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tv   Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Conversation on Diplomacy  CSPAN  July 3, 2020 3:26pm-5:00pm EDT

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circumstances, but very good advice. >> take it from me and i think many others in this room, there is nothing more gratifying than working for the american people. making the u.s. and the world more democratic, more prosperous, and more secure. [applause] >> please join me in welcoming the executive vice president and provost at indiana university. [applause] >> welcome, everybody. on behalf of indiana university, it is my honor to introduce our next speaker.
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long before ambassador yovanovitch came to a national prominence, she represented the united states and its interests with professionalism, dignity, and bravery in a diplomatic career that spanned 34 years. world fromross the moscow to ukraine, ambassador yovanovitch's career has been distinguished by service to country, nonpartisanship, and as you can see by her list of postings overseas, by her willingness to take on tough diplomatic assignments and to tell it like it is. haiku up in an air force family and like the rest of my family, i was tremendously proud of my
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father's military service. i benefited from the opportunity to live in other countries around the world and to travel throughout this country. but i also understood the hardships involved and sometimes the risks. the same is true of our nation's formats, whose contributions often go unnoticed, the work of our professional diplomats contribute to our nation's prosperity, advance our security , and make it less likely that young men and women will be called into combat. unseen ands often despite the caricatures, unglamorous. ambassador yovanovitch, speaking at some other foreign affairs school on the potomac two weeks ago, quoted former secretary of
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state george schultz, who famously said that the work of a foreign service officer is to ,end to the diplomatic garden doing the day-to-day gardening, so that the weeds don't choke off the sunlight. in diplomatic terms, that means keeping open channels with adversaries. when impossible to know they will be needed or for what. maybe to advance a trade agreement, maybe to press for compliance with an arms-control maybe even to, protect global health. inthere was a silver lining something as polarizing as an
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impeachment hearing, it was to give the public a chance to see for itself the talent, expertise, boys, and dignity -- poise, and dignity of our nation's foreign service officers. of theof the character woman we are here today, ambassador marie yovanovitch. as an educator at a university committed to global engagement, i want to thank ambassador yovanovitch for giving the american public the opportunity to understand better the values and professionalism of our foreign service. theank and congratulate hamilton lugar school of global and international studies for hosting this event. part of this annual conference on america's role in the world, which has become a valued part
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of this campus' global tradition. ambassador yovanovitch, may i ask you now to come to the podium to be joined by indiana university president, mcrobbie, and your former state department colleague, ambassador lee feinstein, to join us on stage as well? [applause]
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>> thank you, very much. on behalf of indiana university, is my great honor to present ambassador marie yovanovitch with the inaugural richard lugar of war. investor yovanovitch is a fitting recipient of this award which is bestowed on behalf of the school of international studies, which is named in honor andhe late senator lugar former congressman lee hamilton, who is with us today. this award honors senator lugar's c -- legacy as a giant -- of
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he appreciated and embrace the fundamental goal of diplomacy in making our country and the world more just and secure. in this regard, the senator was a supporter of america's foreign service and he worked to ensure that our foreign service officers and others in the state department have the resources they needed to perform their duties. senator lugar sought to protect the important constitutional role of congress in foreign affairs and national security. i would like represented a fountain -- he was one of the most influential foreign policy to serve in the congress. i know the senator would be family, thathis ambassador yovanovitch is the first recipient of this award in his name. in a 34 year career, the
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ambassador worked on issues that were of central importance to the senator throughout almost his entire senatorial career. yovanovitch'sdor first tour in ukraine, the senator visited the country to advance the effort to prevent the spread of dangerous weapons .nd technologies the ambassador played a major goal in shaping and implement an post-cold war policy, helping advance diplomacy, prosperity, security, and rule of law in the post-soviet era. investor yovanovitch -- --assador yovanovitch a commitment to understanding other cultures and societies and unmask difficult subjects and explained them to non-expert audiences, a willingness to speak truth to power effectively and a
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commitment to the best traditions of this country's founding principles into its constitution. we are also proud to claim the ambassador as one of our very own, at least in a small way, as she is an alumni of our summer language workshop, which is part of the hamilton lugar school. [applause] the ambassador studied the russian language in 1979 and is part of a great tradition of russian studies and linkage experts, including former ambassador to russia jim collins , former secretary of defense robert gates, and former director of policy and planning for the state department anne-marie slaughter, all of whom have spoken a number of times and i you -- at iu. meta-ambassador -- madam ambassador, as you can see, this
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award sits atop a compass, symbolically reflecting senator lugar's been supported integrity. it also reflects what we have described as the obligations of a foreign service officer to remain faithful to her true north. as you have done brilliantly and -- in challenging posts overseas and at all of us recently witnessed in washington, d.c. it is my honor and privilege to present ambassador yovanovitch with the inaugural richard lugar award. congratulations. [applause] ambassador yovanovitch will now liver remarks, after which people take part in a
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question-and-answer session, moderated by pastor lee feinstein, the founding dean of the hamilton lugar school. 20 once again in congratulating ambassador marie yovanovitch and both coming her to the podium. -- and welcoming her to the podium. [applause] ms. yovanovitch: it is such an honor for me to be back at indiana and to receive such an award, so i think president mcrobbie for presenting me with the richard lugar award, but i hope that all of you will permit me to accept this award on behalf of all the women and men at the state department who work with integrity, with vision, and with dedication. take in, day out, they are little known to the world and
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even to their fellow americans, but every day, they protect and defend u.s. interests around the world, just as senator lugar did. on their behalf, i'm accepting this award, and thank you for honoring all of us. [applause] many at the state department helped to implement the legislation that senator lugar conceived, 54, and guided. that is how i met senator lugar. i was a mid-level officer in ukraine in the early 2000's, the senator was on a trip through the former soviet union to check on our nonproliferation program, the program that he and another senator created. the senator arrived very late on a hot august afternoon, tired, knowing he would have a long road trip ahead of him the next
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day. there i was, standing on the tarmac at the bottom of the stairs as the plane came in and the senator greeted me, it was the first time i met the senator, and i got to tell him that the president of ukraine wanted to see him. so the senator said, that would be lovely. when is the meeting? i said, right now. there was this moment of shock, nobody was laughing. a moment of shock, and a moment of unprincipled words from the staff. but the senator was unflappable, he was gracious, and he used the hour-long trip to the president's office as prep time and as you would expect, senator lugar pushed on nonblack elation -- nonproliferation concerns. for this mid-level officer, it was a privilege to watch a pro at work.
