tv Discussion on Russia- Ukraine War Global Security Implications CSPAN September 19, 2022 11:09pm-12:10am EDT
let me welcome you all to the third and final panel of the 2022 forum on geopolitics. i should begin by introducing myself. i'm the senior fellow and government studies, not foreign policy. so, i'm having a moment for those of you have a certain age. it is i think a ritual for the moderator of a panel to describe the panel unless it is at a philosophy conference. but in this case i think that much overworked adjective is literally true. let's consider what has happened in just the past week for his
very direct way. then just last night, in response to the question, so unlike ukraine, u.s. forces and men and women would defend taiwan in the event of a chinese invasion. as always the white house insisted but this doesn't represent aen changed policy but at the very least, it was a step towards what i can call strategic. to help us understand what all this means, the organizers of the conference descended into a brookings all-star team. , robert kagan, to the immediate
left. patricia kim in the foreign policy. here's how we will spend this hour. the first segment of the conversation will address the question of how the warden ukraine has changed the global and regional architecture of security and segment to will talk about what all this means that u.s. policy. time permits that we follow-up questions to individual panelists either from other panelistss or me as your facebok moderator and we will turn to questions from you.
so, get us started, please. >> i think i'm going to talk about the american reaction to ukraine to the perceptionti off their interests. what i want to say is what we've seen in terms of that response follows the recurrent pattern in history in the sense that as you probably all were part of the foreign policy discussion prior lito the invasion. i think the general tenor of the discussion is that ukraine wasn't within the vital national security interest and was not something that we would engage
in conflict with russia over but that in general it was and that sphere of influence and they had taken the position that that wasn't really an area for u.s. meddling and of course since the invasion, the united states immediately became deeply involved in supporting ukraine against the russian invasion, and i think that raises the interesting question which is how do americans regard their interest. it shows yet again and i think this is not only recurrent, but constant in the american foreign policy that despite the discourse of what our national interests are which are framed in classical terms with security as the nation, but americans
really think of when they think ofhi their interests, when confronted by these kinds of aggression's world order and particularly liberal world order. i can get into this in the queue mande if you want and in both of those cases long before the united states was in any way directly threatened in terms of its own national security americans became deeply involved in the conflict's in order to prevent some dictators aggression against neighboring states in europe and also in asia in thatat case. before american interests were directly threatened, americans began to perceive both in europe and asia a generalized threat to
the liberal world order which led to them to take various policy actions in both places that they would not have taken if the question were simply one of america's direct national security interests. this is what has happened in the case of ukraine a as well. when mitch mcconnell says that ukraine is a vital interest of the united states, what is he really saying, is he saying that if ukraine falls to russia, and america's immediate security is directly threatened? obviously not. what he's saying is the world order that the united states supported is threatened by that kind of action by russia as i think many people would believe the same would be true if china were to invade taiwan.
i would say this junction between what americans think ors are told is the discourse of interest and what they actually act upon is there interest is one of the greatest sources of confusion in american foreign policy and it would be good if we began to understand that our interests are actually involved in support of a liberal world order and not about narrowly focused on our immediate national security. whether we will learn this lesson or not at the result of e ukraine, i would say as a historian again, the answer is no. we will continually oscillate between the sortso of narrow classic definitions of interests of when actions were taken out by these dictatorships.
we will act on the basis of a world order concept of the national interests which in my view is the correct understanding of our interests. >> india and any other area. >> i will maybe talk a little bit about the global south in the second round. before i start i do want to acknowledge strobe talbot as well as others have, partly because whilep others talk abot the contribution on the russian side, i would say both believe institutionally the work on india wouldn't have been possible without strobe talbot who invested in the study of the region a long time before it was cool to do so so i just want to
put that out there. i will talk a bit about the impact of the russian aggression on the amherst. in the immediate sense, the invasion and danger to the lives of 20,000 plus and others who resided and one of whom was killed. that wasn't just a humanitarian but also political one. second, they've been facing the more constrained economic environment thanks to the aftermath as well. this happened as india tried to come out of the pandemic and many other countries economically recovered from it,
but since then the high commodity prices that are significant in terms of multiple problems not just in terms of energy security and food security but also it has implications and political implications as well. the impact on the global economy has been adverse and it's affected those of several major markets. on the defensive side, the invasion has affected the military readiness by rujeopardizing which the forces dependdo.
