tv Charles Koch Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy CSPAN August 13, 2018 4:54pm-6:10pm EDT
"book tv," with a look at at local authors. american on c-span3, history tv come with programs examining how the vietnam war affected everyday life in america. the charles koch recently posted an event researchers presented the results of a new survey of foreign affairs views among baby boomers, generation x, and millennials. foreign-policy analysts discuss the survey's findings. this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> i'd like to thank you on behalf of the charles koch institute for joining us today for what promises to be an engaging and interesting conversation about american
attitudes and preferences regarding our foreign policy and this nation's role in the world, a role that is being hotly debated for the first time in decades, while political scientists and foreign policy observers litigate the longevity or demise of the liberal international order, and we reflect upon nearly two decades of war. so i would like to also thank our viewers on c-span and the folks who are attending to that feed. allow me to introduce our distinguished panelists. in the middle here we've got trevor thrall, an associate professor at george mason university and a senior fellow at the cato institute with their defense and foreign policy department. he is a political scientist who earned his ph.d. at m.i.t. on the right, will ruger serves
as vice president for research and policy at the charles koch institute. he is an officer in the u.s. navy and a veteran of the war in afghanistan. will earned his ph.d. in political science at brandeis university. and to our right here, rachel bovard, our moderator, senior director of policy at the conservative policy institute, a veteran of these very halls. she served in both the house and senate, including jobs as a senator rand paul's legislative director and policy director for the senate steering committee. rachel is a regularly featured columnist at "the federalist," "the washington examiner," among other places. she is a graduate of city college. i would also like to acknowledge the co-author of this study that our panelists will be discussing today, dena smeltz of the chicago council on global
affairs, who is their senior fellow for public opinion and foreign policy. and with that, i will join our friends in the audience, grab lunch, and let our distinguished panelists wax eloquent on policy preferences and positions. mr. thrall: good afternoon, everyone. i will start to say where this project came from, because there are a lot of millennials in that crowd. long before i new york preference for avocado toast, i was teaching at mason come and every fall there was a course in i would askicy, and students what is your favorite movie, and then i asked them, what is the first international affairs-related memory you have
from as young as you can remember it. a few years ago, i started getting just one answer. you can imagine what the one answer was. it is 9/11. years of getting the first memory about the rest of the world, 9/11, i said this has got to mean something, that i did not know what it meant. 2015 and wrotein a paper about millennial foreign policy attitudes. it turned out the story of what is happening to american attitudes about foreign policy is, believe it or not, even bigger than the millennials. there are some changes that have been afoot for many decades. that led to this collaboration between the charles koch institute and the chicago council on global affairs, which i was very happy to be a part of. so the goal here is to figure out what do the different generations think about foreign policy, and what does it matter. just so we are on the same page,
anybody here from generations z? have you picked a name yet? somebody question -- zombie question mark post-millennial is pretty lame. this year has changed, so i have a son who was born in 1997 and he was very upset to be kicked out of the millennial club and into the z club when they decided they were going to change the cut off from 1997 to 1996. i don't think it matters. i actually disagree. i think they are going to push it closer to the year 2000. we will see. just so you know, we aren't really talking z's in the survey. they are important to the bigger story.
my part here is to go through the data. i will mostly just to stick to the facts, and then i will let will come up and he will tell you about interpretation. first of all, what do americans think across the generations about some of the big basic questions of foreign affairs? then breaking it down into three really important elements, attitudes towards military force, international cooperation, and specifically attitudes about trade. let's start with the big one. this is the longest trend question on foreign affairs that exists, asked to since 1947, first by the roper center, and then in 1974 by the chicago council.
do you think it would be best for the future of the country we take an active part in world affairs or stay out of world affairs? it is a bit of a strange question. we will attack this question later. interesting when you slice and dice by generation. here you see the silent generation, the oldest folks, and green. the boomers, gen x, and millennials. you see a pattern. across successive generations, you see that americans now by generation are less likely to say it would be best for the country to take an active part in world affairs.
