allison has written extensively about nuclear weapons, terrorism and decision making, his his first book explained the cuban missile cries is one of the most influential books in polite sal science and has become required reading for the vast majority of students. you're a political scientist there have been so many articles and books written be the cuban missile crisis, even been a per reviewed article about why we should stop writing articles and books about the cuban missile crisis. graham allison's book has stood the tennessee of time. that book has sold more than 450,000 copies, which makes you the tom clancy or our field. he has a number after other
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books including the 2000 book about the grandmasters insights on china, the u.s. and the world, coauthored with blackwell, and a book called nuclearer to jim think ultimate preventible catastrophe, now in the first printing and selects be "new york times" as one of the 100 most notable books of their year when it came out. this book "destined for war" is is no different. type in best selling political science books on and the three authores at the top were, ken follett, al franken and graham allison. he never saw he light as his colleague niall ferguson did to move from harvard to stanford but it's not too late for you. we hope you'll come visit is for a longer period of time. joining him in conversation is
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his much smarter are colleague who moved for california, niall ferguson i who is a colleague of mine as at the hoover institution, niall is a senior fellow at the harvard a visiting professor in beijing. he is one of the world's leading economic historians, and an astute and wildly followed political commentator and a prolific author. graham allison as sold 450,000 book niall ferguson has written 450,000 books. incredibly prolific author, his books are, kissinger, 1923 to 1968. the idealist, highly award book. kissing, the west and the rest, the assent of money, financial history of the world. he takes very niched topics. empire, how britain made the modern world, and colossus, the
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rise and fall of the american empire. he is in london sunday times tid "the boston globe," he was prostitute of history at harvard for 11 years and before that he taught at nyu, and the london school of economic is. he has won a number of awards and perhaps the only person i know who can say he has won an international emmy for his pbs series, the aas scent of money, and the ward for the best documentary from the new york film festival now his feature length film, "kissinger. "he is named as one hover the most influence people until world and in 2017 he achieved a first the hundred year history of the hoover institution which was to get every single fellow interested in international security affairs together for the first of what has become a series of salons which has proven to provide incredibly fascinating, illuminating conversation, and you're about
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to see why when you hear these two professors talk about graham allison's book, join me in welcoming graham allison and niall ferguson. [applause] >> you seek the introductions are better here than they are at harvard, too. thank you, amy. so, one thing amy didn't mention is that graham and i have also been co-authors. we published an article on applied history last year, arguing that the president of the united states needed historical advisers, this one especially, and so we are not in an adversarial relationship, it's fair to say. indeed the book that we're going to talk about is the book i watched evolve while i was at hard regard, and i have to congratulate you, you got the timing just right. if you aren't worried now about
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the possibility of conflict between china and the united states, when you leave this room, i guarantee you that you will be. let me begin our conversation with a quotation from the book. when a rising power felonies to displace a ruling power, alarm bills should sound, danger ahead. china and the united states are currently on a collision course for war unless both parties take difficult and painful actions to avert it, and war between the united states and china in the decades ahead is not just possible, but much more likely than currently recognized. indeed, on he historical record, war is more likely than not. >> graham, i have to did you to set out your case, assuming that most people in the room have bought the boot but not yet read it. persuade us that war is more
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likely than not between the united states and china. >> okay. so, thank you very minute, niall, and thank you for participating in this event and thank you to amy and everybody here for organizing this, especially amy, the joint venture with hoover and it's a great honor and opportunity to be here at stafford. did actually send one very happy year at this center for the advanced studies back in i think the early '70s and i thought, couldn't possibly come here because i wouldn't be able to do any work. it's too nice. too many other things to do. i remember when kim arrow, a colleague at harvard came out here, said how do you get any work done? he says actually i spend as much time in the sun as i used to spend shoveling snow. in any case, great pleasure to be here, and thank you for the introduction.
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not for this group but for general audience and especially four younger audiences today, the concept that there could be a war between great powers is just inconceivable. seven decade without war as tubes at harvard often tell me, the war between grain great hours has been consigned to the dust bin of history. not to do with the 20th 20th century. it's for previous centuries. that's account be war between the great powers because there haven't been for a long time. anyone with any historical sensibility will recognize how silly that observation is. this period of seven decades is historically anomalous. john getis ron population about the long peace is a powerful proposition, so the notion that peace is either a natural condition of mankind or that for whatever reason we have now are better angels have back to powerful or we have become so
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wise or -- in any case, war between great powers is obsolete. don't believe it for a second. that's the premise. now in the case of u.s. and china, i think every day the noise and news about what is happening in this relationship. either north korea's threatening with missiles or china is the number one trading partner of germany or there's a near collision in the south china sea or whatever. is there some way to look beneath the surface of the daily noise and news to see something of the structure or even substructure of what is driving these events? and i came upon the idea that lucidity and that insight helped illuminate what is happening today in the relationship with the u.s. and china, namely, a rising power is on a course and is threatening to dismace a
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ruling -- displays -- displays a ruling power. the founder of history have said about the conflict between athens and sparta, two great city states of classical greece in a famous line, he said, quote, it was at the rise of athens and the fear that this instilled in sparta that made the war inevitable. so, he identified a dynamic, lucidity and dynamic, which a rising power feels bigger, stronger, thinks, well, okay, my interests deserve a little more weight. the current, aments, which were set in place before i was bigger and stronger, are confining, even unfair. maybe even i can remember some abuses and the ruling power looking at this thinks this
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upstart is trying to upset the situation that is actually provided the environment in which it's able to grow. the only reason it became bigger and stronger, because i was helping provide an environment for it. so, this dynamic between a rising power and a ruling power, greatly -- it exhausts trusts. so every action of one party is misinterpreted by another. i try be ben nye, you suspect i have ulterior motive and vice versa. so magnification of understanding and civility impacts external, as or events in which something happens and then one thing triggers a reaction and then there's a cascade at the end of which is an outcome that nobody would imagine. the dynamic is not that in the rising ruling power relationship one party decided war is a good idea. the proposition report i think
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the current arrangements are great because they provide a long period of peace, that allow you to grow rich as we as an american government official from time to time i have given a speech to people, believe it's true, the u.s. constructed' in the aftermath of world war ii an economic and security -- which has provide for longer face and greater prosperity than china saw in its own 5,000 years. they should be extremely grateful and should participate in this irrational -- they say, who wrote these rules and where were we when the rules were written and are the rules fair from our perspective? and shouldn't they be adjusted in maybe i should have more say, more sway. we say, sit in your place you should be happy, you should be grateful. this dynamic leaves to us be vulnerable to events like what is happening in korea, if what
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is happening in korea happens between the u.s. and britain, ireland was backing obstreperous in a way that was threatening to the two parties them british and americans would sitdown and say, little pipsqueak like this cannot disturb relations between two big states. forget about it. let's just sit down, solve this problem, and if we can't agree on something, we'll flip a coin but we can find a way to work this out. the relationship between the u.s. and china, as we watch what happens in north korea, the chinese actually, as you know very well, niall, have not participated in the conversation we did. we were both part of a very high level track 2 post motor thumb on mar-a-lago. from the chinese perspective in beijing, the problem in korea is only that we're there. there would be problem in korea if the americans were not in korea. we would solve this problem in a second. and from the american
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perspective, the idea that, wait a minute, we don't belong is there? excuse me. we fought a war there. 40,000 americans died there. we helped build a society there it's a very successful democracy. the 13 new mexico large -- 13n't largest market economy in the world. we're not walking away and saying, thank you very much. we have a good relationship. the power is you, china, you should solve this problem with these little guys that are your guys. they're the ones creating the problem. so i think the -- as you have written, niall, think brilliantly about world war i, if you go back and ask about world war i, i have a good chapter in the book, i think, i -- you can study world war i too much -- you can't study world war i to much. it's dumb founding, the answer after the war when people said how did this happen?
