Kal Raustiala 0:01
Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Kal Raustiala,
Kal Raustiala 0:04
director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations. And it's my pleasure to bring you to this event today and actually to the start of our entire year of events, and so I want to welcome back our regular attendees and welcome new new people as well. Today's event, which will begin in just a few minutes is with Dr. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. And I'll be bringing Richard on in a few minutes. And he will talk about both his new book called the world and his recent article called present at the disruption, which is about the impact of the Trump administration on American foreign policy. His book is a kind of wide ranging guide to what really an educated person ought to know about the world. And I highly recommend it, we'll talk about it, and he'll talk about as I said his article as well. But before we jump into that, I just want to take a minute to Hi again ones that are coming up that may be of interest. Next week next Tuesday. We're going to have Karen Richardson. Karen was former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for public affairs. She's going to talk about the power of public diplomacy to rebuild American soft power. The week after that September 29, also a Tuesday, the Lieutenant Governor of California, Eleni Kounalakis, will talk about California's international engagement, what California is doing on the global stage as it were. The week after that again on Tuesday, October 6, former National Security Council Member Fiona Hill will talk about Russia's role in the 2020 US elections and some of you may recall Fiona Hill's testimony from earlier this year. So that's our upcoming lineup and more to come of course after that, but those are the next few things. And so for today, let me just briefly introduce Richard So Richard Haass is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a long time government An official who's worked for several different presidents, as well as in and around Washington for a long time. He's run the Council on Foreign Relations for many years. As President, I know him in that capacity. And he's someone who's always a thoughtful and well informed commentator on all issues of foreign policy. So it's really a pleasure to have you on today, Richard, and let me hand the screen over to you to begin our discussion.
Richard Haass 2:30
Hopefully, I am now
Richard Haass 2:32
both audible and visible. If not, I apologize.
Richard Haass 2:37
Anyhow, welcome. It's great to be doing something with UCLA I should confess, I nearly went to UCLA as a graduate student. I met Malcolm Kerr, who was one of the great writers and thinkers about American foreign policy toward the Middle East, while I was still an undergrad at overland, and he offered for me to come out and be his teaching assistant at UCLA. I thought hard about it. And then I got detour because I got the opportunity to, to study at Oxford, which turned out well, so no regrets. But I do have more than a few regrets about having missed the chance to be out there for a few years and work closely with a professor occur.
Richard Haass 3:15
Richard Haass 3:18
Let me say a few things I don't want to go on forever, because it's a big set of topics. About the world. This is a really interesting moment in history. And let me talk about three things. And this will in some ways, dovetail my book by the title of the the world and then the present at the disruption article in our magazine and foreign affairs. Here we are roughly three quarters of a century since the end of World War Two, roughly three decades since the end of the Cold War. So we've we've had a run of 75 years, one way and we've had a run of 30 years. More more recently again since the Cold War ended. And what we've seen, particularly in the last three decades is, despite what a lot of people predicted a lot of optimistic predictions, we've seen something not the end of history, but we've seen something much closer to the return of history. And we're seeing a revival in many ways of geopolitics, including but not limited to great power, rivalry and competition most pronounced between the United States and Russia, the United States and China. Also, though, obviously, between China and India, China, Japan, what what have you this is the basic stuff of history. And the challenge now as it's always been, is kinda the major powers structure their competition regulator competition in such a way that it doesn't spill over and escalate into conflict, which is dangerous at any level, but particularly dangerous in an area. of nuclear weapons. That's one challenge. The other is, can they structure their competition and rivalry, not only so it avoids conflict, but so it allows limited forms of cooperation that are in their mutual interests, whether it's economic trade investment, or, for example, dealing with a certain regional or global challenge. In the case of the US and China, for example, there would be a mutual interest and limiting the potential of North Korea to lead to some type of regional conflict. In the case United States and China there's interest say in dealing with climate change, or improving global health machinery. So that's one way to think about this era of history that is, given this revival of great power competition more broadly, of geopolitics, in every geography in many ways, can we again, manage it so it doesn't escalator. That's one set of challenges very familiar. second set of challenges is new to this year of history. And that is essentially the rise of a set of global issues. All manifestations or facets of globalization that have the ability to change our lives fundamentally, here, I'm talking about such things as climate change, infectious disease, proliferation, terrorism, the challenges to an open global economic order and so forth, are the regulation functioning of cyberspace. Can we figure out ways of coming together? Because I say that no country, even the United States or China alone, no country can manage this on its own? Can we find ways of a multilateral cooperation to deal with the negative sides of these global challenges? And right now, I simply say that in virtually every Take out the word virtually in every instance. The challenge is outpacing the collective response. And in some cases, actually the gap between the challenge and the collective response is not just significant, but it's growing. I would argue this is the case in climate, I would argue this is the case and in cyberspace and so forth. And so again, these two things, I put out great power, rivalry and relations, and they need to come together to deal with global responses. Those to me are the two great geopolitical challenges of this moment. What makes it also tricky is a third set of developments, which is that the United States which for 75 years has been both the principal architect and the the general contractor, the principal general contractor, of international relations of international order. It has been central to many things that have gone on in the world, the building of institutions, dealing with challenge is to order. The United States is increasingly having second thoughts about its willingness to continue playing this role. And this is where I get into my article present at the disruption that Dean Acheson. Harry Truman's President Truman, second second Secretary of State,
