tv John Glaser Christopher Preble and Trevor Thrall Fuel to the Fire CSPAN November 10, 2019 9:20am-10:50am EST
>> the cspan2 online store nowhas graffiti products . see what's new for book tv and all the products. >> good afternoon everyone. i'm the vice president in foreign policy studies at cato. you all for being here. welcome although those of you to wanting firstname.lastname@example.org and i take the time to say hello to those watching on c-span and i'd also like to extend thanks to our outstanding conference staff will always do a terrific job organizingour events . i enjoyed on stage by my colleagues john glazier, director of foreign policy studies and trevor grohl and we're here with heather
hurlbert, director ofpolicy change program new america . trevor and i are the co-authors of this book , fuel to the fire, helpful made america's broken foreign policy even worse and how we can recover . copies are available for sale here for actually go for those of you in attendance and for allyour favorite booksellers, those of you watching from our . i'm going to tell you a little bit about the book even though you can probably guess a lot of it from the subtitle. includes discussions, this is not a spoiler, includes a discussion of donald trump's chief of us foreign policy. includes why we think, why we the authors think america's foreign policy was broken and that there is a better alternative than what president trump has offered. so it's my responsibility today to sort of set the stage and that involves a
little bit of history which is my forte and a little bit of strategic analysis which is all three of our expertise. i go back to trumps major foreign policy address the mayflower hotel, april 27, 2016. in thatspeech he said among other things since the cold war , foolishness and arrogance led to one foreign policy disaster after another. he promised to look for talented experts with new approaches and practical ideas, not those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility or a long history of failed policies and continued losses at more and i put emphasis on losses at war because i'm going to come back to that he also said no country has ever prospered failed to put its own interests first.
our friends and enemies but their countries of ours and we while being fair to them must do the same. so that last phrase you may recognize. the essence of america first. that's a phrase from first uttered during the siege and people 2016 but that has been repeated a number of times since including in his administration national security strategy which is issued in december 2017. the strategy call america first. >> so whether you knew it or not, donald trump was a failing what samuel hunting at the dawn of the post-cold war era: climate, privacy, that the dominant foreign-policy paradigm onthe republican and democratic presidents ever since . there was a famous document, a draft on guidance in 1992 elaborated bowl of this
post-cold war foreign-policy. the object was to prevent the reemergence of a new rifle capable of challenging us power at any vital area and those vital areas werethought to be your , asia and the middle east. the us would do that by retaining military power, not merely to deter in the united states but also to discourage the potential competitors including even longtime allies europe and japan from the aspiring to a larger regional or global role. which again, direct quotes. so that was the plan and the vision and in the book, in fuel to the fire we trace the history of how thisplayed out in practice since . the highlights were low lights if you prefer include numerous foreign military entitlements, large and small . kosovo to afghanistan to iraq
and libya and now syria and then we explain, we sort of survey quickly this 20 or 25 year period and we explain why these abroad in large measure on the flawed privacy as a grand strategy. i'll call attention to three in particular. brief loss in primacy but the first is a tendency to exaggerate dangers or to mobilize a sustained public supports or protected preceded ventures. second and overuse of the military to the extent of the many other instruments of american power and influence and third, a persistent burden sharing problem which adds has eroded public support for foreign-policy over time. now, donald trump spoke mostly on the third problem, free riding that he seemed content to solve that through
better dealmaking and negotiation, his amos art of the deal so most recently we've seen this play out in his claim to be false. his claim that saudi arabia will pay for the deploymentof additional us troops . but there are other signs that donald trump's critique of us foreign policy is different from ours. for example he plays into publicfears , especially of terrorism and he boasts a dramatically increasing us military standing of spending an evening of expanding us foreign wars which suggests he isn't critical of us wars per se but rather the matter in which they've been fought or more specifically, thefact that we're losing, not
winning but that doesn't mean he's necessarily opposed to the war per se and i think that plays into primacy's flaws . let me read one passage and i'll give it over to john . as we say in the book, the track record alone should have prompted some reflection on us foreign policy. after all while the united states is obviously a powerful country it is not omnipotent.it hasn't discovered a magic formula or deploying forces with such precision that can shape the international system in a way that works for everyone's benefit while harming no one. with respect to efforts at regime change, mike mullen armor chairman of the joint chiefs of staff noted in 2016 we are 04 a lot . military historian andrew base of which concludes that having been at war for virtually theentire 21st century the united states military is still looking for its first win . unsurprisingly others around the world don't trust the united states to perform the
role of disinterested global policeman. many in fact don't even believe us leaders act with good intent but for the most part, us leaders mean well. they are often motivated by a genuine genuine desire to shape theinternational system in ways that are conducive to prosperity . air in the belief that they have the capability to do great things and end up not causing harm and tripling the military over other instruments of us policy . primacy undermines american faith so i'll stop there and i will take it over to my co-author and colleague john and hecouldn't take it to the next step . >> i could probably pick up a bit from what he just said, there has been over the campaign in 2015 and up till now a lot of confusion i think over how to categorize trumps foreign policy. especially for the think tank people who care about science and international relations because we have all these
words mean something and these can trick peopleinto schools of thought very easily and trump was always difficult to characterize . so during the campaign when he stumbled upon some of these things that sort of soundlike for example what people at the cato institute are arguing , that nato has some burden sharing problems and that we shouldn't engage in regime change wars and this kind of thing. people ended up calling him variously isolationist, realist, restraint oriented, etc. and we found that not to be persuasive at all so one of the reasons we wrote the book is to make a distinction between trump and these well-respected schools of thought. so we go with, i talk about why he isn't any of those former things that also then it's incumbent upon us to elaborate what we think trump is. how do his foreign policies
come together and once in office come out as policy. and it was very difficult to do that, to try to categorize and classify trumps foreign policies for a lot of reasons. first of all, he's a liar so he's very rarely, very often on the front sides of any issue.he flip-flops constantly. he would spoil the iraq war before he was against it, he was for libyaintervention before he was against it . he was against going into syria before he was for it. nato was obsolete but once he was in office it was no longer obsolete and these are items, he's all over the placetypically in terms of what his position is . he may not have a coherent worldview of the kind that is useful for foreign-policy
analysis. so instead of classifying him in one of these broad categories, i tried to come up with descriptors that made sense for trump that would perhaps guide his foreign-policy views and certainly help us understand is very zero sum transaction that is widely misunderstood. in trade he thinks that our win is somebody else's loss. >> .. this boils over also into the security realm. i remember his articulation of why he vetoed the piece of
legislation that what i i stop u.s. involvement in the saudi arabia's bombing of yemen, and his main argument was that, it's good for jobs because the saudi eye weapons for us, therefore, americans have to build weapons here and, therefore, it's good for us. forget about the strategic analysis of where the not our involvement in him human is accredited, forget about the humanitarian part of it. he's able to justify it in zero-sum terms, and so that gets away with it. he's also very jacksonian. anyone with lots of extra time on the hands they can go back to book called special providence that political scientist walter russell mead wrote in 2001 long before trump to send the elevator and it's an uncanny description of trump as a political actor. jacksonians are militaristic. they rely on populism.
