tv Book Discussion on The Negotiator CSPAN May 17, 2015 7:45pm-9:03pm EDT
is tendency to fellow. johnson is dead. there is nobody no man to be compared to johnson. so from johnson we learned how to turn suffering into self-understanding in the importance of radical curiosity and intellectual effort can lead to moral goodness. >> combo tv former senator george mitchell democrat for main talks his life political career and to send service as a diplomat investigator and chairman of the walt disney company. he spoke at politics and prose bookstore in washington d.c.. [inaudible conversations]
>> there are he has. hello senator. >> good evening. i'm bradley graham the co-owner of politics and prose along with my wife lissa muscatine and on behalf of the entire staff welcome. a few very quick administrative announcements. now would be a good time to turn off cell phones or anything else that might go beep. when we get to the q&a part of the session as you can see we have c-span tv with us this evening so if you have a question to be heard it would be great if you could make your way to the microphone right there. at the end before you come up to get your book signed our staff would be very grateful if you could fold up the chairs and leaned them against something that won't fall over.
so by way of introducing this evening's guest let me just say there is a lot of talk these days about the american dream not being what it once was and there may be some truth in that for younger generations. george mitchell's life is certainly one example of someone in america that could rise from small-town origins and modest means and become a person of considerable accomplishment and influence. a lawyer for maine, senator mitchell arrived in the u.s. senate in 1980 and nine years later took over as majority leader a post he held for six years. in that time he was among the most respected members in the senate. actually there was a bipartisan group of senior congressional aides who repeatedly voted him the most respected member.
the story of george mitchell's career as an elected politician only gets you a little more than halfway through this new book, the negotiator. that is because he has shown that a guy with integrity and problem solving skills can continue to achieve much even after stepping down from one of the government's most important positions. since retiring from congress two decades ago senator mitchell has taken a leading role in negotiations for peace in northern ireland and in the middle east. he has also served as chairman of the walt disney company as well as several other entities. he headed an investigation into the bribery of international olympic committee members and let another probe into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in u.s. baseball. in fact a whole section of senator mitchell's new book is
entitled no time for retirement. and he has authored four previous books one done with his experiences in northern ireland and another with the iran-contra investigation and he intends to devote a future book to his work in the middle east including his time as a special envoy under president obama. so this and other key parts of his life don't quite get the full treatment in the negotiator negotiator. as he says and known authors note this memoir isn't really meant to be a complete autobiography that mara collection of panic notes coupled with a series of lessons at the end about the art of negotiation. those lessons along are very instructive reading. i wasn't quite sure talking just before we came out exactly how to refer to senator mitchell on
second reference. weather was senator mitchell. he has also been a chance when he has been an ambassador. so he has something to explain about that which he will in just a second. ladies and gentlemen please join me in welcoming george mitchell. [applause] >> thank you very much bradley for that very generous introduction and thank all of you ladies and gentlemen for being here for your warm reception. the title. when i began the negotiations in northern ireland i was the chairman of the request of the british and irish government. it was quite vocal opposition to my serving in that position by several of the parties who
walked out when i came in to take the chairman's seat. it was in the middle of the night and we had a very controversial and stormy beginning. i called a meeting for later that day and after the meeting finished i telephoned the leaders of the parties where i had walked out of the talks. i said look you up major point. all kinds of publicity yelling at me and so forth to the wider you guys come back now and they sort of thought about it and grumbled but they did come back. however they wanted to make it further point so they announced that although they were returning to the meetings they still do not want to recognize my legitimacy as chairman said they would refuse to call me chairman. i said well that's up to you.
