tv Discussion on Coranavirus Pandemic U.S. Russia China Relations CSPAN July 14, 2020 2:25pm-3:31pm EDT
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provider. >> intelligence and state department officials from three administrations now on u.s. policy toward china and russia amid the coronavirus pandemic. the carnegie endowment for international peace is the host of this discussion. >> welcome to today's program, u.s. china and russian china pandemic. in the 1951 sci-fi classic, the day the earth stood still, a planets is visited by an alien spacecraft bearing a giant robot and an emissary with a very sobering message, mend your differences or face obliteration. the movie concludes with world leaders pottering their choice. it would be wonderful to believe whether in the form of a global pandemic or a threat to modern space that in fact the world would mend its differences but by the looks of things the rivalries and disputes have only grown, certainly magnified in
the time of the pandemic and are likely to continue. they are accelerating pre-existing patterns of tension and competition. nowhere it seems is or are there tensions more evident than u.s. relations with both, rising china and declining russia. both eager to reassert themselves both regionally and globally. it may well be that these three powers will emerge weekend by the current pandemic and to paraphrase carnegie's own alexander o bono, covid is a crisis for all but could it be an opportunity and in the sense of vulnerability and loss compounded by three leaders focused on their own internal politics we make them more not less eager to assert themselves competitively. in this case that assertion isn't part of i dan amick triangle where the u.s. can easily align with one russia or china and play it against each other. the partnership is a good deal more than in excess of
convenience. one is not the principal adhesives in that relationship is an effort to check u.s. influence both regionally and globally. all seem to present a pretty grim picture and a list of issues from hong kong to trade to ukraine to election interference south china seas to syria and afghan bodies to taiwan to make your head spin. it makes you wonder what space exists or might exist for episodic cooperation between the u.s. and russia in the u.s. and china but every russia and china expert seems to roll their eyes at the very mention of the prospects or any fundamental change in relations with washington. will anything change depending on how the world to change here in november? who would russia and china want to see as the next president and why? as usual, more question and answers but fortunately we have
three extraordinary folks here to answer them. the vice president for studies at carnegie where he oversees research in washington, beijing and new delhi. between 2001-09 he held key positions at dealing with south asia, central asia and china at the department of state. eugene currently director of carnegie's russia eurasia program is the former national intelligence officer for russia eurasia. susan thorton is currently senior fellow at yale law school and former assistant secretary for east asia and pacific department of a state. all three have had deep experiences, practitioners and thought leaders in their field and i think they have a unique capacity to encroach russia, china and u.s. policy with just the right balance with altitude on one hand and granular on the other. they will speak for no more than
five minutes and we will do a moderated round of conversation and then answer your questions. we will have a live q&a "after words" to ask a question, use the live chat feature in youtu youtube, e-mail us at press office at cie p .org or tweet us at carnegie and dowell using # carnegie connects. with that, evan, the virtual space is over to you. >> thank you. pleasure to be with you. ...
february 1972 visit to beijing. that was a point in time when the u.s. and china were fighting a proxy war in vietnam, and china were still just crawling out of the mess history of the culture revolution so even for the very inception of the relationship things were two countries that had military differences, clashing secret concepts and obvious differences of lyrical system and ideology. we've had 40 plus years were chinese communism and the amerin constitutionalism have repeatedly clashed and collided. what began to change over time was that a a path of economic integration opened up between the two and particularly after child came in the wto in 2001, the relationship was increasingly characterized by flows of five things, goods, capital, people, technology, and data. the idea i think many people had was not the economic integration would make the security of political differences disappear
like magic but rather that economic integration would mitigate the pernicious effects of that security competition. but what's happened is rather than economic integration mitigating security competition come security differences are getting worse. the taiwan strait and the south china sea all about asia. the u.s. and china already are integrated. $700 billion trade relationship. there's. there's more than $100 billion of u.s. foreign direct investment stock in china. there was something like 50, 60 billion in low in the united states but not within that this could competition has intensified. here's the thing. it's not just its intensifying. it's the economic relationships are now being refracted back through the prism of the security competition because the security issues are beginning to bleed into everything else and that really to my mind is the seachange we've had over the
