tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 29, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EDT
presidential and vice presidential debates on c-span, the c-span radio app, and c-span.org. monday, september 26 is the first presidential debate from new york. tuesday, october 4, vice presidential candidates mike pence and tim kaine debate at longwood university in virginia. washingtonoctober 9, university in st. louis host the second presidential debate, leading up to the third and final debate between hillary clinton and donald trump at the university of nevada las vegas. live coverage of the presidential and vice presidential debates on c-span. listen live on the c-span radio app or watch on-demand at c-span.org. >> the british house of commons is in recess. prime minister's questions will not be shown tonight. instead, we hear from author
carla power, who talks about the misconceptions westerners have about islam. it is a topic she writes about in if the oceans work ink. from the commonwealth club of california, this is an hour and 10 minutes. >> jonathan: my mic is on. that is an auspicious start. good evening. welcome to today's meeting of the commonwealth club of california, the place where you are in the know. we are online at commonwealthclub.org. i am jonathan curiel, your
moderator for today's program, cold bridging islam and the west. i want to introduce our esteemed speaker, carla power. those of you who know carla know she is a pulitzer prize finalist. she is a journalist specializing in muslim societies and the author of "if the oceans were ink: an unlikely friendship and journey to the heart of koran," a result of spending a year with sheikh mohammed akram nadwi. it offers a look into the muslim world that is often ignored by our news media and explores the many complexities of one of the world's most misunderstood religions. she is a former correspondent for newsweek. her essays have appeared in
vogue, new york times magazine, and the guardian. carlo holds degrees from saint anthony's college at oxford, yale, and columbia. we are extremely pleased she has joined us at the commonwealth club of california. join me in welcoming carla power. [applause] i am really happy you are here. i am excited to talk about an important subject. an extremelyad is incredible book about your friendship with sheikh mohammed akram nadwi. dumont talking about why he wrote the book and a little bit about sheikh mohammed akram nadwi. carla: i call him the sheikh. there was talk we were going to call the book "the sheikh and i."
my publishers nixed it. i secretly wanted it to be cold the sheikh and i. start in my childhood. i grew up half the time in the time inand half the islamic countries. i spent my time shuttling between suburban st. louis and and kabule tehran and cairo. i got interested in islamic issues aesthetically. then i went on to study them and went on to write as a journalist about them. as a journalist, i was incredibly frustrated because, as much as i tried to write about muslim societies, i found that narrative sort of bifurcated into one of two.
one, i was writing about strongmen with kalashnikovs and women.or oppressed those are inevitably the two tro pes that would get written about. when i went on to feature stories, it slightly widened. i talked about pakistani punk rock bands, halal energy drinks, or muslim european professionals. that gave a little bit more bandwidth to the terrorism and, you know, veiled woman narrative. then, instead of saying, muslims, they are the muslims, they are just like us. magazinesd me of the you see at the checkout in the
supermarket where it is sort of, you know, movie stars -- they are just like us. there is angelina jolie with a baby on her hip and a latte. there was never any opportunity oneself from this like/different shuttle. you are looking into the abyss or a hall of reflecting mirrors, where you want to see muslims looking exactly like the rest of us. down and take a muslim worldview on their own terms, there was not room or space in mainstream longform media. that nevershould say in 17 years of writing about islam was i asked about the koran. journalists,ecular
or journalists mostly coverlet -- covering things as secularists, we tend to overlook the scripture that ostensibly started all of this. friend -- this is in 2011 -- who i worked with as a young woman, sheikh mohammed akram nadwi. i met him when i was 24. he was barely older than i was. he was an indian sheikh. he was the rising star of his own madrasa in india. he had been sent to oxford to work on -- at the same think tank i was working on. we were sort of polite friends. in 2012, i asked him, would it be ok if i shadowed you and really tried to understand what
your worldview is based on the koran and the words and deeds of the prophet muhammad? this meant a year of conversations on everything from jihad to how to raise kids to geopolitics. he let me trail him to his hometown in india, to the gym, up and down the u.k. on lecture tours. and it really was an attempt to where my worldview -- i was raised by a quicker father and jewish mother, both of whom were lapsed. i was raised as sort of a secular humanist. he was this very conservatively trained scholar. and i wanted to see what brought viewsether and where our
diverged. that was the template. you hit a very important point of your long interview. he is a very complex person with a lot of contradictions. but also full of humor. you bring out not only the koran's humanity, you bring out his humanity. in a sense, here is the goldmine you have been waiting for. on the one hand, this. on the other hand, this. you say in the book, i was loath to hear what he said about gays and lesbians. but can you talk about how he was, in a sense, the ideal cleric? carla: he is extraordinarily interesting. he was raised in a tiny, tiny village, reading by kerosene
lamp persian poets and the koran. because of his brilliance, by 17, he had written a grammar on arabic, even though he grew up speaking urdu, as well as hindi. so he started out from this tremendously rural, taking the in thes to be watered evening, and reading by kerosene light at night. in many ways, he is more cosmopolitan than i am. when i started seeing the layers and layers of what a religious scholar has at his disposal -- he is linked in to a network of religious scholars. whenever we hear "network" these
days linked to islam, we immediately freeze and think it is al qaeda or something else. he is part of a global network of intensely learned folks who are not involved in politics and textslp each other out on and so forth. place, ie sent me any would be like, i'm going to india. get ad, i need to certificate of learning from a scholar in jaipur. could you get that for me? certificateshese of learning from other scholars the way you would go and pick up you went to new york with a friend. so this very cosmopolitan view --the world that comes with not through having traveled 37 countries in a year or whatever,
but instead from being linked through scholarship. jonathan: one of the points that is really relevant and timely -- and i am glad this is part of your book -- is his views in women in islam. it is a controversial touchpoi nt. it has become a political touchstone. i believe he has six daughters? carla: six daughters, yeah. jonathan: more importantly, he has -- he is the first scholar to write about hidden women in 9000? carla: 10,000. incredibleme from an conservative, in terms of gender politics -- his family was so conservative that daughters and fathers, after daughters reach adolescence, try not to talk to
each other. brothers and sisters, after adolescence, will not talk to one another. firstretty sure i was the -- i know i was the first american that he was friends with. but i am sure i was the first woman that he spoke to freely outside of the madrasa because they were not allowed. we come from this very constructive notion -- constrictive notion of what is proper. that said, i call him the accidental feminist. 15 years ago, he sat me down and said, i'm working on something i know you will be interested in. i am going to do something on women's scholars on the words and deeds of the prophet muhammad. it will be a slim volume, maybe 20 or 30 scholars. there are some very well-known stretching back to
the time of the prophet muhammad in the seventh century. a couple scholars have written on them before. but in english. i am sure many have written in other languages. but he started going. he was looking in the margins of all sorts of other forms of books. he was looking in travel books, mosques ine end of madrasa, who had studied there. he now has over 10,000 women scholars stretching back to the prophet muhammad. and not just quantity, but quality. some of these women have , forordinary freedoms that many women, across many muslim societies, they could only imagine. women riding on horseback on lecture tours across the arabian
peninsula. women bouncing around, going to study with different scholars from jerusalem to damascus. religiousing fatwas, opinions, working as judges. one woman, my favorite, who was so revered and taught both men and women, as well as caliphs and other scholars, she was so revered that she used to give lectures leaning on the tomb of the prophet muhammad. not only that, she would lean on the head. so these are extraordinary freedoms that have been all but forgotten, certainly in mainstream texts about what constitutes islamic scholarship. jonathan: one of the many points your book brings up is that
islam, when it came into being, was much more -- i do not want , bute the word egalitarian women mixed with men. you point this out through the words of sheikh mohammed akram nadwi, in a sense, it was after the death of the prophet that the scriptures became politicized. through himd job and your writing of explaining the arc of islam. in a way, it feels in so many blanks people have and clears up assumptions. if you could talk about that as well. carla: it is funny. know,f talking about, you the prophet muhammad's time with him and talking about -- his first wife was khadija, who was his boss, 15 years his senior,
who ran a very successful caravan trading company in mecca, and who asked him to marry her. they had a long and happy relationship. that sort of strong woman. you can see, when you look at he prophet's biography, clearly reveres women. and this has been sort of eroded. things got much worse for women when the scholars started developing jurisprudence. instead of the relatively egalitarian -- relatively -- it came out of the seventh century culture where baby girls were being buried l.ive because women were chate girls had no rights.