Richard Haass 8:21
wrote a brilliant memoir called present after creation. This was essentially about the giving birth to the post cold, the post World War Two world, the alliances, the basic institutions, the policies that essentially set the stage for the management of the Cold War. For decades later, it ended on terms very much in our in our interest. Well, the question now is we have with the Trump administration, I would argue rather than present at the creation 2.0. We have something more present that the disruption that President Trump came into office, and I know this from my own conversations with him. Believing that his inheritance was more costly than it was beneficial, that a lot of the alliances a lot of the trading arrangements, a lot of the institutions that he inherited, were costing us more than benefiting us. We're doing more harm than good. We're not sufficiently supportive of American interest. And he is set out to disrupt many of these institutions. He's withdrawn from many treaties from many multilateral institutions raise questions about a lot of his inheritance. He's disrupted. But I would argue in many ways akin to health care, he is disrupted against what he inherited without putting something clear, much less better in its in its place. So again, what we have that is this third dimension of the current period. Again, geopolitical revival, the emergence of a whole set of global issues that so far is outpacing the global response. And thirdly in the United States that has questioned and in many ways begun to walk away from the principle threads of its foreign policy that have informed its foreign policy for the last three quarters of a century, has not put anything workable in its place. So then the question is, what will be the what will be the impact of this American pulling back on great power relations on geopolitics more broadly, what will be the implications of this American pulling back on the ability of the world to contend with global problems? What will be the implications for the United States? One of the lessons I would argue of COVID-19, one of the lessons of 911, which we really recently marked the 19th anniversary, the fires that are in your backyard, is that what happens in the world matters that the United States cannot run from the impact of globalization or the world, these oceans or anything but boats. And but there's no consensus in the United States about what our role in the world ought to be either what our goals are to be, what the means ought to be what the mix of policies ought to be. So you have, again, a time of great intellectual confusion, an absence of intellectual and political consensus in the United States, or for that matter in the world. So, all of which is to say this is a delicate moment, it's a potentially dangerous moment. One way to think of where we are in history is this has been a remarkable run of 75 years, there's been unprecedented peace, the absence for the most part of great power war, remarkable prosperity. If you look at standards of living around the world, remarkable gains, tremendous gains in health, the average person in this country probably loses As an average, an average of a decade or more, then he where he or she would have lived 75 years ago around the world, it's often two or three decades longer lifespans far more people in the world now are living in partially or fully democratic
Richard Haass 12:15
societies. And the question I would put out to you is the are these last 75 years something of an aberration from history? And are we more likely to revert what existed in the previous few hundred years? Or are the uncertainties we're going through now just temporary, and that the United States will in some ways go back to the kind of role that's played for most of the last three quarters of a century? And if it does, will it be able to help pull the world together to deal with the geopolitical challenges and deal with the global challenges? All of which is to say that it's a really interesting and consequential moment in history. I hope this encourages you, some of you to think about our focus On this, not just academically, but beyond UCLA, for careers, and even for those for whom it doesn't if you plan to become doctors or lawyers or computer scientists or what have you, I hope to citizens, because you're going to have to do things like like both, and figure out where you stand on a lot of these issues of consequence to you, that I hope you are, you're tempted and ultimately drawn into devoting more of your time at UCLA and beyond to getting and staying up to speed on these issues, which will fundamentally affect your life personally. And professionally, why don't I stop there? And anything Kal is, is fair game.
Kal Raustiala 13:45
Okay, terrific. Thank you, Richard. And let me before I jump into questions, and again, for those of you watching and listening, I'm gonna pose a few questions Richard and I will have what's sort of traditional Council on Foreign Relations chat and then We're going to open up to questions from all of you. And I urge you to post your questions to the, to the q&a feature and, and I'll choose those and then read them, read them out for everyone. So, before we do that, let me just plug Richards book for a second, which he very humbly did not plug the world a brief introduction, which really gives you a guide to a lot of the issues he just spoke about, in a very, I think, very digestible form really broken out both historically thematic, Lee and regionally. But so to start with a book, Richard and connected to your article, so you wrote this article, which is a pretty damning indictment of the Trump administration's foreign policy, especially coming from you someone who's served least as I know, two republican presidents. And then you've written this book, which is a guide to the world. And one of the reasons you wrote the book, at least according to your preface was that you you've been struck by how little Americans know about the world and that they really Alternate more, which is, of course completely agree with. And so I'm wondering about the connection between the two. And is it the case I guess that a nation that lacks knowledge about the world, and what's happening in the world is maybe more easily convinced that alliances are for suckers that we should wars are always, you know, a terrible mistake. foreign aid is a terrible mistake. We should trust food, we should trust Kim Jong Un, etc, etc, etc. So in other words, is there a connection between the phenomenon of Trump and his foreign policy and the problems that led you to write this book?
