tv [untitled] September 6, 2016 7:01pm-9:05pm EDT
feminism but i believe there are a lot of other people who do it differently. i'm of the mind-set that other people can call their feminism different things too and to me it's still feminism if it smells like feminism and looks like feminism and helping the world look for equal. we're going to talk about how we can work together to grow movements and move beyond the tension points that we have to be able to build together for a more equal future. what we're going to do to get this started, because we want to have time for the organizing meeting. can't be an organizer without taking advantage of these ie mazing women and minds in this room right now and saying that we're going to give kind of an opening where everyone is going to tell you who they are and what brought us to this place and then we're going to get into questions i have and then get into your questions as we explore this topic. so first i am going to just introduce each panelist by name
and then they're going to tell you the real heart of who they are. we have kelli skoloda. we have alex regalado, the cofounder of twig how to.com. and i had the pleasure and honor of being one of the judges for the f word contest winner and i voted for her video to be number one so i was really excited that the will of all of the judges also came to this conclusion because it was the right one. and also angelique roche who is also just been sister colleague friend of the movement and i would not want to be in the trenches with anyone else but angelique, spent a very negative 22 degree weathering the primaries together with her not that long ago. i'm really pleased to be with this group and to dig into our
discussions. first we're going to talk to kelley and hear what feminism means to you and what brought you to this conversation and what excites you about feminism. >> thanks jamia and thanks panelists. is this on? can you hear me? >> that one is on. >> there we go. thank you. so it's great to be here. i have been to all 12 of the 12 blogher conferences over the years and so it's -- i met alisa and lisa way back before they got started, even before their first conference. so i've been with them every step of the way. as jamia said, i'm kelley skoloda where i'm a partner and ooich run the practice for the past decade. i'm also a published author of the book "too busy to shop" marketing to multiminded women.
and most importantly i'm a mom, a sister, a friend, an aunt and a woman who thinks about feminism and what it means to me and have done that many years of my life. i do it from a couple of perspectives. one is from the personal perspective, right, as a woman. and especially these days now that i have a son who is 16 and a daughter who is in the hatch program next door who is 12, i think about what it means to me as a woman. as u was really thinking through what i would say what feminism means to me, i was in a conversation with my kids and it's amazing how perspectives between generations can change, right? so my daughter and my niece who were there when i asked them what feminism means to them, you know, i don't know. i mean does it matter? you know, what does it mean. and i've raised my kids in a pretty, i guess, feminist household and when they said that i thought, what does that mean? did i not do a good job?
am i doing a good job? or is that things are so equal in their world that they don't need to think about that. and that's pretty much what it came down to when i asked the girls. we can do what we want. you know, we feel great in the classroom. they're just so comfortable in their own skin and feel so good about their opportunities. it's not even a question. and then when i talked about this topic with my son who is 16, he said, mom, you're sitting on a feminist panel? what if you went to a conference and there was a mennist panel. wouldn't that seem pro-man and wouldn't you not like that. what does it say if you're on a feminist panel. so because in his world too, things seem to be so equal and girls and boys are treated pretty equally. he doesn't see the disadvantage. when i talk about unequal pay and those things, it's foreign concept. i think about it from that perspective and how have their views changed my views of feminism.
and then of course i think about it from the professional side because i'm a professional brand marketer. and what i do every day is counsel clients on how to represent women, men, families in their communications. and i get to work with big ad agencies in the realm of pr and marketing. i feel like i have a great privilege but also a great responsibility to help marketers understand who women are and how important it is for them to be portrayed in the right way. so when i think about myself and feminism, that's how i think about it and on those two different levels. >> thank you. and now i'd like to hear from alex and hear about the same question, what brought you to feminism and what does feminism mean to you. >> yeah, thanks. so my name is alex regalado. i work as a video editor here in los angeles and i specialize in documentary and socialist work. i'm really into women's rights.
so for fun my friend katelyn and i who is here, we cofounded a website called twig how to and it has articles and videos that we think all young women need to know. we're creating a damsel free world one article at a time. so it really, it came from this idea that after you graduate college or you enter the working world, there's so many things you still don't know how to do, like how do you set up a fourk 401(k). it's become an open forum where women can join a nationwide network of women. i work on the website with a bunch of other awesome ladies and we decided to enter a video contest, #the f word. we came together to create this video and i wanted to share it with you today. i hope you like it. ♪ >> this part of me is seen as
too distracting for class. this part of me is taken less seriously in boardrooms. this part of me make others think i shouldn't show my vulnerability. some say this part of me is asking for it. this part of me determines my privilege. feminism to me means my part in this world isn't dictated by my gender or the parts of my body.
this part of me takes a stand against prejudice. this part of me pushes my creative boundaries. this part of me lifts up others in my community. this part of me develops ground breaking innovations. this part of me shatters glass ceilings. feminism to me means my part in this world is determined by my choices, my actions and the
parts of my character. ♪ >> it's beautiful. [ applause ] and now angelique, tell us about what feminism means to you. >> so, i actually will start off with my video, because i have a very interesting story that goes about how i even got to the foundation and the fact that i was not always a feminist. at least i didn't think i was. and so what i am actually going to start with was a little bit of a project that happened for me when i first started working for the mrs. foundation, a lot of my friends were why are you working for the ms. foundation. i consider myself a black feminist, or i consider myself a womanist or i consider myself a
humanist. i don't understand why you would work for a feminist organization. it led me to ask a question as to okay what does feminism mean to you. so the ms. foundation, we put together over three days 42 different women, men, transgender men, black, white, from the ages of 72 all the way through 81, which is what gloria steinem was at the time and asked them that exact question because i asked that question to myself before taking the position at the ms. foundation. this is a composite of what happened. ♪ >> people have their own impression of what feminism was about. many people oftentimes felt that the word itself left out the history or left out individual voices and it was oftentimes defined in the media by white men. and at the end of the day, when i'd look at myself in the
mirror, i'm a black woman and i didn't quite know where i fit in that. >> feminism at the beginning profoundly makes people uncomfortable. >> i never identified as a feminist and it's largely because i guess the images of what i had of what a feminist was growing up were really these images of white women and privilege. >> the act of creating who i was as someone who was born female was very much a feminist act. >> in the '60s and '70s there was one way to express your feminism and today there are just as many ways as there are women. >> as a woman with a disability, traditional white middle class feminism never worked for me because i was never going to be equal to a white man. >> we all come to the table with our own stories. you know, we bring, i want to call it, our personal histories
and we often bring the collective histories of whatever tribe we come from with us. >> the question is what truths are missing here. so in that sense my feminism is intersectional because intersectional feminism is to ask what truths are missing here, what voices aren't being heard here, who isn't at the table that you don't even realize who is not at the stable. >> 21st century feminism needs to center those most impacted and look at all of the conditions that women face. >> i was raised by a feminist. i was raised not to be a feminist but to have a level of understanding of human interaction and justice. and i think being in that environment it was easy for me to be like yes, i'm a feminist. it wasn't a hard thing for me to say. >> when i go throughout my day i really try to align my politics using an intersectional feminist lens which means i make decisions on is this good for a
poor black woman. >> what defines me as a feminist is this core belief that all individuals, men, women and anybody who defines themselves in between should have access to the social, political and economic equality that this world presents to us. >> what makes me a feminist is that i understand that if women aren't free i can never be free. you know, as a gay man, really understanding that their struggle is actually my struggle too. >> the feminist values that i want to raise sara with are an understanding that every single person is equal. >> my feminism is a form of faith. it's a form of faith. it is having the faith to believe, do you know what i mean, that women are whole, complete, you know, human beings and should have all of the rights and privileges of you know, every male human being on the planet.
♪ >> feminism is the social economic and political equality of all genders. >> all genders. >> all genders. ♪ >> so one of the great things about this is it is actually the definition of what i have come to believe is why i'm a feminist. as you noticed, there are a lot of times there's stereotypes when it comes to feminism. there are a the propaganda that people say oh no, i don't burn my bra, or i'm not man hating, why would i be a feminist. i don't need to be part of a movement. and one of the things that i love about how feminism is transitioning is that it's about identity.
