This is my first attempt at live blogging, so things might look really weird for the next hour.
Bio info here soon
[Note: For the rest of the post "I" refers to Mr. Haass]
It is a pleasure to be here. This is like a fulfillment of a lifelong dream. It is an opportunity to speak at universities I would never have been accepted at.
Let me say, I am not sure that I agree with the topic I was given because I am not sure the the world does. Partly because there are many places that love America. For example, Bush was receive well in Africa.
[At this point a few people left. I will let you decide why]
But there is in some parts of the world a feeling of anti-Americanism. I do not think we should ignore this. I think it is important for two reasons. First, It makes it harder to get things done. Second, college students around the world are being taught that America is bad which implies that what America stands for is wrong.
Three reasons for anti-Americanism.
1. America is powerful. Power is resented even in personal relationships – Not much we can do about this
2. Some people disagree with our policies. – Listen better. Change policy where it makes sense. Not just for popularity, but we can often obtain the same goals by work with others instead of against them.
3. Partly because of how we present ourselves – America is naturally generous. This can help. This is not the solution though. We cannot Madison Garden ourselves out of this. The goal is not to make the world love us. It is to get the world to help us help the world.
This is one of the biggest moments in a century. The 20th century started with multi-polarity. After WWII there was bipolarity until 11-9-89 with the fall of the Berlin wall. Then we had uni-polarity for about two decades. We now are in a state of non-polarity. With power in many different of countries, NGO’s and MNC’s. America is not as powerful as it was because of war we could not afford, unbalanced trade, over commitment, etc.
There is now no invisible hand. Things do not just work out. We are facing increased entropy and randomness. There is no military solution to these problems. So what are we going to have to do to get people to work with us? The challenge is no longer another country. It is globalization. The dark side of globalization. Things like pollution, etc. We must work with many different types of organizations. Not just other governments.
The next president will have to deal with many issues. Things like Iran as a possible nuclear power. Try diplomacy first. May have to just live it. We are going have to pick our priorities. Can’t do it all.
I suggest that America focus on other countries foreign policy not on their internal issues. President will have deal with many internal issue. Need to end dependancy on oil. It sends money to countries that mean us harm. We have to get our economics in order. We have to stop borrowing from the future. Reduce presence in Iraq and rebuild military. Need to send civilian reserve to help Iraq and other countries. Retired police and civil workers. Rebuild support in America for living in a global world.
The world is not Los Vegas. What happens there will not stay there. It will come here. We have to deal with this. Bird flu. Pollution.
[People have been leaving for the last five minutes]
We can’t dominate the world. Those two decades are over, but we are still the most powerful concentration of power. We can shape the future, and we need to.
What is this is going to look like is still unclear.
Peter Sharp – Teaches Sanskit at Brown: India thinks we are out to destroy them. What is America going to do about this? Why are the candidates not talking about this?
Reply: America is using a lot of resources, but has been a major power for good in the world…. The good news is that we can reduce oil dependancy w/o compromising our rate of growth. The purpose of campaigning is to get elected, not to talk about really tough questions. The time for that is coming. Deforestation is important.
Anonymous: How are we going to deal with increasing transparency, and also borders are disappearing.
Reply: I know this is naive but I believe that if we have an informed open discussions on things we can find good solutions together. We can’t make things happen, but we lob ideas out there and hope they take root.
Anonymous: Is there anything we can learn from Ireland?
Reply: A little. It took time, but now Ireland is approaching normal. 1st lesson: IRA had to learn they could not shoot their way to victory. That is not enough but it was important for them to understand this so they could learn the second lesson. 2nd: They learned that they at least have an chance of getting to some of their goals through diplomacy. They will not get everything they want but they will still be better off than if they were still fighting.
Matt Swan – Freshman: America was powerful b/c of its money. It is not making less money now. How is America getting less powerful?
Reply: True. American GDP even in a recession is not down much and is mostly steady, but China is growing 10%, Europe is growing, also there are sovereign funds that are approaching the size of US GDP. So relatively we are getting weaker. It is not that we are going to be poor. We just do not have as much power.
Ruo Mei – Junior in Internal Relations: Is this a policy a matter of convenience? Are you suggesting that America ignore internal issues in other countries because that might hurt trade relations?
Reply: This is the biggest debate in foriegn policy. Should we take a practical approach doing what works or should we take a stand on issues like human rights and democracy. This is not black and white, but I think we should focus on getting help with North Korea and dealing with other very important issues. We need the help of China and other countries that we do not always agree witg. First I am not sure that we can do anything about it, but also through relationships we can encourage them to do better. The WTO help through treaties that require transperancy. Look at Russia things are not perfect there, but a postive relationship helped end communism. This seems t be the better approach.
Anon: Are we taking the wrong aproach by closing our boarders and not allowing as many foriegn students in?
Reply: We are sending a lot of students that want to come here to other countries. We are making a mistake by not letting them come here. In these other schools they are being taught to dislike America. We are hurting ourselves by not welcoming forign students. One exception is a guy from Egypt who went to a church and saw unmarried kids dancing together. He the reacted against that and founded the modern day radical Islamist movement.
[Two other related questions that I missed]
The role of the UN will be limited because the five big countries that head the organization are not as strong as they were and have a hard time agreeing. Not enough countries are represented for the decisions to be effective. But these issues do require nations to work together. Problems of the future will be solved by adhoc groups of nations and other organizations working together on specific issues.
And time is up. Thank you for coming.