it could potentially escalate down the line. they've put pressure on some of the crucial partnerships rtparticularly with western and indo pacific partners that have become crucial if not essential for indian security and economic objectives. by long-standing i mean since the 1950s, trying to keep russia and china as a way from each other. they want to see them balance the chinese power and not one that is aligned with china. vasey questions about what the invasion would mean and this
raises questions about what they will do if they ask them to take actions that are against the interest such as international organizations. or will beijing expect or demand they take more actively something that it's not done in the recent years. in the short term it's not what we would think which is to say okay we need to move on but to try to keep russia from moving away from neutrality in the case of the crisis to move towards china's society and this is crucial because the level of the military defenses most of the frontline 80% by some is dependent on the origin
equipment. through the purchase of the commodities this instinct is going to keep its ties with russia despite the concerns that i've laid out but also including indian memories far more reliable than anybody else. while there are several irrespective before that there are several with trajectories that are opposite of that. like that in declining partnership it still remains relevant particularly in the defense space and the
multilateral arena and as fiona hill eluded tore earlier in the interests down the line. to balance the russian invasion for the internal and external in paragraphs to take advantage of the questions that russia is offering but it's complicated with those that are economically you are also seeing this imperative.
of war this isn't an area of development and criticized countries with the mindsets that were encroaching on others so heis echoing something he said before but the fact he's gone public is significant. it's been exaggerated in the past and now we are in danger of the rebuke because do not expect india to give upru that relationship but the significance speaking out dipublicly on those concerns tht they have expressed privately in the past because i think they recognize the longer this continues, the moreca the damage of the interests i've outlined
as well as the fact it isn't a strategy to be seen among other partners to only support or not to speak out against russia so i will stop there and say more -- >> it is an honor to be here with my colleagues and be part of the forum. i'm going to start with china's response to the russian invasion of ukraine and try to understand since the beginning it's to say that it's a neutral third party to the conflict that it supports peaceful negotiations and respects territorial integrity while at the same time amplifying the russian narrative thateg disregard for the russian security interests are basically the reasons that david cause to have no choice but to respond. the insistence of neutrality has been met with skepticism because
20 days before the russian invasion of ukraine the president hosted president putin at the opening of the olympics where they released an unprecedented joint statement and in the statement the countries reaffirmed or affirmed the no limits partnership making the case western democracies shouldn't haveve a monopoly over what aov democracy is and shouldn't impose their standards on others and basically accuse the united states and its partners of violating what they call indivisible security and pursuing their own security at the expense of russian and chinese security interests. t there are discussions about hw much she knew about the invasions to invade ukraine and whether he greenlighted these plans and while we may never know exactly to what extent the
chinese new, i suspect beijing was probably taken aback by what has happened in ukraine and by the global backlash against china and the cost that it has paid for supporting the russian narrative on ukraine. but beijing has decided to double down at least rhetorically on its alignment with moscow and it's shown it's unwilling to directly condemn the war of aggression though it has raisednm concerns or questis as mentioned at the outset. these actions have raised concerns here in washington as well as europe and asia about the strategic intention and long-term outlooks and the situation in taiwann which is t in beijing's interest so this raises the question why has beijing stood by russia and why hasn't it distanced itself more and i thinkd there are several
reasons for this. first it's clear they need to direct parallels between their situation and russia's predicament. they see nato enlargement is similar to the strengthening of u.s. alliances in asia with the security paths and say this is western encirclement and sort of plans to beijing and moscow. they certainly do not want to make an enemy of its nuclear power neighbor and be bogged down by a rival rivalry with russia especially at a time when china needs as many strategic partners as possible as it looks at long-term competition with thee united states. china basically sees russia as a great power partner pushing back for what it calls countering what they see as a western
dominated global order, western dominated financial system, western long armed jurisdictions with sanctions and the imposition of value so it sees russia as a good partner pushing back on allne of this and the ft that they invested personally i makes it very difficult for the chinese political system to declare that he was wrong. they've meant a total of 39 times when he came to power in 2012 which is remarkable. despite the close ties between the two top leaders, beijing's behavior since has shown us there are some limits to this so-called no limits partnership. beijing this time around was notably less enthusiastic at the summit in uzbekistan last week.
