tv Today in Washington CSPAN December 22, 2009 2:00am-6:00am EST
hosting in march in washington an entrepreneurship summit that is going to be bringing business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, high tech entrepreneurs from muslim countries around it is world to d.c. to engage wit their counterparts in the public sector and private sector here in the u.s. to build new partnership, to promote skills development. we have scaled up exchange programs. we are going to be sending science envoys, including prominent arab-americans and muslim-americans among them, although not exclusively by any means to countries around the middle east and beyond, to muslim majority countries, because one of the things that we've heard in the listening that we have been doing throughout this year, and especially since the cairo speech has been a desire to partner more on science and technology issues, and there
out and to balance the nature of our engagement with these communities and as part of the world. the u.s. has interests around the world. we are a global power and a global economy. we do not only want to be engaged at the level of high politics and diplomacy and we do not only want to be engaged in the business of doing business. we want to be engaged with an ally that is seeking to build a better future and to be a force of good in their own communities. we are working to build those partnerships. we have put resources behind it, but we are scaling up now. >> [applause] -- [applause] >> i wanted to spend time here
taking questions. there were several questions that touch on the theme of the palestinian conflict. as most of the audience is aware, the obama administration came in and took -- came into washington with a tuesday solution and they put significant pressure on the israeli prime minister to verbally and knowledge that as a goal. there has been a disagreement with the israelis over the settlements. at this point, we are at a bit of an impasse. i think the administration was hoping to get negotiations
going quite rapidly, but so far we have a standstill. i would like to get your input. also, the other analysts -- panelists can speak as to which we wish to go. to what extent is solving the israeli-palestinian issue and a more global sense? is this something that has a huge impact or is this something that is a conflict that does not fundamentally change the way that the u.s. and muslim countries will be relating to each other. >> what did talk about the diplomatic side of things.
what the impact will be, if we get to conflict resolution, which i hope that we do, i think that will be an impact. people will have to decide for themselves how to judge that. we are not at an impasse. it is tough. if it was not tough, it would have been done by now. i can tell you that senator mitchell's office is run across all from my office. i see, every day, the level of activity that is taking place. senator mitchell is not a man that believes in impasse. he is a patient, determined, committed principled mediator. he is working every day with the whole region. the president's vision is a vision of a two-stage solution. but it also includes peace between israel and syria and the broader relationship between israel and the arab states.
he is continuing to work with both sides, trying to improve the atmosphere that can get us back to negotiations to persuade both sides that we've made no pre conditions -- no preconditions. we can get a continuous, viable palestinian state so that we can get with the two -- did what the two sides need. -- should get what the two sides need. we are engaged in humanitarian assistance. what it is true that usaid is not maintain a presence in gaza, but there is a lot that we are doing to bring students and others to the west bank so that they can continue to interact
with their fellow palestinians. there will also engage in programs. by no means are we hands-off in terms of trying to help the people of gaza. we are also engaged in the work of trying to shape the opinion environment so that leaders -- i don't have to tell you that domestic politics are really difficult. we need to create an atmosphere where leaders feel that they have more flexibility to take the tough decisions that they need to take.
we are to be there every day. senator mitchell talks about his experience in northern ireland. the way that he describes it is that for two years, both sides kept saying no. he said that he did not take the first note or the sec memo or the ninth no -- the first note, or the sec no or the nine no -- the first no, the sec that no, or the ninth no -- the second no, or the ninth no. >> the way everybody looks the other way to allow these tunnels to exist so that the sheep cost $450 for one family.
this is egypt on the one side and this is his role on the other side. -- israel on the other side. you have been doing what they can to keep that under control. -- you have been doing what they can to keep that under control. -- you have them doing what they can to keep that under control. there is raw sewage in the streets when it was not there six years ago. we never comment on that. if you're doing a behind closed doors, we do not know about it. this crisis is a man-made -- is man-made. i do think that it is critical
and i think it would go very far not just to solve this problem, but to give the people a sense of justice and recognition that they have endured for the past 60 years. it needs to go much farther than it has and we need to stop talking about israel and palestinians -- and palace -- israelis and palestinians as if they are different because they are not. when you talk about their partners and bringing people over, they are under occupation. the do not have control over 85% of their lives. we also know that americans side with politics and interest groups and the only last comment i would say is that some of us are excluded from sitting at the table because we're labeled certain ways. when you look at it, the issue
that we are targeted for is our position in support of the palestinian people. i would hope that in both the state department and the department of defense, there is a willingness to look beyond labels that others might put on us to be able to say that these people belong at the table. that is how we get excluded from even being part of the conversation which makes it harder to solve those problems. [applause] >> the department of defense, as an institution, is not involved deeply. that is a diplomatic wrangle. if the president says that we need your support, then obviously, we give it. we're not the diplomatic corps, we are security support. >> i think it is a complex issue. in 1947, when the issue of the
occupation of israel came, we have the same kind of complex issue. president truman acted decisively. if the president of united states is political will and supports the values that this stands for, tomorrow, there will be a palestinian state. [applause] there is a lack of support and and there are double standards. this can be demonstrated partly because of the domestic politics. much of what they have been doing is the culmination of the religious -- in order for jesus to come, the last administration about that. -- bought that. to say that we're concerned,
no, we are not showing that kind of concern for human dignity that we would otherwise show to any other life that that life happened to be palestinian. >> i don't want to minimize in any way the passion of your views. i accept the passion with which to speak on the subject. but i have to question the idea that this administration has not demonstrated decisive, passionate commitment to this issue. senator mitchell was appointed on the second day of this administration. secretary clinton's first trip overseas was in ramallah to discuss this issue. this has been an everyday concern of this administration.
we are working to support the creation of a palestinian state diplomatically. we are working to support it during our development. we are helping the palestinian authority build up a strong, non-partisan, accountable security force that can protect the palestinian people and we work with the israelis so that when those palestinian forces are trained and capable, the israelis give them room to do their work. we do this every day. president truman recognized israel when it declared its independence. but had he not done that, would that have prevented israel's creation? this president got into office and said that he wanted to state solution. israeli settlement activity
must end. does that mean that he can snapped his fingers and make it happen? president truman could not do an, president obama cannot do it. we're doing what we can do. >> we can do more in terms of recognizing the humanity of the palestinians for 60 years. the world has allowed the entire population to suffer the worst kind of imprisonment in human history. we cannot be because of social and religious factors. honesty demands that we police recognize the humanity and the right of the palestinian people to live as a dignified people. none of these things ever came forward.
rather, we stopped those relief agencies under the political threat that it originated from the state of israel. relief agencies to support the palestinians. those people that supported those relief agencies were branded as terrorists and branded as unpatriotic. who are those people to call as unpatriotic? we defend america the same way as you defend. >> let me have led away in on this and then we will wrap this up.
>> i would save we have experienced a difficult time for us. we look at american foreign policy and see a huge change. as you are saying, this administration is doing something different. it will take some time and hopefully obama will have eight years because it will take at least that long. it is not something that you can do quickly. but you have to take into account the trauma of what we have witnessed over time. our own experiences as american muslims, with a pack -- whether palestinian or what, we have really affected our community. we should give this administration credit for what
it is doing. that is true. but we have lived through lot so far. the 60 years that i've visited refugee camps in lebanon, these are palestinians from 1948. their lives are no better than when they first got there. this is a longstanding history. and you are right, he cannot step -- snap his fingers. what can be done when there is that will in washington, that is what we are asking for. that is the sentiment that you feel. this population really has suffered so much for such a long time. [applause] >> i would like to thank you all for attending. i hope you enjoyed the panel. i would like to thank all the panelists. what i take from this discussion is a deep admiration and a deep love of the united states and its best. that is something that we all agree on.
i think there is disappointment at times when the nation does not live up to its values and it is those areas where there is clearly room for criticism. what we would like to see, and i would encourage everyone to carry through on these policies, these kind of policies that have improved the standing in the world. hopefully we will see it to state solution and see palestine born before this president's term is over. thank you. [applause] >> coming up next, former
republican candidate steve wha't the latest opinion survey on health care. what c-span, christmas day, a look ahead to 2010 politics and it looked at david gregory. buzz aldrin on the legacy. later, a former cia intelligence officer on u.s. strategy against all, and afghanistan. starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern, will member in the lives of william f. buckley jr. and senator ted kennedy. what's all next week, a
rare glimpse into america's highest court their unprecedented on the record conversations with tin supreme court justices about the court did, their work, and the history of the iconic supreme court building. five days of interviews with supreme court justices, starting next monday at a p.m. eastern on c-span. up next, a conversation with steve forbes on how he feels present a bomb is handling the economy and the latest on the senate health care debate. this is about one hour. journal" continues. host: joining us from new york, steve forbes, the author of "how capitalism will save us" -- former ceo. you indicate in your introduction that he began writing the book in 2007 before the economic collapse. what prompted you to write a
book on capitalism at that time? guest: well, there's a lot of misunderstanding about what true free markets are. how they work and what rules are needed. in that sense even though most have a favorable view, it is like the proverbial fish not knowing that it is swimming in water. we have the system but people really do not understand how works. i thought the book with a question and answer format would be useful. then the disaster came along in the along2007, so we have to focus it on the fact that the whole idea of free markets and capitalism has taken a real hit. -- the whole disaster came along in 2007. the major economic disasters in the past 100 years have had disastrous government policies as the origin.