what you want to call me? and they said senator. well why not? that is what i've been called for most of my life and actually i have been called a lot worse things than senator. so since then i told bradley people say to me how do you want to be introduced? senator is as good as anything else i would say. i want to, just briefly on that very kind introduction by bradley. as you might expect i speak often. i'm on tour this week so three or four times a day i get up and talk. after a while you get tired of hearing yourself so the highlight of the program for me was the introduction. [laughter] they always begin by saying i will be brief. i say you don't have to be. there's a danger to it of
course. that is if you hear this kind of stuff often enough you begin to believe it and it's unhealthy for your mental state. so i'd like to begin with the story about introductions and how i was brought back down to earth. i served in northern ireland and i chaired three separate sets of discussion over period of five years. when when i returned to united states i wrote a book about my experience. i think that was the last time i was here when the book was published and in that book tour around the country i received a very large number of invitations from irish americans understandably but i learned in that process that in the united states there are more irish-american organizations then there are irish-americans. [laughter] and i was deluged with these requests. i couldn't do them all but i picked out several.
as i traveled around the country attending these events they developed among them an informal competition as to who could give the longest most extravagant sometimes rather fantastic introductions of me. the proper reaction of course was to show some humility, urge them to keep it short and to be repetitious. i have an improv reaction. i loved it. i encourage them. i schooled them when they left something out. one guy took 35 minutes reading a very long litany of everything i've done in my life which included several things which i had not previously been aware of. and when he finished i criticized him for leaving out the fact that in my junior year in high school i once the science award. by the time i got to the last
stop on this tour it was the irish-american society of stanford connecticut. i was very impressed with myself. my head was so swollen i could barely fit it in the door. when i walked in the first person i encountered was an elderly woman who rushed up to me very excited and nervous and vigorously shook i hand and then he praised on me saying what a great man i was and how she didn't live anywhere near stanford. she drove three and a half hours just to come there and to shake my hand and to tell me how much she admired me and asked me if i would sign her poster. she handed me a cardboard with a photograph on it and up and in i looked at it and i said i'll be happy to sign her poster but before he do i think there's something i should tell you. she said what is it? is i said i'm not henry kissinger. [laughter] there was a photograph of henry
kissinger. she said you are not? who are you anyway? [laughter] so when i told her she was obviously disappointed. she said that's just terrible. she said i drove three and half hours to meet a great man like henry kissinger and all i got was a nobody like you. [laughter] i said i'm sorry you feel so bad. i wish there was something i could do to make you feel better better. after brief pause she said well there is. i said what is it? she leaned forward and a conspiratorial manner and i leaned forward in our forfeits were retouching. she said nobody will ever know the difference. she said would you mind signing henry kissinger's name to my post or? so i did. and it's hanging today in eastern connecticut is a daily reminder to me not to take these introductions to seriously. most of you have heard henry
kissinger speak. so here's the best part of the story. about a year ago he and i appear jointly at a conference in manhattan and there was a moderator and two chairs and he asked us questions about world affairs. i thought it would be a good time to tell the story and i did and the crowd laughed and henry seemed to enjoy it. then we went on the program. after the program we found ourselves in the elevator going down to the ground floor together and he said to me, i have heard you speak often. when you were senate majority leader and we appeared together several times but i have to tell you never have i heard you better than you were tonight. i said really? was a my answer on china were the middle east?
he said no it was the story told in the beginning. he said that's a great story. you should tell it all over america. so i do and i keep a list. every time i see him i have a list in politics and prose was on the next list by handed him in washington d.c.. it's great of you to be here. i have been here before so i know that this is a crowd that is full of questions so while having served in the senate for many years and majority leader and fully capable of speaking in depth and at length on any subject with no prior notice. usually neither processing or conveying any knowledge but i can take up all the time possible. i'm not going to do that tonight create i do enjoy the question and answer period.
i will say just a couple of words about the book and then perhaps i would like to read from it. when i did my previous book tours i never read from the books but at an event in new york on monday night a great author and a good friend of mine colon the cam who is a well-known irish-american novelist said he came to the event and introduced me and he said what are you going to read? i said i'm not going to read anything. i'm going to get up and give a talk and answer questions. ..
