tv Newt Gingrich Trump and the American Future CSPAN July 25, 2020 12:50pm-1:46pm EDT
trump should be re-elected in 2020. then his historians examines the relationship between malcolm x in and martin luther king jr. and how hey defined the civil rights movement. then later hoover institution fellow talk about the geopolitical rivalry between countried in indo-pacific region of the world. >> in this week's center for public affair virtual event we bring-under former speak of the house and great unfriend to the reagan foundation, newt gingrich. this is peoplinger gingrich's tenth appearance with the reagan foundation and we look forward to having him for the next ten. back in the 1980s and 1919s he quickly climbed his way to the upper lesch shawns of republican leadership by refusing to accept the republicans were dessinned to by the minority in the house. he worked toes include with president reagan to bring about real, positive change in america. according to speaker gingrich's new book, trump and the american
future, solving the great problem offered our time, and at the spread of the coronavirus to the highs and loafs the economy, and teen election, 2020 will continue to be a process of change. he is here with us today to discuss his book and his thoughts on america. we now invites you to enjoy our virtual program from our air force one leadership academy with newt gingrich and reagan foundation and institute executive director. >> speaker gingrich, terrific to have you with us at the reagan library. also you know we originally had planned to have you live and in person as we have so many times. want you to know when this pandemic is behind us and you're able to travel and things can be safer again, we still would love to have you out reagan library again with your new book or the next one you write. so, thanks so much for joining
us today. >> i want to say first of all i'm a huge fan of the reagan library and particularly the educational work you do and the way you create learning experiences for young people, and i cannot remember other time that i have visited that we did not have just a wonderful experience. so i can assure you as soon as i'm allowed to get back to the west coast i will be dropping in to see you. >> terrific. love to have you, mr. speaker, and ambassador gingrich as well. i've known you for years. you are an intellectual. you are a historian. you're an imaginative guy. i wonder, though, mr. speaker, could you have ever imagined a situation like the world and the united states finds itself in
today? ever imagine a pandemic and hit recalltily stop -- literally stopping the world in its tracks during your lifetime? >> no. i think when i first started writing, "trump and the american future," it was at the peak of the great economic, lowest black unemployment in modern history, lowest last teen know unemployment, everything was going well. we were negotiating tough live with the chinese, it seemed rational. and then, boom, you start with what originally was the chinese virus, now given a different name for political reasons. then you go to the -- first time eve ever seen countries deliberatesly create a depression. then you good to politicians deciding what you can and can't do. then you good to people being totally fed up, weeks of
isolated, worried economically and you have the tragic death of george floyd and all of a sudden the country seems to come apart at the seams. so, if you would have asked me could i have imagined putting all of that together, i think the answer is, no, i couldn't think. i have written a bunch of novels. don't know i would have had the imagination to put them -- i'm not sure people would have said it wasn't believable and then the you had the impeachment and all sorts of things the level of turmoil in some ways resembled the late 1960s except the left is better organized and more totalitarian now more than the late six it in but a similar kind of turmoil. >> in fracture you mentioned the 'ofs as a decade. was trying to think back to what the closest experience that america has had in the last century to what we're facing
today and, when the pandemic initially arrived, people were comparing the halt in the economy to the 2007-2008 period and i thought whether or not you think it's been since, well, world war ii and attack on pearl harbor and a nation literally mobilized in a very different way, of course, but i think that it might be the closest experience we have had to the present day. >> i think that's right. i have written things once for publication and for the white house saying this is the largest mobilization effort since world war ii and in fact i wrote a piece which turned out to be unusually impactful because i was over here in italy and so i had seen this building for six weeks before washington did, and i wrote a piece and said, whatever you're planning to
