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tv   Q A  CSPAN  November 7, 2010 11:00pm-12:00am EST

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from magical thinking and results in a lot of chaos. >> when did you start thinking about the need for this kind of a book? >> i've been in this field for a long time, really since a young academic in the mid 1970's in harvard. and a lot of the illusions have percolated over the decades, the way that american academics, political appointees, many of us keep winging it when we influence, try to shape, indeed make american foreign policy. >> your first sentence is -- i'll go on just a little bit.
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have we done any right? >> of course we've done a lot right. we unambiguously won the cold war, albeit with a lot of fits and starts along the way. we created and shaped the post world war ii economic order. we have performed well in the gulf war in 1991, in the balkans later in the decade. but by and large, if one looks back over the last lifetime of foreign policymaking, it's been a pretty dismal record. i'd argue even that we have lost three, if not four wars in a row -- the korean war in that fight with china, vietnam to be sure, iraq, which is exceedingly difficult to define as a victory in any sense, and now the deepening entanglement in afghanistan. when one has this background of dismal results in wartime, let alone in off again, on again,
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often illusional with the soviet union, until we finally defeated them -- yes, i'd say that's a despairing record. >> what do you do fulltime to make a living? >> i'm a management consultant. >> what does that mean? >> it means i work for a swiss company who advises ceo's and boards of multinationals on peak performance. >> where did it all start for you? where were you born? >> i was born in connecticut, which is still my residency, although i live in washington. >> and where did you go to school? >> went to school in fairfield. >> county up in connecticut. >> yes, fairfield, connecticut. and went to my first couple of years of college in france, then 18 months at vanderbilt university in economics, where i graduated from in 19. >> what kind of work did you do in those early years after graduation? >> i took a year off, spent it
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as a ski instructor, ski bum -- returned to graduate school in short order. i was also in the marine corps reserves during that time, which was a juggling act. and went to get an ma in economics at columbia and then became a research fellow at harvard and spent a lot of time at harvard, until getting a final degree -- a d. phil., as it's called, from oxford. >> is that the same thing as a ph.d.? >> yes. >> at oxford? what did you do at harvard and how long were you there? >> i was at harvard as a research fellow, as it's called, from 1975, 1976 to 1983. and a research fellow, at that time at least, was a marvelous hunting license for leading faculty and fellow workgroups for serving as a tutor at
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dudley house for a combination of teaching, research, and also for starting a periodical that remains the definitive periodical in the field of national security. it's a quarterly journal called "international security," which is still published by the kennedy school of government at harvard. >> one of the terms you use throughout your book is emergency man or, then eventually, emergency men. define that. >> emergency men are the enthusiasts who, with all the best intentions, really make their careers around the dangers and passions and crises of the state. in the american notion of emergency men, it is oftentimes the academics, think-tankers, professors, political appointees who are enthused by national security policy more so
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than any other aspect of public policy, but national security policy, with the excitements of stryker brigades and nuclear deterrents and special ops and so forth, and who, for reasons of good citizenship, patriotism, personal enthusiasm, work and try to influence national security policy. >> can you give us some examples? >> oh goodness sakes, one can think of the academic appointees who have flourished in national security advisory roles. an arch one would be henry kissinger, who indeed was described by president nixon, for whom he worked as national security advisor and then secretary of state, as having a passion for emergency. indeed, president nixon said that if vietnam had not existed,
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henry kissinger would have had to create it for the excitement of the emergency and crisis. >> i want to read - it's a little long, but i want to read your conclusion, a paragraph, a long paragraph here -- and then come back, go over some of this territory. this is at the end of the book.