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he said, if we only knew. that was the right answer. how could the assassination of an arch duke in sarajevo by a serbian terrorist, an ashe duke that nobody cared about except the guy in vienna. and sarajevo they told him, don't go there the guy that assassinates him is a serbian terrorist from a group called the black -- if you're writing a movie you wouldn't mick this up. that is the spark that starts a fire that burns down the house of europe. it's crazy. makes no sense, did anybody want the war they got? no. the hungarians would have loved to have smooshed the serbs because of the way they were behaving, but actually the plan would have allowed them to do that without having a great war, but one thing led to the other and by the end everybody had lost the thing they cared about most. in fact if i could do one more
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second on it because i think it's startling and relevant. there's no number u.s. wants a war with china. and i don't know of a single person in defense who doesn't think that we be crazy. i think there's no one in the ministry of defense that thinks a war with the u.s. is a good idea. war would be catastrophic, but in the end of world war i, what happened to what each of the parties cared most about? it was gone they ever hungarians were trying to hold together an empire and it dissolve. the emperor was gone the russian czar was backing thes. his whole regime was overthrown by bolsheviks. the kaiser is trying to become his buddy in vienna. he's gone. the french were backing the russians. they've been -- lost their hoe generation, the society never recovered. and britain, which has been a great creditor nation for 100
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years, turned into a debtor. so if you had given these people a chance for a do-over, nobody, not a single one, would have made the choices he did. but the made the choices, one thing led to the other and god knows what happened. so the situation which nobody wants more, the war, in which everybody knows war would be nuts, doesn't mean war can't happen. >> your analogy here would be the rivalry between britain and germany, which many historians have seen as central to the outbreak of that war. in this case, britain in 1914 was the incumbent power after the united states todayment germany was the rising power as china is today. they were both heavily interdependent economically and nevertheless came with disastrous consequences. >> and because they're of this
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rivalry in my reading of it and i think your own history of it, they had each become entangled with other parties whom they would not have otherwise been entangled. so if it's bismarck in germany, he would have understood exactly how we -- not about to let them drag him he would have left a alliance with russia lapse but you have keiser who didn't know what he was doing, trying to run the german end, and they again to make mistakes. similarly, the british haven't been very careful for 400 years not to get too entangled with other countries of the continent. but germany had succumbed to, i gales we better talk to the french about this issue guess maybe we should have more relationship is with the russians, even the brits were very worried about the russians
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because thy thought the russians were threatening their emnear india. so in the book i should explain, graham actually gives you 16 cases of an incumbent power feeling threatened bay rising power, and makes -- this is the political science part -- the argument in 12 out of 16, this results in conflict. so, i'd like to talk more than minutes about that 1914 analogy, which i think is a very powerful one, and then i'd like to get on to the contemporary parallel in which sort of small rouge regime, serbia, north korea, precip tates conflict. can we talk about lucidities. it's worth pointing out to this audience that you may not have read the -- china's leaders have. did you raise your hand if you
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have read this book, all or part of it? very good. it's like being back at oxnard. >> let me make a shoutout. i like to say, you can go right now when you're done or even now, and download for free on to your kindle -- lucidities -- read about the war. it will knock your socks off, for free. i hope you like the other book, took but you of the pay for it. let's just briefly talk about lucidities. one of the remarkable things for me is this has become something that shawne's leaders refer to. xi jinping himself refers to the trap in the speech i think in seattle, remind me if i have that wrong, we heard just the
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other day that chinese ambassador to the united states referred to it, too. so it may seem arcane if you're not into ancient history. doesn't seem arcane in beijing. that's for sure. and who is sparta and who is athens. >> it's not like this is exactly like that. when you get attracted to an analogy, be careful. always take a page of -- piece of paper and draw a line down the middle of the page and write similar at the top of one column and different at the top of the other column and if you can't
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make a bull point inform each, take an aspirin and consult an historian. these are not alike. in fact in the spartan case, as you know, niall, very well, and people may notert, part to had been the ruler of greece for 100 years, that was in the normal circumstance. the persians came and there was a big war with the perkses, what we call robbans -- iranians now. athens belt a fleet, the first professional navy. their navy people were professional. other guys were soldiers who rode and if you're a professional you can do a little bit better than a pickup game. so they produced the pretty impressive navy and then created an alliance structure. together athens and sparta then defeated the persians, who wherepon there was something that happened, few other times in history. this explosion of creative
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energy in athens, just unbelievable. so, what did the athenins -- i came from an event that in silicon valley with people in the tech world. said, you think you're reinventing the world. what did these guys invent in 50 years? they invented drama, history, philosophy. plato, socrates, aristotle. democracy. architecture emthe parthenon. you can find a better building in california? excuse me. this is -- so, from sparta, people looking and saying these people are totally out of control. every day they get up and they end vent crazy new things that don't seem very comfortable to us. sparta was a marshal society,
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essentially -- imagine seal team six is your society. then you grow kid up and they have to -- the males live in barrackstheir 25. can't get married until their 30, all the time marching around and getting ready to fight people and they were very good at it. the idea of drama and history and philosophy and architecture and a navy, this all seemed very, very threatening to the spartans, and so they said to the spartans, look, they're way thing are the would they were supposed to be. so after the war if the the persians the ateenans wanted to build back -- athennans wanted to build their wall to protect them from the spartans. the spartans said you can't have the wall because we need to discipline you. we need be able to march there.