do-triple it because you don't understand how big this will get and i think that was probably -- people read it because they knew i was here and actually changed the conversation and led us to the very, very large bills they passed and the efforts to sort of stabilize the economy. but it's a really i think big challenge right now, and i think it's compounded because we are probably as politically divided as we have been in a long time. i have good friend who is civil war historian at princeton who says that the language used to attack trump resembles the slave owning newspapers in south carolina attacking lincoln in 1860, said the level of vitriol and the nastiness and the degree of hatred is really unlike even with franklin roosevelt, never get to love the depth of the kind of thingsor getting about
trump. and that of course is this whole -- how do you mobilize a country when the countries i dopily split and at love people -- deeply split and people decided that we get social distancing as long as you worriedology include ideologically pure and doing the right thing. so it's a very strange, very complicated time. >> in fact, a core theme it seems to me of your newest book is that america finds itself in a cultural civil war, and i know you too are a civil war historian. can you explain that to us? >> actually, i just recently wrote a newsletter entitled three generations of brain
washing, and the core of the newsletter is reagan's farewell address, where he says the one thing he most deeply regrets is not being able to institutionalize teaching patriotism in american history and he is really worried that we are losing the ability to talk to ourselves about who we are and that if that happens, that the country gradually starts to disappear. and i think that he was exactly -- when you go back and you read it you realize he gave this in january of 1989. amazingly prescient about where we are today. partly i suspect because as governor, o california he had debt with the radicals of berkeley so he had pretty request instinct for how bad it would be. but we're clearly in a cultural civil war. you clearly have people who have
accepted a lenin stalin maoist -- [inaudible] -- people who despise america. when you refuse to stand for the national anthem, it's not because you're repudiating racism, it's because your re- feudate neglect united states and youover hat. a surprisingly large number of people today it's almost like the radical generation of the 60s has now had almost 50 years to glow and strengthen and gather more force and so in that sense, i think we are in a very deep cultural war which will in many ways have a huge effect on what kind of country we become over the next half century. >> in fact, i look pretty closely and i think that you turned the book into your publisher early mid-march. >> right. >> as the pandemic had struck in
a major way. and so this book was written pregeorge floyd. >> yes. >> so, i -- >> we do have a chapter in there on poverty and a chapter on the failure of big studies. ... >> i'd already had to redo the book once for covid and once for the self-imposed depression. so it was pretty loud. it was the most complicated book i've ever written. >> it's a magnificent book, mr. speaker, really. you cover the waterfront. i mean, it's just amazing. it's terrific all the way around, but the back half of the book, my gosh, you cover all the ground. it's just great to see.
i bet you, had you written the book or finished it next week, for example, you would double down on your thinking about this being a cultural civil war because of the addition of this whole issue of racism and george floyd, right? >> well, actually, and i do podcasts every week which are free, and i do newsletters, and and i've done a series recently on exactly this. but i would say for me, i'm too much of an intellectual, the really big moment was when "the new york times" reporters forced the firing of their editor because he had published an op-ed by a conservative senator. and i thought if we'd gotten to a point of tyranny on the left where one conservative opinion
pieces in a virtually totally left-wing newspaper was so, is such an act of heresy that the man had to be fired, get rid of him, and then i watched a principal in vermont in a town that is 97% white who tweeted shouldn't all lives matter, and the following day she was fired, and then in your part of the woods there was a professor at ucla who actually read martin luther king jr.'s letter from the birmingham jail and was then suspended. now, how that could offend somebody on the left, to read king's letter which, of course, is about nonviolence and is about the american dream, and king was very much saying to america you have to live up to the great dream you have, not i want to repudiate america. and you look at all that and you just think this is truly a
cultural civil war. black lives matter is popular right now because it's a slogan, but when you actually look at the organization which has as one of its explicit goals the destruction of the nuclear family, now, why they want to destroy the nuclear family, i'm not sure. it strikes me as irrational socially and the guaranteed step towards weakness, but it's in there. and you realize that the people who founded black lives matter are inherently anti-american. in the sense that they want a totally different america, and they want to replace the america that exists today. the other example is the congresswoman from minnesota who's somali by background. how you can leave mogadishu for minneapolis and have a grudge rather than gratitude, i think, is one of the great things worth studying.