last three or four years. i'll give you three quick examples. if you look at flows the people, those of data, flows of technology, in all of those areas the national security frame that the u.s. and china have on each other is extenuating those flows in a way that could integrate these countries. on people, for instance, the united states now has a new set of visa policies in place that are designed to make it harder for chinese students and scholars in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to come here and study in any area or do a degree program. those technologies, things like artificial intelligence, , enabd applications, increasingly and intrinsically geared towards youth. this and then on data. there's a debate whether to ban the app tiktok in the trend come something that's very popular with teenagers and younger people who make videos, because
the data, including their personal data, goes back to the company tiktok, , that's owned y chinese parent. what's really happening is it's not the security tensions are new but the things that integrate these countries are now being refracted to this very minute to present and where it is going is toward the integration of long-term and during our nation as a facts. that we can talk about because it's good to catch a lot of third countries betwixt and between those two. >> fascinating point of departure, evan. the relationship seems to release those instruments, those elements seem to drive it apart. gene. >> yes. delighted to be in such a distinguished company. and i think you'll see some familiar themes in what i'm about to say with what evan said
so eloquently. it's accepted not the resident ship between russia and the united states is at its worst since who knows when, in the past 30 years, since the cold war ended. that was the major milestone we thought would really transform the relationship. but in one respect i would say the situation we're in is really not that different in that although the relationship once again is at its lowest point, ,e are following in the footsteps of previous post cold war american administrations that essentially went in circles and cycles trying to fix the relationship started out on a high note and ending on a very low note, each for its period of time at the lowest point since the cold war. so just in meet of the trump administration, the obama
administration begin their relationship in 2009 hoping to restart a partnership between the united states and russian with the new president dimitri medvedev. i'm not able to go into details of this but the relationship ended in 2009 at the lowest point -- sorry, in 2016 -- 20177 at the lowest point since the cold war. before that, the bush administration tried to improve the relationship and early on in 2001 announced a new partnership. yet the relationship in 2009, once again going backwards chronologically, was at its lowest point after the war between russia and georgia. before that the clinton administration essentially followed the same patterns starting on a high note in 1993, indiana very low note in the beginning of 2001 pick you remember this since u.s. state department at the time.
i think it's fair to say about the still use bilateral relations since the end of the cold war, we forsake him we -- to the effective date effectively dealing with russian on the basis of three on a middle assumptions or hopes rather. one, russia would reform itself and become a country that's not dissimilar from us in the sense democratically with an open lyrical system, with a market economy and accepting a security architecture for europe and eurasia that we the united states in cooperation with our allies have design. that clearly has that happened, and russia still to meet our expectations, on all three discounts. and i would say that if there's anything good to come out of their current very difficult point in the biomedical -- a lot
of relationship is after 2014 after the crisis in ukraine with ukraine, the annex of crimea in the breakdown between moscow and washington it's fair to say those assumptions no longer apply and we should look at them and really think hard about what really is essential in this relationship, what is at stake here for us? evan said privacy i heard them say that you can't talk about what's at stake for us with china without is talking about asia as a whole. the agenda with russia is considerably smaller so we should be asking ourselves questions that have become almost proverbial in our own domestic political conversation. i would say the issues that we should be focusing on our what are the red lines? when do the russians crossed them in a way that really affects our fundamental core interest? and what are if i may use the
term areas of print copal? where can we make is with russia? after all, -- quid pro quo. will have to be doing deals with rices and years and decades to come. i would have fundamental issues that are absolutely critical for our bilateral relationship in the years and decades to, probably. someone, i would think of strategic stability. we approaching the end of arms control. the framework inherited from the soviet american competition in the area of nuclear nuclear arms control, that's practically gone and looks like the renewal of a new s.t.a.r.t. treaty is very unlikely. russian minister spoke about a day or two ago. that's an area we are approaching the point where we'll be an an unrestrained, unrestricted arms race where new