it's about defining who you are and having the ability to say, you know what, i'm not a feminist or i am a feminist. and that's cool. but it's also about setting the table the right way. as you noticed, we didn't just have a video of the same people who all looked alike and did the same job who are all from the ms. foundation who were all the same age who came and talked about it. and we were okay with people saying i didn't define myself as a feminist. and some of our interviewees said i'm going to say this before i get on camera. cool, say it. we want you to say it. that's part of the conversation. and so one of the things that i love about being a feminist is that every day i get to wake up and i get to have this conversation. i get to have the conversation where someone goes, well i don't agree with that. it's like you know what, you have the freedom not to. and that is the core part of
this, you have the freedom to get up every single day and not have the fear that if you disagree with someone else that all of the sudden you are devalued. you have less opportunities. because you decide to wake up and you feel at your core that your identity is not female, your identity is not male, that you are not binary. if you wake up one day and you decide that hey, i'm going to paint my toenails green and dye my hair purple that you can walk out of your home and have the same social, political and economic opportunities and value as any other human being. and so the core part of it is exactly why i'm a feminist. it's exactly why i get up every day and i work as hard as i possibly can to find people of all genders who are working for that core part. and i'm lucky enough to wrk at the ms. foundation, amplifying the voices of women to ensure that they're empowered and
engaged to be able to create the solutions in their own communities. to be able to change that imbalance of equity. so i will yield the mike. >> thank you so much. and i think -- i just want to dive into this question and have some real talk about what comes up at happy hour that we can bring to the light today. so i've been a part of a lot of conversations, sometimes, you know, that happy hour will be a lot of women of color, sometimes it will be black women, sometimes it will be millennials all together and sometimes i will be the only younger person in a conversation where it's a lot of older women. and i've heard some common themes. wow, working with millennials who haven't paid their dues. they don't know what we had to fight for. they need to get on board and understand that we know the right way to go. one thing i've heard. another thing i've heard is wow, i never get to take ownership of my power. people just want me to do busy
work. i'm not getting the support that i need. i'm not getting to express passion in the way that i want to because my workplace doesn't understand that social media has actual impact. another thing that comes up at happy hour, this is one of the most important historic moments of our time. i cannot believe that these young women are not supporting x candidate. and on and on and on. so i'm sure many of us have heard these conversations. many of us have been a part of these conversations. many of us probably felt strongly triggered or some were in between of the things i brought up. that's why it's important for us to have this conversation. let's get real. in 98, 97 days, i'm scared to count, we are going to be facing some very serious impacts no
mo matter who wins around economic justice, paid childcare, health care, education in this country, the supreme court reproductive rights. all of those things are going to be impacted by the decisions that are made. and right now there's varying and diverse theories of change that a lot of us have who call ourselves feminist or people who believe in equality. and there is a debate out there about whether it's a good or bad thing that we have different theories of change or different approaches about how to reach that equality. and i just wanted to ask you to have this be a conversation right now about what you think about this time and this moment. is this a time where we have to be complete unified strategy, unified terminology, unified jargon or is this a time where we can dig into these contradictions or dig into these tensions? is there a space for us to have
people who don't want to call them feminists within the movement. these are the questions i would like to hear from you in asking about what feminism means to us and also about whether this moment in time necessitates specific action. >> interesting question. >> yeah, i mean, i feel like if i'm being true to myself and my beliefs and even the feminist movement, which is more about opportunity and dreams that can come true for everyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, you know, any difference, then i feel like there is room for people to go about it in many different ways. right? depending on where you have in your life and what your area of responsibility is, i'll go back just to my personal perspectives and how i feel like i can impact feminism, you know, as a parent and being able to talk to my kids about why this is a
historic moment and engage them in conversation. i mean if you don't think about it, you don't explore it. so just having that conversation and understanding the differences of opinion with them i think is an important step. and then when i think about myself as a brand marketer and how ever client i counsel can't go about it the same way. nor might they be so inclined to do it in a really aggressive way. but if they can do it in a way that i think is right for them, their company and their brand and still be true to showing humans as humans and doing those things right, then that's the way they go about it. when i think about myself in the workplace and not every situation is the same, but being able to -- being active in supporting women and helping them think about what's going on and enabling them to make their own decisions.
i think that freedom of choice to decide how you want to pursue it is important from where i sit. >> i think it's an interesting question and it brings up two things for me, which is, one a motto that i have which is my liberation is not yours to define. i'm an extra millennial. i'm an '80s baby and i'm right in the middle and i think that does make a difference. i think it makes a difference also that i am a core identifying woman of color from the south who worked in d.c. and now lives in brooklyn. right? my problems are different. and i think it boils down to that, right. when i first walked into the ms. foundation, i had come from politics and i looked at my boss who is an avid feminist and i said hey, so, teresa, you know i'm not a feminist, right?
and she looks at me, she brought me to the mission on the wall of the ms. foundation and i read it. i was like, cool. she's like do you believe in the social, political and economic equality of all genders. and i'm going to sensor myself because we're being videotaped. of course i do. who wouldn't believe in that. that's like a principle. we later found out in polling there's a significant amount of people that don't believe in that. but even when we did that polling we didn't get 100% of people who believed in it. but when we say hey, do you consider yourself a feminist, only 16% of people said yes. men, women, black, white, cross generation, completely split across the united states. but when we asked them to you believe in the social, political and economic equality of all genders, it jumped three times
for that. something you said is poignant. not every client is going to approach equality and feminism -- and i don't say women's rights. i say issues that impact women in their communities. because our identities have so much broader than what people consider to be those quote up quote women's issues. that i truly believe you're right. everyone comes to the table differently, everyone brings tight the table differently. and about three months after working for the ms. foundation i walked in my boss's office and i was like hey, so you know i'm a feminist, right? and she kind of looked at me, very dry, slight roll of her eyes, she's like, okay. glad you figured it out. and i walked away. but one of the things i really appreciate about that conversation, and this goes back to your question, is she didn't force that on me. she didn't say you have to be a feminist or you can't work for
the ms. foundation. which some people would absolutely and totally believe in. but i think as we approach these issues we've got to approach them like that. we've got to be able to say no, i don't think a man can't be a feminist. of course a man can be a feminist. do you believe in a political, social and economic equality of all genders. cool. come on board. we're totally down for you. you don't have to say feminist as long as you believe everybody should have the same opportunities. because i think we close our doors, we close the opportunity of being able to have more partners and more allies and more people at the table with brilliant ideas, brilliant ideas. you know, we even came up with black men in feminism this year. we has a trans man talk about how there's privilege in being a transman and the fact that he has seen both sides of it. that part of the conversation would not happen if the table
wasn't open to different perspectives and different ideas. and people who are allowed to identify themselves in such a way in believing that it's about equality. right? so, you know. >> this idea of it being about equality, that to me is the connective tissue beyond all of our dogs in the fight so to speak, if you'll allow that metaph metaphor, there is that goal. liberation can look like many different things for different ones of us based on our identity. i think a lot about how there's a difference between righteous debate and deep diving into questions we need to dive into about our various identities. and then also sometimes the media appropriating movements and disagreements that we have in order to perpetuate stereotypes open women that are divisive. about catfights and feminist
hysteria for example in order to then undermine women's agency a and undermine the progress that's been made. if you can talking about what you thoughts are about how to challenge this trend. what should we do when we do disagree. in this culture of think pieces and call out culture and twitter to support each other and not derail each other when we disagree on tactics but agree on overall strategy. >> you can have different views but for me it's about promoting something that's still empowering, inclusive and positive overall. so you don't have to spread the call out culture. you can create your own sphere if you don't see yourself in the media. create a place where you can talk and discuss things openly. as long as we're just really trying to amplify all voices equally, then we're already working towards something good. >> i think there's a second part
to that, though. within the silos and within creating your own voice, there has to be organizations that are sitting out there going, hey, we're going to make space for you. so i think that's also something that's very very important in the conversation, is having those people at the organization saying, oh, wow, this one xyz is doing something amazing and creati creative. he's make sure we're making space for them so that they're part of the conversation. and that's an interestingly difficult demand sometimes in the world of click bait as i call it where they would rather see a at the fight on twitter between nikcki minaj and whoeve it is last week. i'm sure. i don't pay attention. or you know pulling out who was naked on what cover of what magazine last week. and i think that all comes down to consumers.