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the next day, we traveled with our ukrainian counterparts to participate in the elimination of a silo and one of the photos in the cliff you saw earlier -- the clip you saw earlier that commemorated that event. many of you may be wondering, as i would have, what is an icbm silo? that is the shelter for intercontinental ballistic missiles, which was probably once pointed at york or washington, maybe indianapolis. thatnk we sometimes forget 1991, when the soviet union collapsed, how literally awesome a moment that was, for love opportunity -- full of opportunity, and how dangerous that was in one of the dangers was that the world's largest nuclear arsenal, which had been under soviet control, was all of a sudden in the hands of four
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brand-new countries. russia, ukraine, because asked on, and belarus. this was at a time when these countries where facing unprecedented political challenges and failing economies. the possibility of loose nukes was not top of mind for most in the former soviet union. we, in the u.s., had concerns as to whether these countries could control, much less keep them secure for bad actors, or service them so they did not pose an environmental hazard. something -- did the senators did something unprecedented. they moved forward a bill that you'd u.s. funding to help these countries eliminate their nuclear weapons. obviousspect, it is so that storing nukes -- destroying new makes the world safer, especially for americans, who were the likely targets of these
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weapons of mass destruction. of course we should have done everything to make that happen. but using american taxpayer money to destroy on other countries weapons had never been done before. many felt it was the other country's responsibility so it was controversial. even though it was clearly in our own interests and even though it was evident that countries that were emerging from the wreckage of the soviet state were not capable, at that point, of taking care of the problem themselves. hadunately, the senators the vision to see what was necessary and tenacity to push legislation through the congress and they had the ability to then persuade the leadership of these four new countries that this was an their interests too and that was not a cakewalk. a few months prior to those conversations, the ussr had been our strategic rival. , all ofeyond fortunate
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us sitting in this room and beyond, to have had these two senators leading the way during an inflection point in modern history by establishing the threat reduction program, they reduced the risk of a nuclear catastrophe. i believe we can take a lesson from these senators. they knew that the u.s. needs to be present in the world and not just present, we need to lead, we need to reduce and manage risk around the world. that makes americans or secure, that makes the rest of the world more secure, which is good for americans. but there is more. we also need to set the example. senator lugar held an unwavering belief in the american people and in our democracy. he believed that american moral traditions, by which i believe he meant rule of law, human rights, freedoms enshrined in the bill of rights, including freedom of the press, and our
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participation in civil society, all of these things are a source of our international power. he believed that exercising authority in the present age requires allies and the ability to build coalitions. it is easier to do that if the u.s. maintains the respect that arrives from moral traditions, he said. believedugar democracies are less likely to go to war with other democracies, he believed democracies are less likely to tolerate corruption, he thought democracies were more likely to promote policies that would ensure prosperity and resulting security that would create a better international environment. maintaining our principles is the right thing to do. it is also the smart thing to do. that is not to say that democracies are perfect and don't make mistakes.
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but it was church hill who knows a thing or two about some of these things who said, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. smaller and more interconnected than ever. we can get off to any destination in a day or get there virtually in a second and the consequences of one country's careless actions wash up on the shores of others with distressing regularity, sometimes literally. together and we need to find solutions together, but we are not going to be successful if we think of this as a zero-sum game. senator lugar never did. he understood the power of principal, he saw the u.s. as that shining city on the hill, and every day, he worked to keep us shining because he knew that it takes work to preserve our
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institutions at home and protect our relationships around the world. i will add an important point about senator lugar the man. senator lugar's dignity, the way he communicated with me, a mid-level officer who had given him unwelcome news on what felt like a 100 degree tarmac at the end of a long trip, shows us how we should treat each other and how to get the best results. he knew that you don't have to shout to be heard. in fact, if you are shouting, whether it is in person or on the internet, no one is listening and no one can be heard. lugar, byst, senator the power of his example, showed us that you can be good, you can do good, and still make good for your country and yourself. lugar couldn't make
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other initiatives happen without help. the nonproliferation program that was the defense medicine agency, which was founded with that goal in mind, and also the state department. they into blended the program and the state bar and greased the skids, ensuring access. on just about every issue internationally. does the pentagon need a new base somewhere? we negotiated data. does the secretary of state need to know what is happening in a country on the edge? political officers are drafting report in real-time and providing policy options. when an american company wants to expand its operations overseas, what is the first stop? usually, the economic and commercial officers at an embassy. you choosing a vacation destination overseas
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that you are not sure if it is safe to go? i'm guessing you are looking at the state department website to make that decision. write about how to evacuate your child -- rate about how to evacuate your child from a country -- where aid -- worried about how to evacuate your child from a country? call the state department. we need a strong and resilient department of state that is fully funded, fully staffed, and fully empowered to meet the challenges of the 21st century and if that were the case today -- [applause] if that were the case today, the u.s. government would get it right were often than we do today. what do we need to do to reinvigorate the state department? i believe we need to be committed to our principles,
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rule of law, generosity of spirit, and understanding we are stronger together internally and externally with our allies, and a commitment to put u.s. resources on the line with others to make the world a more democratic, more prosperous, and more secure place. this is in the interest of others, but first and foremost, it is in our own interest. we need to be principled and trustworthy. quote george schultz, who worked for president reagan. we need to tend the garden. we need to invest in our relations with allies and adversaries, so that they understand that and we understand them, even if we don't always agree. it is probably more important when we don't agree. we need to communicate our resolve, we need to reassure our allies, and we need to signal
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clearly to our adversaries so there is no is communication and misunderstanding. we need to re-empower diplomats to do their jobs. government officials should not be afraid to challenge assumptions or to share their expertise and experience. working on the basis of facts and rigorous analysis is not the work of the deep state. it is the work of the deeply dedicated state, in the words of ambassador -- [applause] just to give credit where credit is due, those were the words of ambassador mike mcfall. no set of remarks is complete without talking about the coronavirus and i think that we are learning this lesson all over again with the coronavirus. at the chinese government in the first place acted responsibly when dr. lee spoke up, rather than detaining him, we might be
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in a different place today. if the u.s. had a better relationship with china, perhaps we would have more information earlier and perhaps international health experts could have traveled to china sooner. it turns out that the truth matters in epidemics can't be weet.ed light sweet -- by t [laughter] [applause] we need to do a better job of relationship building at home so we understand our own political priorities in the u.s. and the working environment in washington. that means foreign service officers need to understand the imperative of our political leadership in the executive and legislative branches. diplomats cannot be effective if they are only expert in foreign affairs.