technologies it into the strategic stability, equation so to speak that will prove highly destabilizing. the second area i would focus on is the military to military relationship. our military and the russian military operate now in close proximity in the baltic, over the black sea and certainly the middle east. managing the relationship oftentimes in very confined airspace and that c is something that is essential for the stability and security of europe but also other regions and our bilateral relationship. free, think we should look at the toolkit that we have applied in a relationship with russia. lately it's been reduced essentially to sanctions. russians do something in syria and we impose sanctions or rather they don't do something and we impose sanctions. they do something in venezuela, we impose sanctions. it's about time we ask
ourselves, is that enough? is that really the only tool we can apply in dealing with the country that spans the better part of europe and asia and has the ability to wipe out the united states with a flip of a switch? i would think we need to rethink our diplomatic approach to rush in the years to come. betting on the idea that somehow believe the stage and really without relationship with change fundamentally is an unrealistic one, and even beyond, brushes here to stay we need to deal with it as it is, not as we want it to be. >> fascinating presentation. i want to return in the q&a the whole issue of red lines because it gets deviation of what really are our vital interests with respect to rush and to china. susan. >> thanks. great to be with you, evan,
gene. i'm going to talk a little bit about how china views the u.s. and china views russia and the maybe prep time with the u.s. should or should be doing about all that. i just would like to make the point at the outset that china has been waiting for many years for the u.s. to turn its sights on it and to be concerned about china's rise. at the beginning of the 21st century, china had expected because of its size, because the u.s. hegemonic position and because of what the chinese call this cold war hangover or cold war thinking that the u.s. would in time call -- come to focus on china as an external threat. i guess probably presently
surprised that in the time of the george w. bush administration that did not come to pass. the u.s. became preoccupied with counterterrorism efforts and then the global financial crisis. china is not surprising that the u.s. is focusing in on it now and sees this as part of a structural inevitability. i think george w. bush and obama would have liked to have worked with china more on various international issues, but china was not ready at that point to invest in global public goods. it was very focused on developing its economy, on its modernization and he kept talking about this peak period of strategic opportunity. going to the team term peaceful rise to make people think it was not interested in being externally aggressive. but i think with the advent of donald trump the chinese thought they could initially work with
trump, that he was transactional, that they could do deals and he wasn't values based in his approach. but what they fail to detect was that he really wasn't that interested in the substance, that he was very much prone to changing his view and didn't want to be bound to any constraints which made the whole relationship very unpredictable and pretty uncomfortable for the chinese, obviously. they don't like that kind of unpredictability and chaos, especially when they are trying to manage their internal pressures, of which there are many. the bottom line is that with the advent of trump, with the advent of this sort of across the board bipartisan harder line towards china, the chinese have adopted the view that the u.s. has determined that it is going to be part of the u.s. national purpose to contain china and
block its advancement. it doesn't really matter whether or not trump is reelected or biden is elected. the chinese now, it will be very difficult to dislodge this view inside china, that the u.s. is bent on sort of a posture of blocking china's advancement. the way china is thinking about russia at the moment, and we can talk more about this. i'd be curious to hear what gene and devon think. but this is in my view the u.s.-china, i mean the china-russia entente if you call it that is they are many on two factors. the first is this economic driver that has become more prominent in the last couple of decades, and where i think the
chinese have now become a kind of imbalanced driver of the train that is a bit uncomfortable probably for russia, china has a lot of cards to play in the economic relationship between the two powers and so i think that will continue to play out and continue to create both synergies and tensions in the relationship. i think the second big driver of course is the converges and attitudes of the government about what the west, i.e., the u.s. is doing. they don't like a lot of the positions the u.s. is taking. they don't like a lot of things we are doing in the international space, and i think in this respect of this driver, russia is more in the lead and china is more of a follower. china sees russia as more of a risk taker in this kind of back
and forth with the west. they hang back. they're a little bit uncomfortable with some of russia's more aggressive plays but i would say think the chinese are taking tutelage from russia, our learning, and are starting to step into this arena gingerly may be. that's something we should be watching. the bottom line is this is not really a natural alliance. the u.s. and its friends should not be taking actions that push that you toward one another. that's something that i i've bn increasingly concerned about in recent years. on what should the u.s. be doing about all of this, let me speak first to china because that's where i've been spending most of my time. jean has always spoken eloquently to what the u.s. should be doing on russia and i agree completely with his observations actually.
