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tv   Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Strategic Balance in...  CSPAN  February 18, 2020 8:53am-10:02am EST

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captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 for years now, it's been assumed that america's destiny was to be overtaken by china as the world's largest economy, and that may still happen, but actually it's china's economy that now seems under pressure in the face of robust american efforts to stop china taking advantage of the free trade that it never practices itself. the people who know china best, the rich china, can't wait to get their money out and their kids educated in the west and
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the people of hong kong who are risking bloody repression of support of their british heritage don't trust the goodwill or longevity of the communist regime. for years it's been assumed that globalization under pinned by free trade was unstoppable and unambiguously good. even though it was much more obviously good for the rich people of poor countries than for the poor people of rich ones. yet trump's tariff hikes against china seem to be bringing more investment dollars home, boosting american manufacturing jobs, and cutting the trade deficit while shrinking china's role in america's supply chains should cut the technology debt. for years it's been assumed that the price of american global leadership was putting up with unreasonable critics and free-riding friends, with joining global agreements that
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were against america's best interests and it was turning the other cheek every time an enemy took advantage of american decency. that's how it was. but that's not how it is under trump. storming out of meetings is a rough way to make a point, but in refusing to be polite and to play by the old rules, trump has actually improved america's position. he's called china a trade thief that was destroying american jobs, mexico the open backdoor that would have to pay for a wall, nato allies freeloaders who needed to get serious about their own defense and the paris climate change agreement shackling america in ways that didn't bind other countries. it's been crude but effective. whatever you think of trump's personal integrity, he's turned out to have had remarkable
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political integrity. he's done everything that he promised to do, including things that other presidents promised but never delivered, like moving the u.s. embassy to jerusalem. he promised to cut taxes and he has. he promised to boost the armed forces and he has. he promised to pull out of the transpacific partnership and he has. he promised to pull out of paris, and he has. he promised to appoint conservatives to the courts and he did. he promised to build a wall and he has, at least to the extent that congress would let him. he promised to bring china to book on trade, and he's certainly made a very strong start. he promised to pull america out of the endless wars of the middle east and with far fewer u.s. soldiers killed on his
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watch, america is liked no less but feared much more. above all else he promised to make america great again, and i think he's largely succeeding fundamentally because his main instincts are sound and supreme self-confidence means that he's never afraid of acting upon them. first and foremost, trump is an american patriot. america made him, so he loves his country as he loves himself. now, inevitably, there have been be some questionable calls, pulling out of the transpacific partnership was one, if only because for once it enabled china, with its rival free trade deal, the regional comprehensive economic partnership to look more like a credible global leader than america. pulling out of syria could have
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been been abandonment of the kurds who had been america's most reliable muslim allies in the middle east. but he more or less reversed that decision 36 hours later and a lot of american forces streamed in as another were streaming out. then, there was the drone killing of iran's top general. in my view it was an error not to respond more vigorously to iran's downing of man american drone, seizure of western oil tankers and an attack on saudi oil refineries, but then it might have been hard to respond proportionately to stlix that had made america look weak but had no actual casualties. once iran and its proxies had directly attacked americans, trump did what no one expected, he killed the very spearhead of
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iran's attempts to export its islamic revolution. now this could still have dire consequences, but unmistakably it shows you don't mess with america. now that might not be a recipe for success on main street or middle america, but as we know, in the middle east, gentle people are taken advantage of while fierce ones are left alone. and there's a world of difference between a fight with iran that trump is obviously ready to pick and a war in iran that trump shows not the slightest inclination to wage. between attacking iranian facilities and preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon that america could well be up for and a ground invasion trying to bring about regime change
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that should really be the business of the iranian people. unarticulated, perhaps, but real enough there is emerging a trump doctrine, the use of american economic strength against regimes and use military force to avenge any attack. for the trump haters the soleimani killing was more evidence of wild isolation between isolationism and interventionism, but more likely, it just shows trump's determination to hurt america's enemies, but not to add to america's responsibilities. from afar it does seem unpresidential to threaten other countries with hellfire and personal to mark foes as
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pocahontas and sleepy joe, but maybe this namecalling is an american version of the battles that are routine in other countries' parliaments and it's unprecedented for the leader of a free world where words can be weapons to compulsively tweet against anything he doesn't like. oern on the other hand, given tendencies to fudge, may be an unfiltered president is what the world needs right now. with a new czar in russia, new sultan in istanbul and new emperor in beijing and more great power jockeying than for many years, perhaps it is just as well that there's another rough rider in the white house. even though russia and turkish meddling in syria and libya won't turn out any better for them than it has for western