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that also means better explaining what we do so that in a resource-challenged environments, congress understands what we do and why it is important and want to inest in diplomacy and assistance programming around the world. we need to do a better job of communicating with the american public, which funds the state department. over the last five months, i have received hundreds, perhaps thousands of letters from all over america in one common theme is, i never knew what the state department does, or did. ,learly, we need to do better both individually and institutionally on that score. we need to be dealt the policy process, painful as it sometimes is, to be more inclusive, more thoughtful, and more effective. and by regular, so that outside actors don't manipulate the u.s.
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we need to make it a priority at every level to counter the disinformation that totalitarian regimes are spreading in the u.s. and abroad, but also to do a better job at communicating our american story to audiences overseas. we need to partner with interest groups and nongovernmental institutions on diplomatic initiatives and projects and we need to rigorously examine how we define our work, how we do our work, where we work, and how we prepare and grow our talent. the principles of our tradecraft remain the same. just as we abandoned the quill , we need a century ago to innovate our approach to match the challenges of today. it is also important that we review our corporate culture. i think there are a lot of questions we could ask about that at the state department that come to mind to be is can
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we be more flexible? can we be less risk-averse? countries --ghty questions and there is a lot of work done in this area. booster of the state department and foreign service officers, i know senator lugar would have been at the center of the discussion on how to reanimate our foreign policy and reinvigorate our state department. i'm sure that many of you at the hamilton lugar school are also thinking about these issues and i believe that the department needs your insights and the department needs your help. in closing, i would like to acknowledge the individuals who are here today who are keeping the hamilton lugar school so strong. , provost, forou that generous introduction. president mcrobbie, you honor me and the many women of the state department this award -- and the
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men and women of the state department with this award. [applause] ambassador feinstein, dean feinstein, who i'm losing in the crowd, i think you for inviting me here today and for being a fantastic partner when we were both at the state department. we were able to accomplish a lot of good things with our esteemed ambassador to poland. to give a shout out to the ukrainian studies organization. i understand some of you are here today. [applause] convening the very first conference this week, so let me
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share my favorite quotations from this famous ukrainian poet and patriot and i hope i don't murder the pronunciation. for those who don't speak ukrainian, which i'm guessing is most of you, i will tell you what that means in a minute. , ast, i want to say that president mcrobbie mentioned, i was at the russian language workshop at indiana university 40 years ago. it was the summer that this lighting movie came out, that's how long ago it came out. i felt i was at the center of the universe with that going on. i had the most amazing teacher. she generously shared the secrets of russian grammar and for anybody who has studied russian, that is a teacher you hold it was life-changing. hold it was life-changing
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-- you hold close. it was life-changing. as someone who has benefited from the program here, i can tell you you are fortunate to be at indiana university. as the conference finishes up and you are thinking about america's role in the world, i hope you are asking yourself what your role is in america, in the world. i hope that leads you to a career in public service and since i'm a former to clement, i would be remiss in saying, in not saying, i hope it leads you to a career in the foreign service. there are many ways to contribute and many ways to give back and i know that what you choose -- no matter what you choose, you will be doing that. some of you maybe wondering what my favorite what was. there are many ways to translate it, but here is the one i like. struggle on and be triumphant.
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today, takents here that thought too hard as you answer the question of your role in america and your goal in the world. i want to thank you today, thank you for honoring me, and thank you for honoring the women and men of the state department yard thanks. -- of the state department. thanks. [applause] please join me in welcoming ambassador lee feinstein, founding dean of the hamilton lugar school of global and international studies in four ambassador to the republic of poland -- and former ambassador to the republic of poland. [applause]
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>> well, i always like to quote congressman hamilton. he is to the point. so if i may, congressman, wow. [laughter] that was really terrific. it is great to be with you here today. welcome back to bloomington. it was a real privilege to work with you. you are a person of integrity. you were supportive. you were loyal. those are qualities we got to see. all of us got to see over the course of the last year. it is gray outside. it is difficult. you could not tell from the university'shis motto is marked today in the dignity you have shown over the course of your career and since
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have brought us both today. thank you so much. ms. yovanovitch: thank you. thank you. [applause] i thought i would sense ofgiving you a our well-informed audience. were to hand out a map of the world -- [laughter] ms. yovanovitch: a test. mr. feinstein: every single person in this audience, they would be able to find ukraine with no problem. [laughter] [applause] ms. yovanovitch: [laughter] mr. feinstein: but it raises a serious question. let's just say hypothetically a very senior member of the state department were to say something like, no one cares about ukraine. how would you respond? in ukraine,o tours including as ambassador of
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course, but based on your experience there, why should americans care about ukraine? what are the geostrategic significance of ukraine? why does it matter to americans? ms. yovanovitch: that is a simple question. i will do my best to answer it. i think there are many different ways that one can answer that question. , during thecold war cold war, it was a bipolar war with russia and the united states. the dissolution of the soviet union, all the countries seeing tot they were on their way becoming democracies, market economies. and then we had the early 2000's with 9/11 and some of the other developments that we saw there. and we now seem to have a bit of a muddle. we don't know exactly what we
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are doing. it is an inflection point in our history where we don't have the cold war and the institutions that were founded during that time, whether they are on the political security side or economic side, to bring a sense of order to how the world does its business. those institutions are struggling a bit right now with the new challenges. and we don't necessarily have the cohesion that we did after 9/11 when the whole world was on the side of the united states as we were struggling with terrorism and the world really was behind us. so now, what do we do with all of that? i think what you see, perhaps understandably, is that every country is jostling for position and jostling for advantage. and not every country has the same philosophy as the united states traditionally has done,
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that this is not a zero-sum game. that if we do right by others, others will eventually do right by us as well. that foreign assistance programming is a good thing certainly for those who are receiving that foreign assistance. but it is also good for the united states because it not only engenders goodwill for us, but it increases the prosperity in a country, increases security in a country, and those countries become better allies or partners for the united states. country that is traditionally expansionist, you just need to look, speaking of maps, at the russian empire. obviously, there was the soviet union inherited that empire, tried to expand it further if you consider the warsaw pact as part of an expansion of influence if not actual territory, and then experienced