who happen to live next door to my mother's sister. my father left school after the fourth grade and began a live of long and hard work. it mostly as a laborer and a janitor. and my parents earned very little and they led a hard life. but they had a dream. their dream was that each of their five children graduate from college to receive the education that they never had a chance to get. as is often the case they have a profound believe in the value of education and my parents are part of that group. the parents indicated that we
would lead a life of luxury if we went to college. although they died penniless, each of the children are graduating from college and each of them has lived a life that would be wholly unrecognizable to my parents because of that. not only because of them, of course but we were very rich and that that they ended up in this country, the united states, which despite its many serious imperfections remains the most free, the most open and just society in all of human history. the closest that any society has ever come to a true meritocracy where everyone, in light of background or status, has a chance to go as high as talent and willingness to work and willing to be able to work, how
far that will take them. and so i wrote this in the book so that others would feel that they also have a chance and in that respect our country is moving backward. that we are increasingly not want america but two or more and that what i call the little class or working class is disappearing. and one i was growing up in maine which now has a population of about 15,000 people, there were two textile mills one papermill in the town. within one hour drive they were
located 20 factories. and there's not one today. and i think that that is a microcosm of what has happened in communities all over america. the technological communications and information revolution to which not just weak but all societies are passing will in our judgment be seen by future historians as much a turning point in the industrial revolution. and each of us has a part of this in our daily lives. it is a society it is this place work for many and we have not figured out how to replace those jobs that are gone forever. and it seems to me that the higher levels of knowledge skill and education are necessary to
offset that to enable us to have more mineworkers in the future. and that means that every american child literally every american child, should have the early care and intellection stimulation and good education that will enable each of them to go as high as their talents are going to take them. it is not just that we would be helping the individuals because it is individuals who comprise a society. as a society we will benefit from the talents of all of the members of society. one of the most revolutionary thing about the american revolution is that it established what we now take so
much for granted, that the only legitimate sources for government anywhere is the informed consent of the government and that was not the case for most of human history. but if that runcible was to be vindicated and if democracy, which is a demanding form of government particularly in water deeply troubled areas around the world education and informed citizenry is crucial to the task. so it's here at home and abroad that we have to do better, drawing on the talents of every member of our sins iv. and i hope that in a tiny way that one drop in an ocean that this book will contribute to that. and so i would like to just
leave about a page and a half at the end of the book which i talk about. and the book is a is a collection of what i hope you'll find humorous including what is at the very end. and i described my work in northern ireland and the difficulty of it and i have a chapter on the middle east is well and i would like to read about a page and a half of the book and it is pure coincidence that my father's parents were born in ireland and my mother was born in lebanon. the tragically working in ireland in the middle east enabled me to learn about my parents heritage, to walk the
land of my ancestors and meet the people among whom they live and to learn of their hopes and fears as well as their aspirations. but i didn't know that i existed or four i traveled to ireland and lebanon. all of this i came to regard as an extra benefit from serving my country. on the hundreds of flights to and from ireland in the middle east i try to imagine my mother's early life. what was it like for a young girl growing up in the hills of southern lebanon. what was her parents live like christian speaking in a muslim majority. and asked the same questions while daydreaming about my father who never knew about his parents and went from a catholic orphanage in the center of boston to the cold forests of northern maine.
there is a boy that worked among them. and i wondered about his parents. much has been written about irish immigrants who succeeded in this new land about the money that failed. and had that been the fate of my grandparents and their parents. and as the plane touched down in dublin, my mind was awake with thoughts and dreams and fantasies about those and i thought of this that it would always make me smile when it came to my mind. and i was at a reception in my honor just below the border between northern ireland and
ireland. and the bridge had been restored and rebuilt, not to be called a peace bridge and named after me. the large unfriendly crowd of well-wishers peppered me with questions about my father and his family. and most reacted with surprise as well as disbelief when i answered that i really didn't know much about his family history. because to them, history is a living part of the president. and a couple of them suggested that i retained it both in the business that specializes in genealogy, mostly for wealthy irish-americans and with a twinkle in his eye local officials said, senator if you pay them enough they will convince you to buy there.