you know, she left a society which was a disaster, dominated by war lords, people starving, no sense of individual opportunity, a fairly oppressive behavior for women to come to the freest, most open society in the world, and she's angry. i sort of look at that and go, i don't get it. you think that it's -- in fact, i'd be curious, i'm trying to get a friend of mine who lives out this to go ask her, does she e really think mogadishu's better than min yap his? minneapolis? because she behaves like we've somehow done her a terrible injustice by making -- by letting her be an american. >> what do you think, of course, the conversation, the dethe bait, the discussion -- the debate, the discussion about the issues of racism are, of course, important. i wonder what you think about the evolution of the argument on the left though now where this
new phrase is coined, systemic racism. it's this concept of, well, you're racist, but you just don't know it. >> first of all, i think you have to acknowledge that african-americans more than any other group experience -- [inaudible] and tim scott, the senator from south carolina, in introducing the bill on police reform said he was stopped, i think, six times last year. you know, and he's a u.s. senator. so i think in that sense, we have to start by acknowledging that it is more challenging to be black and that there are inherent difficulties you have to overcome. the question then becomes, and i think it's a really simple test which i'm going to be writing about, and that is is it more important for blacks to succeed or for whites to feel guilty.
now, for some bizarre reason the left has decided that white guilt and announcing you're guilty, feeling bad about being guilty, taking a knee to prove your guilty somehow achieves things. and i said in an interview with npr yesterday, you know, i'd be a lot more sympathetic to all of the multimillionaire nfl players who want to take a knee e if they each went out and founded a charter school and actually helped children succeed. but i'm totally unimpressed by people who america has made into millionaires who now want to too impose on the rest of us their particular viewpoint. and so i think we need a conversation, and the nice thing about the left is they can't contain themselves, and because they own the news media, they have no feedback mechanism to say you're nuts. so, for example, the california aassembly just passed by 56-5
creating a commission on reparations which is the number one goal of the black caucus in the california legislature. well, reparations is is both morally and mechanically hocus, and it's a fight that the left will lose badly, but they just have to do it. they can't stop themselves. pelosi's $12 trillion bill includes paying $1200 per person for every illegal immigrant in the united states as part of the stimulus. now, that's overreach which i suspect 75% of the country will disagree with. so if they had some ability to be self-disciplined, they'd probably be dramatically more dangerous than they are. >> i got a galley copy of the book, mr. speaker, and i think your title was initially "trump
and the american future: building a better american future." and as the book hits the shelves, i think you changed the title, updated it to "solving the great problems of our time." tell me why the shift there. >> i felt as i looked at all the things that were emerging that we needed to shift towards a more open, problem-solving, you know, i think in the world before the pandemic and before the depression it was easier to imagine trump really continuing to solve things at a rate that was amazing. now we're in a situation so complicated and with so many different unknown parts that i think we're all going to have to pitch in to solve them. i don't think trump by himself can be the solution. i i think he can lead the
solution, but it's going to take millions of americans to get us out of the ditch that we're now in. >> i know you've commented on this before because you're a historian. but now we see an acceleration of this phenomena, and that is that we, the left believes we can improve the future by destroying the past. you know? this rush to pull down not the civil war monuments, the monuments of american presidents, you know, the revolution, you know? comment on that and what's happening in america today on that front. >> well, again, i i think part of this is we're maybe having -- you know, part of the reason i wrote the recent article on three generations of brain with washing is -- brainwashing is it hit me that we have lots of people who are so badly educated, they don't understand how much they're doing a street
dance with dead people. we've had the french revolution. we've had the russian revolution of 197. we've had maoism. we know how these things work. if they could read, they could read not just "1984," but they could read "animal farm," and they would understand what orwell, who had been a trotzkyite, was actually in the spanish civil war when stalin decided to wipe it out. so he'd seen up close and then the, of course, he had mussolini and he had hitler. and it's very significant that he puts "1984" in britain. it's not describing moscow. the tendency of this society will be to create a totally false story, to then have a memory hole into which we will put everything that doesn't fit the story, and we'll reserve the right of the state to change the
story whenever it wants to. well, that's what these people are doing. you know, i mean, where does it start, where does it stop in -- stop? you know, for example, should the suffragettes, probably almost of whom believed in traditional marriage, therefore have no statues pulled down because they weren't adequately sensitive to what a hundred years later would emerge as the gay rights movement? the idea that washington, who more than any other single person created the framework within which people could say that their rights came from god and not the king or that jefferson who actually wrote the words, that these people are anything less than historically astonishing figures who advanced the cause of freedom, it's an absurdity. but what you're dealing with is a mob, and the mob has no mind.