Richard Haass 15:39
Firstly, I hope this is on the record because it's the first time the word humble and Richard Haass have been mentioned in the same sentence. So I want to say thank you for this. I hope my wife will watch this at some point she because she'll be disbelieving. It's a real Good question. And? And the short answer is yes, there there is a. And the reason I wrote the book, the world a brief introduction is you can graduate, I expect from UCLA. I'm not familiar with the details of your curriculum, but I expect there's dozens, if not hundreds, of good courses offered on your campus, about global history about foreign policy about this or that region of the world, what have you. But I also bet that very few of them if any, are actually required. And that way you have a distribution to courses in this air three and that and depending upon a student's choice, how he or she navigates it. Students can leave the campus with a degree, but without a foundational understanding of why the world matters, how it matters, how it works. What's the relationship between the world and themselves in their country? What's the relationship between their country and the world? And originally what led me to write the book was a computer science Major at Stanford who fell into this category. And again, it's it's totally the norm around the country. Very few courses are very late. Very few schools now have core curricula. Most High schools don't offer these courses. You can watch the nightly news on the network's. And most nights, there'll be nothing serious about the world. You can go on the internet and you can find lots of stuff about the world. The problem is you can also find lots of stuff about the world. A good chunk of it is inaccurate, but there's no post it notes saying read this, ignore that. So I'm old fashioned. I like this guy named Thomas Jefferson. I believe there's a strong case to be made for an Informed Electorate. So when people vote, they have certain issues in mind. After people are elected, they can be held to account people can ask questions. Also in terms of investment decisions, business decisions, travel decisions, I think all this matters. But coming to your question, I also think that there's a bias Towards isolationism, about if you have a citizenry that does not understand the connection of the world, its implications for their welfare. But look at the last 72 days, again, I've worked for three republican presidents, one democratic president, one Democratic Senator, I run a nonpartisan institution, but the president united states. And yet, both through the Woodward book, we've heard what the President had to say about COVID-19. And then, when he in the conversations of the last 24 or 48 hours, what he said about climate change and about his prediction that things are going to cool. I see no zero evidence whatsoever that things are going to cool and I see zero evidence to be confident about that. COVID-19 is somehow waning, as many people are suggesting, but if people as citizens hear these things, what is to give them the ability to to judge whether these are likely to be true or not, or if you work in a factory, and there's a question of tariffs, how are you to know whether they are in your interest or not, or limits on immigration, we could just go through the list, we could go through the entire agenda. So I do think there and I do think the lack of history
Richard Haass 19:23
is dangerous, because you're much more likely
Richard Haass 19:27
to be reckless. It's a strong word, I admit it, but to be or not to be careful with an inheritance if you don't understand its value. So this is a president and an administration that didn't value a lot of what it received, essentially looked at the last 7075 years of history, and focused on the mistakes of American foreign policy rather than the many benefits and as a result, they have been in my view, way, way, way too ready to discard a lot. have what they inherited, without understanding its value without understanding they have nothing good to put in. It's in its place. So yes, I worry that a lack of background will deny people or undermine their ability to fulfill responsible citizenship. And also whether it's policymakers or citizens, people are much more likely, I believe, to make bad decisions if they don't understand the stakes and the lessons of history.
Kal Raustiala 20:32
Terrific. I, as I said, I agree completely with that. But let me just play devil's advocate for a second. And, you know, there's a long history of questioning the ability of what passes for foreign policy expertise, particularly in Washington to yield good outcomes. So thinking back to when I was a fellow at Brookings many years ago reading David Halberstam book, the best and the brightest for the first time and being struck by what a powerful book that was and what a damning is indictment of people who thought they knew the world and were experts. And one could fast forward to the Iraq war and other recent foreign policy disasters and say, Look, a lot of the same problems are there. So is knowledge. Really the problem? In other words, is it really that we need more knowledge? Is it something else? What is it?