are we being responsible consumers or are we really interested and bored with our lives and want to see what's happening. literally what is that. >> and i'm wondering about the best practices and ethics since i was thinking about your work and kelley's work too about that. because i think in the spaces i'm in we're talking -- we have a lot of work to do to be more inclusive and to do the work better always. but i think in the spaces i'm in we have a lot of people who are thinking about intersectional theory and feminism, for example. and i'm wondering when you are in a position as a brand marketers with when you're in an industry like in tech for example that might be male dominated, how do we bring up the parts of best ethics or when there might not been multigeneration views representing. and i'm really interested in
what your thoughts are about that. >> there are a couple of things. from a marketing standpoint i think we can -- and i always try to be really smart stewards of my client's marketing and image and make sure it's very much in line with the research that we see. and we do tons of research into women and moms and make sure they're portraying women and moms in a way that's consistent with how women want to be seen. we try and match that. i think also being more outspoken and trying to really be change agents within your organization. and there are wonderful things happening in the marketing space ranging from the 3% conference to just i see a whole kind of resurgence of women finding their voice. and also helping men find their voice so we can all work on that together. i also think there is something very specific that we can all do
to help each other, and it's not so much finding your voice but last -- about 18 months ago we did a global research study in conjunction with blogher and it was all about trying to understand women and moms and the role they play as breadwinners. and so what it found to no surprise is that each more than expected -- and i think pugh said four in ten women were now the breadwinner in their family. it was actually closer to 5 to five. half of the women are on par or breadwinners in their family. which is fan tas pick. the earning power of women has gone up so dramatically. a lot with that came a couple of things that were disturbing. more stress. and importantly when i heard sheryl crow mention that you have to nourish yourself before you nourish others, women tend
not to do that. the number one thing that women start to do when they make more money is they lose track of their own health. people who aren't of good health can't be stewards of anything. and if you're not in good health then the role model you're setting for the next generation is probably not the greatest it can be. we're doing this with great intention because we're trying to do everything for everyone else before we do it for ourselves. if there's one thing we can do for each other, i'm not sure i would focus on the media or you know divisiveness. if in our own subtle way we ask our mom, our girlfriend, our sister, you know, what have you done to take care of yourself. did you get your mammogram. why don't we take a walk. it's okay to take a little time off of work and go do what you need to do, meditate, get a massage. maybe we should be eating better. so i think if we can all just help ourselves and our friends and female relatives take better
care of their health, that would be one veryhe research that we've done that says that can actually help women in their lives. and i guess i would have one provok tiff comment about how we can stop all of this. i would wonder is feminism the right word. what you just said struck me so much, angelique, about how few people identify as feminists but how many people identify with the underlying principle. so is it time for a new name or you know, is humanism is new feminism. i don't know. but maybe there's a way to be more inclusive in the terminology so that people associate more with what they already associate with in name and not just in philosophy. >> which i think is interesting. we've had that conversation, we've actually talked about it. and i think it's a double edge
sword. we know a lot of reasons why people don't associate with feminism is because there was a huge propaganda campaign done in the '70s and '80s and we're looking at the first generation that grew up with feminist moms. you're growing up with moms making decent money, out in the workplace, exactly what you said about your kids, they see the world differently. and so there's this understanding that maybe feminism wasn't running as fast as we wanted it to run behind how the world was changing. so i think there's a lot of really good -- that's a really good point. i want to harken back to the self care thing for a second. we're actually starting to look at what that means for activists now. and so not just looking at everyone else but we're looking at as people are fighting the good fight, as people on the ground fighting for better pay and equal jobs and people are fighting for reproductive justice. we're looking at us saying while
you're giving everything that you have and you're doing all of the things at the same time, how about we take that step back and we start looking at what it means to do this self care. because it's not -- it's like the movement can't even continue going on, right? you can't have a feminist movement is everyone is burned out. one of the key things we heard is that she talked to second wave feminists and they were like are we still fighting for the same things we were fighting for 25 years ago? and the thing is yes, you're actually fighting for it. it manifests differently. the microaggressions are defense and countless. but at the end of the day, again back to the conversation, right? when we really sit there and talk about it and we really go back to the core, we're still fighting for the same things.
we're fighting for the same opportunities. you look in the tech field and you look in the philanthropic field, we have the same problem. there's not enough women in seener leadership. there's not enough diversity of women in senior leadership, whether it's education, it's race, it's gee yographygeograph understanding how to reach out to the people you're working with. that also goes to the conversation as well -- and i'll get off my soap box. i think to how people are focusing differently when they're doing branding and marketing. for me, because i have this background, i think what you do every single day is no different than what an activist does every single day on trying to sell an issue. trying to get lawmaker to pay attention, trying to get the press to pay just as much attention with the media is the
same fight across the spectrum. your clients are dealing with it every single day because most people are going to look at your clients and go, is this a good company, does this company reflect the values that i feel are core to me and my family. and i think that's one of the great things about having women be the deciding factor on where a lot of money gets spent because there is that added conversation about does this company reflect me. >> yeah. i've been working with client whirlpool on a campaign, since you mentioned it, made me think of it, called everyday care. it addresses women as caretakers and really acknowledges that so many people in so many roles, women, men, grandparents, aunts are really now, because the family is not the traditional family anymore, so many different people have roles as caretakers and they build a whole campaign about it and acknowledging the importance of
caretakers, not just the women or the moms. and they took that campaign one step further this past week with a part of the campaign called care counts where they actually installed washers and driers in schools, a couple of schools here in california as a test program and in those particular schools kids don't necessarily come to school if they don't have clean clothes. they're very sensitive about it. and so they installed the washers and dries and found they could impact attendance in school with kids having cleaner clothes. you think about companies that are doing fantastic things like that that are helping families in general and you have -- and i feel privileged to be able to have a role in something like that. because i think it not only furthers feminism, but it furthers, you know, it furthers dreams coming true for everyone. >> what i think is so powerful about that is this idea of self care. you know, we were talking about
it on the individual level and then the collective level. which as an organizer i'm very interested in. audrey lorde who was an amazing feminist philosopher, she said that self care was an act of political revolution, political warfare was her terminology. and specifically when the most marginalized communities survive beyond every attempt to diminish them. that's a welding of power by taking care of ourselves and prioritizing ourselves in a social structure that undermines our humanity. so i think this idea about care is really important. we think about culture shift as well, to see that companies are now also talking about caretakers is exciting to me because there are movement like caregivers across generations doing great work about caretakers and making sure that their policy is are in hand for caretakers. as someone who is in my early
mid-30s now seeing the care taking that my boomer parents have to do for their parents and their parents are living longer, into the 90s and the kind of support that they need to give and also what happens to your social security when you enter your 90s as a woman in this country as well. all of those things have now emboldened me to fight even more for elders because i see that first hand. so i think that that connection between movements and also how these conversations get enacted in the mainstream are really, really important as well. because all of that is going to come together to push us closer to change. like i promised, we were going to have an organizing meeting component. so our mike wrangler meadow who is back there is going to have the mike for anyone who would like to ask a question, give a comment, so that we can engage in a discourse together. hi. and also just so you know, this is being filmed live for tape
for c-span. so speak directly into the mike so we can hear your beautiful voice. >> okay. great. thank you. this is great. thank you. my name is lynn johnson, i'm an entrepreneur and i own a company called spotlight girls in the bay area. one thing, kelley i'm really moved by some of the things you said in terms of, you know, two things, feminism isn't the right word and then you started talking about care. and so the way i come into feminism is actually the way that we get to that -- the way that we're going to get to a more equal world for everyone is to actually elevate what has been seen as feminine. and one of the examples of that is care. and so i think that yes, i totally agree with the ms. definition of feminism but to me it goes beyond that. we get to that equality by noticing that things are
imbalanced and that there is an overmasculine zags in our culture. it doesn't live in one man or whatever. and i's not nes men versus women. but my work is all about putting women and girls kind of center stage in the conversation because, because we need to bring things back into balance. but what happens is that gets into issues of like gender difference, right, in a way that gets kind of tricky. so there might be something about inherent differences between men or women and something like that. it's not exactly what i'm saying when i say that. but i'm curious to hear you, any of you actually on the panel respond to that in any of your work, you know, because it's tricky when we start talking about men are like this and women are like this. at the same time there are things that we understand to be in the feminine realm, like care and compassion and connection that we all need. there are a lot of men out there
that need more of that in their life. i think that's going to happen when we kind of take -- not take over. i almost said take over. when we rise up. >> you're speaking of a revoluti revolution. >> i'm quite a revolutionary in my work. i want to know if you can speak to that and anything you do in terms of how you kind of come -- that's tricky, right, the gender difference. >> how insightful. i can't wait to check out your spotlight girls site. it's really a beautiful definition, i think, in letting the feminism be showcased and rise to the top. that's an interesting insight into care. in fact i'm going to take that back to the team to talk about that. and i also think i've seen other things that may be along those lines, maybe not. but when i think about campaigns, like a girl, which has gotten, you know, so much recognition and deservedly so,