it has emotion, and it doesn't you said that it's beginning to set up patterns that are totally unacceptable. and by the way, i think in seattle, washington, there is a 7-foot-tall statue of lend anyone which was -- lenin which was put there years and years ago. some guy bought it when it was being thrown away. i don't object to lenin being there because i think it's a great with opportunity to teach people what a monster he was and how many people's lives were destroyed by him. but as a conservative, if they can deny -- [inaudible] you sort of think this is crazy. but it's both an act of cultural war fare, and it's an act of proving that they have the energy and the drive and the courage to rebel. you have to see it as both things coming together. and i think it's a very, very
dangerous pattern. but again, it goes back to this idea that for three generations we've told people things that are lies. reagan once said it isn't what they don't know that is so troubling, it's what they know that isn't true. and i think that's what we're seeing today. >> yeah. i'd like to touch for just a second on russia, you know, meddling in the election and the rest of that. i think that, you know, president trump would make the point that he won fair and square, you know in whether, you know, russia set up a few facebook sites and that sort of thing, it's fairly irrelevant. but i wonder if you think, newt, that at the present time with america in this cultural civil war, if, you know, without knowing it at present if the
russias of the world are intentionally stoking these fires and trying to set americans against themselves. >> well, i think they are if they can. look, there's a, you know, it was a very long historic tradition of countries meddling in other countries, and we've been the dominant country now for a long enough period that there are people who naturally resent us and would like to, you know, knock us off. i feel the chinese -- fear the chinese more than i fear the russians. both of them, i suspect, are involved. you know, i went back and read clark cliff order's 44-page -- clifford's 44-page memo for harry truman he wrote in 1947. it's an amazing document. this was before the so-called red scare. he'll say that mayor's a
communist, and that's just what it was. you know, he wasn't doing anything about it necessarily, but we've had -- it's oozy for us to forget that in the -- easy for us to forget that in the '30s it was about nazi penetration. but originally it was set up to go after the nazis, not the communists. anden then after world war ii there was enough communist penetration that they were going after the communists, and then we were told you're not allowed to do that, so we had to lie about whether or not there were any communists. and, of course, one of the reasons reagan got into politics was his aawareness that there were communists -- [inaudible] so i look at all that, and i think that they can try to interfere. they might be able in some ways. and one of the things you have to worry about as we centralize elections is it makes stuff easier. right now elections are run down at a county level, and it's
chaotic, and it has huge disadvantages, but it's really hard to rig. you know, it's too decentralized. now, on the other hand, you know, messages on twitter or facebook or what have you or ads they have, i don't think there's a comparable chinese station although there are chinese newspapers. but i think it's the nature of the modern world, and this, of course, was a huge fight as early as washington's administration when the french sent some people over to try to get us to be anti-british, and it blew up because people just didn't want foreigners interfering with the american system. so we've had a long history of that. i think it's good that the administration has set up teams
to work on this. i think that we have, in bill barr, an amazingly competent attorney general, a very serious and dedicated patriot, and i suspect we'll be okay on that front. i e worry much more about democrats stealing the election as they do in california with, you know, or -- with vote harvesting than i do about the chinese or the russians. >> is it fair to say, newt, that pre-pandemic you likely felt that this race in 2020 was president trump's to lose but now maybe not so much? has he really got a real fight on his hands? >> yeah, i think -- when i first set out to write the book with, i thought trump had a very substantial advantage, and i would have said at the time that my expectation was he'd literally win by a big margin. i think now it's up in the air, but i think it fends in part
