tv With All Due Respect Bloomberg January 29, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm EST
>> from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. charlie: we begin this evening with developments in president trump's order to build a wall between the united states and mexico. the mexican president announced today that he would cancel his scheduled meeting with trump amidst outrage in mexico. his decision comes one day after from signed an executive order to construct a mortar wall. trump is at a news conference states the united was being treated unfairly. >> the president of mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our meeting schedule for the next
week. unless mexico is going to treat the united states fairly, with respect. such a meeting would be fruitless and i want to go a different route. charlie: he has insisted that mexico fund the walls construction. plans were announced to impose a 20% tax on all imports from mexico to cover the cost of the new barrier. joining me from washington is bill rucker of the washington from mexico city, a former ambassador to mexico. i'm pleased to have them here. tell me what trump thinks he can accomplish now with this decision to end the meeting? he decides that he is going to go another course to oppose a 20% tariff, which, i assume, mexico will retaliate. >> i don't see where this ends.
but trump was pretty outrage by pena nieto's response last night when he said that he wouldn't pay but trump promised the people that mexico would pay for the wall. it was a rallying cry at his campaign rallies so he has to find a way to fund the wall. what he is doing is having taxpayers fund the construction of the wall and get some sort of reimbursement from mexico. what the white house press secretary floated today was a 20% tax on any imports from mexico. they think that would raise the millions of dollars necessary to fund the wall. charlie: what is that number, is it 10 or 12 or 14? >> i'm not sure what the number is and i'm not sure there is a clear estimate but it is a provocative move by this white house to try to tax these goods from mexico. you've got to imagine that will trickle down to u.s. consumers. people buy products from mexico,
including the foods we eat like avocados. so there is a real concern among republicans that this could have some sort of negative impact with consumers in the united states. charlie: and if mexico imposes a tariff on american goods that may create job losses here in the united states, it is argued. >> that is right. one of the things trump might be missing is mexico is one of the most important trade partners of the united states. it has been for years. it is not some poor desolate country. there is a lot of commerce across the border between the u.s. and mexico. the relationship with mexico is -- of hugeoncern concern to the chamber of commerce, some major corporations rely on trade with mexico, so he is really rattling things here and i am not sure how this is going to even out. charlie: give us the response from mexico.
how do they feel about it and how does it sit with them other than that they are not going to pay for the wall? >> the next can people and the mexican government have been deeply offended by the way this has proceeded. during the campaign, candidate trump characterized mexicans as criminals, in some cases rapists . therefore there was a necessity to have a wall to separate mexico from the united states and when you put it in that context you can understand why it was so difficult for mexicans to say that they were somehow going to pay for this all. so when president trump said to that itt pena nieto became politically impossible for him to go forward. what both sides have done is they have drawn a line in the sand. two countries are physically next which other and a really indivisible as a unit. charlie: what will happen if and then a20% tariff counterterrorist by mexico?