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the athennans differ opaid us, the incumbent power, and built this wall. why build this wall? because they didn't want to bay us. so it started from there, and if you said what's the similarities between the u.s. and china, i think there obviously extreme differences in both cases, but from an american perspective, the international order we have helped build and provide and manage over seven decade is actually worked very well. if you put it in broad historical term is would give the americans high marks in many areas. that's when -- but from a chinese perspective that would have been and i think china has emerged to be a great power and things could should be adjusted and particularly in the asian arena. they wonder why is the u.s. navy the arbiter of things in the south china sea. they look up every day and see there's the
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u.s. navy patrolling their borders and somebody wants to build an island we have an point and we think our opinion should dominate because we're the dominant navy there i said, wait, we have been there since the badr battle of midway, be provided the environment in which things have been so calm and you have been able to develop as you have. otherwise what could have happened between you and japan or you and india? but they look and they say, hmm, maybe even in the best of cases, certainly the academic related people would say, i agree with you, yes, you have a point, but that was then and now is now. so, please -- it's time for you to leave. so we're in that sense sparta. >> when you read the news you can't help feel the athennans sound a lot of americans. the nature of the case compelled us to -- didn't really want this
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empire but we have and it it's -- i don't think the athennans have a distinctly american quality to them. in that sense the analogy is not quite perfect but we'll come back in a minute to what i think is the better analogy which is the germany-britain pre1940 analogy. can we talk about your cases where things turned out well? one thing this book can tell us, guess, it's how to avoid a version of 1914, between the united states and china. you give us four examples of things turning out okay. what if the cold war itself, the u.s.-soviet relationship ? which would he learn from those exceptions from the minority of cases when people, great powers, avoided the trap. >> i have a chapter called "12 clues for peace toy and i try dow from the failures and successes.
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the four success stories are spain versus port -- fort gal at the end of the 15th century. the rise of the u.s. relative to britain at the beginning of the 20th century. the cold war. as the u.s. met the surge of the soviet union, and then finally, a stretch case but the open case of germany emerging in the post cold war period as a dominant power in europe. so from each of these case is think there's a lot of things to learn. the two most instructive are the rise of the u.s. relative to britain and the cold war. in the case of the rise of the u.s. relative to britain, the british have two problems in the sense they had a rising germany that was more proximate, and more directly seen as a threat because the germans were building a navy that seemed very threatening to britain, and a rising u.s. who only wanted the brits out of her hemisphere.
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i have a chapter that most americans with find very uncomfortable, which i find delicious, because teddy roosevelt is one of my heroes. i'm big admire e.r. of teddy roosevelt. but i tell the story of america as reemerging into what teddy roosevelt was supremely confident was going to be an american century, which it was. so, in 1897, a 37-year-old teddy roosevelt arrives in washington as in the number two person in the department of the navy. at the time there was only the secretary of the navy, the assistant secretary and that was it. the number two person. her had for 15 years been railing about the -- what the called the abomination of spain in our hemisphere, particularly in cuba, spain was occupying cuba. also the british naviesies and e german navy and others.
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happened in the decade after teddy roosevelt arrived in washington and you can read in the chapter bit, but just briefly, first there was a mysterious explosion on a ship in havana harbor. we took it as an is owe edition dechristopher war against spain and we took cuba puerto rico and guam. that's how guam became an american territory. teddy roosevelt wanted a canal to connect the atlantic and pacific so the fleet could go back and forth. colombia wouldn't give us what we wanted. we sponsored a coup, we created a new country called pan newscast. next day gave us a contract for the canal. there was a territory dispute in venezuela. in which the british and the germans were attempting to settle the matter. teddy roosevelt said, don't have any right of the -- any dispute -- any discussion here, out of hero hemisphere. or else we'll have a war with you. and threatened war with each one of them. in turn each of them decided better to leave.
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and finally, we stole the largest part of alaska, which is another delicious tale where john muir, a buddy of teddy roosevelt, had gone up there exploring and within back to him saying that a river, the sticking river, the national forest in the u.s., bigger than west virginia. part of the territory we stole. so this river, this ick like 100 year -- this is the same muir from muir woods and a guy who had taken teddy roosevelt camping in yosemite, where whereupon teddy roosevelt says his should be a national park. so muir said this is america, and secretary of state says, no, sir, this is canada. and he said, do it again. 100 yosemites, it's america.
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so we threatened war with canada and we took it. we didn't pay for it at all. so, the announced the roosevelt primary, again, most people remember the monroe doctrine but don't -- the monroe doctrine said this is our hemisphere, partners should be out of here, european partneres there said if any nation in our hem fear misbehaves, as we decide that it's misbehaved, we will send the marines and change the government. and every year thereafter for the next decade we sent in the marines somewhere and changed some government somewhere. so if xi jinping or his successor should ever be inspired by teddy roosevelt, then for sure we'll find ourselves on a very very desperate path. >> in the mer you describe it the more outraged i have become, why we put it up with it. by comparison with this behavior, china is being circumspect.