women could suddenly inherit. o,men were seen as people, to rather than something to be inherited. islam came in and really radically helped women. centuries,h and 10th these scholars were interpreting the words of the prophet muhammad through the lens of being medieval men. that is when you get the more problematic and less equal interpretations of islam. mean, what is going on now in the muslim world is incredibly exciting. you have a really muscular islamic feminist movement, where women are going back and reading these a sick sources -- basic sources and saying, wait a minute. that doesn't mean i am lesser than my husband.
we have equal rights. you hear about it much less because it does not make the headlines that isis does. another incredibly important moment we are witnessing now. jonathan: i do not want to plug your book too much. carla: go ahead. jonathan: one of the things i like is that the book is written after a year-long interview with the sheikh. but it is not just the sheikh. you talk to his daughters. you talk to his wife. when of the key points in the book revolves around his daughter and the fact that she wants to wear the niqab. the sheikh does not necessarily want her to wear it. she basically says, i'm going to do what i want to do. she was all a 16 years old. talks a lot about the
politics behind people's choices within the muslim world and how, in a sense, it can represent their faith. for him, faith is everything. all these things that are, in a sense, superficial, ornamentation's of the face, could you talk a little bit about that? carla: he is really skeptical of everything from, you know, the stateto set up an islamic -- not the islamic state, but law, thefor sharia desperate struggles to wear hij
ab in france, it is all about internal piety. in many ways, he reminded me of episcopalians. it as aways, he viewed very personal thing between you and god. and politics are besides the point. i think a lot of his students get very frustrated with this. they are like, look at what is going on all over the muslim world. one of the most moving moments -- they get really frustrated when, you know, he will sit there in front of an auditorium full of, like, angry young men, and they will say, it is terrible, what is going on in iraq. it is terrible, what is going on on the west bank. child whose parents are old enough to remember
partitions and how bloody it was getting an islamic state in pakistan, he says, we have our islamic state. is pakistan. how is that working out? not so well. he is skeptical of outward ornaments, as you say. one of the only things he said that made me think we should print up bumper stickers is, if you have god consciousness, you don't need fatwas. it is usually not that pithy. into --: i want to get on a slight tangent, your personal relationship with him. as you said at the outset, your mother was jewish. your father was a quaker, but they were a bit lapsed. i hope i am not giving away the book.
as somebody who has traveled in the muslim world, what is your faith? people often ask. they say, you could be a good muslim -- wink. that is part of living in the world, right? how were you accepted as a secular, feminist, new yorker-reading -- one of the points you make is that you question your own orientalism. if you could talk about how you are viewed as kind of an outsider who became an insideer for a year. carla: he was very gentle. suspect,ry hopeful, i that i would convert. i never got the hard sell from him. i think he took a huge risk in letting me go.
it is described in the book. i went back to his hometown where he set up two madrasas. he said, you need to go and speak to the boys' madrasa. i realized in hindsight how very brave he was, in a sense, putting his reputation on the line, having this woman traveling without her husband, an american. i did not reveal to the crowd i had a jewish mother. he was already putting himself people who might criticize him for being too liberal. there is akram. and is to oxford suddenly importing western feminists to talk about building bridges. i had not appreciated how risky it was for him, in a way, and
his reputation. askingng that we kept over and over again was whether he thought i was going to hell because piety is so central to his reading of the koran. he said the central thing is we have to avoid going to hell if at all possible. it is for god to decide. and there are many muslims who believe that jews and christians and others, you do good work, and you will not go to hell. there are many readings of the koran that say that. the sheikh did not read it that way. i remember one day we were sitting and parsing this particular verse describing the hungry flames of hell and the
manacles and the chains and how it was like a lion. it seemed he was interpreting it literally, which was kind surprising. here is a man who can quote shakespeare more than i can, who knows poetry in seven languages, and is alive to metaphors and nuances in language. said, thesehand and chains are metaphorical, right? slightly nervously. they are absolutely real. we need to do our best to avoid them. -- things i am going to he he thinks i am going to hell unless i convert to being a muslim. although he says it diplomatically. jonathan: i want to get into his life a little bit.
when you met him, as a young man, i believe he read sarte. he could also quote vince lombardi. the other thing he admitted again -- i love the guy. carla: i do, too. jonathan: he says, who are the beatles? he did not know who the beatles were. on the other hand, he is open to society. live,s, wherever they should live in that society and wish for well-being in that society. carla: absolutely. jonathan: he is a very complex figure. carla: absolutely. jonathan: you are allowed to dig into those complexities. were you surprised by that? was he surprised at all by his own forthrightness? carla: no. i think he very much -- the was hehe agreed to do it
said, look, americans and other westerners, they hear from the people making headlines. peopley don't hear from who are sitting, reading their 12th-century texts and dispensing wisdom. so he agreed to do that. i think he was tremendously open write whatf like, you want. he was not fazed by having someone shadow him. he went to this really interesting madrasa. -- you will know from reporting in pakistan, too, post 9/11, we all trotted to madrasas in pakistan, where we would see the stereotype of little boys
lined up in lines, rocking back and forth, memorizing the koran without understanding it much. he went to a madrasa started in the 19th century by indians who best ofo fuse the western learning and islam in classical learning. learning,assical certainly after the medieval times, including aristotle, all the things, we would see as a classical education ourselves. i went there. the is no madrasa like maktoubs we had seen. guys were playing badminton on badminton courts. there was a poetry slam competition every night at the cafe. they were reading shakespeare and sarte.
it was a really intellectual place that was producing very traditional scholars. it is not like the institute in berkeley where there is a real attempt to think about being, you know, americans and thinking about american jurisprudence. it was a traditional. in in a wayhe world i do not think we often think of islamic education leading the world in. jonathan: i will take one question from the audience. the audience is writing questions on cards. is the sheikh part of the most indian sufi lineage? where does he situate himself in the mystical fulcrum? tola: he does not admit being a sufi, but i think he has sufi-istic tendencies.
he loves sufi poetry and i think respect it, but he is not linked to any particular sufi lineage explicitly, no. so no. jonathan: i want to remind people listening at home and watching that this is a commonwealth california program. we are talking to carla power, author of "if the oceans were ink." reference, that is a -- takes its wording from the koran itself, i believe. carla: it comes from a passage that says, if the oceans were ink, the words of our lord would never run out. i chose it in part because it is so beautiful and in part because it seemed to me to reflect the possibilities and the pluralism of interpretations that i hope to find by studying it.