tarrif byr mexico. >> it would be hard for us to tell the consumer they were not paying a 20% tax. in the end this is going to be borne by american consumers and industries. even those industries that are giving inputs from the mexican economy and using them in the development for finalize products in the united states. it is going to make those products less competitive and will impact american consumers. developmentso inevitably there o be a debate, another debate rhetoric about what a 20% tariff means. is it the country that is exporting or is it really consumers from the other country? charlie: will donald trump be able to argue that it is enough money to build the wall? a maybeight be able to his supporters want to hear that but that tariff is going to , it is going to
complicate the trade relationship that a lot of u.s. companies have an mexico. -- how populard is the mexican president with his own people? >> he is having difficulty>> as a result of corruption issues. his popularity ratings have gone low so this makes it a difficult time for him to be able to deal with these issues and the challenges to the united states. one of the big things that is going to be important for him is to be able to demonstrate to the mexican people that he is standing up for them, standing up for their rights. the other issue is how to convince the united states that this bilateral relationship is actually good for the u.s. one of the things that struck me from the time i was ambassador here was industry after industry in america saying it had not in through the internation of production lines. they could not have been competitive and basic manufacturing or exported to
major markets throughout the world. and so a challenge for pena nieto is to convince the u.s. side of the importance to the united states at a time where he is suffering in his own country. what kind of contact is taking place? charlie: what is the conversation between mexico and the united states? >> today is a low point because essentially, both presidents decided this meeting wasn't going to happen. they made that decision on the basis of principle. the challenge is to figure out how to find a path to engagement. nextu look at countries which other, so intertwined, third largest trade partner with the united states, so many implications for cultural and political security issues, particularly security issues that the united states can't afford to not have a relationship with mexico. mexico similarly has a particular mandate to find a way to engage with the united states
because of its economic importance. now they have to find a way where they have made these decisions on principle but somehow they can come back and have a relationship again. i think a critical factor will be when rex tillerson comes in as secretary of state. that will create another line of communication and action that will be through more traditional foreign policy channels. i think everyone will be looking to rex tillerson to make that particular move and outreach to the foreign minister in new mexico, to somehow find a way to reconstruct the relationship. charlie: how is his standing? he is the one who made possible the agreement for donald trump to come to mexico during the campaign. how is his standing? he is a close political ally of the president. >> the secretary is a controversial person in mexican politics. there are some who feel that he personally is associated with president trump and present that. there are others who say that
may have been the situation but now we are in a different type of situation where we have to find a way to have a negotiation to find a better path forward and we need to use all of the individuals who have influence and knowledge. he has a phd in economics from an i.t.. he is schooled in trade issues. he has the ability to put together a whole range of actors. from that perspective, there are those in smaller medical circles who feel that he can potentially be a very useful actor in these negotiations. charlie: thank you. we will be right back. ♪
charlie: michael froman is here. he served as trade representative from 2013 to 2017. he led negotiations for the transpacific partnership, the largest regional trade accord in history. it was a key component of his so-called pivot to asia. 18,000d eliminate tariffs on american products that make up 40% of the global economy. president trump announced that the united states would withdraw. president, over the much disputed border wall. it threatens one of the world's largest wild lateral
relationships for one of those reasons. i want to get to tpp and what that means for the trade war and all of that. is thes happened today mexicans say "we are not going to pay for the wall." the president says, if you are not going to pay for the wall you might not come. the president of mexico says we are not coming and we are not paying for the wall. the president of the united states says we are going to impose a 20% tariff. help us understand this. >> it is challenging because under nafta and under our obligations in the world trade organization, we cannot oppose that 20% tariff and not leave the door open to other countries to retaliate so if we do that we are violating our international obligations. it means mexico could raise tariffs on our exports. mexico is our second largest export market.
we export hundreds of millions of dollars of goods supporting u.s. jobs, whether it is manufacturing or services. it is the beginning of a trade tit-for-tat that hopefully will find its way towards resolution. charlie: what would happen to mexico? would it then say we would sell that stuff we were selling to you to china or some other market? or will companies have to reorder their marketing to try to find new markets for their products? i think the broader issue is threefold. it is the risk of rich, of mexico raising tariffs, and the risk of imitation, whether it is mexico or other countries saying if the u.s. can violate its international obligations we can raise tariffs on american products as well. 95% of the world's consumers live outside of the united states. 80% of the world's purchasing powers outside of the united states. we need access to those to support jobs here.