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even on issues that frequently appear in the u.s. media, the south china sea but nothing to compare with the kind of aggressive assertion of primacy that the united states engaged in the time of teddy roosevelt. >> i have a wonderful quotation, lord salisbury, the prime minister of print in 1902, and he is looking at the situation as teddy roosevelt has bun one outrageous thing after another. not showing any respect for britain, and he says, if we are the intervened in the civil war, we could have had two americas and this all wouldn't be happening to us, but tragically, he says in this life, if you don't take opportunity when it arises you don't get a second
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chance. >> but the lesson from that seems to be a very interesting one. the united kingdom decided not to intervene in the civil war because on balance, the country was against the confederacy and there was that degree of cultural similarity across the atlantic that by the 1900s, nobody really minded -- relationship emerging in the century. but that analogy doesn't apply in the case of the relationship between the united states and china. if china started to behave ala teddy roosevelt, nobody we're simply say, that's just china being china. and it will be fine. when we are of the junior partners and they're the senior partners. relax, let's worry about russia. >> i agree. the brilliance of the british
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accommodation was that they first distinguished between what was vital for britain. they wanted wanted to keep their empire, including canada. the u.s. could have taken canada and teddy roosevelt was interested in british columbia, so he looked at that more than once and the british were aware that the u.s. looked at it more than once. but they noted what it vital and what is just vivid about which we can adjust to. they tolerated behavior that would otherwise be -- certainly crude and unreasonable and unfair but nonetheless they helped the americans to see that american interests, british interests were actually in terms of more support in there quite aligned and there was the cultural similarities you mentioned, and then, therefore, by the time world war i comes, the u.s. is the natural supply line for britain. brent wouldn't have done very well in world war i, even the
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beginning of the war, if it hadn't been for u.s. supplies and money for loans for the war. hen weey u.s. entered the war it was natural that the u.s. entered as aligned with britain, and after the war the united states and britain became even thicker, in the naval war college the americans agreed to have equal ships with the brits. the u.s. was by then half again pigger in terms of gdp and could have had a much bigger navy. when the world war ii come u.s. naturally aligns with britain. so the idea of where your interests are vital and where we can be aligned, and then recognizing the other areas we are going to have strong differences of views and if i'm not powerful enough i can adjust. there's a big lesson for us even as we think about china. not the cultural affinity for sure. these or two different cultures.
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i have a chapter called "clash of civilizations" which i think is basically correct, same huntington. all i do is elaborate on that a little bit. but i think the -- in terms of vital interests, what interest do the u.s. and china share? the book i say three. not having a general nuclear war. we have a relationship with them like we had with the soviet union, mutual assured destruction. that mean if do my best to disarm you, after that you can still kill me. we're like, i say in the book, chinese twins. it's a grotesque image but imagine you wake up one day and we still have our hands and arms and our back bone and respiratory system has been fused. however, mischievous i am or evil or dem chronic i am, if you
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can't to strangle me, you keep thinking this guy deserved two strangled bit i strangle him, it's suicide. that's not a good idea. so maybe i have to figure out a way to live with them. one is that -- was at important part. secondly, the economies are deeply interlaced. i'm just as the war between britain and france, which were highly economically interdedependent. and if you had a war between u.s. and china, the walmart would not have goods and the factories would be make stuffing for who and we wouldn't be able to get loans. so that doesn't look like a good idea. so. so, third, and final, and not everybody in the u.s., i know, agrees with the proposition but i think everybody who studied the proposition agrees that in the current pattern of use of energy and greenhouse gas emissions we may succeed in making a globe 100 years from
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now that your great-great grandchildren can't live. in doesn't make any sense. so, there's no way the u.s. could do anything to solve that problem if china is not collaborative and there's no way china can are so the problem if the u.s. is not. so you have three big areas where you can imagine trying to find alignment and some yeahs -- >> i want to open this up to the audience. and then i'll ask more questions and then give the crowd a chance to ask questions. almost persuading me that, not just the war, because the destruction ex-the economic enter dependence, let's now look closely at a plausible scenario in which the united states and china could nevertheless, despite these common interests,
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end up in conflict, and we chatted about this over hurricane yesterday. i think we both agreed that what is unfolding in north korea has the potential to be a cause of conflict. given that scenario, maybe just looking ahead a matter of months, at nobody in the summer of 1914 expected that britain and germany by august would be at war over such arcane questions as serbian self-determination, and the neutrality of belgium. tell me how the united states and china could end up in a conflict over north korea. >> i have a chapter in the book called "from here to war" and i have five scenarios but let's stay with the one i think is most urgent right now and we chatted about yesterday. so, think of a cuban missile crisis in slow motion.
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when the cuban missile crisis over 13 days, the u.s. and the soviet union came to a point in which we almost attacked each other. if we had done that likely would we would have had a general war with russia, the soviet union 0, marsh even a nuclear war. the soviet union was discovered placing nuclear tipped miss until cuba, october 1962. president john f. kennedy said this is not going to happen, and actually was prepared to send missiles to cuba that were being completed in such a way they could attack, and actually engaging in a confrontation that had a one in three chance of nuclear war. this happened over 13 days. in the current situation, would
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say not 1 days for sure -- 13 days for sure but the next 26 months, immediately ahead 'the next year or two, either, act one this the train's coming down, kim jong-il, he's going -- kim jong-un. east going to acquire the ability -- that's track one. track two is president trump, who says my train will crash into yours before you reach that point, you continue going down your track. you had these trains moving enex-orbeli opportunity a point toward a collision. most people following north korea will not remember. most your here know enough but let me go back. the secretary perry and i in 1994 -- how can you possibly
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live in world in which a little isolated, impoverished nutty stayed like north korea has nuclear weapons? we shouldn't live in such a world and if we could prevent it we should prevent it. now, of course, there was great risk in attacking north korea, even at that time. for sure our south korean ally would have a heart attack, as the president of south korea said to the president of the u.s., and maybe this would end up triggering a response that would cause a lot of damage in south korea. new any case, i was in favor of it then and i think even as i look back on it now, i believe
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that the secretary of defense's view was right. i wish we had attacked -- had not attacked them and then we wouldn't be we were you. no that if provoked a second korean war i would say i don't know if this is a good idea gut in life you have to make hard choices. that was a hard choice. think i would stick with the view that i held at the time, and that was held at the defense department. this same little north korea has now an arsenal of 20 or 25 nuclear weapons. so that is not a hypothetical. that's a fact. this same north korea has tested and deployed short-range missiles that cia says can deliver nuclear warheads to south korea. that's already. now, this same little country has developed medium range missiles and tested them and deployed emthem that the cia
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says can deliver nuclear warheads against japan. so that's where we are now. and it's a strain -- the train has gone through four stations and is just coming to the last station, which is to be able to deliver a warhead against the american homeland. that's on the one hand. on the other hand, now we have arrival of donald trump. so, donald trump heard about this for the first time in his life when he became president-elect. that's what he said. he said -- he met with president obama, he was president-elect, and president obama said, let me tell you there's a real crisis brewing here in north korea. north korea is going to acquire the ability to attack the american homeland. never heard of this in my police officer. it's impossible. it's unbelievable. its unbelievable if you haven't been studying it. go to the restaurant tonight and go to the next table over and say, there's a little country called north korea that has nuclear weapons and might be able to attack san francisco,
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they wouldn't believe you. it's not believable, but it's a fact. so, any case, donald trump left the meeting and within an hour tweeted, not going to happen. this is not going to happen. and every day since then he said, i'm telling you, maybe clinton let this happen and maybe bush let this happen and maybe obama let this happen but i'm not those guys. they let the thing go down the road. i'm not going to allow the u.s.a. to be threatened by nuclear winds from kim jong-un. makes no sense. and i'll do whatever is required to prevent it. so at the mar-a-lago summit between xi jinping and trump, the trump said to him, look, you can solve this problem. but if you don't solve this problem, can solve this problem. and if i do you're not going to like it. and then he served him chocolate cake for dinner, excused himself and he went in and announced we
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had launched 50 cruise missiles against syria, just to underline the point. how to solve thing problem? can we launch 50 cruise missiles against north korea to ruin their launching pads so they don't conduct these tests? absolutely. defense department would have no problem doing that. but if we were to do that, that's step one. step two the view is, well maybe step two is that the north koreans only use their artillery, and they attack seoul. they may be able to kill a million people in 48 hours or so. a lot of people. in seoul. and if they do that, maybe then people -- cooler heads on pain and we say time-out, we'ring on a dangerous road, or maybe the americans and the south koreans say, wait a minute, this crazy guy has already killed a million
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people, has a capacity to kill way more than that. we better destroy all the ability, all the rockets and all the missiles he has. now preemptively, before he attacks us, before he attacks south korea, before he attacks our base, before he attacks japan. so, maybe, if we do, will we succeed in getting all the targets? i i'd say every tag we can identify, we can destroy, but are we able to identify all the targets? well, i probably -- probably not. again, i that would be classified but i would say probably not. maybe he responds by dropping a nuclear weapon on south korea or japan? well, then? and colin powell sid if a nuclear weapon lands on the u.s.
