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tv   Samantha Power The Education of an Idealist  CSPAN  November 11, 2019 1:00am-2:01am EST

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will be here long after he's gone and we need a conversation about how to deal with them. i'm honored to be in conversation with samantha power today. [applause] from 2013 to 2017 she served as the u.s. ambassador to the united nations and a member of president obama's cabinet she
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served as the special assistant for human rights and began her career as a journalist reporting from places such as bosnia, kosovo and zimbabwe and was the director for the human rights policy at the kennedy s school. her book a problem from hell was the pulitzer prize in 2003 also the author of the best-selling book the fight to save the world and o the most recent book we wl bebeec discussing today the education of an idealist is was published by harpercollins in september of this year and i've just learned it is shortlisted for the irish book prize. congratulations. [applause]
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and one more time please join me in welcoming samantha power. [applause] there's a reason this is my first trip to austin. we are going to start off the session with a brief reading. i want to set the stage for the conversation and i thought the reading i would do today is one that speaks to the challenges that we are facing figuring out how to engage with people that we disagree with vehemently so this is the scene from a chapter called upside down land and of my relationship with the russian ambassador. i had invested long hours
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forging a relationship with russia's ambassador to the united nations. because russia held one of five vetoes at the security council its vote was critical if we were to get the council to send peacekeepers to the conflict areas imposed sanctions on wrongdoers or condemn the coup. in order for them to have a meaningful impact on then issues of war and peace, the united states and russia have to be willing to make deals. they didn't have the option of remaining at arms length. they had only recently go gotteo know me during our negotiations over the chemical weapons resolution that was dismantling the majority of the stockpile. but i have known them far longer having watched them in action in the 1990s during the war. i had occasionally been in the pack of surrounding him.
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they seem to relish these engagements and eloquently delivering while simultaneously insisting upon his own complete objectivity i remember being struck by the fact his english was so fluid he quoted lines and made english poems but something else impressed me more after the massacre of sarajevo market goers, they have been pivotal in convincing them to move thei awy from the nation's capital. toomey alsto me it also indicata promising independent streak. it became the un ambassador in 2006 and seemed to be a permanent fixture. he had sparred with myy predecessor when she had been
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ambassador to the become friendly. in the last meeting together, she had roared with laughter when he presented her a statement expressing relief that her departure. the markup also sends condolences to the otherec security council, the national security council she would share of the national security advisor. i'd already come to respect the talent. he brought procedural wisdom and textual creativity to the chemical weapons discussions but he listened with careful intensity when he wasn't storming out of the meetings, he was good at bridging gaps. significantly also valued u.s. russian cooperation from his time as an interpreter in the arms control negotiations in the cold war, he had drawn a lesson even when the overall relationship in the u.s. was
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strained, they could carve out this great areas for progress and try to build momentum. i knew he also pushed for compromises that moscow was eddisinclined to make. we always took each other's calls and we would do our best to reconcile positions that would on the face irreconcilable. as i got to know him ily wonderd how he could stand working for putinal and why he hadn't resigd somewhere along the way even though people that crossed and often endedl up jailed or killed i didn't think that he stayed because h she was intimidated. instead, the most memorable charge of the light brigade would often come to mind. there is not to make reply or reason why, but to do and die. he'd been a child actor and soviet films and had come of age during the competition with the u.s.. like many proud russians, he
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embraced the goal of raising russia from its knees even if evthe leaders actions made him uncomfortable, he would go on serving his country. whether diplomats spoke in monotone they had generic talking points. some have been receiving instruction from the capital for so long that they seem to have suspended thinking for themselves but he was different from the greatness as a hockey player two would arise would mean for the world even when discussing issues of which russia has little council supportt he seemed to be like playing the role of underdog and was a masterful storyteller with an often irreverent sense of humor. when i once went on too long speaking before the council, he responded, quote, after hearing all that the representatives of
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the united states told she needed to share with us today, i am tempted to read my statement twice. on another occasion i told him i knew he had mixed motives have sincere and half alternative. we are fully sincere about achieving our old career motives. [laughter]to i.e. invited them to my parents home for thanksgiving making him the only coffee at inter tonight wild family. when they arrived, she immediately sat down on the carpet and began playing with my children while my stepfather taught russian history and literature. to describe wha what you are mot thankful for, he said, quote, peace between the two countries. whatever happens, we must
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preserve that. eni like and respect him but i also spent much of my time at the united nations and pitched public battles w with him. thank you. [applause] thank you for that. i have two thoughts in my head. when somebody says to me 550 page political biography, i don't think funny. this is a funny book. why was it important to you, i'm assuming it was a to vie time tw this with your sense of humor? >> i've never been asked that question before. i was trying to offer a recounting of these stages of my life and career in a manner that
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was as true to life as possible and growing up in an irish family where you can't get a word in add-in or if you don't have something funny or interesting to say recounting as true to life as i could recounting the humor as well as the poignancy and sadness. i really wanted to render when you get into darker topics like the policy issues we are dealing with when i invite obama administrationon but even as you are managing those issues it's like all a few tha of you that g with serious things in yourth le they are still human beings attempting to figure out what to do and when you feel like you are about to tear your hair out it will lighten the mood and
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maybe unlock thoughts or banter or comfort that then createsat a space where other people will put forth ideas they kept himself. the storyro of father being a wr correspondent for an activist working in the government needed to be or do any of those things to see the kind of universal truth in what was happening. i thought as true to life as i could make it that command as much humor as i could remember and that depended a lot on my journals and j my memory so a lt more funny happened in my life then you will see in the books just so you know.