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a very sharp and perhaps unexpected contraction in the late 1980's and 1991. as russia is trying to reposition itself in the world, it is taking advantage of some of the confusion that we see in the international space. earlyy early on in the 1990's, we sought russia sort of have a lot of influence, shall we say, and a significant military presence. to 2008 fast-forward and we have the georgia invasion. and again a pause. the takeoverhave of crimea, when the world was really back on its heels and not understanding what was happening. and then the creeping war in the
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east of ukraine. expansionist power. i think philosophically over the centuries has felt it was important to expand its territory in order to keep the core safe. i think that is what we are seeing now. ukraine being attacked militarily, both in crimea and in the east, and just to remind everybody, although i know you can pass the map test, but just to remind that ukraine borders a number of nato countries. the u.s. has treaty obligations to those nato countries. so you have ukraine being attacked on the east, and on the
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west, it is bordering nato countries. that is not a comfortable situation for us. what we see in the war in ukraine is the same military tactics, the same experimental use of weapons that we then see in a place like syria, for example. -- i thinkearly strategic particular goal that russia has, which is at a minimum to so confusion and doubt and to retain as much influence over ukraine as possible. but also to use ukraine as a bit of a testing ground. we used to say ukraine may be the testing ground for russia, but it needs to be the proving ground for the united states and the west in terms of how we respond to what russia is doing in ukraine.
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so there is the military challenge. -- the russians are using energy as a tool to make not only ukraine, or try to make ukraine, which has made significant efforts and ahievements in becoming competitor to russia on energy front, but perhaps not as advanced as ukraine in that respect. so using energy as a tool to then exert political influence. we see the election meddling, which happened first in ukraine into any 14 and was then -- in 2014 and was then clear in the meddling in the bridge at issue in the u.k. and obviously in our own elections in 2016. we hope they will not be meddling in our elections this year. also, there is france, which is often not discussed, but was a
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very clear attempt to influence those elections. there is also the issue of attacks on the energy grid in ukraine. the first -- we have talked about this for a couple decades in the united states. our energy grid is so vulnerable to attack, whether it is bad actors or a sovereign state. in fact, russia did that in ukraine. and i believe it was 2016 -- 201 5, december of 2015. again, you can see what russia is doing by trying out these different things and then possibly trying them out in other places. the last thing i would just say disinformation that is out there and that is very dangerous because it just orients all of us when we hear these issues that are out there
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and then we don't really know what to think. that is kind of the point. because people sort of throw up their hands and say, i can't make sense of what that person is saying or what that person is saying. i am just not going to think about it. i think that is in some ways the most dangerous thing in a democracy. the democracy needs every citizen to be participating, to be informed, and to be making those decisions that are important for a country. so that is a really long way of saying that the reason we need to care about ukraine is -- i mean, there is a geostrategic reason. but there is also the fact that whatever we see in ukraine, we also see either in whole or in part in other parts of the world, including the united states. and we cannot allow that to happen. [applause]
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mr. feinstein: so you mentioned as part of the issues in ukraine the issue of democracy promotion and advancing democracy. to many americans, many people in the public, this seems impractical or abstract priority. based on your experience, and you have a lot of it in the post-soviet space with transitional governments, some authoritarian, some transitioning better than others, can you give a better sense and explained to us and more broadly for the public why is it in america's interest to have democracy promotion as a fundamental aspect of our foreign policy? ms. yovanovitch: yeah. i think that it is important as senator lugar has said and written, because it is in fact less likely that democracies are going to go to war against each other. not that it is impossible, and we have seen it, but it is less likely.
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democracies are less likely to tolerate corruption. corruption is in every society, but it is how you handle it. are there institutions that can manage it? are there laws and regulations that make it illegal or discourage it or set up a system to make it more difficult? is there accountability? i think all of these things are really important in a democracy. and they are also important in the international space. i think for people who are living in countries where they don't have a say in how they are governed, i am not saying most people in the world, including the united states, wake up in the morning and think about our founding fathers and the constitution and all of the very theoretical things that are out there. but actually on a practical level, manage our political system and the rights and
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response abilities that we have as citizens in the united states. but what most people do want, i think, is they want to be living in a safe environment. and most people would think about that not as what is happening overseas, but as what is happening in their hometown. they want to make sure they have a job and can put food on the table and that they can live their lives the way they want to. if that means, you know, going to the movies every night, if it means staying in every night, nobody is telling them what to do. nobody is telling them what university they have to. nobody is telling them what job they will have after that. nobody is telling them what to think and what to say. we take our freedoms, honestly i think, for granted. and we are fortunate that we can take them for granted. but i think that one of the things that we have realized over time and one of the things senator lugar new is that freedom is not free.
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you have to work for it. you have to work for it every day, and we work for it in different ways. some people join the military. some people join the foreign service. i hope every person in this room votes. [laughter] [applause] and all of you are somehow participating in your communities, whether it is by being a girl scout leader, whether it is by working as a journalist at the local newspaper. there are so many different ways to do that. getting parents together to make sure that the school playground is in good shape for the kids and is safe. all of those things are examples of what happens in a healthy civil society, and it is what keeps us all going. none of that is present in totalitarian states. the state takes care of
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everything. the state will handle the playground issue. if you don't like the fact that there is no seesaw, too bad for you. you will like the swing instead. these are silly examples, but they are real examples of how democracy i think is important in everyday life. because people want to choose. within parameters, people want to make their own decisions about how they live their life. i think democracies are stronger when citizens are very active. so going back to why it is important for us, i think in democracies people are generally, you know, happier, more secure, and more prosperous. we just need to look at the economic decisions that are made in totalitarian states and how they have boomeranged back. that is good for the u.s. people and it makes better partners for us. mr. feinstein: thank you.