i think the u.s. is in danger of misunderstanding, ms. analyzing the problem with china. we want to see this as an ideological competition, a military competition or cold war readout kind of thing but i think we are failing to appreciate the degree to which it's an economic competition and we are failing in our prescriptions to respond to that challenge. and evan listed a number of things that sort of get to the essence of what our response is to what we are seeing in china, which i think speaks to the sort of misplaced emphasis on security in terms of how we are seeing economic competitiveness as as a policy prescription that that is leading to. all in all the u.s. needs to do a lot more thinking about what its domestic prescriptions will
be that are going to best fit it to pursue the challenge that these two countries are posing, our diplomacy really needs to be reinvigorated and re-energize and to be a lot more realistic and a lot more thoughtful in order to pursue what will be in the interest of the u.s. going forward. obviously the u.s. has a lot of thinks it's going to need to be working with russia on in the coming decades. the same is true obviously for china if we just think about the current moment that people are all being affected by the pandemic and the economic fallout from the pandemic. these are two areas that are basically constituted double crisis for the world and the u.s. and china should certainly be pooling their resources and efforts to try to combat this.
that's basically a vivid example of what we are missing and our current approach. i will just stop there. >> susan, thank you. in fact, my first question to the three of you actually flows from citizens reference to the pandemic. again alexander bonhoeffer from the moscow said talked about covid as a crisis for all three powers. who in your judgment, let me ask you this. how have russia and china coped with pandemic? who has emerged in a better position to exploit what that is to exploit with respect to covid-19? or has it been a net loss for both powers? gene, cut ice ask you to start first russian? >> i think it's been a net loss as you said to russia. we are seeing evidence of that immediately just in the last couple of days.
i don't know if our audience is made with the recent developments in the russian far east, but the governor of a major party of the region was arrested and in and unprecedented, on multiple charges of heinous crimes committed in allegedly 15 years ago. we've seen something that we've not seen in quite some time, spontaneous demonstration in the regional capital in support of this governor who apparently is not the nicest guy in moscow, not a committed democrat and so on. i would argue this is a situation that is aggravated by the general dissatisfaction with the government performance in the pandemic, russia has been sort of economic difficulties for quite some time. if i'm not mistaken for the past six years or so standard of
living has declined. the pandemic is really dealt a blow, has laid bare a number of major, major deficiencies in the ability of the government to deal with these kinds of crises. and note the russians have a lot of expectations in terms of government support these days, but this was a catalytic -- i'm probably not the right -- contextual, aggravating condition to prompt apparently tens of thousands of people, if you believe the internet, to go out into the streets and protest. across the board there's a conversation on russian interest about shortcomings, the lack of a safety net and overall further below i would say to putin's claim of stability, better conditions, security and so on.
>> so it poses a certain kind of legitimacy crisis for putin's management of the state, which is perceived to be the agent that is redeem the russian people from this terrible virus? >> certainly. and especially when it comes on the heels of a referendum essentially to extend putin's term in office to a place 2036. everybody considers it a life presidency. so there's this stark contrast between conditions in the country and the kremlin's attempt to establish its legitimacy through a popular not referendum, just a vote, which by all accounts was just let say not up to the standards of referendum and normal democratic society. >> evan, you have written about
u.s.-china relationship as i think to quote, you manage enemy. does that apply? i think it's very wise actually, does that apply to the management of covid from china's perspective? >> with a very few exceptions like new zealand and taiwan and maybe south korea, there really are not in systems around the world that it covered themselves in glory over the last four months. in the three places, , china, russia and the united states haven't covered themselves with glory either. a lot of mistakes. is china the winner? hardly. china's economy contracted 6.8% in the first quarter and facing a bright of really a cute economic and structural challenges. it's interesting what they've done in the last month or two. because it says a lot about
china. we make so much of china's growth but the government has declined to set a growth target for this year, probably because in china they don't like setting targets they're going to miss it also because the focus has shifted away from growth for gross sake. what i would call welfare and quality of life indicators which in the aftermath of covid means employment. the prime minister of china in his last government work report talked about china's focus shifted what he calls an employment first policy. china is not dancing here. they are dealing with first and economic contraction but second with real threats in the labor market, particularly the places they are most vulnerable, white-collar workers and college graduates and the first instance, and migrant workers in the second. that's within china. they are trying to make most of it internationally by leveraging
the things that they think they have done right, in terms of mitigating the impact of the virus, and that includes -- after a lot of early missteps and things that i think are functions of really flaws in the chinese system, they have tried to mention the impact a little bit better. there are a lot of places around the world look to china now to share some of those experiences. one question we are going to face is who gets to a vaccine first wax against if it is china there really inevitably changes the image of china around the world and the context of covid. but it also raises some fundamental questions about cooperation with china. you mentioned my use of the term -- gets to the u.s.-china, something you said in the setup. if the u.s. and china cannot work together in the worst global public health crisis in over 100 years and the worst