host: as the crisis happened, tarp was passed another efforts were made,ok what is your overal view on how things have gone on? guest: one of the points we make in this book is that there is no party who has the virtue or lack of virtue in terms of economic policies. sometimes democrats get it right, sometimes republicans get it right. many times. both it times the crisis itself was a series of disasters from the fed and regulatory ones. it made for the perfect storm. since the fall of 2008, unfortunately some of the mistakes have been perpetrated. a boring but devastating one was an accounting thing called mark to market which
unnecessarily reduced capital of banks and insurance companies. it was a hearing that finally got the sec and other board to change it. it is when the stock market and financial restitutions began to give back on their feet. so far the process of the bill has not been completed. the dollar is still weak which is hurting investment. the credit system is still not making, not fully working in providing reliable credit to small, small businesses and consumers. the uncertainties out there, particularly with this massive health care bill passed -- uncertainty about cap and trade and other things, is hurting business investment. next year we will get economic growth, but it is like a baseball player who has been hitless who is now heading 250.
host: i want to invite viewers and listeners to join the conversation. steve forbes is with us until a 30 a.m. eastern to take your calls on the economy, politics, and capitalism. you write in your book about democratic capitalism being the most moral humane system, but has the system itself had some major problems in the last couple of years? guest: well, when you have an economic disaster which had its origins in massive money printing by the federal reserve, fannie and freddie guaranteeing $1.50 billion of disastrous mortgages, when the
egregious behavior of those on wall street breaks the law and will be punished -- one of the things to recognize is that human nature will not change. you will always have people trying to game the system. there are laws about fraud and the like to deal with them. but would government policies create the disaster is always free markets that get the blame. in the 1970's and the fed and other banks went on a binge of money-printing and gave us a devastating decade of inflation. business got the rap for it. in the great depression of the 1930's had its origins in a tariff from 1929, 1930. it destroyed the global trading system. the they put in big tax increases including one on checks.
if you wrote a check in the 1930's you also have to pay a stamp tax. those kinds of things turn this into an unmitigated disaster. you need sensible rules of the road for free-market spot, but also the government to do its part in making sure that we have things like a stable currency. and the government not trying to manipulate, always with good intentions, the economy. host: first call, on the republican line. caller: good morning. i read your book. it is an incredible book. we're really fired up here in georgia. we just got a speaker of the house elected a. we are trying to organize 27 million small businesses who are against higher taxes and regulation. if we get them fired up down you think that could be an
incredible force? we're trying to make our home town the capital, the small business capital of the world. guest: i think businesses and the american people are getting fired up. we saw the first indications of the tea parties early this year. people instinctively understand that you do not make radical changes in one sixth of the economies without thoughtful debate and discussion. people are also upset by the massive debts ideficit spending. yes, people rising up, especially small businesses. theyi] are the job creators. they will be hit hard by the changes. again, that is why we will get a recovery next year. but will be a flimsy one like
the 1970's. host: here is wellington, florida. caller: hi. host: please mute. caller: sorry. yes, the problem with the free market economy is that it is not pre-market at all. the banksñiñr make $10. you put your heart-earned money into the bank. it goes at the speed of light to the federal reserve and the bank gets credit for it. say, chase, and then they get fronte-weighted interest. the bankers have done nothing. you do not even need a degree to have a bankers license. it is because people cannot pay
off their loans. they get no equity in their house until 25 years on the 30- year mortgage. they still pay more interest and principal. then, the use the scam that you get to deduct taxes, but if you have a 17% tax bracket you must pay one of dollars to save $17. they are behind $83. they are behind $83. you have community banks, local not for profit banks. to ensure they did find a banker to do it and loan it out without the front-weighted interest. he would have a 20-year mortgage and in 10 years you have paid off after loan. host: thanks. will get steve forbes a response. guest: right now, there are
several parts of your observations, in terms of the banks today because of the federal reserve having a virtually zero-rate policy which i think is a mistake -- banks have no incentive to lend money. they get it virtually free and then can buy government bonds yielding up to 3%. that is a very nice spread. that is one reason why the system is not working. another reason why the system is not fully working yet is because while the president urges banks to lend his regulators are going into banks and telling them to get more capital and tighten standards. banks are getting a contradictory message. they the other one i get in trouble with their regulars by simply buying deposits and buying government bonds. if the markets were working at the banks would have to pay a true market rate for your
interest. in terms of mortgages and how they work, when you say how about a 20-year mortgage were you pay half of it after 10 years -- the very careful because that would front-load the principle and would end up having to pay both principal and interest. a big jump in the first 10 years. the monthly payment would end up being higher rather than the traditional 20 or 30 year. host: the caller also talked about income-tax. are you still a proponent of the flat tax? how would it work? guest: i am a believer in the flat tax. we have a 9 million-word tax cut that no one understands. money magazine years ago did a survey of the amylase-- the took a hypothetical family
taxes and give it to 46 tax preparers and as for the returns. what you got back was that the 46 preparers, no two could agree on what the family owed on federal income-tax. you have thousands of dollars of difference. what i believe should be done is just to jump this monstrosity which gets riddled with special provisions, replace it with a simple single rate. i propose a 17% with generous exemptions. a family of four would pay no federal income tax on the first $46,000 of income. only 17 cents on the dollar above $46,000. no tax on savings and no death taxes. on the business side for we have some of the highest taxes in the world right now, it would cut
the rate from 35% down to 17%. it would get rid of bill depreciation schedules. if you buy a piece of capital economy you have to go through all kinds of accomplishments on how much you can write off. i believe that you should write it off on the year that you make it and if you have a loss carry afford towards future profits. 25 countries have done it and it has worked well wherever it has been tried. host: chicago is next. caller: how are you doing? i see steve forbes on other services and i am familiar with what you are basically doing. it is two different contradictions. you have had the economy for the last 25 years and made money. you forget about those left. the object of the game is to make money, but to people like
you have already bankrupt the country and want to do it again. you want to tell everybody that you know how to fix its. how could you fix it if your ideas are so plentiful -- then how did you get into this mess in the first place? guest: in terms of the last 30 years since the early 1980, the u.s. among developed countries has been the biggest job craig torres in the world. seeing a huge expansion in our standard of living. little things on the day to day basis like cell phones, ipods. longevity has gone up. what open a the economy was the federal reserve. that is a government institution deciding if needed to help the economy by printing too much money. it is the equivalent of an automobile. you can have a fine vehicle, but if you don't put in enough fuel you will stall, and if you put in too much will flood the engine. the fed flooded the engine.
it first went to commodities in 2004. oil, copper, gold all shot up. in the housing market it put the booming market on steroids to banks with lower lending standards. you got to the time were you did not have to make a downpayment on a mortgage. experience says that is a formula for disaster, and it was. if we get the policies right, there is no reason why we cannot resume expansion again. host: republican column next. he is from bloomington, ill.. caller: on the mark to market accounting you are suggesting that the financial institutions should be able to assign arbitrary values to the assets they hold. that is what got us into this mess. i cannot go to a bank and sit at my house is worth $200,000 and
get a loan. my house is worth $150,000. you did not make any sense, steve. guest: this gets to an arcane, boring area. it gets to how banks and insurance companies, how you value of what they call their regulatory capital. institutions must have reserves obviously for losses and to meet future obligations as for life insurance policies. the question has always been how to value assets held for reserves for regulatory purposes? until 2007 for 70 years the tradition had been that if a bank bought an asset, for example, a bond for $1,000 -- a 10-year bond, it kept it on its books $4,000 unless it sold it or it went bad. otherwise, for regulatory purposes and kept the bond on four $1,000.