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i wanted to ask a slightly more personal question. a number of people asked me to ask you this. we talked about it in advance. when we were together, i knew you always to be professional, steely, whichey, is a very good and important quality in a diplomat, but never someone to call attention to herself. fall,en suddenly last this is a big understatement, the spotlight was on you. us,ou mind sharing with what did that feel like? ms. yovanovitch: well, it was in some ways surprising. it was certainly unwelcome. and not anything that i ever would have chosen for myself. i don't think anybody would have. but i think that when you find yourself in a position like that , and that is obviously a
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dramatic position, but i would working over many years for the american people and for the u.s. government, you have challenges. them in themeet best way that you possibly can. and that's what i tried to do. you know, many people, as you have, have complement it me on that. and federalpartment government and i am sure local and state governments are full of people who would have responded just as i did, just as the other witnesses did. that you are called upon to tell the truth. we are government officials so we respond in a nonpartisan way. but it is important to tell the over and then to hand it to political leaders who take their own actions on that.
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i guess i would just say one other thing, which is that people have asked me, how did you know what to do? i didn't. know, there are little -- these are not the most sophisticated ways probably of dealing with this kind of question, but there are two things. i thought about mentors i have had in my life. i thought about my own mother, who is probably my first and most important mentor and the person i admire most in the world. you know, what would they do? what would they want me to do? how would they go about it? i think sometimes asking yourself questions like that, you can really find your courage. the other question is perhaps a little less idealistic. in philosophy, of course, it is
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called "the new york times" test. if there will be a headline in "the new york times," what do you want it to say about you? [laughter] you know, i found myself asking that question. how did i want others who have no dog in the fight at all to think about this? so those were important ways that i kinda found my moral compass. haveeinstein: and now you something to bring home as well. thank you very much. [applause] ofl, i have a long list questions, but i know so does everybody else here. what i would like to suggest now is we open the floor up to questions. i think the lights may go on so we can see who is interested in asking. people withe also microphones floating around.
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while we are getting that ready, i might ask you just another question, which is the obvious one. and i think you already started down this path. we have many people in this audience who are interested in careers in government and careers in foreign service. can you describe the challenges of the state department, the issues of th the state department is facing? can you give them some advice as they think about their future careers, future careers in the state department or elsewhere?what advice based on your experience can you give them? ms. yovanovitch: i think the first piece of advice is to follow your passion. because i think if you really love numbers and economic theory, you should be doing something with that. if you really love something else, you should follow that, that calling. sometimes i think for smart people who have all the
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opportunities being at indiana university, sometimes the challenge is to narrow it down. but i think that is a good problem to have, not a bad problem to have. so i think deciding what you like to do the most and then following that. i would say that one can make a difference in the world in many different ways. i was just talking to representative hamilton. he was talking about being a that satisfying for a number of years but then he wanted to move on and make it into politics to make a bigger difference. that my mother used to always say that to whom much are given, much is being asked of those people. that describes everybody in this room. how can you give back? so i found that answer in public service. i think many of the students i work with now at georgetown
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university and i am sure many of the students here are going to find that answer in public service as well. i am not saying these are not challenging times. but frankly, they are always challenging times. there is one challenge or another out there. how do we deal with it? each one of you can make a difference in how we deal with the challenges of today. that isthat tremendously rewarding. mark grossman, who of course you know, ambassador mark grossman, he used to tell us when i was at the state department that there is no better place to work than a place where the american flag is in your office. that is so true because you know you are working for a greater cause, a higher purpose, and a very good cause. mr. feinstein: that's great. [applause] all right. so we have mic one and mic two.
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it is a little bit like a dr. seuss book. if you would like a question, please raise your hand. it is tough for us to see so i will do my best to recognize you. we are giving priority to students. so we will ask students to raise their hand in the beginning. ms. yovanovitch: can i just ask you to introduce yourself and say what you are studying? mr. feinstein: please. yes. right here. this gentleman to our right. hello, ambassador yovanovitch . first of all, i want to thank you again for speaking to us. my name is kyle tucker and i am a second-year student majoring in international students and russian so i can definitely attest to your comments on russian grammar. my question to you specifically was about students like me who are about to enter the workforce and hopefully for some of us in public service in the coming
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years, i wanted to know your perspective on what you think are some of the biggest strategic threats we are going to have to face as a generation as we move on into careers in government? ms. yovanovitch: thank you. and good luck with the russian. [laughter] it is a lifelong study is what i found. in terms of the strategic challenges ahead, there are many. that ithose is the one spent some time on talking about in my formal remarks, which is those strategic threats posed by weapons of mass destruction. it kinda feels like a cold war relic. but in fact, it is not. that is something that is less in the front -- on the front page these days, but it really needs to be because that is a huge priority for all of us. and there are new threats that
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are coming up. we did not spend too much time thinking about biological weapons during the cold war, but we are thinking a lot about that now. how do we contain that? so that certainly is one issue. the question of how, to use an old phrase, the world order so to speak is going to be organized, because during the cold war it was very clear. it became sort of clear in the 1990's. and now, there is lots of questions. there is a lot of countries economies and militaries that could pose a challenge. workw do we constructively with allies, partners, and
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potential adversaries in a way ensures our security, our prosperity, our democracy? because we can never forget that our foreign policy needs to be american foreign policy. how do we do that for ourselves but in a way that does not create instability, insecurity in the world? because if others are feeling insecure and unstable and threatened, that is not good for us. not in the long-term. new motivekind of a for how to operate i think is critical. i don't think we found it after the collapse of the soviet union. we need to i think reinvigorate some of our international institutions to take into hasunt that the world
