tv [untitled] May 25, 2012 9:30am-10:00am EDT
obama administration on miss di missile defense, on arms control. i think you'll hear from the romney campaign a very strong focus on strengthening our relationship with central europe, making sure that's a part going forward and making sure we're together understanding the changes and developments that we're seeing in russia. in is an issue that translantically we are going to have to stay absolutely in lock step. it's that important on messaging, particularly in relation to the post soviet space. we have to get in great alignment. there will be some differences on this issue. again, i think the larger strategy moving forward is making sure we're closely tied with europe. >> what does republican
administration do differently with regard to the eurozone crisis? are we talking about different kinds of intervention? if president obama is being depicted as ineffectually building a great are fire wall instead of focusing on the strategic goal, what is the strategic goal here and how is it pursued differently? >> every american wants europe to resolve this privacy qui-- crisis quickly. that's nonpartisan, bipartisan, we all are in great unison. the problem with i think the debt crisis is that it is a dim reflection of ourselves here in the united states. and that's why we have an awfully hard time looking at the mirror. that's why politically there's something here for everybody. if you're a deficit or debt hawk, you look at greece and
say, see, that's how we're going. if we don't get this debt under control, we'll lose our ability to control our destiny and the market determining force. you say see, greece, what happens when you cut, cut, cut, we're going to be just look greece if there's something there for the entire spectrum, from mr. krugman to everybody. there's something in there. but what it speaks to me is that we together need to support europe. and this is where in having some conversations with white house officials i've been frustrated that we haven't made a contribution to the imf. and i know how politically awful that would be for the administration to go to congress and say, boy, how about a bailout for europe. ah! the screaming and the hair pulling and the gnashing of teeth. but i'd like us to be involved, even if it's token, even if it's small because it says we are investing in europe as they have
invested in us and our foreign policy objectives. for the last ten years europe has been in afghanistan, not necessarily because of the national security threat that they saw because bu because they were there for american solidarity. europe is in deep trouble right now. i don't care if it's tokenism, the united states needs to make a busch to europe. that's how we get back to one another. but for understandable political reasons we can't do that. we're offering our advice, our council. sometimes it's well received, sometimes it's not well received. the for is doing lots of important -- when we don't engage with europe and we say, look, europe's got this, they're a large economy, they can take care of it. we'll return there but at a greater cost. i don't want that to happen. i want us to be involved in this profound crisis and that's exactly what it is, whether europe tends to think it's our
crisis, our issue. i don't want this to be a race to the bottom for our economies. i want it to be a race to the top. we can we can't blame each other. we've got to find a solution. >> can i comment on that. heather made a very good point. we suffer from the same problem that europe suffers from, which is we are failing to make decisions. our budget is stuck now until january and then we'll see what we do. europe is also failing to make decisions on its debt crisis. and the longer it tries to shave it and push it off, the bigger the problems mount. i would just want to tweak what heather said about our being willing to contribute. i don't think it's politically salable to offer to contribute to europe because in the present serks, it's just -- what's the word? it's enabling them to postpone decisions. so if it were possible to flip
it around that in exchange for europe making really decisive decisions about putting up a wall against the further deterioration of debt crisis, which would be very panful and difficult, it involves who is in the eurozone and who is not, euro bonds and what happens to who's holding european debt, what happens to further issuance of european debt. then i think if had you those kind of decisions, it would be in our own interest to say we're going to support this as well. and whatever ways the markets require us to hold that line so that stabilizes much sure as europe did in 2008 and twine. i don't think we can consider even putting money behind it and
it also requires us to get serious about our own debt issues as we move ahead. >> i'd like to open the discussion to the audience. we have just under half an hour. i would ask to you please wait for the microphone to state your name and affiliation before asking the question. we have one up here first. >> i'm brian, washington correspondent. i have a question on counterterrorism policy. it didn't really come up much in your interventions but a couple of weeks ago there was an important speech from president obama's counterterrorism adviser, mr. brennan, basically admitting that the u.s. uses drones and is going to continue to in justifying that and of course you also have continuing guantanamo bay, which has not