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part of the challenge writing a memoir, this is very new to me. we have a saying i've heard people have trouble using the first person even in therapy and certainly that was my experience as you will read in the book, my challenges with therapy. but as i wrote i was initially pretty buttoned up and the idea of not only describing what happened at the time -- i'm used to being in my former journalistic days make the plot moved and my books don't tend to be that short, but they tend to move i hope and propel people forward and i'm very sensitive to that as i'm editing and writing so always made people compulsively want to turn the
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page. but suddenly i would hand these pages over to my husband were close friends and they would say you have to actually tell us what's going on. it just needs to move but luckily i kept a journal for all these years and it would have been very hard for me retrospectively to project back to what i felt discovering a mass grave in darfur or getting dumped from somebody i really liked or it would have been very hard. i was able in a way to my own subconscious i began to open up
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and do what you need to do in a memoir which is offered as much as you can into the persons who happened to be. so i did that but then i lost my sense of where the line should be drawn. there is a dignity constraint to this so when you ask what's not in the book as it is famously said just because something thag happened doesn't mean everybody else would find it interesting to learn about just becaus it je it's interesting to you doesn't mean it's interesting to somebody else, so subjecting whatever you are including two that criteria.
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an active part of how i describe dynamics in my son's classrooms. you only need one or two anecdotes for that to be evident. you don't need to be in my life entirely. >> to try to entice everybody in the crowd to read the book compulsively. therefore i think that i would like if we could touch on some of the major parts of your life starting with something we breezed by earlier which is growing up in a dublin pub -- >> and i didn't sleep there just to be clear. i am from ireland originally. both my parents are irish. my mother for the whole life growing up she wanted to be a medical doctor but in that age group that generation wasn't
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encouraged or allowed to do science so when it came time to college which she became the first among her sisters and her big irish catholic family to do, she was told not to do medicine because she didn't have a science background so she decided to get the science background in college and in ireland you do medicine as an undergrad degree and you become a doctor earlier so she got her bachelors of science and then a phd in biochemistry, she's a complete trailblazer, my hero, very funny, great athlete. she played field hockey and tennis. remarkable woman but all she wanted to do is be a doctor. not long after i was born in those days especially very late she decided to go back to medical school so because she
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was in medical school and this was in dublin, i spent a lot of those years with my father who was immensely loving, full of opinions and ideas that was an alcoholic and kind of an alcoholic almost as a vocation. he had been a dentist and his practice had kind of fallen apart and he went to one particular pub i write about in the book and i was a sidekick. i would read in the basement and my mother ofmy course was alerto the risks of this but culturally felt different than it would feel to my mother or to me so as she was trying to do her residency and all that is required to become a doctor i was living a close relationship
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with my father and it wasn't the ideal environment for a child. was brought into the united states and what did you expect to find cracks >> the alcohol took its toll on my parents marriage and a mother and father wanted to split up from each other but my mother particularly wasn't a fan of the pub or the drink into a certain point drew the line when it came to me and my younger brother spending so much time there but also she met a man she did want to be with who has been my stepfather now for 40 years. his name is eddie and he's very funny, the funniest character in the book as a whole and a great irish one of those storytellers before they get to the punchline just the way they told the stories tears streaming down their faces.