also china hasn't been given direct military aid to russia so this suggests there are limits and although beijing stated publicly it opposes all sanctions against russia and it will continue normal trade relations with russia, again china hasn't supplied weapons oc extended direct military aid. chinese banks and businesses have been on the whole largely complying with international sanctions and even though we've seen a boost in energy trade in tsome sectors such as semi conductors for instance, chinese companies have filled the gap american companies and european companies need to play in the russian market for exports of semi conductors for instance but otherwise we haven't seenav as much flow from china to russia as you would expect between two powers with the so-called no
limits partnership so these choices suggest to me that while beijing wants to maintain its ties for the reasons i laid out earlier, it also doesn't intend to significantly undercut its own interests to help putin wage a war against ukraine so that is kind of where the chinese stand right now. >> we are off to a terrific start. now i'm going to turn the conversation to something that was i would say questioned ever so delicately in the previous panel is sort of american centric thinking but i think to some extent we have to engage. so here is the question for the second segment. what impact does your analysis
of the meaning of ukraine for the united states, for india and for china have on the way the united states should be thinking about its foreign policy and conducting its foreign policy? and i think i'm going to reverse the order so i will go straight tors patricia to follow-up. >> the russian aggression raised many parallels drawn between ukraine and the taiwan predicaments. i think for those who work on asia, there have long been concerns about the shifting military balance into the streets and there's been a recognition that this balance has shifted largely in the favor in recent years and of course this has raised questions about what more can the united states do to ensure that taiwan can defend itself and stand up to
growing chinese aggression which has escalated across all domains military, economic. i think for the united states an its allies, watching ukraine especially for european countries they realize we don't want to something similar to happen in asia. it is been anio explosion of interest and desire to support taiwan and a number of high-level visits by asian and european officials of course the u.s. officials as well. and i think there's also a willingness by certain allies of the united states like japan to talk about contingencies in the streets to make sure we are prepared ifta there were to be some sort of action. but it's also important to note that there are different assessments for the situation there and different situations on what asian allies or european
allies think for the right balance of policies towards the taiwan strait. i think everyone at the end of the day wants to avoid war at all costs and of course turning to taiwan, the people of taiwan watching the situationon in ukraine this has been very sobering and sort of kicked upup this desire to be better prepared. there's a lot of enthusiasm for civilians learning about first aid for instance. there is growing support for expanding military training for men over the age of 18 which right now is four months that they want to increase it out to a year so i think it's sort of added energy to this desire for taiwan to beef up its defenses and then finally for china, i think it's been interesting to see how china has been reacting to the comparisons so beijing has been the staunchest boys for making the case that ukraine and taiwan are not the same and this is because taiwan is not a
sovereign state whereas ukraine is and beijing accused the united states of exploiting the situation in ukraine to try to increase support for taiwan and they blamed washington for emboldening the forces so that's where china is coming from and it's said that the united states is sort of calling on china to support ukraine's territorial sovereignty and integrity whereas it's undermining china. that is the argument we've seen out of beijing and this is exactly why china has worked so hard the last several decades to push the principles so that if and when there is a fight over taiwan they can say this is our territory and everybody recognizes that but that's been the sort of diplomatic strategy and finally, for china i think
watching the invasion of ukraine and its isolation has confirmed it needs to continue its push toward self sufficiency to reduce its reliance on the components to the supply chains and its ownts vulnerability to western sanctions, so it's enforced this idea with decoupling on both sides. >> i can't resist breaking ranks and asking a follow-up question. in the course of what you just said you remarked everyone agrees we must avoid the war with china at all costs. that didn't sound like the policy president biden articulated last night so what is the u.s. policy and what should it be? i don't know if it's at all
costs. nobody wants war in asia because that would be devastating for everyone involved whether it's china, the united states, taiwan, everyone so everyone wants to be avoided but the question is how to do that and others debates about whether the u.s. long-standing policy towards taiwan must be tweaked and this is where you get the debate about the strategic clarity or maintaining the strategic ambiguity. of course president biden has come out and said multiple times he would send u.s. troops if china were to invade and china gets very upset about this because they c see this as undercutting sort of the u.s. recognition of the united states long-standing policy. where i stand on this is that we need to be doing everything we can substantively to strengthen taiwan so that it can defend itself. there's a lot of good work underway to do this. but taiwan certainly is not there yet. i don't think you can