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now that sounds like you've just kind of indicted everybody that's involved in all this foreign policy security stuff. >> well if one looks at the enthusiasts and public-spirited citizens who do shape american foreign policy and then compares that to the record of the last lifetime, which we've just discussed at the opening of this program, one can't help but reach that conclusion -- that something is terribly, terribly wrong. and what is wrong is that the so-called national security establishment, as generally defined there, has a passionate faith in the fine-tuning of american foreign policy, a consistent illusion that they can manage so many of these difficult, intractable problems, whether in south waziristan or south yemen that everyone wants to be like us, that one can have extraordinary returns and do a minimal amount of homework by knowing the
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languages or which directions the rivers flow. so it's not an unfair conclusion. it has nothing do to do with democrat or republican, liberal or conservative. it's looking at the way america makes its foreign policy and then looking at the record, which is pretty different from other nations. >> you have a chapter called "star power" and you say -- >> that's a rough figure to estimate, because there's no precise number, but among the delusions of american foreign policy is this infatuation with stars and with wizards, whether it's the best and brightest of the kennedy era or the dream team war cabinet of the iraq experience. america's the most obsessed celebrity culture on the planet. why is that? it's because we're a democracy.
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we're the most individualistic of nations. and in a democracy of strong individuals, any dramatic event has to be attributed to somebody -- to a star, to a person who caused it rather than to a sequence of events. and we carry that over into national security policymaking, which is why for a dangerous amount of time we often give the benefit of the doubt to the national security star or wizard of the moment, whether it's robert mcnamara, secretary of defense during the vietnam era, or donald rumsfeld during the iraq war, celebrated inordinately. >> you say -- where do you think this -- where did this fame thing come from in this country? >> the illusions that i address, and there are about half a dozen of them that are consistent through the last lifetime of foreign policy stumbling, comes from deep within the keel of american
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culture, the way we think about ourselves, the way we interpret experience and tradition and myth. fame, when we apply it to foreign policymaking, comes, again, from being a democracy. democracies love star individuals. this can go back to alcybiades in ancient greece. and it's harmless if one is making a star out of britney spears or cher, but when one takes this notion of stardom into the national security realm then lives are at stake. americans after a while get wise that the stars and the wizards, the dream teams and the best and brightest really might not be what they're cracked up to be, but in that fateful amount of time, chaos and mayhem can come to reign. >> how do they get to be stars? >> they get to be stars in no short order by establishment
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credentials, i would argue, which was exhibit a with the john kennedy-lyndon johnson best and brightest -- the ivy league credentials, which were given extraordinary weight and perhaps questioned insufficiently. they are made stars, indeed by the press. for example, when nixon resigned, one of the first announcements that his successor, president gerald ford, made to the white house press corps was that henry kissinger would be retained as both secretary of state and national security advisor. the press corps jumped up, stood and clapped. now here again, it's an inordinate misplaced role by the press, as well as the rest of us. it's a marvelously american characteristic to celebrate the individual, but all this can come together mischievously when it comes to foreign
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policymaking. >> why do american audiences spend $2.4 billion a year on speakers? and you go in here to the general schwarzkopf being vetted around the country after the iraq war and other people, general westmoreland, and what is it about us that we want to pay that big money to have somebody come in and talk? >> america loves stars. america is the most celebrity- obsessed culture in the world. america is the greatest democracy in the world. it works hands in glove with a democracy. we also have a unique appreciation for experts and that's part of the celebrity culture. americans give a lot of deference for a fateful amount of time to an expert, because we're the busiest of cultures. we're always looking for shortcuts. if there is a star that i can learn from, if i can bask in the glow, if there's an expert
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that i can delegate some hard task to that saves me time. this is all a part of america -- the rush, rush, rush, the being the country of tomorrow. it is a country that lends itself to celebrity and to a search for expertise. all of this can be terrific when one's building transcontinental railroads and interstate highway systems and doing moon shots. but a lot of the characteristics, a belief that any problem in the world can be managed, that there's a solution to anything, that there are stars at the center of decision-making. when it's applied to the complexities of foreign policy that's a whole different story and a very dangerous one. >> you have these six illusions at the very beginning of your book. i'll read just a little bit of it. the first one -- >> isn't that a marvelous american characteristic, that there is no time that
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everything has to be urgent and rushed? we have to live with the next new thing. that is a marvelous american experience, temperament, disposition, value and it works terrifically at home, in building a $14 trillion economy. but when you apply that sense of urgency to having to transform the middle east and the entire muslim world, quote, unquote, within the space of an american election cycle, then that urgency has a whole different consequence. >> illusion number two -- >> that is the second key
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illusion of american foreign policy, going back over the last time -- that any problem can be managed, whether it is a showdown with china on the korean peninsula or nation- building in vietnam or indeed managing the red army marshals in arms control negotiations with the soviet union. as robert mcnamara said, any problem in the world can be managed -- a dangerous, dangerous conviction. yet we take that belief in management that has built the $14 trillion economy, that does nurture silicon valley and we believe that we can manage iraq, manage nation-building in afghanistan, manage our allies, for that matter, in putting together coalitions that time after time after time don't live up to expectations. >> where did you start getting
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interested in this and start to form your own views? >> that's when i was at harvard in the 1970's and got woefully concerned about how the soviet empire, as it was then not being called, was misunderstood. i had spent time as a teenager and a student in eastern europe in the soviet union itself and i was able to discern, and it didn't take much discernment, to see the evil in the heavy- handed authority of the soviet state. and when americans became so enthused about the prospects of detente, that there could be convergence with the soviet union perhaps, that we could indeed persuade them to see our ways, that struck me as an illusion right there, yet that was the prevailing view in american academia, certainly through the 1970s. >> how long did you live in russia?
