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tv   News and Public Affairs  CSPAN  May 28, 2012 1:30am-3:05am EDT

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algeria-cc correspondent. and if you could be forward for local journalists and for foreigner correspondents in china. do you see them together or a divide there. what are the pluses and minuses you see in that duality? >> one interesting fact is that chinese citizens cannot work as reporters. they can work as information gathers but not fully fledged reporters. your thoughts. >> i remember the first prize's given, one was libby rosenthal from "the new york times." that did a wonderful report on aids in china early on.
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and her reports were translated in chinese and read to the internal party better information newsletter thing. and had an affect on the chinese leadership. and helped to report them. the reporting in china wasn't as good. i think that the world is smaller all the time. people are better aware of what everyone is writing. things are more quickly translated on google. you can know instantly what is said in the article, even if your chinese characters are really rusty, right, marcus. but the drama in china is a chinese drama. the struggles over the country's future. the chen guangcheng story is a story about activists and journalists. and those in china demanding
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their rights and that the government respect it's own constitution. and that it be truly a law-based society. that's really the drama in china today. it's being played out on a chinese stage. we are bystanders and we can affect it and participate at the margins. but it's a tremendously dramatic struggle going on. i am generally bullish about the future. i think that the internet is a shot in the arm and that it won't be the same for the repressive government. but that doesn't mean that it's not a long road ahead. >> join me and congratulate again, april. [applause]
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>> memorial day rally was held today on the lawn. the group was part of activists. for veterans and service members of all wars. this year rolling thunder participating on this anniversa anniversary. here are some members as they rode into the nation's capital.
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>> tomorrow president obama lays the wreath at the tomb of the unknowns. and marks the ceremony at arlington cemetery.
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the service at 8 eastern. and will be joined live here at 1 p.m., both here on c-span. next a bookings formum on the role in the world. and then hearing on law of the sea treaty. a brookings institution panel on friday. focused on an american leadership role abroad on an election year. brookings focused on challenging the u.s. and the economy and the global dependencdependency. this is about 90 minutes.
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>> we will get started, i am director the studies and the 2012 project. and it's glad to welcome you to -- i have lost track, six or seven events on the critical issues of the campaign. and the critical issues more particularly the presidency of the results this campaign will have to manage. for those of who haven't been to the prior events, and for those who have. i apologize for this being repetitio repetitious. but for those who haven't been to the previous events. i want to describe how this project works. we have divided up the world in
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the campaign in two major issues, some foreign and some domestic and some hybrid. for each of those issues we have asked a brooking scholar or a pair of brookings skcholars talking about president obama's subject on the topic and the peak of that opposition. and trying to synthesize the merits of the record or critique in the obama administration or we may say it, the mitt romney administration. we had to pretend we didn't know for a long time. and for each of these subjects
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we asked two groups of other brookings scholars to write a response paper. sometimes these were simply arguments. people who disagreed with the thesis of the main paper. sometimes they were efforts to add texture and richness. to look at the issue from a slightly different point of view. and from each of these groups, 12 of three papers. we are having an event like this, the author of the event paper and the author of the response paper get together and discuss the three. our subject today is: america's role in the world. that has been over the course of the republican primary has been a current, thematic matter of criticism of the obama
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administration. it's a subject that the obama administration has talked a lot about. and it's a subject that has been criticized a lot about. and it played surprising to me a large role, the visions of the american power. a surprising large role in the campaign. before i turn it over, introduce our panel and turn it over to them. i would like to announce that the compilation of all of these sets of 12 papers and responses is now available. and as of this week has actually shown up. it's a volume called campaign 2012. some papers we have had the events for and some we haven't. the books are available at a table outside this hall when you guys leave. and i hope you enjoy it. so to discuss today's subject.