thirdly, it is taxation. when you raise tariffs, you are imposing a tax on the consumers of those imports. low income americans spend a disproportionate amount of their income on trade will goods. clothing, footwear, food. you are raising the cost on the people who are least able to afford it. it can have wide implications economically and in our relationship with other countries. charlie: take the tpp. why was that good to the united states? >> one, by all of the economic analyses, we have added more than $130 billion to our gdp. we have increased exports, we know that by opening other markets to our exports -- we are already very open. we have low tariffs in this country and we don't use regulations as a disguised barrier to trade. other countries have higher barriers. we have a two and a half percent
tariff on hondas. if a car comes in that is a 2.5% tax. the anon has a 70% tariff on hondas. malaysia has a 30%. charlie: so if you sell an auto to vietnam, they put a 70% tax? >> tpp would have eliminated that. it would have eliminated the tariffs in malaysia as well as the nontariff barriers. these are some of the fastest-growing markets in the world. the anon, 90 million people, growing 6% per year, and they whetherrican business, it is autos or tractors or high-quality agriculture, so for us to get into that market, help support the jump back here. you really have two choices. you have a 70% chance on -- tariffs on autos.
you need to tear down the barrier, key production in the united states and export the products. or closer factory here and move it to vietnam. our view was that it was better to attend down the barrier to keep production in the united states. charlie: that is the argument that donald trump used in the campaign. that these trade agreements are not fair and american workers are losing jobs. >> i think anybody who actually looks at what is in the agreement, who is in the agreement, but the conditions are, if you look at what president trump has said he says that we have this unfairness. that is exactly what tpp address. 18,000 taxes on american exports illuminated. charlie: it wasn't only donald trump. it was hillary clinton and it was bernie sanders who opposed to tpp and the president couldn't get it through congress. >> it was never formally introduced. charlie: do you think he could have? >> i think there was more support in congress than meets the eye. you never have the votes for
something until you actually introduce it. the leadership motor lies is -- mobilizes. i spoke to house republicans, i spoke to democrats, i think had it been reduced in the right environment it could well have had -- charlie: with the opposition of hillary clinton bernie sanders did you have to defend on republicans? trade bills >> are usually passed by largely republican votes and a critical mass of democrats. they had a critical mass of democrats, the ones who voted for promotion. the difference this time was a lot of the mainstream republicans seeing the effects of candidate trump during the campaign became wobbly on trade. i think the question is, will there be leadership on the republican side? to tradethe opposition by bernie sanders and hillary clinton, was it based on the same facts? >> i think the opposition to trade is less related to the trade agreement itself than two a feeling of economic anxiety in
the country. we know that technology is a much bigger impact on the nature of jobs and wages in the united states than globalization. but you don't get to vote on technology. you don't get to vote on globalization. globalization is a force, not the result of the containerization of shipping or broadband. trade agreements become a scapegoat for a quite legitimate concern that americans have about their wage stagnation, income inequality, and that is what you saw during this election. that anxiety about the economy and trade agreements becoming the vessel into which that anxiety was poured. charlie: do you think they were speaking to anxieties in a way they found relevant? >> i don't have a license to practice politics. clearly, there was a large segment in states that were angry -- there was a group
of people who felt that president trump spoke to their anxieties in a way that other candidates did not. >> then i know why you have lost your job. >> and we need to do a much better job. charlie: that is what he said. >> now what we need to be focused on is how to make sure that the american workforce can take advantage of the changes and live in a rapidly changing economy. the changing of technology is going to dwarf any impact of globalization in terms of the impact on the nature of jobs and the nature of work. we are not particularly well-positioned to deal with that kind of rapid change and transition. the kind of domestic policies that need to be pursued to make sure people can take clear advantage of the opportunities and deal with a transition. charlie: the president of china
basically praised localization and said "we believe in globalization, we are for globalization, we want to have an impact on global markets." think at the moment we are creating a void that china is all too willing to step into and to fill. we saw that happening in the .-- in davos notave seen if the u.s. is going to show leadership as it did in tpp we are going to line up the eye and -- behind china. charlie: are they moving to make agreements with vietnam and other countries? >> they are negotiating. it is called the regional copperheads of economic partnership. it has 16 countries ranging from india to japan and it is different from tpp in a number of important ways. does it raise workers rights?