economic crisis since the great depression of the 1930s, it raises a fundamental question which is what the heck can it work together on? if the answer to the question is not very much, then despite the rhetoric of being in a competition, there's not really a strategic petition. this is what i call manage enmity. with the two sides are not only not working together, they're actively obstructing each other around. doing it potentially without our grills and that's problematic because to be honest if you look at the history of u.s.-china -- despite all of the tension, and susan knows this, all of the tension these two companies had -- countries that, they have dealt with effectively with collective responses to scary transnational threats whether it was financial crisis in 2008, the bowl in 2014 and they have done it even in moments of high-security time. if you pull the threat of look where we are now, it's suggests the possibility these countries
cannot work together anything productive. that means of the countries on the world stuck in what i think you'll see happen is third countries will not simply accept their fate and they will try to define alternatives where they become the drivers. reaching this on trade roles in asia. it doesn't include china or the united states. that may start to happen on data. on vaccines come on public health standards. as a guide of think that's a very good place for the united states to be. i don't think it's productive for the world of the two largest economies not to be working together. >> but in order to change the headline into a trend line, you really will need an enormous amount of something. if the moment has gone away of the dodo, which are introducing is an managed entity is a negative new bipolarity, that u.s. and china will emerge as the two most powerful actors on
international stage, however constrained and the got to figure out or not the way to do with one another. susan, let me as doing the pandemic question. i mean, is there, has china's image suffered any sort of permanent damage as a consequence of the whole covid business wuhan and the rest? >> i think, i would agree with evan that neither the u.s. nor china will emerge from this crisis as the winter. china definitely has had its image suffered partly from the missteps they came at the beginning but also just from the fact that people around the world, it may or may not know what happened in wuhan. they may be cognizant of the details are not but they know that the whole by restarting in china, and that is going to affect people because this virus will negatively affect the physical person in the world and it started in china.
that is something the chinese will have to reckon with and they are worried about, i think. that's what you see them making the ham-handed efforts to get supplies and try to intercede in many countries where they obviously don't have the health systems to deal with this. the other thing that comes up in the context of covid is this question about de-globalization to what's happening to our international institutions, the international system? russia and china have make interest in that. and may not be exactly the same as the u.s. interest which frank at the moment is also not that clear. hopefully we have a change in leadership in the u.s. we will reattach ourselves to the international system and try to restore and reinvigorate a lot of those institutions and repair them. at the moment but they question that comes up in the minds of many people around the world with covid and the economic
crisis is, gee, maybe globalization was a terrible idea and yeah, we've all had a long spell of relatively peaceful security environment. we've had a long spell of relatively prosperous tamales some poverty alleviation, relatively prosperous economics, now maybe are entering into a time where this globalization thing is gone too far and we need to retrench. china definitely does not want to see the globalization, decoupling and a return to sort -- d globalization -- return to divided spheres of economic interaction, for sure. they are really struggling with how to move forward. they have a backup plan and have a backup plan to the backup plan, and that's the thing i wish we had.
>> that would require a good deal, i'm not thinking is not a comment on the current administration but my question is a comment on all administrations. not just eating with china and russia but the world in general, and that is our capacity to think to what our vital interests really are. vital interest as opposed to discretion interest. discretion interesting things we can live with. vital interesting things wrinkly we cannot. i want as each of you two contrary, one on russia. identify for everybody on this call, in your judgment, two or three absolute red lines for the united states with respect -- let's start with, evan, let's start with you. red lines at across the united states simply cannot tolerate. >> i think american interests in asia been pretty consistent for
150 years. didn't start with the people's republic of china in the last five years so it is essentially no regional hegemon that tries to exclude the united states. no exclusionary blocks. freedom of navigation, open region. that's what the u.s. has stood for from the open doors to the cold war and through the present. and, frankly, if you pull that thread you will immediately see what the red lines are. >> how are we doing in each of those -- >> hang on. so first of all the red lines are china tried to exclude the united states from the region. china tries to force blocks in the region. a china that tries to construct and asia that is built on a close system rather than open and a china that constricts freedom of navigation those are where the red lines are. the u.s. talks a lot about those things but the reality is if you look at u.s. policy particularly in this of meditation, and i served in the bush
administration, i think there's a structural problem for the united states going back 25 years. the united states is progressively becoming excluded from the region because it is not as central as it presumes itself to be. the united states confuses right now a lot of long-term structural changes in asia with short-term sinocentric things. by which i mean the united states basically has an attitude now but not really a a strategy for dealing with these things. it had a strategy it would be the proponent of open region, a standard center on -- said on trade, investment, data, all the things we'll try the economic integration in the region. what's happening is i see the united states withdrawing from the regional trade agreement. i see the united states allowing china or other asian countries not called china to set the standards. i see the united states as simply exempting itself on the process in the region that will make this a very different part of the world ten years from now than it was ten years ago.