that was true for the great depression. marked to market becoming was done away with in 1938 because it was destroying bank capital unnecessarily. marked to market accounting does without $1,000 bond -- for regulatory purposes no longer keep it for $1,000. you marked it up or down according to what you think the market price is. when you have a downturn the banks suddenly not only has losses on its loans which reduces capital, but it must now reduced the value of its reserve capital even though the money is being paid along with the principal and interest. it would be the equivalent if you were told to sell your house in the next hour. what kind of price would you get for it? you rightly say that is ridiculous. you would not get much price at all. marked to market accounting did that to banks and insurance
companies and up and did 70 years worth of a sound tradition. it because the banks to panic. most of the losses are book losses, not actual cash losses. you took the equivalent of a flood and turned it into a tsunami. in march and april of this year we amended that, thanks to pressure from congress including community banks. it stopped the bleeding. we went through this in the 1930's and it was not pleasant. this is about regulatory capital. if you treat it like a day trading account you will have less capital flowing. banks do not know how much capital they have. the tendency will be to collect the cash. host: a political question from twitter. how can capitalism drive while
our president's policies and ideology oppose it in favor of marxism? guest: the recovery in 2010 will not have any kind of the vigor we normally would get given the rate of decline from late 2008. in the meantime, however, there are pressures you can put on your representatives. you can still try to get them to delay the healthcare bill. it is amazing that no one has read this. we know that it will put a lot of new taxes on. it will turn insurance companies into utility. ask
there will be big tax debates coming up next year. the will be debates about cap and trade. the more small businesses make no upset they are, the better chance we will get change. even though things are dicey now we have gone through rough periods in the past like the 1930's and 1970's. we have always emerged and gotten back on track again. host: wilmington, vt.. caller: good morning. you're dealing with the effect of all the terrible things that have been done to our economy. i like to focus on what i believe is the core. our 800 military bases worldwide and expanding south america presents -- a $700 billion more
funding bill that zipped through congress with no real opposition -- we have imperialists wars we regularly wage to support our industrial base. we have exported the jobs from the manufacturing base of working americans. we have plantation capitalism where few people prosper greatly. everyone else works very, very hard. i have heard 7-8 trillion dollars of debt was passed along to obama who i believe is doing his best to work with right-wing extremist in both parties. wars that do not and. guest: i think on the awar
side, to put the money in perspective, even though we're spending a lot of money in afghanistan and iraq, if you add up all we're spending on those two wars, it is still less proportionally than what was spent in the 1980's. far less than was spent in the 1950's and 1960's. in terms of both iraq and afghanistan -- let me be careful here -- on the money side, we spent in those two places is proportional" we spend every three weeks on world war ii. we were able to finance world toii with government debt that was paid at 2.5% or 3%.
people then had faith in the dollar. the problem with iraq and afghanistan is the blood we're shutting of our young people. on the money side, and i want to be careful bit from supporting it from the young people on the line -- and economy of our size can easily do it. we have had far greater bertrand's in previous decades. in terms of the lives and strategies -- that is where the real debate is. -- we have had far greater expenses in previous decades. host: back to your book "how capitalism will save us" -- you write that those who buy into capitalisms bad rap, who believe
free markets are based on exploitation and greed to appreciate how the invisible hand work. people and a free-market are mobilized not by greed bye-bybuy self-interests. tellus the difference? guest: you mentioned adam smith's. one of his great observations is that a transaction must be mutually beneficial. both sides have to get something out of it. you go to restaurants, you want the fu, the restaurant one german. it is a mutual exchange. in terms of self-interest you may want money and a big house and all that -- but the essence of free-market says that you do not sell something or get the money unless you provide something, a product or service that of the people want.
-- go to restaurants and you won thefood, and the one your money. you can have your own interest in developing your own talents, but if you do not succeed -- do not succeed unless you provide something that someone else wants. you get these extraordinary webs of cooperation. host: sunnyvale, california . caller: a have been reading a book by john vogel, the founder of the vanguard. he has two concepts when he is talking about the large corporations. he says there is an owner capitalism and then there is management capitalism. i believe that honor capitalism
is what you and most people mean by cabalism. but what he is talking about is management cabalism where the ceo's and other management, and perhaps management all the way down the line in fact operate the corporations not for the owners benefit, but for the management's benefit. it seems to me this is maybe what is actually happening. the problem is that with honor capitalism, but with the group of management. to me, that would explain the perverse incentives you see. i'm afraid you might actually end up with oligarchy if we do not already have it.
staggered boofereds elections and things like that. those were put in the 1980's as a result of outsiders coming in against managements. i think a lot of that should be taken away, those poison pills, so management knows that it has to be responsive to the needs of shareholders or somebody's going to come after them, and they won't be able to put artificial barriers to stop them from doing so. host: hasn't the s.e.c. recently made moves to provide for more trance pearns a in the stockholders' position, more trance parents siff management and bonuses and c.e.o. pay? guest: they have, but the challenge is not so much transparency on pay. if you will go in the innards of these filings about the s.e.c., you can pretty well figure out at least 9 % behalf these people are getting and
what the prospect that they're getting if certain performance standards are met. but the problem is that -- and i think, bill, in the 1990's and early part of this decade, in reaction to what some call crony capitalism where the c.e.o. stacks the board with his friends and they give them a large pay increase and the like, outside of the financial industry, there was starting to be a reaction to that, and the s.e.c. has been sympathetic to it, and it's had it real effect. the problem were the egregious pay packages which took place in the financial industry, and that had its origins with the federal reserve printing so much money, and then the s.e.c. allowing these companies, especial investment bankers to leverage up, that is borrow a lot, not as much as fannie and freddie did proportionately, but much more than was sound. and so temporarily it looks great, and then when you got a little bit of a down turn, by golly, that whole thing came crashing down.
again, the government needs sound and stable money, and then you have to have transparency, and management knowing that they're answerable to share holders and they can't erect artificial barriers to stop it. host: about another half-hour with steve forbes and his new book, "how capitalism will save us." we go to john in savannah, georgia. good morning, john, on our republican line. caller: yeah, we've spent trillions in iraq and afghanistan, so i don't know what this three weeks is about, but i want to ask you about per knack eerk the "time" man of the year. then i hear congressmen saying we don't need to de lve into what the feds are doing. isn't it time we did de l very into what they're doing? thank you. guest: on your point on the three weeks, if you -- again, this gets a little arcane, but if you take the size of the u.s. economy and see what it's spending in terms of iraq and afghanistan, it's thee qui lent
in world war ii what we spent on that war, a global war, about three or every four weeks as a proposition of the commesm it's real money, but we've had bigger military financial burdens before. it is amazing this most powerful institution in washington hasçó virtweal no accountability which the u.s. congress which created it. and so a congressman from texas, ron paul, senator from south carolina jim demint and others, including also, i might say, the democrat social frist vermont, bernie saunders, all favor a bill that would have the government audit the federal re, that is, what agreements have they made with other central banks, that ought to be made available. where the money goes, if they put in the market, what criteria they use. that isn't about independence, that's about accountability. and the fed has reacted leak a scald cat on the thing, saying it's the end of civilization.
no, it is not. everyone in government has to be account able. the c.i.a.,s fed has less accountability to congress not that central intelligence agency does, which is ridiculous. so it's a benign bill that congressman paul and others have proposed, and i hope it gets through congress. host: steve forbes, i have a comment for you, one of our to witters users, a twitter from stockmarketscam is his handle, writes that your book title does not make any sense, steve. you should change it "how the rich stole from the poor q. i'll tie that into one your chapters, chapter they're, "aren't the rich getting richer at other people's expense"? if up to the reply to that and tell us what that chapter, how that chapter would answer our twitter comment this morning. guest: well, it gets in, you say, the rap that the rich get rich expert poor get poorer. but the essence of free market is you don't succeed unless you provide something that other people want. and if you look at how the
thing actually works when it's allowed to, you find you have great mobility out there. for example, the i.r.s. did a survey of tax returns from the mid 1990's to the mid part of this decade to see what actually happens to people's well-being, their incomes over that 10-year period. and what the survey found was that people in the bottom quinn tile, starting out with very little, the qu intile mean fifths, so the people on the bottom quintile starting off with very little going in the workforce, they went up. their incomes went up, and their relative standing went up. the majority went up at least one quin active le, many went up two or three. in other words, as they got skills, their well-being improved. you also have people, though, moving down on the thing, so there is mobility in the economy. and in terms of people getting rich in a free economy, the only way they get rich, like a bill gates, again, is if they create something that is
providing something people want or they take something and investigate the capital correctly in a way that it expands. so it's a flute situation, it's not like oligarchs you find in other countries, no chance for entrepreneur toss start independent businesses, and have a chance to succeed. you look at i.b.m. in the 1960's, the government filed an antitrust suit against the company because it seemed to be so powerful. the trust suit went nowhere, but what upended i.b.m. was the rise first of mini computers, and then personal computers so. by the early 1990's, i.b.m. was virtually broke. they brought in new management, have turned it around. today the company is a thriving, vibrant company. but markets are allowed to work, competition will always bring these companies that get big, they won't stay big unless, again, they are providing things that people want. otherwise competitors will come
in and upend them. host: you write a bit about the founder and owner of whole foods and his conversion, his view of capitalism. tell us about that briefly. >> john mackey began whole foods, as you know, originally based on organic foods. he started the business years ago. he looked around at these stores, saw that they weren't very attractive to people, and he figures that if he had an attractive store that brought people in, get customers who normally wouldn't consider organic foods, that the thing could grow. he started out as a very far on the left, but realized in terms of how he made his own business work -- again, serving the needs and wants of others -- all the capital, sweat capital he had to put in, investing, risk taking he had to take to expand his business, he became a convert to entrepreneurial free market capitalism. he read friedman, he read others like adam smith, and he