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>> i didn't live in russia, but i made numerous trips there, starting at 19. >> and this work that you're in now, how long have you been a management consultant? >> oh, goodness sakes. i really withdrew fulltime from academia a number of years ago, because i had a passionate interest in entrepreneurship, in building and enterprise, which struck me as the core american experience. so i've been teaching at georgetown, however, one or two courses a year for the past 15 years, in foreign policy. but at the same time, being interested in creativity and peak performance of organizations, i spent a lot of time with big multinational enterprises. >> your third illusion, and we've kind of talked about this --
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>> well don't we have examples and examples time and time? henry kissinger, which we mentioned is an arch example of an emergency man and indeed a superstar in foreign policy. can anyone say that the would- be fine-tuning of those years had long-term benefits? detente with the soviet union struck me as extraordinarily shortsighted, in that the soviets persisted in shipping weaponry to north vietnam that was killing americans, that they kept on building their ss- 18 icbms and indeed biological weapon programs. there was very little to show for detente. and a similar misinterpretation
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of the american opening of china. it wasn't a star, it wasn't even america who opened china. it was china rushing to us because of fear that they would be attacked by the soviet union. >> is any of that because of our foreign policy wizards that had set up, i suppose the building of our military? is that good -- i mean the strong military, does that matter? >> a strong military is indeed important, yes. and that has been an american assumption since the korean war. but what do we match that strong military to? a military is not strong -- doesn't even exist by itself. it's there to fulfill the political purposes of the state. and my argument would be that less might be more, as america engages with the world. these ongoing attempts at fine-
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tuning, that any problem can indeed be managed, that solutions exist, that we can work our way and indeed that political military clout is needed for such problem-solving often works against ourselves. for example, it's argued that a key approach to pakistan and enhanced stability in pakistan might be new tariff rules in the united states. why should we erect tariff barriers to pakistani industrial or textile imports? imagine if they had a freer access to the american market, the goodwill, the economic wealth that would sell? but, no, we have an atavistic political military solution that seems a bit simpler rather than engaging economically. >> if you had been asked after 9/11 by the president to advise him on what we should do, what would you have said? >> kill the evil-doers and do
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it flat-out and do it in a way, in fact, that it was done initially, with special operations forces -- targeted, focused and go in for the kill. but then when one segues into the overreaction of nation- building or gets off the dime and sees enemies hither and thither and dives into iraq -- a constant failing of american foreign policy has been the extent to which we play into the hands of our enemies. there was a chilling story from 1964, the year 1964, 1965, when america started going in big into vietnam. ho chi minh was then the premier dictator of north vietnam. the soviet premier party boss was in hanoi and alarmingly told ho chi minh, you better settle with the americans or they're going to send in more troops and the ho chi minh
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response was let them send in more troops. the argument being that let's play into his hands, let's go stumbling about in areas that we know little of and that will be counterproductive. ditto in going after the evil- doers following 9/11. why do we play into the hands of our opponents by crashing into iraq and thereby negating so many other possibilities? >> why did we go into iraq? >> we went into iraq because it seemed to be easy, because we were thinking magically. if there's any example of magical thinking, the notion that this could be solved within six weeks, six months or less, to quote both vice president cheney and secretary of defense rumsfeld, the notion that we could transform the middle east and the muslim world in general, that faith that everybody wants to be like us, a whole slew of illusions, plus
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really sloppy intelligence. >> illusion number four -- >> part of magical thinking, and this is what separates it from mere hubris or wishful thinking, magical thinking places one's self at the center. it's the conviction that by shear strength of will, one can accomplish enormous returns, albeit with the familiar mantras and silver bullets of high tech and imaginary friends of allies, but the willfulness that so much can easily be accomplished, without doing the homework necessarily.