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she fell in love with him working at the hospital in dublin and that would be fine in most countries at that time at least in most western democracies but ireland you are not allowewerenot allowed to geo the only way to really go further also in the field of medicine she was interested in, kidney transplants but also the only way to separate from my father in the way she wanted to to be with my now stepfather was to move to america because when you come here if you are here long enough you can get a divorce and that was a major factor. subsequent to that of ten years later there was a referendum on divorce in ireland and believe it or not the referendum failed. it was close but not that close and many of my mother's sisters i remember my mother pulling her hair out because several of her sisters voted against divorce if you can believe that even though they were close to her and
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sympathetic with what she had gone through and one of their lines was i had to stay with my, everybody else should have to do the same. [laughter] so there is a bit of that but then ultimately as you know it did pass when given a second chance and now people are able to follow their heart and do also with the times is best for their children but it was a combination of divorce and ambition, professional, medical books when we came i had no idea we were immigrating. my mother even years later it would have been before she realized we are not going back. >> you got a haircut, practiced your american accent, you love sports, you followed the teams religiously. and in particular? >> when the pirates were winning the world series in this
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steelers were winning the super bowl. i had a long ponytail and i memorize and learn everything there was to know about basebalk statistics. my teeth rotted with the pink gum some of you remember from the baseball cards, no regret about that pink gum. but i just threw myself into the american life. >> fast forward a bit, what turned you on to the idea that current events were imported? >> i will share this story i would say even in my 20s i probably would have looked back on this moment as pivotal but
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when i went back to my journals to examine it in depth, i learned at the moment i'm about to describe the time was almost swallowed up in self-doubt for the moment was taking notes on the atlanta braves at the sports affiliate in atlanta georgia where is where i've gone to high school with my mother when she finished her residency that she had to redo them to go to atlanta to practice as a transplant physician with eddie who was in the same field. so we moved and i got a dream i was taking there notes on a baseball game. what could be a better way to spend your summer. and in a video for the band and one of those booths where you have the tv screens all around.
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it was cbs, so from around the world london, moscow, cairo and beijing. the feed from beijing had been depicting peaceful protests by students my age contesting the form of rule that the chinese communist party was exercising and asking for freedom of speech and freedom of association. some of you remember these protests. protests. but i forgowhat i forgot even hy were allowed towh go on without being suppressed. but the day that i happened to be there taking notes on this particular game so took the highlights for the news, the footage of the crackdown in tiananmen square was brought up on the feed. i was there and again in my memory off this island it was absolutely crystal clear i was going to go forth and resolve to do something, try to do
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something bigger and my wife in fact while i remember it like it was five minutes ago my journals were filled with this recounting of what i have seen but very quickly followed by what do i have to offer. i'm not going to be able to do anything about this but i was for the first time in that moment asking the question of what the u.s. government was going to do, what the world in the international community or phrase that i had forsworn long ago because it just ends up being the sum of the countries and their leaders and social movements within it but nonetheless at the time i was asking what is someone going to do, but that the moment it wasn't a great resolve myself because i think that would have been too presumptuous and involved me putting myself in a
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galaxy so far away i was ill equipped to know what was happening in the world never mind there might be a pathway after college to make a difference. all that really happened in a moment after this i went back to campus in my sophomore year and became a more serious student, more interested in history and politics and ioo took classes of the kind they hadn't been taking before. and i ended my subscription tond usa today. the only reason i have even read it my freshman year as i used to clip with my fingers to read section which was the sports section. and i would toss the rest of the paper into the recycling bin which says nothing actually about the quality of usa today at the time. it was just more my single-minded obsession with sports. so i changed my, subscription to the times and then i wish i had some of these papers that i underwent every article and the names of the leaders.