this was an ancient irish warrior king well known in irish history about like we know george washington. so we all laugh. and in other words it is all hocus-pocus. on the other hand, maybe it is not. the other story is about my mother. and usually around the kitchen table we talk about it, often with missed in her eyes. it's so beautiful and the air is here. and after arriving in the united states at the age of 18 years old, she returned to lebanon only once late in her life after her father died he and a sister company of her and she returned to the village where she grew up with friends in the house in which she had been raised.
and that is where my mother stood and caused and look at the great emotion and said they you should see america. [laughter] and it's so beautiful. the air is pure in the air is pure the air is good oh, america my america. she had little formal education, she could not write english, she spoke with an accent and she worked in a textile mill that she was generous and loving and strong and wise and she understood clearly the meaning of america. and to me no one has ever said it better.
oh america my america, thank you very much for being here. [applause] >> i would be glad to take your questions and contrary to what you may have been told if anyone wants to make a speech be my guest. >> thank you, senator. >> i only have 20 minutes. it was my honor to work for you at the democratic policy committee for a couple of years and i enjoyed the sections where you describe your relationship with your boss and i guess that that is may be where you learned to treat staph like human beings. so i would love to acknowledge the existence of a staffer he would say moses leaned on his staff and died. and i leaned on my staff and i
tried. and my friend who worked for tommy thompson saw this. on the street credit i had for weeks was great until i open my mouth left and obviously, i am a member of several irish organizations. when you are up there, and you mentioned that must be did not hold a grudge, how did you deal with that. >> when i was on my first flight through ireland "the new york times" through the day my complete words there were two
parts but i only read one part of it. no one and he created the impression as to why that is just terrible. and then i got to northern ireland and i found that they know too much about their history. and i don't know if you can never know too much but there is a great emphasis and a desire human and understandable to right the wrongs of history. and so i tried very hard in years that i was there to encourage people to be more forward looking and not to
suggest forgetting the past that i think would be wrong but just to give a little bit more emphasis to the future. and having a person turn around and face them in another direction i'm. the back is there but you are not watching it all the time. and i cannot say that i was responsible for any change in attitudes but over the course of the years that i was there, almost all of those that were so strongly opposed became my friends and they reconciled and we all shook hands and we had pictures taken together later in our lives and their a lot of things that have been said about
me and also about the prime ministers of britain and ireland. the real heroes are the people of northern ireland and their political egos. and it's like the ordinary men and women they had spent their entire lives in concert. and many of them been shot, shot at several had done long prison terms for crimes against people on the other side. but at a critical moment in which society's history and their own personal history is some of the courage to rise to the occasion and there is great danger just for the society for them individually and for their families and it is a hard thing to ask of people.
in order to risk this query many started the career and it started immediately and while it remains fragile it is a deeply segregated society and there is not full reconciliation and every wall that separates the two communities is still there and will be for some time. and they now disagreeing dispute through democratic and nonviolent means which really is all we can hope or ask for. so you can't be sure people still have to work at it and they have many decisions to make and i think it's a great and healthy thing that they are
solving them in parliament and elections and not by bombs and bullets. >> thank you, senator. >> first off let me thank you for your work with major league a small. and especially since the report came out as a baseball fan i have noticed that especially the players in themselves, we thank you for that, i was wondering know your thoughts on how would you compare major league baseball's drug testing program could hurt others in the nfl and with the international organizations like the international olympic committee where they better and where they not. >> thank you for the nice comments. i am not able to do a comparison
because i know thoroughly any detail of the baseball program but i don't know thoroughly in detail the others. i believe that baseball has been the strongest and most effective program because of the tribulations they went to get their. and i think it's to the great credit of this commissioner and especially that he offers this inquiry into the sport which no other sport has done. when he called me and asked me to take this on i told him that he had to understand that while we were friends that i had to have complete independence and i was going to follow the evidence wherever it may lead. and my representative were would say what i found.