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that is exhibit a with iraq. >> you write about korea and our involvement with china back in 1950 to 1953. >> indeed, consider korea. the soviets fomented an invasion june 25, 1950 -- north korea into south korea. we had to rescue south korea and the truman administration did it promptly -- the north vietnamese, given the brilliance of the inchon landing. >> you mean the north koreans. >> the north koreans were thrown back above the 38th parallel. but then the exact same words that we know today came to the fore -- that the entire peninsula had to be liberated, had to be liberalized, quote, unquote and rebuilt. and therefore, knowing nothing about north korea and not too much about china, we pushed fatefully northward into the biggest military ambush in history. >> what's your take on general
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macarthur in this whole business of stars and fame and all that? >> my take on macarthur is that he was the most cerebral, brilliant and accomplished military commander of his generation. certainly no one else conceptualized, let alone executed the notion of turning the pacific ocean into a highway and going all the way from australia right into tokyo bay, leaping island by island by island. he was also the most extraordinary of history's commanders in combined operations, in working together with navy, air and ground, so an extraordinary commander. and indeed, as anyone would acknowledge, his role as the rebuilder of postwar japan was a phenomenal political accomplishment. >> what about his role in korea? >> but the role in korea was far more troubling. yes, the attack -- the
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counterattack into inchon was one of the triumphs in american arms, but then the question was what happens now? we had achieved the objective. we had pushed the north koreans back above the 38th parallel. ok, objective achieved -- now what? it is a mistake, i would argue, of most historians to say that macarthur then himself went charging up to the yalu river on the chinese border. it wasn't that simple. it wasn't just macarthur who was pushing north. we were all in this together, the whole command structure, from president truman, secretary of state dean acheson, george marshall, who had returned to public service as secretary of defense for a year. everybody was into this and it was not just macarthur. we thought it would be an easy win, that it would be over with in six months and that north
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korea -- the entire korean peninsula would be liberated and liberalized. >> would you have fired macarthur had you been -- >> yes, i'd have to be. there was no choice. because time and again, one can't have military officers, no matter how distinguished, and one is seeing this in recent experience with general mcchrystal, cross or disdain civilian authority. one of the glories of america of course is civilian supremacy in political military affairs and that can't be compromised. >> why did we go into vietnam? >> we went into vietnam out of mistaken notions of analogy- making, which is another illusion. making analogies in foreign policy is a characteristic american style. we love analogies and the analogy that was used in vietnam was that this was like munich 1938, hitler pushing
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into helpless territory. or that it would be, again, an easy win, like the american intervention in greece from 1947 to 1950, or indeed by that point that it could be like korea, in which we at least would accomplish the original mission. so these were all motivations that brought us into vietnam, the easy win, the false analogy-making and, not incidentally, the conviction that this could be pulled off by special operations forces. >> what would have happened if we had not gone into vietnam? >> if we hadn't gone into vietnam it would have resulted as it did today. it would have been swallowed by north vietnam in short order. i don't think there was any doubt about that and that was the reason that we started going in big in 1964 and 1965, because it was seen as no alternative. >> so did we waste our men and
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our money then? >> that's a sad ongoing debate, the extent to which that was blood and treasure squandered. did it buy us time, as some argue, that we fought in vietnam and perhaps came close to winning by 1970-1971? did it buy us time for nearby thailand, for example, to go stronger or for indonesia to swing to the american camp more or less? these are arguments that have no conclusion and probably no end. >> your illusion number five is continuing, or --