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changed since 1946, 1947, maybe the 1950's, and how do we do that in a way that is constructive? that is a very important issue. clearly, the issue all of us home buty day in our the whole world faces collectively is the issue of the environment and how we ensure that our home here on earth -- that we do not foul our own nest beyond any kind of recognition. i think first and foremost we need to have a conversation about that in the united states because i think there is a great deal of disagreement in the united states. first of all, on the facts. but secondly come on what the policy should be. and how do we band together with other countries in the world? obviously, the previous
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administration had made efforts in that regard. this administration chose not to pursue that agreement. but how do we together, because we are in the world together, and any solution to that problem has to be one that all of us are working towards, how do we do that? i think it is early days. even as the clock is ticking louder and louder. i think that is one huge challenge. the other issue which is related to the issue of global warming ,nd the environment is poverty which in a world that is so in middlee people sub-saharan africa can look on their cell phones and be getting news from the united states or watching our sitcoms and watching how we live and seeing
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that their children don't have those same opportunities. i think just thinking about it, in the u.s. context, that creates a challenge for us here were not everybody has the same opportunities. globally, it also creates a people --when everybody wants the best for their children and that is understandable. -- we live in an era where more people have been brought out of poverty than ever before. but there are still billions of people that are very, very poor. allthat creates not only the obvious problems, but also instability. how do we deal with that? i mean, i could go on and on. [laughter] perhaps thethat positive side of that is there is still lots of work for you to do. [laughter] [applause] it wasnstein:
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interesting on the first point you made, this morning, our first panel with senator todd young. he talked about working on a bipartisan basis on the arms-control initiatives. ms. yovanovitch: very important. mr. feinstein: ok. right here please. thing number two. [laughter] >> hi.instein: i am studying international andies, chinese culture, security in business. what do you think the lasting implications of this administration's foreign policy has on how people from around the world view the foreign service and diplomats? thatovanovitch: i think just talking about the immediate is thatight now, which i think a question has been raised whether embassy
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officials, including career ambassadors, speak for the administration. like tying both hands behind you. theuse embassies are administration's voice overseas. we are the ones -- we are not making the president's or administration's policies. we are implementing those policies. if a foreign officer or someone from dod or the ambassador does not agree with those policies, they should not be in those jobs. over timee have had resignations because people did not agree. democraticand administrations because they did not agree with the policies. we are out there trying to permit the administration's policies. it has been traditional that you
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have the full backing of the administration in that. i think now there is a question. is that person really speaking for the administration? should i really trust that person? that this is what the administration wants, this is what is going to happen. or should i hire a lobbyist in washington to try to get me that answer? because i just don't know. a lot of --reates it makes it harder to implement our policies. it also creates a lot of uncertainty in a world that is already uncertain because going back to the challenges we are facing and that we are facing together, we don't really have the answers to them yet. we need to work together to get to those answers. i am hopeful that that is not going to be a lasting legacy. because the that department of state and those
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who work there and those who work in all of the agencies are by and large doing a good job and that that reputation is going to be the legacy that you speak of. mr. feinstein: ok. for -- we have time will combine two questions. if people will state their questions really carefully. person right here. yes. >> hi. i am a freshman studying political science, economics, and science. thank you for coming. i have learned a lot. i was just wondering, what is it like handling diplomacy in a country that was dealing with annexation, like territorial issues? what were some challenges? how did you respond to them? mr. feinstein: excellent. we will add one quick one. if i can ask person number one all the way in the back.
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there is a person just in the very last row. there you go. >> hi. i am a sophomore student studying international law and global institutions. my question is, are the women working in the field highly dominated by men, have you experienced moments where you had to force yourself to be taken seriously or heard? how have you navigated that? mr. feinstein: two great questions. thank you. ms. yovanovitch: so first one, i assume you are talking about ukraine and all the challenges that ukraine was facing. felt to go to ukraine the second time because these were existential questions not only for ukraine, but also more broadly for europe and the west and the united states. that ukraine had to prevail. and we had to help ukraine
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defend its territorial integrity, first of all. right to its self-determination. what kind of a government it should have. what kind of alliances? could it join the e.u. or not? is that a decision that should be decided in moscow or a decision that should be decided by the ukrainian people? the ukrainian people have spoken twice very clearly. once in 2004 with street demonstrations, and that ended up kind of fizzling when the government basically conducted business as usual. and then they did it again in 2014. it was really clear that this is what the ukrainian people wanted , to be facing towards the west, to join the e.u., maybe even nato, and have their own right to self-determination. i think americans instantly
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understand since we had our own battles for independence. ofy understand the rightness what the ukrainian people wanted. so for me, having served their four -- there before, seeing what ukrainian people said they wanted, seeing the challenge from russia, and the broader challenge that poses, i really wanted to go back because i thought i could make a difference. i think we did make a difference and are continuing to make a difference. even though ukraine has been so much in the news in the united states, not us early in the way that they perhaps would like, our policy continues to be a strong and constructive policy to ukraine, both in terms of the assistance, on the institution building side, the democracy building side, whether it is on the economic issues where we are
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very strong, or whether it is on the security side. so i think that is a real positive. it was probably the hardest job i have ever had. but in many ways, the most gratifying as well. thanks. mr. feinstein: we have one other question. ms. yovanovitch: yeah. so this is, you know, always a hard question to answer because i will just harken back to elizabeth warren's comments yesterday. not in a partisan way, but just to say i think she was right when she said that if you talk in a man's a woman world, if you complain about some of the things you have experienced or perceived, you are criticized as being a whiner and not one of the guys and clearly not up to the job. i think i am expanding on what she said. [laughter] but we hear she will say more. it,if you don't comment on
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then you are kind of taken -- the women in the room are like, what world is she in because that is not the world i am in. is ink what i would say did not have the experiences of being chased around the desk by a male supervisor, although my mother who worked as a secretary in the 1950's in london did. but there is just a general perhaps notthat is as hospitable to women as there is to men. it is a general environment that has been created. i would say that my time in the foreign service, i feel that i have been fortunate in my time in the foreign service because unbelievably my foreign service class was about 50 people.