became a convert and is almost an evangelist on the subject because he's lived the idea of an entrepreneur, somebody starting out with an idea, having a chance to expand and all of the hard work that goes into it, and that's the thing about an entrepreneur, bill, is that the entrepreneur can only -- the entrepreneur is usually the last one to get something he -- he or she puts the money in, then you have to pay the workers, the suppliers, your backers, and then if there's something left over, you can get ahead, and that's why most new businesses don't succeed. but you have to have a system that allows people to keep trying so you get extraordinary successes like whole foods, which introduced the idea of fine foods and organic foods to tens of millions of customers who normally wouldn't have considered buying those kind of foods. host: back to our phone calls. this is spencer, west virginia. jeff, good morning, independent caller. caller: yes, hello. host: good morning. caller: first of all, i want to say it's an honor to speak with
mr. forbes t. the top five guys in history that i admire. he's right there, he's in the top five. guest: thank you. caller: i want to bring a little bit more to grass roots. we've been talking about big business and the economy. i'm a construction worker. i'm living paycheck to paycheck. what advice would you goif a guy like me that probably makes , say, 50% or maybe more of the population, what would you tell me would be a good way to invest in my future, retirement, you know, i got a 10-year-old son who, eight more yeerks he's going to go going off to college. i mean, what would you tell me to do? i.r.a., treasury bonds? i bought a little bit of gold back in the days when gold was like at $320, and now it's almost tripled that, which i go investment for someone that does not own the market at all. i'm just wondering, someone at
the grass roots level. host: jeff, thanks for your causm i'm sure a lot of other people want to ask the same thing. steve forbes? guest: very, very, very basic question, and apropos of gold. every portfolio should have a part of, it not a large part, but a part of it just as an insurance policy. you did well on, it but there are times when the dollar price of gold goes down, when the government gets its act together, which happens occasionally. but you always have it there as an anchor, as an insurance policy in case things do go wrong as manifestly has happened in recent years. now, in terms of long term on things like your youngster's college education, you're probably familiar with a thing called a 529. every state now offers them. you put money in, it grows tax free for your kid's education. take advantage of that. in terms of other kinds of investing, yes, you should have an i.r.a., 401, you should
contribute to that if you can do so. and on those, realize that they are retirement vehicles. you're not trying to hit grand slam home runs. and so on those, don't let your emotions be your enemy. put in a certain amount each month. if you can afford to do so, put in a certain fixed amount each month, make sure that these funds have low expenses. that's a public information, get from forbes and from others so that you don't lose a lot of money to all these expenses they have. look at their long-term record. put a certain amount in each month, and then when up get these down turns, in effect you're buying more shares. and so when the market comes back, which it inevitably always does, you're even better off. it's called dollar-cost averaging. but the tendency is, even though people nod their heads about the need for discipline, investing, and being long term, when their emotions take over, so when the market goes up, they say, well, is it too late to get in? i want to put more in.
or when the market takes a plunge, sickening plunge as we had happen in 2008 and the early part of this>x,eerk the tendency is, oh, my god, is it too late to get out? so if you have flexibility in terms of time, you're not about to retire, then do that monthly cost averaging, certain amount each month. take advantage as much as you can of a 401-t, if you can do a roth i.r.a., you put in tax money, but when you retire, it's tax free, do those things. do the 529 with your son, and you're doing as much as you can. then other thing do you, just to get in a plug on tax reform, the current tax code is really hostile to people trying to accumulate real capital on a salary because of the huge tax rates and the like. that's one reason why i like a simple flat tax. it encourages people to generate real capital instead of being eaten up in the tax code we have today. host: good morning to jackson,
mississippi. good morning, dee, on our independents line. caller: thank you, c-span. thank you for taking my causm i've been listening to mr. forbes as well as a lot of other republicans, and i have one question at this point before i go any further. where were you in the last eight yearsñr when george bush ran -- excuse me -- ran our country's tab up to over a trillion dollars? mr. obama has only been in office less than a year, but you want to accuse and hold him responsible for trillions of dollars, but your voice was not heard when mr. bush was in office. secondly, i have a problem with the republicans who talk against medical reform when we are the ones who pay the insurance for their insurance. they won't allow us to have the public option, but they are the public option.
they are on the public option. again, you speak about 50 years ago in terms of what the budget was in comparison, comparing it to what it is today. we're going back 50 years. there is no comparison. please do not continue to use that. another question i have, you guys talk about mr. reagan all the time, and the good times that we have under mr. reagan. those times were not as great as you want us to believe that they were, and we also must factor in the fact that mr. reagan was in the throes of alzheimer's -- host: dee, lots there. several questions we'll let steve forbes address. thank you. guest: on the past eight years, in terms of mr. bush's economic policies, and i many other republicans were aghast at his spending policies and spoke out against them. they were minor compared to what we see coming out of washington today.
but we did speak out against it, and i believe the biggest domestic mistake of the bush administration, which sadly has been continued by this administration, is its weak dollar policy. weak dollar means weak recovery. you cannot trash the u.s. dollar, let it get weak, and at the present to have a strong economy. that shouldn't be a partisan issue. john kennedy, democrat, said the dollar should be as good as gold. ronald reagan killed the great inflation of the 1970's, and bill clinton had a strong dollar policy. so that was a huge mistake of the bush administration and the federal reserve, which i did speak out against. in terms of healthcare alternatives, there are positive alternatives out there than just simply having more and more government role and having it do to healthcare what it's done to the housing market, and that is simple things like nationwide shopping for health insurance. right now, each state restricts the companies that can compete. why not have nationwide? i live in the state of new jersey. because of our crazy
regulations in healthcare, family policy, if you buy it as an individual, will cost youed sad,000 to $20,000. in pennsylvania, i can get the equivalent policy, virtually the equivalent for $7,000 or $8,000 a year, yet it's illegal for me to buy it in pennsylvania. i can buy a car in pen pernings open a bank account in pennsylvania, but i can't buy health insurance offered to the citizens of pennsylvania. so let's have nationwide shopping. tax treatment, if a business buys health insurance, it gets a tax deduction. why not allow individuals get a tax deduction? unless you're self-employed, you don't. so a lot of people have credit and tax deductions for insurance. tort reform would be huge savings of money. why not allow small businesses to pool together through trade associations to buy affordable health insurance? so if you open up the market to true competition and get rid of some of these artificial barriers, you'll see an healthcare which you see
everywhere else in this economy, and that is entrepreneurs figuring out how to supply more of it at more, affordable cost. just to give one example, the cell phone. 20 years of cell phone, if you look at those old pictures, was as big as a shoe box, clunky, expense simbings not working very well. today, small, you can do anything on them, they're cheap. poor people around the world can all have cell phones. you see it in haiti, you see it in india. four billion of them out there today. why can't we do the same thing on healthcare? government can't do it, entrepreneurs can. in terms of ronald reagan, his performance was very real. what he inherited after the 1970's, high inflation, 18% mortgage rates, 21% somewhere rates, higher unemployment than what we have today. as a result of his policies, inflation plummeted, interest rates came down, the u.s. became a font of innovation, and they created more jobs under his watch and subsequent watches of more jobs in western
europe and japan put together. so overall, not a bad record and one that i think any president today would love to grab on to. host: to our republican line next. steve is from parksville, mfment you're on. caller: yes, good morning, mr. forbes. i've been following up for many, many years. guest: good morning. caller: one of the questions i'd like to you play somewhat of an economic north radio come as for just a minute. the -- an economic north dam us for just a minute. we have situations in iraq and afghanistan, and all the global situations that exist. we also have a congress that is spending more and more money that we don't have and we're borrowing from china, are who at one time was one of our biggest enemies. to the point, with the situation concerning moody's, a.a.a. credit rate where we are in jeopardy of losing that, what do you foresee in the next
two, three, or five years down the road as to what our economic status is going to be? do you foresee some type of economic collapse, a global economic collapse? guest: to answer your question, i don't see a global economic collapse. one of the things you're starting to see emerge now is that countries in asia, even in central and eastern europe, are starting to have more sustained recovery, stronger recoveries, than what we're having here in the united states. to be blunt about it, we and great britain are making the same economic mistakes, weak occurrence success, binge spending, raising taxes, and that's going to hurt the performance we're going to have in 2010, as i compared it to a baseball player who's going to hit about .200 instead of .400. but those kind of things do generate proposals, counterproposals. we saw that in the 1970's, dreadful decade, new ideas came
up, which ronald reagan adopted, got our country back on track. i think we're going see the see the same phenomenon, you saw it in new jersey, candidates who ran on the platform of restraint in spending and cut ago way taxes instead of increasing taxes. i live in new jersey, very blue state, but a republican there even though he's outspent 5-1, won a major victory. but you touched on something else that we have to keep our eye on. you're right, economies which are people are affected by events around the world, and the big one to watch for this year, again, is iran. i think the israelis are going to make a decision in 2010. they know the window of opportunity of delaying that program, nuclear program. they see it as an existential threat, and they're going to make a fundamental decision where they take military action against iran, and if they feel they have to do so, that's going to have huge repercussions, certainly short term, on oil markets and the
politics of the world. so yes, those things do play a role. you can't foresee what exactly they are, but we have to be prepared. sometimes do you get a huge crisis like that, and i think we will have one with iran in 2010. host: steve forbes, you brought up politics in 2010. a moment ago, a question here from one of our twitter users. steve forbes for president, how soon can you start? are you interested at all? guest: no, i'm an agitator now. i tried twice. so i'm trying to get out and get reforms like simplifying the tax code moving, help out candidates who are pro-growth, pro-opportunity. and by the way, that's what people should do in 2010, get involved not just in the general election, bill, but in the primaries where parties pick their candidates, get involved with thosmse it's going to be very interesting. host: and you got involved in the new york 23 special election.