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powers and china won't be strengthened by cumulating climate states in the third world any more than other countries have, and why shouldn't america use first its economic strength with its military muscle in reserve in order to bring about its geopolitical objectives. what matters is that america and other western countries should rel hevate their economies, elevate their people and believe in themselves and about where they need to always weighing what will do more good than harm, in order to protect their citizens, to defend their interests, and to advance their values. in america, and in britain, and in australia, this is happening. as prime minister it was my view it was presumptuous of a western
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country like australia to demand that other countries be just like us. in the middle east, for instance, the most we could expect and demand was governments that didn't practice genocide against their own people, nor permit terrorism against ours. in other words, punish bad behavior, reward good behavior and work with anyone where it's in our interests to do so. in my time australia flew military jets through china's self-proclaimed air defense identification zone, yet worked with china as we led the search for missing aircraft mh-370. we did deals with our three largest trading partners to give us more like the same access to their markets that they had to ours, we were determined to bring back our dead from the mh-17, peacefully if possible but forcefully if necessary, we joined the fight against the
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caliphate but on the understanding that we couldn't do more for the iraqis than they were ready to do for themselves, and while we worked with the indonesian government to stop people smuggling, when they failed to prevent illegal would-be migrant boats from leaving their country for ours, well, we turned them around and we sent them back. while i never thought that the prospect of a slightly warmer climate in some decade's time was the world's biggest threat, never thought that, i was prepared to sign up to a emissions reduction target in paris provided other countries did likewise and on the advice that cuts could be achieved without loss of jobs and without new taxes. as prime minister, i tried to make it easier for president obama by ensure that australia was always there to help. now i'm not sure whether these
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policies were liberal interventionist, neo conservative or pragmatic realist and frankly i never really cared for tags anyway, provided the result was a stronger australia and a better world. it's said with trump that you should take him seriously, but not literally. actually, i believe there is a pattern to it. he talks loudly to make a point, but talks softly when he's carrying a big stick. when he's taken out a general, for instance, or forced a trade concession. sometimes he makes speeches that stand in comparison even with reagan's. his recent speech to the united nations, for instance, was to patriotism over globalism and to decent values over ideology.
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he was highly critical of some governments but respectful of countries and generous to peoples and cultures. if you want freedom, he said, take pride in your country and if you want democracy he said, hold on to your sovereignty. you see, trump is the first major leader in the western world to have worked out that poorer people have become more conservative just as richer people have become more progressive. and it will recast center right politics around a country we can take pride in and a community we have a place in as well as an economy we can make the most of. at least in the english speaking countries, center right politics has never been very ideological or even especially philosophical. it's been about coming to grips with the troubles of the time in
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ways that correspond with people's best instincts. in the eisenhower era, it was spreading prosperity through home ownership and higher wages. in the reagan thatcher era it was more economic dynamism through lower taxes and less regulation and now in the trump/johnson era, it's still that, but with an added stress on pride in country at a time when so many of our citizens feel that everyone's interests come first but their own. you see at the heart of the center right project has been care for those who are working hard but not necessarily getting ahead. the forgotten people. my party's founder bob menzy called them, the people of the fly overstates for trump and the
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brex brexitears for johnson. a lifetime of pitching to the public seems to have given trump an instinctive feel for what i would call social fabric conservatism. unlike the left where what matters is subscribing to politically correct beliefs, for the center right what matters is attending to people's real concerns. trump's people cheered draining the swamp because the washington class, like the west minter clique, the establishment if you like on both sides, have become more concerned with who is in power than with what was actually being done with it. politics have become an insider's game, tee tachdetache the voters and their concerns, but now trump is their man
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running the government, not washington's man running them. who would have thought four years ago that reality tv capitalist, addicted to tweeting, would turn out to be a more effective president than the political insider who preceded him, blessed with soaring rhetoric and symbolizing the country's ability to heal. that's what the impeachment obsessed sore losers who dominate the democratic party don't get. yes, everywhere our politics is becoming more fragmented and polarized, the right is more right and the left is more left, and there's a tendency to retreat into echo chambers, but all of us are still citizens of particular countries and we
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still need the governments of our countries to succeed. rather than demonize everyone we disagree with, isn't it better to give our leaders for the time being at least some grudging respect. four years back had i been an american i would have been a reluctant trump voter. n not now. he might sometimes seem crass but that doesn't mean he's not the best possible president for america at this time. after all when it comes to electing the president people aren't choosing a saint or a role model, they're seeking a leader. the one thing you can say of trump is that he's not been shy to lead. in my country if you have a go, you deserve to get a go.