it doesn't protect the environment. charlie: that was part of the complaint of bernie sanders and hillary clinton. >> those are the things that tpp did that are set want to. rcep won't do. if china goes ahead with its interventionalists model, where they monitor and cut off the internet or a force companies to transfer their technology or their intellectual property in order to have access to their markets, that is a much more disadvantageous set of rules for the u.s. companies in the u.s. workers and farmers to operate in than could have been possible under tpp. charlie: is it likely we will have a trade war with china? >> i can't answer that because it is up to president trump and his administration. with china -- charlie: what would cause a trade war and how would you
avoid a trade war? linkedause it would be -- the unilateral actions that would raise barriers. that is a thing that donald trump has threatened. that would then give china license to retaliate against us, to imitate us. both of which, we would have a dramatic impact on our economy. charlie: donald trump says he believes in america first. >> but i think all of us believe that our jobs in government are to pursue u.s. interests, first and foremost. it depends on how you define what those interests are. we have benefited it honestly over the last 70 years from setting up a set of rules for the international economy that has allowed capitalism to flourish, markets to flourish. our exports to flourish. and if that is going to be undone in the name of america first, it is going to have an impact. charlie: is there an argument to be made that the -- that it is not a level >> playing field?
absolutely. one of the great frustrations is that they are very disciplined about pursuing their national interests in the most narrowly defined sense. china first, without taking any responsibility for the international trading system. one thing we have tried to do is press them to take more responsibility for the trading system that they have benefited from so enormously. charlie: so why are they not responsive to that argument? >> in some ways they have responded but certainly not enough. it is important to hold their feet to the fire and why the obama administration drove trade enforcement actions against them when we found areas where they violated their obligations. we were not shy about bringing a other laws, why we have literally hundreds of actions against china.
illegal subsidies keep out so much of their steel from our market through trade remedy laws precisely because they are not following the rules. abouty always were angry being kept out of the market. >> my response to them has always been stop dumping it. if you don't dump your steel -- charlie: it drives the price down so you can be competition. >> is selling below their costs or below what they sell it for a home. it is unfair. charlie: in order to have market share. >> exactly. we see that in the steel, we see that in solar panels. thatis the very reason donald trump could make an argument that resonated on trade. we have been vulnerable, he would argue. to the trade practices of other countries. and i'm going to stop that. whatever we have to do. is a bipartisan
consensus that we should do everything necessary to hold china's feet to the fire and create a level playing field with them. china is a country with whom we don't have a free-trade agreement. the countries with whom we have free-trade agreements, we tend to have good balances that have improved over time. china is one of the countries we don't have a free-trade agreement with. >> a big part of a big part of that trade deficit, they sell us more than we sell them. >> correct. charlie: would tpp have influenced that? >> china was not part of tpp. charlie: would it have done anything to have been able to be leverage against what china was doing? >> by raising standards in the region, by saying that if you want to be part of a modern trading system you are going to have strong labor and environmental protections, you have to place discipline on corporations so they act fairly,
you've got to respect intellectual property rights, you have to keep an open and free internet. it would force china to compete by raising the standards as well. if all their neighbors are offering higher standards it will have a positive effect on china as well. charlie: do you think those nations look at the united states instead of retrenching from its commitments and perceptive -- participation? >> i think you do and you have heard comments from prime or lee,abe about how withdrawal creates this vacuum that china will fill and they will feel the need to line up behind china accordingly. senator john mccain had all these leaders in the region and they all said withdrawing from tpp will have a dramatic negative impact on -- both economically and strategically for the u.s.. charlie: what are the countries
that we export the most to? mexico, the united kingdom although that is way below mexico, the european union has a market, that those are our major ones. and of course, china. charlie: trump has also used the word protectionism, which is a term you thought had gone away. means he will do exactly what he needs to do to protect american products. >> we all believe in the importance of protecting american jobs, protecting our ability to manufacturing the united states. we go at it different ways. a couple of years ago there was a german car company deciding where to put your next manufacturing plant in north america. they came down to the u.s. and mexico and they chose mexico. it wasn't because of the differential in wages.