and by talking to him. profoundne of the most things that i came out of the threw mying is that he own traditions into relief. i went in thinking, not realizing, the extent of my own rabid individualism. i remember talking to his daughter. me-me-me this whole business starts with my kids. we go to school and have to do show and tell. show and tell is like, look what i have. suddenly, through this anecdote of show and tell, i saw this entire, oh, my goodness -- this is a me-centered society. how different it is to live with people who are really god-
centered. everything they have they think is a gift from god. that sounds like a cliche, but it really was quite a profound experience. jonathan: well, i referenced vince lombardi earlier. one of the reasons he glommed on to his philosophy was the idea that people might have a physical capability or something, but if they do not have will, that is a problem. the sheik himself is one of the most willful people you will meet. when he was at university, while his friends with me to the movies, he did not go out once. he would study for three days at a time. one of the many touching scenes in the book, i believe your father died. he gave you poetry. is really touching. can you talk about that? carla: it is in the book.
right before we met in pakistan in the early 1990's, my father was killed suddenly and violently. and i was living in england at the time and working with the sheikh at this think tank. i went into the office the next day together my stuff. i was flying back to st. louis. i had not known this guy. i had only known this guy as the only guy at the office who was not freaked out the day prince charles came to visit the office. he was slightly aloof and dignified in a way i have not been able to figure out. i was such a mess. i walked in and told him what had happened. i still remember. it was like october in oxford. the light is burnished. he stands up next to his desk
and starts reciting in urdu the words of this philosopher poet, an elegy written for his own mother who, when she died. the words are something like, who will wait for my letters now? who will wait for me in the middle of the night when i have not come home? i did not know what he was saying. but it was this set in connection, the first of many, just an electric human connection in another language. he then had to translate it for me. i date the start of our friendship to that moment. oddly, it was the most comforting thing that anybody said to me during my grieving period because it was so basic and big and transcultural. everybody dies. right.
it was a very moving experience. jonathan: let me pivot into a question an audience member asked. as a was reading the book, i i could see conservatives saying, this guy is an exception to the rule. nice to meet you, but sorry. most of islam is different, right? the audience question is, given does hekh's background, accurately represent the muslim world at large? carla: i think it is really dangerous to talk about the muslim world at large. i am highly skeptical the minute anybody says islam says or muslims do. to say that about 1.6 billion people who range from tribesmen anesthetistsiss -- in canada, how do you do that?
what is interested about the sheikh is his conservativism. he is steeped in the classical text, in a classical tradition, him, hishas allowed knowledge of the text has allowed him, in some cases, to find liberating solutions for women. in other cases, not at all. one of the most profound lessons i learned is there is no spectrum in islam. in the first couple of months, i ran around trying to figure out, what kind of sheikh and my studying with? is he a moderate? is he a conservative? fundamentalists? here he is, really liberal on women. at the same time, he is convinced i'm going to hell. hear he is rewriting the canon on what it means to be an islamic scholar.
he will not tolerate homosexuality. i went to see a cambridge university professor. he is like, forget it. the first thing you have to realize is there is no spectrum. if you are trying to use christianity as a default tradition and plot islam onto that, it is not going to work. mystics, whois, are tremendously conservative when it comes to gender issues. are literalists that are in or mislead progressive in some ways. offerk we have to shuck preconceptions of left and right and moderate and conservative and so on and look at the lived reality of various muslims. i think the sheikh is extraordinary, in answer to the question. arei think his views grounded in the text.
he manages to make both progressives angry and traditionalists angry at various points. in that sense, i think he is has notare in that he affiliated himself with a particular school of thought. jonathan: one of the things you bring up in the book -- it is not a huge point, but it is says stating -- he himself most muslims have not read the koran themselves. -- if you can memorize the koran, you get that honorific. but there is a difference between engaging and interpreting. i thought that was a really important reminder. a lot ofhave are muslims that do not read the koran, and a lot of critics that have not read the koran.
carla: you mean non-muslims? yeah. our first lesson, i was absolutely terrified to tell him. it seems to me -- i have written for more than 15 admit at -- and to this point in my career to not having read the koran is like admitting to skipping hamlet and homer. i was tremendously nervous to tell him. he was like, don't worry. most muslims don't either. the thing i found fascinating was he said, if you look at madrasa curriculums, in the seminaries, koran is kind of, you know, an assumption. if you are a really ambitious young man, the big, sort of real positions are in law,
jurisprudence, maybe arabic grammar. does not get you that far in terms of worldly gigs after you leave the seminary. that is his argument as to why it is so forgotten. jonathan: maybe this is a good time to segue. why does islam get more than its share of negative press in the united states? you write about that from your own personal standpoint in the book. carla: yeah. i think the sad thing is we are in -- you and i are in an event-driven business. haveiolent extremists figured out a way to insert themselves into the headlines. and the vast majority of the rest of the world's 1.6 billion muslims have not.
it is depressing, but it is the old saying -- if it bleeds, it leads is true for all groups. sadly, there are not too many counter narratives that make it into the news headlines about islam. there was a recent study that asked people about what the face of various religions was. --ause islam is so diffuse no mainstreamope, clergy in sunni islam, for catholics, the face of catholicism was the pope. unfortunately, among americans, the face of islam was al-bad head ofal-baghdadi, isis. it is a difficult problem.
i remember pitching about a year ago -- i was really excited. , a seminal text had come out. women scholars had gone to verse 434, which has been referred to as the dna of patriarchy and the muslim world. that is the verse in the koran that has been privileged among many others in gender relations. it argues that men have authority over women. this, you know, when you see, you know wives having to take a second wife, having to allow their husband to take a second wife, it is verse 434. saying, hear the saudis every woman is a minor and needs a male guardian to let her get a
passport, a job, and an education up until recently, that is verse 434. this group of muslim feminists had gone back and analyzed the grammar, the history of the privileging of this verse in islamic jurisprudence. they had looked at it and come up with a book on this sort of questioning -- and they pointed to lots of other verses in the koran that describe much more egalitarian relationships between men and women. be a comfort to one another. be help-mates. other verses that were ignored in medieval jurisprudence. i got very excited about this book. it seemed to me that this was news. i went to an editor and pitched it. i said, this could change gender relations in the muslim world.
there are all these battles being fought as we speak of feminists in various countries trying to change the laws on inheritance and so on. for their be grist mill. the editor said, it is a good story, but let's put it in the ideas section, which was a sweet little backwater. that is the horrible stance we are doing. the media has been complicit in isisways with the outlier does something horrible. on thegingly stick it front of websites. i'm going to ask one related question.
i believe you say he earned his salary from oxford. the question is, does the koran promote violence against nonbelievers? you get into that, as do a lot of scholars. it is complicated. the famous verse of the -- which extremists of all kill theike to cite, unbelievers where you find them, is linked to a very specific moment in early islamic history were waymuslim armies
outgunned, effectively. there are many other attempts. on the set can i use violence now? finally, because there was a meccans whod the were attacking them had gone eaty, that is tr the specific moment you can kill the un believers. there are other verses in the that say,'s a, you -- you believe what you believe and we will go together. there is an argument that when mecca tomoved from inina, because the tribes mecca are treating this tiny
band of muslims so badly and muhammad's life is actually in aanger, they moved to medin nearby. when the prophet and his followers move there, there are jews, pagans, and so on. prophet, for the first few years, thing -- thinks there is not much different between monotheists. there are scholars who believe he did not see much difference between them. this later changed. but that sort of happy togetherness does not get much airtime.