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that's how i feel about the presidency right now. which i guess makes me a supporter of keeping america great and an overseas support of keeping america great, but let's face it, it is a great country and all of us have a stake at keeping it that way. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. you know, one of the things i sdants in introducing you and should have is that you are a keen observer of american politics. i think you know american politics as well as any american. i should have mentioned that in the lead up. i wanted to start if i could with a question that's more political and maybe more focused on australia off the bat here. for 10 or 15 years, the general take on the connection between conservatives here in the u.s. and conservatives or liberals in
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australia was that they're different, you know. that in america where economic conservatives, you know, focused on economic freedom and the rest but we have this social element and in australia they don't have that. in some ways here the impression was, they're cooler in australia. the conservatives are cool in australia because they don't care about social issues. they care about low taxes and all the rest. i wonder if you could tell us something about the way conservatism in australia is evolving? it seems to have evolved substantially in the last 10, 15 years? >> thanks, walter. look, i should offer this opening observation that conservatism is not an ideology and i would be reluctant to even call it a philosophy.
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conservatism is a state of mind as much as anything else. it's a set of instincts. ultimately it's respect for what is and a reluctance to change what works, other than where it's obvious that there is something that would be better. invariably that something that would be better is more of a restoration than a reform. it's going back to something which better suits these times than that which had perhaps corrupted what had well suited earlier times. conservatism is certainly not a systemic philosophy based on a particular idea in the way that liberalism might be or socialism
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might be or communism might be. that's the first point i would make. now, conservatism tends to be what people who regard themselves as conservatives think and do at any particular time and the greatest contemporary conservative in australia was john howard, our 25th prime minister, and the longest serving prime minister other than bob menzy the founder of the liberal party. howard said that the essential position of the liberal party is to be economically liberal and socially conservative. what he meant by that was that we tended to support the market in economics, but we tended to be traditionalists when it came to other things.
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i think conservatism in australia is no less conservative on social issues than it was, not that we're always successful in defending traditional values, but i think it's becoming less liberal on economic issues. i think conservatism in the english speaking world is becoming less liberal on economic issues. president trump is not a free marketear in the way that president reagan was. prime minister johnson is not a free marketeer in the way that margaret thatcher was. neither reagan nor thatcher were universally market oriented, but in those days, let's face it we were reacting against the statism of the '50s and the '60s
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and the '70s, the sclerosis of the '70s in particular, in those days there was a great deal of enthusiasm in the markets. i think today while we all accept markets are the best engine of wealth generation, i think we also accept that wealth generation is not the only thing we should be on about and that the social fabric is incredibly important as well as the wealth of our country. this is the long-winded discourse, but nevertheless i do think conservatism takes on the temper of the times. you remember back in the days of the clinton election, the phrase "the economy stupid." i think these days the quote would be to say, "society stupid."