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it was half and half. half women, half men. i was just at the swearing-in ceremony for the latest foreign service class, and that was not the proportions. it was like, i don't know exactly what it was, but it was markedly -- the overwhelming majority was male. when i asked about that, i was told just wait for the next class. the next class is going to be different. i am hoping that's true. i think in terms of numbers, we still need to work at that. and then i think when you look at where women are in structure department, and not just the state department come in general, there is a willing out. some of it is self elected because women are the ones who take care of family issues, whether it is children from a parental issues, whatever it might be. that privilege, that burden
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falls more on women than it does on men, so how can we as leaders, when we think about that, how can we make that easier for all people? not just ones who have a completely supportive network back home so they can spend all their time thinking about their job. i think the state department is changing but it is not there yet. i think it takes a conscious effort to make sure that we continue to evolve in a way that is supportive of everybody. i was also lucky when i came up in the foreign service. one of the things when you read books about leadership and women and men, one of the things they always say is men talk about how great they work and how they really deserved things. women talk about how lucky they were. so here i am telling you i was fortunate. but i was fortunate. i was fortunate because when i was coming up to be the deputy chief, which is number two at an
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leaders ate senior the state department were realizing. so this would have been in the late 1990's. they were realizing they could not just only have men at embassies. they needed some women as well. they were looking for talent. i was lucky to be there. the same thing happened actually when they were choosing cheap admission -- cheap admission ambassadors. i was in the right place at the right time. at because i learned russian a time when all of a sudden there were all these new embassies where russian was the language that was spoken, and many of these countries now they are not speaking russian. they were speaking their native linkages. in early 2000, it was an advantage to have russian. there were deliberate attempts
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to reach out to women to bring them up. i am looking forward i think that is necessary and important at a time that is still transitional. but i am looking forward to a time when that will be necessary, when it just comes naturally. [applause] well, about two thirds of the students in our school are women so hopefully we can help the proportions in an upcoming class. ms. yovanovitch: all right. good. that's good. [applause] mr. feinstein: well, it is time to gavel the final conference on america's role in the world to a close, but before i do come i wanted to say something about did lugar, who was also a champion of women in careers and foreign policy and something in indianapolis called the lugar series, which is a group of very successful women who meet and convene conferences to th
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this day. so let me recall something that senator lugar said. talent and accomplishments count, but honesty and integrity count more. professionalism and character are the qualities that we recognize in you here today, and presenting you with the inaugural award. everyone please join me in thanking ambassador yovanovitch. ms. yovanovitch: thank you. [applause] ms. yovanovitch: thank you. thank you. [applause] [laughter] you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> this fourth of july weekend, president trump is at mount
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billede for what is as a salute to america celebration. watch live on c-span, online at, or listen live wherever you are on the free c-span radio app. ♪ >> c-span's "washington journal" every day. we are taking your calls live on the air, on the news of the day, and discussing policy issues that impact you, coming up saturday morning. the white house historical theciation discusses how white house has celebrated the fourth throughout history. watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern on saturday morning and be sure to join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets. the mount rushmore memorial.
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there it is, the 60 foot head of george washington. three others to follow, jefferson, lincoln, and theodore roosevelt to be honored in an unveiling ceremony. >> when i look at the presidents, the first thing i think about is individual achievements from each of those people. but really, what they do for me and what this whole memorial aboutor me, it reminds me what they stood for. democracy,r freedom, for republics. i get to think about that every day. i get to share that with people every day. i'm it people from all over the world may not know who those presidents are, but they understand what freedom means. idea was by a state historian, robinson, who conceived of carving statues in
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the ground. giant granite spires and he will carve all the way around and have people at lewis and clark, sacagawea,loud, second wa fremont, and he was told you are not thinking big enough. selecting the four people that are up there, the four presidents, that was the artist. when you look at them, you can figure out why they were selected. george washington, our first president. the person who gave up the power. he could have stayed in power. was very popular. thomas jefferson. a lot of people say it must be because of the declaration of independence, but that is not why the artist chose him. he chose him because of the louisiana purchase, doubling the size of the country. lincoln, you can probably figure that out. keeping the country together during the civil war, taking care of the nation. the challenging one, theodore
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roosevelt. artist but hee was not the most popular guy at the time. he selected theodore roosevelt because of the panama canal. he took the nation from being bound by the ocean to international. he was also the president standing for the common man. both of those things resonated with the artist. >> two of the four were slave owners. does that engender a discussion as well? you all talk about that in your interpretation of these presidents, washington and jefferson. >> the presidents were slave owners. there was discussion that pops up around the property about that. there is not as much discussion as you might expect because you think that is a major controversy. it is certainly something we step forward and are talking about. all of our interpretive programs here, anytime you hear a park
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ranger talking about something, they did their own research. we don't focus on one thing in particular. we have had some whose focus was slavery and what that meant to the country, not just presidents who were slave owners, but presidents who wrestled with slavery. >> can you describe where we are located? located, much more -- where mount rushmore is, and the context of the hills? >> it is in south dakota. south dakota has the black hills on the western side of the state. if you are looking at rapid city, we got about 2000 feet higher. some people referred to this as the tunnel on the prairie. you can see the black hills from a long distance. tribes that had considered this a secret site, considered the black hills a sacred site, they were referencing they could see
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it in the distance. it looked black because of the ponderosa pines. you can see it a long way across the state of south dakota. >> over the years, there has been discussion by native americans and others about the location of the black hills sacred to the native americans. right here you have something , that represents to some people government's policy towards native americans has not always -- they do not look at it the same way. what do you talk about when you tell people about that issue and mount rushmore? >> there was a controversy from the start. carving the black hills. that controversy came from tribal people and people today we would call ecologists. they were looking at
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a place where they would come in and honor and have honor ceremonies, spend some time. at that time period -- we are talking 1925 -- that wasn't looked at the same way we look at today. today we still have tribal people who are concerned about the black hills being carved. people living in the black hills. we try to honor that. some of that group our through our interpretive programming. we have a heritage village. every summer, we hire cultural interpreters. are lakota.ople who they come in and talk about the lakota story. we are trying to share the importance of the black hills for all of these people, as well as what that sculpture means. it's a balance. the sculptor, gutzon borglum, had started in georgia, had started in stone mountain, georgia. there was a conflict there.