necessarily compare taiwan and ukraine with of their readiness. it's certainly going in that direction and i think the united states and allies should be supporting that while making it clear to the people of china that we are not trying to necessarily prejudice the outcome of the resolution across the differences. that's the question the people of china and taiwan must come to an agreement on peacefully, and that's kind of what we stand for making sure no decisions are made a under coercion and both sides can negotiate peacefully. >> let me raise the question about the u.s. policy towards india with an observation based on what you said in the first round and you said that india has always been interested in maintaining if i understood correctly a the separation
between russia and china rather than an alignment between them. i suspect most american foreign policy experts would agree with that overall strategic concept. we don't want the close alignment as far as i can tell. so what can american foreign policy in addition to all the other aspects of theig relationship do to try to further the long-standing objective of increasing the distance between russia and china? >> i will come back to that because i think it's become much tougher today than it would have been a year ago. the answer to do what president biden did the summer before which is try to not necessarily but have some sort of engagement with russia that would keep some
options that are not china. but i will come back to that maybe. i would say more broadly i think this is all caught up. the relations as well as how russia and china relations operate. what we've seen in terms of the impact on the policy is that it is complicated ties with a country that india is complicated and now since about 92,000 several administrations have invested considerable amounts a of resources. partly on the assumption butso also in alignment with the u.s. and partners would serve as a a balancee and contrast. as several administrations this
has complicated friction into the relationship. one thing that leads to the tie is with the european partners the differences of russia have been known and they've created problems even as recently purchasing the missile defense system so that isn't news but i do think india's response has raised questions in the administration and the establishment more broadly about what the response means for its view towards the international border more broadly and kinda you've seen potentially whether india was in the event of the contingency in the indo pacific the crisis over taiwan or the south china sea will india be?
i think at the very least what people should be concerned about a little bit is the impact of not the trajectory of the relationship but does it lower the level of enthusiasm which i thinkk it has among certain quarters in the u.s. about the relationship and the investment and at theme time when there's internal debates about whether to do something with india or not in the administration how is this impacting the battle between the internal and transatlantic and indo pacific or for instance is it going to as you think about the limited bandwidth in the administration's thinking should we be investing so much time and effort in the relationship versus other relationships so how is this feeding and i think
that could potentially have an impact. nonetheless, i mentioned some of the contradictions and one thing from the u.s. perspective that this highlights, the whole situation is the contradiction in terms of the u.s. because what the u.s. wants to do is see india move away from russia and also the ability to serve as a counterbalance holding the line at the border depends on the equipment thatat it gets and its ability to continue to get its supplies of its military readiness and ability depends on thatha equipment so i do think e administration and a the government has managed the difference as well as could be expected working from the bottom line they are not going to let
russia which could have been possible by saying you're against us and we are not going to do anything more. i think the administration has done a good job. ijo do think that there is something the government could do which is to have frank conversations behind closed doors about what the expectations of each other are because if that doesn't happen, you will see a situation where there are different expectations. very quickly in do want to say something about the global south as people talk about it and the
reason i put it in quotation marks earlier a is i think thatt is a term that hides a lot of diversity. people say the global south has similar and one of the most incisive comments and what the russians have done came from countries like kenya. when you keep the focus on that you do see countries outside of the west and see what the problems are with the invasion but you will not see countries unoutside the transatlantic domain. seeing thehe situation in the se ways over the u.s. in this system whether it's about the challenge you need to think about how to come up with communications within narrative that are going to be something they listen to.
even though they may be good d from a transatlantic perspecte and the with us or against us approach or that talks about authoritarianism versus democracy or taking the moral high ground because we have d to recognize the rest of the world doesn't necessarily see our moral high ground of us being deserving given whether it was the war in iraq or several european countries and the lack of recognition so i do think thinking about that we need an approach with countries within and who can get in line on certain positions because it isn't one large wall and there can be strategies that try to get them on board or keep them from going to thed other side.