they are engaged typically in centralization of some kind. some xenophobia in there that make sense for trump. one of the characteristics is they are apt to leave neutral parties alone, but if they feel threatened or there are is besmirched they will come back with overwhelming force. people used to say this about trump. he would leave neutral parties on but he takes it into foreign policy as well. jacksonian -- jacksonian is him also bleeds into his opposition to globalist design, anything international institutions, organizations, treaties, multilateral engagement come all these things he's very uncomfortable with. he's also fixated on his status and cares a lot about respect. one of the things i was doing in trying to come up with things that make sense and can explain
trump's behavior is i went to basically all his public statements and interviews since 1980, and something i kept finding over and over again is something i did not expect, which was the almost used the same phrase over and over again over the course of 40 years or so, something along the lines of their taking advantage of us, they're laughing at us, we are not respected anymore. he cares a ton about this, and this probably has something to do with the way he has run his foreign policy. i remember his initial opposition to engaging in syria eventually rebounded his political benefit when he decided to bomb syrian regime assets in 2017 and then again in 2018. this was probably the first act that got him plotted from the very community that he has made a political career out of bashing, the establishment loved
it. nancy pelosi, his antagonist on the right, like marco rubio and john mccain, the kind of foreign policy class and community in this town, gave a big thumbs up and he felt great. he was finally the president of united states. he got a lot of status and prestige from that. also probably north korea. there were reports he tried to convince japan's shinzo abe to recommend them for the nobel peace prize if he does well in north korea, and i think probably south korean president moon jae-in has also may be cultivated that belief. and his activity a north korea is pretty clear. he cares more about the stagecraft than the statecraft of the. that's very show it and ostentatious without getting a lot of the granular details
done. finally, he has an authoritarian mind. he is unusually authoritarian standards of joseph political culture. he demands loyalty from federal officials that a supposedly independent and nonpartisan. he has used ad hominem slander to attack judges that have the gall to disagree with his executive orders. he has a tendency to label people as traitors or treasonous if they disagree with them. you know, in any of the people is the name for the press that only authoritarian types tend to embrace. and so these four frames are essentially my attempt to describe and categorize trump's foreign policy. and at certain implications for how things go out. on the other hand, once we get into policy, it's very difficult to see even with the president that is thought a lot about
foreign policy, which i think trump hasn't, and maybe sees himself in one of these physical side categories would like to talk about, translating policy exactly the way the president sees things is often very difficult. and so there is some explanation for why some something touchind some happen because although trump was quite vehement in his, as chris laid out, in his criticisms of the last 30 years or so of foreign policy and all the people who have worked on foreign policy in those years, there's a lot more continuity than there is change in the first three years of trump presidency. he hasn't relinquished any formal alliance. he hasn't removed u.s. troops for many garrison, slipping out 1000 troops in syria doesn't quite cut it plus he also quadruple the number of troops in syria in his first two years in office and also loosen the rules of engagement so the
bombing campaign could be wrapped up by orders of magnitude, quite frankly. so isolationism doesn't fit there. he's embraced native. he welcomed the 29th nato member, montenegro, and possibly macedonia will be the 30th. offered as a major non-nato status. most of his big foreign policy efforts have not been, have not had the characteristics of someone who wants to retreat from the world or up in the sort of the basis of u.s. foreign policy. but he is done a lot of learning on the job so a lot of things he wasn't familiar with and, therefore, learned or was told when he came in office, that is changed things. he has a lot of indifference to foreign policy. he cares most about his domestic political power and foreign policy is situated in subordinate to that. he has a lot of political character russians that just
makes sense. think about the syrian withdrawal again. he has constantly described this withdrawals bring the troops home, inking endless wars. that's not true but it's good for him politically. so first it was just a relocation of about 50 u.s. soldiers from north syria, to the rest of syria, and that was withdrawing 1000 troops and putting them in a rack and qatar in saudi arabia and so on. shuffling around troops in the middle east is not exactly restraint or isolationism. and thirdly, or fourthly, he has had to compete with a very strong consensus of american engagement and leadership even within his own cabinet. he was pretty reluctant to continue on with the afghanistan war. i think you don't need any kind of special degree to see the things have gone pretty badly there, and it's time for us to maybe rethink the approach. almost two decades and the
government we set up is horrendous and doesn't have control over most of the country and still fighting the taliban insurgency which is not going away. and you wanted to withdraw from that. he got pushed back. one of the comments from james mattis was reportedly, we have to stay there in order to prevent a bomb going off in times square. that's an absurd spasm of threat inflation but nevertheless, it helped persuade trump to continue the fight in afghanistan. the same with syria. he initially wanted to withdraw in december 2018. he declared in in a tweet thate wanted it done so by the following february, and the bureaucracy into essentially 100% reversing that because we were supposed to withdraw. he didn't do things the right way. its management style or lack there of is an indication he fails to sort of get his cabinet
unified around a clear strategy, and that's his fault. but nevertheless, there's been a constant -- this is why the term adults in the room came along. we were trying to manage trump's erratic impulses, and sometimes that means making sure we don't make radical changes to the strategic consensus of them primacy that has existed for many decades. you see a lot of mixed results. you see a lot of things that don't match with what he said before i want he believed his inclinations are, and so it's always -- i will never write another book about trump, hopefully, and i've also never write a book that is a topical as this one because the personnel changes that have happened so rapidly, probably more turnover in this administration then any other in recent memory. we had to keep changing people's
titles and revisions of the draft. now former security friday, former secretary of state rex tillerson. that didn't help the difficult but nonetheless, i find it off to trevor after that lengthy explanation. >> thanks, john. so to bring us home i'll talk about the last third of the book. first, sort of of the public response to trump in america first and concerns washington is at about public opinion and finally to get a start, our conclusion chapter we talk about where we should be headed next. so just to go back a bit, even before the 2016 election, the foreign policy establishment in washington, d.c., was worried about eroding public support for global engagement, especially to end the wars in the middle east. in 2013 a survey of experts -- i
use that german air courts dash at the council on foreign relations found that 92% of these experts believe american public had become less supportive of taking an active part in world affairs. they actually quite good reason for this, because in a 2013 poll from the pew research center, for the first time you found a majority of americans, 52%, agreed with the statement that the united states should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they could under own. first time in history since the early '60s when this question started to be asked in that way. in 2040 the chicago council on global affairs also recorded a new record low public support for international engagement. they found only 8% of americans think the united states should take an active part in world affairs. these trends, maybe they don't sound that spectacular on the surface to you, but to people