it was because mexico had more free-trade agreements than the u.s.. they could ship it to more markets around the world without tariffs. we should not lose that kind of competition. we are never going to compete with mexico on wages. we shouldn't. shouldn't lose competition on free-trade agreements because that is something we have control over. the difference in wages is about $600 per car. is probably $500 per car. charlie: peter baker wrote "mr. a drastices amount to difference where they have expanded ties around the world although candidates have often criticized trade deals on the campaign trail. those related to the white house including barack obama ended up extending their reach." so president obama nominated you
became more attracted to trade than he was in the senate? >> i think he had a consistent perspective on this. which is the important of being engaged with u.s. leadership. and the fact that you need to be in these markets if you are going to support jobs. , seeing the also effects of steel mills close down. proper trade but for traits sake. by raisingade right environmental standards and leveling the playing field, that is the kind of deal we should do. as a candidate, he called for the renegotiation of nafta. he was very specific about what he meant. let's make sure mexico has a binding enforceable labor market. that is what we did with tpp. new mexico and canada are both part of tpp. >> we renegotiated that. charlie: what about american
labor? >> they have rarely supported him. we had the united auto workers support their agreement with korea but other than that i'm not aware of another agreement that they supported. charlie: thank you for coming. you will be in the council on foreign relations for a while? >> thank you. >> trade representative during the obama years. back in moment. ♪
charlie: richard haass is the president of the council on foreign relations and a veteran observer on u.s. foreign-policy. he has written over a dozen books. his latest calls on president trump to fix a world that seems to be spinning out of control. it is called "a world industry grade -- in disarray." i am pleased to have richard haass back. charlie: where are we? how do we get here? where do we go? >> where we are is a world in disarray. a lot of the institutions that formed the world after world war ii have essentially run out. the disciplines and constraints of the cold war are now 25 years gone. a distribution of capacity and military and
economic, and so many states, some of them not states. you've got globalization which has created challenges the world can't keep up with. so the middle east, we have talked about it on this show, and it is unraveling. europe, which by far was the in partayed, almost moor of the world is now anything but. is putting nuclear warheads on missiles that could reach the united states within a couple of years so this is, at least, a world in disarray. how did we get here? some of it is the stuff from history, countries rise, the cold war ended. some of it is the result of things the united states did, the iraq war, pulling u.s. troops out. a lot of it is things we didn't do. barack obama saying, syria, the
redline, and other such things. in the last couple of days, charlie, the decision not to go ahead with the transpacific partnership. the united states has long been a supporter of free trade. all these countries in asia and latin america lined up with us. and suddenly, we are yanking away the football and the countries feel left in the lurch. history, things the united states has done and things been on states failed to do that accounts for where we are. >> is there a vacuum of leadership that china is prepared to move into? >> not so much. china itself is limited by its own politics. >> at the same time, you saw at xi saying we believe in democracy. >> up to the point. the chinese have extremely constrained political system. they want to keep power, they won't allow things to loosen up.
i think the real alternative to a u.s. led word -- world is a world of increasing disarray or disorder. countries like china may have a or turkey with asia or israel may have a role in the middle east. russia, germany, europe. it's a world of local powers, and it's a world of growing disarray, it's also at times a world of chaos. >> what does the world need? >> united states is willing to play a traditional leadership role. roletraditional leadership -- over the campaign and the contributed to the disarray by raising fundamental questions about whether the united states is reliable and prepared to support our allies. we are not prepared to support free trade.
the wholeions with america first characterization that gives out a signal that we are in it for ourselves. i'm worried about is a lot of other country saying if united states is no longer in it for us , we have to take care of ourselves. issues, that may mean they defer to a local power. another issue is countries may increasingly say we've got to take matters into her own hands. i don't want to have a world where suddenly everybody -- >> everyone having their own alliances. >> proliferating nuclear alliances, or saying if i don't act militarily, someone else will gain control. i really worry about a world that is lot -- that is not led. charlie: talk about trump in terms of the actions he is taken in the foreign policy field. richard: he has taken some serious people. secretary of defense and secretary of state. charlie: they include the cia director. richard: these are all seasoned individuals. the problem is that they are all on the periphery. what really matters is the relationship between the periphery, the various departments and organizations, and the white house.