and he said that i understand, we will have that independence and i did area there was absolutely no effort to interfere in any way. and i should mention and repeat what you said that there has been a dramatic change in the attitude of the players which they deserve credit for. and at the time i did my investigation of players through their association, they were adamantly opposed to the investigation and they refused to cooperate. they would not talk to me they would provide me with no documents. i tried hard to persuade them that the principal victims of cheating in sports are the athletes who don't cheat. and they face a competitive disadvantage and indeed a horrific question of do i cheat or do i suffer competitively by not cheating.
and in the eight years that we have talked about is they have had a change of heart and now they understand this and are actively and aggressively supporting a strong program and the commissioner and the players have now implemented this and i thank you. >> senator mitchell, i want to thank you for all you have done for the peace process. we are deeply grateful to you. this is my question with all that is in the news about british politics with the party and inclinations to break away
from the uk and there is some political process do you ever see a time when you can break up, where in the uk, northern ireland where they would want to be part of the republic of ireland? >> included in the peace agreement is a provision which states that the political status of northern ireland can be altered only with the consent of the people of northern ireland and a referendum and there has not been one because there is
widely recognized and accepted that a majority would want to stay as a part of them went scotland and england and wales. the minority view is held widely by this and is in favor of leaving them becoming part of a united ireland. one of the interesting things that has happened since the agreement is that while the percentage who wished to stay in the united kingdom has remained very high, the percentage of nationalist who wished to leave the enemy of ireland in part
because they have been the victims of over the previous century and their interest was the quality for jobs and housing and education which they are now getting. and so for them at least for some of them, we should say we have an imperative to join the republic to be declined and they went through the and the recent financial meltdown. but both of them have committed themselves to holding such a referendum when there is reason to believe that it might be change and it will be up to the people of northern ireland to decide. by now it's fair to say that i was there just 10 days ago and
in the immediate future particularly if the population stabilizes there is unlikely to be any change in that status. >> senator mitchell i feel some connection to you. my grandparents came from ireland and they were catholic and my son-in-law from bangor in the north [inaudible] but i also -- i think the major problem in america right now and you are someone who helped us to solve a lot of problems, this may be the hardest. and that has what has been happening in baltimore in the
last couple of weeks. and maybe even our small towns ferguson was a very big area are the steps you thought about as a society could take would get us on the road? >> i spent time in northern ireland and the middle east and also the balkans. it is my view that while almost every social problem is not exclusively economic or even primarily economic, underlying all of them is an economic factor. and i know that in the places that i mentioned the lack of jobs and opportunities and hope
is fuel for instability and it creates horrible populations and they have become more susceptible to the appeals or violent courses of action. and i think that that is true in all of these issues in our country including baltimore and others although intensified by a racial divide in the differences that exist in our society in terms of education opportunity and jobs. and i do not pretend to have the answers to this problem which is insistent from our nations
beginning. we all rightly revere the american constitution and the 25 men who voted in that convention in 1787. but it basically included provisions which confirmed and accepted the existence of slavery as an institution and it took 75 years or so to change that and then in another hundred years for this to begin. and it remains a very deep and difficult divide and my advice and my feeling is that we have to do a lot of things and i don't want to get into the whole thing of policing because i don't regard myself in this way because it this. but no matter what else you do if there's not education and opportunity and jobs come and the others cannot succeed.
i don't think you can build a society when men and women do not have opportunities and the chance to do something with their lives. and especially if they maintain their sense of self-esteem. referring to a section of my book in which i describe my senior year in high school when my father at the age of 50 would work steadily since he was 10 years old he lost his job and he was out of work for a year and it very nearly destroyed him and our family. it was a desperately difficult circumstance and he seemed to shrink physically as he withdrew and became more and more despairing. a year later he found a job as a janitor at a local school and
change in attitude and became the president of general motors, he changed completely as a result of that and that has always been with me. and so i think one of the things we can and must do is to deal with this issue of the absence of opportunity through education and skills, better to help people help themselves and to do things for them. >> one thing i forgot to say it's in the introduction i think something was missing. it's not just the senator and ambassador and all the others that we have had but the one that many of us wish that we had had. >> thank you. >> next time i won't tell her that you said that. [laughter] >> hello, george. it's nice to see you. an anecdote and a question.