who are foreign policy observers in d.c., these numbers were terrifying. there was a lot of hemming and the still to this day, hemming and hauling about what just all that means. just to give an example, what walter russell mead wrote earlier this year in the "wall street journal", terry, there's no more important question in world politics than this. when youth public opinion continued to support an active and strategically focused foreign policy? or as the story and how brands put it more broadly, is americn internationalism dad? with trump's election many authors conclude the edge of was, sadly, yes, it was dead. here's brooking institution writing here in the near times, president trump may not enjoy majority support these days but there's good reason to believe is america first approach is the role does. build consensus about america's role is upholder of global security and its collapse. so there's a lot of drama with
trump within the foreign policy establishment. but the truth of things is now almost after three years of trump we can say very confidently the public has not embraced trumpism or america first. nor has it retreated into isolationist. trump's conducts content of fon policy is quite unpopular both generally speaking. just last week quinney act poll found 57% of the public disapproves of his copy of foreign policy, just 37% approve% approve. it's also unpopular in the particulars. his pet america first projects are some of his least popular policies. projects like the border wall, trade policies and so on are opposed by clear majority. here's the funny thing, president are supposed to have the bully pulpit and wonderful things with public opinion but trump has which might think of
as a toxic touch when it foreign affairs. the things he argues for ten to get less popular. this is despite the fact in our currently very polarized age, many republicans support his policies out of party loyalty. so even so, we are seeing a boomerang went trump tries to push things. just to take one recent example. trump very protectionist approach to trade and his rhetoric has really backfired. the 2015 chicago council survey found the highest ever support of free trade among the public, 87% of the public, this is the biggest number, 87% of the public -- they should all agree -- 87% said free trade is good for the american economy. this is a jump of 30 percentage point familiar before cup took office, 30 points. that's just ridiculous. nafta also its highest marks ever in over 60% supporting nafta. it's never been a very popular
policy, and there's much majority support for the tpp which troubled out of when he came into office. trump touches it and thinks he's pushing one way. it goes back at the way and we can list off several different areas for which the same sort of thing is true. syria is an interesting example we can talk about later as well. you might ask then, what is going on then? on the one hand, you're telling me to for trump gets in office that looks like public support for global engagement is shrinking but on the other hand, you're telling me people are rejecting america first and apparently retreat into isolationism at all that stuff is what is the truth? the truth is the american public is not becoming more isolationist, but the flavor of its internationalism is changing. americans are increasingly tired of the traditional military centric approach to foreign policy that the united states has relied on since world war
ii, a really specifically sends the end of the cold war. fundamentally, americans are telling pollsters in survey after survey they would like to rely much more heavily on diplomacy and cooperation internationally than on use military force. just a few factoids. 70% in the recent gallup poll say they would like to rely on nonmilitary means to stop iran from didn't in nuclear weapon. a majority of people, more people say the war in afghanistan has made us less than made us more sacred 68% say we should pursue a policy of friendly cooperation and engagement with china rather than trying to limit the growth of chinese power. i can we could keep going but issue after issue, , americans y they want to rely much more heavily on cooperation diplomacy much less on what has clearly not been going very well this military heavy approach to foreign policy. as we talk about in the book, i
think a happy note for america is that these trends are the strongest among the youngest americans, among millennials. they are the least supportive of america first policy. they are the most, the least supportive of military centrist policies by the remain as a more supportive of international cooperation and diplomacy as any other generation of americans. millennials will not kill thoren policy. i think it save it, all right? the road forward i think for you foreign policy is fairly clear and happily it already enjoys broad public support. as we outlined in our conclusion come you foreign policy really should move in a restraint direction and embrace three sort of core pillars, principles. first, the united states should reject the myths of primacy chris talked about at the hyperactive foreign policy that it has promoted. washington should instead pursue a more modest foreign policy
agenda that facilitates global trade and focuses on the physical security of the united states rather than on attempts to control the rest of the world. second, primary tools american engagement should be diplomacy, commerce and cooperation, not military force. the united states is osgood any a strong military for deterrence and self-defense, but the use of force instead of the first resort, as it's been for the last 20 years, needs to become the last resort. this isn't diplomacy will get us everything we want. the world doesn't work like that. diplomacy slow, frustrating but it's a lot better than starting to kill people with all the costs and tragedies that entails. and finally the united states needs to align its foreign policy with a liberal values and norms that the countries a spouse ever since a son in political leaders still like to claim we adhere to. but primacy has eroded america's
moral authority and undermine the normative rules-based character of international order. in our zeal to police the world, americans weaken the most important conventions of the post-world war ii system, mainly territorial integrity, the principles of nonintervention and nonaggression. if the united states wants of the country to play by the rules, it needs to do a better job of playing by those rules itself. i will leave it there and turned over. >> as you can tell, this is an enormously ambitious book with a very wide sweep and deep and diverse effort to explain the oddness of the moment we currently find ourselves in. and that's a clue to why he decided you need to have a card-carrying liberal nationalist countable with broad sweep and perhaps excessive ambition appear to do the response to it. so having explained the question of what the heck is she doing up there, this book really, the
breadth of things you all address and the various nuggets that you really won't find in any other contemporary commentary is really praiseworthy and i going to pull out if you i hope you will talk about more, and then i'm going to make a few fatigues that help you respond to as well. i will start, trevor, where you left off. because of the analysis you present of the generation aspects about american foreign policy is changing is really groundbreaking and really challenges a lot of the thinking that we have indulged in over the last couple of decades about what is making americans attitudes swing on foreign policy. i hope you will talk about it more, but you look all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century actually and look at generational cohorts, and you show a really interesting, not a
steady decline, but a rise and fall and rise and fall of generations comfort with u.s. engagement in the world, u.s. leadership in the world, and you suggest in a way that i think really may suggest even larger forces are at play than ones we like to think about, that it's actually all about what we experience as young americans and how we experience our country in the world as young americans and that it may be that that's the only thing that makes any difference in generational attitudes, but i'd love to talk more about that. i would also be really curious if you had, and he could not, someone who is here are watching this really should go out and do this work, how does this compare to generational shifts another major national issues? is for insecurity policies following in the trans-americans think about government engagement in their lives can for example, which is something that is new and get your heart here at cato, but various social