been closed and detention without having to bring a charge for counterterrorism for security reasons. i wonder if you think those issues will, first of all, be issues in the u.s. presidential campaign if it's going to come um or if you think it just won't be an issue. if it will become an issue for transatlantic relations as well. it's interesting to me back in the bush years, like these were front and center esh use and now it seems like they're not so important anymore. >> i don't think they'll be part of the election. i think that -- i don't think that there's a tolerance that's developed since everybody has been concerned about the treatment of people that are picked up but at the same time i think that the president has been -- and john brennan had been very clear about the detainment policy. this administration clearly has
stopped a lot of things that the preach administration was doing. so i think that there's a general recognition that a lot of the activities that cause people to be very, very upset including here domestically and our international lies and partners are no longer going on but at the same time there has to be a way to manage when you pick up some of these terrorists that part of the most important piece how are they dealing with each other, what does their network look like? there is a sell by date on all of that because at some period of time these different sells, if you want to put that term on it, they basically deteriorate and go away. there's such a fire wall around
them that nobody knows the next guy, who the next guy is. so for some period of time that information is fresh and important and it's important to extract it because it is going to save real lives, both here, as we know, and with our friend around the world. >> it will not be part of the debate but i'll see the i'm the toughest guy in the world and the other guy is a weak fool. and any way that they can do that is correct they will do it. whatever hits the headline that day will be what it is. they will be manipulated around and i'm the tough guy. and the only other characterization is who loves israel the most and who is spending more money on israel than the other guy. and that's how the love is proportioned. that's the characterization you see when you get into the silly
season of politics. and you know, what's important is, and i just want to pick up on something that kurt said because you have this duality of who wants to be an iegs lagsist and who doesn't. well, who thinks it's a good idea to be cutting the state department budget? most people don't consider themselves to be isolationists. really? you can't project american power in a peaceful way, our best face forward? that's really -- that's just de -- we have crazy situation now where people have got i don't know ahead themselves and they can't really justify in the political system what they're doing. but i don't believe unless there's a an event, people secrete something in their
underwear again or in their shoes and that unfortunately takes everybody's eye off the ball. >> can i just ask to you speak about this in light of european's own evolution in their attitude toward terrorism and their attempts to coordinate among themselves. >> it was a great question. i was speaking to a student group to march in the haig. i asked the question. i said it interesting because guantanamo remaining open. i don't hear much public reaction in europe about that. h has. >> i would have thought europe would be month more vocal about these issues because under the bush administration, they were very, very concerned about those. one gentleman raised his hand and said we like president obama more. i said okay, that's an explanation but that's an inconsistency obviously in
approach. if europe has a concern about it and it's a value based issue, i have to say as a american i have concerns about some of this. we should be able to talk about it but let's not be hypocritical about it either. we should embrace the debate because it's an important debate to have but my sense is again this sort of gets to this we're at a different place in time. on counterterrorism, i see continued strong cooperation. we held a few weeks back a cyber security conference, a lot of really good coordination. we had deputy secretary of homeland security and commissioner mallstrom there. those two were literally finishing each other's sentences there. i think that is vae encouraging.
this is so important, you have to get it right. it not an easy conversation but it the right thing to do and it's important. i'm actually very encouraged we're at a better place on the u.s.-european dialogue and across the board on those issues. >> when you look at the evolution at do you see a different set of partners now than you did under the previous american administration? when you see the eu rating pie rot layer, does that just make you smile? >> yes. a couple of thoughts on this and then this ties into the question as well, too. first of all, i don't see a different europe. what i do see is what i would describe as a glass houses europe. there isn't a whole lot else to
do. they're not happy we're reducing from four brigades to two brigades in europe but they're cutting even more. what do we say? we're should keep forces in europe because they're not. they don't really want us to pull out of afghanistan and the risk that afghanistan is going to be a mess so they're certainly not going to stay in afghanistan. >> what do you say to the theory that, you know, by keeping troops there you're actually discouraging more investment in defense budgets? >> well, this has been going on for decades. >> well, we're keeping troops there for us. >> it's in our interests, right. >> but the more general problem of defense budgets and the percentage of dep. >> it's been a phenomenon that europe has put -- we couldn't.