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the main paper was written by bruce jones. who is a senior follow in government studies here and nyu as well. and our response paper was written by homey karose that is a fellow in government development. and here to moderate is edward davera, and turn it over to him. >> thank you, i am the develop white house editor for politco, which means i have been paying a lot of attention to what the administration is doing over the last couple of months and years. and how it's unfolding on the
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campaign. and there is a lot of talk about the campaign and ways that are not traditional for the democrats and republicans. there is a lot to discuss here. and to start, bruce if you could set the table for us. and tell us where you see the main issues. the main situations on the global stage that are of concern and relevancy in the united states. and how the different approaches that mitt romney and barack obama play and discuss this and may play out. >> thanks, let me start back of that and address the question. it seems to me we are in some moment of doubt about the role
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in america. and there is a lot changing the u.s. economy at a scale that was substantially different than 20 years ago. there are rising powers that have greater influence in world politics and national security than was true even 10 years ago. the middle east is in turmoil and our allies and stakes are substantial. there is uncertainty and doubt in the public mind-set. and this gets put in a characterized debate about american decline. i think that's the wrong way to understand the problem. i think that the rhetoric of the decline runs ahead of the decline. there are new actors and economic relations and we have to adjust our policy to do those
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things. the second point is that we have lived 25 years in an international system that was built by and protected by american power. and the second reality is that our power by our own choice was embedded in a series of institutions and alliances and arrangements for partnership. i don't see anything in either campaign or anything in the policy of the president or anything that romney said that will change those realities. i think that the core tendents of the american power and the order are likely to remain true over a period of time. but the reality is that we confront new challenges. china is flexing its naval muscle in the seas. and south korea and turkey and mexico and brazil are seeking a
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new voice in international institutions. and we are economically dependent on those countries than before. and those are realities that will confront either candidate. either president will have to adapt to them. and the final point, we will hear a lot of rhetoric about this. romney will accuse obama of apologizing for america and not believing in those issues. so the rhetoric will be there in the campaign. and i think that each side will try to frame the other for not having a good grasp to manage america's role in the world. we don't know what romney really thinks about foreign policy. but when i read a couple of speeches he's given on foreign policy. and you strip away from the rhetoric, i find it
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indistinguishable from the above administration. >> i want to pick up what is in your paper, the discussion of how -- excuse me, the discussion of these issues on the campaign trail actually affects the deeper things going on. the negotiations and the conversations with foreign nations and how it affects those relationships. >> sure. thank you, isaac. i will pick up i think from what bruce has said. and my co-author, joe michael arnold and i are in the category that ben mentioned at the outset. we couldn't find much to dispute in bruce and his colleague's piece. but we wanted to focus in on a couple of issues. notably the one that bruce just mentioned. and what bruce just said is
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essentially good news. if you extrapolate forward from the substantive overlap between what is emerging as a romney platform on foreign policy. and the actual foreign policy of the obama administration. there is not a great deal of difference. and that's a good thing. first of all i think there are a lot of positive features to president obama's foreign policy. which by the way demonstrates some degree of continuity of the second term of the bush administration. the g-20 convention or convening of george w. bush. i don't think that we the american people or our friends abroad need to worry much that there will be a radical breach. but to go to the not such good
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news. john michael and i focus in on what we regard as a perverse and even tragic irony about american democracy. i think it's fair to say that, that function of american democracy that is most important and consequential is the presidential election. that coincides with an election of the senate and all members of the house. that's a very big day every four years in our lives. it's consequential for us and the world. and very often the outcome, i would say much more often than not. the outcome is sense and one we can be proud of on an all community and nonpartisan basis. but the process by which we get
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to that. the nature of the natural discourse is pretty dreadful. and it has been almost as bad as we have seen in a long time. and it tends to start as much of a shouting match. blame storming. you know we were getting a sense of the charges that are going to be made in each direction. you know, that guy is a fat cat who straps his labrador retriever on his station wagon when he goes on vacation. that's not the kind of conversation we need. and that i think is an extension of the extraordinary polarization that afflicts our domestic politics and policy
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making particularly at the federal level. and it has at least two effects on our standing in the eyes of the world. and that's the topic we were asked to address, american leadership. one is that it's unseamingly, and that's the irony i am talking about. the function to elect our leaders is a process, not the outcome but a process one of the most unedify ing. and here we as the inventer of the democracy. and many of you travel a great deal and you must hear the same thing that the four of us. and the second consequence is
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that it has an extremely negative effect on the ability of the united states government and the president himself to actually conduct foreign policy. because a lot of foreign policy requires of course the cooperation of the legislative branch. it is not just difficult but impossible to imagine getting any major treaty through. maybe there is some chance of the wall of the sea treaty to get through. bruce has some better idea than i. but if you look at this as the two most threatening threats, the nuclear proliferation and the climate change. we are dead in the water because of the campaign in this town.
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one of the characters in american literature is quoted, pogo, we have met the enemy and it's us. that's the theme of what we are talking about. >> let me take it to you and your paper and the issues of ideas that lays out the idea. basically there are huge disagreements and different pathways in front of us. given the choices of barack obama and mitt romney. if you talk about that and where you see that reverberating, which situations around the world. >> sure, i think if things were going reasonably well in the world. it wouldn't make that much difference. because sometimes the focus of the elections is going to be on domestic issues.
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that's probably right. but things are not going that well in the world. and if particular things are not going that well in the global economy. so i am not sure that i would ascribe to bruce's view that well, the sort of fundamental institutions that are taking care of the world. are still doing their job. and regardless of who comes in, they will still be able to do their job. i am not sure that is still the case. the reform of the international financial institution has been going very slowly. one of the big destabilizing factors in the global economy has been the mammoth accumulation of foreign exchange reserves in asia, for example.