into, about various economic issues. you the trends over the last century trackpad or other totally different? the dating issue so interesting. as you said, anyone who likes to geek out on that should really spend more time in this. but there's another component that he think it also runs directly into, , and that is the increase will in the last decade of partisanship. in shaping nationals to get a public opinion, and for every issue where you had an amazing swing under trump, you have another issue where views are not completely divided based on artisan allegiance. tell me what party you but with and i will tell you what you think about russia, for example. and the issue polarization economic public opinion flip as it did on russia, for example, around 2015-2016. there's similarly a question on trade, whether democrats are
pro-trade test take trump is against it, and trump supporters are pro-trade because they think trump is doing it. we are in this, the role of polarization in setting public opinion on international issues is i think one you wrestle with in the book and i would like to you you wrestle with here because it brings up a larger question about your ambition for a restraint based foreign policy, or anyone's ambition for post post trump foreign policy, whatever that looks like. we had as you note a very strong bipartisan consensus for a long time and you could build a more version of the consensus bring in certain factions, you could build a more right version of it, but it's my view that any post trump foreign policy is going to have to assemble a rather different coalition. and they don't see eye to conclusion or drop the book much
thought about where the power for restraint based foreign policy would come from the sort of who are your constituencies. you could, i will say you can ask liberal internationalist the same question. you can ask that kind of progressive multilateralist if i could call that school back in the same question, but it mean, one of the things that trump has been really good at and this starts to move into some of the assessment of the record of the last two years, is doing just enough to keep a coalition together. and that some of you treat this briefly in a section on what is, how do we understand trump? that he is untrammeled by conviction enough to be willing to do whatever it takes to keep relevant chunks of the republican party onside, and one can explain current developments in syria policy, which you can't
really explain any other way by that. that brings be to my next line of questioning, which is i really appreciated, anyone who follows me on social media knows that every now and then i said i'm going to retire from the world and white the successor to the walter russell mead book but instead a show on panels at lunchtime. but i do think you've done a really first whack at updating jacksonian is him, or post jacksonian is him. one of the things you do that's most valuable is if i remember, need doesn't talk a lot about culture but this got i was called was important to jackson and a few of the world and so there's a funny way that trump is more jacksonian than jackson in that regard. i think in that he kept in his something broader in a segment of the american public that was uncomfortable with the more internationalist version of
honor, or to use a a word that when it's employed by trump allies is very deliberate anti-semitic connotations but aa cosmopolitan idea of honor. so that the think is really important internet and i love to hear you talk more about what we've learned from the six months since the book went to print, and how do we understand, how to understand the notion of honor when the general assembly laughs at you, when the president of turkey sort of make sure everyone is aware that he ripped up your letter and threw it in the trash. how do we understand, what does mean such a globalized age that you can have not just the the president the summer between 20-40% of the electorate that sees honor in that? how we think about that in foreign policy construct? and the last thing i would want to touch on is your assertion
that not that much has really changed in american foreign policy over the last two years. because when i read this part of the book, i thought, they are surely going to regret they had to go to press when the did and they will surely want to change that assessment. but you don't want to change that assessment. so in reading the book i thought okay, how can i understand how you and i can look at the same facts and see the effects so differently? this i think brings us to the sort of broader question of, what is a doctrine of restraint, and what does it cover, and does it actually adequately encompass the range of challenges that confront any american leader. because if you think that climate policy is a big deal, if you think that climate is either the number one security threat america faces or if you just find that sgds argument, if
you think that migration is an enormous problem for security reasons, for economic reasons, for social cohesion reasons, if you think that trade, never mind more open trade, , just having y kind of stable economic regime, is an enormous issue, then, oh, and if you think that nuclear proliferation is a fundamental security issue, then i think you think that this president has changed rather a lot in ways that will not easily be changed back. but i think i have just at least three of issues i just picked up are actually not fundamental to the kind of traditional realist restraint or thought about the world. so there i i would gently push back and say, are we sure we have got the aperture -- is the
aperture omits those things, , i wish we have the aperture quite right? because all of them are going to profoundly, all of them will affect the quality of life that we and our children have come to your point, much more than how many u.s. troops are in japan. so that i i would like to talk about some more. and then i'd like to make one that the logical point, which is that you, and really you deserve a huge vote of thanks for making this effort because having a gumption what the the presidens doing when you said you would go back and cross at all the titles, africa must take from this band, which took an enormous amount of courage. [inaudible] >> i salute you for that and it's also very important because thinking a little bit historically we are in this. back were events so fast, it's difficult to keep track what
happened two weeks ago. all of you who are engaged in writing first draft of history is any normalcy important resource, and i thank you for it. at the same time is really trying to go through region after region at region and seek no sites or references to analysts or leaders from those regions about how their societies were being affected or have thoughts about alliances were changing, or how their plans for the own future for being affected. i might also note in this context a certain tendency of the analysts quoted to favor the quite anglo american male. i'm not doing this because i'm the political correctness police. i am doing it because i think there's a risk of missing some of the changes that are taking place. if we don't see the changes that are taking place, then we won't be well-positioned to respond to them, which is unfortunately one
of the great historic critiques of american foreign policy across ideology and across party, right, that we can to get really self referential and not think very hard about how the effects are policies are having on the people that we're supposedly helping her were very is we are doing. if i may in by being more restrained than even the restrainer is, i do think one of the very best point you make is that we don't think enough about the impact of our policies so i would like to see your analysis about the impact of policies. with that i've asked a bunch of questions. i hope i caused some argument to keep edwin in the audience entertained, and thank you very much for inviting me to participate. >> trevor, why do we worked out in the order she asked the question because there's a question that was clearly about you. i was going into the question about jacksonians in. i have thought of that, and perhaps you can handle the continuity stuff.