it is not sufficient for the united states to claim to compete simply by being the security provider for the region and sailing boats around the south china sea and flying airplanes around. being a security provider is important because it's the security that allows the economic prosperity but america's own prosperity is tied to be a standard set nation and we have withdrawn from that role. that is not consistent with american interests. >> quickly, those three red lines have turned pink? >> no, think china is pushing the envelope in all of those areas and the nature abhors a vacuum at a stop at the united states is enabler because china has become much more sort of and has been aggressive on these things. the united states is not formulating the kind of strategy that would either pushed back china's efforts or set a framework with other partners that create a context within which china would be constrained, and calculate its
own interests somewhat different. >> fair enough. before i get susan a chance to answer that, or embellish come whatever she wants to do with the redline question, gene, two or three red lines with respect to russia, putin's behavior. >> i would say that in addition to what evan mentioned about the freedom of navigation and preventing hegemonic power rising in eurasia, i with indo-pacific russian context mention security of the homeland and security of the american people. in the context of russia or the bilateral relationship has to do with of course our strategic relationship and managing it so that our deterrent capabilities are maintained at a level that
ensures that stable, strategic relationship. we can go into details later on but i think that's our top priority in the relationship with russia. i would also bring into this security of our treaty allies. and again this applies to some of our treaty allies in asia but also in the context of russia primarily with europe. i think you are leaving me or pushing me towards mentioning domestic politics. >> indeed. >> and here i would draw a distinction between what russia apparently did, , are we know ty did in 2016, which i did not considered to be in a sense of redline and something that would involve on their part tampering with our electoral systems. that would be a redline.
simply stealing information and eating information on fake news into our domestic political context is much more of a problem our own domestic politics that for our bilateral relationship with russia. >> there's a lot more -- [talking over each other] >> i'm sorry. gene? >> unlike with china we don't have a robust economic relationship with russia. i think our bilateral trade is -- [inaudible] one-tenth or less the net. one 20th, is that correct? i think is likely to stay that way. although -- i think i'll stop with that and we can talk about it a bit later. >> thanks. susan. >> thanks. this this is a key question oney hobbyhorses has been that the
u.s. government has a terrible time trying to define and articulate its key priorities and interests. i think that is been true in space with the china relationship and it is actually i would contend part of the core of what has brought us to such unsatisfactory point in our bilateral discussions. but but i think at the end of te day, and i don't really like to talk about red lines, but we are lucky with china i think and probably also with russia, in that we all agree we don't want to have a military conflict. it gets to the age of strategic stability that gene was talking about. the problem is that given the international environment and changing power structures, we have different spheres of reality about what that is going to impose.