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or an ally, within an hour we'll turn the entire north korea into a charcoal pit. that's like -- i don't know -- 25 million people live there most of them poor slobs who are in a prison -- in a madhouse. they're not part of this story. so, you're going to go destroy that many targets and that many people? and then are the chinese going to sit by and watch this? at the end of the story you have a unified korea under the government, military ally over the u.s., the chinese, as we heard at the meeting, say, wait a minute, no, that's unacceptable from our perspective. we already fought war with you over this the last time. anybody that can't believe the americans and chinese can kill each other, go back and read about world war i, and -- i'm sorry -- about the korean war. excuse me.
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in 1950, north korea attacks south korea. almost captured the whole thing. u.s. came to the rescue, very last minute. pushed the north korean right back up the peninsula. we're approaching the border with china. out of nowhere came the -- macarthur was signedded. 300,000 chinese. they entered the war and beat us don the peninsula to the 38th parallel where the war began. so china demonstrate it's prepared to go to war and fight to prevent haveing a hostile american related government on its border. now, would they do it again, particularly given the new conditions that the fact that it could escalate to hell? i don't know. they into ask us, are you prepared to get involved in a war thatles might escalate to hell because we both go to hell together? i say, stay tuned. >> so you now created a disu distinctly chilly silence in the room.
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i want to just add a little vignette. 1950, commencement at harvard, a young henry kissinger is getting his dean, dean acheson gives the address, and acheson in the course of his foreign policy remarks says words to the effect that war is not a about to break out. three days late their korean war begins. so just be aware, these things can happen very much faster than you expect. so, as i said you arrive here probably not thinking too much about this scenario, and you're going to leave here thinking a lot more about this because as graham says, there is a precedence, there is a -- i can assure you on the basis of conversations that i've had in the last few weeks, this is a very plausible scenario in the eyes of both the u.s. and
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chinese decisionmakers, the good news is -- should i say this because this is -- not only by the sense of international security and cooperation but also by the hoover institution so which i proudly belong, jim mattis, the secretary of difference, is unilever from bag hoover fellow and he has read the book, i suspect h.r. mcmaster their national security adviser has also done his reading on this. so it's not entirely in the hands of president trump who i'm pretty sure has not read the book. now we'll take question from the floor. a microphone will come to you. you say who you are briefly, don't need the whole life story, and ask a question. no speeches if you start making a speech i'll just cut you off. there's a gentleman right there in the blue shirt.
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going to have the first question. just tell white house you are, sir and ask your question. >> i'm george, i'm convinced i have to read the book. but i have a metaphor to present and see what you think. the based on the assumption that like a two-hands clapping, but seems to be in the u.s.-chinese case can only be a one hand clapping because the culture is so different and i see the u.s. making all the aggressive moves. it don't see china countering. so itself if it's a one-hand clapping situation are we going to have a trap? >> thank you good question. >> excellent question. >> i'll try -- because there are lot of questions, each question could be a long discussion so i apologize if just be telegraphic. i think if i look at this situation, i don't think the chinese are not clapping in the
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south china sea. think the chinese believe that the south china sea is as much their right as teddy roosevelt thought the caribbean was an american right. now, we can agree -- we can argue whether this makes any sense for a big and strong power to say i'm the overseer of it because i'm big and strong. that's the way things are. but that's not the way things have been but the china are not happy to have in the number of island that used to in the south china sea. they think three should be a florida extra ones and they belt them and they're not happy to have the islands divided. the think the vietnamese have claimed some islands and the filipinos have chained show islands and they think all these islands think they look like my islands and like teddy roosevelt said this looks like my river. so i think i don't agree with the proposition that there's
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nobody clapping on the other side. >> in fairsness, on the north korean issue on this point, you're right, and the chinese at this point seem keen to go along with the idea that the united states and china can work together to deal with the north korean problem. now, i say this with some authority, having heard a very interesting conversation at a high level on this subject over the weekend. so, i think at this point, trump strategy, the mar-a-lago strategy of saying to china, this is your problem, you better deal with, seems to be quite well and this has been so far the most successful. the problem is what happens if china doesn't deliver in the eyes of the administration? at that point trump is going to
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be in a red line situation, because at that point he is going to have to either back down and accept a north korean nuclear program is ongoing, or take military action, and that i think is when it gets dangerous, and at that point there's no knowing quite how the chinese will respond. further questions. president overstreet. i'm a visiting fellow here. just throw something else in the equation to make it worse. which is that already in this year president xi was hailed as the new driver of economic liberalism but certainly what we have seen after the debacle at the nato summit, and the response of angela merkel and
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some other people, you can already -- you can sense the -- sense europe saying, well, we better start working with the chinese and the german germans are having a big economic pow-wow. ...