[inaudible] i was serving with usaid in afghanistan in 2009 when richard holbrook came in as the special envoy there and was pretty much throwing that china and the cutlery and everything and happen to be sitting in the cafeteria one evening and he started talking. there was a guy that had worked for you in the senate and i'm sorry that i had forgotten his name. and they said well too bad, we didn't get george bensel instead. but what if they had sent richard holbrook to the middle east. [laughter] and so i think it was the right way.
but as someone who followed in your footsteps, and followed in the 70s i was on the senate aging committee staff when you're briefly on the committee. and it's terribly upsetting to see what has happened to the house and senate and it just seems as though there's more concept of [inaudible] and kenny see any way out of this situation? >> i do not perceive any change in the immediate future. and i say that there is regret because i share the common assessment of how unfortunate it is that there is such a parent
dysfunction in the congress. and one of the first person i called was bob dole who was the republican leader in the senate and i went to the him and i said to him you have been here 25 years and i have only been here a few years and you know more than i do but i have been here long enough to know that the senate cannot unction. and i said i'm here to tell you how i intend to behave towards you and ask that you behave the same way towards me and i outlined the most basic simple standards of fairness and courtesy. he was delighted. he shook hands. literally to this moment never has a harsh word passed between bob dole and i in public or private. we disagree vigorously every day on much if not most legislation.
and as we agreed to we have kept our arguments on the issues and we have let the senate decide the differences. sometimes my view prevailed sometimes his bed but it never affected our personal relationship and we still remain close friends. that is not the solution to the problem. and i think you have to put it in some context. many people look back to history through rose-colored glasses and imagine a time where everything was sweetness and light and everything got along and that's not the case and it to men who are now icons of national history thomas jefferson and john adams they ran against each other. and the name-calling that went on is worse than any we have seen in many recent campaigns.
and of course tens of thousands of negative television ads have been part of us. so the impact is not what it is now. but it's always been part of it. i thought that it was her a hard in the senate and i couldn't imagine it being tougher and yet here it is, much tougher. and i hope that there will come a realization that while the leaders have an obligation to their parties and the members of the caucus they have a higher obligation to the country and the institution of the senate. and that it is possible to balance those and discharge them in a responsible way as long as you remember the highest value is the interest of the country. there are many causes and i am not a political scientist. what i have learned in life is through trial and error. i would identify just a few of them in my mind.
the first is redistricting thanks to technology now occurs in a manner that permits the drawing of congressional districts that are very precise and i spoke at a conference. the person before me put up slides showing outlines of some congressional districts and she likened it to the test of rorschach. and so what that has done has been to move the pivotal moment in american politics certainly with respect to the house of representatives from the general election to the primary election because of the 400 and 35 house seats almost anyone who follows these can tell you right now which part is going to win and
there's only about 50 between the parties. and i watched on television a couple of years ago when one of the tea party members of the house was on the house floor in vain against compromise. and compromise got us where we are. one commentator said that's ridiculous. the notion the you can govern without ever compromising your position is absurd. he said i will bet nine out of 10 people disagree on the other said says yes, but he talking to the one. and the general elections as well and they tend to be the most ideological and bridget on both sides when they have a hugely disproportionate process.