and highlights, starting with the negative but highlights how those things are actually positives for girls, very powerful. when i think about a campaign the girl scouts did with cheryl sanburg, same kind of thing. it starts in a provocative way but really gets to things that girls are good at. how you can be constructive around highlighting the leadership skills of girls. so it's interesting how people come at it in different ways as opposed to maybe, you know, head on. under armour did an excellent job with their recent campaign. i go to canne for the gold lion's marketing festival. and over the last couple of years you've seen a huge trend there for marketing with a purpose. and oftentimes that purpose is empowering girls, which, you know, i've been delighted to see
and i think clients are realizing that there's a lot of power in that. but something i'd also -- i think i predict happening in the future is empowering boys again, you know. girls are now getting, you know, college degrees and masters degrees at higher levels than boys. we're not here to have a competition, who can do it further. but i've seen so much emphasis put on girls and it's so wonderful and they've benefitted in so many ways. i can see the pendulum swinging towards helping boys do the same thing. sometimes boys have lost ground in all of this. that's how i'm thinking about it. >> i think it starts with allowing children to decide what their personalities are going to manifest as. we as a society have decided a long time ago, and it starts with boys don't cry. girls don't play with action figures. my personal favorite, and this
is another company, goldie blocks. we honored goldie block as couple of years back and one of the reasons we did is because i hate pink. i have a personal problem with pink. every time i try to go buy a pair of running shoes, they're either pink or they're purple. i want a pair of blue running shoes. i want that to be okay. and i want people not to go, oh, why is the entire workout section in dodd ls pink for women but guys are black and blue why is there no pink in the guy's section. why is not okay. i think we have to take a step back and really think about, you know, two centuries ago guys were wearing stockings and dresses. their names were courtney and ashley and christian. like really we as a society have
made decisions on what is inherently feminine or masculine. i love wearing bow ties. i tie them better than most men do and that should be okay. it doesn't mean i'm being mas cue line or being like a guy. it means i really like bow ties. i use it as an example of when you allow children to decide that their caregivers -- how they identify, whether they're nonbinary or identify as feminine or masculine, i know a lot of guys who are stay at home dads that are ten times better at being caregivers than mom is. here i don't change diapers. please handle this. and i think we as a society, it's bigger than one person. we have to take a step back and just allow those things to be instead of trying to define it. >> and i think what's also interesting that i just wanted to add to this too is how there's a difference between
masculinity and toxic masculinity which has come up with culture conditioning and that these constructs of gender just like race doesn't exist. there's no dna code for race, that race is something that humans created an an illusion they used to place economic and social control over people. so when we think about gender, i think that's another thing that we need to talk about which is the reason that care taking and care giving has been devalued in society is because that women were people who were traditionally doing it and there's an economic labor impact that's connected with that. that's why nail salons, when you think of the exploitation that happens in nail salons, who are the bodies typically doing nails, women of color who are low income and that there is a connection between that and how femininity is seen, womenhood, all of those things. that's another piece just to add to your astute question. we're getting close to the end but i wanted to give time for
one more question and then ach our question cindy is going to be the one to drop the mike for us at the end. it's going to be for you. but i wanted to say at the end i want each of our speaker to our everyone know how to stay in contact with you in your work so we make sure we have that in the agenda. >> oh, you're there. hi. i'm cynthia samuels. and this morning i went to the merck for mothers thing. and this guy, amazing man, his wife died of an embolism the day after their daughter was born. if she had spoken up about her family history more aggressively, it was the doctors didn't know. and everybody started talking about getting women to be assertive. i did this 30 years ago. i don't understand when we talk about it across generations what we do about these basic emergency situations, what's going on politically right now. and i feel terrible, because i listen to you, and you have
these wonderful so, much more deep thoughts than i do. i'm just really scared and pissed off. and i want to know where we put the mental feminism in the spectrum with these terrible facts that we're living with and how we can use what you think about best to make the other emergency things go away. >> not much. >> so i want to ask alex, because i think what art is so important in culture and it needs to be valued more in our society. so i want to say this with strong intention. because often what you do with the visual and the music and all those things together can communicate to a part of our soul that words alone cannot. and soy was thinking that would be the perfect way to talk about the mind and communicating the righteous anger and the rage and take us away from the mind sometimes how it gets away from the true essence of what needs to be done. if you have some insights for
the question as well for the work you do. >> i think since feminism is such an alienating term nowadays, try to make my definition were open so more people can relate to it. but at the same time we're allowed to be angry, i think. and we're allowed to say something is not right and things are not clear. growing up the media was very important in shaping who i was. like the spice girls, which seems kind of silly now. but hearing, like, girl power and seeing girls really own their bodies and who they are is so important. and i was girl power, girl power, girl power. i think that's so key. that's why i do work in the media. and try to make things that are responsible in shaping just, creating like the way i think the world should be. i don't know if that answers the question. >> it is. it's what you said basically was kind of like what i think of with gandhi, be the change.
you're creating the world the way you think should it be. and there so much vision is another great way to look at that. or aung san suu kyi. i don't know if other people know of her work in burma. she said when you're feeling helpless, help someone. so that is something that this election cycle has come to my mind many times. because i felt helpless a lot with some of the discourse and things and really thinking about what actions can i do to push against this energy that is harmful and damaging to women's humanity and to all of our humanity. so thank you so much for everyone who has been a part of in beautiful conversation. i could be in here with you all day. i wanted to ask each of you to let everybody know how to find you and the best place to find you as well, either your website, your twitter handle. i'm jamia wilson. you can find me at j-a-m-i-w on twitter. >> you can find me @angelique roche on twister.
i know it's long. and you can find our work at for women.org. >> if you want to follow us at twighow2. it stands for the winging it girls guide because we're all winging it here. or visit our website, twighowto.com that would be really cool. >> and i'm at kelly. you can find ketchum.com. and my personal website is kellyscalotta.com. >> to each of you one piece of homework. i didn't think there was going to be my homework or tweets about this panel because then you wouldn't have a come. but the homework is you should meet at least one person here and get her contact information so you can help support each other's work. because that is also feminist work that we can continue beyond this panel. thank you so much. [ applause ] >> thank you so much. >> thank you, ladies.
house veterans affairs committee, live at 10:15a.m. eastern, here on c-span3. the ongoing humanitarian crisis in sudan is the focus of the house hearing wednesday. daniel booth, the u.s. special enjoy to sudan and south sudan testifies live at 2:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. and coming up wednesday morning, veterans affairs secretary robert mcdonald on current issues facing veterans, including v.a. reforms, and access to health care for veterans. and then vet rains fairs committee member tennessee republican congressman phil roe will talk about wednesday's veteran hearing on the care the v.a. provides. the commission on care report,
criticism of v.a. secretary mcdonald and a possible subpoena by the v.a. commission regarding documents of art purchases by the v.a. nationwide since 2010. also joining us andrew stutterford, contributing editor for the national review. we'll discuss his recent story of the impact on automation on elites in america. live beginning at 7:00 eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. american history tv airs on c-span3 every weekend, telling the american story through event, interviews, and visiting historic locations. our features include lectures in history, visit to college classrooms across the country. to hear lectures by top history professors. american artifacts takes a look at the treasures at u.s. historic sites, museums and archives. real america, revealing the 20th century through archival victims v films and newsreels. the civil where. and the presidency focuses on
u.s. presidents and first ladies to learn about their politics, policies and legacies. american history tv every weekend on c-span3. this sunday night on q&a, author and columnist david cay johnston discuss "the make of donald trump." >> i met him. he speaked barnum. he is selling tickets to the amazing two-headed woman. because he was the dominant force in atlantic city, i started asking about him, and his competitors, including steve wynn and people who worked for and some big gamblers said to me donald doesn't know anything about the casino business. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. book tv on c-span2 focuses on the latest nonfiction book release through author
interviews and book discussion. the signature programs are "in-depth" a live three-hour look at one author's work through phones, e-mails and social media. "in-depth" airs the first sunday every month at noon eastern. after words including the author of a nonfiction and the interviewer, who is either a journalist or a legislator familiar with the topic. and often with an opposing viewpoint. "afterwords" every saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern. and we'll take you across the country visiting fesitvals and book parties where authors talk about their latest works. book tv is the only national network devoted exclusively to nonfiction books. book tv on c-span2. television for serious readers. coming up on c-span3, national security expert derek
s chollet. that's followed by the chair of the national transportation safety board on driverless cars. later, the senate help committee on safety issues on college campuses. now national security expert derek chollet on his book "the long game: how obama defied washington and redefined america's role in the world." he spoke at this event hosted by the american university. it's just over an hour. >> welcome. great to have everyone here for our first dean's discussion of this academic year. i'm jim goldguyer of the school of international service, and i'm delight to welcome you all to this discuss with derek chollet who is the author of "the long game: how obama defied washington and redefined america's role in the world." and as always for these dean's discussions, i'll start by kicking off the conversation for about the first half hour. and then we'll open it up to
questions from you for the second half hour. and we have the mic over here this time. so when it comes time for q&a, if you can line up at the mic to ask your question, that would be great. and it's always great for the first -- the first student has to be the bravest student to get up at the mic. so just steel yourself and be brave. because otherwise we won't have anybody standing at the mic. and it's a great pleasure to welcome derek here. derek is currently at the german marshall fund in the united states and served in a number of capacities in the obama administration, most recently as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. prior to that, he was special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning at the white house. and before that was deputy director of the policy planning staff. at the state department. so a lot to talk about. welcome. >> thanks. it's great to be here.