i think evan spoke very articulately to sort of what we think we need to do in asia and what is actually happening there, and how much leverage we had to control what's happening there. i think probably going forward we need to talk a little bit about what red lines look like in the economic sphere, especially with respect to china. and i don't think we been very clear certainly not in any of the economic negotiations that i was a part of with china about what our prioritization is. i think that's also a function of sort of the way our system is set up to a sort of bottom-up input, lots of different interest groups, lots of competition. so this issue of competition, the economic sphere is going to be very important and how we work further toward articulating
what the u.s. role in the world is going to be with respect to the international system, what our economic fundamentals and principles are going to look like going forward. i think that is going to be a key part of determining how we go forward with the china at least, and probably other countries as well. >> thank you. speaking of red lines, to the two of you, , evan and susan, im assuming hong kong is not a redline for the united states. if china's policy towards taiwan? could it be? >> well, i'll go first. china has made it clear from the very beginning of the relationship that this is the only issue i which the u.s. and china have a fundamentally existential difference, or question. and so i think, for people, the
question really is, we know that china cares a lot about taiwan. i think the question that i hope evan will answer is, how much does a u.s. care about taiwan and is that oculus evolving or changing? >> evan, the door is open. >> well, i think what's striking about the rest relationship with taiwan is how little the u.s. is investing to try to help taiwan come in particular make its economy more robust. taiwan is structurally challenge in whole right of ways that we can its ability to sustain itself over the long-term -- we can itself. this is an economy that should be very innovative, but with the scope and skill has shrunk. it's under beds and lot of its technological comparative advantages and so for all u.s. professions support for taiwan the u.s. should be doing more whether it's a trade agreement
with taiwan or frankly opening up the pipeline for different kind of technology relationship to give taiwan economy it needs not the right now but i did ten years from now. those are the kinds of politics that have been underinvested in the discussion about taiwan. >> what about human rights, humanitarian issues? the clinton administration at times seems to him to have empe frame u.s. foreign policy from a lot of -- current administration -- moral consideration of a religious impose sanctions on a key politburo member with regard to the uighurs to what degree is that i key american national interest? that question is for gene as well. with respect to mention a relationship with these two powers. >> i'll go first. i think it is a key american
interest to defend and to speak out for and in defense of human rights practices, et cetera, whether it be china, russia, any country really. the question is sort of in the prioritization that we talked about, and on the skill of sort of leverage, what could you bring to bear on this issue. certainly i think a reasonable criticism of a trump administration on this score not only is the have raise it but they are networked with other partners and like-minded friends to try to maximize our leverage on these issues and bring them up in multiple different fora and multiple different ways. it's been very low-profile and very unilateral i would say. i think that's the difference that we will probably see going forward with a different administration in the u.s. because i think this this is a bedrock issue for u.s. foreign
policy and he will continue to be raised. >> i i guess that will be raise. the question is what kind of priority has it ever been for american policymakers, and going forward what kind of priority will it be, even if you have a different administration? let's take a couple questions from the virtual space out there. one question, and articles both in the post in times is on this emerging agreement, accord, ever you want to describe it china and iran. would either of you like to add or comment? i know we don't know a lot about this, the details, but is this real or memorex? what is this? is this something of consequent? >> you really date yourself, errant. >> memorex, , wow. >> goes back a long way, i know.
>> well, i'll just start by saying you know, i was in the obama administration when we did the iran nuclear accord, and worked on getting the chinese to participate more actively in that agreement and to actually contribute to some aspects of the final agreement. and certainly in the wake of the nuclear agreement, there was an expectation that china was going to be approaching iran, and certainly china gets a lot of oil from iran, has always gotten a lot of oil. it's very important to china calculus on its diversification of its energy sources given that china is an energy poor state. and with the belt and road and other infrastructure projects going in eurasia, it was obvious iran was going to need infrastructure so this was a very symbiotic kind of match on
the economic front especially. given what has happened to the iran nuclear accord, given what's happened with the sanctions regime, they have apparently, if this document is real, then negotiating this for quite some time and it hasn't been finalized. we don't really know what the details of the agreement, if there is a pending agreement, would look like. we don't know really know what the attitude of the chinese is toward this. so i think we will have to wait and see. >> at a minimum it is clearly an effort to demonstrate that tehran has quote-unquote other options, on balance in comparison with sanctions, western sanctions and relations with europe. it will end up being the key to an empty room. we have a question from paul here who ask, to what extent to
russia and china collaborating -- this is a good one -- that may be impossible to answer, influence operation. gene talk about it briefly, within the united states? does the china-russia partnership entente, what a joy to color, include intelligence cooperation and had to divide, distract, undermine? democracy in order in the republic? >> is that a question for me? >> for anybody since it is china and russia. >> well, i don't think we -- thanks, paul -- i don't have the necessary knowledge to answer this question definitively what i would say it serves both russian and chinese if they venture into the area of -- it