this is the interesting starting point of our conversation, which is to say what is causing this kind of spread? and what does it mean? since we are on the hill, it is important to sort of address one question right up front. what about partisanship? you might have heard of millennials are more liberal than other generations. it is not just millennials. it is actually each generation from the silent generation onward, more liberal than the one before it. one question is is this just a partisan effect? point of our conversation, which is to say what is causing this kind of spread? and what does it mean? since we are on the hill, it is important to sort of address one question right up front. what about partisanship? you might have heard of millennials are more liberal than other generations. it is not just millennials. it is actually each generation from the silent generation onward, more liberal than the one before it. one question is is this just a partisan effect? the answer is no it is not. you can see among republicans, this is
boomers -- 72% of them think it is best to take an active part, but only 55% of gen x republicans, 53% of millennial republicans. you can see similar patterns across democrats and independents. it is not just a partisan story. this is really a generation story. i am not trying to get into the why just yet, but this is an interesting one i will throw out. millennials are the least likely to say that america is the greatest country in the world. you could ask what that question means. i don't know. but if you asked my dad that question, he's going to give you a very stern look and say, what do you mean it is not the greatest country in the world? how dare you. again, even though some groups in this building might think some other groups are the whole reason for that number, it is
not just a partisan issue either, although there are definitely partisan differences. you can see somewhat more republican boomers than gen x boomers think america is the greatest place. there's a bit more decline among democrats, and even more among independents. so thinking about foreign affairs, one of the things the chicago council has been doing since 1974 is asking americans about different things that might be threats to u.s. national security. this is a series of potential threats. the bars are the number of people who think this is a critical threat to the united states. here you can see for everyone, the pattern you want to see is that the green bar, the oldest people, are more likely to feel threatened by pretty much everything that younger people. [laughter]
right? except for climate change, where the pattern tends to go the other way. in fact, other surveys show the other pattern entirely, where millennials are much more likely to say climate change and global warming are a critical threat than older americans. and that helps us to pivot to the first of the three elements we looked at. when you look at that first trend line, is it important to take part in world affairs, that is such a big, general questions. what global affairs are you talking about? i might like some parts and not other parts. my thought is you can capture or breakdown that broad question simply by asking -- maybe there's three major parts to engage in the world. when you have these military forces to go solve problems, when you want to use nonmilitary cooperative means to solve problems, and trade, which you have to do just because. here's the story on the first one. a really big question, then, is
the decline you see replicated across each of those three key elements, or is there a pattern? turns out there's a pattern. military force is actually the only place where there is a really big obvious difference between the generations. here you see four different hypothetical uses of military force. this is the standard pattern. you can look at a lot of different surveys that asked these questions from any number of places, and you see the same sort of pattern. whether it is conducting airstrikes against assad's regime, north korea invades, airstrikesing against extremist groups, and helping a baltic nato ally that russia invades, millennials are the least likely, it is usually pattern, silent generation most likely to support force in whatever
situation you are talking about. perhaps unsurprisingly, millennials and gen xers are also less likely to say maintaining superior military power should be a key foreign policy goal. almost 30 points difference between millennials, a minority of whom think that is a top u.s. foreign-policy goal, up to 70% of the silent generation, who thinks that is important. again, just to hit the partisan note, we know who loves defense spending, we know who doesn't. but here you still see that even when you control for partisanship, boomer republicans are much more likely than gen x republicans to think that is an important u.s. foreign-policy goal, and likewise for the other categories as well. it is not just that liberals or republicans, right? it is everybody.
you know, unsurprisingly when it comes to what should we do about the defense budget, again younger americans, much less interested in funding defense. i guess they are worried about climate change. and again, not a partisan issue so much. so much.tisan issue the decline for republicans is actually really large from boomers down to millennials. so that is where the really big, obvious, sort of, generation clash is. but obviously also really important to know what younger americans think compared to their elders about cooperation and about trade. here the story is actually very different. these were asked about the paris climate treaty and the jcpoa. and here you can see the silent generation is a little more supportive, but
change from boomers through millennials on these questions. they are all about as supportive as each other. millennials maybe even a little more than the people who are their parents. nato, same sort of thing. here you see millennials and gen x right in the mix of things, all fairly supportive of nato, and no big difference there that you can see between the generations. finally, trade. this is an interesting one because millennials, of course, scarred by the great recession, generations. you'd think would be particularly sensitive to trade issues and globalization, but in fact millennials are just as embracing, or more, of globalization and free trade as their elders. do you think international trade is good or bad, good for the u.s. economy, good for consumers like you, and creating jobs?
you can see mild or not very much difference across the generations. when it comes to free trade deals, it is interesting that millennials are the most supportive of free-trade. that is something probably worth following up on. that is a very interesting one. bottom line, there is a shifting pattern of public support across the generations for foreign affairs, or for engagement in foreign affairs. it is not that younger americans don't want to engage with the world so much as the way they want to engage the world has been changing over many decades. the story about exactly why and what it means is too long for me to say right now. i'm going to have will come up and get you into the next segment. [applause]
will: thank you all for attending. it is nice to have a standing room crowd here. thank you to the chicago council on global affairs for partnering with trevor and me on the study. and thanks to c-span for covering this event so that my gen z kids can watch it at home. [applause] will: my main points are related to the obligations of our findings for policy and politics. in particular i would like to spend time discussing what i think the study means for the direction of our foreign policy ahead, especially at a moment in which more and more foreign policy assumes are up for grabs and more and more people are challenging status, especially that approach to the world dominated by u.s. foreign-policy since the end of the cold war. in 1991, the soviet union fell, ending the cold war. this is only 10 years after the oldest millennials were born, and with the youngest were not even twinkles in their parents' eyes. at this time the united states
followed a policy of primacy or deep engagement, or support for the alleged liberal international order. that meant a heavy emphasis on deployment of american troops, it meant expanded security commitments such as the enlargement of nato to include more and more countries closer and closer to russia's border, and the frequent use of military force abroad. we have been engaged in conflicts big and small and places like -- and i don't have enough fingers to count -- actually, somalia, the balkans, iraq, syria, afghanistan, libya, the horn of africa, yemen, and so many other hotspots in the world. we have found ourselves pretty thickly engaged where we haven't been using military power, diplomatically in the domestic affairs of other countries as well. not merely just conducting good diplomacy, but really intervening in the internal affairs of other states.