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ii knew geography well because n ireland you have to prepare for the fact that he will have to yo immigrate and know where the other countries where. [laughter] boxlike world leaders wit at the history, i didn't know any of that. we are very motivated to learn more but again it would have been a big leap to imagine that one day there would be a path to do something in thiss world. learnthat was the idea to more but the idea is to see more. one idea throug for the book whr you are a war correspondent or working at the un, the importance of bearing witness and actually see what feeds on the ground with your own eyes or somebody onn the team seeing wht is going on. why is that of crucial importance not just of policymaking, that being part of
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humanity? >> i should say that in my early 20s, my first and barking on training to do something we became a freelance journalist which i tell them the book which involved doing unethical things and basically forging a credential of the letter to the un press pass to do the right thing so you can see the hypocrisy an of how single-mindd again i was becoming in this goal of learning more and by then i was already trying to learn about what was happening but i desperately wanted to get over there. my only path was as a freelance journalist. so we mentione i mentioned it it
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of your question because i think in the early 20s to have that experience of witnessing what was unfolding in a major ethnic conflict being perpetrated against people on the basis of their ethnicityai and religion once you've had the experience of seeing it with yourin own eys you become i don't want to say skeptical of secondhand reporting. i still devour every page of "the new york times" that they would have well before i went to the field. but i'm no longer underlining in quite the same way but i do keep notes on my phone i will have you know. but i think there's just a standard to understand human consequences and to do so not by telephone but when you can to hear those experiences result. hereat i was years later after e are talking about working for
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the obama administration as the president's human rights advisor, there i was at the white house advising this remarkable person who really wanted to integrate human rights at a higher level than human rights has tended to be integrated in foreignic policymaking and god knows we were not perfect and nor was the closest perfect as i pick it in about in the book that he wanted the prospective cost of their im ready to offer the perspective but i can't get permission. nobody at the white house wanted me permission to travel. so i start coming completely out of my mind. i'm like i will pay. sorry ma'am, you cannot pay if you are traveling on behalf of the united states of america by the united states government has to support that trip. i'm like that i can't, what am i going to do. how am i going to understand how exactly this situation is playingisis out or what kind of peacekeeping unit is needed and what to do about the recruitment of child soldiers if i'm just
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reading accounts but don't ask the questions i would pose so i start gettingab permission. when i was the un ambassador it wasor easier because at least within the mission i was my own boss and i had more flexibility on where i was going to travel so when the epidemic hit i could bring that spirit and say let's go and see how our health workers and soldiers and countries all over the world are chipping in to deal with this. and to the american public that is freaking out about the risk and isn't aware of the terrorism being exercised by the soldiers on the frontline.
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i gave a commencement address where i get the kind of mantra in the remarks and gave examples of using the spirit to try to enhance my diplomacy. someone came up to me afterwards and said are you aware that brian stephenson's motto as well. how many of you have read just mercy. the book is so important, so special. here he is a person on the frontline of defending people on death row sometimes for crimes they haven't committed almost always because of symptoms is situated people of means are people who committed the same crimes but with means and his spirit is without obstruction until he got to know the people
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that became his clients and so forth, so i think is an animated principled it's one of the lessons i learned over the course of education as an idealist. a >> array of 550 more questions for you, one for every page. we have time for maybe one more. the idea that i would like us to focus on the same way in the question and answer period went from outsider to insider. who can serve the country in this way, who would you like to see serving the country in this way? >> this is going to become i hope and not theoretical question because as you know, our diplomatic corps and scientific core you might call it, people that work at agencies like the environmental protection agency and others as welcome at thes these agencies,e actors on behalf of the united states and on behalf of our interests and people come of these entities have been decimated by the last nearly
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three years of residence trump school and with the state department they haven't helped as foreign service officers and others are being ridiculed and challenged on the basis of testimony that they are taking under oath. i saw where so many of us were surprised that the outcom by thi worried some of the people on my staff, the most talented staff and i did anything basically the people that made me look better than i was i was worried one of them for the example might be central to negotiating the terms of the deal and another of my store staff had been instrumental getting the agreement on the climate becoming international law and the shortest time that any major
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environmental treaty to finally submit a withdrawal papers to the united nations have my staff to which required 55% of the countries accounting for more than 55% of the emissions around the world to ratify which tends to be a pretty long process that had we not done that, this withdrawal that is about to come next week would have caused the paris agreement to unravel so i have these individuals to work on that and the voting lgbtq writes working 24/7 around-the-clock to get benefits extended to the employees who were same-sex couples etc.. so i'm thinking the morning after, these people who have done all this work and their values and beliefs about how the