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why? some people say they are doing that because they have very little confidence that the international monitetary funds would come to their support in a way they would find useful or reliable. and a lot of that comes from the lessons that at least some economies have drawn from the intervention by the fund at the time of the 1997-98 financial crisis in east asia. so there is this sense that well, the ims and the world bank they all need to reform. and they need to have a great weight given to emerging economies to part of that process. actually that reform is going so slowly that it maybe threatened. the path of the g-20 agreed upon
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is almost certain not going to be met. and so one gets very much a sense of institutional drift at the level of the global economy. and even the g-20 that was referred to. the g-20 did some really terrific achievements when it came together with a coordinated fiscal stimulus. right now the g-20 is floundering a little bit. the crisis has moved from being a global crisis to being an individual country crisis. individual countries are each taking their own routes to thinking about how they want to deal with this. the degree of macro-economic coordination across the country is limited. the u.s. role in this, the
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traditional u.s. role in this has been very limited. and it is posing a problem. so the question becomes, which administration is more likely to pursue a multi-lateralist approach to global economic governance. and an approach that emphasizes and collective action of requirements of big global problems. whether it's policy coordination at the macro-level or climate change, quite frankly. and will there be differences. i argue there probably will be. a lot of rhetoric of the elections, the idea of global governance is not something that sits well with one of the
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political parties. and you know, one could say, well they have a very clear vision that one doesn't need and one shouldn't want global governance. i am not necessarily commenting on which is right. but certainly it seems to me they have very different approaches as to the viability of global governance and the kind of leadership they would give to global collective action. so at the end of the day it comes down to if we believe that the world's problems can be solved through collective action. or do we believe that the world's problems will be solved by each country individually solving their own problems. as they do so, the world as a whole will recover. regardless of which you believe,
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i think that it's really more likely to be the case that there it will be a substantial difference in approach between those two extremes, the characterures i have laid out. than it will be indistinguishable regardless of who comes in. >> let me start with you on this question. when you look at what mitt romney and barack obama has been saying. and bruce talked about how we can start to discern what romney's foreign policy though he's not made huge statements. are there statements that are head scratchers for you, that you are not sure make sense in their understanding of the global situation? >> i don't know about, you know, specific statements.
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but you know in some areas what i would say is that new alliances really need to be created. one of the interesting things that is happening just on the economic front is last year was the first year since the war that the g-7 economies as a group accounted for less than half market exchange rates for the first time. less than 50%. and this year will probably be the first year since the war that asia becomes a larger economic block than europe. so the thing that has basically held the global economy together, which was frankly the
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g-7 and the transatlantic alliance is now giving way to some different alliances. now how will those alliances actually be knit together? and will they be knit together on economic agreements or security agreements? my view is that that will be different. and broadly speaking when you think of the positions taken on countries like taiwan and the relationship with china. it's likely to be quite different. . .
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than anybody else about what the composition of a romney foreign- policy would be but i would go back to my agreement with bruce. i do not think it will be all that different. let me give you a couple of reasons for that. among other things, i do not think that a and a republican administration will have a huge choice of going back to, call it whatever you want, isolation or
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the phrase in your paper is a machoism. going to go between the two of them. that means falling back contours' of what has been de obama policy which has something in common with george w. bush. remember that president romney's challenge, he had to go far to the right to get to the nomination and now he is moving to the center. the exception, there are signals out there and that it would be a foreign policy that would have a lot of continuity with the present one. the overall this position of a president romney, remember that governor romney presided over the passage into state law in
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massachusetts with regard to climate change that was more enlightened than that of the united states of america. matched only perhaps by the policy of a governor schwarzenegger in california. who knows who the secretary of state might be. the president of the world bank was one until recently and he believed in dealing with china and other countries as to what we should ask of contries to be irresponsible step holders. -- responsible stake holders. that is pretty close to the theme of the paper. the most curious is that cheap bashing of other countries. every country on the planet with two exceptions has to hope and pray it is never mentioned
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during american presidential campaigns. if it is mentioned, it will not be bad. the two exceptions are israel and great britain. china has, ala. -- come up a lot. russia has camelot. -- has come up a lot. governor romney has decided to declare that russia is the number one strategic threat to the united states. that sounds very yesteryear. we will bother to check panels about russia but i don't anybody will latch on to that proposition. as for china, we all know that china is an easy target in some ways but we have already mentioned the people, the wise heads of the republican party, and i can assure you that you could read and a kissinger's latest book on china and candidate romney will get a lot of advice between now and the
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vietnam were merely conventional the white house to go easy on china. that is not was going to win an election, it is the economy. >> do you want to pick up on this? >> they're a lot things i agree with this for the nature of the challenge. our economy is more dependent in the global economy and the collective action challenge that himey talked about was real. where i differ, democrats or run against republicans and said they will work with in the mainstream and i try that and it fails and they proceed with unilateral. the biggest success present obama has the unilateral killing of a terrorist.
