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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 3, 2013 1:15am-2:01am EDT

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at each stage of the progress from the colonial status to the position of unparalleled pre-eminence in the history of the nation state in the whole world in a period of less than 200 years. of course, there is a very extensive and a scholarly and rigorous literature on the history of the united states this makes no pretense as a complete history but i am not aware of and henry kissinger confirms this of any previous attempt to put in a sequence that's particularly important decisions of key american statesman i think it is surmise they grew angry became more and more important because of the
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english language and its democratic tradition and the ability to populate half of the very rich continent and it grew like something planted in your garden and there is that aspect but that also could be said about other countries that were less successful such as brazil or argentina. the difference is the statesman who designed the institutions of government to direct to the country in the most critical phases of development. >> host: with the founding fathers who is one of your heroes? >> guest: i don't think i and innovative but the principal figures were franklin and washington and
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they are legendary they don't need me to baum but this team that they are universal but washington was a brilliant leader and he kept that are vetoing virtually unpaid with continuous calls for new recruits over seven years. he had to move inland to make it more difficult for the british to get at him or the british to see him not only occasionally in the early phases of the war with the attack to princeton and beyond and at the end at yorktown did he come out and
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stage a successful action that really turned defense although he came very close on other occasions such as brandywine and germantown but he was a guerrilla war leader also to maintain said dignity that was a highly regarded officer and in the case of benjamin franklin he was assigned to stand printer and a whit of personality but surely one of the greatest diplomats in the history of the world with his achievement in assisting or persuading the british to be picked the french from canada that made the revolution possible then all the less than 20 years later recruiting the french where bill parliament had met for 170 years to come
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into a war in favor of secessionism and democracy was an astounding achievement it would have been very difficult americans would have won eventually but not the of the independence of all 13 colonies did it would have taken longer. authority on was a french battle. >> host: conrad black early in the 700 page book "flight of the egle" you talk about the seven years' war and you also detail george washington's failures as a military leader. correct? >> he made few mistakes but we don't know what he would be like like later american figures of sherman or eisenhower but with what he had he did very well this
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certainly was not infallible he was not napoleon not making a mistake as a military commander. because it was the central to remove france from canada as it became to have the opportunity to achieve its independence and us a few people led by franklin had the possibility for america to become a great country. for me to put it in different words, the american achievement of the people of two 1/2 million for them in the fact to get the british to evict the french from their borders then to help the victims of
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british to manipulate those was an astonishing achievement and it would not have been possible without the results of the french and indian wars. it was just defending and what part you would talk about. >> host: conrad black has divided his book. >> guest: i'm sorry it was the first world war. >> host: conrad black divided his book "flight of the egle" into four sections and the first one is called the aspirants state 1754 through 1836 what is happening during this period conrad black and what is the united states aspiring to?
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>> guest: in the early part of the period they aspired to just to be bid up the french but the leading columnist solve the potential for america for the most part as working in tandem in partnership with the british but franklin as early as 1740 predicted america would have a greater population in the british isles within 100 years and he was almost exactly right that did occur in the early 1840's with president and karen. until relations broke down the hopes among the people including washington and jefferson and the hot heads it would be worked out instead of being subordinate
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the two jurisdictions are coequal but then relations broke down but that was the aspiration once independence was achieved if that was another matter the original articles of confederation and unsuccessful at the same time a committee led by jet thomas jefferson was instructed by the continental congress to prepare a declaration of independence and franklin was instructed to try to round up allies in europe for the revolutionary war that would begin. also a call for a confederation between the colonies but no such thing happened but washington and franklin convened the
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constitutional convention with a boundary dispute that was a call for delegates all over france to devise a system to govern themselves in a federal way it was a remarkable success they've produced a constitution that in my opinion has certainly served the country immensely successfully and is justly a mired everywhere in the world especially for james madison. >> host: why do you say it isn't working well now? >> guest: i don't think u.s. government is functioning well i don't think most americans think that -- to think most americans think that there is a terrible faction between the parties the deficit is too large and
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legislation is effective but i think there is a general concern i think it is quite reversible but at this moment they would do themselves c&s if they did not reflect the education system in the health care system is good for 70 percent of the people leaves the rest relatively underserved and the justice system i have problems with it myself but that prosecutors when 99 and a half percent and 97 percent are trials in the u.s. has six or 12 times incarcerated people as other to advanced democracies such as australia or germany or japan, that tells us something that 48 million americans with criminal
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records just by driving under the influence or a minor problems but you still have 15 percent of american adults as felons. that cannot be right and something should be done. it passed to deal with these problems. >> host: let's go back to the history of the united states. your first section stops in the year 1836 what was going on in the country and the world? >> general jackson was leading as president after the constitution was promulgated in the great offices were filled with john jay and john marshall they were all quite distinguished and other
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people henry clay and so forth they were very substantial but there was the beginnings of the nullification movement and the theory there was friction between the states and the theory that it could simply declare the federal laws were not applicable within the state that is the position of south carolina in the chief carolinian at the time kowloon who was the vice president under john quincy adams under the first term and jackson declared the formula where slavery would be tolerated with the missouri compromise line is even encouraged and
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protected but secession or any reduction of the federal government opposite any state would not be tolerated. he carried that proposition. that effectively, no evidence this was his thinking at the time but he effectively enable the free state to become strong enough demographically 25 years later of the narrowest margin in this late -- table to abolish slavery. that would not have happened just two new seceded jackson's time successfully. it would not have been possible to suppress.