i am going to take a few of these questions and try to combine them. one -- this is more a point. all religions deface the value of women scholars. another question is related to that. mosque2000, i visited a in boston with a religious education class from our unitarian church. we came away thinking that islam discourages questions or inquiry. no but yes. carla: i have to say a lot of the sheikh's students are, in the british term, gobsmacked, when they can come into a class
and ask questions. one of the most dramatic moments in the book came when two of the smartestyoungest, scholars made him change his mind on child marriage, one of the most painful conversations we kept having over the years. it in ased to condemn blanket sense. these young women went and argued with him. in the context of a situation where, often, in many madrasas, you listen and the teacher talks. speaking back to authority and questioning the professor is not the done thing. as you say, it is a rare thing. jonathan: there may be a few people in the audience who have read the book already.
after i read it, many things came to my mind. one of them was the movie, my dinner with andre. that movie, those of you who are two people is about mulling the big questions. it is funny, but a serious way to challenge each other. in a way, you would -- were doing that with the sheikh. he was doing that with you. you did ask about gays and lesbians. we have a question from the audience. you seem to have skated over the issue of gays and lesbians. i am gay. i would like to know where i stand. [laughter] well, he, i mean, homosexuality was yet another big departure for both of us. i kept saying, this is going on
-- we were talking over the course of the year. you know, gay marriage became legal. it was obviously very exciting for me. thatid, i am not denying god gives some folks different urges, but that is a test from god. heterosexual, and that is it. i have to say that is his view. there are some really exciting things going on in south africa and here and in europe as well where people are really working on gay theologies in islam. after orlando, there were a lot of gay muslims that came out and talked about it. there were scholars who were working to see, you know, is
there will room here in terms of the texts themselves? my answer to you would be just go to the right cheek and you will be fine. [laughter] carla: which is another thing. islam have a sense of being a strict single thing. there is one law. over and over again, one of the great surprises was how flexible it can be and how flexible your relationship to islamic scholarship can be. the sheikh's daughter, the one her dad and started niqab, asked her dad his opinion on dying her hair. he said, i do not think it is a great idea.
she went down the block and went to another sheikh who said, i have no problem with people dying their hair. so she dyed her hair. there is this kind of fatwa shopping you can do. [laughter] i am going to combine a couple questions again. in the book, you talk about living as a young girl in muslim majority countries. i believe you were five years old in tehran when you tried on your first --. you talk about the feeling it gave you. in a sense, it was a multi sensory experience for you. of your life, for kabul, live in cairo and granted in privileged circumstances. in theed your parents
book, how could you have not known there were these underbelly's of society. you are kind of in this protective bubble. how could you not know? in a way, you are talking to your parents but to the reader. carla: one of the things i wanted to do in this book was look at how western or -- westerners have viewed the islamic world. my father was a chronic depressive who was a law professor. really, the only way he could be happy was either be in san francisco or the islamic world. we went abroad for professional reasons, but he found, aesthetically and in terms of the culture, it helped his depression. and i also think i was really privileged. ra was the 1970's, which
was an incredibly important turning point in america's relationship with islamic societies and the tumult in the islamic world itself. my father's islamic world, it was the last time you could kind of do what westerners have been years, since queen elizabeth signed the east india company tract in 1501. islamic countries were out there. it was other from us. and that was not true. as you have written in your books, there were muslims here much earlier than the 1960's and
1970's, when there really was a mass movement of professionals to america and of factory workers and other less professional jobs in europe. change,ink that watching my father's distant orient become household words is us.nd also islam we are muslim. it has totally changed in the migration,rs with technology, and a change in demography. jonathan: jonathan: we have about five minutes or so. this is a good question from the audience. in the book, it is what the sheikh is telling you and other people about islam, it's arc, how he is living the muslim life. what, if anything, do you think
he learned from you? how did you change his perspective or perspectives? carla: it was funny. atour last lesson, we met this museum in oxford. and i was really excited. , i was kindthe year of like, don't you want to know about what the beatles are? are you as curious about me as i am about you? and he was not. he was incredibly polite and would always ask after my kids and my husband and what i was writing. but there was a self satisfaction tehre -- there. we go to the museum. there is a leonardo on the left and michelangelo on the right. i did not expect him to sit there -- of course, because of the muslims frowning on idols.
i did not expect him to want to stare at the michelangelo nude with me. but i wanted to know about curiosity. i wanted him to sort of be excited about the aesthetics we were seen. we were in the islamic wing. he was very happy to get on with our lesson. i said, have i changed you? here,d, carla, just to be i am sitting next to you, aren't i? hishe sheikhs back at madrasa could see me sitting next to another man's wife in a museum, they would not believe it. they would not know what to do. basically, his answer to me, in ie most diplomatic way, was,
am talking to you, our type? i'm talking to you about marriage and deaths and relationships. want, what you so that was my answer. it was extremely humbling. it was the conversation that was the connection. jonathan: another thing i was reminded of as i was reading the book, i don't mean this in a bad way, there was a controversy maybe 10 years ago, a european journalist hung out with a man in afghanistan -- that was controversial because the bookseller himself after the book came out read the book and said, you have to be kidding me. you portrayed me in such a negative light. in a sense, as writers and
journalists, the people we interview take a leap of faith with us. they can do that based on instinct. they can do it these days based on the internet and libraries, like let me see your work before i allow you to get near me. you have the luxury of being friends with the sheikh, but he did take a leap of faith with this project. the book has been published for how long now? carla: it was april last year. jonathan: plenty of time for people to digest it and finger point. i would quibble with this chapter. this isn't flattering. has he read the book, and have people elsewhere read it, and what has been their thoughts? carla: i was incredibly nervous when i showed it to him. he'd like it a lot. he gives it out when he goes on lecture tour's. he gives it out to people, which is really nice.
said, my daughters learned more about me from you than from -- and, i continue to be amazed and grateful because he's an intensely private guy. oprah from the land of and it was like pulling teeth, literally saying, tell me a narrative. what was it like when you were growing up? the sense of talking about the self -- he's never cranky but at one point he was like, the prophet mohammed didn't have to talk about his childhood or what happened in his childhood. it is fine. of, i'mwhole notion doing a narrative of you and you are going to be at the center of it, i suspect made him slightly uncomfortable. openedn he saw how it
into all sorts of different approved, which was a huge relief. jonathan: do you think he approved of you initially? when you were in oxford university, in your 20's, you write in the book -- you admit a lot of things. one of the things you admit is, i wore a short skirt, the shorter the better. i think the way you put it was, i wanted to bring the world into this oxford center. i don't know if you would say the same thing now. what about that? did he have a good impression of you? yeah, i was 24 and i literally, all i knew was the importance of myself and that was it. think he was very polite back then and i don't know what he thought of me.