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the bush at maturity couldn't dministration came into office, there were 20,000 u.s. peacekeepers and the left of us and there were 100,000. this is your attention between the unilateral power and multilateral engagement is a constant in american foreign policy and ships within -- shifts within administrations. a good phrase is knit together a new alliance. it did a back to 2008, it was at jolie evident that obama would be the much better president compared to john mccain to knit together the new alliances with indonesia, turkey, brazil, india and et,c and that has proven harder than we thought it could be. these are independent powers that have their own interests
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and there will not simply follow american dictates. there are places where their interests along with ours but it has proven harder than the obama administration has anticipated. you have seen a shift back toward europe and the d-eight -- g-8 and a shift back toward power in the foreign policy of the ball lately. that power is there is it is a real question to ask -- which administers more likely to have a better team and the tools and the orientation to continue that work of knitting together those new alliances. because that is the defining challenge. >> you bring up a point that often what people say on the campaign trail is not what happens.
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what can we say for sure presidentromney would do or a second term president obama would do starting in january when it comes to foreign policy based on what they have said. or are there other tea leaves we should be reading? >> i was talking to one of mitt romney's big donors. mitt romney is trying to portray obama as too soft, willing to pursue a route of diplomacy vs force. i asked this chap what would be mitt romney's first step on a rafi was elected? -- on iran if he was elected? he will go in there and say i am your best friend and i will ask for a couple more years before we look at the military option. i think there will be a lot more continuity than the rhetoric
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indicates. >> what i think for sure is the comprehensive treaty. my guess is that a second term obama would go hell bent for leather to get the ratification of the comprehensive test ban treaty. that is in less likely in a romney administration. i know about climate change. i think governor romney will have to -- will need to revert to his protest campaign mode in his attitudes and what he is willing to do. the arguments in favor of him picking up on these issues are pretty small.
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>> would that matter when it comes to that issue? your papers lays out there are not a lot of differences. >> i think it is possible but by no means certain that a romney presidency would treat international institutions and alliances will like the bush had magician did in the first term as red meat to throw to the right wing of the party. it is not what romney says. if you read his speeches and is talk, it is not what he says. he says we will work with multilateral institutions. that is exactly what obama says. he will have topivot to the middle for the campaign but he has to protect his flank. sometimes the republicans for the u.n. to the wolves as red
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meat. i think it could be that for political reasons, romney will not pursue a multilateral agenda. on economic issues, i don't think you have any choice. there is no unilateral option now. >> there is the question of what sort of predictor of the campaign rhetoric will actually be to what they do. >> the difficulty is that the old pattern of trying something and it doesn't work, we can do something else. to some extent, that worked at
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least in economic terms when the u.s. was so dominant that it could afford to do that. my worry is that right now, i love the international financial institutions are in such a vulnerable condition that if for two years they continue without a strong reform, institutions will start to cropp bob that -- crop up that will be developed, run, and managed by people who exclude the united states. you'll start to get a fragmentation of the global economic management. once that is set, it will become very difficult to go back and say we've now actually learned it will come back and strengthen.