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we're more conscious of the bonds of the importance of solidarity today than we might have been 20 or 30 years ago. >> thank you. i wanted to turn to a question more international and it gets right to the topic of your talk, what next after america. what is the answer to the question, what if not america leading in the indo-pacific, but globally what other choice do we have? >> yeah. well, it's interesting. i chose a topic and wrote a speech. that's what happens. you think let's talk about something and then as you start to think about it and write about it, you decide there's actually something more interesting and more urgent so you go off in another direction. look, there is no doubt that
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there are more challenges to american prestige and strength, economic and military, today than for quite a few decades, but the interesting thing is that under trump, america doesn't appear to be daunted by those challenges in a way that i think it had been before trump. post-trump -- we don't know what the post-trump era with will look like because we haven't got to that yet, but the singular feature of donald trump is that he has supreme self-confidence in himself and in his country
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and that, frankly, was the missing ingredient in the previous presidency and frankly, there has been a distance to the west for much of the post-war period. our confidence waxed under reagan and thatcher, it waned under their successes, i think again it's starting to wax under people like trump and boris johnson and that's a good thing. >> i want to take some questions from the audience. there's quite a bit in the news. i'm sure there are questions out there. yes, right here. the yellow shirt. identify yourself if you wouldn't mine. >> ken meyercourt. you mentioned the free world a number of times. there is an un-free world and if so, what should australia's
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relations be with it? >> well, obviously there are lots of important countries which don't enjoy freedom in the sense that we enjoy freedom in britain, america, australia and western europe. china's not a free country, as the people of hong kong are only too well aware. i don't think turkey is becoming more democratic. i think it's plainly becoming less democratic. russia seems to have a period of anarchic freedom but plainly that's not the case understand president putin. so yeah, there are lots of countries that don't enjoy the sort of freedom that we take for granted. i'm not saying that we shouldn't work with those countries. certainly i was only too happy to work with china where it was in our mutual interests to do so. but i think it's also important
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to accept that if a country is not free, it's not free. and not to gloss over those difrpsz. i think for a long time there was this rosy assumption on the part of many of us, myself included perhaps, that china and the west were on kind of converging paths, but i don't think anyone would say that's the case now and i think it's been obviously at least for the last few years that that is not the case. look, the world comprises some 190 different countries, big and small, similar and dissimilar, free and not free, and the important thing is for those of us that are free to do what we can to nudge the world in the
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right direction, always accepting that it will never be perfect and we can easily end up doing more harm than good if we blunder into situations where angels would feel a tread. >> the trickiest is the chinese because china, as you say, is far from free, but it's essential to the australian economy. what's the future of australia's relationship with china, given that dynamic? >> okay. well, it's a good question and there will be lots of business figures in australia that would urge the australian government to avoid doing anything that might upset the chinese government, not for argument's
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sake to support american freedom of navigation exercises in the south china sea, not to protest about what maybe in the offing in hong kong, not to meet with the dalai lama and so on. now i certainly don't think we should be gratuitously offensive to nape. certainly we shouldn't be gratuitously offensive to china, given its significance to us and the wider world. but i think we've also got to appreciate that china doesn't do deals wit us because it's benevolent, china doesn't trade with us because it's doing us a favor, china trades with us because we're a very good trading partner. it gets good productses at a good price. it would be against china's long-term self-interests, cutting off its nose to spite
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its face, if china were to change its trading patterns to try to punish australia for argument's sake for being a reliable strategic partner of the united states. as always, these things are balancing acts, but in the end, you've got to have your own self-respect and the last thing you should do is sell your soul for a short term financial gain. >> yeah. i can say watching the debates in australia from afar, that's a perspective that's sometimes lost in australia. you talked as lot about confidence in the united states. again, from afar an outsider, sometimes it doesn't seem australians have enough confidence in their own country and its assets in the value that
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it brings to the table when dealing with china. it's all china as the demander and australia as the respondent in those situations. other questions right here. >> leah from voice of america. in your speech you talked about the phase one trade deal between the united states and china. you think president trump has made a very strong start. i'm wondering can you talk a little bit about the impact this phase one trade deal between the u.s. and china might have on australia? that's one. the second question is australia is part of the trump administration indo-pacific strategy, from australia's point of view do you think this strategy has been effective in balancing china? if not containing china? >> thank you. >> well, the first point to make
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i suppose is that it is absolutely in australia's interests and it is absolutely in the interests of the indo-pacific region that america retain a very strong involvement. i don't think there's any country in asia other than china itself that wants america to quit its positions in the indo-pacific. that's the first point to make. the second point to make is that there is absolutely no doubt that china has taken advantage of a globalized economy and look, all credit to the chinese people in government for the extraordinary advances in human well being that have been the
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result in lifting half a billion people from the third world to the middle class in just over a generation is one of the most remarkable, if not the most remarkable advance in material well being in the whole of history. all credit to the chinese for this. the fact remains that the chinese system is very, very different from others, a world dominated by china would be very different from the world we've known for the last drin centuryo and it would be a worse world if almost every respect. the fact that the chinese people who can want to get their money out of china, want to get their kids educated in the west, want to see if they can acquire property in the west and passports in western countries says all you need to know about the real nature of the current chinese government. does this reflect badly on the chinese people?