the white house has become a crowded place. a president, vice president, chief of staff, chief advisor, chief strategist, son-in-law. a national secrity advisor. kellyanne conway. we don't know how they will work together and we don't know the relationship between all of them and, say, a secretary of state. go back to jim baker, when he was george h.w. bush's secretary of state. everyone around the world knew that when jim baker talked, he was speaking with full backing and authority of the president. i am not sure that when rex tillerson speaks, people will be assured that, when donald trump is either tweeting certain things are when people at the white house are saying things that are inconsistent with the message. charlie: it is in his dna to be hands-on with everything and believing it is ok to say what he thinks.
richard: donald trump, if you read the inaugural speech, the entire intellectual assumption of the speech is that the united states is getting ripped off by the world. allies aren't doing good enough, trade is bad for us. we're spending too much in the world. charlie: how do you think the chinese will respond to that if in fact the united states does not adhere to a one china policy and develops a legendship with taiwan's separate from china, and secondly the united states tries to say to them that you have to stop and abandoned the south china sea? richard: on the former, that is the most politically loaded issue in china. the chinese don't take the cohesion of their country for granted so they see the taiwan issue as the pulling on the thread of the fabric of their country. there is zero chance any person running china could compromise
on that issue and continue running china. plus this year is not just any year. xi jinping, in october, has the 19th party congress. this is his chance to consolidate power and put in his people in the standing committee of the politburo. zero chance that will be one inch of flexibility. on the contrary, if president trump continues pursuing a policy on taiwan that the chinese see as inconsistent with the one-china policy, they will shut down the relationship and retaliate. charlie: how do they retaliate? richard: they could shut down taiwan's trade to the mainland, increase military in the region, maybe decide that they don't want to accept all those boeing planes that are being discussed. there are ways that they could put economic pressure on them. i don't mean that we couldn't retaliate and do something, but we have to understand that this is going down a path where there will be no winners.
it will also be that the two sides won't have the context to cooperate, say on a issue with north korea. charlie: with russia, again, the principal people advising him seem to have a tougher stand on russia then he has acknowledged. richard: that is right. he himself as well as the national security advisor have this benign take on russia. on one hand, we should show respect to the russians, be willing to talk to them, treat them as a serious country. on the other hand, the goal of our relationship can't just be friendly relations. we have to see some real changes in russian behavior, see them backing off of the pressure they are putting on eastern ukraine, make sure they are not putting pressure on the baltics. i think we should be doing things to on the ukrainians and
reintroduce significant military forces into nato. if we are to reduce sanctions on russia, it has to be conditional. charlie: we do not know what behavior the russians could do to precipitate president trump from lessening the sanctions. he has suggested that there may be examples of russian conduct that could cause him to want to reduce the sanctions. richard: again, if they stop doing certain destabilization action in eastern ukraine, he may say they deserve some response from that. he could give some kind of a statement or a pledge that the united states could not try to bring out some kind of regime change in russia which they are in worried about. in charlie: why is he worried about that if he has such huge popularity with his people? richard: he saw what happened in ukraine. he saw the president get chased out of the palace by a mob.
the economy is contracting in russia. he thinks one of our goals is to see the so-called color revolutions you saw throughout eastern europe. most tyrants don't take for granted their ability to rule. there is no orderly successor. one of the things that makes these countries the kind of systems there are is that there is no mechanism for legitimate political change, so it is all or nothing. charlie: do you think there can be a negotiation with putin? richard: i think there can be negotiation about certain issues, conventional forces in europe, nuclear weapons, possibly ukraine, the middle east, afghanistan. charlie: you say the goal in foreign policy is not smooth or good relations. the goal in foreign policy is your interesting looking at other policy looking at your concerns. in the relationship with improved. richard: absolutely.