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>> host: predestined people this exit -- the second section of your book what do you try to relate? >> a tremendous period of growth it was the terrible crisis of the civil war for the reasons i just mentioned the north could prevail and to it was a great struggle to overcome but then the country just grew. the population almost tripled to a little over 90 million in the 50 years after the civil war. at the end the united states was next to or along with the british west german empires formed in
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1871, those three were the greatest powers in the world. this was only one lifetime after yorktown their rich those who were small children with united states of america achieved its independence then it in the following years after world war i united states was the most powerful country in the world and that process accentuated itself considerably. that period ends 1933 that was another terrible crisis it was a world depression and there were extreme threats to democracy in other powerful countries in the world and frankly roosevelt was inaugurated at a time psychologically and his task and mandate to
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revive that but he also deployed there reviving strength of america to preserve democracy in the world berry successfully. >> host: the next section of "flight of the eagle" 1933 through 1957. conrad black, why did this and 1957? >> guest: to be honest i wanted each section to be approximately equal in pages and chapters. it could have gone to the end of the cold war but i thought it appropriate to take the most desperate periods of the of americans the united states despite the tremendous heroism in the period between the of
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fall of 1940 and the soviet union in the war in 1941 in the brilliant leadership of churchill the british and canadians could not have stayed in the war and it all worked out cheaply under their billion and strategic direction under general marshall and others but the russians took 90 percent of those casualties to subdue germany but the anglo-american power is the democratic powers were the big winners in 1940 they were all dictatorships in the hands of the leaders hawse style to the west or democracy. but four years later or five years later all were
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occupied or almost entirely occupied by the british americans in particular and all were brought with those democratic allies. the russians took over the casualties was 20 million war dead was shocking. all they got for their trouble was a temporary occupation that they pledged from eastern europe and ultimately they began the ritual from which they were evicted. >> host: is that a planned strategy of the western allies? >> you cannot say roosevelt planned all of it but he planned in stages in the
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balance of that section through the mid-50s the strategic team he assembled was still in charge but of course, he died in 1945 by president truman in general marshall secretary of state and secretary of defense general eisenhower the first commander of nato t. acheson and charles bohlen and others these are people that roosevelt promoted in they continue to direct the country in strategic terms through the '50s there were mistakes of course. everyone makes mistakes but in general it was absolutely brilliant direction almost complete these successful and ultimately that great rivalry -- rivalry ended with the soviet union disintegrated with the u.s.s.r. and united states
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never exchange. >> guest: shot between the >> host: the last section supreme nation 1957 through present. a couple of issues with our recent history, number one the effect of the vietnam war. >> guest: obviously i think the fact was terribly serious and with us still. the paralyzing fear i have not tried to make the case so i dunno if it is true but i respect it that it is that casual at times but i afraid the manner in which the war
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was conducted the manner in which the end of the war came left a damaging impact on the country. the democrats enter the war. there was an american presence before that the americans came with 550,000 members of the armed forces almost all of them scripted. he largely won the war and this was demonstrated but instead of coming to the conclusion he was demoralized and would the escalate the war.