but americans today aren't sure that this makes sense for our safety, for the conditions of our economic prosperity or our values. in other polling we've connected at the charles koch institute, we found a majority of americans don't think our foreign policy over the last 15 to 25 years is making us safer. we also found that americans, a majority of them, don't think that what the united states been doing over the last 15 to 25 years is making the world safer. the people we are extensively trying to help, including with these humanitarian interventions, we don't think that is good for us or good for the world. when candidate trump went to deep red, heavily military focused south carolina and criticized the iraq war and president george w. bush and his approach to foreign policy and
lived to tell about it, and lives down the street now, we saw that something had really changed. in the republican party in particular, you could go after america's foreign-policy approach that was in favor of deep engagement, privacy, active use of military power abroad, and survive politically. so something had really changed. americans, i think, showed they were ready to listen to new voices and a broader approach to the u.s. role in the world, especially when it comes to the use of u.s. military power. i think millennials in particular, as you can see in the study, despite being very troubled by the current president, are also sensing that what we've been doing isn't working. we need a new approach. i think this shows in our data quite a bit. one of the things we have found in this poll is that 47% of millennials think that the united states should stay out of
world affairs in that top line question. only 51% think the country should take an active part in the world. this is compared to well over 70% for the baby boomers and silent generation, who favor an active role for the u.s. given the wording of the question, it kind of pushes people towards an active part. it is surprising how high the stay out is since i'm sure not even most people who are pejoratively called isolationists want to stay completely out of the world. they might want to be engaged in the world in terms of trade. they might want to travel the world to be culturally engaged. they might want to play a role in facilitating cooperation.
so they might answer like i would, like yeah, i want the united states be active in world affairs in that sense. of course, a lot of people may be interpreting it that stay out means stop doing stupid stuff. i know the president didn't say stuff, but my kids are watching, remember? i think it really highlights that there's been this shift. millennials are also substantially less likely than other generations to think that it is an important gold to maintain superior military power worldwide. indeed, it isn't even a majority. maybe that is because they are being realistic, they are being naïve about the world, but maybe there is a greater realism of millennials here because of what they've seen in the past. millennials are also more friendly towards cutting defense spending and less likely to see the u.s. as threatened. trevor talked about that at length. less than half supported the use of american military power in key scenarios such as these.
if russia invaded the rest of ukraine, or as a nato ally like latvia, lithuania, or estonia was attacked. a lot less than half supported sending combat troops to syria for regime change or to fight islamic extremist groups, or even to conduct airstrikes against assad, the kind of immaculate warfare we hear about sometimes, which is not as immaculate as they say. only 1/3 support using airstrikes to destroy north korean nuclear facilities. so you have have a more cautious or prudent set of millennials on these issues. also, millennials tends to be less accepting of the kind of american exceptionalism that undergirds the primacist approach. the gran strategy i talked about earlier. i think the key take away from this is that millennials look a lot more open to pursuing
strategic realism and restraint than the primacist approach we have been following since the end of the cold war. i think this should give advocates of a new vision, a vision of realism and restraint, that has a less militarized foreign-policy, that understands that there are real constraints in the world, that even good intentions and well constructed ideas can't necessarily achieve the results we desire everywhere. in other words, that other countries, other people get a vote in whether these grand projects actually matter or achieve their goals. you think about the project to bring government in a box to end forever war, but as general mcchrystal talked about some of these things lead to a kind of bleeding ulcer because there are real constraints, and nationalism is an important constraint. we might not like the rise of
nationalism, but it is something that affects whether we can achieve what we want. it is also a fact that there are real unintended consequences in our activities. again, even if you have the best intentions abroad -- you want to bring schools to southern afghanistan, you want to improve the ability of women to flourish and some of these societies where women's rights aren't respected as much as they might be here -- sometimes that leads to unintended consequences. those are real considerations or limitations on what we can achieve. i think that people are more open to this the younger they are. i think the data proves that out. in particular, i think if we had a foreign policy that focused on this strategic restraint, this greater realism, but that was open to the world in terms of trade and cultural engagement, the kind of private diplomacy that a lot of people around the world like -- if you think about the mutual beneficial activities that occur when american
businesses or american schools or american cultural groups like the mormon tabernacle choir go abroad and engage in these activities, that is the kind of thing the world likes about us. not when were are providing articles of war for regimes that are not always necessarily doing the right thing with them. i do think there is a real opportunity here. what could happen is there could be a real divide opening between millennials and boomers on this issue, similar to what some have suggested is going to happen on entitlements, where you could see boomers and millennials clashing over these things, america's role in the world, entitlements, and so forth. i think a lot of that has to do with the fact that this generation, most of you in the room, are not as committed to the aggressive approaches that flowed from that cold war posture or that was put on steroids in the post-cold war era. those who become the next
generation of foreign-policy elites, hopefully many of you in this room, that elite gives cues to people around the country what their views should be on the world. what do you think we should do in yemen, or what do you think in terms of dealing with the issue of terrorism? they look to washington and elites in universities and business around the country. i think what this means, this data, is that if it holds up, the elite is going to be much more mixed. that means there are going to be different cues than were traditionally sent, such as during the cold war, when all leads were saying there needs to be containment. but now we are going to have these different competing visions, and that is going to make it a lot more interesting in some ways in foreign policy.