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no, it doesn't because if you look at singapore, if you look at taiwan, if you look at hong kong, if you look at the way chinese people live in countries such as australia and america, there is no kind of authoritarian gene in the chinese people as we have seen, looking at taiwan and hong kong and chinese people who are living in countries like this. as for the phase one trade deal, let's see how it works out. at the moment it's really an aspiration. it's a commitment. it's not something that's been delivered upon. if china goes ahead and buys billions and billions more from the united states, that's all well and good.
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my suspicion is that won't have a huge impact on australia's exportz. our main exports to china are things like coal, iron ore and natural gas and boutique food stuff. it seems to me that it's more commodity food stuff that america is going to be exporting to china and i don't think australia is in that market to the same extent. >> hi. tony, matt from the sydney morning newspaper. you were saying the bush fires in australia are getting a lot of attention here, the front page of the papers here and people who may not know, you have been out fighting the fires on the front line. in many publications here australia is being held up as kind of an example in what will happen if the world doesn't take action on carbon emissions, kind
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of a posterchild for a lack of climate change, what's your reaction to that? i was wondering if you think that the prime minister has -- his reaction to the fires, has he made any mistakes? he took the holiday to hawaii when the fires were happening. was that a mistake? what do you think of the way he's handled it? >> well, i don't think anyone could fault the extraordinary effort that the prime minister has put in to responding to the current or now i think starting to recede bush fire emergency. in terms of money, in terms of time, and in terms of commitment of the armed forces, it's been quite unprecedented. so all credit to scott morrison for what he's done there. now just on the subject of climate change, look, i had, if
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you like, a standard response whenever i was asked about climate change. i said climate does change. mankind does make a difference. and we should do what we reasonably can to limit emissions. but i would always say we shouldn't damage our economy in the pursuit of environmental objectives, particularly when it might turn out to be counterproductive. we all know that stronger economies are much better at managing the environment than weaker ones. you only have to look at the united states on the one hand and the countries of africa on the other hand. so look, everything associated with an extreme weather event
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these days is taken as proof of climate change. bush fires proved climate change, floods prove climate change, superstorm sandy i think that proved climate change, whether it's extraordinarily cold or extraordinarily hot, whether it's extraordinarily dry or extraordinarily wet, it all proves climate change because if you think climate change is the most important thing, everything can be turned to proof. i think that many -- it has almost a religious aspect to it. i think the prime minister is right. he said that climate change may be playing a role in the drought which triggered the bush fires, but we've got to remember that bush fires are hardly unknown in
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australia and while the current bush fires are probably the worst that new south wales has experienced and the current bush fire season has been very extensive, the duration may be unprecedented, in terms of burning out large parts of the country, no, not unprecedented. in terms of death, no, not unprecedented. the black saturday bush fires in victoria killed 173 people. the ash wednesday bush fires of '83 killed 75 people. in the '74 fire season, that burned out more than 100 million hectares compared to 6 million hectares so far this season. look, i'm not one of those
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people who sees the current bush fires as confirmation of all we've ever feared about the changing climate. i see the current bush fires as the sort of thing that we are always going to be prone to in a country such as ours, the land of droughts and flooding rains as the poet said all those years back. that said, obviously we do have to take sensible measures to reduce emissions and the great thing about australia is that while we're not perhaps the most enthusiastic members of the climate squad, we are actually meeting our paris targets in a way that very few other countries do. i think we should get more credit for actually keeping our commitments when it comes to reducing emissions.