it's the seat that billow wins won. steve forbes endorsing doug hoffman, who was not a republican canned date, but he was the conservative party candidate. why did you make that choice? guest: i thought he best represented the principle it is of opportunity, it low taxation, great, giving people a chance to get ahead, better than nominal republican candidate, and that's why he got most of the support and came close to winning. the republican party, to be blunt, gave no help up there when the republican candidate with drew. they sat on their hands. so the democrat won a narrow victory, but i think this year in 2010, when you have the regular election, i think there's a very good chance mr. hoffman or somebody of a like view can win the seat back. host: does that endorsement in that race mean that we'll be seeing more of those types of endorsements, including into the presidential race in 2010? are you leaning toward anybody in particular?
guest:, no i'm look over the field like others are. but this, again, what happened in the 23rd, the republican candidate was not chosen by a primary. it was chosen by party leaders because it was a special election. if they had a primary, i don't think you'd have seen this situation crop up. but in 2012, i'm looking at all the candidates, looking for somebody with those optimistic, pro-growth policies and a strong defense for the united states, and who know how to navigate washington. reagan, by the way, and i'll mention him again, even though a caller implied that i was doing it too much, but i will mention him one more time, reagan was one of the few individuals, bill, who could be both a movement leader, which i was in the 1960's and 1970 anticipates, and then become an effective political leader. in politics, you can't just go in a straightline. the world doesn't work where you snap your fingers and congress snaps to.
you have to learn to detour and make compromises, but reagan did those that and never lost sight of his basic goals, which is why even liberals in the historian profession rate him as one of the our most important and he fective presidents. host: atlanta, good morning to will on our independents line. hi there. caller: hi. thanks for c-span. appreciate you taking any call, sir. i agree with your title, capitalism can save us, but the adam smith capitalism the founders had in mind when they created us in covenant with the creator, god, and that has the bearing on truth, justice, freedom, honesty. when we get away from that, when we have crimes committed by what thomas jefferson referred to as the pseudo era -- which your grandfather's work creating the federal reserve, we were not -- we've become fascist, ruled by the rich and serving what thomas jemp son called the anti-crivements i would
recommend everyone read the actual writings of thomas jefferson, who was an obvious prophet of god to know why we have these draft dodgers supporting other war dodgers like reagan, whose line has been cut o. if he was up a good man, why didn't god give him any children? if you're such a good man, why did you not bring justice to people who sent us to vietnam after you dodged it? this is unrighteous. this is a spirit of the age. this is what thomas jefferson called the anti-christ, and you live cross the river and saw the world, done nothing about bringing bush and cheney to justice for doing it. host: will, we'll get a response. guest: well, i don't believe that bush and cheney created the world trade center. i think that's preposterous. as for my grandfather, he did not create the federal reserve. he was an immigrant to this country, came here a little over 100 years ago, was one of 10 children, grade school education, virtually no money. but like millions who came to merks he had an opportunity, had a chance to get ahead and realized the american dream. i'm glad he did so.
but he had nothing to do with the fed. and in terms of the fed, we've talked earlier about congressman ron paul's bill to have an audit of the fed to bring about more disclosure so that people can see what it's doing and what it's not doing. i believe, my own view is in terms of the federal reserve, they should only v only two tasks, one is a strong and stable dollar, tied to gold, as others have ads very indicated, and have the deal with panics that rise up if a crises rises up. but bank regulation, check clearing, the like, i think those are tasks that should be put in another agency. as for in terms of values, yes, free markets must have basic values, which adam smith talked about. and that's why you do have sensible rules of the road. you have james madison, the father of our constitution, pointed out if we were angels, we would not need government. we are not angels, so we do need government, but there's positive government and negative government, and i think we need more positive
government where it creates an environment where free people have a chance to realize their dreams instead of having to dance to the dictates of regulations from washington. host: next up is cocoa beach, florida. jeff, democratic caller. good morning, go ahead. caller: how are you? i just wanted to say, i have no family money and i retired when i was 45, and i considered myself an entrepreneur. but on the same question, i know for a fact if i'm making $1 hundred,000 a day, i can live real comfortable on 5% of that, and most people can. there's a lot of people who cannot afford -- who don't have the ability to become entrepreneurs. and the fellow who sweeps the floor has the right to live as well as far as free time and putting their kids through school having healthcare, as well as any entrepreneur and wealthy fellow. so my point is pre-round reagan, the tax structure was a
hell of a lot better, even though no one realized then. since ronald reagan, energy prices dropped. energy prices is the key for our economy. it's the multiplier for our labor. as far as i've asked myself this question, how can all these people in this world owe out this much money? where is this money that everybody owes out? there can't be this much money that people owe out so. therefore, moan is nothing but debt on poorer people. host: jeff, thanks for the input. last call. steve forbes, your thoughts. guest: well, the call serp right about the debt that we're piling up. go that i don't think many many n washington fully grasp yet is that the average maturity of the national debt now, bill, is 49 weeks, which means when short-term rates go up, as inevitably they're going to go up, that's going blow another big hole in the budget. so we're facing the same kind of situation we did in the late 1970's and early 1980's, and
that's why we need pro-growth economic policies, start wag strong and stable dollar, a low tax rate so that people can get ahead, and allow more entrepreneurship in areas like healthcare and do there what we've done elsewhere where you can supply more at a more affordable cost and better and better. we've done it in high-tech and elsewhere. why can't we do it in healthcare? so yes, we do need to make fundamental reforms, or else the debt will kill us. we need to groat asset side of america. we've done it before, and i believe we will do it again, even though we're going through a rough patch right now, are going through a rough time. host: steve forbes, whose new book is "how capitalism will save us," written with elizabeth ames. is it on the bookshelves now, steve forbes? guest: it is, and also you can get it onlnle from
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] at a hearing on this subject. and i hadn't prepared, perhaps, over dramatically about a five-minute presentation about what violence and promise cute -- promiscuity that people could look at. i was absolutely shot down mostly by members of my own side
of the committee because of the first amendment. i mean, there was an automatic mind-set because the first amendment exists you can't be talking about this so don't waste my time. i was furious and i was undeterred but it makes me so glad this you take off a few days of your vacation because we're going to need you to help us work this fine line, if, in fact, we're going to do it, which i would like very much and i would close in thanking all of you. i think these kindors hearings, are there 50 million people watching? i don't really care. i think it emboldens all of us, makes us all hungrier for solutions, for answers. makes us prouder of what we want to fight for and were determined
to do so. one of the things and i'll just give this to you, doctor, that as i've watched, actually my daughter and her husband live in st. petersburg, russia so having grandchildren at home is a big event. it occurs to me how little i know about them. and in fact, how little i know about children and how little i know about teenagers and what goes on inside their minds and may not have to do with television and selectionsened that sort but what are the pressures of the modern world that make today's child different from if they are from some children before stand you have any advice to me as to books have have been written, i'll make sure that the committee gets them. if their analysis or particular
articles, i don't think we -- and my generation does not -- we do not understand children. we love children. we worship them. we coddle them. we bathe them, we do anything but we do not understand what is going on inside those little minds and what gets them to select this over that, do this over that. i think that is a pretty important background, not just parents who are frustrated because they can't control viewing habits but that we have an obligation to start on this with who children these days are. i don't know if those books have been written. i'm sure they have. i don't know what they are. can you help me a little bit on that? is there -- light at the end of the tunnel on this? >> there is always light at the end of the tunnel. >> all right. we have lots of talks in west
virginia. i'm happy about that. where can not thank you all enough, all of you. mark beg itch went by and left and said i think we're really on to something incredibly important here and that's what i need to hear from our committee members and it has got to be something that they know, there are all different kind of people but i want to plow ahead on it and i'm determined to do it and just greatly thank all of you. so our hearing is adjourned.