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i suspect we might be at a point where the space for the kind of experimentation bruce was talking about this may not be there any longer. without being overly dramatic, one could possibly kill off for severely damaged existing institutions if they're not given the kind of tender loving care that they actually need. the only person who can give and tender loving care is the president of the united states. >> we have a nomination for the president. there is talk about this being the last american president of the world bank. there's also talk about the
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emerging powers, india, china, and brazil and so forth, creating a related but separate facility. can you say a word about that? >>one, i think that's kim kin will find out that he takes over world bank and he will have to do contract mending by one half. essentially all of the ammunition is being already shot off by these three bi predecess. he's got no budget increase so it will be really tough situation and position for him to manage. at the same time, the kinds of
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challenges that the world bank was set up to deal with are perhaps getting bigger. developing countries are spending something like $900 billion per year on this as being part of their needs. some people are talking about double that as their needs. what agency will be able to actually do that in a cynical -- stable fashion and generate the kind of financial. if it is not going to be the
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world bank, there will be other institutions develop and. -- developing. whether that will take the form of the so-called brics abnk or not, i have my doubts. the bric is a nice acronym but as a political group, i think the challenge dwarfs anything that the u.s. faces. it is not easy to have a convergence of interests. i don't think on this issue that they do have that kind of convergence. that means that things they are talking about are not of the enormous relevance. they are saying that we need a global institution that has a mandate and a mandate to actually do something about green growth, about clyde this
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proved a. there are a responsible we need a global institution that reflects the changing membership and partly, that is the more significant weight of it of emerging economies. we are entering into worlds were non-state or quality state actors are incredibly important on the economic front. with the tug of sovereign will funds are pension funds or other forms of capital, they have to be brought into these kind of institutions. they need to leverage the kind of capital in a serious way. the knees to the modernization -- there needs to be a
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modernization of the modalities. the idea you will literally take money from crude belgian dentists to save indian infrastructure, that is a -- that will be the challenge -- and will not be the channel. for all the problems it has brought out with financial innovation in the world on the way it has been parceled out has actually generated a whole range of new modalities. finance has to be in modernized to the new kind of risk factors. a global institution would probably need to be much more agile in this deployment of those kind of risk-bearing instruments. >> it might be headquartered in istanbul. >> it could be or in south africa. >> i would like you to talk of how you say a president romney
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or president obama set -- fitting into that over the course of the next four years. >> when you look at the end like the brics, it is clear that for each member, their relationship with the united states is more important with their relationship with each other. this is brazil russia india and china and sometimes south africa. is a very odd grouping because it does not include turkey. >> it includes russia but so that makes it odd. >> the point is, the new actors and the international stage basically only agree on one issue which is that they would like more power. they don't agree on any other issues strategically. they can agree to poke at us if we don't give them more power
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but that is about it. it does mean there's a huge opportunity here if their knitting together a new alliances with core institutions that matter to global systems, which is still exercise that enormous power. it seems that obama has done less on this than i would have anticipated in 2008. i point to the difficulties here and it is not because it is about what is important, it is bloody hard. the challenges are real and the states are all playing chicken in the sense they know they have to participate in global systems and give up something to do with it but they are all waiting. i agree with the two-year point. we should not be waiting now
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and we don't have two years to play with in terms of taking an approach of trying to tighten up alliances and institutions. i would put little less weight on formal institutions and more on the alliances with new actors. even there, the administration is vacillating between liking theg-8 and those areas are not necessarily well crafted. there is still a lot of work to be done in forging the architecture that can manage. >> puc a difference in what mitt romney would do in those issues? >> i worry and i have emphasized the point, that you cannot judge entirely from campaign rhetoric. it worries me that the phrase"asia" does not come up except when he is bashing china. he does not does that either
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japan or china have american allies. there's a cast back to a transatlantic u.s. and europe picture of the world that i think is outdated. this is much better suited to a century in which the cast of characters is planning. obama himself a very hard to navigate. guest: there is a microphone somewhere in the back. you could identify yourselves and speak clearly into the microphone. we have lots of recording going on so please be aware of that. there is a person when a question here in the front row. let's keep this focused on the
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general election. >> i want to pose the question in the form of a hypothesis. if you think about bruce's excellent paper sometime ago about the u.s. as the u.s. majority shareholder in a liberal democratic quarter, i think it is a highly important point about the extent to which the electoral process itself "getting us to the first two seats is not only on seemly, it makes government more difficult than ever. about the need to form new allowances, you jump to the
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question of given all of that, which president, romney or obama -- can we predict what they will do in which one would have the greatest likelihood of doing the things that need to be done? the hypothesis is very little difference because they have far less room to maneuver. where the defense will be made is in the congressional elections and securely in the senate. particular given the fact of rule 22 in the senate and the unfortunate growing role of minority interference in the governing process. which, depending upon how it
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comes out on the first two seats will make it as devil for a president -- as difficult for a president romney as it would for obama. given the test of character this seems to be taking the place. the most recent example is richard lugar. as the hypothesis was with the day comes to the question of i will leave it at that. >> i'm not sure i buy it. i am absolutely sure that i'm not going to say which of the -- i think it really matters and it will matter in january of next year. of course the composition of the congress will be immensely important. the big question mark about
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barack obama, will he be able to succeed in a degree that he was not able to succeed in his first term that you want to do? if you go back to his speeches on the campaign trail in 2008, grant park, and his inauguration, he kept talking about a planet in peril and how that had to be a priority. it was not a priority at the beginning of his administration. health care was a priority. the climate issue faded and ultimately failed to get anywhere. obviously, that was a joint mistake on the handling of the executive branch and the legislative branch. he had some sex predicts success -- some success with