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>> in the center here. >> thank you very much for the wonderful speech. angel with hong kong television. how is australia going to balance the australia and china -- balancing the australia and china relationship at the same time as the u.s. and australia relationship? do you see china and australia will keep deepening their relationship as trading partners in the future? what might effect like the largest trading partners right now? thank you. >> look, john howard had a way of putting it. he said, australia doesn't have to choose between our history and our geography, and i had my own way of putting it when i was prime minister and said you don't make new friends by losing old ones. i think it's more than possible for australia to have an
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extremely intimate strategic partnership with the united states, while at the same time to have a strong and growing economic relationship with china. i think there are some things that china and australia are always going to disagree ability, as long as china remains a communist autocracy and australia remains a liberal democracy, but that's life. people don't always agree, countries don't always agree, the important thing is to manage the disagreements and so far we've managed to do it well. >> thank you. katie wong. as the u.s. has this free, open indo-pacific strategy, so from your point of view what can u.s.
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and australia do together more in this field to promote the values here? >> well, look, i think australia and america are doing a lot and i can't think of anything where we haven't done as much as is reasonably possible, so look, i think the important thing is for the united states to stay very closely engaged in the indo-pacific region. you might be hinting at what should be western response to the asia infrastructure investment bank be, and if you
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are, i think that we need to be careful about anything which creates a debt trap for other countries and this plainly is a potential outcome of the sorts of measures that are happening under the so-called belt and road initiative. not good for the recipient and in the long run i suspect not good for the donor. the united states development aid, the australian development aid, is invariably directed to strengthenings the recipient, as opposed to establishing a relationship of dependency between the donor and the recipient and i certainly don't think that in response to belt and road initiative we should
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engage in that kind of activity ourselves. >> maybe even a hotter topic than that is the issue of telecommunications technology, where australia is going with that and where everyone is going with regard to 5g and huawei. can you comment on that? >> well look, the position of my government was that we didn't want to see huawei deeply embedded in our telecommunications infrastructure. it was, in fact, a decision of the former labor government, which my government maintained to exclude huawei from the national broadband network, it was a decision of the government to exclude huawei from our 5g telecommunications system and i think that was -- i think that
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was a correct decision. i do think there are issues when -- i mean, given in china there is a degree of government involvement in business and a degree of government direction of business that is completely unknown in countries such as ours, i do think that we have to be very careful about too much involvement by china in strategic supply chains and i think president trump is very much aligned to that and i think that what we are seeing is some unbundling of those supply chains, at least in respect of america and china and i don't think that's a bad thing.
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>> right here in the center. i'm going to get a couple here because this will probably be the last round. >> gerald chandler. could you make some remarks about changing australian attitudes towards immigration reception of refugees and republicanism? >> and then down here with the blue shirt. >> hi, tony. do you share former prime minister kevin rudd's belief that china and the u.s. can cooperate in a prolonged sense instead of just the temporary, that they can exist -- the world order can exist together? anyone else? yes. right here. >> you talked about -- >> could you identify yourself. >> anne pearce. an author especially in american foreign policy. you talked about america's singular strength and goodwill, which i agree with, but i feel that americans recently have so
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much less goodwill toward each other and i feel that there's this tendency to care less and less about people living in just horrible conditions with atrocity-committing regimes and less concern by americans about the human rights of people around the world and more sort of feeling sorry for ourselves, especially obviously on the left, but i wondered if you have a sense of america changing in that direction. >> three questions and whatever else you would like to wind up with? >> okay. well look, thank you. immigration, australia, like america, is an immigrant country and the fact that people can come to australia from anywhere in the world an build a great life for themselves and be first-class australians adds i think a wonderful humane and even heroic dimension to our
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country. it's almost impossible to be an australian and be anti-immigrant. just because you're pro-immigrant doesn't mean that you necessarily support any particular level of immigration with current very high levels of immigration to australia. because at the record levels we have seen over the last decade or so, i think there is downward pressure on wages, i think there is upward pressure on housing prices. i think there is a lot of pressure on infrastructure. so i think you can certainly make a case to the long-term average then there have been in the last decade or so. but, look, that's not to be anti-immigrant. to the anti-immigrant i think is almost to be anti-australian.