now despite the evidence that millennials favor greater restraint in u.s. foreign policy, i worry that partisan identification and ideology will mitigate the impact of these views in the future. namely will the millennials who are more strongly identified as liberals and democrats than prior generations be as assertively opposed to liberals and democrats using military power as they are now under the current republican administration? i think we already saw this kind of thing happen when president obama came to power in washington because the antiwar left crumbled at that point, which was unfortunate. i think it is the responsibility given this for realists and restrainer's to educate young americans about the arguments for and benefits of a new approach so that it is not going to be beholden to ideological or partisan things. maybe there is a possibility of a trans-partisan or trans-ideological approach to foreign policy, much like we had
during the cold war when our foreign-policy debate stop at the water's edge so it had a kind of trans-partisan realism that says to american leaders, look, here is what we are going to do with military force are in the world. recognizing constraints, recognizing unintended consequences, recognizing that we ought to do what is in america's interests, particularly in regard to our safety. when we do things otherwise, it often leads to really that results. we saw that in iraq, afghanistan, libya, yemen. when you have millennials that are increasingly part of this, perhaps we will get more realistic policies out of the end of this time. i would hazard a guess, again, that this isn't really going to be an aging effect as opposed to a cohort effect. i don't think this is because
young americans are simply naïve about the world and their elders are where all the wisdom stands. i don't think that is the case. i think what happens is you have these experiences that really helped form the millennial mind, if you will. these are vast generalizations, but what you have is a situation in which millennials are probably looking at iraq. what a debacle. 4000 americans dead, trillions of dollars wasted come a lot of iraqis killed. and what do we get out of that? what about libya? it was supposed to be out of a responsibility to protect. it led to chaos. arms flowing out to places like mali, terrorists flowing in, spillover effects in europe. i think millennials are being quite prudent.
you could argue that millennials are potentially the smart ones here. hopefully you can translate that experience with our foreign policy over the last 15 to 25 years and say we need a new vision, a vision that is much more realistic about the world and america's role in it. without throwing the good parts of engagement overboard. this is why i think we need something that is an engaged or constructive realism that wants to be part of that world doesn't want to stay out in the broadest sense, but does want to be much more careful and cautious. thank you very much, and we will go to rachel here. [applause] rachel: thank you guys, and thanks everybody for being here.
i'm going to just open up with a couple of questions to start the discussion, and then i would love to hear from all of you. as you may have figured out, i am the millennial representative on the panel. they were like, oh, we have these two older white guys. we should get a millennial girl. [laughter] rachel: to that end, i didn't want to touch on something you said at the end, and that is when you're talking about the formation of the millennial mind and how millennials have responded to events, particularly iraq, libya, i would pose a broader question about why. why do these differences exist in the generations, particularly when you have boomers dealing with vietnam? for years we have been drawing parallels between iraq and vietnam. they chose to represent their attitudes slightly differently. i would ask you to speculate based on why you think that is. trevor: that is a great question. i think the first order of question is why would this be happening. there are a lot of different hypotheses people have thrown out. so will mentioned one of them,
which is is this just an age thing. you lack at the gaps. well, older people are more interested in world affairs. younger people less so. but i don't think that is a very good explanation for a couple of reasons. one is that difference only shows up with respect to military enforcement. younger americans are not less interested in free trade, not less interested in international treaties or strength in the u.n. or nato. or any those sort of things. i don't think it is aging. and other work i'm doing where i actually do go back to the older surveys and look at the 1940's and 1950's, where we had the lost generation and the greatest generation, what we actually see is a rising and then falling support for engagement in international affairs. so my actual theory about what is really going on underneath is that as america's position and
economic dominance in the world rose to its peak in 1950, you had a rising confidence among americans that we should be going out and kicking butt and taking names. by the way, we just won world war ii and beat the nazis. good stuff, but what happened over the next 70 years? we slowly slid back down, and our economic might eroded and had unsuccessful foreign policy to go with it. my argument is like when will suggested, depending on when you are born, you sort of come of age during a time when american foreign-policy either seems like it is going really well or maybe like it is not going so well, and that kind of imprints on you. that effect is something you carry with you through the rest of your life. ol people remain super confident in the u.s.
but younger people, especially people born after the cold war or come of age after the cold war, you don't have that kind of permanent super threat to make you feel like you should keep doing stuff. doing stuff. i think millennials have just decided it is not a good idea anymore. will: i think your point about vietnam is an interesting one. i will plead some humility. i'm not quite sure why boomers weren't more affected by vietnam. it ought to have chastened americans, and it did for a while. remember, the vietnam malaise was a real thing. i wonder in some sense if the first gulf war, the persian gulf war which was at least tactically wildly successful, and actually the u.s. casualties and the ease of that was a lot less in terms of the disruptive this, at least for us, and a lot easier than we thought.
maybe that had an impact on what americans of a certain age were thinking, like maybe we need to put vietnam behind us. we just won the cold war and we have a new world order. but try to remake the world while we have this chance. the world then pushed back, eventually. the further we got from those low-hanging fruit too much harder things. right, so adding poland to nato and expanding liberal democracy into poland, not as hard as trying to get the world to accept this grand liberal democratic vision. rachel: kind of related to that i also wanted to touch on how the method in which we go to war, one specific question not in the survey, would millennials support airstrikes in syria is chemical weapons were used, things like that.