what we don't want is a cosmetic improvement. we don't want the era of good feelings. we don't want to have that kind of cosmetic stuff. what we want is a very businesslike set of conversations and hopefully we see some very tangible changes in russian behavior. if they are willing to do that, we should respond. charlie: henry kissinger used to say to me, the possibilities of doing something interesting and dramatic change comes when everything is in disarray. that is when you have an opportunity to change. richard: it gives you some things to work with. but only if you have the will. charlie: fluidity. richard: fluidity creates opportunities, things you can exploit, act on. but, you then have to be willing to pursue policies over time, put resources in a way that can turn those opportunities into
realities. it does not automatically happen. by not doing things are doing other things, turning disarray into opportunity rather than anarchy. nothing happens automatically for good in the world. there is no invisible hand like adam smith talked about in the economic marketplace, it takes visible hands. the real question is whether we are going to do it. under barack obama, quite often we were not. the real question is whether under donald trump we will be willing to have the visible hand of the united states. charlie: who has the strategic mind to create a new world order? richard: i think there are ideas out there. i did my best to put one out in this book, basically a new operating system for the world. we have had an operating system in the world, a set of rules, for nearly four centuries, which was very basic.
you don't use military force to change borders and you allow governments tremendous space to do what they want in their country. i call that world order 1.0. it is based on the idea of sovereignty. when i argue is that during the era of globalization, that is necessary but not sufficient. charlie: we now have all kinds of means to transmit, transform. richard: the conveyor belt of globalization. something breaks out -- suddenly, zika virus or worse can spread around the world. digital things can spread instantaneously. terrorists, hackers, climate change. none of these things respect borders or geography. what i say as now we need a world that i called 2.0, where sovereign states have the obligation -- we should practice and encourage it -- to monitor things that go on within their borders that could have a negative effect on others. remember after 9/11, we established the principle that no country could harbor
terrorists that could strike others. they didn't have the rights within their sovereign limits. you want to take that principle and attach it or extend it to virtually anything else that could affect us everything else negatively. charlie: what do you mean by paralysis by analysis? richard: it is the tendency, we saw it quite a lot in the previous administration, where you are presented with a set of issues, syria or something else, and you look at it and look at it and persuade yourself that anything you do is complicated, has such downsides, and you end up doing nothing. the only problem is, in my experience, i have worked for four presidents, it is very rare people assess the option of not doing anything different. charlie: what is in your mind the misunderstanding or erroneous assumption about the world works from barack obama? richard: i think the problem was he had too many people from
legal backgrounds. now i'm going to alienate every lawyer watching. i'm sorry. but law is about a set of rules. you play the game by the rules. i think barack obama had that and a sense of optimism that human nature and i think he believed that things could get better by the power of reason, that people would be restrained. what i think he never quite internalized is that evil can triumph over good, people have agendas that they are not willing to compromise on, so unless you push back there he hard, bad forces can gain the upper hand. i don't think he appreciated the capacity of evil, ideology, people's willingness to use military force. we saw in the middle east, we saw in europe. in many ways, he was more reasonable than the world he inherited. charlie: he could not understand the threats to the world that he saw? richard: he was very wary of large-scale american commitments. again, he came into office promising to undo the commitment
to iraq, the commitment to afghanistan. he overlearned the lesson of his predecessors. george w. bush was trying to do too much to remake the middle east. barack obama historians, i will predict, will be the president who tried to do too little. charlie: should he be blamed for the fact that there was no american presence in iraq? richard: i think, yes. the argument that we had this agreement and his hands were tied was not true. he himself introduced more than 5000 american soldiers without formal agreement by the iraqi parliament. he did not want forces to stay in iraq. charlie: any idea that somehow the iraqis didn't want it is something wrong? richard: yes, and we could have worked around it like we did when we reintroduced military forces. right now, 5000 are in iraq without the sort of agreement the administration said it needed.