Richard Haass 21:21
Well, look, one can come up with a pretty good list of foreign policy errors, mistakes, blunders that were extraordinarily costly in terms of lives and money. The three biggest I would name of the last 75 years would be the decision to try to reunify the entire Korean Peninsula by force. We were right to resist the North Korean invasion wrong to try to reunify the peninsula second Vietnam. Thirdly, Iraq. What they had in common they were three what I dub wars of choice. And all we're badly I believe, misguided. So what too far and always supported by the foreign policy establishment. So there's no guarantees here. That said, if I look at the larger canvas of American foreign policy over the last 75 years, it has been the most successful year of great power foreign policy I've ever seen. I'm a historian, and I've looked at, you know, we manage the Cold War, it kept cold it didn't spill over into nuclear warfare. It ended peacefully after four decades on terms remarkably advantageous to us a unified Germany and NATO. During the Cold War early on the Alliance system, the Marshall Plan remarkably successful. We built international institutions to promote development to promote trade and investment. Look at the economic success in the overall economic success and the road. Again, as I said, a lot much better life smarter life. spans what people living in freedom. Perfect. No. But good. Yes. And I can't think of another historical period in the modern era since the mid 17th century. That is comparable. So I go, not bad to say the segue. So yeah. Is information a guarantee of success in any specific decision? Of course not. Knowledge is not the same as judgment. Smart people know people who know a lot and have terrible judgment people who don't know a lot and I'm pretty good judgment. And so, but I do think that knowledge of foundational knowledge and understanding again about why the world matters may not answer the question of specific policies, but it would say to you, okay, climate change is real. Look at it and say, therefore, we denial is not a serious policy. Or infectious The United States is in fact vulnerable to infectious disease. My last book in the world, people I predicted it, other people said of pandemics coming. So then we could have made preparations.
Richard Haass 24:14
Terrorism, we know that it's a real
Richard Haass 24:18
threat. We don't want nuclear weapons to be used. There's way there's there's tools we know can can reduce the possibility or likelihood of them being useful. I do think there is useful knowledge there is relevant knowledge that we ignore to our peril. So again, it's not like a cookbook where there's recipes and you go two tablespoons of this and three cups of that and we'll have peace and prosperity. I get that. And there's always the question of how you apply general principles to specific situations but the alternative of flying blind to simply deny things or to ignore actions, what to say well, alliances are just Places that cost us and are taking us for a ride really, really, I actually think alliances are the great structural advantage of American foreign policy. We wake up every morning and we have partners who want to work with us. And if we if we break these bonds, what do we think will happen? Either they're powerful labels or take over what these countries will do things like start developing nuclear weapons on their own. Do we really want that? So again, I I'm not claiming that expertise gives you good judgment. But clearly ignorance is, is I think, a recipe for for disaster. And I do think whatever mistakes we've made the establishment and others over the last, what, seven, seven and a half decades, it's a historical record that is second to none, and what it has both accomplished and what it has avoided.
Kal Raustiala 25:51
Great. So let me let me ask one final question Am I open it up to the questions coming in from the audience and we have quite a few and I encourage more. So you talk in both the book and the article and a bit today then, as many foreign policy experts do about the post war, international order plus or liberal order, how successful it was, how important it is to to this country, but also to the world. And so I'm curious, you know, Trump are no Trump, come January, is that post war order, which is now 75 years old? Is it sustainable over the next couple of decades? And if not,
Kal Raustiala 26:30
what kind of scenarios do you foresee?
Richard Haass 26:35
It's not sustainable for
Richard Haass 26:39
or even if it were, well, it's even if it were wouldn't be enough. And by that, I mean, it's not sustainable in part because the institutions and the relationships that have been formed this order for this are no longer adequate. power, power balances are shifted. Things like China's rise have to be dealt with But more importantly, institutions that were created after world war two when were created to contend with that world, the world of the 40s and 50s. On the world of the second and third decade of the 21st century, is a different agenda. Things like climate change, things like cyberspace things like proliferation. So the answer and it has real consequences for the next administration, even by the administration. The emphasis can't simply be one a quote unquote restoration of the Paris Climate Agreement getting back into it is a no, it's not even close to coming up with an answer or a resolution for climate change. The Iran 2015 Iran nuclear agreement is inadequate as a basis for dealing with Iran for for for the for much longer. The work getting back into the World Health Organization is not an answer if the World Health Organization is a Florida and Adequate mechanisms. So what we really need to do is think creatively about what what will we require to create or maintain order in the 21st century. Given that, again, we've got a traditional geopolitical agenda and we've got this whole new fangled agenda. And again, it's a great area of where intellectual work is required. Let me say I had one. Since this is an academic setting, let me add one particularly rich additional complication. The principal rule or four source of water for the last three and a half centuries has been the notion of sovereignty. borders count can erase or go over borders using military force. sovereign countries have to respect other sovereign countries not meddle in their internal workings. And though that's been violated many times and wars as a rule that served the world well, and we still need it and indeed, without it, we'd see more Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Russian invasions of Ukraine What happened? We don't want to live in a world where borders are not respected. But it's a big but we're living at a time where that's necessary, but not sufficient. Does Brazil have the right to destroy the rain forest, if it's within its borders, if that exacerbates climate change for us all. We decided after 911 that Afghanistan didn't have the right to harbor, the Taliban didn't have the right to harbor al Qaeda within its borders, if they were going to commit terrorist actions against us. Should Russia have the right within its borders to allow hackers or who interfere in the American electoral process? We can go around virtually every every international issue. What about countries responsibilities to deal with outbreaks of disease? So what we've got to figure out in the 21st century, is how do we maintain respect for sovereignty? We don't want to have wars between commonplace, but at the same time, how do we build on the idea that with sovereignty comes obligations, to not to allow certain activities to take place within your own borders, that could have true adverse consequences for others, or that would result say in a genocide. And the world hasn't figured this out? The world hasn't basic doesn't agree to it in many cases, or if it agrees with it, in principle, it can't figure out how to enact it, how to implement it in practice. And that's just an example I think of the kinds of challenges that we are that we're dealing with.