>> we're thrilled to have you. so i wanted to start by breaking down the title here. so we'll start with the title. and then we'll work our way to the subtitle. and that is the long game, what you mean by the long game, and how to think about the long game as something other than just, you know, wait for 10 or 20 years and you'll see how brilliant this was. and, you know, how it is not an effort to deflect from any challenges from the present. >> well, great opening question. and thanks all of you for being here. and i really want to thank my friend jim goldgeier who has been my friend for over a quarter century. we've written many books together and had many adventure together. so it's really a thrill to have this conversation with you. i'm glad we're starting with the title "the long game" because
the title has a double meaning. first i contend in this book that president obama in the execution of his foreign policy has tried to play a long game. and what i mean by that, not just that he's thinking well, you know, just wait and everything will work out fine and just ignore the issues of the moment. but to try what academics call have a grand strategy and set the united states on a course that over time can succeed. what try to do is tell the story of how president obama became president and the situation the united states was in eight years ago when by almost every measure we were losing the long game in terms of our role in the world and our act to project power and influence in the world, as well as the situation here at home. and one of the central struggles of obama's presidency, which we'll get to when you ask about the subtitle is the resistance,
the debate here in washington has to playing a long game. and so often as you've seen in the last few days as president obama has been in asia where he is trying to implement part of what he sees as a major strategic move to the asia-pacific that is going to play out over time. but yet in the course of doing that, has been buffeted by news of the day, whether it's syria or whether or not the chinese have given him the right welcome when he arrived. this gets to the second part of the book, which is the title, "the long game," which i contend in history's long game, president obama's foreign policy will be remembered as one that is quite consequential for the better. and it is often hard to see that now where there is so much turmoil in the world there is so much uncertainty. but i do believe, and i contend in this book that president obama has put the united states
in a position to preserve its power, project its power into the future. so in that sense the book is not just a defense of the obama foreign policy. of course i served in this administration for six-plus years. so it's not just my effort to justify what's happened. but it's also an attempt to explain his foreign policy. and in many ways try to go to the pain in this book. i talk about the toughest issues that this president has faced in office whether it be libya or syria or egypt or iran or israel or ukraine and russia, and to tell the story of how he tried to approach those problems while also still trying to play a long game in terms of what he was doing with american strategy in the world and the difficult trade-offs that he had to make as president. those of us who were responsible for helping formulate and implement that policy had to deal with as well in trying to
struggle through these very challenging issues in which the united states has a lot of influence and the ability to shape outcomes, but many of the swrieshs struggled with for the past seven and a half years and we're going to struggle with moving forward are the outcomes we can't control on our own. and that's something else we've had to grapple with. >> okay. let's move to the subtitle then. so when we say how obama defied washington and redefined america's role in the world, talk to us a little bit about what you mean by washington. are we talking about members of congress on capitol hill? are we talking about the think tank elites? are we talking about journalists? and in terms of redefining america's role in the world, as you know, there has been a lot of criticism of the president for not talking enough about american exceptionalism. and when we got bogged down in
that debate at various points, and now that debate has reemerged as hillary clinton has been trying to emphasize american exceptionalism. and there are people who are saying ah, look, she is emphasizing it because president obama didn't. so break this down for us. >> sure. so first on the defying washington. one of the central themes of obama's presidency, and in fact if you go back to when he started to run for president in 2007, one of the central themes of his candidacy was to try to buck the conventional wisdom of washington. one of the most important moments in his political rise was his speech in 2002 against the war in iraq. and that was something that, of course, in 2004 when he ran for senate, but then as a candidate for president in 2007 and '08 was a distinguishing feature of his candidacy. and certainly i experienced in the years that i served in the administration a sense of trying
to resist what the washington wisdom was saying the u.s. should be doing or student shouldn't be doing in the moment. first start with this disclaimer. i'm part of the washington establishment. i've worked in and out of government, worked in and out of think tank. and for 28 years. so i'm not writing this as an outsider looking in decrying all of what's happening in washington. there is plenty of books that do that. this book is trying to look at this from the inside and be a little self-critical of the way that the washington wisdom has said things should be done over the years. and president obama, you see this time and again in interviews that he gives throughout his presidency, not just recently, but from the day he took office, there was a sense of pride that he is willing to stand up to what editorial pages says he should be doing or what washington wise people say he should be doing. and i think there is a couple reasons for that. part of it is his background where he has come, how he
emerged as a political figure. this is definitely part of his political character. but i also think it goes -- there is a deeper reason there. and this gets back to the title, "the long game." you think of what the president has been trying to do in design a strategy and execute it over time. a strategy that both takes into account what america is trying to do in the world and our ability to influence outcomes around the world as well as the health of the united states here at home. which oftentimes in a foreign policy debate gets treated as sort of a zero sum set of issues. whether you're concentrating too much on foreign policy, your domestic situation is bad or vice versa. when in fact you have to look at it holistically. most presidents do, most successful presidents do. certainly that's the way president obama did. and so when he is trying to execute a long game, he's willing to be subjected to criticism in the moment and a sense of many doubters out
there. but with the confidence that over time this is going to pay off. and the incentives in the washington debate are varied. particularly today. it's been this way for many years. but particularly given the new media environment, the more splintered and partisan media environment, you're rewarded for sort of the short-term time horizon. so the analogy i use is president obama has been trying to be like warren buffett, the financier who of course made a pile of money thinking about long-term investments. making big transactions, by the way. so it's not as though he is trying to put all his money under the mattress. he is willing to take risks, but these are in the service of long-term payoffs. and the foreign policy debate tends to be more kind of day trading, which is reacting to every blip on the market, seeing what will get the most retweets in the moment. now i'm not trying to pass moral judgment on one or the other. both are trying to make money.
it's just totally different ways about going about doing it. i think the way washington tends to look at things, when i say washington, i mean the press. i mean politicians. i mean folks in think tanks. i mean folks in congress is it's what's happening. is there an instant answer. the president is very willing to set us on a long-term course. then the sec piece of this which is redefining america's role in the world. obama in many ways has redefinition tapped into traditions of previous presidents. although they're traditions that might be surprising to some of you. if you think of -- i do at this the end of the book where i'm trying to puzzle about how we should think about obama historically, how he would compare with other presidents. if you look at or read how obama compares himself, it's to other
presidents, it's interestingly not to the bright stars in the democratic presidential firmament. he usually doesn't talk about fdr or truman. he talks about george w. bush and dwight eisenhower. and the approach -- their approach to america and the world. he points to two republicans. it's an interesting statement, by the way, as an aside on our current political debate that the only person, political leader who would stand up and compare them george h.w. bush and dwight eisenhower is barack obama. even george h.w. bush's son talked more about his brother than his father when it came to american foreign policy. and that's very telling. but it gets to this issue of exceptionalism. obama of course has been criticized since his first year in office of being an apologist for america, talking the united
states down. i'm sure we'll hear another round of this in the next few days as folks read the news of the speech he gave earlier today in laos where he talked about the intensive bombing campaign the united states conducted against laos in the early 1970s, dropping more bombs on the small southeast asian country than we did in tonnage over germany and japan during world war ii. and as a way to talk about the hardship of that country, but really to talk about our role and responsibility today in trying to help that country. and many of his critics will say this is just another example of him apologizing for the united states. and this idea that some have tried to suggest that he doesn't believe america's exceptional. i think it's actually the very opposite. he believes truly in american exceptionalism. i talk about this in the book. in fact, he would argue that the very fact that he is president is a testament to the exceptional nature of our
country, and that the united states remains the indispensable nation. it is the country that others look to help solve problems, to come up with the answers, to organize the world to come around common solution to common problems. and his argument would be by acting in a certain way in previous years, particularly during the 2000s, we were actually losing what made us exceptional. we were losing the credibility in the eyes of the world. well were losing our moral stature. well were losing our ability to convince other countries to come by our side and try to come up with common solutions. so he believes in exceptionalism with every fiber of his being. and he has given, in my view, some of his most eloquent speeches one can challenge on american exceptionalism. in some cases they are not about foreign policy directly, but they're everything about america and the world. one of the spiechs talk about in this book is a speech he gave in
selma several years ago on the anniversary of the selma march. it's not exactly about american foreign policy, but if you go back and read it, it's all about what makes us unique in the world. and it's the reason why for so many around the world the united states remains a beacon of hope. >> so let's move into some substantive foreign policy issues and one that is getting a lot of attention because it just seems to continue to defy a solution, and has just been so horrific to see unfold is syria. your take on the issue that emerged several years ago with the red line and the decision not to use force against syria, and then the very remarkable agreement to get rid of syria's chemical weapons, which seemed to come out of nowhere. so i'll give you the opportunity to say a few words about that.
but then also, what -- where, where do you see this going? the meeting that the president had with president putin didn't seem to yield anything. >> secretary kerry continues to meet with secretary lavrov. the violence continues. and it's just so horrific. and we don't seem -- and i realize not every problem in the world has an answer. but just this one, you know, the international community has let syria down. and just wonder where you see that going and how you think what has unfolded in syria will affect how obama's presidency or the foreign policy part of its presidency is viewed in the long run. >> yeah. syria is clearly the crucible of obama's foreign policy.
and is an issue in government, in my time at the pentagon dealt with syria as an issue than any other issue by far. in my book try to disentangle two issues in our debate that get enjoyed. the issue is what to do about syria's chemical weapons, and the issue what to do with assad and the nature of the syrian civil war. the first chapter of the book is entitled "the red line" because i want to go right directly at this argument if only president obama had used force in 2013, we would have a totally different set of outcomes in syria. and we would have gained leverage to solve the syrian civil war. sort of that's the -- the president himself has said that's the inverted point of the pyramid for most of the critique of his foreign policy. in my experience serving in the pentagon as one of the folks who was trying to plan and prepare for the strikes that we were
advocating for at the time, the administration was advocating for at the time to the congress and also someone who spent the better part of the previous year prior to that worried about the disposition of syria's chemical weapon, what we ended um achieving not by design, but by improvisation and opportunism, creativity was something that none of us imagined possible. was that that the peaceful removal and destruction of 1300 tons of syrian chemical weapons. the puzzles about the debate overall, i struggle about it, i talk about it in the book is in iraq, we used force against a country that did not have wmd, it turned out. and the strategic consequences are ones we are still dealing with today. and in syria, we did not use force and ended up with dealing with a wmd threat that did exist
and in fact was ten times worse than the cia wrongly estimated iraqi chemical weapons to be. and yet that seems a strategic disaster. how do try to get at that puzzle? so that's what the first chapter is about, unpacking the red line both in terms of the history of it and how we got into the situation, and then trying to figure out why it is that snag has arguably made us all safer, which was 1300 tons of syrian chemical weaponress moved -- believe me, if we had the chemical weapons still in syria today and we would be worried about isis getting them, it would be something all of us would be very worried about. so i start with why is it that the red line is seen as such a disaster, particularly given the counter factual, if we had gone ahead and used forced, decided not to take this opportunity that presented to us, to remove the chemical weapons peacefully, and we had gone ahead and used force, which would not have
taken out the entire chemical arsenal. it would have taken out 25% of it at most, which is one of the reason why's there were so many concerns being expressed about why we wanted to use force against syria in the first place. but if we had done that in 2013, and then got forbid, some of those remaining weapons had gotten on the loose and had been used in europe or against israel or here in the united states, barack obama would have been held responsible for that. many people rightly would have said why did you give up this opportunity to try to solve the problem peacefully to uphold your honor and go barrel forward and use force. so that's one side of the argument. the second side, which is something that we struggled with mightily in the administration. clearly the administration is still struggling with today, and president obama's successor will struggle with is what to do about assad and the underlying dynamics of the syrian civil conflict. and here again, we have a policy that assad should go. the question is less is that a goal, but how are we going to try to achieve that goal.