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reducing nuclear barrels with the new start treaty with the russians but no such success, of course, on the testing. the big question will not be what his intentions are but what his ability to is to deliver on those tensions. -- those intentions. with regard to president romney, we have to see how he lays out his plans and taken seriously in either case. if he lays out priorities that a line with those of us as individual citizens, then he will be very strong candidate for the presidency. the of a point of that to the economy. what is important for our ability to lead in the world by example and by having resources necessary to back up our soft power with hard power and there is a question of getting our own economy back in shape and that means dressing -- restored
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schools and school fantasy to our national argument. which one of these candidates as a credible plan to do that and the four letter word t-a- x will have to come up and that and their judgment will have to be made. will they have the political will to drive those issues for and will they be able to get enough support from the congress. >> do you want to respond to that? i have a question right appear. -- right up here in the third
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row. >> i am struck by the conversation not including the word afghanistan are much talk about hightower. bruce, you address the balance or imbalance between hard power and military and civilian power. it seems that one of the areas of not enough light and alternative approaches is coming out of this campaign and the rhetoric on the campaign trail is this question of what admiral mike mullen has caused over-militarization and lack of ability to invest in and muster the diplomatic solutions that we need. this discussion has been about the real problems that require a diplomatic solution. is it just that on the campaign trail they speak to domestic
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politics and are not speaking to the realities of implementing u.s. foreign policy? is there any hope that a next presidency can help shift that balance and get out of this over-militarization cycle of u.s. foreign policy. that relates to the congressional question given the budgeting challenges. a final question about a related assumption -- there is no light between the two sides -- exceptionalism is the granite for u.s. policy, we will be stuck in not having the right solution to the world's problems. is there any hopes to get into a different approach how we see our place in the world? >> let's talk about militarization and foreign
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policy. >> this is the central argument of my paper that either the president has to invest more in the diplomatic tools but that does not translate directly into increasing funding for the state department. investing heavily in the tools and capabilities we need to do exactly something like knitting together new alliances. i think this has become a partisan issue. you see republican congressional actions to reduce state funded r block increase to the state funding. in fairness, in the previous administration and a second term, they try to increase funding to states. this becomes an important issue. do we have the right tools of government to force to get a new alliances to kind of managed issues and a much more complex way. we don't have a very honest conversation about this. i don't think state is
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currently staffed and trained or is the right tool for managing the world. we need serious reforms in the state department. i think the emphasis and the need for an abbesses on diplomacy and the despair -- and the diplomacy is not a great issue. as a matter -- it is a situation of magic alliances including military action. i take your point. we don't know which of the two presidents would be more likely to do this but i think the congressional point israel. there are a lot of people around bett romney who understands this point and the need for serious diplomacy and some people around him who clearly
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don't. >> you can take up that or the american exceptionalism. >> that issue has gotten a little goofy. present obama gets off a helicopter and he gets caught red has agreed tofareed zakaria. a couple of months go by and say he's readingbob kagan. which we are delighted to see. by the way, these two terrific books are not diametrically opposed in their prescriptive implications. i noticed in the speech that president obama david the air force academy a couple of weeks ago, he went out of his way to say this is an exceptional country.
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i guess he covered himself on that. the other was to say that in libya, nato was out there leading from the front thereby laying to rest forever the line about leading from behind. the serious point is we are an exceptional country. there is no country on earth that has the convening power. there is no country on earth as the global military power on a global basis that we have. >> it was interesting the you talk about development and
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diplomacy. one of the great legacies of our former president bush was in fact his prioritization and focus on development. he did quite a lot to raise the amounts of resources. that is something president obama has tried to do. in terms of their resources and the ability to commit in countries like afghanistan to a long-term process of support, i think both will probably be able to make that commitment and stand by it, hopefully, because there certainly will be
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a necessary element of moving forward in any of the fragile states that have become so important and a part of u.s. diplomacy. >> you talk about president obama and his sense of exceptional as compared it was a major part of the republican primary campaign. mitt romney talked about it a lot and it is one of the main attacks on president obama. this is open to anyone. given what was said in the republican primary campaign, and where you see mitt romney, how does that affect his foreign-policy if he is the president in 2013? >> and generally speaking, it
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will probably be much more harmony as opposed to what they are saying. that was bruce's original point. i was interested when senator marco rubio was here last month. he is one of quite a number of opt-in-coming republican political leaders who is talk about is it possible by president. he gave a foreign policy talk here. it was a very thoughtful speech. i do not want to ruin his chances for getting on the ticket, but it was not wildly different from a speech that i
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could a imagine coming out of the department of state, or even the white house, making a few amendments and a couple of lines in it. this is a good thing. i and others have expressed some dismay about the polarization of our politics and the breakdown in civil discourse but i think there has been a shaking out process that has been going on. if you look at the field of republican comments, and this is truly non-partisan because it is entirely about the republicans, there were two of those candidates who i think many americans, including independence and probably some democrats, depending on -- i am referring here to jon huntsman and mitt romney -- they were by far the most centrist, and that
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is what the process delivered, which is a good thing. let's see if the process can continue reconciliation on foreign policy issues because the tough issues facing the next president will be domestic and economic. >> did you want to say anything? >> i think that's well said. >> a question in the back. microphone coming from the back. >> thank you. robert lerner, a consulting firm, mentioning uncertainty. given that europe has undergone three crises, and china could be going into a substantial slowdown, what you think their responses and the differences might be between obama in the second term and romney with
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respect to that deteriorating economic and financial situation? >> i think there is a very serious debate going on about the best group out of the current crisis, and that is essentially on getting the balance right between fiscal consolidation and what is called austerity as opposed to new growth programs. i think that debate is joined in europe. europe is not unified in terms of where it is going to come out on that balance, and i think in this country as well, the two parties are quite different in their positioning of this.