and that means that candidates who don't run for the house generally with the whole constituency in mind run with the nominating constituency because that is how the election will be decided and are just. and the second factor is the immense amount of money and money and influence have a role in selecting leaders. and it has reached a point where it is degrading and corrupting our democracy. and corrupting in the following sense, not that you have a lot of cases of someone here saying yes, you vote the way i want, that's rare in our society thankfully that the corruption
is that the corruption of the american people and the trust of the american people has been severed. and the question i have asked all over america for audiences large and small business, colleges how many believe elected officials are more responsible to their constituents than donors. i have asked that hundreds of times for audiences and only once about six months ago here in washington did one hand go up and i was so astonished and i said i have to ask you, you're
the only person in america who is ever raise your hand. and she said it's simple my husband is a member of congress and nobody believes that. that is the corrupting influence of politics and i believe that the supreme court decision in the citizens united case will go down in history as one of the worst decisions ever made by any supreme court. [applause] and this is a literary group and that's why you hear it. i challenge every one of you to get a copy of that opinion and try to read it through to the end. i challenge you to do it. in it you are going to find a description of the american
political process that does not exist. the fantasy world. that there isn't any suggestion of corruption because of contributions. only if you define that in the narrowest sense. at the outset that it is true but everyone knows that donors have influence and that's why they are donors. and what i said is very critical, let me be fair the supreme court did not create this the problem has been heard throughout our history and essentially what they did as a group of nine guys walking down the street and they saw a fire in the red lipped pour gasoline on top of it. and it just made it a lot worse and it's out of control. and i will conclude with a story. when i was senate majority leader i use to work very early in the morning and every morning i had a stack of phone calls waiting for me on my desk.
and please do not have a vote at noon. and don't ever vote at 4:00 o'clock or 5:00 o'clock because i have meetings and receptions men at 6:00 o'clock i have a dinner. and one time i met with a group of senators and to make my point exaggerating slightly, i took one of these calendars and it was all blacked out except for a couple of slivers in the middle. and i said if i except all of your requests to not vote when you're doing fundraising you fund-raising you can see from this that the only time the senate can vote is between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on thursday morning. and it's infinitely worse now
it is a matter of money chaser that is demeaning to the individuals and most importantly corrupt to the trust that americans should have been the political process. thank you. [applause] >> one of the personal characteristics. what one of the personal characteristics what is it that you feel have made you a good negotiator in northern ireland when others felt that that test was untenable and my follow-up question to that is what you refer to yourself as a
negotiator rather than a mediator in. >> well on the second one i wrote a book i wrote a book called growing up in the state of maine and i took it to the publisher who is a nice man. and i took it to the publisher and they said unto the people of maine will love it. [laughter] and so when you write about the middle east and other things as well. my daughter we tried to come up with a catchy title and the
negotiator one-out and mediation does involve negotiation. so it isn't as though it's an accurate. but in the book i describe some of the elements that i learned when i have had no formal training in the art of negotiation or mediation and what i know comes from experience of trial and error and a variety of roles. the most important element is humidity and patience. and those that are at the table on the process and they say you
guys are going to live the results. in fact, on the first day i said to them that if we are ever able to get an agreement it will be your agreement and your words. i did not dream that it would be two years of discussion that i have to listen to. the one i drafted the agreement [inaudible] it was their process, it was their country and their agreement and so you cannot come in and assume a condescending view. and the second is that it's a hard thing. it sounds pretty audience and
you think about all the social conversations we have had. you say something and when someone else is talking your vaguely listening. from the experience that i have been through it's a demanding task to actually listen and it is especially hard to listen carefully to people with whom you disagree or do not like. and our brains have receptors for information that comes in that is consistent with our prior beliefs goes through a wide and open door that is well-received and stored and promptly retrieved. and information that is inconsistent with prior beliefs has to thread a needle that is not well stored and it takes
forever to remember. and so you really have to work hard to actually listen to and give credit to and i didn't disclose it, but i was never in tolerant of views that were different than mine and on the first day i made a large number of mistakes. and i said to them in a moment of hubris because they knew they had a long history of not talking to each other. and in northern ireland was the highly publicized walkout and standard part of their politics. he walkout so the other guy can answer it. and i said trying to encourage
them, i am a product of the u.s. senate where we have a rule of unlimited debate. i said i wasn't anything new to say and i will. and i never cut him off never shut him off and i listen every word. i said that nobody can claim that they didn't have a chance to make their case. nobody can say that they didn't have a fair opportunity.