schwartz. "wall street journal" is live later this morning -- "washington journal is live at 7:00 a.m.. later quinnnipiac university polling institute here on c-span. >> all next week, a rare glimpse into america's highest court through unprecedented on the record conversations with 10 spousht justices. five days of interswruse supreme court justices starting next mond at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> now a discussion on relations between the u.s. and the muslim world. representatives oover the states department join actists. it was hosted by the muslim
world council. it is about an hour and five minutes. >> welcome, everybody coming to the last session for the convention. we will have the banquet after this. thanks to all of you for hanging in for this. it has been a long day and you have intended a lot of interesting and informative panels. we hope to leave you with a bang. we are running a few minutes late, and as people are trickling in, we're going to go ahead and get started at the point i will briefly introduce the panelist and then we will go ahead and do this session. i will lead 15 minutes at the
end for questions. we'll be taking questions from the floor and in britain format, and also on line, you can submit them. and if they meet with my approval, i will ask them. let me introduce our panel is very briefly. you can read their full bios in the program. starting to my far right, jonathan morganstern, who works at the department of defense. prior to that he was the deputy director for national security policy at third way, a progressive think tank. his also worked as the senior policy officer for peace. he is a captain in the marine reserves. he did active tours in bosnia and two tours in iraq. another is the assistant deputy secretary of state for middle eastern affairs. she is overseeing the peace
initiative and the north african peace initiative. she is and the past -- she has directed part of the sorbonne center which is part of the brookings institute, a well-known think tank in washington, d.c. she has served as middle east peace. she is offered of forthcoming work on democracy in the arab world. it has come out. ok. laila al-maryati, seated to my immediate right here is a spokesperson for the muslim woman's league. she has served on the impact board in the past. she was a member of the u.s. delegation to the u.n. conference on women in beijing. she has also served as a member of the u.s. commission on international religious freedom. she is the chairperson of a charity that focused on children's needs in pal stein
and shsshe has a day job as the ob/gyn as a professor at the u.c. school of medicine. our fourth panelist, aslam abdullah, who has not joined us, and hopefully he will very shortly. i will introduce him if he makes it to our session. i am going to jump right in and we will go for about 45 minutes with the panel and then we will save the last 15 minutes for questions. and we will end on time at 6:15. i'm going to start off basically, the spaniel labels improving u.s. and muslim relations. i said does that question even make sense?
public opinion or to the elites in the country, not necessarily in the government but who dominate the societies? i like to take that as my first question for the panelists. let's have you all weigh in on that, if you could. please go ahead. jonathan? >> i want to be sure i'm moderating the volume properly. we can start with an anecdote a few years ago. i was working as a low ranking marine and one of the senior marines had proposed something about a terrorist incident. i said, well, extremist muslims. and i understand the discussion we had earlier about how you label al qaeda and their ilk. i said, extremist muslims would
probably say this about the demand. and a senior marine turned to me and said do you mean muslims or extremist muslims? i said, well, our turkish allies that we just came back from serving with in bosnia, as well as the boss kneians and the kosovars, would probably say the extremist muslims. so it brings the point home in that dealing with the muslim world as a monolithic group, it does not hold water militarily. the way we enter act with our allies, the turkish military, one of our closest allies in nato and around the world, it is clearly something that we have to deal with in a very different way than how the
u.s. military learns to deal with its relationship with the iraqis on the ground in iraq and the afghans on the ground in afghanistan, and wherever we are in the world. mine, the marine corps does a lot of training exercises with the senegalese, which 98% are muslim. and so, obviously dealing with muslim communities everywhere is a different dynamic, based on the people you are interacting with. the idea of dealing with the muslim world as a whole, it is not something that the d.o.d., for the most part, thinks of. not as a monolithic entity. >> is it on? ok. thank you. speaking from a state department perspective, we actually do not speak in terms of the muslim world or a muslim world.
one person appointed as these special ever representative the muslim communities -- that is the way we think about this engagement, the new beginning that the president spoke about and cairo, reaching out to communities of muslims who exist in a diversity of environments, as minority communities and many states around the globe. i think that we are all well past the point where we're talking about a monolithic conceptions' either of a muslim world or of islam. what we're trying to do now in building a new kind of partnership is reach well beyond governments and talk about citizens, talk about communities, and in a variety of contexts and reach out to the diversity of those communities to get a sense of what their different perspectives are, what
they're different needs are, and what different kinds of partnerships we can build. >> it is encouraging to hear that from both of you because it is something we've been arguing for a long time about how the muslim world is not monolithic. what applies in the northern states of nigeria is very different than what applies in iran. when you talk about something as important as sharia, you cannot talk in general terms because it is different and pakistan or in parts of africa, for example. the problem we have had is that there still elements in american society that want to label as -- islam like that, as a religion that endorses violence, and talks about it in that general sense for reasons we can only speculate. it gives the sense that creates a certain hysteria and paranoia, the type of which might have led
to the swiss to vote not have minarets in switzerland any more because of this islam phobic atmosphere. we are still faced with this in our society. one element of that does come from the media. >> thank you for those comments. aslam abdullah has joined us. let me just introduce him briefly. of course you can read his bio in its entirety. i will briefly summarize it. is the editor of the "muslim observer," the director of the islamic society of nevada. he is a trustee to have american federation of muslims. he is also the author of 11 books and over 700 papers and articles. a very prolific writer, obviously. he has spoken off and on on
national and local media and his former vice chairman of impact. a long standing association with impact. we would like to welcome you to the panel. we were making remarks about the framework of discussion, whether it makes sense to talk about u.s.-muslim world relations rather than the u.s. relations with specific muslim communities and muslim nations. does that framework makes sense? >> thank you very much. i'm sorry that i was late. there was a show going on that they want me to be there. i decided to come here. when i think that the notion that the u.s. should engage with the muslim world precisely because of 9/11 or because of what happened after that. it is probably not very well
founded in history. the relationship between the muslim world is only 500 years old. in these years, we've had a least 56 times been involved militarily in any part of the muslim world. in these 56 -- 225 years, we have had at least -- wars with algiers, and our first work comes from those wars. and the memories of those kind of relationships are not very about what you call, cordele in the minds of those people who were part of the foreign-policy apparatus. but what basically has happened is that during the last 25 or so years, in terms of our relationship with the muslim world, we had been seen as a country that is not very
respectful to human life in the muslim world. almost 12,000 americans had been killed since 1983. 288,000 muslims have lost their life as the result of intervention in those countries. fred thomas last week wrote that the muslim -- the u.s. primarily goes to muslim countries primarily to support democratic muslim causes. but another says that if the united states stop killing muslims, the relationship between the two countries would improve. so we have a lot of tensions but a lot of potential also. despite the fact that all of these things happen, the united states was the only country that intervened in bosnia and kosovo.
we had these tensions, but the united states was the only country that led the movement against the soviet union in afghanistan and on the taliban and the other fighters and gave pakistan the signal to go ahead and all those things. what best we can describe as our foreign policy does not make any rational understanding when it comes the muslim arabs and the middle east. there has been confusion. >> all right, aslam. you know, i think -- let me just follow up on what you're saying there. i'd think that -- one line of argument is that united states, by engaging in certain words, --obviously afghanistan and iraq wars, are the biggest ones right now, that this has impacted the opinion of the united states throughout the majority of
muslim countries all over the world in a negative way. and that certainly during the bush administration, signaled quite low in the opinion polls. and on the flip side, the united states could argue with those that supported american policy that you're not take into account the united states did in fact intervene on the behalf of muslims and bosnia and kosovo and somalia when there was a famine and kuwait when it was occupied by saddam hussein's forces. and then there was the earthquake and pakistan, the tidal wave and the rescue effort after that in indonesia. certainly the united states was viewed favorably by those people that benefited from that. so to throw back at you in that sense, is it too narrow to judge
united states only by the worst things that happened or only by the best things that happened, or is there some way to take all the elements into account? >> that is why i say it is confusing when it comes to the middle east in the arab world and the muslims. if you go back to the early 1950's, you find that the united states was split on the issue of recognition of the state of israel. the state department was opposed. president truman was basically advocating a state. until 1956, we did not support the state of israel. we're opposed even supporting it through arms or enter into any kind of negotiations or treaties with israel. with john f. kennedy, we had problems with the state of israel. relations were not always very cordial. what basically i'm saying is
that in terms of united states relationship with the muslim world, despite the fact that the muslim world accounts for 18% of jobs in the united states for imports or exports, we basically have $500 billion exports with the muslim world which account for many jobs in this country. from that perspective, you find that even from the perspective of the domestic issues in the domestic politics, we have always been wavering and you go from one in to the other in terms of developing a rational policy toward the muslim world, i think the issue that we should be asking is about a rational foreign policy. >> let me move the discussion board here. go ahead. >> i think the idea of a
rational policy, as you seem to be describing it, would not necessarily take into account both given developments through history or like we were talking about, the broader array of possibilities, whether from iraq or indonesia. our policies about what is going nonsudan might -- on in sudan might change over time. we did not take issue in darfur, but that was some issued that a -- president bush did speak out about and there were a few leaders throughout the world that did mention that. and so, just because we do not necessarily do the exact same thing across all countries, i think a lot of the time that can be taken to account because our interests might in one area, in terms of economics, be more important than in other areas,
the security interests be more important, and just like every other country into the world, we have to take into account a balance of different issues with different communities in different countries. >> let me comment quickly about that we understand that. as americans, we know that our government is going to be pragmatic. but when you look at attitudes abroad, even those we said that muslims are not monolithic, as a group they sometimes share certain sentiments that are important toward the united states. it is that inconsistency and the sense that, what is the criteria they use to decide when you're going to intervene and when you are not. and if you say human rights and support for democracy and one cents, and then you do not do it in another, there's an underlying sense that our interests are really security or oil or other things. there's a sense of lack of transparency and not being straightforward with people who clearly can see how things are.