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president nixon managed a non-communist vietnam's withdrawing retirement -- forces entirely and in the great north vietnamese offensive between mr. nixon's visit to china in the soviet union they actually defeated the number vietnamese and viet cong on the ground they had no american ground support. nixon submitted to the senate for ratification with the constitutional rights to sign it by his authority to make such agreements but he wanted the senate in the hands of the other party to agree to the implications if added is as expected the north violated the terms the democrats would join the
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republicans to approve the use of air power against north vietnam that brought them all along with the training of the south vietnamese. the fact the vietnamese violation came at the time of the watergate affair when the authority was the proper reading every day contributed to the representatives cutting off all aid so it had no chance of survival. the fact is we won the cold war and so it doesn't matter but in that sense it doesn't matter but there were a great many people who died in the killing fields of cambodia in the treaty that
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they negotiated and had been upheld by the united states. >> host: for the last 50 years what you write about in flights of the eagle we have been talking about arms control talks with the russians. have they been important or effective? >> is essentially, not particularly but necessary for domestic political purposes. this is a complicated history as well when president eisenhower entered office 1953 reduced the size of the standing forces but accentuates the nuclear superiority of the defense capability it was a crude formulation but that was the essence. he had the famous exchange
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when khrushchev visited at the end of the '50s and said we'd have a much more conventional force in germany and we can overwhelm you there and eisenhower said you attack us in germany there is nothing conventional about tax law dash our response secretary mcnamara allowed them to become an equal in capability with united states they would negotiate it we could stabilize the cold war. because they believed in the concept so when mr. nixon
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was elected a did a job to call a nuclear sufficiency to reduce the defense budget but produced these targeted warheads so the larger rockets could have as many as 10 warheads. in purported the reduced the defense budget with the anti-missile defense system with technological leadership but also to sign the greatest agreement in the world. it was good for domestic opinion for the the political climate but his own view was the russians always she did they could
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not win a technological contest anyway so we should not be bothered but personally i am skeptical of the temps to continue these reductions in the arsenal at the same time that we in the west are apparently tolerating a proliferation of nuclear weapons that are less responsible than any. i think it is very worrisome >> host: over the last two to 37 years has america plant to become a great country? has it been impetuous? >> guest: the little bit of all of that the early americans were unanimous with the immense power in the world
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washington, jefferson, frank lin said it all in different ways hamilton saw it with outstanding clarity that proportion in direction of the american economy. and put in place the early institutions to facilitate that. and at the stages since then sometimes it was possible simply to sit back to let items take their course as was between rule for one it attracted up to 1 million immigrants per year and there we're astounding growth rates in the 18 eighties it was approximately 80% growth rate per year and already from the start the largest economy in the world to not like china having tremendous growth rates the world's greatest economy in that
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decade began and it still grew. but with the pioneering advances in those periods it would be itself but to get it through to the point where they would demolish slavery is put to the test to insure the integrity of the country to deal and focus that depression not on mythical categories that roosevelt conjured for his own purposes but it was nonsense.
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but if he had once said they would it do is is the mob would burn their houses down. event the containment strategy is devised very imaginatively and it worked. and it worked completely. for those who'd died in korea or vietnam but a total war between the great balance. it was a combination of everything sometimes it just happened and a genius was needed and sometimes they were impetuous but in general tremendously successful. >> host: toward the end of "flight of the eagle" u.s. is the incomparably most
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successful country that has ever been but now slovenly and complacent with its leadership had failed it it is not lazy or driven by a death wish. but the u.s. seems to have lost its greatness with the absence of any rivals to it. >> guest: i did not mean all those adjectives but there are those aspects. if i was after all embellishing a basic statement the most successful country in the history of the world. after the contemporary times the united states is responsible the rest of us must never forget what we will be grateful for the free market system and also
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to be close allies but the united states lead us there but it is not a well functioning democracy. the and what we see without the international challenge of the pre-eminence of our of its existence those that are dangerous they are not the threat to the existence of the totalitarian ideology like germany or russia was. but the absence of such a challenge has left the country under motivated it has taken a long time to recognize this is a challenge but it is internal
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it is the version of american society and it will be dealt with with the same efficacy and courage and determination that has met every crisis every severe challenge but it should get on with it. >>. >> host: said the you mentioned earlier tea nine talking about american society a rogue profit plutocracy terrorizes the nation where 99.5 cases 97% without a trial so stacked is the deck to guarantee the individual liberty with 48 million americans have a criminal record and there is minimal general recognition of the evils of the system. at that point you have a footnote that says 2005 you