say that ive to edited less and less about onelf as our friendship went and he accepted it. knows that, you know, i am much more liberal than he is and he accepts it. , whatk, quite literally worries him is that i'm going to end up in hell. there's a mutual respect and fondness. i think one miniskirt is not going to upset us. i'm not: are you -- trying to be snide with this, but are you worried you are going to hell? [laughter] jonathan: after this book and getting into the spirituality, have you changed that at all? carla: i'm not worried i'm going to go to hell.
not because i'm a particularly good person, but because i have not yet taken that leap of faith to believe in it. so no. jonathan: one of the many layers of the book that i enjoyed as a parent was that it is in some ways about the passing on of knowledge and of love. it is not just memorization. it is actually fondness and love for your offspring and for people who come into your family. they don't have to be blood relations. one of the things you make very clear in this book is that islam breaks down the barriers of tobalism, or has trying and for the first time said, we don't care what color you are, all are welcome. i don't care how much money you have. that point is very well made. growing up myself in a sort of it was one ofsm,
the things i was really taken by. also, the love he has for people. carla: he's quite extraordinary that way. think some of his students find, not that they are not loving people themselves, eager for everyone to concentrate on their personal politics,er than say, is very difficult. some have said, there you are sitting in leafy oxford. it is fine for you to work on your piety. but one of the most moving moments was when one of his students, a brilliant young scientist at cambridge who came to his koran classes on weekends, she was egyptian and her brother was in the muslim brotherhood. and she was in the muslim
brotherhood too, because she decided that in egypt, the only real opposition, the only real way to make things better was to join the brotherhood. her brother under morsi when there was the coup, when the brotherhood were in, he was foreign secretary. when there was a coup by the military, he was put in solitary confinement. i remember her going up to the sheikh afterwards and saying, you keep saying we should just concentrate on personal piety and doing good things, but what am i supposed to do, let my brother hang? and he said, it's a test from god. fromkind of frustration folks who were coming from countries that didn't have the freedoms that he has in the u.k., i think was very frustrating for some people.
jonathan: this may be our last question. talk, into tonight's was scanning the headlines. one of them of course related to donald trump. [laughter] jonathan: yeah. he's continuing antagonism toward american muslims and muslims in general, and the fact that he wants to essentially have every muslim immigrant put to a litmus test. the other headline, and i'm focused on this because of the talk and by own interest, is that in france, another town has and it hasburkini, caused quite a controversy there. talksr book, the sheikh about, whether you wear a burka, burkini -- he doesn't mention the burkini, but these are just outward manifestation.
the reality of that, people said, this is unfair. they are specifically criticizing and punishing muslims. how do you as an observer who has written this book, how do you respond or analyze the commotion around muslim and islam in society now? carla: i think it's interesting that you picked up on the veil, which is that it has got to be the most written about, most contested flap of fabric in the history of humankind. and it is things like that, or the height of your minaret in switzerland, these very superficial things that become lightning rods for everything else.
superficiality is sad. they often come when, what is it, 63% of americans say they don't know a muslim. often, the places where there is greatest fear that sharia law is going to take over for them the muslims are coming, the muslims are coming, are precisely the places where there are no muslims inside, quite literally. i live in britain, where the biggest voters for the anti-migration party are all in places where there are no migrants. it is this disconnect between knowledge and actually having -- i mean, whenever anybody asks me, what can we do to break down these barriers, my answer is incredibly low-tech. go to a mosque.
organizeh is trying to have your neighbor for dinner things. these really basic things that are ultimately going to break down these prejudices. jonathan: i think that is a really good spot to leave on. our thanks to carla power, author of the pulitzer prize nominated book, "if the oceans were ink." paperback copies of her book are on sale in the -- that way, to our left. she will be happy to sign a copy for you. i am jonathan curiel. this meeting of the commonwealth club of california, the place where you are in the know, is adjourned. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
tomorrow, the potomac institute hears from a former member of the turkish parliament and others about counterterrorism strategy live at noon eastern on c-span 3. later, more on that topic and intelligence sharing from the center for strategic and international studies. that is live at 1:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> at c-span.org, you can watch public affairs and political programming any time at your convenience on your desktop, laptop, or mobile device. go to www.c-span.org and click on the video library search bar. you can type in the name of the speaker, the sponsor of a bill, for an event topic, review the search results, and click on the program you would like to watch.
if you are looking for our most current programs, our homepage as many current programs ready for immediate viewing, such as today's "washington journal." c-span.org is a public service of your cable or satellite provider. check it out at c-span.org. its summeraking break, the senate voted for a second time to block funding to combat and prevent the zika virus. last may, when our democratic colleagues asked us to act, and act with urgency, but today, they turned down the very money that they argued for last may, and decided to gamble with the lives of children like this, instead of protecting them. as i said, they ignored their own calls to get this done
quickly, and they refused to pass urgent measures that would protect our country from a public health crisis. thissaid when i started, was a test today to see whether our democratic colleagues cared more about babies like this or special interest groups, and they failed the test. it is simple as that. back,er the bill we got planned parenthood, an organization where hundreds and hundreds of thousands of women go for their care, do you think they are going to have a little rush of business now? because women in america today want to make sure they have the ability to not get pregnant. why? because the mosquitoes ravage pregnant women. logic of my friend the republican leader, they don't
need to go to planned parenthood. they can go to their boutique dr. someplace in las vegas or chicago or lexington, kentucky. they can go to an emergency room and say, i'm sorry, i didn't get birth control. can you help me? that is not what emergencies are for. that is what planned parenthood is for. whost majority of women need help, that is where they go, planned parenthood. under the legislation we got back from the house, now there's no money to be provided for that. >> this thursday, a preview of four major issues congress will debate, zika funding, defense policy, gun violence, and the impeachment of irs commissioner john cusk and in. that is thursday at 8:00 p.m.
eastern on c-span. "washingtonxt from journal," a look at the u.s. role in the middle east. then, what's next for the u.k. after its decision to leave the european union. later, a member of the israeli legislator talks about israeli law and its impact on palestinians. ontinues -- " washington journal" continues. host: if you go online, you will read the work of michael thenstadt, an expert on middle east. t work. i went to begin with one of your pieces in this one quote that focuses on. if you do not middle -- if you do not visit the middle east, it will visit you.
explain. guest: repeatedly, presidents have tried to avoid getting smashed in the area's middle east complex and we have seen this under the obama administration as part of his lessons that he drew from presidentrs that obama ran on the campaign platform of disengaging us from the two wars and marketing to a third war, but presidents have found time and again that unless the united states is actively engaged in trying to shift governments in the region, we get sucked in whether we want to a knot. it is good to be proactive and shaped the developments there and get sucked in as a result of underpments that are not or come about as a result of the initiative of others. host: this is from "the huffington post" and based on a study by the bill and melinda gates foundation that says war and terrorism in dozens of middle east countries since 2010
ms. rolling back health care, leaving open new and old diseases. it not only arises because of terrorism but because of health issues as result of turmoil. guest: this is a disaster proportions that we have not invasion, the mongol perhaps, and it will have long-term consequences. as i mentioned, what happens in the middle east has ramifications beyond the region, both in terms of the impact of developments within islam having implications for muslims around the world, as well as we are seeing the politics of europe and the united states responding to the mass flow refugees to europe and the united states and the exploited terrorism and extremism of the region beyond. the bottom line is whether we want to ignore it or not, it will affect us. we need to be engaged and continued to be engaged and involved. host: nowhere is that more evident in syria.