>> that was a twitter force, thank you. that was fantastic. >> i had to keep up with three of you. not your usual comment on the author gig. >> you know, the analysis of intergenerational foreign policy has been shifted to the hobbyhorse might have in work on a few years and shout at to a future book form that is a book in progress, but the short story is that they are all bigger forces at work other than just the president or the events of the day. working with a co-author, we have sort of i think discovered that what one really important thing that is driving these generation gaps is, it's that really a huge surprise to everybody, but i think about things as an adult is affected by how the world was when you were a young impressionable person. first, awakening to what the world was like and important
things in the world are. sociologists call this your critical period, when you roughly 14-24. did you go up during the depression? did you grow up to world war ii? did you it was when you're 18? these things make permanent and very large impact on your brain. when you think about the broad sweep of american generations, you have the oldest generations in the poll is a lost generation and the violent generation, these are folks who grew up before the united states was number one sort of economically and militarily in the world. they were fairly, there were not nearly as internationalists as later generations. sorry, the lost on the oldest. then you get the silent generation who come of age when the united states is hitting its stride, winning world war ii, beating up the nazis. how do not feel great about america near 50% of global gdp
in 1950. you could do whatever you want, no problem. what happens after 1950? u.s. gdp as a share of the world starts to slide down to around 50% today, it it bounces up and down. what we found in a research is his single number along with some other things really helps you track generation by generation sort of what people's anchor is the there are other things that you -- that make you more or less likely to want to engage them on a day-to-day basis, apart from isis or someone tries the planes in the world trade center. but in general the conditions that held when you were a young adult stick with you for the rest of the like. we had a couple generations of increasingly internationalist americans, but since world war ii we have had decreasingly international americans. nothing the president says or does is going to change that. these are big tectonic forces at work that probably are not changing anytime soon. these inkling effects affect both democrats and republicans.
these are broad changes that are affecting the united states. i think they are permanent. to attribute the question, yes, you can see intergenerational change across all sorts of issues but they are not in sync, not all tied to sort of the same thing. there try to lots of other things. one of the bigger trends we can talk about the gallup tracking sort of the ideology conversation. it's getting more liberal since world war ii. that is a host of ramifications what people think about same-sex marriage, what they think about the role of government, trade. what you think about protecting american jobs. what you think about the climate. you look at young american opinions and a chunk of it is due to the fact that the young americans of the first generation to grow up after the cold war ended. but another chunk is due to the fact they are the most liberal generation. they are also the least white
americans, the most likely to be born of immigrant parents who come from somewhere else. these twin factors are really driving massive amounts of change on all sorts of issues. >> so on this continuity versus change issue in u.s. foreign policy, as heather quite rightly points out that the aperture that we used to evaluate this is limited in some important ways, and i take that complement this is an ambitious book in many ways that we needed i think to be somewhat narrow and specific what we're looking at in terms of change. i would never want to suggest donald trump is basically, like his predecessors in every way, and a lot about the conduct and operation and implementation about u.s. foreign policy has radically changed.
the way the president engaged with foreign leaders on phone calls, for example, -- at is, but is also not terribly trivial, even though sometimes it seems so. it has real implications, and things like that. but we are three guys that you you was foreign policy debates through the prism of grand strategy. so primacy is a grand strategy we've had for a very long time. it involved the and insistence that the united states possess preponderance of military power, that we have far-flung alliances all around the world, that were are treated how to protect 60 or 70 nations. military assets all over the world. we have 800 military bases in 70 or 80 countries. we have some form of u.s. military deployed more than 150 countries. virtually the virtually the entire world.
we make everybody's business our own and we interpret peripheral interests as if you are vital once. that's essential to my description primacy. in the implementation in the actual, how the policy still exist today, that is still our grand strategy. people like to say trump is restrained and the point to examples, for example, when you decided not to attack iran after the down of the u.s. drone in or near iranian airspace. and they said this is an example of great restraint in foreign policy by the president. first of all i don't think it is. trump brought us up to that brink through his very unrestrained foreign policies of the bending the jcpoa, posing harsh sanctions, abandoning our european allies and russia-china on that year which was voted on by the u.n. security council, and hiring a lot of people who have a history of calling for regime change in iran and so on. so restraint describes not one
cases unwillingness to use force, right, in that specific instance. it describes our role for the u.s. in the world, what kind of things should we deem as important enough to risk american blood and treasure? we see it as, restate prescribes a narrow perception of use role in the will. our interests should be defended with the military only when u.s. security is at risk. direct security against this territory and its people. and a prescription for privacy, there's a lot of reasons we should use the military. we also have a preference for the constitution. rule of law is important and trump has done a lot to disintegrate it, but we shouldn't forget that his predecessors did a lot to basically destroy the constitutional right and authority of congress to
determine the united states involvement in hostilities abroad. that part of the constitution has just withered away. congress is incentivized not to exercise it, and the president, whoever it is, tens not to want the kind of restriction. so we did focus pretty narrowly. >> let me draw your attention to the subtitle of the book, because hot trump made america's broken foreign policy even worse, what you describe i think is there such a thing as primacy and there's a worse primacy. what we are suggesting is the broad scope as john said remains unchanged, and yet he is managed to do even more bad things. when he has gotten his way, which is always, but what he got his weight -- he has tended to make things were. >> i guess if i i were trying o make your argument i would make the point that what he's doing
actually makes primacy even less tenable. as a liberal internationalist who thought we are at the end of primacy before trump was elected, i look at this and say if you had the idea we could keep this going before. there's no way we can keep going after this. i think if you could make that argument you get to college there a lot of us in yourselves with the make the argument which undercuts they are all the same thing. >> there's change going on in the establishment, unfortunately, i'm reluctant to do it but i do have to give trump credit for that. it wasn't his intention. he's been such a disruption to things that kind of shaken loose bipartisan consensus. one final point of this. you mentioned climate migration and tray. we do a lot of immigration, or sufficient i think a migration and trade but we do skip out on climate and that's not because we don't think it's important. it's just because security policy, bombs and bullets, the things we focus on here, doesn't
have much to do with what we got to do on climate change. >> you guys both did a great job answering has there's question and is going to come back to something that is since come up that want to amplify that, danger being the tail end of the panel was once i started, and that is -- heather's question. heather, you estimate jacksonian and honor culture what does this mean. the steady erosion of congressional power, especially over foreign policy before general in terms of separation of powers should make us particularly concerned about a single person having so much power and being driven as john in particular documents in great detail, , this sort of notion of prestige and honor and that should concern. i also scribble a note, this is
a major problem for global leadership, for american global leadership. if primacy handers as i think it mostly does on the wisdom of american leaders and the commitment of american leaders to this vision of a liberal world order, if that is the read upon which this is based, you have a problem when the person who is all this power isn't bought into liberalism and american leadership. we have all documented that in various stages, and in this book my argument is then that should mean we should be driving towards a more resilient order that is less dependent upon the power of a single state, and more specifically, the power and sort of whim of a single person. so that is a problem or primacy. the second point is, on the partisanship and how do we assemble a coalition that is committed to restraint.