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were charged 70 counts of financial and related crimes you spent three years and two weeks in prison in florida. what is your status when it comes to the u.s. and the judicial system? >> guest: all 17 counts were abandoned, rejected or unanimously vacated by the supreme court of the united states but in a very perverse manner that would not occur in any other sophisticated country. the supreme court having vacated the accounts and excoriated the other lower courts like madam justice ginsburg said the invented law remanded back to a lower court looking at its own errors and itself interested retrieved two counts so that
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is what i stand convicted of my sentence was reduced i serve presented to the left the country but i describe all that i felt disclosure required me to put that in there some people did not think i was hiding get. i was persecuting came through as best i could. it took a decade out of my life but it gave me a vantage point to be quite qualified to say what they did say and i know that my american friends are absolutely appalled. appalled at this stage of american justice especially american justice but when you have 5% of the world's population 25 percent of incarcerated and 50% of employers -- lawyers i am not talking those of india not talking those of india who stroll in to announce
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that he is a lawyer but a professional qualification and it takes approximately 10% of gdp. that is not with the authors had in mind by a society of laws and what i said about the bill of rights is true that grand jury is to be the insurance against prosecution but this and the sixth and eighth amendment guarantees to process and reasonable bail for i was posting a $38 million i did not get justice after years seen it years i did not even get access to counsel of choice because it in the process frequently used a
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completely false affidavit was up plied to freeze the sale of an asset of the apartment in new york fed i had earmarked to pay the council of my choice of $10 million bases that on the basis that count was thrown out -- turnout there was no basis whatsoever but meanwhile i do not have counsel for i had it unfortunately i had assets and other countries with high gate used to take them but not the council that i wanted and this is not what the constitution says and what the people think is going on and where are the media? instead of lifting a rock, they are starting to people like nancy grace declaring people to be guilty before they are charged. kim and the media lynching so suscts it is not a
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society of laws that is not the true spirit of america. i have left the country and i am officially not welcome there it i have no great desire to go back although you can see i do have considerable affection and respect but it is not my problem but those of those under their and 40 million people to officially have a criminal record even allowing for the fact millions of those car a dui, and nothing stigmatizing to have any impact on the ability to get a job as the former president had a deal like conviction. is still means approximately 15 percent of the adult population in the u.s. more
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than one-fifth of the male adult population our balance. this is nonsense and simply not the case. as former senator weber from virginia said there are six or 12 times as many people that are incarcerated in comparable countries either they don't take care of their crime which is not true or americans are more criminals by nature which is rubbish or the system isn't working. being go. you will fix it but what you have to go through? i thought when this cooter libby happen and also the and just -- unjust conviction of senator stevens with the legislature attacked like that something would come about but it hasn't. >> host: conrad black has written biographies of fdr and richard nixon, a matter
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of principle was the book about his time in prison prison, mr. black did you write that book in prison? >> guest: yes. it connects to a previous autobiographical book that i wrote but it covers approximately 20 years and three were in prison but it does cover that period and ends when i return to home in canada that i had not seen in five years because of the authorities in your country. >> host: he writes for the us "chicago sun-times", the national posting canada canada, finally mr. black in "flight of the eagle" you dedicate to a boil american friends in particular. tina brown, an aunt ann
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coulter, henry and nancy kissinger, peggy noonan, , etc., etc.. why were you specific about using the word allele in that dedication? >> in this sort of crisis that i went through with the onslaught against me, people went out of their way to be supportive and some a few defected in became antagonistic so i wanted to show those recognition to those that were conspicuously supportive because the way the system works not just the in the united states come in with that degree of official attention is focused on a person there is the intent of those targeting him to
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ostracize and isolate him so all of those seven is writing about the united states i thought i would focus on americans but those that resisted that temptation and many of those came to visit me when i was aghast of the american people including henry kissinger i thought it was the least i could do and i was proud to do. i have many american friends and i am grateful to all of them. >> host: what is your next project? >> guest: the history of canada for any viewers that interested in canada while there is lots of good biographical work for studies of individual period there are aspects of the country's history the history of the whole country in my opinion has not been assembled. a lot of the work is
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rigorous in scholastic terms but it is hard and it tends to be simply narrative without a lot of analysis or the attention to the personalities that make history interesting which i always try to bring out. >> host:. >> guest: in the history of united states there is no shortage of people. >> host: "flight of the eagle" introductory note by henry kissinger. by off 39 it is in bookstores now. thank you for your time from toronto. >> guest: thank you peter for having me.
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>> when you write a book there is a lot that can go wrong. i am somewhat neurotic of my reporting a lot can go wrong with 110,000 words. i have been shocked if there has been criticism from inside mostly of how dare he meeting how dare and insiders give away the secret handshake? how dare the insider talk about other insiders in the way that perhaps might not be in keeping with the coats of washington and people ask me why are people uncomfortable? i think this is what we do.
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