this is why the u.s. keeps tripping itself up. in one of the most sensitive issues is israel/palestine. a year ago, pretty much this month, there was an assault on gaza, the gull stan report came out confirming the amount of casualty's greedy in not a states was basically silent during the attack on lebanon. so there is a sense of, what the standards? is there a double standard? is this something that undermines our credibility as an american government in that part of the world that people have to take stock with? i think it is a reality that our community here and the muslims throughout the rest of the world. [applause] >> i appreciate what you're saying. i think that there are a couple of points that are important to make here. the first is that this administration, beginning with the president's visit to his
-- istanbul, continuing with his speech in cairo and other travels and meetings and diplomacy visits going on since then, is two of things. i think we should all agree that the cadre speech was a very frank discussion of a lot of issues that have caused tension -- that the cairo speech was a very frank discussion of a lot of issues that have caused tensions. we need to recognize that muslim communities are diverse, but they exist in a variety of different places, and different communities have different issues important to them, different priorities, and what we want to do is pursue relationships that go beyond the high politics, the things that are not the top of the news every day, and we understand that people think about them first when they think about the
united states, so we are engaged on those issues. president obama has been engaged since day one, as you know, trying to pursue peace in the middle east and get the parties back to negotiations said that we can achieve a two-state solution. we are continuing to do that work. at the same time, though, we need to take this relationship beyond high politics and security interests, beyond trade interest, to the people-to-people level. established new partnerships that get at local needs and local concerns and build those partnerships in a way that is real, that is meaningful, that has some meat on the bone. >> tamara, let me follow up on -- [applause] let me follow up on your comments here. what i was struck by was pew -- pugh research group doing polling throughout the muslim world, and
elected the favorability of the u.s. in those populations and compared the numbers that we are generating now under obama and the numbers that were visible on the last two years of the prior administration. there has obviously been a large jumps. the numbers are looking much better. let me ask you from the government policy standpoint, is this a goal of the administration to increase the popularity of the united states in the population of these countries? or is it not all that important in terms of foreign policy goals? and number two, do you think -- and i would like the panelists to weigh in and you think the change in these numbers is due to actual substantive changes between bush and obama, or if you think that is mostly -- mostly stylistic changes in the tone and the
language the opinions use? and i'm trying to get you off messaging get fired from the state department. let me clarify that. >> he is going to get me fired. i think we all like to be liked. we are encouraged when we see it in public opinion world wide in support of and at the state. but we talk about indicators for success. how do we know if we are following up on the president's words in cairo in a way that is meaningful? how do we know if we are actually putting meat on the bones, as i said. if we took public opinion as our main indicator, we would be making a mistake. because public opinion can be affected by a variety of factors, only some of which we had any control over. and public opinion, as we know from this country, can be fickle. so i think we have to go beyond the superficial indicator. what we're trying to do it is to go local. the program that i managed at the state department is just
-- the middle east partnership initiative, the countries from morocco to rocked and the gulf, a program that is working to go local, to bring u.s. foreign assistance to the local level. we have about half of the projects we do are proposed by local n.g.o.'s in arab countries to our embassies and we provide, in many cases, very small grants to local groups to do the work they see as priorities in their community. that is just a small example of the kind of substance that we're putting behind this idea of partnership. i think we're trying to put a lot of substance behind it. we're trying to make it visible to average citizens, not just on a television screens but in the streets of their towns. [applause] >> i guess, coming from the department of defense,
obviously, the kind of relationship is going to be much more of a security context, and in the aftermath of the president's announcement of the refinement of the afghan and pakistan strategy, i believe turkey was among the nato allies that collectively announced in the last couple of days that they are going to contribute an additional 7,000, with the possibility of increasing up to 10,000 more troops for the allied effort in afghanistan. and i was as late just looking at the same pugh poll numbers that you were looking at. it is probably because he spent some part of his childhood in indonesia, with a significant majority of support for the president, but across the board, i think public opinion in other parts of the world does matter
because i think it is much -- it would be more difficult to get that kind of support, i think, from our allies, especially in a country like turkey if the president did not have that kind of increase in support around the world. that is a tangible sign -- not even a sign but a tangible fact that public opinion matters. >> increases the flexibility that the president has in terms of getting a policy that he wants. >> getting policy that he wants and frankly it is an increase in our ability to keep our country secure. there has been an increase in terms of intelligence collaboration, law enforcement collaboration in parts of the world explicitly because governments feel more comfortable being seen as close with the united states and under the previous administration. and that is a very tangible reality that helps keep our country secure.
>> and the polls depend on who is conducting -- the second thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the per sneppings the muslim world anywhere else would change when the policy changes. the fact is on the one hand, we're supporting this month -- this much. on the other hand, we're supporting people with human rights who basically censor everything to have no regard for human rights and human dignity. on the other hand, we want to hear that we defend democracy and human rights. secondly, people on the streets understand basically what's happening. we take a strong standard. that's why i say -- in that respect, despite the fact that we stand on the values of our state department's -- that we will stand for democracy and
security. when it comes to the actual supporting, we were the one who basically hide behind president mubarak. so we have to be really, really careful in term of the where we stand and in that respect, my understanding is that the state department and the department of defense, despite their huge efforts to spend nearly $459 billion and the state department, $353 billion in all its activities, you would not be able to hire people who understand the culture, language and the people of the muslim world. in these countries we don't have a substantial study of any muslim study that will give us
an accurate understanding. so we have that kind of understanding. when the policies is based on certain irrational understanding, not on accuracy, not on the facts, or rather, it is based on some of the -- what you call medieval writing that has become part of political litsch or biased. i feel effort needs to be done. unfortunately, unfortunately, there is still in this administration that bridge between the muslim and state department and the white house has not been built that would give muslims the confidence to say clearly that these are the interests that we tend that the united states should -- and it would benefit the country and it will benefit the democracy and
human rights and things that -- [applause] >> did you want to make a comment? >> i think as you talked about the u.s. is trying to move away from high politics where get into some of this tricky area -- right, but i guess my point is just from having experience trying to do humanitarian work in the gaza strip where hamas is considered a terrorist organization and you can't do any work with them and the u.s. aid projects were ended as soon as they took over. whether uusaid -- granted, it is a small swrr.
15 .5 million people. -- 1.5 million people. it is those small stories that get broadcast around the world that really make a difference and if we are only going to work with some groups and not others because of the high politics then it makes it more difficult for the local effort to really have the impact in a major way that the united states may be looking for. so just once you reinforce the importance, if there is a huge gap you can only go so far with those efforts, especially if you're focusing on certain groups to exclusion of others because of the politician of that region. >> i'm going kind of move on and jonathan, i want to get you on the next point so be ready with the microphone there. what i'm hearing a lot is on the one hand there are points being made about what the united states is knowing terms of a
positive sense, in terms of engageing with muslim communities around the world trying to develop a better understanding and deal with some of the long-standing issues that have been going on and trying to improve on a high politics level and a local level and then there is also some very serious concerns about the underlying motivators of american foreign policy. gap between our ideals and the reality and the gap between the united states foreign policy may be that at its best or at its worst. one issue that is quite the fodder for political science classrooms or university students is what is the legitimate basis? is it strictly a very narrow focus on what is perceived as
national interest or alegion took place a higher set of moral principle or both? i'm going leave that to individual audience members to think about. i don't think we need to answer that question here but i want to get at that topic. the way i want to get at that topic is this. there are clearly issues out there, the relationship between the u.s. and afghanistan, the u.s. and iraq, the u.s. and palestine. issues that are of great forns united states and then issues of great forns muslim populations in other parts of the world. i just kind of thought about them. to me the most important snu the united states is preventing another terrorist attack, too deal issue of nuclear proliferation in iran. ings and security of the world's energy supplies. for muslim communities, we
already had several questions on this, one of the issues that is of great concern is justice for the palestinians. another issue that is of great concern is kazmir and the disconnect between providing for democracy and supporting democracy and our alliance with saudi monarch or the dictatorships in egypt. those issues seem to be of more importance to muslim communities. to what extent are the goals or the issues that are of importance to the united states and the issues that are of forns muslim communities? so dwergeant that there is not enough overlap to be satisfied with what they see going on with the other party. is there overlap? i will open that up. >> i think you posed that in a fascinating way, at least for me because i'm a political scientist. having taught in those college
classrooms and taught u.s. foreign policy, and international relations, i can tell you as a political scientist how we con see of our national interests. interests arrive from values. we are our national values that guide our interests. our policies derive from our interests. there is a hirke arky here and on -- hierarchy here and on the top of it is values. the values inherent in america's civic culture and the ways in which muslims in america interact with those values. i don't have to go on with that. i think the values that are at the center of american international identity are values that we share and indeed value s that areshared by other communities around the world. i don't think these are unique to america. i don't think the aspiration to be an active participant in your community and in your government and determining your future is something that is unique to americans.