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>> so it actually, i think, is a worse picture than simply the two-party conflict. >> oh, i agree. i think that you have here the general lucidity and dynamics. i've got the general picture. the rising power gets bigger can and stronger, and other third party -- so the third party action is very interesting to watch in the case of the pell poe nice war. other parties look to see who's rising and who's falling and then adjust themselves because they're looking at themselves. so already across asia countries have noticed that china is the dominant trading partner. china is mean, and it's prepared to squeeze them when it feels it's in their interests. so, lo and behold, they've
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adapted and adjusted. and you could see that right across asean. and, in fact, if you look at the institutions that people tried the build in asia to counterbalance china, you can see them weakening because chinese prefer to deal with parties one-on-one. in the european case, again as one looks at the picture, first you've got what's happening to the economic balance of power. china is today the largest economy in the world measured by the single best yardstick, if you just had to pick one, which is purchasing power parity. i have a long discussion of this in the book, and many people will disagree with it, i'm sure. but in any case, cia and imf both believe that purchasing power parity is the best way to compare relative strengths of economies. so by that measure, china already -- so who is now the biggest trading partner with germany? china. who is their main source of
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capital for most places if you're looking for new capital? germany. who's the place that provides loans? now, the germans -- the chinese development banks, the four of them including aaib, have four times the capital of the world bank. if you're a country and you're looking for a loan, you go to china. and the loans, excuse me, yes, they use the loans for political purposes, of course. and they use the loans to provide -- so i think you're seeing this dynamic. then this is exacerbated. i was asked this, i've been on this week-long rollout for this book. this is the end -- or beginning, middle of the second week. somebody's saying, well, can be found any case in which the ruling power then just basically vacates the field in an arena like the climate that we know, or like you have an alliance with a bunch of strong parties,
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and you weaken that alliance. and i've not been able to find one of those. so i think, i think this case may be original in that regard. and the idea that xi jinping in china should be the global leader in green, it was mind-blowing. i mean, this is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. yes, indeed, they did reach at paris an accord, a very important accord i think at least in the recognition of the problem and, yes, they're investing money in building green industries. but they are the biggest emitter -- the idea that china is the champion of liberal trade, again, it's breathtaking as an idea. china is the most mercantilist, protectionist economy, i think, you know, of any big economy. so how can you manage that? well, if the contender leaves the field, i guess, you know, i'm the only guy left standing. >> this illustrates really well
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the importance of the other players. although it's very tempting if you, especially if you've studied the cold war at length, to lapse into a kind of two-player-game framework. what's shown is really it's the alliances and the relationships with the lesser part that are crucial in the origins of the -- corinth, how is corinth going to play it. your book shows that what really matters here is not just how china and the united states relate to one another, but how others will respond to that. and i think it's already clear that key american allies are nervous as can be specifically on the issue of how the united states is going to handle north korea. the south koreans, for example, are far from comfortable with the direction that it's going. >> i would predict that the american/south korean relationship will become very stressed over the months ahead. because, i mean, the reality of the situation -- and you almost wouldn't like to say this out
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loud, but lindsey graham went on television, made this speech about it. so it's not like -- and strategically, you can look and see the situation. the proposition is that in order to prevent north korea from being able to do to san francisco what north korea has already been allowed to be able to do to seoul or to tokyo, we are prepared to take a course of action that's likely to cause a war in your country. so i think president moon is looking at this and thinking where is the biggest threat to me in the short run? and how do i feel about this? and i think we're going to -- actually, in the japanese relationship it'll be interesting to watch, though i haven't looked at that carefully lately. but i think in the south korean relationship i think this is going to become very stressful. >> and we haven't even mentioned russia. [laughter] we have 25 minutes. we're going the try and get
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about five questions, maybe more. let me just see, i don't want to be biased against any part of the room. the gentleman in the blue shirt there. yes, sir, you, sir. right to the back. >> [inaudible] >> david, just grab that microphone. >> david, how are you? >> other countries, could you put japan and especially india into this picture, please? >> japan and india, graham. >> japan has the defense establishment, if you were to have a naval war just between the two parties in the east china sea between japan and china today with the balance of forces, i would bet on japan. it was just a sea encounter. that won't continue, but over time, currently. and the mutual defense treaty is very strong.
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so i would say japan is a big player. and one of china's problems and one of the reasons why it's different than in the case of the emergence of the u.s. is that there are strong and powerful other, you know, actors in the region. but as neil said, what this'll end up doing if the athenian/spartan case is the touchstone, is that the relationships with these allies will evolve and adapt and adjust, and the entanglements with the allies can often end up becoming the reason why one thing leads to the other and the two parties end up where they don't want. india, i think, is a wildcard. india, i mean, i'm probably prejudiced about india, because i'm too much influenced by lee kwan yu. we have a great chapter on the future of india. it's a terrific book, but it's not this book. a previous book where it's a great book because 90% of the words in there are lee kwan yu's words.
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we just do the questions, he does the answers. my colleague are, bob blackwell, a former ambassador to india, so he's very attached. so with malice aforethought, i asked this question. many people say india's going to overtake china. what do you think? he says, young man, do not use india and china in the same sentence. [laughter] he says -- and then he said, and this is when blackwell almost fell all of his chair -- fell off of his chair. he said india is not a real country. it's 24 principalitieses that happen just to be -- principalities that happen to be united by the british rail line. [laughter] be so i'm not betting on india. >> i'll take the other side of that bet. ten years ago i predicted that it was the tortoise and the hare. and as in the fable, the tortoise would overtake the hare.
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in growth rate terms, that has happened. i think india's fascinating in a number of respects in this context because it's not quite clear how it's going to play the u.s./china rivalry. there was, and i think this is part of bob breakwell's strategy -- >> yes. >> -- an idea back in the time of the bush administration that india could become really solid ally of the united states in a kind of quasi-containment strategy. >> right. >> and it hasn't really worked out. >> well, as bob says, if you want to clear a room of indians, say the word "containment." so, basically, the indians want to play their hand. and the other thing if you read the chapter on the rise of china, every two years since the great financial crisis -- and this is a fact -- every two years the increment of growth in china has been equal to the total gdp of india. so just to put it in perspective. >> let's take some more
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questions. now, let's see. i'm determined to get gender balance in this discussion, so i'm going to go to the lady sitting in the second row there. >> hi. i'm a historian, doctoral student in the history department here, and and my question is i'm interested to know your thoughts on contextualizing in a longer history of china where we view china as perceiving itself as the original primary power until its down fall in the mid 19th century and that -- so i wanted your thoughts on this. >> great question. so long before donald trump became famous with his slogan "make america great again," xi jinping became president of china, and his slogan is "make china great again." it's called the great rejuvenation of the great chinese people. and contextualizing it just as you say.