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>> what i've tried to do in this book is to get into the why we keep screwing up. that we screw up in foreign policy is probably not new news to a lot of people, especially one looks back at the record. there are countless books right now on afghanistan or iraq, but the reason why -- why do we keep making these mistakes, time and time again? why do we keep making these false analogies, whether it's in korea or vietnam or in iraq? a lot of this, again, comes deep within the keel of american experience. americans have a janus-faced view of history. on one hand, we love history. we're a nation of lawyers. tocqueville, for example, observed that the lawyer was the natural aristocrat in america. lawyers love precedent. we always revere precedent. so on one hand, there is this infatuation with shorthand history. on the other, america is the
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country of tomorrow, as emerson said. we always live in the future. so we have this mishmash approach to history. the eminent harvard -- well professor, university professor, stanley hoffmann, calls analogy-making the american style of foreign policy formation. and it's a troubled habit. we make these analogies. we screw up. it comes from deep within the keel -- looking for precedent yet not getting serious about history because we're always in the future. >> final illusion, you have six of them -- >> yes, and let me stick to the purpose of this book, which is to show why we have these illusions, not just to say that, oh, we've screwed up in vietnam or iraq or now we're
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doing it perhaps again in afghanistan, but the reason. why do we keep repeating these same mistakes in the same way using the same language by and large decade after decade after decade? why do we believe that other people want to be like us? i would argue that it really comes from the immigrant experience -- that people who transform themselves readily believe that other people in their home countries can be transformed. it has much to do, as well, with why we have such minimal understanding of the rest of the world. as a great nation of immigrants, so many of these views of the world come from the assimilation experience. on one hand we believe that an immigrant who comes to america, a 17-year-old vietnamese refugee who becomes a silicon valley ceo, transforms him or herself overnight -- well, surely the home country can be
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transformed. this is a result of the immigrant experience. another result of the immigrant experience might be having minimal interest in the homeland as the generations go by or see their original homeland in stereotypes in dancing peasants or decadent urbanites in an old europe. so many of these ways in which we look at the world, we think of the world, we believe that problems can be solved. all of this comes from deep within the american culture myth and that's the original contribution i believe that this book makes to foreign policy-writing, the reasons why we keep falling short. >> i read your notes in the back and there were all kinds of questions. and this is -- i just want to read, and you'll be able to pick up on and this is -- these are a lot of ad hoc questions that have no connection, but it
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was interesting and i wanted you to fill in the blanks. it'll be a little bit out of context for our audience, but i'm sure you can put it into context. this is footnote 14 out of chapter 1, sources of magic. what is that all about? >> i would argue that we don't have a thorough understanding of the cold war itself. an example might be the way the "new york times" on memorial day got the number of fatalities in the korean war dreadfully, dreadfully wrong. we don't pay much attention to
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the cold war. now the experience of the american tradecraft society that you cited is another unknown part of the cold war, which in the late 1970's, early 1980's, it was an extraordinary ad hoc, within the government, effort to counteract soviet espionage. >> here's footnote 19 -- >> yes, that's about where it came from. and what was he describing as the original super power, two words? the archetypal super power to professor fox was not necessarily america or the soviet union, but the worldwide, globally deployed british empire. >> this is footnote 22 and i have to tell you this is personal, because when i first came to town this man lived in the building where i lived. marshall used the phrase "play with power" several times during the spring of 1948, as recounted to me by his biographer, that's general
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marshall. forrest pogue, and that's who i'm talking about -- i used to see him in the hallway, didn't know who he was, with whom i worked as a smithsonian fellow, 1983 to 1984. forrest pogue did all the biography background on general marshall. >> oh, yes. forrest pogue is one of the greatest of american military historians and biographers and he wrote the four-volume biography on general marshall. general marshall, indeed for a reason, was described by president truman and dean acheson as comparable only to george washington in the american pantheon. >> this is footnote 30. you say here, and it's talking about mcgeorge bundy and the "path to war in vietnam," a book, 2008, quoting bundy regarding the right decision.