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china is rather different. china is, indeed, slowing down. i think china will almost certainly start to implement stimulus measures, both monetary and fiscal, to try to take care of it, and that the end of the day chinese growth probably will slow down but the probability of a very hard landing in china or their growth approximating the zero growth or the 2% growth in advanced countries still seems to be low. between the united states and europe, i think this is an active debate based on different philosophies on what generates growth in the short run. >> i want to take the question and used it to make a slightly different point.
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which president would do a better job at educating the american public about the change in the world that we've lived in? i think we begin to understand that our economy at this stage rises or falls with the global economy. the days where for our own production and consumption were isolated are long gone. china, europe, they slow down, we slow down. china grows, europe grows, we grow. simple as that. i do not think that is understood in the american public. the question becomes which president can communicate that we live in a changed world and what that means for us? hear, i think it is a tough call.
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certainly, so far, obama who clearly understands this reality has not done that good of the job explaining this. it is a hard argument to make been tough times, easier in growth, but with mitt romney we do not know. there could be a mix to the china element, or there could be this "you are a bain capitalist who profits from this while we lose jobs." we do not know what he will be liking communicating this. there is nothing in his campaign rhetoric that suggests he is good at it. >> this just came to be listening to that answer from bruce. the one-word summary is inter- dependence. by the way, the fate of the
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chinese experiment is completely dependent on the house of the global economy. i think one reason president obama, who really gets it, is not out there making the case, is because in these tough times talking about inter-dependence makes you soft. this is a perennial achilles heel for democrats. they do not want to look soft. with the feeling that the europeans are going to screw things up, the chinese in our lunch, to say is an inter- dependent world, you are not protecting us. that is a fundamental factor. the president has no way around
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that between now and the election. he has to find ways to talk about it, where if they do not sound robust, at least sound optimistic. read the text at the air force academy speech. it was reagan. morning in america, sun is shining, we are going to be fine. >> i am curious, given the economic situation and how much it is part of your paper, the question posed about which candidate would be better able to explain to the american public the situation we are facing, what is your answer to that? >> you know, i have found it interesting that on things like
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gas prices, which is a clear example of the interdependence -- there has been a suggestion that it really does depend on the president, and there were fascinating polls showing the way in which those views about the president's ability to control gas prices flipped over time, depending on who is in power. it is not a matter of a deeply held beliefs. it is about communication. it does seem to me that is enormously important. the fact of the matter is that not just in the united states, but in europe, the conversation around economic problems and the diplomacy around those conversations is disappearing,
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and it is part of the reason they have not solved the problem. in germany, they still have the view that the greeks are lazy. greeks actually work probably 25% longer hours than germans. so, these perceptions become important in terms of the way economic policy is formed, and at the moment i think that is their real problem with the honesty in which the communication is happening. >> another question on this side. >> thank you. i am with phoenix tv.
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i would like to talk about the issue on china. mitt romney released an advertisement on china and the white house responded that they were tougher on china. i am curious if the china issue will intensify throughout the campaign, and will whoever is elected fulfil their promise? also, treasury released the exchange rate report and it claims that china's currency is still significantly under- valued although secretary timothy geithner says it has dropped dramatically. thank you. >> we are running a little short on time, if we could keep these answers short, we could get to one or two more
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questions. >> yes, the china question will intensify, and let's count on chinese patients and in january we will be back to something like normal on how we handle current exchange rates. >> this goes to the point i was trying to make about the facts of what is happening in terms of economics and the perceptions. u.s. exports to china have increased by about 50% cumulatively since to thousand eight. -- since 2008. chinese exports have increased. this is a trend that has been there since about 2004 or so.