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from chinese perspective and chinese narrative -- and all chinese will tell you this story -- china was great forever, for 5,000 years. china was the dominant power in the world, they think, for 5,000 years. they just, their world only included the area that they could see, but still. and then there was this 200 years of anomaly in which westerners came and exploited them and imperialized them and invaded them and fought wars with them and dominated them. but now that's over. we're getting big and strong again ourselves. back to our just normal place. and our normal place, in the chinese narrative, is at the top of the universe. so china's sense of international order is a hierarchical dominance in which china is at the top of the pyramid, and everybody else is somewhere lower on the pyramid.
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and the principal injunction in confucian terms is know thy place. so thy place is not china's place. china's place is -- [inaudible] other people are adapted or adjusted from that point. so as they look and see what's happening and xi jinping, you know, talks to people that work with him, we're just basically restoring -- we're not rising. they even say we're not rising, we're just restoring ourselves to where we were before, and we would have been -- otherwise i point out to them that, wait a minute. you were big only -- you had a big gdp only because you had a lot of people. they were all miserably poor like everybody else in the world until the industrial revolution. until the industrial revolution and per capita income began to grow, everybody was miserably poor. so if you have a lot of miserable, poor people, okay, you have a bigger gdp.
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therefore, so what? they didn't have an industrial revolution, they didn't have technology, they didn't have a market economy. so, basically, they've now imported what's basically the badge of civilization but still for the purpose, as you say, of restoring china where it ought to be, at the top of the pyramid. >> one of the things that's fascinating about this, i like this question very much, is the way in which historical narratives become a part of the way in which strategic questions are framed. and it's absolutely true that there is this story which has been, of course, reinforced by some western historians that the period from the 1840s to the 1940s is this anomalous century and that we're really reversing to a kind of norm. so the american narrative, of course, is a completely different one. and it's still fundamentally one in which there's a providential exceptionalism to the united states. i've just been reading anna wes
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stood's history of the cold war, anna -- whom i think i managed to lure to -- >> you did, you did. >> one of the arguments he makes is that the american seven of exceptionalism is the kind of ideological component. that's the narrative on the american side, and that's still very much i intact even many a show began like make america great again. let's get some more questions in before we're out of time. i'm going to go right to the back, and there's a young man there with sandy-colored hair -- yes, you, sir. if you could just get a microphone. >> thanks very much. my name is leo, i'm an international policy master's student. i'm curious to know what your thoughts are about whether the actions of donald trump and seemingly voluntarily pulling away from the national order makes you more or less sanguine about the prospects of conflict between u.s. and china? >> just briefly, more. so i think as i mentioned before, i think the idea that
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the ruling power trying to maintain some level of order in which the rising power would -- to which the rising power would adapt and adjust because, obviously, the rate of ajusment or the -- adjustment or the types of adjustment depend on the underlying correlation of forces. so my strength, if i'm the ruling power, can be enhancedded by my relationships with other strong powers and by other powers' respect for what we're trying to accomplish together. so if the ruling power retreats from various domains, it's not surprising, not surprising that xi jinping at davos, you know, lavished the spotlight as when people say great leader, you're leading our global financial liberalization and economic -- he thinks that's fantastic. chinese like being respected as
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they become more -- and i think in the climate space i would expect they will be doing the very same thing. >> can i just appeal to those people who haven't yet muted their phones to do it? [laughter] you know, we're really trying our best to carry on this conversation without jingles interrupting us. let me go to this side of the room, and there's a gentleman in a red shirt just on the edge there. yes. >> hi, i'm isaac, i'm a freshman here. >> great. >> i was wondering if you could talk about, so for the past 70 years we've seen what an american-led international order looks like. what would a chinese-led international order look like? [laughter] >> okay, that's a great question, and i can't give a good answer, but i think it's one worth contemplating. i think, again, i'm a red-blooded, even red-necked american, so i come from north carolina. and i can't imagine, i mean, i know that somewhere either in the bible or in the constitution
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or in some authoritative document it says usa means number one. [laughter] i have, and i have no doubt who the good guys are. so, i mean, i don't believe in moral equivalence. i think we're the good guys, and other guys i have doubts about. >> it's amazing you lasted so long at harvard really -- >> exactly. [laughter] >> views like that. >> no, i put my shirt up from time to time so that people don't quite notice. >> interesting, isn't it, the reason that that's a hard question to answer is the chinese generally do not articulate a vision of what that would look like. on the contrary, the standard line is we are far too preoccupied with our domestic problems to even think of such questions. and so there's a quite deliberate avoidance of the scenario that you're alluding to. even as a whole series of chinese projects go forward that are clearly designed to expand
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china's influence. the one belt, one road project is an example of this large scale chinese investment in a whole bunch of foreign countries, almost global in its scope. graham mentioned the financial innovation that's going on. so the fascinating thing for me about china's rise is that it continues to be relatively quiet and understated. here the analogy with germany, pre-1940 germany breaks down because the germans are always insisting -- at least their leadership is constantly insisting that they were entitled to be a world power. and it was this stridency of german rhetoric that probably contributed to what paul kennedy can called the rise of the anglo-german antagonism. the chinese learn from history. one reason that graham and i got interested in applied history is we began to suspect that we were living in the united states of amnesia where there is no
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attempt formally to inculcate historical knowledge in senior officials of the u.s. government. this is not new, it's been going on for many years. kissinger complained about it in the 1960s. when you go to beijing and you talk to senior officials there, you realize that they systematically study history. the standing committee of the politboro has reading assignments. i'll bet your book is the latest one. in fact, i'm prepared to bet it's already being read. graham, can you confirm or deny that it's already being read by members of the chinese government? >> i can tell an anecdote. so i was at dinner in new york last night -- last week as part of this rollout. and a high-level financial person had just come back from this one belt, one road event that xi jinping held in china. and they said that -- [inaudible] had got him on the side and said what do you think of this
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lucidity strap book? and he said it's not published until next week in the u.s. and he said, well, i read my copy last week, and it's fantastic. but i want to ask you about this or that. there's an edition already circulating there. not with copyright. [laughter] not necessarily. they're maybe reading the galleys which have been widely circulated, and they even be reading it in english in some cases. this is an a amazing and illustrious list that you're joining. i first heard of the reading lists when i discovered that everybody on the standing committee had been asked to read de tocqueville's old regime and the revolution. i bet it turned out there was a book at the height of the european financial crisis, they were they were all reading a short history of europe. so this is the list to be on. it's not what mark zuckerberg is reading that matters. [laughter] itlet's get a couple more questions in before we're off the time.