>> i would like to invite you to speculate but let me tee up a science fiction experiment. you agreed to accept a demotion from your role as a globally recognized foreign policy guru and become the national security advisor to the president. >> in terms of lifestyle and many other ways. here's my question. if you thought you had a four years or eight years in that role, given your analysis of the way americans think about the way we should conduct a foreign policy is the way the standard realist template to the heart
account of interests what would you do differently from what is now happening, what would you do more love or less of, what difference would your analysis make to the conduct of the policy? >> right now rather than more of the same the united states it seems if you think about the history since the united states became a great power it is an oscillation between periods of significant overseas involvement binspired by some moral securiy connection followed by disillusionment and the desire retraction.
it is the case unique in its relative vulnerability to foreign attacks. unlike every other country in the world the united states isn't subject to the prospect of invasion and therefore all foreign policy is choice. if you think in terms of world order america has acquired a responsibility to maintain that but don't always necessarily feel that way especially when things go bad as they inevitably do so we were in a long trough and now as the result of the conjunction of events both ukraine and the rise of china americans once again have worked
themselves into the mode of thinking differently about their interests and thinking that they actually have the responsibility both to themselves into the andd that they want to live in to take greater risks which we are taking on the subject on the issue of taiwan and therefore we are more in that mode then we were in the late 1930s over that mentality and certain periods of the cold war so what i would want to try to do is avoid the inevitable downturn or put it off as much as possible. we see the seeds of that oscillation and the way certain segments of the party are already deciding to position
themselves against ukraine or american policy in ukraine. eleven senators voted against the latest bill and should ansomething go wrong, which by e way something always goes wrong would be the recurrence of saying wait a minute, how do we get into a this, this is the confusion about the interests because at this point a lot of people would say as rand paul and a load of republicans and a significant portion say what is our interest in ukraine we have a a interest along the southern border and that view can take hold more rapidly than you might imagine. so the task it seems to me of the leadership now is to try to conduct this policy in a way
that you can establish some consistency in american foreign policy. and that does as you were suggesting in your question require an educational element. part of that is beginning with the quarantine speech. you can't use the word liberal and this worker but it's time to take that interest seriously again and so i would like to see more of that rather than treating a this as kind of a one off. we hope that this will end well and we can move on and get back to normal. there is a constant feeling in the united states we are going to get through this and get back to normal. normal means we don't have to pay full attention to what's
going on everywhere around the world. and while you don't want to tell the americans the truth, i suppose, that we are in this like for each eternity, you do want to make it clear to them thatat this liberal world orders of great value to us and does require consistent efforts on ourr part to sustain. we did that were recently when it was the threat. i think we were overblown about the threat of communism but the domestic strategy whether we could do d the same thing now remains to be seen but of scourse, and i will end on thi, at the beginning of the series of crisis this is an early phase and what is happening in the world unless we do such a good job stanching all these efforts toff reshape the international
system in russia and china in particular and we are not really quite up to that now. we are going to see more. we were in this for the long-term whether we want to be or not. >> we are right on time and now it's your turn. si think we will start with the young woman in the back. i should say we have limited time, so no speech is pleased. >> i'm a postdoctoral study in the program and i had a question. if you could elaborate on what you were saying, and it connects to the world order.
you talked about an information campaign but when you see the currency crisis rising, commodity prices, very real implications, how much of it is in information campaign versus actual investments and aid towards our allies or partners in the global south, and how much do you see this as a priority versus something that is marginalized? >> the best strategy is to take three questions and then answers and there will be another round of questions. i had aio question for patricia.