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interests cut, i'm going to have to get them to stay cycle for townhall and they basically looked at me like i was a martian and said what you mean of course we are going to say. he doesn't have a lot of expertise around him and foreign-policy. dof course we believe in those things that wee understand that when it happens we serve the constitution and the american people. we are going to get in the room and make the case why we think those things are in our interest in the same way thate we made te case against things you wanted to do and they stayed and they stayed throughout these could be difficult and d dark times. one by one, they've gone and left. there will be so many vacancies had so many opportunities to serve. one of the things we are going to have to do is convince congress, which i hope it's not a divideis not adivided congresy reasons but also for this reason
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to change the rules and allow people from the private sector, people who've been teachers or served in the peace corps and haveve gone to other careers but still have so much to offer in the halls of the u.s. government but to o open our doors with careful vetting of force and look for an alignment of skills and needs that we have the chance to build the kind of core we should have been building anyway but as with all of our institutions, it's very hard to turn the kind of aircraft carrier asar rapidly as one nees but we need a diplomatic corps for the purposes and i think that my own story of finding it very challenging in the first instance to go from being an outsider to insider, but also likely older than our transitions come at a certain point figuring out who to trust, who to learn from them how to not make the same mistake twice if you can help it, how to find
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sources of expertise that you and your soft black and invite dissent that may not always be welcome but that is so critical to making the best kind of decisions.th i think that kind of experience that i've had is one that is scalable. people who come from different backgrounds can enhance the diversity of perspectives and bring perspectives from the real world that sometimes gets lost in these sort of insulated bureaucracies that we are going to need it. [applause] thank you so much for your generosity with us here today. if we could stand that generosity to the q-and-a portion of the program on if anyone from the audience is a question for samanta, please go to the microphone. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible] thank you for your question. next. 2003 on the chris matthews show nbc hardball, nine days before mthe iraq war, you said, quote, thamerican intervention would likely improve the life of the iraqis. their lives could not get worse. i think it is quite safe to say after that, working for obama, you supported the intervention. you are a hardliner and do not believe in power-sharing with al-assad. you pointed out that your mother had to leave america to divorce her alcoholic husband. are you ever going to divorce the warmongering neocons? q-quebec thank you. i opposed the war in iraq thank you for reading a partial quote which is becoming a very common
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practice. second of all it sounds like you are proposing power-sharing with somebody who gassed his people. that doesn't seem like a very good idea to me. he's responsible for the deaths of 500,000 people. [applause] thank you so much. [inaudible] next question please. one question per person please. great admirer of yours. my, question is now that we are withdrawing from northeast syria and kind of abandoning the kurdish, can you reflect on your experiences with american power enand moving forward with the nt president and what they can do with power in the region to make it more stable. >> thank you, sir.
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i guess what i would say is that a lot is made and i go in great length in the buck to the question of the redline moment for president obama and people to find that moment differently. some people say he should have never issued the threat to say if you use chemical weapons that will be a redline. others believe that he should have never come out and said he was going to use force right after the gassing of the 1400 civilians. i get into that and try to bring people into the situation room of how challenging it was for all of us but particularly for him given that we had almost no domestic support for using military force in part because people are worse and so disillusioned by what had gone twrong in the logic to the lead up to and the execution of the invasion of iraq and in part
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because of the war in afghanistan at the time he gassed his people and had already been gone on 12 years gs and of course we are not yetrs 8 years, so you know, all of that is in the book, but i actually think that when i look back, i wish ... i induct diplomacy secretary terry attempted in 2014, 15 and 16 that we had gone for broke with that level of diplomacy in 2011 and 2012 before the war had factionalized and before the foreign terrorist fighters came before he was using chemical weapons routinely against his people and it's so obvious you think why wouldn't that have happened. a major challenges that we had no diplomatic dealings of their van in a very low-key way on the nuclear file. but we have no diplomatic dealings with iran, and it was a major stakeholder to do that kind of diplomacy it became
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possible after we had sort of broken the seal and broke with decades of history and established not diplomatic relations but ties enough where he could do what he did and it didn't work because things were too far gone. so, that is one thing. second, you know we -- i haven't commented just on the grotesqueness honestly of the betrayal of kurds who the president referred last week to the bloodstained sand of northern syria in a wave just sort of dismissing, and it is bloodstained sand because those fighters to 11,000 casualties to be ground force for the united states of our t soldier to the earlier question about the u.s. over reliance on military force and border, the new way of trying to deal with threats without having to puto u.s.