and the united states has tried over the past few years to go about that process diplomatically. the view was that we needed to have -- i describe it in the book -- a managed transition in syria. and the fundamental debate that we had in the government and the debate that we have collectively about syria lies within the tension, the fundamental tension between the two words "managed" and "transition." because we can bring about a transition in syria. the u.s. military has shown repeatedly over the last decade plus that it can bring about transitions. the challenge for us has been those don't look very managed. now what the administration has been trying to do is bring about a transition that is managed, something that is through diplomacy and which the government doesn't collapse and which you've got an opposition that is trod come in and take charge. and the basic institutions of society stay intact. but you put too much emphasis on that side of the equation, and the transition takes a long time, if it comes at all. and so that's where the tension
lies. and i think that there is no doubt -- we know there is no doubt that there have been very difficult trade-offs in syria. and i talk in the book how in retrospect, looking back, are there things that we could have done differently. and some of these are arguments i made at the time. some of these are arguments i argued against when i was in the government, but upon reflection maybe we could have been more creative earlier. although i have to say even when i go back and look, repeat in my mind the history as it played out while i was living at -- unfortunately, i don't see the outcome changing dramatically. the fact is we've been using force in syria every day for two years. now it doesn't make the news anymore that we bomb targets in syria every single day, and we've been doing it since september of 2014. those are isis targets. they're not targets against the assad regime. but as we've seen in the news
recently, as some of the forces we've been training on the ground have been getting more successful, some of those questions are before policymakers again of what the target set should be of what we're bombing. we have been militarily engaged in syria for quite some time. the challenge for us is just how we calibrate that engagement in a way that we can try to affect the outcome without getting us into the morass that we ended up in iraq, or repeating the mistakes that we ended up making in libya, which again we're still dealing with today. and i think that's where i say the book is trying to explain things. it's trying to show that this is a really complicated picture. it's not to excuse a particular outcome. it's just to suggest to those of you who are interested in this and trying to follow and in your own minds piece together what you think makes the most sense for the u.s. and the world how we went about doing it and ended up where we are. >> you mention iraq and what i want to ask you about is something that stems from something we wrote about when we
wrote our book "america between the wars." we talked about how iraq has been a big central issue in american foreign policy since the summer of 1990, august of 1990 when saddam hussein invaded kuwait, and then the following year the united states led a coalition in the gulf war. and we talk in the book about how there was the handoff of the iraq problem from george h.w. bush to bill clinton, who maintained no-fly zones and handed off the problem of iraq to george w. bush, who went to war in iraq in 2003 and handed iraq off to barack obama. at the time the book came out in 2008 we didn't know who would be the next president, but we did express the hope that it would be the last handoff, which it's not. barack obama will be handing off this problem to his successor. do you -- does it surprise you
that there is yet another handoff? and of course one of the criticisms of president obama is that by not maintaining more of a force earlier, by withdrawing too quickly, he led, you know, an opportunity for isis to emerge in iraq and then syria. so what is your response to that? and also, just what's your thought on how long iraq is going to be such a feature of american foreign policy, as it's been now since 1990. >> well, first, you're quite right. we are approaching the fourth iraq handoff. and i think it's important for the students in the room to have that perspective, that iraq is a country that the united states has been militarily entangled with for over a quarter century, from the first gulf war to the no-fly zones we had over iraq in the 1990s to the invasion in
2003 to the effort today to help train, advise, and assist the iraqi security forces. and i think, though, that one of the points try to stress in the book is when i unpack what obama's -- what are the loss. president obama's foreign policy. most presidents resist doctrine because they see the world as too complicated to have a one size fits all answer for everything. but there are elements of what i call a foreign policy checklist for president obama. just like checklists are kind of interesting ways to organize your thinking. not just a to-do list or a how-to list, but a set of broad concepts that one would follow in trying to implement in a complex environment. one of the key elements of his check list sustainability. and i think one of the differences -- certainly, with the situation in iraq today versus iraq that he inherited in
2008 is today the united states has a position that is sustainable. that what everyone thinks of the surge in iraq in 2007 and 2008 and the reasons behind the success that we were seeing militarily in iraq during that time, that was not a sustainable posture for the united states to be in. we couldn't resource it. it was a surge, which by definition would recede. this actually gets to the second part of your question, which was the decision in 2011 to withdraw the remaining u.s. forces from iraq. that decision actually had been made by george w. bush at the end of his administration in an agreement that he had made with the iraqi government on the timeline for withdrawal for american troops. most folks may remember president bush gave a speech in baghdad november of 2008. but the only thing they remember is when he had a shoe thrown at him. but that press conference with prime minister maliki of iraq
was to announce this new agreement with the iraqi government on a timeline for withdrawal of the u.s. troops, which was going to end the end of 2011. president obama stuck to that timeline. and i talk about this in the book there was an attempt to convince the iraqi government to allow some u.s. troops the stay behind. for whatever reasons we weren't able to come to an agreement to leave roughly 5,000 troops behind. and history will forever debate whether having those 5,000 troops there would have made a difference in stemming the collapse this we saw in iraq two years later when isis took over mosul and started to flood south to baghdad. i personally have my doubts whether the 5,000 troops alone would have stopped that. because a lot of what we saw happening in anbar province, for example, were things were the dynamics underlying the downfall or iraq's problems in 2005-2006. certainly at least we would have had better intelligence. well would have had better awareness of the deterioration
in iraq. but that's for history to debate. have i my view expressed in the book on that. it's critical that president obama is handing over not just in iraq, but also in ire cyria in terms of the u.s. posture and the u.s. operation are stage. they're sustainable in how we can resource them. we're not breaking the back of the military in these deployments. we can resource them through our budget, through the regular budget. the american people support the mission. this is something that continues to maintain public support, which is very, very important. and the iraqi government supports this mission. this is something that the iraqi government wants us there. that's a big difference than 2011 when the iraqi government was happy to see us go. so yes, iraq is a chronic problem. and this is something that try to talk about in the book as well as how in foreign policy, we often don't want to think of problems as chronic. we like to think of them as problems that lend themselves to
solutions that can be -- we can turn the page and be done with them. and i really do see iraq and syria more akin to the way a doctor would look at a chronic disease, which we have a lot of tools that we can bring to try to shape an outcome, to try to mitigate some of the more negative consequences, to try to buy time for something better to emerge. but it's hard to see a set of tools we have that can solve the problem outright while still trying to play the long game. it's the other part of this. i could give you plenty of things we could do in syria to bring about change in syria quickly and decisively. i have a hard time telling you how we can do that while also executing the other parts of our foreign policy that matter so much to us for future, and arguably could matter for news the future. because if we end up occupying syria, and i know no one is advocating that.
but if you're thinking of overflowing a government and the consequences that would flow from that, it's going to be very difficult to have the resources to rebalance to asia. it's going to be even harder to have the resources to help reassure and secure europe amongst a rising russia. the u.s. has fewer limits than any other country in the world by far. but we still have some limits. i think that's another controversial part of president obama's approach to foreign policy is he is willing to talk about limits. even though we all intuitively understand that the united states, like any country has limits. we have fewer than any other country, but yet we still can't do it all. and one of the challenges of strategy is making those trade-offs. more of everything is not a strategy. you have to make choices. that's what governance is about is making those choices. you can get criticized for those choices. you can make the wrong choices. but i think president obama has been determined to make these choices, to be honest about the trade-offs that we face, and to
pursue a course that ultimately whatever problem we're trying to solve is sustainable over time. that's maybe the key difference with today's iraq and certainly as it was in 2001. >> i'm going to ask one more question. if you have a question, please come up to the mic, and i will turn to whoever is there after this last question. and that is on russia, we saw a very successful first term, a reset that i know a lot of people talk about the reset as a failure. we ended up with a new s.t.a.r.t. streetty. we had russian support for increased signings iran. that helped to lead to the nuclear deal in which iran gave up at least, you know, for the next 10 to 15 years ambitions for a nuclear weapons program in which president obama outlined in the atrium a year ago august. which we were very honored to have him here.