on -- it depends in part on what happens. if the economy starts to come back enough that people feel like they see hope, then i think the president has a huge opportunity to win. if the economy stumbles and it feels like whatever trump's magic was he ain't got it anymore, then i think there's a problem. the challenge for the democrats, i did a newsletter the other day on biden, schumer, pelosi as a machine. and i said this is not an election between president trump and president biden, it's an election between president trump and a machine of which biden is the weakest of the three. so a number of friends wrote me, called me and said it really scared them. [laughter] they started thinking about what biden, pelosi and schumer would be like in a room with no supervision. it would be wild. i think for the moment, this is
truly ironic, biden is a candidate that is so weak that the longer he can hide, the better off he is. so i think the morning he starts campaigning, if he ever does, it will be so painful to watch his inability to function that i think he could melt pretty quickly. >> you made a point in the book, newt, that president trump made a bet, and that is that his use of social media could beat the news media. and, you know, he's been at it now in that war, in using those tactics for several years. do you think that technology is such today that, you know, and his grasp on social media, you know, still gives him an
advantage over the media on the left or are we seeing as a result of this cultural war a balancing of that power? >> well, i think without social media, trump would have been driven off the field. s this is a guy that as early as i think the summer of '16 people were writing columns that say we might have to impeach him. on the day he was sworn in, "the washington post" had an article about whether or not trump would be impeached. so he has had 92 or 93% hostility every single day from winning the election to today. if he had not had a huge social media base, he'd have been broken. as it is, he actually has a
slight advantage. he doesn't just fight them to a stand still, he's gotten them, he's gotten a lot more people thinking about fake news than i would have thought likely two or three years ago. calista and i had the the experience of going up to -- [inaudible] which has the second largest egyptian collection outside of egypt. strange as it is, but anyway, so we got a guy the take us through this museum, and we're going through one of the halls, and he points to a chew and says -- to a statue and says people will tell you x, but that's fake news. and i thought, wait a second, i have an italian guy in an egyptian museum using donald trump's language. that's cultural impact. so i would say -- i wish he was a little more disciplined, and i wish he deleted at least 10% of his tweets before he sent them. but having said that, his
ability to keep pounding away, i think, has saved his presidency, and he would have been crushed in a pre-information age environment because the media hates him at a level i've never seen any candidate faced with the level of hostility that trump has to live with every day. >> it's an interesting point that you make, newt, about trump, his style of pounding away just relentlessly, always, always counterpunching whether counterpunching up or down. i mean, that's how he plays it. do you think that the left has learned something from that? i get the sense that they have become as reare -- relentless in the attack, as well. >> oh, but i think they were at it -- [inaudible]
i think it's who they are. it's what they did to jerry ford. remember -- gerry ford. ford hits his head getting off air force one, and that becomes a relentless series of jokes. i i think there are two different stories to trump though that you touched on and blended together. one he believes in counterpunching, and i think he learned that by coexisting with page six in new york. i think that he learned early on that every time they'd hit him, he'd hit them, and as long as he did, he's getting lots of publicitity. remember, in the early day he's a relatively unknown real estate guy, and he wants to rise, he wants to be known, and manhattan is probably as tough an environment as there is for doing that. so one part is this deeply held
belief that you always counterpunch. but the other part is that he's a genius at branding. you go back to his first book, "the art of the deal," which was a bestseller for years and years and years. you look at how many trump towers, trump hotels, trump golf courses. at one time i went to see him before he was a candidate, and he gave me several trump ties and said that the reason they were successful is they were about 2 inches longer than most ties and so, you know, americans are big people. he launched into this entire shtick where i think it was late in the campaign where romney had said something about trump's not really a business guy. so he brings in trump steaks, trump water, trump this -- it's like 25 minutes bringing products out. and, you know, he that had the number one tv show which was, stayed on the air for, i think,