charlie: was the classic mistake in syria red line or was it not being timely with respect to the rebels? richard: all of the above. perhaps the first mistake was saying assad must go without backing it up with the policy in which what we were prepared to match our rhetoric. you can't have ambitious rhetoric and limited means. they have to be in sync. charlie: when you say someone has to go, you always run up, head on, to the question of what follows? richard: what if he refuses to go? we will face that again in syria. it is not a question of when we defeat the isis territorial base, but what happens the day after and how do we prevent and isis-like group, whatever they call themselves, the next radical jihadist group, how do we prevent them from inheriting? charlie: it is interesting what trump said in his inaugural speech. he did not say he would eradicate isil or isis, he said he would eradicate radical
islamic extremism. richard: in some parts of the speech he set goals that i would say you can't meet, and that is one of them. what we need to do is reduce terrorism to the level that it doesn't change the way we live our lives. that it doesn't really exact significant costs. there will always be people to wake up with these ideas, whether they use box cutters or knives or guns, they are always going to find a way. the true nightmare scenario, they get a hold of nuclear stuff. charlie: or they get -- they build a series of things we can't imagine now. because technology is moving so fast.
richard: something biological, or a collapse of order. charlie: i once did an interview with barack obama and said the following, "you believe we have the strongest military power, best technology, best universities, on and on, the best rule of law, strongest institutions, so what could go wrong?" he said, "our politics." which means gridlock, the kinds of threats to democracy that he was talking about in his farewell speech. richard: i think on his watch, our politics did go wrong. the word you and i probably use more than any other in describing american politics is dysfunctional. we have been unable and unwilling to address some of the core problems. infrastructure, schools, immigration, the national debt.
that means the example we send to the world is not compelling. others get disillusioned. and we lose our ability to act in a concerted, consistent way is not when it needs to be if we are to be effective in the world. in that sense, the former president is spot on. charlie: what was your reaction to the inauguration speech? richard: the adjectives i expect if he is watching this he won't like. i thought it was dark, much darker, particularly domestically, then the facts justify. i thought it was quite divisive. between "people" and the "political elites," it was very divisive. it was protectionist, by american, higher american. if everyone else in the world follows that formula, the chinese only buy chinese and -- charlie: the pipeline, only using american steel, any worker ever worried about losing their jobs said, "right on."
they are thinking about the fact that we have got somebody who is standing up and wants to see american products. richard: absolutely, and in the short run, that will work. in the long run, millions of american jobs are export dependent. many of these jobs will disappear anyhow because of technology and artificial intelligence and robotics. driverless vehicles. basically, trade is being scapegoated. it is raising doubts about our reliability and we are not going to save jobs, not going to help american workers, not going to help american consumers if we shut our borders to trade. we are also not going to help ourselves with mexico. one of the reasons the last few
years we have had a net outflow of people going from the united states to mexico is because of nafta. nafta, this agreement helped to make the mexican economy modern, more robust. more and more young mexicans stayed home. because that's where the jobs were, mexico has had a higher growth rate than the united states. if we end up in a trade war with mexico, ironically enough, the pressure on american borders from mexico will go up. right now, there is an inconsistency tween what is being said in our trade policy and desire to make our borders secure. charlie: did you send a copy of this book to 1600 pennsylvania avenue? have they read it? richard: keep hope alive, i sent one at that point to the president-elect and the national security advisor. charlie: did you say, if you read this, you will be a better president? richard: i would not go that far. we will see what happens. charlie: "a world in disarray: american foreign policy and the crisis of the old order." richard haass, who has both experience and intellect, and
francine: hello and welcome to the annual davos debate where we bring together leading figures in the world of politics and finance. our topic has many names, the rise of populism, the crisis of the middle class, the politics of rage. it's the movement that has been sweeping across the developed world. this was the biggest surprise in 2016. this year, will the establishment brace for what's next? allow me to interest the panel,