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are you disclosing that for the first time? >> yes. the original book got much attention in the press and was read in the white house, etc., the memoirs of bundy apparently by a young scholar, but it was highly controversial. remember that the interviews were declined by the bundy family and there was reason for that. it strikes me as really, really farfetched that mcgeorge bundy, who i worked with occasionally in the 1970's, would be so contrite in his last final years. and indeed he might not have been in the best condition to offer candid, honest, insightful interviews. >> who was he, by the way? >> mcgeorge bundy was the youngest dean that harvard
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college ever had at 34. he was the start intellect of his generation and a boston brahmin aristocrat who kennedy brought to washington as his national security advisor in 1961. >> why did you decide to release the information that he had alzheimer's disease? >> because i think it was important to the understanding of mac bundy and to the attention that this last book on his life had garnered. it is a reflection of the man as well and his strength of character in many ways, that this is not someone, such as robert mcnamara who was secretary of defense at the time, who would suffer with internal regret. >> this is under your chapter, emergency men, and there's no rhyme or reason why i want to bring this up except that i was interested in whether or not
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you listen to this show. sean hannity, on his syndicated sean hannity radio program -- are you a listener? >> sure. >> said that, it's the "august 15th, 2008, ludicrously proposed sending stinger missiles to georgia." >> yes. >> why did you want to make that note? >> because it shows the recklessness of so many of the foreign policy emergency enthusiasts. georgia was a crisis that occurred during the 2008 presidential campaign, which was immediately analogized to munich 1938, to which enthusiasts on left and right believe that we should stand by georgia and stand up to russia and indeed something as preposterous as sending in military weaponry to shoot down russian aircraft. >> how often do you hear remarks like that on these talk shows that you wish you could correct? >> one hears careless discussion all the time of
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american foreign policy and it's not just on the talk shows. it's by a lot of the esteemed professors on the cold war who might not have benefited from diving deep into the russian language archives. it's to see the intelligence estimates, decade after decade, come to really loopy conclusions that only later are shown to be unsupportable. it is a prevailing casualness, winging it approach to american foreign policymaking. >> do you speak russian? >> i used to work in russian with a dictionary. >> do you speak other languages? >> my french is ok. i spoke dutch as a child. >> and explain that, because your father was dutch. >> my father was dutch. he came to the united states during world war ii. my grandparents and cousins lived in holland and i benefited from being able to spend lots of summers overseas. >> and your father fought in the american military or the dutch
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military? >> he escaped the nazis. he came to america. he served as a radio broadcaster to occupied holland and then he joined the dutch free forces. >> footnote 24 in that chapter -- >> internal bickering has characterized a lot of american national security policymaking. and keep in mind that it's -- why do these characteristics of illusion befuddle so many of america's approaches to the world? it's because we really don't have a professional, large, robust foreign service that is pivotal to making foreign policy, as in other advanced democracies that so many of our foreign policies are made by political appointees, so it
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leaves so much room for the sharp elbows, the constant quarreling. >> i'm just picking out little bits in the footnotes in the back to get your -- to give us some further explanation. footnote 33 in that chapter, "emergency men" -- >> yes, that's a troubling quote. there was a lot of high adrenalin and machoness in the kennedy administration from the top down and that was evidenced in walking on the edge, oftentimes in foreign policy and indeed the infatuation with special forces that got us more and more and more into vietnam. >> this aside, an alternative view of what was underway can be seen in my moscow discussions with george kennan and when did you have discussions -- >> george kennan was the primary foreign service russian scholar who is pivotal for
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conceptualizing the notion of containment in his famous 1947 foreign affairs article. and thereafter he became an esteemed academic, mostly at princeton. in 1981, i encountered him in moscow, where he had a less than helpful view at the time in u.s.-soviet relations. he was denouncing the new reagan administration as reckless, childish to the soviets themselves, warning them that the new administration was belligerent and warlike and so forth. and that was troubling to hear and fueled the innate fears of the soviets to begin with and a debate was arranged where i presented a contrary view. >> if my memory serves me right, you basically said that he was lionized by the media and that the academic world and the -- what did you think of him in the end? how important was he?