policymakers it would be interesting to discuss. do attitudes change, or would you speculate they would change, is the means change? so if we use airstrikes or ground troops or a treaty obligation? or if congress takes a vote and authorizes a war, which doesn't happen very often anymore? you know would that change people's perspective? trevor: oh, yes. that sort of study has been done. americans arep more likely to support. the riskier solution you pose, the less support you are going to get for it. diplomacy you get the highest support. that sounds like a good idea. then airstrikes and that seem like you are far away from them. then ground troops is always the hardest sell. that is true, i think, across generations. that is not just true for millennials. will: i think it is a truism in
our field that casualties matter a lot and how americans think about conflict. one of the things about the numbers that is interesting is a lot of the scenarios posed would fall under the immaculate warfare banner. they wouldn't necessarily be boots on the ground, at least in the first instance. and here is where i think experience has helped us understand a little more because a lot of people i think aren't duped by the idea we could solve our problems through drone strikes. if we could use drones and have few casualties and get our way, maybe americans would be more prone to support that. but when we have been in forever war in afghanistan, using drones and trying to have a lighter footprint and still things aren't working, i think a lot of americans might be more shy to say let's just use drones strikes come and get navy seals in there, and bam, good to go.
don't think americans are duped by that any more. they know it is much harder, that there are consequences in this unintended sometimes, and intended in other cases. we will have to deal with it in a larger footprint sense or does not waste that effort and money. rachel: then lastly, one of the things that struck me as i was going through the findings when it comes to millennials is that millennials have a dissident view on some things. for instance, they are very supportive of free trade, but they also prioritized keeping jobs in the united states. they are not quite as supportive of defending an ally, such as the small nato countries you mentioned, but when nato is mentioned exclusively they are very supportive. how does that all interact? would you want to speculate on why that is? trevor: what you get there is accommodation of question wording effect, which i think,
as you consume a lot of survey data, you see the way the question is asked matters quite a bit. if you are just skagg question about do you support nato and alliance? equals the nato allies, cooperation is good, i say yes. then you say should i fight it war for a nato ally, you're introducing a theme that is not so pretty, which is the war thing. the support is going to go down. i think that is part of it. i think another part of it is, sorry to say this, is ignorance. a lot of americans answer poll questions with a fairly small amount of information. when you asked about free trade, i think trade is a good thing. but protecting jobs commodity maybe people don't always understand you can't really have both, or at least not in a certain sense. i think maybe that is part of it. will: is kind of like, do you
want a corvette? yeah, they are pretty sweet. if you ask if they want to pay $72,000 for the base model, maybe not. that aversion to cost is as american as apple pie. when we think about that bill, a lot less excited. rachel: i want to open it up to any questions y'all have. if you could please just identify yourself and who you are with. >> my question is about millennials' approach of a electing people like donald trump, and recently in pakistan
and iran, both of these gentleman have been rational. trump promised we are not going to waste resources. but if you contrast between people, who are different enough from implementing what they are promised in the election, and if nothing else, they bring some -- it is kind of stopping these people to implement what they promised to in the campaign. my question to young people, do they really believe in doing good? how did they stop the establishment deep state from preventing these gentlemen to do whatever they promised to in the campaign? thanks. trevor: i have a short answer, which is as it were up to millennials, trump would never have been elected. have you seen the electoral map? is it is just millennials, trump gets like 10 electoral votes. that is the short answer to that
one. sorry, and we didn't study the deep state here. will: i wrote a piece about a year ago on an issue on the deep state. i actually think that some of the deep state arguments are overstated because presidents can choose their advisors. i think if you were the person who voted for president trump because of what he said in south carolina, challenging our foreign-policy approach, and someone who is excited to see maybe some change their, i think the president should have looked to a wider variety of sources to have advisers who may be shared more of candidate trump's views than what we have seen in the people put in key positions. rachel: yep.
>> my name is joseph. when you're looking at the trends and how different generations feel about different policy techniques, is there perhaps some sort of effect when it comes to the polarity of international systems in a generation coming up in polarity that could effect how they think about foreign-policy? trevor: yes. i think you are on it there. it doesn't explain the whole trend because you see this sort of step function before millennials, but one of the things i think distinguishes millennials from gen zers and older americans is millennials are the first generation to come of age, to hit adulthood when you start understanding the world like a grown-up, after the cold war was over. and so i speak as a person who grew up in the depths of the cold war. you don't know how i think. it was us-them, black-and-white. simple world back then. i did my first white paper on
millennials, and we interviewed about 50 millennials for the project. just to get some kind of vibe. one of the things we heard over and over because we asked how you think you and older people are different in the way you think about the world, the main theme was i think older americans see the world as more black-and-white. we see more gray. i think that is exactly directly related to the polarity question. in a bipolar world or you have a nuclear armed, hostile, implacable foe that you spend every minute thinking about, the world seems very simple and black-and-white. we interpreted everything that way. is this a good idea? is it against the communists? good, do it. once they were gone, we didn't have a north star. i think the 1990's were a decade of, what do we do? do you know what to do? we don't know what to do. then/11 happened. again. something to do you guys were born into this glorious globalized world of
chaos that i can't understand and interpret very easily, but it is normal for younger people. i do think the brain waves are very different. i can't always quantify it in a survey. it is a big part of what is going on. will: as a realist and former professor, who taught theory, it warms my heart to hear younger people talk about polarity. [laughter] will: it is not all about the day-to-day stuff and what is going on. who is up. who is down, whos the adviser. structural factors matter. that is the kind of constraints i talked about earlier. these things affect what we can do. it is not we can decide. ette pushes down on what we can achieve. there are certain expect tagses behavior and, yes,
scholars disfried on what those were. sense end which po lar ty he meant something. it is something that has po not longned in a long, long, time. all the way back in the west to the roman empire. it is not look the united states cans.ng in the ball the worst it would get would not harm the great power status. right? mistakes.ake but it could have chose ton do pretty much nothing. and security would have been largely unaffected.
are we headed to multi polar ty and certain expectations we can expect or in a situation in which yes some things are flatter but some things are still uni planar if you look at u.s. defense spending for example. quite dominantll will ittion is how long take us to get a million ty polar world en which the effects will kick in.