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when you looked at this in terms of growth rate, the u.s. is doing really well and last year u.s. exports to china surpassed $100 billion. despite the bilateral deficit cut is still substantial. what is the deficit, is still substantial. trade is going up. that has been beneficial for both countries. >> you win election in swing states, and if you are in los angeles, new york, miami, etc., globalization, the stock is ok. -- this stuff is ok.
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not so much in western pennsylvania. i think the nature of the election campaign focuses on the downside of global integration, where there is a lot going on that drives investment ensure growth. >> gentleman in the middle. >> thank you. i am with "egyptian daily." my question is with climate change, the arab spring. what do you expect mitt romney or barack obama to handle the changes in the middle east, and whether it will just rely on security alliances or deeper and useful partnerships? thank you.
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>> one thing that might come up before the election is whether there are differences between the candidates on issues like syria. so far, the obama administration has been very careful talking about the potential for military engagement, and he has been criticized for that by some parts of the republican party as well as parts of the democratic party. there is a hawkish alliance that straddles the two parties. i do not know whether romney would be a bit differently in syria that obama has so far. i actually doubt it. i think the idea that we would rush to military intervention is probably over-played. your question is more broad than that. there are fundamental tensions and stakes here, and the ability to navigate what is coming will be a critical test
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of either president. i did not have a crystal ball. i do not know if strobe talbott has more insight. it will matter a lot who did it to be national security advisers or the secretary of state. there is a wide cast of characters on the potential list for mitt romney, and that will change things a lot, whoever it is. there is the economic rise in asia, the turbulence of the arab spring. >> if you might put iran on the list, to. >> i would put iran on the list. >> i think in countries like egypt in particular, taking an economic lens now will be important for both candidates,
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and the big challenge that will need to be addressed is the real money and resources for helping countries in the arab world is likely to come from the gulf, and to what extent can those be merged with the support that could come in a variety of non-grant form, but trade alliances, investment alliances, etc. and multilateral institutions? it's that combination could be put together, there is a reasonable chance the support packages could be useful. if that does not put together, you will be faced with a situation where there will be potentially significant economic risks and trying to
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forge security alliances with countries that are having their own domestic economic problems, i think we've seen that is a difficult thing to sustain. >> we have time for one more if the question is short and the answers are short. right up here, up front. >> state department -- since the presidency is often defined by what the president achieved in his first year or so, let me ask you about priorities each candidate might have, not just based on campaign rhetoric, but overall, and this is hypothetical, but assuming domestic and foreign policy constraints were not forbidden, what do you think obama and mitt romney would like most to do as their priorities early in
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the next administration? >> keep it short. >> short answer -- either one's priority has to be fixing the problem that will not be fixed this year because we are having a presidential election campaign, which is fixing this country, particularly fiscally. as for the priority in the election, it goes back to the famous reagan question that allowed him to be jimmy carter. -- defeat jimmy carter. mitt romney has already asked that question and barack obama will try to persuade the american people that since this is a referendum on his first term that we are better off than when he first came to office. >> i think it will depend on the state of the economy.
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untraditional issues, i do not think they will have a choice the iranian situation will resolve itself or it will not resolve itself and will be the dominant foreign policy issue in the first year, 2013. where i think people will look to opportunities is in the tightening up the alliances with india, turkey, south korea, australia, and forging new patterns of cooperation with those actors, and i suspect either party would look to opportunities there. >> i am with strobe talbott on this. before looking abroad, fixing the fiscal and fixing growth is essential. both will have to think hard about how to do that. >> ok.
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what our program calls for is a closing thought from each of these gentlemen. try to sum up all the things we have talked about, send us to the one or 10 things we did not. maybe we moved down the line, and a lover wants to go first, homi kharas? strobe talbott? >> i think it is a program that iran came up towards the end. i will make one observation about the irony and perversity of the election nears on foreign policy. there has clearly then more progress than the pessimists expected, but maybe not as much as optimists' hopes for on iran. one of the constraints on president obama is dictated on the election. in order to get a big deal with
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teheran he would have to give away enough to where he was vulnerable to the accusation that he gave up to much. the dynamics of our elections process is going to drive him toward a modest agreement, which is a lot better than none, but makes it necessary to wait for a big deal if there is one. >> my sense on -- is that whoever wins the election will have to quickly come to grips with how aggressively do they want to address the issues of global governance, and what to do about international institutions, forming new alliances, and whether that requires or not a major overhaul or a muddling through kind of process. i think there will be a big
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question about whether the so- called tilt to asia can actually be implemented, or whether it is iran, syria, here up, something -- europe -- something will be dragging priorities away from large, dynamic emerging economies in asia, and finally about whether the foreign policy of the united states will continue to be dominated by security concerns and military interventions, or whether it will become more driven by economics, development, global growth.
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