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>> i see george kennan as an arch-emergency man. he was prone to hysteria, oftentimes. when he was appointed ambassador in 1951 to the soviet union he insisted that the cia give him a cyanide pill because he was certain he would be kidnapped. he was a troubled man who knew russia extremely well -- language, history and so forth -- but then oftentimes had abhorrent views on his own country, whether views of race, of democracy, of the american experience, who was not helpful in interpreting his own country to the world. >> last footnote in that chapter is -- that's before all the wars. why did you mention this?
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>> because richard perle, among many of these other public- spirited foreign policy enthusiasts, are smart, well- intentioned men and women and i've worked with many, many of them. but oftentimes they're working under the gravest of self- deceptions -- the belief that any problem can be solved, that they have a short amount of time in government, and that they will indeed solve it while in power. and indeed this book mentions a lot of names of people i've worked with over the years. >> and what do you think mr. perle's impact was on the whole iraq war situation? >> that's been examined by many, many people. the role in the so-called neocons which strike me as decisive in foreign policymaking of the early 2000's and of the bush administration.
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but there's no need to single out the mischievousness or the mistakes of the neocons, because one can see this in the best and brightest of the kennedy years and the so-called daring amateurs, as they were called in the 1950's, of the truman years and korea. time and again, the enthusiasts, the emergency players coming and trying to shape, fine tune u.s. foreign policy, all for the best in their views. >> this is a quick aside. you say here, "which includes the discussion of incapable war-planning with a compliant general tommy franks." >> yes. >> why do you call him compliant? >> because one can see that in the memoirs of douglas feith, for example, who was an undersecretary of defense. one can see that in the interactions in which feith and donald rumsfeld indeed apparently threatened franks with his job as a --
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>> what was his job? >> his job was head of centcom at that time. and the rumsfeld years as secretary of defense, his second time around, made it plain that one did not cross the office of the secretary of defense and to that end, compliant people worked for him. >> did you ever work for the government? >> i've consulted for the government many times over the decades. >> there's a footnote here, it says -- what was he doing at the time and why were you talking to him? >> i was a student in paris at that time and i took it upon myself to visit the chinese embassy in paris, not realizing that it was extraordinary for an american student to wander in. vernon walters was the military attache in paris at the time and he, in short order, became deputy director of the cia. and that established a
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relationship through much of my work in sharing insights with the intelligence community. >> what do you think of the council on foreign relations and how does it fit in all this dialog? >> the council on foreign relations is an esteemed research center think tank. indeed i was a member of it for a number of years. it's the oldest foreign policy association in the united states and it has excellent scholars and enthusiasts that work to the benefit of american foreign policy. it's an example of the think tanks; the academic research centers that attract lots of enthusiasts, some of them expert, some of the quasi- experts, but that all together shape american foreign policymaking. this is not done in any other part of the world; this outside influence, for better or for worse. >> more from your footnotes. this is under the chapter, "star power." many of us -- this is footnote 10 --
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>> yes, that comes from a mistaken work by the esteemed historian, alistair horne, the biographer of henry kissinger, in his initial work on the kissinger biography. there is nothing to laud about the way u.s.-soviet relations were handled in the 1970's, certainly the indulgence of the soviet ambassador in washington, to whom we bent over backwards with his special parking space in the state department and the back channels that were always erected to share information that would scoop the u.s. ambassador in moscow. this happened time and again, decade after decade and it was contrary to our interests. >> why did the state department officials do it, or why did the -- >> remember, it wasn't the state department officials who did
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this. this was a part of the american approach to foreign policymaking. we have the political appointees who are calling the shots in american foreign policymaking. for better or for worse, we don't have a mandarin foreign service, the way that england does, france does, russia, japan, china, brazil and so forth. our foreign policy is made largely through political patronage, political appointees, bringing in these enthusiasts from the council on foreign relations and kennedy school and wilson center and so forth into high political office. >> in that same chapter, footnote 21 -- >> yes, there was a lot of sloppy thinking leading up to iraq and indeed the oklahoma city bombing was initially blamed on arabs. and in the late 1990's, many