Kal Raustiala 30:40
I agree with that completely. So let's go to the questions that have come in. I'm going to start with this question is from someone named Robert O'Brien. I'm going to guess this is not the National Security Advisor.
Kal Raustiala 30:52
I'm going to go ahead and ask it as our first one.
Kal Raustiala 30:56
He asks, in what ways did the US and USSR constructively cooperate in the 20th century as competing great powers and how can we take those lessons of 20th century gave great power conduct into a new dynamic between the US and China.
Richard Haass 31:13
There wasn't positive cooperation in the sense that the two of them, for the most part did not do things together to accomplish a positive good. It was more negative cooperation. And the two of them agreed collectively not to do certain kinds of things. So they agreed to arms control agreements, which kept certain categories of weaponry and provide for certain mechanisms for inspection and verification. They there were certain unwritten rules of the road that they wouldn't directly attack not just one another, but close allies of the other, and so forth. They're trying basically they would be circumspect in their behavior. So they wouldn't like fuses could ultimately bring the two of them into direct into direct conflict with things like that. So they were. And I think there were certain understandings about the limits to what they would do inside the territory of one another, and so forth. Because again, they needed to maintain certain kinds of working, working relations. And I think some of that still is relevant for the United States and Russia. One of the first decisions whoever's elected this November is going to have to decide is what to do about expiring nuclear arms control agreements, that's going to come up in February of the new year. And for the United States in China. I've been a consistent advocate for more of a US Chinese strategic dialogue that would essentially try to come up with some rules of the road for conducting us Chinese relations, again, both to limit competition so it doesn't go beyond a certain point and second of all, And more positively, that it would allow for areas of limited collaboration. So I think the United States and China actually have more of an upside than United States. And the Soviet Union ever had, in part because the Soviet Union was much more isolated from the rest of the world. China is much more integrated in the rest of China has much more of a real vital economy. And so I think there are potential upsides for the United States and China, and I would love to see those come about, but they'll only have the possibility of coming about if the United States and China again are able to regulate their competition there. I think there are some useful lessons from the United States and the the former Soviet Union.
Kal Raustiala 33:51
So just to riff on that for a second, are you alarmed by the trajectory of us China relations right now, so I'm thinking of, you know, we have A number of different disputes legal political, economic technology, Chinese students who used to flow into universities like mine are no longer doing that. So the person to person ties are weakening. The aggression that China's shown in various ways is increased. And Trump is more bellicose. So it feels like a dangerous time is that is that your take?
Richard Haass 34:25
It is a dangerous time. And just to take a step back, this is the most important relationship of this era. If the US Soviet relationship was the most important relationship of the second half of the 20th century, if the British French German relationships were the critical relationships for the first half of the 21st 20th century, US China relationship is critical for this year. If this relationship had stood out in a bad way, it's not only dangerous and a distraction and costly, but again, it will preclude the kind of necessary very cooperation to deal with these global challenges that we've been, we've been talking about. So I think the stakes are enormous. I think you're exactly right things have deteriorated significantly and quickly. Indeed, I'm hard pressed to think of a relationship has to deteriorated as quickly. And by the way, this won't change. Fundamentally with the election. A lot of the criticisms of China are shared by people who would support and go to work for I would expect Vice President Biden were he to be elected this this fall, so no one should dismiss this as simply Donald Trump or simply election, your politics. It's much more profound than that. I think the Chinese to some extent, have brought a lot of it on themselves by they're much more assertive or aggressive behavior, what they've done in Hong Kong, what they're doing with India, what they've done in the South China Sea, what they've done in the realm of, of trade. And I think We have done we have to some extent added to the mix, but what we've done in public, and so forth, but I worry again about a lack of a serious conversation. What I would hope the new administration would do, I'd focus on a few things. One is ultimately reestablish a serious private dialogue with China. Second of all, prepare our alliance relationships, we'd be far more influential and trying to shape Chinese behavior. If the United States did it in tandem with our European allies, which Japan, South Korea, India, and others. There's also certain things we've got to do for ourselves. We can't we can't keep China down. For the most part, China's going to determine its own future. It's got a lot of challenges, but we can compete. And it's not China's fault that we've reacted as badly to COVID-19 as we have. It's not China's fault that our infrastructures in the shape it is our politics as divided as they are. That K through 12 education in many parts of the United States is as poor as it is, China's not responsible for a broken immigration system. China is not responsible for a divisive politics. So we have, we have got to do a lot. We want to succeed with China, I would say the two most important things to begin with, or repairing the home front, I once wrote a book called foreign policy begins at home, I continue to believe that's true. And second of all, repairing our alliances, then we're a stronger United States, we're stronger because we bonded or banded together with other like minded countries, then we can present China with some pretty, pretty clear choices, that if you are to act this way, it will be the positive consequences. If you are to act this way here would be the negative consequences and I think we need to do that.