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he left. he came up here to work for the state of south dakota. of course, the first challenge was finding a place to carve, finding something appropriate. he and his son lincoln traveled through the black hills looking for this site because they found this big outcropping. your next challenge is, how do you turn that into a sculpture? the first thing borglum had to do was make small sizes and make them bigger and bigger until he gets to a 1/12 model. we today have that original 1/12 model. every inch of that model is a foot on the sculpture. as you are sculpting, that might be nice and easy in clay or plaster but when you are looking , at the mountains, you are talking granite. hardy granite. tough stuff. 90% of that sculpture is carved with dynamite. i don't always think of dynamite
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as an artist's brush but it , certainly was in this case. in 1927, when they start the blasting that is the very , beginning. there were people coming up and visiting this sculpture, watching the whole carving process the entire time. there wasn't the formal opening day. they had multiple dedications, for each president and borglum , was big on dedications and celebration. because he knew that is how he knew he would get everyone's attention. and ultimately, that is how more funding would come in. he was constantly going to washington, d.c. approaching , congress, approaching the president to try to get more money. always trying to get more money. there were times his workers weren't getting paid. borglum was putting his personal money into it. he was making a trip to washington, d.c., in march, 1941, to ask for money. more money. he stops in chicago on the way
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, has an operation and dies as a , result of that operation. his son lincoln takes over the work. lincoln started here when he was about 12 years old, so he was brought up in this. he knew all the different jobs . drilling, painting. he was an artist himself. taking over the sculpture must have been both sad and wonderful. and lincoln declared that sculpture was completed october 31, 1941. people talk all the time and ask all the time about adding someone up on the sculpture. many presidents have been mentioned. many other people have been mentioned. it won't happen. the sculpture is complete. ♪ the great stone faces of four presidents stand in lonely silence. machinery is dismantled.
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with the death of the sculptor last spring, all the cleanup work was abandoned. in borglum's studio, his son lincoln puts away models. theodore roosevelt and abraham lincoln were the last of the four faces. borglum's tools are laid away, tools of an unfinished masterpiece. even though unfinished, the mount rushmore national memorial stands as an internal shrine of democracy for the four great americans who helped carve this enduring nation. >> this is a crisis. people are losing their lives. >> with police reform taking center stage in congress, whatever live unfiltered coverage of the latest of elements and the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic. >> we were going down from 30,000 to 25,000 to 20,000 and now we saw at flat and now we are going up. >> and briefings from the white house on foreign affairs and
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congress on health care, inside from former administration officials. >> i think there is a line one should not cross where governmental power is used essentially exclusively for personal benefit. >> we will stand proud and we will stand tall. >> and the latest from the campaign 2020 trail. join in the conversation every day on our live call-in program "washington journal." and if you missed any of our live coverage, watch anytime online at or listen on the go with the free c-span radio app. ♪ >> >> this week on q&a, historian ron chernow talks about hamilton and the consulting work he did on it. the shows creator lin-manuel , miranda based the musical on mr. chernow's biography of
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alexander hamilton. ♪ brian: ron chernow, when did hamilton, alexander hamilton, first get on your radar screen? ron: well, i started writing it back in 1998, brian. it seems rather comical, because the reason that i chose to do alexander hamilton, aside from the fact that it was the most extraordinary personal story among the founding fathers, was that he seemed to be fading into obscurity. people were coming to regard him as a sort of second tier founding father. most americans knew he was on the $10 bill, maybe that he had died in a duel with aaron burr, but that was about it. it seems comical that i felt as if i was lifting him out of obscurity. now his name is on the marquee of a broadway show. brian: where were you at the time? what were you doing? ron: i just finished writing my biography of john d. rockefeller, "titan," and what happened -- i had done a series
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of books about moguls of the gilded age. and i found that when i would go out to give lectures, people in the audience would start shouting out, "do vanderbilt next. do carnegie next," and i really felt that i was becoming terribly stereotyped as this biographer of gilded age tycoons. and i decided that i wanted to switch periods. so, alexander hamilton was the perfect exit strategy, because i knew there would be a lot of financial and economic history. but it would also expose me not only to a new era, but foreign affairs, constitutional law, military history, on and on and on, plus the most amazing story that i have ever written. brian: you probably don't like this question, i asked it before not of you, but of others. is there someone today that would come closest to the way alexander hamilton thought about government? ron: thought about government, that's a very difficult question, brian. i will say this, that alexander hamilton was the most verbal politician in our history. if he felt strongly about an
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issue, he would sit down and he would write a series of 25 essays over the course of a few weeks about it. and i think that hamilton would fit very uncomfortably into an era of tweets and sound-bites. he was very rational, deeply intellectual, and principled. and i can not think of anyone - stylistically, certainly - who reminds me of alexander hamilton today. would that we have him on the scene. brian: 2014, your book comes out, it's number one on the paperback bestseller list and on the combined new york times list, it's in the top 15 all of these years later. ron: actually, as we talk six months on the paperback bestseller list and five straight weeks at number one for an 800-page book that was published in 2004. i think it is safe to say that that is unprecedented. it's really quite extraordinary. brian: what's it done to your life? ron: well, it's had a profound
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effect. this has been very much a through the looking glass experience for me. the greatest thrill of course has been having lin-manuel miranda take this biography and translate it into a very vivid three-dimensional life on the stage. but it's also been deeply touching to me the way that i have been completely embraced and incorporated into the world of the show, not only the creative team, but the cast members and because i had never been involved with the show before and maybe never will be again, i decided that i wanted to have every experience i could possibly go with a broadway show. i was at every workshop and theater festival and rehearsal. i sat it on the recording of the cast album. i sat in one performance with the orchestra in this kind of black grotto under the stage and i had been a lifelong theater goer. i never imagined that i would be on the other side of the footlights. so it's just been absolutely enchanting experience. brian: as you watched it up close be made, what was the most difficult part of it?
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ron: the most difficult part -- well, you know, in my book, i have hundreds of characters. one thing that i immediately realized was that history is long, messy and complicated. [laughter] broadway shows have to be very short, coherent and tightly constructed, and there is a conflict between that in a broadway musical. you have to have eight or 10 principal characters. everything has to happen to them by them, through them. you have to establish them early, keep on developing them. and so, there are certain places in the show where things happen accurately, but actually were done by or two other people. for instance, there's a scene in the show where jefferson, burr and madison confront hamilton with the reynold's scandal. he actually was confronted by three jeffersonians, but not those three individuals. so lin, what i loved working


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