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forces in harms way in a combat role has been to find ground partners and so the way of drawing down and trying to get out of the war when the threats are real because isis was a profound threat to the american people was to develop these kind of partnerships and when you develop them you have to keep your word. i do think alongside of the partnership with the syrian kurds that it would have been important at one point the obama administration had a train and equip program with the kind of opposition fighters you can agree or disagree about whether that could have ever worked, but the one way that it was never going to work was we in effect required people who were part of that program to agree to only fight isis and have nothing to do with the war and the reason
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that would have been very difficult for them as most of them had loved ones killed or their homes burned and destroyed by barrel bombs and whatever else by the regime and so that led to having only one ground partner. but given this administration even if we had a more diverse segment of the syrian population fighting isis, i don't think i would have stopped president nkump from betraying them as well. the question.or we have time for one long one or two short ones. maybe there isti a lady waitingn the back and then sir, if we have time you will be last. >> thank you for such an ersightful and first-person book. i really enjoyed it and i saw your powerpoint a few weeks ago with the screen of all of the problems in the world and a little power and i was wondering how if you could share in the face of all of that he felt
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compared to have biological children. >> so compelled to s what? >> bear children. [laughter] wow. first some context for those of you who -- one of the sort of themes but i'm trying to address in the book and that i feel maybe i'm just projecting what goes on with me, but what you are talking about has a picture of the president's and migrants in the mediterranean on a boat. it has newspapers and a photograph of like a cemetery, rest in peace newspapers and a thermometer showing climate change basically i'm showing off the problems in the world and been in this little slide that i've concocted, i have me in the corner saying but what can one
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person do. like i said maybe i'm projecting but i think that is how a lot of people feel right now it's just it's overwhelming and so in the book the spirit o spirit of theg is encapsulated in a phrase that i borrowed from a couple gentlemen but for the buck, switch which is all about making social change when it's hard to phrase is to shrink the change so in lieu of thinking how am i going to solve the refugee crisis and the displacement of 70 million people around the world, is there a refugee who's just arrived in austin or boston who is landing in the least hospitable environment probably since you know, arguably even since world war ii when people were trying to ensure that they were able to find refugee areas. can one get such an individualnd or family a ride to a school or
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to a job interview or bring them women's or tutor because many of them are coming and not speaking english and so it's just about how do you take the big thing for exhibits on the powerpoint and turn it intopo something s small. i guessk i have another line in the book that i borrowed from someone else and not only borrowing it, a promise if such a good one it was from the partner of inventing economics and science in the field for which they won the nobel prize. he was asked once why he was an optimist and biscuits to i suppose why one feels notwithstanding all those problems one can go forward. his answer was wide with id a pessimist. uf you are a pessimist who suffer twice. [laughter] [applause] on one level it is like as dark
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as you can save it fo say that i guess i'm just not giving up. i don't think we have reason to give up. whether it's seeing what young people are doing on climate science and bringing it into the heart of politics for the first time i was just in idaho by the way. the governor of idaho, republican, you know, he came out in public not that long ago and was totally un- shy about talking about the catastrophic effects of climate change on workers lives w in idaho. whether that's farmers or the ski industry or whatever it is. i am old enough to a member when we used to have winters in idaho. and so, things that feel like they are trending inexorably in one direction i guess to me never feel, when they are going well i'm always waiting for something to happen and something to change, but also in moments like this, you can see all of the occupation that has
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been incited by the highest office in the land, by the corruption, by the abandonment of our allies and of human rights and the neglect of science. people are moved by this and i was in collin countyy last night at the democratic dinner and i can tell you even places like collin county that haven't beent able to score the big win, they are a hair away and as the head of the democrat said to me it's not about persuasion is just about to turn out in terms of where we need to go into with it is just about turnout, that's on us and so i want my kids to be part of the turnout effort. [applause] thank you. [applause] thank you for your patience. please ask your question.