>> my question is just a personal perspective. i am death think aowes opposed to unilateral u.s. action abroad. >> you nailed. you nailed it. public opinion, people usually talk about internationalism as having two sides the militant internationalism. oryou support whacking cooperative international im. then, you are high on both, low on both. you have a mix.
for several decades there is a fellow who did work up the area who trinely suggested there was not much shift among the matrixn public on this but oh roughly equal. american public on this matrix but oh roughly equal. that is now changing toward low cooperative.high >> thank you. >> yep. >> hi. jennifer, sorry. i have actually to questions. first i am wondering if you are aware of any as we think international diplomacy and relations any generational matching data that would show that the generations abroad are also increasingly interested in engaging and treaty negotiations and decreasing the military
investments and the second because i think the point is very important one. i would expect that the curve about withtalking the data and talking about binary bipolar world where you have the iron curtain. we don't see this with a the data you showed. i am wondering if changes with like the draft or increasing in vest in sending students and young people abroad to work for the government has changed and also my lillian is don't really see the benefits of generations did in job creation. >> yeah. those are all good questions probably more than we can on the study itself but data on foreign public is sadly not nearly as as ours and not nearly. it doesn't go back far muff to
really give you the same picture like so i can't speak to that. i condition say, though, that it the same everywhere. by any strep. and one of the slides i show in other present tagses is about sort of the millennial generation which it is the biggest generation of americans right now. millennial gen ration is even bigger within those societies and, i mean, about half of the population under 25 or 26 or 27 or something like that. those countries if you think about the formative experiences millennials it has been ugly rough ride. feeling asre not cooperative perhaps as american millennials because they had different experience, and so, it depends you have to do kind of a region by region sort of assessment to figure out what the path has been and so, we obviously talked about it strange and unique
place during the cold we're and countries were not in that place. that is one. the second question about the affecting policies how they view things most of those are the big deal because when luck at mass public opinion data the only thing that really are prettynificantly massive structural forces like the economy and war and things like that. and so, and so, interestingly the draft question is interesting one because you would i this think that would be big one. like people not serving. should be a big deal. when ask you these sort of questions. military service doesn't actually turn out to be as big of a predictor as would you think. really good question. it steve way better answer. >> hi. now.entioned economy just millennials ten to have a lot
more support for social support interestedd very with the cost of living when it comes to housing and health care look back at times in american history where there is a lot of support for intervention in the '6's-'80's early '90's and accepted as broad economic pros pear ty so is there a push-pull between domestic and foreign poll say that maybe we're not looking at as closely? >> yeah. you are spot on. been work, several different article kells about healthationship between of the u.s. domestic economy and to supportngness extroverted foreign policy per say. things are confident. leasely.the dice more costs don't seem as scary. when things are bad you get opposite. the big slump you saw was partly syndrome.m wow. let's not do that again anyway.
the '70's.in you guys are way too young. >> except for music. was -- yeah. are not going to get any teaks sorb i don't think railroad? i some of the music was treat. the economy stunk them we had embargo, double-digit interest rates. was terrible. so that was also part of the function and so i think, so i think that is really big piece of what is going on. the dayt touch on it in directly but the other work am doing now. forfront and center piece sure. >> i would add to that. us beingknow, with over $20 trillion in debt and being inevitable sense there will be tradeoffs between noise, spending and military spending particularly military spen that is going abrd opposed to military spending focused on defense then see moreou will tension around these shall sures
and i hope it doesn't happen. wrote a great back and wrote a great book called restraint and talked about how we get to revent. it is a little bit depressing at the end because he things collapsed and then americans are going to force pull back from some of the things dip want to happening. so i think the smart play is to try get ahead of it in the same margaret thatcher got aevidence that economic problems of aey didn't go to kind crash to stop that slide and the same huawei you can argue reagan did that in the sup and carter before that in terms of deregulation. hopefully in foreign policy we don't have to reach that point where we're having such massive you know fiscal problems that we have to pull back. have ad be belt fer we foreign policy that is realistic give in the threaten venment what we are trying to achieve means to do that not being forced to do stuff simply decleaningthe economic conditions am we should
get ahead of that curve. listen, you have the power of the curse. let's not forget. everybody thinking the president runs torin policy. right? i know you don't. you work over in the building for the most part. back that power. take those. right? founding fathers, you know, wrote article one about you, right? reason a lotsed to of what happens when it comes to the fiscal policy when it comes for howules of the road the executive branch engages and think about the treaty power and the you a hrrization for the use of military force call they used to decoration of war. utilize that in a way to shape foreign policy because i believe though founders do, that wisdomere is a kind of of the slib racial that could happen in congress of the fact the you have the voices of many as opposed to the few. all right, do you want few executive branch deciding the fate of our whole
country when it cops to foreign policy? no. want to have the people's representatives weigh in. i remember my hamilton, madison, you don't direct democracy, a vote on whether we should go to war or not. think in terms of a popular vote is important for congress to ply a bigger role. especially because you oh, theress you know, if executive branch is not going to be the adults in the ram on congress needs to step up. i would say that when it cocomes to tariffs right? it comes to using military force and now again, don't give executive a brank check. we saw that recently in the dis"around the new age. to war, make sure it is under certain conditions and say it is not open ended no at blankt is check. more resolution type of thing, right? again. you have some constitutional power. more than so. a lot. do good.