so he gave a wonderful speech in a moment when europe could do absolutely nothing about it. >> how do-the-increase contributions if we keep ours at the same level. >> if you reduce forces they going to seasoned more money? no. theans is what's in our interest. it's in our interest to have a global platform, it's in our interests that when we do something, we have as many others with us as possible so that creates a broader political foundation for what we doing. there's a lot of reasons why it makes sense for to us do this. weep just have to decide what's the right level that's right for us and then you keep working with europe and you keep trying to, as heather says, it's neither no u.s. leadership or
unilateralism. it's how does the u.s. lead with others so we all try to do the same thing together. you can point to kosovo, to afghanistan in the mid 2000s. we're able to do this. can i add one more thing on the counterterrorism point. it comes back to the question i wanted to raise. i'm really glad that you raised this question and you are where you are. the bush administration was doing things and then the obama administration was not doing them, which is good. we found a problem that in order to deal with the world that we're in, you wanted to prevent terrorist attacks, not only arrest people afterward. when you people, you had to figure out what to do with them. it is good to have a drone program so that you can take out terrorist leadership.
legally speaking still under both administrations we're in a war and you have the ability to go after these terrorists. when it was only the bush administration doing this, were willing to criticize. so when the bau administration comes in and says we have a real problem here, this is hard and there isn't an obvious alternative. using drones to kill lots of people and holding people in ga guantanamo for as long as we need to, we don't have a lot of other good options right now. that's where we need to spend time as a broader transatlantic community seriously thinking how are we going to do this for the future? >> question up front on the
right here. >> thank you. my name is kathleen, i'm the washington correspondent for the daily newspaper. picking up on something that both heather and ambassador volker mentioned about how the eurozone crisis mirrors many of the problems that exist here in the u.s., how do you see the growing consensus in europe that austerity is not enough, having an impact depending on the political debate here in the u.s. considering that the political discourse about europe in the u.s. has been very negative.
do you expect president obama to use europe as an example of his approach at the risk of being associated with a french socialist, as you mentioned when you quoted bill crystal? thank you. >> do i go first? >> i'll say a few things. one of them, the risk of president obama using europe as a positive example for his own policies is zero. there is no chance of that happening. the second thing is that if we're honest with ourselves, we have not had any austerity here. we have talked about it, we have flirted with catastrophe but we haven't actually cut much of anything at this point. we're going to have to face this. we probably won't face it -- well, certainly won't face it until january. even then we may kick it off down the road a little bit because we have the reserve currency and find it easy to
postpone. but in the end i think in this country the debate is not about more stimulus and air tear ity expenditures in domestic programs with a proportionate effect on defense because you have to do that for fairness across the budget. that's the debate we're going to have here. very, very different from the european debate, which is levels of debt that can't be sustained with the euro. countries individually that can't sustain their debts and what happens with them inside the euro zone and no growth and no real growth going on in europe so that you can't see with the declining overall population declining economic performance how you're ever
going to amass enough to get the balance on these debts. that's a very different conversation. >> again pulling back, this is really how democracies, western democracies are going to deal with deleveraging and pain and change the social compact between the government and the people, and europe is now fundamentally making that change at horrific cost and social price. as chris said, we haven't yet begun to do that, but if we really think about entitlement reform, we will be doing that. we will be changing a contract with whether we're raising retirement ages as they're seeing in europe, whether we're reducing benefits, whether we're going to make some future investments in r & d and education, this is about how we all the west and japan and others, how we're going to do this. and it's the most difficult issue for democracies because
who votes for increases in taxes and who votes for less benefits? but i think we're seeing politically within my europe, my own reflection looking at the recent french elections the ongoing greek elections is what we're seeing is the center, the establishment is unable to hold in this position, whether it's a center left or center right. or in our sort of the moderates what we would say here, but that center position. they're unable to convince others that we have to do this. it's painful. and what people are -- narratives that people are looking for, particularly young people and this is what shocked me about the french elections, a third of the french electorate in the first round voted for either an extreme left or an extreme right party, one-third. that came out of the center, center left, center right. we're seeing that exact phenomenon. greece. it's the establishment, the