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gnam always impressed with people in the service it seems like we have some really qualified people. and i wonder from the inside if you can give us just a sense a f how the institutional knowledge kind of evaporates in some of our foreign policy positions. i think about arming the mujahedin. i think about overturning the democratic elections. we can go back to the banana republic politics. this institution i think is there but it doesn't ever seem to veer off when we need that incite. can you speak to that? >> it's a great question. i have a fewa associations. there is an applied history initiative being run out of the harvard kennedy school i think out of stanford. a number of historians are involved, but just about asking your question which is how can history and all of the knowledge that exists in the books and
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minelines around the country ber get injected into the government decision-making and that was true i should say well before president trump and the larger. your point was valid and that obama years well before in the sense that those perspectives are just no more than the perspectives of the human consequences of decision-making and you are fighting a fair amount of gravity to bring those intot the room where the decisions were made even if you don't have again a president rulike trump so your point is an evergreen plant and there is ann initiative aimed at resolving that which can change things like fellowship also for people who actually are more steeped in the history to be part of government decision-making and vice versa government decision-makers giving time to leave to go and really steep themselves in history etc. so that is one thing you might want to look into. second one though, people in government are really smart and
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very knowledgeable of history and many of them are extremely bulky and have that kind of insight to bring to bear, but you do in any institution have to have somebody at the head ofe the table who's interested in hearing it. and you know, sometimes there is a carol, there's a peril in historical analogy in other words like i'm a history major and great believer in history and its utility, but the old mark twain expression about the cat that sits on the hot stove did you know, when he sits on a hot stove and gets burned she isn't going to do it again but he's also not going to sit on anyndot stove again. so, figuring out how to learn from history but not the work of colombia talks of th at the perf analogy where vietnam became all about munich.
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you know, iraq became all about how easy it has been in bosnia and in these totally not analogous geopolitical circumstances and so you just have to be a little bit careful also about the misappropriation of analogy. i think what one learns from history is its almost like a set of characteristics of the kind of questions you need to drill into that are very tedious and time and culture specific. and seeing how mistakes are made in the past i think that is a set of questions that you can bring to the next crisis to the next set of circumstances. but above all, you've got to want to w have a cacophony of voices who come from different walkss of life and bring different forms of expertise in isyour decision-making process d that is what we have to get back to.
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[applause] you are watching the tv on c-span to the top nonfiction books and offers a free weekend. booktv, collection for serious readers.
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>> the book is called the moscow rules. it's the last of four books that we have written. i don't want the title to be misleading. we didn't write the rules. we didn't invent the rules. all we did is put them down on paper. the moscow rules were understood by most of our case officers who were headed out to moscow to be the rules of the road, how you managed herself on the street. they were themselves a form of trade craft. if you followed the rules, you would probably emerge from your assignment from the belly of the beast, unscathed. if you broke the rules, all kinds of interesting things could happen to you. the book opens first three pages of the book with the scene outside of the american embassy in moscow.
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june 6, 2016. in the middle of our last presidential election when things were supposed to be fairly settled, the world was not at war yet one of our american diplomats is on these youtube video and you can see him getting out of a taxi in front of our embassy heading for the main entrance and a shadow comes out. just to the right of the screen they attacked this diplomat and just takes him down and starts beating him to a bloody pulp. this is june 6, 2016. he got on top of our officer and was just going away at him. our officer clearly had taken some form of fear to be cut physical security because he's sliding on his back while this guy is beating him up is sliding
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towards the electronic doors and you see his hand, he triggers the thing and opens it and they slide through those doors. he continues to be him and beat him and broke his classical. our officer as evacuated out of moscow the next day and never went back. this is when the cold war is supposed to be over, when relations with moscow are supposed to be normal. it was an interesting access of current events that we saw in the front of the book just to remind you of what reality really is when you are on the street out there it's never a kind place to work. moscow has always been hostile and aggressive. if you are an american diplomat, you'll be hostile beyond belief.
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and in the middle of the print but about 2012 to 2014 when he served up there with he underwent as the ambassador, the american ambassador to the country was amazing. and his wife and his kids. so, this has been going on forever and it continues to go on. and there was a wonderful way to start our story.
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>> in the age of cyber capabilities in an age of space, you can become a global power without rebuilding the american military. and in fact one of our weaknesses may be that we are so wedded to the end of the 20th century military system that we don't realize how many changes are underway. and so, i would start there. i don't think the chinese have any great planning certainly in the next 20 to 25 years to try to take us on militarily in a convention in the traditional sense, but i do think that they are trying to build the kind of cyber capabilities that is part of where they are a national asset and i think that they are trying to build the capability of space, both of which have global implications.
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>> saturdays at 10 p.m. and sundays at 9 p.m. eastern and pacific on book tv on c-span2. all previous are available as podcasts and to watch online at booktv.org. officer of history at san francisco state university. he is a fulbright scholar and was elected to the society of historians in 2018. his book the populist vision published in 2007 about the populist revolt of the 1890s when the frederick jackson turner award from the organization of american historians and the bancroft prize. his new book called the end american dilemma, 1866 to 1896 is about the powerful struggles for the qualities unleashed by the civil war. speed when

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