13 years. so i would say he understands relentlessly positive, optimistic branding, and that's "the apprentice" and the trump ties and so forth. and he understands counterpunching, but they're actually different patterns. they happen to fit together, but they're very different patterns. >> let's talk about trump's instincts for a minute. you have worked with, up close, a number of more than -- of american presidents. trump seems to, to me, to be in a class all husband own from the standpoint -- all his own from the standpoint of governing actually, running, operating the federal bureaucracy and environment. purely through instinct. i mean, i know there are processes and papers are written and briefings and the rest of that, but he seems to govern, learn, educate, decide pure lu
by instinct. and he's often, that's often saved him. he's often done quite well by that, as you know. i wonder if it's sustainable. >> well, we're going to find out in about five months. i would say that the president he's the most like is andrew jackson in that jackson was both a populist and a disrupter. jackson was an extraordinarily strong personality, once shot a man off the balcony of the white house. and jackson was, i think, very hard to manage. because he followed his own inner if instincts. so in many ways, i see trump as a jacksonian type figure. he, but the other thing to remember which is really, i
mean, i'm frankly very deeply impressed with trump as a person. you know, reagan had eight years as governor of california. clinton had something like 12 years as governor or 10 years as governor of arkansas. george herbert walker bush had been vice president for eight years. george w. bush had been governor for eight years. obama grew up in politics, served in the state legislature, understood the game. trump is a business guy. he has opinioned, but he doesn't have policies, he doesn't -- he runs a very small shop. it has lots of people out around the world, but the actual core of trump enterprises is very small. and so he really doesn't have
the kind of depth of background to learn how you run big systems. and i think he's getting better and better at it, but the first couple years were pretty chaotic, and he didn't understand the legislature and, frankly, his instinct was right and theirs was wrong. he was told by the republican leaders in congress that they could repeal obamacare and that's the first thing they should do and, of course, they lost by one vote when mccain voted no. and what he should have done is was started with the tax bill. in fact, i would have argued the tax bill first, then do infrastructure, then you can consider obamacare. but they carried him down this pant i line -- fantasy line. i think he learned from that that his instincts were better than theirs. and that's the other thing to remember, and it's why people like john bolton go nuts and other people who are never
trumpers. trump a genuinely disruptive figure who came in from the outside determined to change things. well, everybody who has a big investment in the old order is going to be terrified and offended and, you know, say how can you do this. well, that's what he was elected to do. that's why he won. and i think that's what -- so in many ways when he's moving out what is his commitment that got him elected, the more traditional members of the establishment are deeply offended both by his language and and by the risk taking, you know? but, in fact, it's pretty shrewd and pretty clever. >> you know, i often get asked the question, newt, compare ronald reagan with donald trump. i often kind of -- i go back to thinking of the times that, you know, reagan was in the white house. i can visualize reagan as a
boxer, reagan as a prize fighter when boxing was popular in america. trump, on the other hand, seems to me to be mma. this is gloves off. this is really, really tough stuff. what do you think of that? do you buy that comparison? [laughter] >> i wouldn't have have thought of it quite that way. i think that reagan had a remarkable sense of playing a role. i think it was the role of a lifetime. and i think that he had an instinctive belief really grown out of sort of an eisenhower type tradition of what the president should be like. it's why i present he'd never take his coat off in the oval
office. a good friend of mine had a very bold idea which was shaking the. up radically. and -- [inaudible] reagan turned around and said, paul, that's really a very interesting idea, but i wear the white hat. you know, you have to have a guy who wears the black hat to do something like that. so i think reagan had, in a way, he had a real sense of his limitations. and then he knew how to build constraints while minimizing his limitations. he was, he also had acquired, i think, a disciplined pleasantness. reminds me of fdr. he had a huge level of discipline in that reagan was almost always pleasant. but people made a real mistake if they thought that it was softness under the pleasantness.