and then also opening the corridor into afghanistan that russia agreed to that gave us a second way in addition from the corridor from pakistan into afghanistan which was critical for being able to do the mission against osama bin laden, which would have been, i think, unlikely if the only way into afghanistan had been through pakistan. so i think it's little noticed how much the reset did in the first term. but of course things have really fallen apart. in the second term, the relationship with russia -- it's bad. >> totally a fun house mirrorish. >> yes. yes. the politics of this campaign on russia is bizarre for those of us who have watched u.s.-russia relations for a long time. but the policy really -- the relationship is as bad as it has been since probably the early '80s. and the relationship between the
two leaders is -- i mean, you'd have to go back even further to see this tense relationship to the leaders. maybe sort of khrushchev and eisenhower in 1960 after the shoot-down of the gary powers u-2. >> that's another book. >> all i was saying, the relationship is terrible. what is going get us in a different direction with russia? >> well, i think it's more about russia than us. and you're quite right on the reset. and one of the interesting puzzles that analysts of russia have struggled with is why did the reset work? the reset, we got a lot out of it, the united states did. it was a transactional approach to russia, the view that president obama and his team took when they came into office was there was a lot of common interests we had with russia that for variety of reasons, we were unable to work out a deal
with them. and whether it's on afghanistan or iran or on nuclear disarmament, those were areas where we gain from what we got out of the reset. different leadership in russia at the time. you had medvedev in power. putin was then behind the scenes as the prime minister. i think not one of the mistakes, but this retrospect, what many in the administration, myself include missed is we just assumed putin as prime minister during the medvedev years was fully on board with everything that had happened in the u.s.-russian relationship and didn't i think fully appreciate the degree of angst that was building up with putin about the loss of prestige or face that russia was going through in those years. but, you know, i think that russia is -- the way obama looks at russia is russia doesn't have
a discernible long game. it's a country that certainly has influence. it's a big country. it's got resources. its resource ain't what they used to be with energy prices plummeting. putin certainly has a set of goals. but as you measure many of those goals, he is not succeeding. i mean, his goal is to divide the u.s. in europe. his goal is to have nato be a paper tiger. his goal is to increase leg supplant the united states in support of global leadership. his goal is to have a sphere of influence in the countries on his border. again, some of those you could argue he is somewhat succeeding in. but in others, he is failing massively, right. i don't see russia gaining influence or friends in the international system right now. so that said, russia can play a spoiler role. clearly in syria, they have shown -- by the way, syria the only country in the region where they have any friends anyway.
if you set aside iran. they're showing that they're willing to do what it takes to protect their one friend in the region. and russia has, you know -- russia's influence has been a factor in syria from the very beginning. the chemical weapons out of syria was only possible because of russia cooperation. and that's why secretary kerry is working so hard now to try to get something going with the russians to find some kind of managed transition that we can agree to with assad. i think clearly the next president and secretary clinton, if he is the next president is someone who understands putin as well as anyone understands russia, as well as any political leader and was at president obama's side for the first four years as we were working on these tough issues with the russians and getting a lot out of it. will approach this pragmatically, but also with determination that we're going to keep our alliances strong. we're going to sort of push back
wherever russia is trying to engage in nefarious behavior. but also ultimately show the russian people and those russian leaders who are willing to listen that is there a different path. that we're not by definition against russia. we're against putinism. we're against russia's behavior, but we believe that russia has a place and responsible leadership in the world if it's willing to take that place. but also to be very clear with them that if they keep up some of the behavior they've been pursuing in the last few years in particular, it's going to be a rocky road, no question. >> all right. oh, my gosh. we're going to do -- we're going to do -- >> lightning round. >> we're going to do two at a time. introduce yourself when you ask your question, please. >> hello, i'm ashley. i'm a student in international peace and conflict resolution. obviously the big upcoming event on everyone's mind is the upcoming election. and your book is very much focused on obama's pacific,
focused on the long-term goal. how do you see our foreign policy decisions and our foreign policy changing as a result of this next election? do you feel that the long game is going to continue or it's going to turn into a very short-term game? >> interesting. okay. and the second question? >> my name is ben walters. i'm a student in the school of international service. and i was wondering because the crux of your book is moving from a reactionary to a forward thinking foreign policy how cybersecurity and the norms and strategies that the defense department has, how that factors into the long-term security strategy and obama's influence on that strategy. >> great questions, both of you. i'll start with the second first. but it feeds into the first question. clearly cyber has been a big focus of this administration. everyone reads a newspaper every day understands that this is -- or maybe not reads the newspaper. goes on your iphone every day and understands the urgency of
this issue and also how it's rapidly evolving in terms of the threat to the united states and whether it's our economy or increasingly, our hard security. and this administration has done a lot to try to up our game on cyberissues. and certainly this is something that president obama cease as an issue of the future. he was just asked about it in the last 24 hours at a press conference related to these reports about possible russian influence on our elections through cybermeans. he has taken some concrete steps, creating a cybercommand with the department of defense. dod has released a couple public cyberstrategies. this is kind of an interesting thing for obama too. and the critique about obama is that oftentimes he's portrayed as someone who is uncomfortable with the military, doesn't like to use force, uncertain of leadership, what have you. but yet as i noted earlier, has used the traditional military
often. he has used new instruments of power, drones, often. and he has innovated the use of cyberas an instrument of defense policy. and, you know, so clearly i think this is an issue for the future. and it's something that he spent a lot of time working on. this gets to kind of the -- your question about what's to come. and i finished this book before we knew who the republican nominee was going to be. but in many ways, i wouldn't change a word that i'd written. one of the many point is make in this book, president obama, the ecosystem he has been operating in as president, foreign policy particularly, but also true in domestic policy is one that increasingly has had a loose relationship with facts.
it's one in which kind of the what i would consider the textbook putin style leadership. bluster, you know, quick reaction, a sense of toughness that is entwined with this machismo and you're tough and all that. obama's almost the exact opposite of that in terms of his style. and what we've seen emerge on the other side on the republican candidate is someone who kind of perfectly embodies that perspective and that style. so clearly, what comes next is very much going to come from who the next president. the if it's trump, kind of all bets are off, to be honest. i served in the obama administration, i worked two years with secretary clinton. my bias sought in the open. but that's objective. >> that's a fact. >> that, you know, if trump win,
all bets are off. if secretary clinton wins, sure, things will be different. i mean, secretary clinton, president obama are different people. but they served extremely well together as close partners when she was secretary of state and he was president. and in many ways she was the coarchitect of many of his important policy moves whether it was on climate change or the rebalanced asia or the new approach to iran and the nuclear negotiations. so will there be differences? absolutely. but clearly in the sort of broad perspective and world view about america's role in the world, about the elements of american leadership, about the balance that is necessary between defense and diplomacy and development, those are things that clinton as secretary of state i'm sure she will continue to champion as president. >> thank you. next two. >> hi. my name is benjamin brummer. i'm a graduate student here at international peace and conflict resolution. so during your talk, you
discussed that obama's policy and his intellectualism is tied with his patience in developing the long game. but it feels like some of that has been contradicted by other parts of his policy. namely, his silence on the conflict within bahrain. the relative acceptance of the reversion of power back to the military in egypt. his drone policy seems very short sighted in just killing terrorists. while there may be some collateral and civilian deaths, the benefits outweigh the risk. all this seems to not go along with the same kind of patient obama that you seem to paint today. >> good. good question. >> and then the second one.