look at this picture this morning from inside "the washington post." the bomb hi mourners in aleppo. what are the figures? the number of people who left is now in the millions. guest: supposedly, half the population is displaced. , about about 12 million 6 million are displaced internally and about 6 million more have been displaced and located in neighboring countries have gone beyond to europe and elsewhere. what is happening is that the middle east in many ways is moving west because of the flight of people from north africa to europe. also, the middle east is exporting security and instability. we had hoped after the end of the cold war that nato and other -- or the united states could [indiscernible] and what followed in the aftermath and the rise of al
qaeda and isis is that the middle east is actually supporting instability. host: let me share with you what "the jerusalem post" is writing about. they are in the last stages of a 10 year deal that will give israel an estimated billions of dollars and all eyes are on donald trump and hillary clinton. trump in aat donald prize competition of style and hard-line statements that he would limit most of immigration to the u.s. that resonates with some israelis, especially hardliners in israel. hillary clinton spoke in favor of the independent palestinian state should appear more to collect these -- more to aleppi's, and bill clinton remains popular. that is on the jerusalem website -- that is on the "jerusalem post a quick website. what are your thoughts? in office, you get you're confronted with a different set of realities. i think in the case of hillary
clinton since its u.s. secretary of state, she probably was pronouncing conditions that are and that she was to be elected president, and donald trump has less experience in the area and we are d.c. him to some degree. you take everything with a grain of salt come up at even if they are elected, there will be confronted with an unprecedented series of challenges. they have relationships with traditional allies that have become frayed and now we have the russians involved in the region that they have not since the cold war, and this is a complicating factor. then we have the iranians playing the regional role that they have not ever before. syrians the turkish and , we have already a complicated environment there and it becomes more complicated now with the turkish intervention. i do not envy whoever will be
elected. host: we are talking with michael eisenstadt, with the washington institute for near east policy. we'll get to calls and messages in the moment and you can send cspanwj.et at @ you said that they need to think of regular and irregular conflict and policymakers should stop relying on the technological solutions for politically driven complex. the u.s. needs to adopt a lightfoot print approach and action speaks louder than words and the policy arena. guest: i had written the peace with my colleague about u.s. military intervention in the region and military engagement there. one of the things that i said is that we really need to rethink the way that we organize and operate in that because the result of the last 15 years has been unsatisfactory and we have invested great in that part of
the world and what we have to show for it is limited compared to the investment. part of the problem is that we tend to look for technological thetions and we worship at altar technology when many of the problems require good geopolitical instinct send a refined understanding of the politics of the region, which is lacking in american policy. i would argue a lot of art interventions have exacerbated the problems of the region rather than helping. i hope that whoever is elected president not only focuses on policy but how use the military instrument. let me just say that under the obama and mr. shouldn't, after a long period of time and perhaps relatedly, we have arrived at a good way of operating in iraq and eastern syria, but in western syria, i think our approach is mistaken and this guided -- and misguided and has contributed to problems and is
contributing to the disaster there. i hope the new minister shimon peres think our approach. host: our guest -- guest: i hope i knew administration will rethink our approach. host: our guest is michael eisenstadt. where did you go to college? guest: [indiscernible] host: let's go to eric in california. good morning. caller: mr. michael, my question is about overreach with the united states police in countries. hillary clinton was part of the decision-making that obama wanted to go and make a supports and she also getting rid of assad. yes, these guys may have had country,history in the but donald trump says that he wants to be neutral in his approach with israel. israel is guilty of civil rights violations against the palestinians, so my question is
in the cases with the united states intervening, those places are not so good and then you the fax andhat says then make a judgment, so which would be more beneficial going forward? host: let me jump in because there was also a tweet from a dealer that was related to what eric said, and it seems like the u.s. just reacts to the latest middle east crisis. what must be overall long-term strategy to achieve lasting peace? guest: one of the things i say in this monograph i mentioned before is that americans have to this propensity for its solution is him. that americans think that all problems can be solved if you simply apply enough political capital and effort to solving them. i think we have to recognize that many of the problem are not
solvable, at least at this point. we should be engaged though we should do it long term and long -- long-term and short-term, building on positive developments, and the exist and also trying to mitigate negative trends. when the policy is marked sustainable because it is better balance, and therefore, our market against heavy footprint approach. there is no way to walk away from the problems or to solve them either, so we are stuck managing them. with the israeli conflict, i did not see that being that this point, unfortunately, the right solution. we need to be engaged dramatically in that area and we need to do things in order to the situation with the palestinians from deteriorating into open conflict again.
i think it was a mistake by the obama administration to invest some match political capital and diplomatic efforts to solve the problem, which i think our stuff they did, but we do not need to walk away. we need to be engaged. it is a matter of striking the web inalance in order to diplomatically and militarily and in syria, and in a way that is sustainable, and what i mean by a sustainable, is that the american people can support not for years tout come, so that means the heavy footprint operation and the end of exposure but it still means we cannot adding others. host: adding to that point for michael, do not forget that russia seems to be getting closer to iran politically. guest: that is something that i think is a negative outcome of our contempt to disengage from
the region because others will feel that vacuum and the only try to reengage page, it is much more complicated. . i believe there are a lot of tensions between russia and iran, which takes effective cooperation between them difficult. just in the last week or two when russians started operating out of the iranian air base in syria, i think mainly to make a political point for propaganda purposes and they announced it, aside from those series of strikes that their lunch, they will not be operating on an ongoing aces. their are sovereignty issues that are sensitive in iran. it seems. i think there is a great deal of distress between iran and russia and partly because russia was involved in sanctions in iran and russia held up to the the surface eric
missiles for a long time, so there is bad blood and there is a lot of distress. having just returned from that part of the world, our guest michael eisenstadt is the director of the military studies of them at the washington east policy. near from california, mike on the phone, democrat line. good morning. caller: good morning. , i am sure you're familiar with the terms [indiscernible] at what thek back u.s. military has done in iran, and south america and other parts of the world, if you think ,bout what is going on today the seeds of what is happening in the world today were planted
30 years or 40 years ago. i think that may be just not interbeing military in other people's affairs might actually make a more peaceful world in another 50 years. i think if we continue to try to control everybody else in the world we're just going to make it worse. guest: i would add that there are things that we have done, especially in the middle east in the last 50 years that have contributed to the region's problems, but i think there was a lot that we did that was good. our role in the world has been a source in many places for stability and we have returned , but i deterred wars think it is a point to have a balanced approach for a long time in the gulf. our intervention in 1991 prevented saddam hussein from consolidating over kuwait, we
liberated kuwait and we earned the everlasting gratitude of the people, maybe not everlasting but we are in the gratitude of the people there and that really enhanced our stature because that is something where we had an international coalition of i think some 60 countries or so, so there are many things we did in the region that advanced our interest with the right thing to do and serve the greater good. again, not everything we have done. in the last 15 years, we have done a lot of things that are problematic in that i can to be good to the region's problems. i think it is a matter of balance and perspective. host: let's go to robert in texas. welcome. caller: yes, what i was calling about was leon in the war, we paying theg about afghan soldiers $400 a month and taliban soldiers were getting $600 a month. i question is where is all the money coming from?