>> on that note. any other questionst? yep? >> hi. i am from senator grassley's office. my question is whether or not you see any statition call differencesin the between whether or not favor of endre in gainment under one president to the next? so like for example. i may be in favor of more the directionder of this pacific individual and specific administration i may be in favor of engagement so do you adjust for that when you the data?g at >> yeah. that is a huge, i mean, part tanship thet huge, dow need say that here? it is pretty big deal. big deal in the sorts of surveys so i will refer to you councilof the chicago and global affairs report about
what do americans think of first? and there is a fascinating sort of couple of dynamics going on, so when trump gets into office all of the sudden you see republicans sharply moving trump and away from some traditional republican party democratsyou can see going sharply the other way more than ever. democrat support free trade than ever before. more democrats think russias bad guy. i mean, where as republicans do. so we tell you. partisanship. if your president this is one in the oval office you are much supportive. you are more supportive generally because you trust the important doing it for sure. what i would say. don't take the partisan feat. yipper stand that poll techs especially in the first post electoral system with single member districts will have two pa parties to dominate that doesn't mean however you cannot to some views again will sound like ideal is opposed to
real ice maybe the right one force the country look we did during the cold war. yeah. republicans and democrats on various parts and you think about the policy therd anything rog wan '80's there was a lot of partisan fighting on that but in general the support for contain because that was thing approach to the grand tragedy and i would there ist there is a, a right approach, a better aprop for american foreign policy again, itard and then shouldn't be partisan. was a think the iraq war bad idea, you should think war, irane the iraq maybe, and we should be a bad idea no matter who says it, right? if president obama had wanted to iran. know, war with president trump wants to go to war with iran we should look at ised about for
security and up to the safety and not who the person in office is. i would hope that is what we do.d again, there is a lot of partisanship if you look at the in 2013 there was a lot of partisanship there because you have republicans against it andng the first time in 12 years they argued against someone in some ways when came to using military power abroad. but i would kind of make a plea trying to stick to a principled approach and that foreign policy could get there because it is not the kind of pocketbook issue or voting issue in the same way other issues are. i would tag back on that to pint aboutat is interesting this that is partisanship toects mostly answers questions about concrete policies, about it doesn't do very much if anything to affect the broad sort of world view questions, so if you have people, you know, as it good use military force in general. that doesn't change by president. do you think, you know, free idea.is a good in general that doesn't change. merely as much as you think he plar x goese and wild up and down to which party
and who the president is. >> yep. >> all right. my name is rachel parsons an tern. i am a wondering i heard about before that my lillians are the tolerant group just by age and i am wondering in terms of not my lillian is want to use force in any given i isexternally do you that because we are tolerant or complacent like what would you tuesday than the, i guess. >> that is really loaded question. that question. i actually think that you know, part of the story is you know, the lack of interesting forces as an these effective tool. that is part of the story among millennials but i do that i part millennials of why
like military force more than others you know, as you go through the generation is because think of increasing liberalness of the generations as you get younger and so i rationwhen the den explanation for that is that liberals ten to place higher ofhasis on the moral value empathy for others as opposed to conservatives who tend to voous the duty to folk their own group. i mean, mo most people subscribe to ands where the emphasis i think when you ask, you know, sort of generically about going and dillle dig other people that tends to raise a little bit more and so i think, i would say, it not come play since sy. it is, know, probably an empathy sort of general if not more generic i don't think that works, you know? >> yeah. think, there may be some evidence in here for that, so for example. use of forceor the when u.s. troops would deal with froms in a vacuum, context, you know, you have two
thirds of my lillian is supporting that. i would a, that that is a great intention but we are messy. leads all kinds of tragedy and look what happened in yemen today. and so, that that we have to be careful about saying look, we want to be tolerant. to be open to others. we don't want to be tribal as we flight of about the others to say that means the u.s. military especially give in of u.s. military has a lot support in the public. probably the highest rated american en citytution in many cases and -- institution in many cases in terms of respects but gets metsy in kneeled in a would highly recommend reading a the new york times mag glean this weekend on the area afghanistan. you can see this this is muddy even with good reallyons, you can go
awry, soon, i think that that it is good that people are, i think, that v that empathy, but let's not have a situation where go down paths that are not good for us or others. >> yep. let's not have a situation where it leads us down paths not good for us or others? >> thanks very much. my name is dylan. i work down the hall. i am wondering how generational may or may not account for americans' willingness to engage abroad today. > it is a good question. i think that is a piece of
his. especially when you think of using military force the willingness depends somewhere at root on the belief that your team is in the right and has the moral justification to do his. the more confident you are about being right the more supportive you would be about doing that. the generational pattern for the support for the use of force follows the generational pattern of being a little less confident about how wonderful the united states is. now, what is interesting is that -- and you can see this through other questions we didn't talk about here, but the united states is more likely to see certain other countries as less of a threat, as a partner rather than a rival. so i think there are actually a lot of layers to what that means when you don't think you're the greatest. it doesn't just mean you don't want to whack people but also means you're more open to dealing with them, interacting, taking their opinions if there is a question deep in the