center of this core. where is that vote going to? the protest vote? it's going to the extremes. that is going to change dem graphic and democratic patterns in europe. everyone has their own political historical, cultural adaptation to that. that is the -- what we have to understand, we have to understand the why you were that's going to emerge from this and the united states that's going to merge with this. when governor romney in a primary talks about european socialism and europe's going what are you talking about, what we're talking about translation in my view, it's the role of government in societies. should it be a big role, a directive role, should that be a limited role. this is a debate we've had in our country for over 200 years, the size and the role of government. that conversation right now is happening in europe. i've seen more references to alexander hamilton in the last several weeks on the europe wan crisis, how we did our currency. we're going back to those
fundamental principles because that's what we're having to look towards to see how this is going to evolve. but this growth in austerity debate, what i get caught up in and it's in part to feed an insatiable need for information in media, we're analyzing the moment. we're not pulling back and saying what is europe going to look like in 15, 20, 25 years? what are my children, how are they going to an adopt to this new society. how is my country going to be dealing with that. that's the bigger picture that we're losing in all of this noise and confusion and uncertainty. and as a think tanker, that's what we have to focus on. >> you could argue that we already had this debate in the united states. >> we did, over and over and over again. >> but we most recently had it in 2010. the middle of politics in this country is gone. it's been sacrificed. the worst thing it can be is in the middle of the road because
you get hit by the cars going east and west or north and south or left and right. >> road kill, right. >> as a leader of the moderates in the house, i could see colleagues getting knocked off left and right because they were standing for things that were in the middle. we've had the debate about what we should do. i think for all of these debates that say one or the other, it or it, take the or out and put "and" in. it's not growth or austerity. it's growth and austerity. they are not polar opposites. they are not -- they have to be blended in in a centrist way in a moderate way. i would say we already have a name for it, it's called simpson-bowles. we've had the debate. we haven't decided to pull the trigger. we've got to get back around to it. i would say in the 2010 election when democrats lost the haas and
in '83, '85, '87, tea party people were elected. i would say, where do you think we're going to go if we keep sending people to washington that don't have the temperament for compromise? that's what it is about going to washington. except that it's been absolutely turned on its head over 30, 35, 40 years by what i believe is a concerted campaign to make people that come to washington to serve their country, to serve their constituents, to be part of representative government make them look crazy, crazy larsonists, stupid and venal. some do arrive like that. some become that way. not everybody is good. but what -- how does the american people actually believe, how do you get a congress that's at nine or 10 or 12% snrs these people don't volunteer. they get sent. the same -- we all get to
congress the same way. and how is it possible that the american people believe that the people that they sent from the moment that they send them to it the airplane ride or the car ride turn into maniacs? >> it's everyone else's congressman. >> now it's everybody's congressman, including your own. that is -- that is completely unsustainable for a representative democracy. we've got a number of challenges but we're -- people i think we're going to have to have a political crisis in this country where the american people decide that they're going to have to pick people that are going to represent them, hopefully in a more centrist more moderate way that are going to be willing to compromise and that are actually going to get things done and not live their lives in washington. >> we have just under ten minutes left. i'm going to collect the last several questions and then give each of the panelists a chance to reply. since we only have nine minutes left, i'd ask you to keep your questions short.
please, sir. >>. >> i'm bazel. i have the good fortune of working for ambassador volker a few years ago in the state department. my question is, i hesitate to ask it after miss tauscher's last comments but you would think that will everyone wants to prevent a recurrence of the lehman brothers event that it is a worldwide financial crisis. so is there no hope that the issue of contributing to a european fire wall couldn't be explained to the american public in those terms we want to prevent a worldwide contagion after a greek exit? no? no hope? >> professor harris? >> stephen hill. it's been a fascinating discussion. thank you. in terms of the issue of debt, i think that a couple of points very quickly. one, most countries in europe, most member states are actually
not in that much debt. it's just really a handful that you're talking about. if you look at the euro zone as an aggregate, it doesn't have that much debt. it has less debt than the united states has. it doesn't have much of a trade deficit. many of the economic fundamentals are fairly good for the eurozone. the probably the euro zone has is a balancing. have you surplus member states and deficit member states. california where i live, we've been bailing out mississippi for decades. that's how a transfer union works. europe doesn't have that but they're in the process of coming up with that, but it's going to take many years. it's also true that there's just no correlation between debt and your economy being in trouble and your bond rates. look at japan. it has one of the highest debts in the world and they borrowed at a very low rate. uk has a higher debt than france has and is borrowing at lower