because he was actually very tough. and very willing to do what he believed in. the other thing i'd say is that reagan really began moving to the right after his break with the screen actors' guild and all through the '50s and increasingly because of nancy 's father on taxes and -- [inaudible] and the guy who hired him at general electric. because reagan -- [inaudible] so this guy, he did 375 speeches for yen electric, and he would always go by train. so this guy would always give him conservative economics books to read on the train because reagan didn't drink much and didn't play cards. so reagan evolved to be very, very powerful. trump is a, not just a real estate guy. he's not a fitness -- finance
guy. he's a construction guy. there's a great series on youtube, they much made it in the '90s, of trump in one of his hotels doing every job. at one point he's dressed up as the guy who greets you at the door, and he walks a dog for the lady, and he comes back and she says, oh, that's really great, my dog's so happy. do i get a tip? [laughter] he's cleaning rooms with the maid, he's checking people in, and he was having the time of his life. but there was a non-intellectual , relaxed happiness about trump. he's very exist ten number a way that reagan was not. reagan was very long term and had a very good sense of history. trump really is in the moment.
now, he's really, really smart, and he's getting better pretty fast. and it's not that he's similar police you can -- simplistic, but that he tries to find core principles and then operates off of those principles over and over and over again. and sometimes you can't figure -- i always figured out every president. it's my job to understand them. if they do something i don't start with, boy, that was dumb, i start with what is it they thought they were doing. and with reagan you have a lot of very long-term i'm going to move the system, defeat the soviet empire. with trump you get a lot more sort of daily opportunism. >> whether trump is in office four more months or four more years, as you say -- and, newt, you are a real student of the presidency, and i wonder if there's one or two things that
you feel that trump has perhaps forever changed about the presidency given his style and how he's carried himself. >> you know, i actually doubt it. and the reason i doubt it is, again with, to go back to andrew jackson, there are certain people who just fill the room. and, you know, the next person ain't gonna fill the room the same way. you know, almost certainly whoever succeeds trump next january or four years later will be more managerial, more organized, will have better staff work. all of which are things that simply cripple trump. it's not what he needs, it's not what he wants. so my first instinct is to say i don't think that he will have
significantly changed the presidency. i think he will have in a significantly changed the country. if he gets four more years, i think that'll be bigger. and in some ways he's tried -- for example, the national security council now has been shrunk back to pre-obama size, and that's probably good. but in a lot of ways, the machinery just runs. it'll run under trump or somebody else. >> last question. and you cover this extensively in your new book. has nothing to do with trump, this has everything to do with china. maybe this is overstating it, but do you see us at, literally at war someday with china because of the direction everything going? and i don't necessarily mean
some terrible thermonuclear war, but it just seems to me conflict seems almost inevitable. >> well, we just saw the chinese kill 20 indian soldiers for no particularly good reason. i assume they were sending a signal to new delhi about something. we just saw north koreans blow up -- [inaudible] the challenge we have, and this is part of why last year i wrote "trump v. china," because i found my own, i found i had made some significant mistakes in analyzing china, and as i egan to understand the mistakes -- as i began to understand the mistakes, my whole interpretation changed. and i've been looking at china since 1960. it's one of the reasons i worry about things like the new york time rebellion.