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well-intentioned foreign policy enthusiasts worked assiduously to line up the united states to oppose saddam hussein to the extent of war. >> what do you think of jim woolsey? >> again, enthusiastic, bright, public-spirited individual who served with distinction as a u.s. ambassador in arms control negotiations and then as a cia director under president clinton, yet who got woefully off track, in my opinion, in his ability to fine tune the middle east and the muslim world in general, quote, unquote. >> jim miklaszewski, who's the nbc pentagon correspondent, you refer to him in a footnote as excellent -- why? >> i thought so, because there are indeed many excellent people in the press and academia, certainly in the foreign service and u.s. civil service involved in foreign
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policymaking. and one can be astute and dispassionate and not have illusions about solving every problem on the planet or fine tuning south waziristan or that everybody wants to be like us. one can have a more limited engagement with the world that can ironically be more productive. >> you write about maxwell taylor, deceased general -- why were you doing that and what did you think? >> well "international security" was the magazine that i was a co-founder of at harvard university in 1976. and working with general taylor over those months and shaping his essay was an extraordinary experience. but it also provoked me to
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wonder how someone of that stature and brilliance and competence and linguistic ability as well could have gotten vietnam so, so wrong -- not my conclusion, but the halberstam book that had come out the previous years. >> this footnote later on. zumwalt, admiral zumwalt used to be the chief of naval operations. who says so? >> i think that's common opinion in the navy, even to this day -- his ability, his rectitude, his competence in reshaping the navy after rocky years in vietnam. >> here's one -- were you listening? is that why you heard that? >> yes, i was listening.
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but that werewolf example is the most deplorable instance of sloppy use of history by a secretary of state and a national security advisor, who recall that both donald rumsfeld and condoleeza rice were talking about these so- called nazi hit teams appearing in baghdad. >> this is a simon & schuster published book and it's "magic and mayhem -- the delusions of american foreign policy from korea to afghanistan" and obviously a very serious book. upfront, though, you quote j.k. rowling, "i don't believe in magic." why? >> because one has to have a sense of dark humor in looking at the past lifetime of american foreign policymaking, because so much of it is done with the best intentions in the world -- the magical belief that we can transform people and places while doing minimal homework, the belief that we
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have an understanding of transforming history as well. and that indeed is all magical thinking. but of course magic is not real and this expounder of magic, j.k. rowling, the creator of the great fantasy novels of recent times, is a reminder that this ain't the real world. >> you dedicate the book to genevieve. >> genevieve, yes; a very smart, kind, courageous woman whom i admire. >> who is she? >> a friend. >> derek leebaert, our guest, thank you very much for joining us. >> thanks. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> for a dvd copy of this program, call 1-877-662-7726.
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>> let me ask the prime minister in all seriousness -- is it really all wise judgment what he is telling everyone to tighten their belt, to put his own personal photographer on the civil service payroll? >> mr. speaker, he asked that question because it doesn't have the answers to anything. ♪ >> now from london, prime minister's questions from the british house of commons. this week after labor party leader challenged david cameron, on his decision to put his personal photographer on the government payroll. prime minister cameron answered questions about reducing unemployment.
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>> questions for the prime minister. john robinson. >> question no. one, mr. speaker. >> bank you, mr. speaker. i am sure the house will join me in paying tribute make areas safe both for our requires unbelievable acts of personal courage and selflessness, they are the bravest of the brave. william was a talented and sorely missed by all those who knew him. our thoughts are with his family and friends, and we will not forget what he did. this morning, i had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. in addition to my duties in the house, i shall have further such meetings later today. >> i associate myself, as do my hon. and right hon. friends, with the prime minister's comments. our soldiers and armed forces
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deserve our greatest respect, they will not be forgotten. although it is not the prime minister's fault that 555 of my constituents may lose out when the education maintenance allowance is done away with in scotland, the fact is that he made a promise in january, at a cameron direct event, to support emas. how many more promises to this country will he and this government break? >> what we are having to do is deal with completely broken public finances and sort them out. on the issue of the education maintenance allowance, we are committed to ensuring that every young person remains in education and training until ema with a learner support fund which, crucially, will be administered by the schools and colleges themselves, which are stock far better at identifying those young people who need help to stay in education. to stay in education.


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