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i'm going to carry on pursuing gender balance. there's a lady right in the middle of the middle bloc there. if you could pass the microphone to her, i'd be grateful. yes, please. >> thank you. i am interested in sr -- since we're talking about war between china and america -- the time frame. because there was a study commissioned by the u.s. army of rand corporation, and it said that the title is thinking through the unthinkable. it seems that since there is a great discrepancy still between the military capacities of u.s. and china, so an earlier war, let's say, you know, within the ten years which is from 2015 to 2025 would be an advantage to america that could maybe wage a war, and the war would be taking place on china and strike china
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so hard that would set back china's development for another 50 years or so rather than waiting until 2015. i wonder if you can comment on this question of time frame. so maybe when china really caught up with america in terms of military capacity, there might be less chances of war between china and america. >> okay. good, very good question. so there is an excellent rand study that i cite many trying to do the military balance -- in trying to do the military balance between the u.s. and china. there's no question the u.s. defense department spends more than the next five competitors combined. so the u.s. has invested in defense in a big way for a long time, and it's clearly strongly superior to china in almost every domain. but if you look at the events, for example, in a naval war in the region, this becomes a very different picture. that's what the rand study points out.
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basically, since the chinese can play from the land and the americans have to play from the sea as well as from the bases in the region including in south korea and japan or in guam, if i have to operate my carrier, for example, in the south china sea and all you have to do is build missiles on the land in china, million dollar missiles can destroy billion dollar carriers. so that's not a good game. the chinese don't, they're not required to play symmetrically. so they can play asymmetrically. that's the big point about that study. the other point though with respect to the thesis, so the thesis is not that because i'm bigger and stronger than you are and i see you rising, i think it's a good time to go to war with you. in almost none of my cases does somebody decide this is a good idea, let's go to war. the rising power thinks i'm now
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big and strong enough, i think you'll -- i'll go to war with you. that's a big exception. most of the cases and the most worrisome cases are we're in this structural dynamic that thucydides described, and some other event, some other place ends up having an impact on this interaction. so in the north korean case, we're not -- i believe, and i agree 100% or with what neil said. if xi jinping could say to kim jong un do this and do that and he would do it, he would say it. relationship between beijing and pyongyang is very stressed. never have the chinese been willing to accept kim jong un to come and visit. even the premier's never gone to visit there. i talked to a chinese colleague just recently. i said, well, how do you talk to this guy?
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he said is, our ambassador can't even go see him, ambassador in pyongyang. they said, well, we can talk to his ambassador to beijing, and he has at least some ability to communicate messages. this is a very stressed relationship. so here a third party could take an action though that, as we were describing before, that could end up in this cascade. so i think, i think the military balance is very rell rant, but i think -- relevant, but i think the vulnerability to war is more a function of these entanglements with the third parties than it is with whether i'm just a little bit stronger or a little bit weaker. >> a phrase i've heard recently from chinese officials relating to the original korean war is that china and the united states were dragged into war in korea. and i've heard that phrase often enough to think that it's become a certain, has a certain official status. of course, the reality is that china became involved in the
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korean war because stalin told mao to do it. and when you tell that story, i gave a lecture on the korean war, you realize that you're entering a very, very fraught terrain because you have to acknowledge that the founder of people's republic was made a fool of by stalin -- >> yes. turned into a proxy for soviet policy in 1950, '51. >> absolutely. >> we have time, i think, for one more question, graham, and then we're going to wrap it up. i'm going to allow one of our senior faculty members to answer the last question. i managed to get a freshman in, i'm pleased that i did that. >> i'm glad a freshman came. >> one of my students -- [laughter] >> not surprising. >> don't tell me you ordered him to play. >> scott from the political science department. graham, like you, i was really worried when donald trump said this is not going to happen, because that puts you into a red line, a commitment trap problem. and yet donald trump is remarkably inconsistent.
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he could back down on the torture issue. he could say nato was obsolete and now it's not obsolete. he could say i want to go to kim jong un and talk to him. >> right. >> so should we be as worried about red lines, on the one hand this person can be vindictive, order, this is a person who is stunningly inconsistent? >> a bit like william ii, actually. [laughter] >> oh, my god. >> not a particularly reassuring thought, is it? >> i was about to be -- i think it's nice to end on an up note, and i appreciate scott's optimism. i think certainly given the nature of the campaign in which china was demonized as the source of every problem, the new flip-flop is, i think, preferable. though it's clearly one can in
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which there's no set strategy or no notion that there's necessarily continuity in this. one of the chinese that had been involved in the mar-a-lago summit that they were thrilled that they got through it and things turned out as well as they did. and then he said but we know we're just one tweet away from -- [laughter] you know? off in some other direction. so the notion of whether this is a consistent thrust that was likely to be to continued or not, you rightly say there's a lot of uncertainty about. i think in trying to decipher -- and i would wish, therefore, that, okay, there's a very strong national security team. h.r. mcmaster's a great national security adviser, mattis is a great secretary of defense, tillerson, i think, is going to be a very strong secretary of state. so there's a big team there of serious people. and they are going to think through the consequences before one just takes an action.
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at the same time, i mean, if you ask most san francisco cans or palo alto how do you feel about kim jong un being able to launch a nuclear weapon against san francisco, i'm telling you, go -- ask somebody at the restaurant or, you know, even on a campus. they'll say, what? i mean, who? how? no. no, absolutely not. and you can say, well, what risk would you be prepared to take to prevent that? well, i don't want to take any risks, i just don't want it to happen. [laughter] ..
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that's why they became so inventive at the end so i'm hoping if i end on a positive note i'm l hoping that as this national security team works
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their way through this problem, and sees my god all we can with find theirses selves in a war wh china and all go to hell and that is crazy and if they became inventive it the u.s. and china were working together there's more than one with solution to this problem. >> with with that i think i'm going to give amy a last word. thank you graham. [applause] >> well i think i speak for everybody when i say never has this been so enjoyable to talk about so much doom. destined it for war is destined for purchase on the table outside right outside the doors. please join me once again in thanking neil an graham. >> thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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every weekend booktv brings you 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books on c-span2. keep watching for more television for serious readers. >> if i can have your attention please we'll get started. thank you everyone. really


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