the chinese communist party is a a leninist/stalinnist party, consciously so. when khrushchev's secret speech attacked stalin in '56, the chinese were horrified because stalin was their great leader, and they believed in him. they couldn't understand why, you know, khrushchev would do heresy. xi jinping is the general secretary of the chinese communist party. that's the base of his party. he is the chairman of the military commission of the people's liberation army which is the military wig of the party. -- wing of the party, not the government. it's not a government army. and he's president of china. which is his least important job. now, when you understand that and you understand that in their mind they have left essentially
humiliation in once again essentially becoming the middle kingdom, it's very formidable. a billion people that work hard and are smart, they don't follow any rules that we understand. so if they can cheat and steal, they will. it's caveat emptor in giant bold type. if we can steal from you, we will, and it's your fault from not having stopped us from stealing, so shame on you. that's what we're up against. and i can't i can imagine a flat where you would have a real exchange of combat. i would worry about it escalating on both sides, because whichever side was losing would be tempted to go up the escalation ladder just
because they'd be so shocked at losing. but i think it's the most difficult challenge for us to try to think about how do we get to a world 40 or 50 years if now where -- from now where we have contained china with minimum conflict but they have not been allowed to dominate. and i think that's a one of the most important questions we have to ask in the next few years. >> yeah. perhaps the question of our time. mr. speaker, it's been a delight to have you with us. thank you so much. thank you for writing yet another -- >> i want to thank you, john, for your leadership, and i want to thank your team for their collective leadership. the reagan library is a a national treasure. it's an extraordinary institution. every american should visit it. and if they have kids and grandkids, they should make sure
they get there. and i'm just so grateful that you have been dedicated to conveying the spirit of ronald reagan. and i think in that sense you have created a real building block of our future that gives us hope that we continue to be a unique country. >> well, thanks so much, mr. speaker. thank you again for being with us. our best to calista and stay safe. >> i'll do it. thank you. >> binge watch booktv this summer. saturday evening at 8 p.m. eastern settle in and watch several hours of your favorite authors. tonight we're featuring books written by former presidents including jimmy carter, george h.w. bush, bill clinton, george w. bush and barack obama. and watch saturday, august 8th, as we feature books written by former first ladies ine choosing rosalyn carter, barbara bush, hillary clinton, laura bush and michelle obama. binge watch booktv all summer
on c-span2. >> during a virtual event hosted by the commonwealth club of california, former defense secretary robert gates took a critical look at the use of u.s. power around the world since the end of world war ii. here's a portion. >> how the united states had gone from if a position of supreme power, probably unrivaledded since the roman empire in every dimension of power in 1993 to a country today beset by challenges everywhere. and i thought about how did we, how did that happen, how did we get here x. so i began looking at all of the major foreign policy challenges we've had since 1993 and talking about what we had done and what we had not done that contributed to that decline in our role in the
world and in our power in the world. and what i came up with was a set of nonmilitary instruments of power that we had, that had played such an important role in our success in the cold war against the soviet union and had largely been neglected and withered after the end of the cold war at a time when we continued to fund our military. we basically dismantled all of the non-military instruments of power from duh moment city to economic -- diplomacy to economic leverage to strategic communications and more. we can go into that later. and as i looked at the situations, at these challenges from small ya and haiti -- somalia and haily in 1993 and others -- haiti in 1993 right up to our relationship with russia and china today, north korea, it
occurred to me that we had failed in many respects to figure out how to compete with these powers outside of the military realm. and so, expect reality is of -- and the reality is of the 15 challenges that i write about, for all practical purposes i consider 13 to be failures. and that's why in the title the word "failures" comes first. there are a couple of successes, and they're important successes, and there are some lessons to be learned from those as well. but we had a lot of, we had a lot of problems during that 20, 27-year period, and i would just conclude by saying, you know, the wars in iraq and afghanistan both began with very quick military victories. and the problem that i identify,
whether it was iraq and afghanistan or somalia or haiti or others was that once we had achieved military victory, we then changed our mission. we then decided to move to trying to bring democracy and reform the governments of those countries. and that's where we ran into failure. >> to watch the rest of this program, visit our web site, booktv.org, and do a search for robert gates or the tighten of book, "exercise of power." >> good evening, everyone. hello. my name is mila, i'm the i events manager at porter square books. want to thank everyone for signing on and spending an evening with us. your presence here supports us, your local and independent and employee-owned bookstore, and we're so grateful. the sun is out, but we're mostly still s