and i have to say that it's not the length of the questions that the length of the answers that is the problem. if you could indulge a couple more i will try to shorten my answers. >> it's a great time to meet you. and what was the difference between the northeast in ireland >> i never thought those parties would recognize each other and i never thought the ira would give up and what was different about the middle east and what needs to be done and can it be done. >> you had asked me and i will do the best i can.
in about a year ago i spoke to about a thousand irish-americans in new york city. and i said that i was about to make a statement that i never thought that i would ever believe were let alone say and that is after two tours of duty involving several years in the middle east that i had come to the conclusion that the irish were really easy to deal with. on the middle east is more complex. it is more difficult. there are more factors and actors and many more external forces. there is no iran issue in northern ireland. by now islam is going through a difficult. matt of internal conflict and
some of it dates back to the prophet mohammed and the sunni shiite divide that has divided on the death of the prophet mohammed. and it is now rooked it fiercely and notably in iraq and syria and all of these not to mention all of the others and [inaudible] even though they share many common interests and they don't
act upon that closeness because of the barrier the palestinians present to them. and i have a long chapter in the book in which i encourage you to read. i will simply say that i believe that in this respect american policy is the right policy. it was well stated by president george w. bush to just before he left office delivered a speech which i encourage everyone to read. in which he explains that the united states supports israel and equivocally we are committed to israel's safety and security behind the borders. at the same time we have committed to the creation of a palestinian state.
israel has a state that they do not have reasonable and sustainable security for their people. and the president made clear that the palestinians are not going to get this until the israelis have a stable sense of security [inaudible] in both societies are deeply divided because it's extremely difficult and there is a high level of mistrust in the society. but i believe so much in both interests of the society that ultimately they will reach an agreement and will have a fully
demilitarized palestinian state that will be created and will live side-by-side. >> i never thought that i would agree with anything that george bush says. so thank you. it's very enlightening. >> thank you. >> i'm glad that i said that we would take some questions. >> i was writing my honors thesis at the receipt of maine and i learned a lot about how the senator build the party. and so i'm wondering are there lessons we can use as we try to figure out what to do next? >> the principles of the party are closer to my own beliefs
than those of any other party and i'd recognize that we have made many mistakes in our past as a party as we all have as individuals as well. but i believe that we will prevail at every level when we are able to devise an advocate effectively for solutions to what i believe remains a central issue and again, it's not easy to do, it's very hard to do. and so i think that we have strayed from that in recent years. we have also had the difficulty of third-party candidates and as you know we have been elected twice because of the candidate
that divided the vote and that is a more difficult issue to deal with because anybody has the right to run and there is nothing wrong or inappropriate about it but the effects can be adverse. i'm trying to shorten the answers. so i will take the last to hear and then we can build. >> hello. i am a native of maine as well. thank you we appreciate this deeply. and something that worries me and maybe this doesn't speak as broadly as some of the other questions that we have, but more specifically toward the residence, that worries me very deeply, that there's a lot of brain drain going on in our state.
and what manufacturing there was has left the state, i think it's a microcosm of much of our country. states all around the country meet municipalities face the same thing. i don't know what the answer is the full answer but i do know that education is significant. one reason one major reason why i created a scholarship fund is we strongly urge that they remain in graduation.
most of them are hopefully going to stay in the state. there is no simple easy answer. it's not a problem that is unique to me and it did exist in many parts of our country particularly in the more rural smaller states. we need you back there. thank you. the last question. how often have high regretted saying back? [laughter] >> first of all i will state i'm not from the state of nevada. [inaudible] [applause]
>> thank you all very much. [applause] booktv is on twitter and facebook. we want to hear from you. tweet us, twitter.com/booktv or post a comment on our facebook page, and facebook.com/booktv. booktv continues now with caroline fredrickson the author of "under the bus" who discusses the impact of labor and employment laws on working women and their families. on our "after words" program.