>> i am frank albert. i'm an alum. i'd like to ask about the pivot or the rebalancing back to asia. the president's given a lot of attention to asia, of course, with raising our relationship with asean to a strategic partnership last year, and now attending two u.s. asean summit, as well as the east asian summit in laos that you mentioned earlier. the justification kind of overall that i've gotten from reading about it is our goal is a rules-based order in southeast asia. but then certainly there have been gains. we've seen a number of relationships evolve. the vietnamese and the filipinos and so forth that would not have happened probably had we not made this change. but at the same time, the one, the most dramatic kind of issue that came up recently was
china's leaning on laos and cambodia to prevent asean from you showing a statement on the permanent court of arbitration's decision in the hague on the south china sea. so i just wanted to ask you about how you see the future of that relationship and also when you throw in the debate here about the transpacific partnership and the increasing unlikelihood that that will be passed before the president leaves office. what do you see happening out in the future? >> sure. great question. so i'll start with the question about bahrain, egypt, drones, this kind of short-term-long-term tension. and there is tension, clearly. when you're in government, you know, you can't just talk about what is going to happen 20 years from now. you have to react to what is going on today. that's the balancing act you have to play. which is how do you do things today that set you up well for
tomorrow. and certainly on the struggle we've had in the middle east in the wake of the arab spring in bahrain and egypt and almost every country in that region where we've seen many things happen that the united states hasn't liked. this administration hasn't liked particularly as it comes to human rights and the difficult trade-offs this we face. i was most involved in the egypt policy. i talk than in the book. our defense relationship with egypt is a truly one in the amount of assistance the united states has given egypt for a number of decades and our level of defense. and there are many in washington who wanted to cut all that assistance off in the wake of the events in 2013 when there was a -- an undemocratic change of power in cairo. and we decided to withhold some of the assistance as a way to try to influence now president al sisi's regime and some of the
decisions he made. i was personally on over 40 phone call with then secretary of defense hagel with president al sisi to try to convince him to make different decisions at the time and to use our influence as best we could to get him to do that. i can't say it worked as well as we had hoped. but we have an enduring relationship with egypt that is in our interest to try to make modern for the future. and also to try to preserve some semblance of order and democratic growth there. it's very, very difficult. an issue where if you look at the other tools of power that we have to try to influence outcorp., we don't bring enough of that. it's because of economic assistance. it's over sorts of assistance on the military tied. we just don't have the resources that others who are playing in the egypt game like saudi arabia or uae or qatar are outspending us by an order of magnitude on the ground in a country like
egypt. so it makes us very hard to have the influence. sometimes we don't get -- it can't be exactly, you know, clean. we have to make these trade-offs in the home in the service of what we're trying to do over the long-term. it doesn't mean that the united states should give up on the hope of long-term change in a country like egypt or bahrain. but we have to also preserve influence and maintain that influence for the future. and it gets to the drones issue, which i think the president has innovated the use of what the air force calls remotely piloted aircraft, because everyone has to remember there is a pilot behind the operation of each of those -- each of those pieces of equipment. he has innovated the use of that. he has vastly expanded the use of that. it's a tool that's technology, precision. what president obama has tried to do in the very interests of ensuring that this tool is used
in the right way over time and we can sustain the support and the legitimacy that's behind it is to try to bring this out more into the open. he has given released statistics on the use of this instrument to try to bring this out into the debate. now, many believe there's still not enough, but i can tell you that the motive behind it is in view that in order to sustain the use of this tool moving forward we need to have an open debate about it here at home and he has worked very hard to bring that into the open. i'm convinced the next president, whoever he or she is, will continue to use this instrument, power. on the rebalance, very quickly, clearly one of the narratives that president obama had coming into office was for a variety of reasons the u.s. found i was at the end of 2008 out of position
in the asia pacific. if you believed, as he does, as i do, that the most important arena of strategic change in the world in the 21st century is going to be in the asia pacific, the u.s. wasn't as present as it needed to be. whether that's a military posture or diplomatic influence as well as our economic efforts in the region, so one of the big strategic moves of his presidency was the rebalance. there's a difference between rebalance and pivot, and even though my good friend curt campbell has his own book out called "the pivot" he is the first one to agree that the ub intended consequences of the phrase "the pivot" is those that were seen as being pivoted away from, had unintentionally raised a loot of anxieties about whether the united states was going to be there for them in the future. that's why the term of art that we use as the rebalance. it's not meant to say that the
u.s. is going to abandon the middle east, but that we need to have greater balance in the way we deployed our power, and the most recent instance we pointed out in the question about china pushing back on some of the responses to this haag ruling is the perfect reason why the u.s. needs to be present. i was with secretary clinton actually in 2010 in hano wi at an asean meeting where the united states successfully worked with some of our southeast asian partners to push back on the chinese regarding some of their efforts in the south china sea. of course, our position would be stronger, by the way, if we were members and that's another issue. clearly the u.s. role in the region, the fact that president obama has just completed his tenth trip to the region as president. the investment that we have made there that secretaries of state and secretaries of defense have made there. the fact that we have more military hardware there than we did eight years ago. the fact we're part of these regional institutions, and the
fact we're trying to get this big trade deal done, which i agree is doubtful for the moment. i'm still one of those that holds out hope in a lame-duck that we'll be able to get there. that's all in service of what is a long-term strategic move. one of the challenges that president obama is facing, again, we've seen it again on this trip is it's hard to get credit for that in the moment. by something going on here at home. he had to cancel a trip because of the government shutdown. it's a perfect illustration of how hard it is to set a strategy and stick to it in this current environme environment. >> my name is -- i'm from belaruse sis. i'm coming back to -- i will be
critical. i'm sorry. you talked about sustainable, that obama expected to build sustainable policy with many countries, but unfortunately, as i see obama didn't find -- had a lack of understanding of this post soviet regime in the reasonable. in 2009, in 2010 he appeased dictatorships in belaruse and -- they failed. in 2010 on the square in minsk ash of that he tried to appease the regime together with the european politicians, they were trying to attract to western projects. what we got as a result, the war in southeastern ukraine. the problem, as i see -- don't
you think it was to -- like sphere of russia, because he was negotiated, and he was talking about eastern european policy only with putin, with kremlin people, but he stopped many democratic projects towards civil society in smaller countries. russian neighbors. for me it was quite disappointing when they started to cooperate with dictator. i was in prison at that time in 2010, and we were just ignored. we were forgotten. it was very disappointing, and it helped putin to revive this post-imperialistic of what's
happening now. >> in regards to the middle east and north africa, how do you figure that president obama has set the u.s. on a benevolent tragejectory pass when libya an egypt have experienced hardship and traversy, in part, because of the arab spring? >> this will be the last one. go ahead. >> thank you. i am bobby. i'm also a student here. mr. secretary, you touched on how president obama has handled iraq in comparison with the previous three presidents. why when there are 200 some countries has iraq been such a problem for u.s. foreign policy for three decades? >> good. easy questions. >> softballs at the end here. on the first question obama's
approach to central eastern euro europe, yol i don't agree with what's happened there and the continue i continuing challenges as a result of obama appeasement or wider european appeasement. however, i do think it's fair to say that up until the ukraine crisis in 2014 there was a sense not just in the obama administration, but certainly in the larger strategic community here in washington, and i would actually argue in the larger strategic community globally, that that part of the world was problematic, but more or less back burner set of issues.
certainly the ukraine crisis for the united states and for the washington community writ large brought back the problems of this region front and center. if you look at a situation like ukraine where most of the washington -- gets wraps around the axle of whether or not the u.s. is giving lethal assistance setting aside the issue that president obama has given ukrainian military $600 million in nonlethal assistance where, that gets lost in the debate because everyone wants to talk about the shiny object. on the nonmilitary aspects where certainly our relationship with the ukrainian government, as problematic as that is, is far closer and more intense today as
yanakovich. our level of engagement from here in washington, the role that our ambassador plays, and there's greater appreciation. in this administration, in the broader washington community, and i would argue depending who the next president is, if it's hillary clinton in the next administration, that there is still unfinished business in that part of the world. this gets back to the fun house mirror aspect of our debate, of course, because that's not really the debate we're having right now in the presidential campaign trail where, you know, you have one of the other candidate for president who would probably be articulating more match the critique that you articulated in terms of how you would handle that part of the world, visa vi vladimir putin. i think that -- i work in an organization now, the german marshall fund, that still does a lot of very important programming in that part of the world.
i think the one hope that i can take out of recent history we've been through. on this question of the turmoil we've been seeing in the middle ea east, at the arab spring and just sort of personal angle on this, my first week at the white house when i moved from the state department to the white house was the week mubarak fell in egypt. we still saw at that moment arab spring which we thought was going to be something more akin to what we had seen in central europe. that's fundamentally not been about the united states. it's about demographics.
it's about the poor leadership in the region. it's about broad swaths of folks if that region feeling disenfranchised. we talk about in the book that obama had high hopes when he became president before the arab spring about the way we would reset our relations with the muslim world and that we would try to kind of reframe the way the u.s. projected its influence in the middle east.
i think, begun, the challenge for says is as we're watching what's going no the middle east, we have to understand that the other two regions that matter most in the united states in terms of our future, europe and asia, we're also seeing historic changes occur. if you go to each region, the answer that all of our partners in each region are asking for is more of the united states. that gets back to my point i made earlier, which is more of everything is not a strategy. you have to continue to be engaged in all three of those regions, and we have close partners and treaty allies in those regions. we can't meet all of their wishes equally, and that -- that triage is something that we struggled with in government and the next administration will struggle with as well.
the last question was on iraq, and why is it that this parcel of land has been such a chal ek for the united states for 26 years? it's a great question. in part, this is the colin powell line from the debates in the early 2000s. the pottery barn rule. you break, it you own it. because of decisions made, i think the correct decisions made in august of 1990 by the first bush administration to come to the defense of -- also to get saddam hussein out of another partner ours, kuwait, for a variety of reasons. that began the military entanglement that we still struggle with today, and this gets back to the sustainability issue. president obama's view -- my view is not that iraq doesn't matter. iraq matters. it's important because of its
strategic position in the region, because of the capabilities it has, because of the influence it has, because of the mosaic of ethnicities and religions that are on its soil. what we have to be careful of and what we have to sort of calibrate constantly is how we can use our influence in a way that brings about the kind of change we want to see on the ground but does not envelope us in something that goes far beyond what our interest there actually are. that's -- that is -- this is not a game of science. this is more of an art. it's something that's very, very hard, and there will always be thoughtful critics to say whether we're getting it right or not, but this is what the next president will have to confront is they are the fourth american president to have to deal with this very difficult challenging, but important country in the middle east. >> well, on that note, congratulations, again, on the book. >> thank you very much. >> thank you for being here. [ applause ]