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on becoming a republic, well, look, america is a wonderful republic. britain and other countries are wonderful constitutional anarchies. and i think america is product of american history. our system of government is product of our history. you can't change the history and you should be reluctant to change the system unless you are absolutely certain the improvement is alternative. and i don't think any problems in australia that becoming a republic would fix. feeling for the monarchy waxes and wanes. obviously, there is respect for the queen. i think there is considerable enthusiasm for many other members of the royal family. from time to time, the human
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factor in all families is something that we might, i suppose, cheer or not, as the case may be. but in the end, it's the system, not the individuals that we support. it's the office, not the office holder that in the end counts. and i don't think that the sort of personal stuff that we have been reading about over the last few weeks is going to make any long-term difference to this wonderful institution. china and america, look, i think there is absolutely no doubt that we are in an era of great power competition. the question is where does it lead? now, we have to accept the fact that war between modern
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countries would be cataclysmic in a way that no previous war has been, destructive as all wars have been. so i think we just have to have faith of the good sense of the leaders of these countries to manage things effectively. the united states and the soviet union managed conflict and tension and not perfectly, but sufficiently well to avoid all out warfare for 50-odd years. and i'm sure the same thing can take place between the united states and china. and, look, the last point that was raised, it's interesting, isn't it, there is a sense in which we have never been better
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off materially, and yet often we feel that we've rarely been worse off spiritually than we are now. this is quite a problem in the modern world, particularly in the modern west, and expresses itself in so many different ways. there is a bad temper, a reluctance to accept good faith today, which is more pronounced than a generation ago. there is a tendency for our disagreements to be less and less civil, even in countries with a long tradition of civil
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discourse, such as ours. i really dislike the fact that these days if you disagree with someone, they are not just mistaken or misguided, they are morally wrong. because, let's face it, no one has a monopoly on wisdom. no one has a monopoly on truth. there are few people and few arguments that we can't learn from in some way. so, look, i share your dismay at aspects of our contemporary conversation. and all we can do is try, in our own way, to be up lifters rather than draggers down. and it's not always easy,
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particularly in the heat of argument we sometimes go too far and we impugn people's motives rather than simply criticizing a particular position. whenever that happens, i think we should do our best to make amends and resolve to lift our game. and probably most of us at the moment could lift our game. >> well, thank you so much for those remarks, tony, i'm so glad we could work this out today and have you here. thanks again. [ applause ]
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>> today, senator bernie sanders speaks to supporters at a get out the early vote rally on the university of nevada campus in las vegas. early voting for the nevada caucus ends today with the caucus on saturday february 22. today, live on c-span, a debate between senate ed markey and joe kennedy. boston provides live coverage at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. on live or listen freon te on cn app. with the iowa and new hampshire caucus behind them, here's a look for the remaining
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candidates. the nevada caucus often called the first in the west is saturday february 22. they said 36 delegates to the convention. south carolina is saturday, february 29, an open primary with 54 pledged delegates. and super tuesday, where 15 states and one territorialo kate about a third of all the democratic pledged dell kate's is march 3rd. >> our c-span campaign 2020 bus team is traveling across the country asking voters what issues should presidential candidates address. >> this election, the most important for me is civil rights and civil liberties like voting rights, reproductive rights, criminal justice reform, and reproductive freedom. these rights are more important now than ever. because we are seeing them being violated left and right. but they are just as important as every other issue. >> the issue that is most
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important to me right now is the fact that our veterans do not have housing. i feel as though new hampshire, since it's one of our 50 states, should do more for its veterans. and right now veterans have to leave and either go to vermont or they need to go to massachusetts in order to get the services that they need. i don't think that that is appropriate. these people make a sacrifice for our country and they should be able to have the services when they come home. >> i'm really interested in having issues. especially what they'll do with carbon emissions as well as renewables. >> and the most important thing to me about this campaign is the truth. we need to work on gun violence. we need to work on health care. we need to work on college education. we have a the lo t of things to work on. but when the senate votes openly against the truth in a partisan
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manner rk manner, it's time for us to return to our roots, face facts, it's triem to faime to face the we can't do that if we don't open our eyes and pay attention. >> one of the most important issues in the 2020 i election is the cost of education and current cost of education for postgraduate and graduate work. and also to the kind of concerning legislation that's been coming out of the trump administration in regards to secondary ed and k through 12. devos hasn't really done a lot of good for teachers. as a teacher i've seen it. and for me education is number one. and that's why i'm voting. >> voices from the road, on c-span. >> u.s. army secretary ryan mccarthy talks about the importance of having a u.s. military


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