bowels of one of these chicago surveys about should the u.s. always get their way or should we sometimes do what allies want and, you know, older people like screw the allies and younger people like, yeah. of course. it's cooperation. it's what you do. so i think the impact of that american identity question actually can be seen over a lot f different doe mains. >> i think i'll wrap up with one more question that talks about one of the questions you looked at that i think actually can be considered almost mutually exclusive as well from how we engage in the world and that is how people view america. it goes to the question that was just asked kind of. millennials tend to be -- well they are according to the survey -- the largest group that doesn't view the united states as unique or the best country in the world. i'd be curious about your thoughts as to why that is and if it is a fluid dynamic. i think the spectrum exists across millennials speaking as
an older millennial who was 17 during 9/11 and that prompted me and many of my classmates into public service because we believe in the character of america and i think that attitude has changed and i'm curious as to your thoughts of why and if that will change. >> that is a great question. this actually makes me pretty angry. because i think that what we've been doing over the last 15 years in particular has helped contribute to this view that we're not the greatest country. we're not exceptional. because we've been behaving far too typically like countries all over history in terms of some of our callousness, some of our hubris. i want americans to actually vote at high 90% levels for us being exceptional and us being the greatest nation in the world. i mean, we ought to be, right? this -- if you look back in history, our founders talked
about creating a new order for the ages. that we were going to escape the old world of corruption, of war, of intrigue, and we were going to build a country based on liberty and democracy on equal rights, on mutual benefit. what we did i think in the post cold war world is squandered some of that good feeling about ourselves by doing stupid stuff and not just stupid stuff but stuff that was bad for us, bad for others, that took us down a peg. if you watch soccer or hockey it was an own goal that we committed. that kind of makes me angry because i think the united states can best engage the world other than say trade maybe in being an example of the attempt to perfect liberty and democracy here at home. to be that kind of shining city on a hill that gives a beacon to the world to show that, hey, we ought to kind of get our
house in order, right? we ought to deal with the the me too e with ovement where women's rights aren't being respected as they ought to be. let's solve it at home as a way to tell other people look what happens to your society and how it can flourish if you respect women because look what we've done in this country. that is a way to do it and i would think a much better thing and i would think we'd see if we followed a policy of greater realism and restraint in the world and tried to get our house in order financially and in terms of our culture then i think we would see a rise in terms of the kind of view that we're exceptional and great. that would be a good thing. >> i usually as a person born in 1968, not a very good year, and who watches parents argue about vietnam at the dinner table, stuff like that, you know, i usually sort of target the beginning of the end around then. you have, you know, the u.s.
wins world war ii, rebuilds the world. things are great. then as will points out we eally stepped in it and showed ourselves what we were capable of in the other direction and you have the lies from the government and the disaster and tragedy of watergate followed right on its heels -- i mane vietnam then followed by watergate. if you look at the polls that look at american confidence in u.s. institutions and the presidency and the ability of our government to solve problems, boom. t just tanks after that. no one feels as good about america as they did in 1955 or 1947 or whatever number you want to pick there. we have a rebuilding project to do. you're not a bad country. it is just that everything you do is what a bad country would do if you know what i mean. you need to act the way you would expect to be labeled i guess. i don't think we have done a very good job of that. i think young people coming up into this world see the united states' behavior and it's like, it's not that good.
it could be better. i think it is great when people are inspired to do better because, you know, we can be great. we need to do it. >> there is only a certain amount of attention. i mean, a lot of people are doing a lot of things in this town, more than i would like. but it is still a case that there is a lot -- a limited attention span for public debate. if you think about back to the mid 2000's iraq sucked up all the attention and energy in this city. that meant we weren't doing things to actually help our country deal with some challenges we were facing and now really having to live with the consequences and will in the future of not wrestling with some of those things. think about george w. bush. there was some thought he might try to deal with social security reform. boom. iraq blew that out of the water. we might pay the cost of that. again, a lot of times when it comes to war it is not just the cost for those we might be trying to help. what are the costs here at home? in terms of our civil liberties, fiscal policies, in terms of what we're paying
attention to and doing as a country. what are the projects we need to do? again, that is why i think that back to the survey maybe millennials are looking at what i'm looking at taking on a millennial approach here and something ed to do different. what i would ask you to do is think about what is that different foreign policy that might be better for our country? we need to have that conversation. thank you for coming. >> something different. what i thank you. >> thank you guys for being here. [applause] thanks to will and trevor for all your work. i think there are still copies of the study out front and in the words of melania trump let's all be best or whatever it is. [laughter]
>> here is a look at our primetime schedule on the c-span networks starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. remarks from supreme court justice stephen breyer on the u.s. constitution and the law. on c-span 2 at 8:30 eastern it's book tv with a look at local authors from cities we've visited on our c-span cities tour. and at 8:00 p.m. on c-span3 american history tv with programs examining how the vietnam war affected every day life in america. next, a discussion about journalism and reporters working in hostile political climates. the association for education and journalism and mass communat