Kal Raustiala 37:47
I mean, people don't always appreciate is China has effectively one ally, maybe we have dozens and it's a huge advantage that we're squandering. So the next question somewhat related to it is doesn't mention China specifically. the Trump administration's retreat from multilateral engagement comes as a lot of business leaders are increasingly entangled in global questions. They point to Disney, the recent issue around Milan, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube convention, the NBA, etc. What values should guide leaders of these companies in this context? This is an interesting example of what you were talking about a moment ago, how different no one would have asked this question 40 years ago about companies used to be the Soviet Union.
Richard Haass 38:36
Right, because many companies have far more touch points with China than they ever had with the Soviet Union. Also, companies now are far more important actors in many ways on the international stage. You know, if you look at the United Nations, you have what 190 something countries with seats in the General Assembly, I would say Microsoft and Apple and Google are more important. And then all but a handful of them. And one of the things we need to think about and what goes by the phrase global governance and see is how we better integrate the private sector, or even NGOs and the Gates Foundation how there's no way you could have a serious meeting dealing with global health without the Gates Foundation at the, at the table. So we've got to redesign some of the the functioning of international arrangements to take into account the fact that nation states as important as they are hardly the only players on on the chessboard. In some cases, they're not the most significant. Look, I think, what what China, I don't think we're heading for a complete divorce. What I tell companies is I don't much like the phrase decoupling that's too black and white. It's too extreme. It's not possible. It's not desirable, but we're going to have to discriminate and there's going to be forms of technology interaction They're not going to be permitted for reasons of security, privacy, competitive reasons. And so we're going to have to figure out how to design and then implement not a divorce, but something of a separation. It's almost the language is a little bit like marriages. In this case, we've had something of a marriage. I don't think the answer and the answer is that's not sustainable anymore, even in our interest in certain ways. We don't want to go to divorce, for economic and other reasons. So what we need to figure out is, where do we say relationship, for example, no one should be against normal agricultural trade, a lot of non technology laden manufacturing, and so forth, normal investing, but there might be certain areas of technology which we say this is too sensitive to share or we don't want to be dependent. We want to maintain privacy. We want to be more self sufficient. I think one of the lessons of COVID-19 is we don't want to be as dependent as we've been on foreign sole Foreign Service. of supply. We want a bit of supply chain redundancy. We want greater resilience that could come through stockpiling domestic manufacturing, what have you. So I think, in the aftermath of both COVID-19 as well as the deterioration in US China ties, I think we are in the early stages of the process of coming up with new ground rules. not limited to us Chinese economic relations, that's a big part of it, my own hunches, a lot will continue to happen. What I think there'll be the area what will be the greatest restraint will be with areas of select technologies. I think also you asked about companies, you know, and I think in other areas, companies going to have to make decisions about trade offs and how anxious they are for to have access to the Chinese water, but in some cases, they're gonna have to pay a price. And they're gonna have to decide is that something they're prepared to live with? And whether it's a constraints on freedom of expression or what have you And I think it'll be a very interesting set of decisions for a lot of companies, because they're going to have multiple, they have multiple stakeholders. And just like Google had issues with some of his workers who didn't want their technologies being used by the US government in certain ways, well, what about shareholders or workers who say we don't want this or that company, producing intellectual property to sell sensor? So I think for a lot of these companies, there's going to be some very difficult decisions to make and navigating competing constituencies because we're now in a world where shareholders are but one constituency, they're not the needless to say they're not the only they made for some they may not be even necessarily the primary one. And this is going to be a much more. I think being a CEO is going to get tougher, not easier.