we thought about this a lot, okay? we closed the book with i think a fairly agnostic open invitation to anyone independent of either/or any party to come forward with a practical foreign policy that speaks to the shift in public sentiment that we are seeing, and that is also mindful of one thing we haven't talked about much, mindful of the very real constraints that we are operating under. even if trump leaves office next month or in january of 2021, we are still basically, you know, $20 trillion in debt and a $20 trillion economy. that's not great in terms of long-term projections. you are talking five or six times that in terms of promises made to future generations. we have a massive fiscal imbalance. that is a real constraint that
the next resid is not just going to be able to wave away, he or she, as i think need to be mindful as a practical matter that we need to have more humility. this is the note i wrote in scribble in the margins. humility, whether it's republican or democrat, should be celebrated. a willingness to admit that there are certain things that we can do and we should do them well, we cannot do everything and we cannot go everywhere. i still have enough faith in the american people that they would respect someone sort of speaking honestly about the limits of american power. >> absolutely. i've actually done the analysis to figure out whether restraint constituency with the and it is a moving target. as i put in politics knows, it's ephemeral. i think there is, you can call my lineal liberal internationalism. it would not have to look
radically different from a lot of what the united states has done in terms of international cooperation in trade and so and so forth. in fact, i think it would lean into that while acknowledging we are secure and don't need to go stomping around the world with our military as much as we used to. and i think, chris just touched on another key part of that, part of the new millennials liberal internationalism that i think most americans have been looking for is they want to do less of the heavy lifting and would like shared leadership, not a unilateral united states run the global cop kind of role. i think there's a majority of americans if there was a person consensus in d.c. on this question would be able to stand behind that company. i think that's where the rubber hits. i don't see the republican party being interest in that and i don't see the progressive wing of the democratic party one to give up the military toys to go sort of bad countries.
>> i will say the way i think about that is that we have, chris, when you talk to the fiscal constraints that we face, i think the political constraints that we face is that both parties have in the post-9/11 period got quite addicted to military spending and holding up of military first policy is a short and to talk the american people patriotism. we don't have in either party as a language for that or other metaphors for that, and with the increased collapse and dwindling of our newsgathering apparatus we don't anymore have the ability to tell the american people stories about what leadership that doesn't involve moving special forces or dropping bombs looks like. if you come to me and say, so here's my coalition for restraint, i look at you and i say, that looks great on paper but then all of my members
challengers who are, there's 100 tulsi gabbard and seth moulton, oh dear, just injures and florida, the republican, i'm kind of thing bipartisan, so there's 1 million of those folks who come along and say you are undercutting the thing that makes america great. to me that is a fundamental challenge that liberal international, renovated liberal internationalist, progressives and restrains all share. and whoever figures how to surmount it that will be the ideology that wins. right? >> that's right. we have about 30 minutes, not quite, about 30 minutes for questions. i will sort of remind you of the ground rules. they should be fairly familiar to you. please wait for the microphone. that's for the benefit not very for those any audience but also those watching online or on television. please identify yourself and
your affiliation, if you have one. i will also my jew that are at the cato institute the jeopardy rule applies. that is ask your question in the form of the question, so no speeches please. and with that we have to make folks with microphones roaming the audience. right over there. that's great and then a gentleman over here. >> a financial analyst. i hear a lot of people speak about china and trade. you think -- we been trading with china for a while now. all parts of china from expensive. i never hear anyone talk about when we go with china -- >> the answer is it's already happening. elsewhere in asia, southeast asia in particular, in fact, you do occasionally hear a certain amount of chinese angst that they have now become not the low-wage market but the sort of
middle tier market. there's a little bit of anxiety about that. there is some discussion of it but you're right, it's not thoroughly penetrating a big. >> to me, your question opens up another area that a think is worth digging down and unpacking some of your assumptions. one of the things we've seen as result of the increment belligerence of the last two years is that you have some producers moving out of china to vietnam, malaysia, and in some producers moving back to higher end markets. use things like bicycles going back to taiwan, some producers moving back to the u.s., although not much on net. we are at this moment where, and in general we think we see supply chains shortening up, both because of that and because as china and some of asian countries have developed their internal markets for, they can do more locally and they don't need to be heart of a far-flung
supply chain where people are always trying to impose either lower prices for better working conditions. we are, in fact, at this moment where for a variety of exogenous and endogenous reasons, it's very unclear that the trading system in five or ten years looks like a straight line continuation of what was, which i think is really profound implications for how we think about what kind of political and security systems best conditions the shocks of that. >> well said. you had your hand up, right there on the file. >> since world war ii, 1967 and 1991, as the fall of the soviet union, practically the whole united states foreign policy has been under control or
subservient with israel and israeli lobby in this country. have you had any discussion or matter in the book of what you've written regarding the effect of this in the operation of u.s. and other countries, including the middle east, including -- everywhere you go that had -- >> thank you. >> i think that overstate the case. i think the relationship with the trend in israel is unique in a lot of ways, but in the important ways that we analyze it, it's a lot like all of our other alliances, which is in order to maintain them as the superior partner, we end up having to adopt their regional preferences. their sets of interests, and we don't pay close enough attention to the extent to which that
undermines our own. our relationships with states in the middle east are one reason, among many, that we've become entangled militarily there. and i think we should look at each of those and scrutinize them. >> let me add to that. we are, as we speak, engaged in a very awkward discussion over u.s. support for a particular faction within syria that is directly a threat to our nato treaty ally turkey. that is even in the middle east but not i merely an israeli question. this is a question about the turks and the pkk, as far as they portray it. and so i want to second what john said. we have security alliances or commitment in some fashion to 60
some odd countries and world in terms of service something that would be portrayed as a formal commitment and de facto commitment to at least some additional number of where that are u.s. forces deployed. so this to me is much more than just focusing on a single ally, even in a single region. >> just the one of the things i would say is that u.s. democracy is set up so that groups of citizens can get together and bobby on behalf of their interests. and since the supreme court decided that money is speech, groups of corporation can also get together and bobby about their interest, and lots of them do. when one of them gets singled out more than others, which is not necessarily any more influential than others, naturally problematic and it's something other than american foreign policy. >> other questions. right here in the front.