we spent $2 trillion in that area. host: we will get a response. guest: i agree. between iraq and then afghanistan, no one knows how much we spent, but it was well over $1.5 trillion and he cannot afford these kinds of engagements anymore. question whether we should have ever done it in the first place. i agree with your point and i am arguing for an approach that focuses on enabling others, but you have to say that we have to be willing to spend money, especially money because you want to avoid spilling american blood, so we have to spend money and provide arms in training for local partners and allies who are trying to achieve a shared objective. if we are to say that penny wise in the expenditure
fund and trying to contain the complex of the region and push back, i will be pound fullest because in the end, we will end up spending more money for homeland security and other stuff like that. it is a matter of understanding the trade-offs and that there is a balance to be achieved between short-term expenditures and long-term gain. host: when you travel over there, most recently in israel? guest: yes. host: when you talk to critics, or to they say about our policies toward the region? guest: in israel, people were unhappy with the iran agreement. in the gulf, i would say people have been unhappy with our general iran policy, which they iraniansas enabled from the point of view, iranian and shiite expansionism in the .iddle what we have seen at the conversions of opinions between israelis and people in the gulf.
first of all, criticizing our abandonment of egypt once you had the arab spring in cairo, and my come back to this is that we had no choice. what are we going to do? enableing in order to him to keep his position? i think there would be criticism on that count and we are just going to differ with their allies. with iran, i think their criticism of both israeli and welfare of critics that are on point. they make the point that on the one hand, we signed an agreement with iran are we did not cyber we came to an agreement with iran on their nuclear agreement and that kicks the can down for 10 years to 15 years and is not solve the problem and potentially provides them with funds to enable them to be more assertive in the region. we have seen in many ways, in the last few days, they were asking viewership in the gulf,
we have seen greater iranian ministers, i would argue, so i would argue that there critique is correct and we have created the situation where we have endangered the security of some of our allies and partners in that part of the world. i would argue what we should have done this engage iran on the nuclear program but push back against iranian assertiveness in the gulf and in syria more firmly than we have until now. that would have been a way to perhaps balance to aspects of their policies, which we want to enable us to pursue our goals for the nuclear program, but also to do with alec concerns which would be our concerns about iranian aggression in the region. host: meg makes this point, we americans have a short attention span. we went 15 second solutions that require decades. guest: what we talked about earlier in the speeches that the
change of american culture. he have to recognize that the way we look at the world and the way we think about the use of force has not been effective, and that we need to change our way of thinking about the war in waye and we have a binary of thinking of war and peace and victory and defeat, and regular and irregular work, but in the middle east, all of that is one big gray area. the kind of complex we are engaged in now are not going to be ending soon. they will not be any kind of short or definitive victory as a result of intervention. it will be a long-term with the american personnel on the ground, but a long-term commitment, which is ourssary in order to ensure interests are met, but there will be no definitive outcomes. we do not know how long this period of instability in the
region will last, years or decades, but we need to be involved. host: our topic with michael eisenstadt of the washington institute. and alsoe our viewers those listening on c-span, doug from california, republican line. good morning. caller: yes, you mentioned that the administration might be able to change in a positive way some , so i situations in syria was wondering what recommendations he would have to change the situation and to maybe help stop the refugee crisis that is there as well. host: thank you. guest: i would be modest in terms of our ability now. the situation has gone so far with the russian involvement in the turkish intervention that i am not really sure how much you can do. neede alone argued that we
to actually be much more proactive and serious in the way that we support the syrian opposition, simply because it has always been in our interest to create a third way between the regime and extremists, such was recentlyhat changed their name from local al qaeda affiliates, but we did not create a third way. people in syria could choose the regime or extremists, and as a result, a lot gravitated to more extreme groups. i do not know if we really -- if conditions now are conducive to an effective training effort, but we need to be look at that, and i would argue are we looking at that option? it is also important to have a third way to keep pressure it will never be a diplomatic solution that we are looking for
and trying to achieve unless there is pressure on the regime, and right now, the regime is on a roll, in part because we have not been very proactive in arming the opposition and they have been making progress and they will not negotiate if they feel they have the upper hand. everything that we want to accomplish in syria is really predicated on having an effective effort with the opposition. that said, i'm not a big sound of no-fly zones because i do not like the idea of committing to over -- to open-ended operations. we did that in iraq and it turned out to be a decade-long [indiscernible] and i would be reluctant to support that course of action. host: if you had to guess, how d stayoes a solid -- assa in power? guest: a couple of years ago, they called him dead men walking and the pendulum has swung, and look like he was out in 2012.
hezbollah iran turn things around and it looks at back in 2015, momentum was shipping against him. the russians intervened at that point, so i am not really in the prediction game. we have to assume that he will be around for the future. saying,is is from jack will egypt's stability further deteriorate -- devolving into chaos like libya and syria and iraq? guest: i like and say is that right now, it looks like cc like he has a firm grip, but there are signs that that could change any time as a result of an assassination or possible coup. things are not going great in the assignment and these operations have conducted operations now in cairo, so i
were just kind of refer to my colleagues to focus more in egypt more than i do for that one. it provides a great case in which from our point of view, there are a lot of things unpalatable in terms of the way he is prosecuting the fight against isil. on the other hand, we have seen in the past what happens when the get rid of authoritarian leaders and what often follows is worse. we have a horrible choice there, but i would argue that they should try to find a change in the policies. host: many of you weighing in on our twitter page. one saying that passed the u.s. military intervention in the middle east ever accomplished and been positive? let's go to minnesota. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. your light footprint approach, but i would also urge
.ou to maybe look at this ever since we kind of overthrew the democratically elected 1953, andiran back in -- thattalled the policy has been repeated over and over in the middle east, and just looking at how that has happened and how that has created animosity in that region , i did not get why my andrnment is going off doing these things to other people and other governments that are democratically elected or whether the government of a country decides to have whatever form of government they want, but what right does our government have to do that? especially going off my name and
saying that you are going out democracy?preading in actuality, does it not for spreading freedom but in this business interests. ajax,ame out in operation so i like of the narrative is controlled, but i kind of see through all the bs and i would really like it to stop. as a citizen of this country, [indiscernible] host: thanks for calling. that goes back to the earlier tweet from doc and income has the u.s. military intervention never accomplish anything positive? guest: i think the caller raises a good point that we should be careful in how we intervene to change governments and most of that coup is an excellent example of why.