i think that is a value that is shared around the world. the human rights that we enjoy in the united states that, we seek to defend in our courts when they have been infringed, those are the same human rights that iranians are out demanding in the streets from their government and we are standing up and licensing and calling for the iranian government to protect those rights. i think we have a lot of values in monocommon, not just with muslims around the world but citizens around the globe. secretary clinton said very clearly we're going to pursue our values and common interests with communities around the world through partnership, through the power of our example, and through the empowerment of people. and that partnership is going to exist at a lot of different levels. sometimes there will be a government to govern partnership. security instability are values that are shared across some
society and we will have government to government partnerships to try to protect those values. we are in the process of building a new, brotter, long-term partnership with the government of pakistan that is now a democratic government so we can pursue security and stability for the pakistani people who have been some of the most victimized from terrorism this past year and just this last week. we seem to pursue our values through our policies and we don't just operate at the level of high politics as we do that. there are a variety of things duo in our dialogue with governments and with the people-to-people level through the empowerment of people to try and pursue those values. it is not always going to have an immediate sense that you'll see a change but i think that the values that we hold in common with muslim communities around the world evts to both of
us -- evident to both of us. >> jonathan? aslam? the constitutional values that every american city aspires for. we all believe in that. the issue is that how those values are projected and implements in the real world. this is -- a student of american policy and american politics, i find basically disconnect between our values and what we have been doing. there has been -- in terms of decisions, in terms of supporting -- that have basically been detrimental, we have always -- been trying
interfere in certain parts of the world, without involving or adopting the right policy and understanding. this is where the problem is. if we really believe in those values, if we believe it. then definitely we must provide some substantial proof of that in terms of what we do. that has not been the case of the last six years. a clear cut understanding and century as the political science, the studies conducted, you realize that many times, we have made blunders in parts of the muslim world. giving you an example, we were afraid. of the democratic development of the society. what did we do then? we intervened. we interfered. we basically annihilated the democrat -- that was going on
and would have basically led to the emergence of a democratic society not only in iran but in other parts of the world and now we are paying the price for that. the same thing is happening for what basically with egypt. the same thing happened with what we did to saudi arabia. the democratic movements were developing but we did not pay any attention to that. we did not have that kind of -- allow those regimes to -- >> let me judiciary jonathan, go ahead but i want to -- ask a serious question on this. the question is -- i hear a lot of muslims criticize u.s. alliances with dictatorships of the muslim world, as intervening on behalf of dictators and against democracy. do you think the united states should reorient its policy toward one of neutrality towards those countries? if the dictatorship stays in
power and that is the way it is or showlingd the united states try actively undermine dictatorship in the muslim world? ? should the united states interfere in a way to promote democracy? >> we have two alternatives. one is a libertarian point of view. that is not going to happen. e we will always be interfering and involved in world politics. always involved in foreign policy. basically we need to look at the growth and history and the movement of the history. it is not on the side of those people who are -- it is on the side of those people who believe in -- and we should align ourselves with those forces and there are many in the muslim world and the problem is we don't understand that. >> i want to get you in here because i know you have been chomping at the bit there.
well, i think i agree the notion there that very often we don't completely understand a specific place or what specifically is going on. personally, again, i served on the ground in iraq with the marine corps and during my first tour in 2004-2005, it was evident that we really didn't entirely understand a lot of the dynamics that were going on. from one of the panels from earlier in the day had noted that one of the silver linings of a lot of the events in the past few years is how the muslim american community mobilized.
tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of young american men and women cross the entire country who have been interacting on a daily by a with young iraqi and afghan mostly men for years. and that kind of cultural exchange and mutual understanding -- and a lot of times walking along, having each other's back, literally unfortunately bleeding and dying and fighting and surviving together allows them to build an understanding that is otherwise absolutely impossible and so i think our cultural awareness as a country of muslim communities has grown and is growing. part of the reason why we are here is because -- at least i can speak for the department of defense, to acknowledge that in
recognition of the troubles we have had in afghanistan and iraq, that the department of defense does need to -- i don't want to say reach out, because muslim-americans are part and parcel of department of defense as catholic, jewish, presbyterian americans but to begin to get a greater expertise, we have to operate it . and so, yes, our understanding is imperfect and desperately needs improvement. please help us improve. >> i would just like to say -- [applause] >> i just have to say -- i agree that these are benefits that we couldn't have imagined for kids coming across the united states that wouldn't have even had a passport to travel anywhere otherwise. i have to say it is thaufert
that cultural exchange has to happen in the context of war. i know you agree with that. it seems to me that we globalize the peace -- we put all of our efforts into supporting jobs and efforts and projects overseas that promote development and clean water and literacy and economic empowerment, how we can accomplish the same thing with young kids who need jobs and they might just go somewhere elsewhere we have outsourced our jobs, too, but still people living in the streets are still suffering. that would take a mental shift. take advantage of the situation as it is. for better or worse, that is where we are now. it should. it is just unfortunate to me as an american to think that we could not have accomplished that in some other way. [applause] >> a small silver lining at these situations. >> i had you as a warmonger but
maybe not. >> i'm really glad, laila, that you raised that. i think there is not a very strong sense here in the u.s., much less, in muslim communities abroad, about what the united states is doing to pursue precisely the goals that you just described as aspirations. we have set up a slu of new initiatives to pry to pursue some of those ideas. the president is going to be hosting in march in washington an entrepreneurship summit leading business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, high-tech entrepreneurs from muslim countries around the world to d.c. to engage with their counterparts in the u.s. to build new partnerships, to try to build investment and promote
skills development. we're going to be sending science envoys, including prominent arab-americans and muslim-americans among them although not exclusively, by any means to countries arnold the middle east and beyond -- around the middle east and beyond. it has been a desire to partner more on science and technology issues and that there just hasn't been enough effort by the united states to engage on those issues so we're trying to scale that up in our diplomacy, science diplomacy. we have launched a new project that secretary clinton spoke about when she visited morocco last months, civil society 2.0. she comes out of non-profit advocacy work for children and family. she wants to put more resources
as a department and as a government behind the empowerment of civic groups in muslim communities around the world. a new project helping civic groups rebuild their technical capacities to reach out to young people and be more effective within their own society and dialogue with government. all those ways we're trying to build up precisely the capacity you say is needed to round out, to balance the nature of our engagement with these communities and with this part of world and to make the point that yes, the u.s. has interests arnl around the world. we're a global power and economy and we're going to be engaged around the world but not only the level of high-tech and diplomacy. we want to be engaged as an ally with those within their own
societies who are seeking to build a better future and to be a force of good within their own communities, we do want to partner with those people. we are working to build those partnerships and we have been putting resources behind its for a variety of ways and are scaling up now. [applause] >> we're kind of -- it is about 6:00 now. so i wanted to spend the last little bit of time here taking some questions. and there are several questions that all touch on the theme of the israeli-palestinian conflict and i think it would be remiss of us not to at least discuss that to some extent. i'm sure most of the audience and panelists are aware the obama administration came in to washington with a clear commitment to a two-state solution and they put significant pressure on the
israeli prime minister to at least verbally acknowledge that as a goal. there has been a disagreement with the israelis over the settlements and there was at least an initial attempt to get the israelis to stop all sentiment building that -- settlement building. at this point we are at a bit of an impasse with i think the administration was hoping to get negotiations going quite rapidly but so far we have a standstill and i would like to get tamara's input on where things stand from the state department's perspective. one element that i would like all of you to address, if you could, is to what extend is solving the israeli-palestinian issue going to affect u.s.-muslim world relations in a global sense.
is this something that has a huge impocket pabt or something that is a conflict once resolved does not fundamentally change the way the u.s. and muslim communities will relate? >> let me talk about the diplomatic side of things since that is world i'm living in now. what the impact will be if get to conflict resolution, which i certainly hope we do and soon. i think that is an impact that will vary place to place and different people will have to decide for themselves how to judge that. let me talk to you about what we're doing. we're not at an impasse. it is tough. if it were not tough, it would have been done by now. senator mitchell's office is across the hall from my office. i see every day the level of activity that is taking place there and senator mitchell is not a man who believes in
impasse. he is a patient, determined, committed principled mediator. he is working every day. not just with the israelis and palestinians but with the whole region because the president's vision is a vision of a two-state solution but also a vision of a comprehensive peace in the region that includes peace between israel and syria and israel and lebanon and the broader relationship between israel and the arab states so he is continuing to work with both sides trying to improve the atmosphere that can get us back to the negotiations, to persuade both sides that we need to get back to negotiations without preconditions. that we need to get back to the table because it is at the table where these fundamental issues can be resolved between the parties and we can get a continuous, viable palestinian state where we