>> how influential the thing citizens beliefs in international affairs affects their voting in, say, residential election? >> very good question. it almost seems like you know the answer. your great suggestion of the answer. usually not very much. there are a few watershed elections like in 1968 where unhappiness with a war really changes the battlefield entirely, but for the most part, right, it's the economy. but having said that, when you decompose residential popularity figures, when you say why does only 41.1% today, according to the 538 moving average, a proof of moving average, approve of the job trump is doing as president you can do some fancy math to figure out that people's beliefs about his handling of foreign policy play an important role in making that number happen. that number than then is import for what people vote.
it's not like it doesn't matter but it doesn't matter specific what he says today about syria of what he does about ukraine. i mean, ukraine might be the exception here, but in general it doesn't matter as much as the people on the stage would like it. >> and i think that's absolutely true, while technically speaking the election of 1968 was in my lifetime. you can guess how old i am, therefore. in my memory and even since i've been here at cato, i do think there were two other elections, not presidential elections, but elections where foreign policy played a larger than normal role. the normal role being virtual not at all because the economy. the 2006 election that resulted in a wave of democrats winning both in the house and the senate was clearly a reaction to president trump's -- excuse me, president bush's war in iraq.
there's no question. i also believe there has been some good and credible research into voting patterns in three critical states since the 2016 election, michigan, pennsylvania and wisconsin. michigan, pennsylvania and wisconsin, in the counties in which the was a disproportion number of people who were killed or injured in the wars in iraq and afghanistan. candidate trump appeared to do better than would've otherwise been expected against hillary clinton. so again you have to parse this stuff carefully because trevor is actually correct. most of the time it's the economy, stupid. , stupid. one last thing i will say quickly though is, we were told or it was said, and then using the passive voice delivery there, that no one like donald trump could ever come close to
the presidency because no one could actually make a case explicitly for america for the phrase actually used, not realizing that it been used bravely, or even more recently, come home, america. george mcgovern. we were told that noah could even come close to the white house espousing those views and clearly does use did not present trump from being elected president. -- prevent trump from being elected president. .. i completely agree with everything that trevor said. but i think in the 2016 election it's been an example, we have to ask yourselves, whether the voting public or if they're divining it in a different way.
and where there is a cocktail of security voting in the has immigration culturally anxiety economic anxiety all wrapped up together and that their national security are able to be used to drive voting patterns and i think we started to see this in the 2012 in terms. >> 2014. >> yes sorry. you have these ridiculous campaign ads about ebola was injecting isis fighters and sending them to the wall. >> this audience just locked up properly. you're smarter than the average tv viewer. >> i will also say that many of
the candidates also laughed, i'm not going to go out and push back against the because it's a ridiculous many of them lost so i do think when we say people vote on national security they don't vote on it the way that we think about it. >> this is a huge challenge for the republican party, what does it mean to be a republican during the term era. because trump has utterly changed and when he stood on the stage with 16 other republicans and called it deplorable and got away with it, it does not mean #and i think some people think this was a single threat of domestic and foreign policy actions, i'm going to go over there to protect and work in
jobs which is an economy issue an offender and overseas at the foreign policy issue. immigration i think that's a challenge that might prefer a more standard internationalism but they're having to fight off term. the me give you an interesting example. april 2018, polls showed asking about whether american support withdrawing the troops from syria among democrats that there was a 3% more democrats one and leave them there. and among republicans it was for percentage points and more republicans wanted to keep the victim bring them home. a year later, just last week, democrats are minus 66%, and minus 66% more democrats wanted to keep it.