Kal Raustiala 42:45
I agree. And I think one of the interesting things only add really add to that is, in some of these cases, like let's say the NBA or or Hollywood I recently wrote a piece for Foreign Affairs about Hollywood and their foreign policy problem. There are dimensions that go beyond the companies that are actually reflect American soft power. And you know, the NBA is a quintessentially American institution. And yet it's totally caught between these two things. It's huge in China, I ran into a lot of difficulties, and it's attacked sort of either way. So it's not just the company or the league. In that case, it actually has implications for how we are seen by the world. So that's another dimension we can only begin to kind of think about. So. So next question. We've, interestingly had a pretty long conversation about foreign affairs without really talking about the Middle East, which is striking. So this question is about the Middle East. So we're calling your services special adviser to the President on the Middle East. Would you comment on prospects for the two state solution given recent developments in Israel, the UAE Israel agreement Jared Kushner's peace plan, etc.
Kal Raustiala 43:50
This is a chestnut I never goes away.
Richard Haass 43:53
never goes away. Look, I welcome what was announced today. The normalization in relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, which made them the third and fourth Arab states, to normalize with Israel. I think that's a really welcome
Richard Haass 44:12
Richard Haass 44:14
There's no direct impact on the Palestinian issue, and to read, and I still think that there it's in not just the Palestinians interest, but I think it's also in Israel's interest to resolve the Palestinian issue. If Israel wants to remain a democratic Jewish state and not have to choose between its democratic pneus and its Jewishness, then it needs a Palestinian state, living alongside, obviously, the details to be determined and so forth, consistent with Israeli security and the rest. And the only potential linkage I see here is that if the Palestinians internalize the message, that the world is not going to deliver a stay to them, whether it's through the UN, the Arab League or anything. Else the Arab countries are getting tired of this issue. They want to normalize with Israel for either economic reasons, or strategic reasons to better push back against Iran. And that the Palestinians realize that the only path to a Palestinian state is a direct path, which is through direct negotiations with Israel. Now, it's easier said than done, given the divisions within the Palestinian leadership, the politics of Israel. But at the moment, it's not even it's not happening at all. And I would say the trend and time are not the friend of the Palestinians. However imperfect The options are today, they're more imperfect than they were 510 20 3040 years ago. So I'm hoping the Palestinians take on board the that message but in the meantime, the two state solution the chances for it are remote, and they're not improving in the sense that a given federal mental activity given attitudes and and so forth. But the urgency of it to some extent is going out if Israel can normalize with our countries without the other with the Palestinian issue, then it removes one of the incentives for Israel to to deal with the Palestinian issue, though, again, I think Israelis would be wise to think of it not as a favor they do to Palestinians. It's a favorite they do to them themselves, but that's that issue is still there. It's not going to move ahead on the basis of Donald Trump and Jared Kushner's peace plan, that's a non starter. The only the best thing about it seems to me the UAE decision is not only the normalization with Israel, but temporarily least to put annexation, off the off the table. The other things about the Middle East though, is you still have three entirely failed states and Yemen, in Syria, in Libya, your potential failed states and places like Lebanon, and you have an Iran that is closer to putting together the prerequisites of a nuclear weapon. It's closer today than it was Three and a half years ago. So the Middle East is a was is and still remains. And my well remain for some time the most turbulent part of the of the world. It's only about 5% give or take of the world's population, but it's a lot more than 5% of the world's problems. And it's an absorbed a lot more than 5% of the world's attention of American foreign policy. resources. So again, I think today is a good development. But no one should confuse the development with some of the larger challenges still facing the region.
Kal Raustiala 47:37
Point it's one I've often been struck by how much kind of mindshare of any given president in the last 30 years, 40 years, I don't know how long is consumed by the Middle East, as you say 5% of the world's population. And you know, at one point maybe really significant for oil reasons that's decreasingly true. Obviously, we have strong interest there with regard to Israel and other allies. But is it high time that we stopped paying so much attention to the Middle East?
Richard Haass 48:06
Yeah, the answer is not to wash our hands of it or ignore it. But I think it's, it's not to allow it to absorb. So many of our foreign policy resources so much of our bandwidth, if you would told me 30 years ago is the Cold War was the Cold War say the wall came down. On all days, it was 11 989. If you would told me that over the next three decades, the United States would afford as many wars in the greater Middle East and so much of our foreign policy would have been absorbed, I would have thought you were nuts. Now, the first challenge was the Gulf War when iraq invaded Kuwait. That was a war that was, shall we say, thrust upon us, what I described in a different book as award necessity. And I think we were right to respond and I think we were mostly right to respond in the way we we did in a limited fashion, and then we kept a limited number of troops in the region afterwards. I thought that was fine. I think we got, you know, I thought the 2003 iraq war was a strategic error. I think our ambitions in Afghanistan became a strategic error. So I think we've gotten over involved in the Middle East. I think going forward, the question is, how do we right size it given both the nature of the Middle East and give it all else? And I think that's a an interesting conversation. But downsizing, what we're doing the Middle East militarily, I think is fine. Energy is a little bit less significant. But but I think it's essential that Iran not be allowed to get nuclear weapons or get to the precipice of it. We still have major concerns about terrorism from the emanating from the region, we still have our historical and moral support for Israel. Again, it's one of the reasons that I think Israel needs to be careful not to act in ways or to foreclose the possibility. Being a democratic state and a Jewish state, which is why the Palestinian issue must be dealt with in a, in a fair and comprehensive, apparent comprehensive way. So there's, you know, a lot of humanitarian issues in there. So we still have interested in the Middle East. But I do think the goal is to right size them, I think they've been outsized. I guess if I had to say it in a sense, we got, we need to go from outsized to right size, and reasonable men and women can can disagree on what right sizing is, but clearly, it's got to absorb less of our bandwidth and calories for the next 30 years, then it's absorbed for the last 30 years. This is This doesn't make strategic sense.