with regard to has intervention of the worked? i would argue in the 1973, returned to intervene in response and it was brilliant because it enabled us to help, enabled us to ensure an ambiguous outcome to the 1973 war, which the to seek peace with israel and allowed egypt to become a close ally of the united states. i think the 1973 war is a good example of how american diplomatic and threatened military intervention had tremendous results, both in terms of the stability of the region and i would argue the 1990 war was built for morality and her interest aligned, and i think we did a very good job in defining limited objectives but rolled back the consequences of iraq aggression, and we did it and gained great stature in the
region for doing so. just about everybody in the region come almost everybody, supported that and even the syrians were involved at the time, even though they were at anti-american and the soviet union had fallen, but they were seen as a russian ally . i think there are a number of times our interventions during the war ensured freedom in the gulf. i would argue that we have a pretty good track record of doing well by doing good in that world but we have also screwed up a lot. the problem is the last 15 years there have been a lot of screw ups and americans have that bitter taste, understandably so, but we have to have a longer perspective looking at this and saying that we had done relatively well and made some mistakes in the region and some have made things worse, but a lot that we have done has made it better. host: from massachusetts, good
morning. caller: good morning. i would like to go further with iran, criticizing it, do you realize that have to iraq want --the persian empire [indiscernible] was thevide and conquer policy. you can even look at germany. they gave part of germany to france, czech slovakia, poland, and of course germany went to work, so we still have the problem there. it was arrive between four countries. how do you want to get involved in that miss again? guest: no, do not want to get involved in that mess. this is a very troubled region and i did not think we need to or should been involved in every problem in that part of the world, but there are some
problems, such as the civil war, which is not destabilizing the region and destabilizing or authorizing the politics of europe in a direction that i think will negatively affect american interest. if you have to strengthening of the rights in europe as a result of the refugee and terrorism issue, that is a great part related to what is going on in syria and the right in europe, russia as a, sees more natural allies in the united states and this has the potential to dramatically transformed the atlantic relationships. things that are happening in syria has an impact on european politics in a way that has dramatically impacted american interests in that part of the world. i would argue that perhaps it is american politics that are not so good. again, we cannot ignore what goes on and we should not get involved in every conflict in that part of the world. host: ronald is next in new york
outside of buffalo, democrat line. good morning. caller: good morning. first of all, the trouble that is going on over there is oil, economics. they do not have a drop of oil, we would not be there. most of ourl, politicians do not know their history, and me, and the british empire and american empire, created a whole situation over there since world war i, and we are not going to solve it voluntary action because it keeps switching sides of the reserve friends into his our enemies? and you got the religion factor in their. once you have that in there, there's no way americans will and it isproblem supposedly a peaceful nation and we have always sensed the birth of our nation after that war
with somebody. .e have to have an enemy we have got to change that mindset and start thinking about our country and disengage ourselves from a lot of problems that we created. thank you. host: ronald, thank you for putting those issues on the table. guest: i am not sure, look, there's a debate among middle east specialist about what to agree on the problems of the region due to the bounties created. first of all, almost every international boundary is man-made. there is no such thing as a natural boundary. that maybe the boundaries have contributed to madness, but i think it has to be to a great extent with the political culture, or you have this kind of winner take all and there is the approach to politics, where you have various
--, and that willing to share with others. the greatestis source of the region's problems. i am willing to acknowledge that we contribute it to some of the region's problems, but i think we also played an important role as a result of american diplomacy in keeping a lid on a lot of the problems. i am very sympathetic to what the caller said, which is what dialect for an approach that does not involve the massive commitment to american manpower because there is no into the conflicts in this part of the world now. as results, i avoid trying to achieve solutions which are unfeasible. i agree with a lot of what the caller said, but check in the right balance and intervening in areas where interests are affected, and the, whether we can solve the problems or not,
we have interest in that part of the world. related to what the caller said but other factors that are related to proliferation, the exploit of violent extremism, so walking awayis no from the problems of the region, but we should not be heavily engaged there either, because we cannot solve the problems. it is a matter of solving the problems with local partners and other countries as well. california, robert, you are next. good morning, independent line. caller: good morning, gentlemen. i have a long time listener, grew up listening, so i'll be talking to you guys. kind of been aas general theme that we have been listening to this morning for most callers. everyone kind of feels the same. i have not heard too much between democrats,
republicans or independence. at the end of the day, we look back at history and we see that in korea, i think puppet warfare started in korea, where basically large powers like the united states and china and russia are going into smaller countries and financing wars and fighting the wars out of their own homeland. they go over here so the mess doesn't come back to the front door and they started in korea and came to vietnam. obviously, as the storm continued with many complex -- with many conflicts, there are no new ideas or thought process. this is what i think jfk came up with when he started looking toward vietnam. in reality, the thing that we with pullingith out of the countries and freeing hubs of democracy, which is protected to look at south korea, look at that, even look at that with vietnam and
everybody would agree that we not cords ofe are vietnam can't -- viet cong terrace building -- coming over -- terrorists coming over. guest: you have a series of regional conflicts involving and in many cases, islamic extremists or syria popular uprising, which has sort of captured extreme islamist andps, so you have libya syria, which threatens to spread to lebanon and parts of iraq. that theall related in groups involved send weapons to each other, personnel, --nsferred tactic put
procedures and techniques and there's momentum behind it, so this'll go on for a number of years. secondly, we tried imposing democracy in iraq and afghanistan and the political culture does not supported at this time. we have to recognize that fact. of working ourselves out of the job or a strategy of achieving military victory and then creating democracy as we did perhaps to some extent in europe and japan and elsewhere doesn't work in the middle east under these conditions, unfortunately. host: we encourage our viewers to check out n announcer: c-span's washington journal. live every day with news and policy issues that impact you.
tomorrow, erica bove, director of urban policy initiatives at the urban policy institute will talk about ways cities are trying to expand affordable housing. also, a discussion about federal funding efforts when it comes to federal disaster preparedness and assistance. be sure to watch c-span's beginningn journal" at 7:00 a.m. eastern time on monday morning. >> white house budget director or and former defense secretary speak tomorrow about defense spending and priorities for congress and the next president. at 10:00 a.m.
eastern on c-span. into ehealth conditions, watch live at noon eastern on c-span two. monday on the communicators, and author talks about how areoscience researchers, looking to develop ways for wounded soldiers and the project soldiers to use prosthetic limbs and manipulate computers with thought. about soldiers coming back from iraq and afghanistan who because of advances in body -- were not being -- were suffering blows that previously would have been fatal bite are now just coming back with amputations.
and women inng men their 20's or 30's who have their entire lives ahead of them had a bit of a to develop aal program that would make these people hold because we only to country.ort of a announcer: watch the communicators monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span two. history tv airs every weekend, telling the american story through visits to historic locations. weekend, american history tv is in prime time to show you the programs you can see every weekend. visit college classrooms across the country to hear lectures. american artifacts takes a look at treasures in the archives. revealing the 20th century
through archival films and newsreels. on u.s.idency focuses presidents and first ladies. learn about their politics, policies, and legacies. that is on american history tv on c-span3. coming up next, a look at what is next for the u.k. after it's decision to leave the european union. followed by the israeli law and palestinian community. andr, efforts by the public private sector to protect the nation's power grid and other assets. >> now a look at the challenges ahead for the united kingdom. after the vote to withdraw from
the european union. from the heritage foundation, this is an hour, 20 minutes. >> hello and welcome to the heritage foundation. thank you for joining us all today in the douglas and sarah allison auditorium. i just want to take the opportunity to remind everyone in house to turn off cell phones and for anyone watching on line you're welcome to submit questions by e mailing. hosting today's program is ted , senior research fellow in the margaret thatcher center for freedom. here at the heritage foundation. he is also in adjunct professor of strategic studies at john
hopkins university school of advanced international studies. he is a graduate of grinnell college call and earned a master of arts and master of philosophy and his degree from yale university. relative to today's discussion the subject of his thesis entitled from empire to europe, material interests national identities, and the british policy towards european integration 1956 to 1963. with that i will hand it over. >> thanks very much. it is a pleasure to welcome you all to the heritage foundation here today. with this panel on brexit the next step. about three months ago several of us with here for a very similar panel on brexit. then the possibility that britain might leave the eu was just that, just a possibility. today, however, it is a fact. and be m