enough republicans have plus 34%. so trump has utterly changed what it means to be a republican and a certain sense. that's a challenge for the republicans. >> other questions? yes, sir right there in the middle and we have three questions. >> retired military position. you mentioned the economy and i'm an older generation and now it seems to be almost everybody from students to the world, i'm just wondering -- i don't know who the creditors are because even china has had apparently. a lot of the impacts of people and how it may relate to generational changes you may have been talking about. >> have you looked at polling on this, are there big differences generational changes questioning. >> i don't remember looking at
what people's opinions about the level of debt arbor generation. >> let me ask you the question in a different way. the one thing i do know which speaks to what trevor alluded to, because donald trump has demonstrated his interest, again were talking about who's presenting over or raising national debt and republicans stopped worried about it even to the point that the acting chief of staff in a 1b director says publicly no one cares about the debt. that's what mulvaney says. so if that answers your question, no one is caring because there's a bipartisan disinterest which means where does the money come from, the answer is, if our fiscal situation appears on the surface to be leaked, the one thing
going for us as everyone else is worth. that's not a very strong foundation to build long-term economic growth. >> it does mean you cannot afford to risk the department see anymore which some of the questions were saved. >> i don't remember when either party was super concerned about the debt. [laughter] regards to the foreign policy, one of the troubling things is the ability of the united states and willingness to go into the data does act as a fuel for the military activism. if we had the constraint of fiscal conservatism, if we understood that it could go abroad only to the extent that commerce appropriate fun and we should not go deeply into effect under debt to pay for that, that
would be huge constraint from u.s. activism. but we can spend dollars on stupidity over the iraq war because we have the memes to. >> i saw a hand here, right there. the gentleman with the losses. >> i want to say that trump said crazy people that keep seeing privacy is a way to go but you look at all the selections for the advisors and obviously he is not selected anyone -- why might that be in his or even a field of debt for him to select -- >> a very good question. first of all, because of the bipartisan consensus which is a
diversity and has been a firm consensus. the bench from which to draw just like cabinet officials and all the lower-level officials carry out is pretty thin. and on the one hand that should not matter because people that the president select should carry a swarm policy. in the executive branch for failing to provide the president with responsible options. also yes, some have chosen particularly that officials to represent a foreign policy that does not resemble -- i think several reasons for that. first of all, trump does not
read, he relies on cable news and watches hours and hours a day and i cannot imagine the list of things i'd rather do. so if you look good on television and can deliver on television which is a particular skill, not necessarily representative of your skills in other areas. then he seemed to want to have you with him. he knows a lot of this is projected to the public we had television. he also just cousin thought to be deeply about these questions. that was one of the ways in trying to divide and figure out what his view was it's very difficult. it's hard to make concrete something that is closer to a vacuum. so he has not done much work on this. then you pick very thinly, he's a hawk, he's a dove in all him
battle it out in my administration and we'll see where that goes. we also know he said some devilish things with russia and it's an advantage to have a hawk you're picking to keep her republican coalition and it turns out he cares much more about power than anything else which goes back to your personality. >> a lot of the republican foreign policy rendered themselves and eligible for service and trip ministration by one or more of the never trumper letters which seems if you personally has checked against an issue directives responsible for budding candidates. >> ellie abram to your point, all the people --
[inaudible] he argues convincingly that were in the midst of a major shift of power in 25 to 35 years from now china will be the dominant willpower no doubt of the because their economy is growing rapidly and they say it will be 6% which is the lowest rate in 20 years which 2% is very good birthrate. they have the strategy which for some years they've had vast under the money throughout the world which can be the experts in a long-running military passenger to cement their power in the whole of asia and anybody challenging the will this
country apart from the political things. we have a mask of fiscal policy with mainly china and asian countries and not based as you said because everybody else situation is worse because this country has a safe haven in a vibrant private sector to invest and be protected. >> the question about china and the long-term challenge from china. >> what is your response in terms -- >> one way to think about the changing balance of power is to look at what caused the latent power which is basically economic power and how that can be translated to military power. there is no doubt there has been a rebalance -- a relative
decline so in 1945 after the great power in europe and asia has just about destroyed themselves, the united states has 5% of the world population and about 50% of the wealth. these days we still have fortin help% of the population but somewhere around the 13th to the 14% in 2023 it'll be a little less. and so that is one measure and it does say certain things. in the tone of decline is fear that were declining power and has certain characteristics that we should be careful about that. a lot of the number change our story and millions and millions of people of look looking at poverty. with regard to china's policy, i don't see the reason for fear
and consternation that other people do. there are certainly problems in the initiative still has asian infrastructure when the obama administration decided that was not represented in a term from the united states being away from china and opposed it and meanwhile most of the world and the insights and most of our allies embraced it. i think we should probably not be the china thinker and a fuel attempt and we should erase work from china and we should not fear the road to the extent that we can build on it if china is willing and the cooperation is better in the third and final point, i don't think it's valuable to think as america's number one. i don't think that has tangible utilities for what the military and the government protecting
this country and not waiving its flag and i don't care that were less powerful and similar countries, i think we should just take care of security. >> if you worry so much about another country being the leader of national trade, you have to do a little history and say did china get that rich. >> trade is a win-win. as long as we all trade war all alike. >> last question. >> the question of public opinion, i'm wondering how you
think about the strength in the past couple of decades of a reference for the military or ideas of supporting our troops and i think the trouble ministration uc the rhetoric on the one hand and on the other hand military spending and military efforts. but from my perspective the privacy versus restraint the things and be divergent in every segment of the population it seems like it's had a coherent logic. >> let me take that one because we can in this discussion. restrainers like us are often accused, that's all well and good but what are you in favor of. i think one of the contributions we were hoping to make in this
book is to talk about what were for not what were against. what the united states did was engage with the rest of the world peacefully, diplomacy, trade, cultural influence which is a good thing. it is peaceful but also in respect there are reasonable questions about the effectiveness of u.s. military power in many americans feel that, at the same time they hold the military as an institution in higher regard than any other institution in the country by a large margin. so the fact that americans feel this way as an institution and those who serve and still have reasonable doubt about what we are asking these men and women to do on our behalf and willing to consider american power, i think that is a good sign. i share the concern that but over investing attention and time indefinitely at the expense
of other things, that we don't have good stories to tell, heather talked about this. that does not mean they're still not good stories to tell. we should seek them out and tell them again i appreciate the question and i think we can respect the institution of the military and people who serve in it and not presume that that is the only american power that we can use or one might suggest the overuse in the military and putting u.s. soldiers in harm's way for reasons that are the level of something crucially important for your security and safety in the opposite of respect. >> that's an excellent place to end. [applause] please join us for continued discussion on the second floor.
our staff can show you the way and please allow them to get on the auditorium and will answer any questions you have. thank you all very much. [inaudible conversations] tonight number two br nine eastern on "after words" former speaker of the house with his latest book trump versus china. >> i don't think the chinese have any great planning certainly in the next 20 or 25 years. this is part of our one-way and extraordinary international with them. i think there trying to build in space which have global obligations. >> attend eastern new york university journalism professor
talks about her new book diversity inc. i'm not optimistic about white america's ability to see past the fiction of african-america african-americans, the centuries old demeaning images of people and how that has the lack of diversity. >> watch booktv every weekend on c-span2. yesterday was a 30th anniversary of the fallen of the berlin wall. i'm next from her video archives, historian recounts a day in 1989 when the wall fell.