serves the interest to show that american democracy is not perfect, that democracy can be extremely messy, to the point of being debilitating as i think some of the outlets that they support have argued. you know, authoritarian governments have the upper hand as they like to argue those i think it strengthens their approach to domestic politics. >> would anyone care to comment -- we have a question from todd on you too. what impact will the changes in artificial intelligence have upon u.s. relations with russia and china? this is a fast ferry. does anybody want to offer a brief comment or two? i have a final question for the
3q. >> i think it's having a a substantial impact on u.s.-china economic relationship. because things like ai enabled application are intrinsically multitasker giving use same technology that used to train a surveillance camera a lot of public benefit as well. what's happen is if you think that the flow of innovation come from the 1940s through the 1960 was mostly military and visitation that was driving commercial innovation. british radar, american computing, , german rocketry, american atomic bomb, those things to a lot of commercial innovation up through the 1960s. after the 1960 it was a clipped and so with commercial microelectronics and semiconductors that really had spin on the facts back into innovation. if you look at emergency technology of the future, ai enabled applications, quantum computing, new synthetic and composite material, biotech and new pharmaceutical innovation. a lot of these things really do
have multiple uses and are intrinsically not just use but multiple use. it's refracting come if you go back to where started, back to the national security prison because it's becoming harder phobias to think about those things as several of her that's one reason why the united states is not just use its export control against china in you and creative ways but it's extraterritorial allies intend to go after third countries and companies can third-party entities to try to attenuate the quality with china freckle tried to attenuate progress. things like ai will have substantial impact because it's going to securitize an extra toward allies things like the technology relationship. that really reflects the trendline and the is china relationship writ large. >> the floor of a i tell it to the united states is not just substantially it's incredibly substantial. so is supposed capital about a iso- integrationist susan put it
is going to be very complicated. >> thanks, evan. we are at the end of the outer one final question to the three of you. be brief if you can. you've been asked to write a memo to the next president. what is the one thing about russia and/or china that successive administrations have fundamentally failed to understand? the one big picture, the one thing. what is that one thing? if you have identified that the next president needs to know in the way of misconceptions? that need to be discarded. susan, we will start with you on china. we can go to gene. whoever has a quick answer to this. go ahead.
>> well, i think, i mentioned that for me the fundamental thing i would like to say to the next administration is focused on the economic competition, not the ideological competition and not who is the leader of china and can we change the leader and everything will be different, as gene was hinting at in the case of u.s.-russian relations. i guess that's enough. that's my quick answer. >> good. evan. one misconception. >> as my former boss risch, tosh used to thicken if you want to get china right, you had to get get a should rightly the in with china is not rocket science. you have to stick -- and being actively engage. that's what the next administration needs. >> gene. >> at the risk of sounding academic or pompous, i would say
in thinking that the relationship with russia, think about russian history, think about russian political culture, think about russian geography and don't assume that just because something changed in 1991 it became russian of the soviet union, the country will change fundamentally. caring over political regimes cinches and so on. that should be our going assumption. >> right. let me add one which is the united states has vital national interest but you know, it may well be, i know it is heretical, it may be that other countries, too, have vital national interest and need to be acknowledged and respected. >> amen. >> one more desperate i wanted to let -- when question. it's just a one word answer so it should be easy.
who does mr. putin and mr. xi want to see as the next u.s. president? i just need one word. you want to mention a name and give me one sentence why, we have time for that. let's start with gene. >> trump. >> and the reason? >> trump presidency served russian interest very well. willingly or not. >> there enough. susan? >> i think putin definitely wants to see trump. xi i think is much more ambivalent. >> there's a case to be made for -- >> a case to be made in his mind that trump is beneficial to china over the long-term, but also very difficult for them to deal with the unpredictability.
>> there enough. and finally the last word, evan, to you. >> the chinese a very pragmatic in the sense that they will do with what that got picked if i were a betting man i would say they would rather have i. predictability comes to believe. despite what they're doing trump would do in the world there would rather have that in the short term. >> got it. i mean, i can't think this review enough you enough it's been, i've learned a ton. it's been an incredibly rich conversation. i was right in assuming that the review had this extraordinary ability to put up a lot of altitude can put things in context and yet drill down on the granular that drives russia and china relationship with united states. susan, evan, gene, thanks so much here to everyone out there, thanks for calling in, participating come and stay tuned for the next carnegie connects which will be happening sooner than you think. take care. >> thank you.
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