i wondered if you could elaborate on the impact of the domestic and economic pressures especially with covid lockdowns and the real estate problems how those have affected and how to support russia and perhaps how far we might be willing to go with taiwan as well. thank you. >> now for the third question. yes, the young man in the center. >> i'm a graduate of johns hopkins science. you mentioned u.s. leadership in order. [inaudible] how do you foresee the u.s. becoming more active and the
approach showing that leadership also becoming an active partner with india and different allies there? >> okay, panelists over to you. >> very quickly, and we can talk about this more, but i don't think it can just be an information campaign. even on the fuel and fertilizer concerns that you mentioned, you have seen several countries, this is where in terms of their information campaign -- i mixing my metaphorsrs here, but it's pd off. you have heard them say the russian invasion is at fault. even though there are not any sanctions -- i do think you have seenav more effort may be not at the beginning. iin think there was an underestimation of the kind of
invasion but also the response. i think the administration as well as other countries and the transatlantic states as well paying more attention to this issue, but the recognition at the end of the day if you want to get other countries to think about these issues in similar ways and focus on the kind of violation, you have to actually be responsive to their concerns as well which is going to be on these concerns. it's going to get worse before it gets better. we've seen the impact and we will see more broadly where these commodity prices are going to lead up to -- it might not yet have been created orex exacerbated, but they are not doingin very much to help suppot it either, so i think we have to get on board, figured all the
long term concerns because i don't think they are going to go away anytime soon. >> on the question about china's domestic economic situation and how that impacts the foreign policy behavior. the slowdown of economic growth in china because of the strict policy and problems in the real estate industry and other industries has definitely made an impact on china and that is something that keeps the communist party up at night. under the ccp, china has had phenomenal growth for the last several decades. the reason why many citizens have tolerated the sort of monopoly over power is because they have this contract. at least materially for many chinese, so this has worked for now. but there is a slowdown and so i think that makes a love of chinese leaders nervous. and to deal with, they freely
sort of doubled down on state intervention in the state pushing its global and common prosperity can pan am sending in more oversight. i don't think it sits well with the people of china so there's a lot of people that are unhappy with the growing audiological turn of the country so this is a lot to deal with. there've been arguments i've seen recently that because china's economically slowing down, perhaps it might strike even faster on taiwan while itne has the ability to do so. this is a debate that has become popular right now. i don't think we can say definitively that that is the case or not. i think that their president has held his own and says he doesn't want the problem to be passed down multiple generations, that it needs to be taken care of in
order for china to achieve but there d isn't a dj and that they will move on a certain date. they are preserving their ambiguity and have a lot to do.e they need to preserve their legitimacy at home, and i think that serves as a source. >> i think it's possible to overstate. a i slightly disagree on the significance of how the united states messages around the world. i think that it's pretty clear most countries around the world want to know what is in it for them in any given situation. they've listedes what the other countries want and how they've been affected and i think the
question is if the united states and the transatlantic war in general take over meeting some of these needs are not. i think in answer to your question, when the united states is most effective, it is thinking globally. it's thinking about exactly the question ofs what is that that's motivating others and what do they need to the degree that it's possible to meet those needs, then the united states u can try to do that. i would say the united states is like any other country, not necessarily always attuned to what other countries want and need and much more attuned to what they want and need but that's like all countries, certainly like india. so, but that is the goal. the goal is to meet the various. i don't think it matters very much quite honestly whether the
united states has every single country on the right side of the question. there really are a limited number of countries whose actions fundamentally matter. most of those in the current situation -- when you look at countries like japan and others, they are worried about china takingsi aggression, and they lk to the united states for security. usually the united states is offering that, and if it isn't, you're basically on the american side. so i think america has been hated around the world much more in the past than it currently is. if you think about the lateca
1960s, officials were obsessed with the fact the world hated them. it is a common fixture of international relations with the united states. and we should try to make in so far. the way to do that is to focus on the very specific material and practical needs and desires of the countries around the world. >> with that, i wish there were time for more questions, but it is my duty to bring both the panel and the overall forum to a conclusion. i want to thank the panelists very much for such clarity and offering their views and for all of you for taking the time and trouble and the moderate covid