Kal Raustiala 50:38
So we have a somewhat unusual question about demography, which I think is a topic that's important and doesn't get enough attention. So this is not to endorse the question necessarily, but this the topics and importantly, how has the explosion of the global population contributed to local regional and global competition and how might this be overcome? And I'll just mention you know, I, there's a book just out by Matt Iglesias about 1 billion Americans and the idea that the US should actually grow significantly. You talked earlier about China, one of the things that gives China a lot of power is its massive size. So traditionally, size was viewed as something that was good for states states wanted to be bigger. That's not so true today. So
Kal Raustiala 51:20
there's a lot of interesting dimensions to this.
Richard Haass 51:23
Yeah. But population is both a strength and a potential strength and a potential burden. It depends. China for what it's worth is now about 1.31 point 4 billion over the next, probably by the end of the central be closer to 1 billion. So China is the result of the one child policy and so where China is, and the danger for China is going to be that the ratio of working age to non working age is going to move in directions that are going to be very hard to sustain. The one part of the world that's going to experience a massive population increase in the next 50 years will be Africa. And the question Africa is Canada a kind of provide for the schooling, food, the housing, most important jobs, because so many of these people are going to be young. And if it can't, what what will be the consequences? So I think I think I'm worried about that, particularly in a context of often poor governance, many African countries, climate change, could be will be a real problem for lots of African countries, large population coming in Africa, just at the time when technology is replacing a lot of human labor. So the time Africa's timing is unfortunate. There, but I think the United States is slowly growing as a result of impart demography, immigration, but the immigration has numbers as you know, have come way down but I don't think population per se is strength. Again, it can be strength or it can be The burden It all depends upon its relationship with productivity, what kind of services are provided the strength of national cohesion? And so I think the idea that numeric targets for population in the United States are inherently forget about whether they're achievable, but even whether they appreciate Good, good seems to me a silly notion.
Kal Raustiala 53:24
All right, so we're almost at the end of the hour. But a final question that I think is very concrete and maybe helpful to a lot of the viewers were or how do you suggest Americans get their world news given that the news media is biased and offers little international news?
Richard Haass 53:39
And you asked like this a couple of places, I think, what I think everyone should read one of the major daily newspapers, you've got a good one in your city, the LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, there's some but basically any of the major newspapers that hasn't people around the world
Richard Haass 54:01
Does significant international coverage with a
Richard Haass 54:04
magazine like the economist does gives you a lot of weekly coverage? Our magazine foreign affairs gives you I think by far the best analysis magazine comes out every two months but on the website foreign affairs calm you get it every day. I think it's the best analysis out there are certain websites. The BBC can be a very good website about the about the world, you know, certain shows on television Fareed Zakaria show on Sundays a really thoughtful show about the world, the NPR and PBS to do more thoughtful reporting. International. the network's gives you very little now, sorry to say the major networks, the cable networks tend to be more politicized the problem with the internet other than a few specialized sites is the problem with the internet. It's an unedited, on. There's no one there again, saying read this. Don't read that. So there's a problem there. And what hopefully people get steered by those in the know saying, Oh, this is a smart site. I think another great place at the risk of blowing our own horn is cfr.org. It's probably the best site in the world about the world in terms of background knowledge, and so far, we're not trying to tell you how to think but we are trying to provide the basics you need again in order to make informed decision so I'd recommend people going there so there's a lot out there. I think the biggest problem with the internet is all the stuff that's quite honestly misleading or just just flat out wrong. There are no alternative facts. There's only facts. And there's a lot of places out there that are just wrong and misleading and, and dangerous, but I think it's great. If people Get in the habit when they finish. You know on campus when they finish the reading at least one serious newspaper will go to the website with international coverage. And again, the economist is probably the best weekly foreign affairs is the best journal about the about the about the field.
Kal Raustiala 56:17
Kal Raustiala 56:18
well, fantastic. And thank you so much for coming on and for all of you to tune to for tuning in. Please, if you're watching Join us next week we will have Karen Richardson of the State Department joining us to talk about American soft power. So, Richard, thanks again and have a great day everyone. Take care. Thank you.