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tv   Washington Journal Anatol Lieven  CSPAN  October 31, 2021 6:05pm-7:01pm EDT

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director dr. anthony fauci before the senate health committee. and friday, the memorial service for retired army general and former secretary of state colin powell. live from the washington national cathedral. watch this week on the c-span networks, or you can watch our full coverage on c-span now, our new mobile video app. also head over to c-span.org for scheduling information or to stream video live or on-demand anytime. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. joining us next is author and scholar anatol lieven, helping us to take a look at the upcoming climate summit in glasgow, summit -- glascow, scotland. he is the author of "climate change and the nationstate." welcome to "washington journal."
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guest: hello. host: you make your case in your book and in a number of articles about climate change being the greatest national security threat, at least to the united states. how did writing your book further prove to you that climate change is indeed the world's greatest national security threat? host: -- guest: it was a conclusion at came to fairly slowly, but i was convinced, looking at the evidence, that what climate change is already doing to the united states, and what risks doing in the future, really dwarves the threat on which our security establishments are concentrated. that is in three ways. first is what it is already doing to ordinary people in the united states. heat waves, wildfires, flooding. after all, in the end, national
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security is about defending the lives, the interests, the health of our citizens, right? american citizens, russians, chinese, english, too. it is not, ultimately, about theoretical interests on the world stage. they are present. but ultimately, it has to be about people and their lives, in this case american people. and these things are happening already. unless we can act to limit climate change, every scientific prediction and analysis says that these erect effects will get worse. now, for generations to come, they will be containable within the united states itself because of the wealth and power of the united states and because the united states is in a relatively positive position compared to other countries in the world.
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but, already, within a generation from now, other very large, very important countries in the world, which are much more vulnerable to climate change, will be coming out of the kind of stress which may destroy states and organized societies, not just because they are more vulnerable to high temperatures, are already suffering from high temperatures, they are vulnerable to water shortages because they are underwater stress, but also because you have a range of weak and dysfunctional states who are already suffering social and ethnic conflicts. if you add climate change to that, and the pentagon itself noted that climate change is a force multiplier in that view, you will see breakdowns, including in society, which will generate huge waves of migration to the united states and europe. we know what a reaction against that can do to our political system.
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host: and in the containable category -- you mentioned that word -- do you believe that is happening now, containable in terms of migration at the u.s. southern border to the wildfires and storms happening? speaking just about the united states. guest: they are containable in the sense they will not destroy america as a state. but we know -- we can see in front of our eyes how migration and fears of migration contribute to polarization and political radicalization within america and europe. after all, another key point of national security is to defend the integrity of our liberal democratic political systems. host: there was a piece written a couple weeks ago in defense one. the name of the piece is "climate change: america's greatest security threat." he writes that the question is not whether climate change is a
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bigger or smaller national security threat than russia or china, it is how climate change amplifies the threats that the united states faces. would you agree? guest: only to an extent, because i think it does, as i said in terms of state failure, extremism, migration. but i do not think climate change increases the threat from china and russia. take the arctic. a lot of stuff coming out of the american and european security establishments talked about the melting of the arctic as somehow increasing russian security threats. that is not what it is about. the melting of the arctic threatens tipping points and feedback loops. the melting of the arctic ice, sea levels rise, risking runaway climate change. if climate change goes from two degrees to three to four to five, then you have an existential threat to modern
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civilization in general and the united states in particular. if that happens over a relatively short space of time -- and are indications it has happened so quickly on such occasions in the distant pass, no organized state will be able to withstand the results are that would be the destruction of our society. for heaven sake, russian warships being able to move around more easily in the arctic is really not a threat that compares to that. host: in your book, "climate change and the nation state," you argue that nationalism is a way for countries to address climate change. you write that successful state action to limit carbon emissions needs not just state action but consistent action over a long period of time. this is something that democracies find hard to achieve. the united states is the worst
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offender, with efforts being halted by elections of 2000 and 2016. looking ahead, how important is it for the united states to take a world leadership role in this issue? guest: i think it is very important. i think the prestige of countries, the influence of countries in the decade and generations to come will depend heavily on their performance in this. if the united states is seen to fail, despite the fact that it is so much richer on a per capita basis than china or india, then that will be a real blow to american moral leadership in the world. host: is it part of your belief that the united states has not fully graphs, at least won the political argument, broadly amongst the population? is that part of the reason we have not been able to act in this country?
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guest: i think that is right. that is one reason why i tried to make this appeal to civic nationalism -- or patriotism. for me, that is the same thing. not ethnic nationalism here that would be disastrous. because, somehow, those of us who really believe that climate change is a mortal threat need to be able to appeal not just to people already more or less convinced but to the unconvinced among conservative, moderate conservative voters. it seems to me that showing them how climate change -- of course it is a threat to humanity in general, but it is also a threat to the future of the united states itself. that is one way to do that. the other reason i advocate this appeal to nationalism or patriotism is, of course, a key problem with climate change is you are asking present generations to make sacrifices for the sake of future generations. the worst effects of climate change will not kick in within
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our lifetimes. and of course, if you are really concerned with the future of your nation, then the question of generations is not important. i always point out the motto of the great seal of the united states is let's -- for a foreseeable timetable will not be able to do that if we fail to control climate change. host: the american president, joe biden, will be in the u.k. for the glascow summit -- glasgo w some beginning tomorrow. what does the world need to hear, what do american citizens need to hear from that summit regarding climate change? guest: they need to hear that it is a threat to humanity, that it is a threat to the united states, which will become worse and worse, and if we fail to control it, it will eventually
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become existential. they need to hear that america has to take the lead on this and cooperate with other countries. i think what they also need to hear is that, as i've said -- you cannot send your president out into the world on this critical issue with, behind him, he paralyzed political party, a paralyzed establishment. if you recognize it is an important issue, then the american government needs your support. host: but notably absent at the glasgow summa is china and russia. xi jinping will not be there. vladimir putin will not be there either. guest: neither will modi. in a sense, why should they? biden was hoping to go there with his climate change and
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reconstruction package agreed, but as we have seen, there has been no agreement. clearly, if america cannot agree with this at home, that it is very difficult for america to encourage other countries, which of course are facing as much or even bigger economic problems than the united states. it is very hard to persuade them that they should turn up and make what are, in the end, much bigger sacrifices per capita. host: author and scholar anatol lieven with us. we welcome your calls and comments. (202) 748-8001 the line for republicans. (202) 748-8000 for democrats. independents and all others (202) 748-8002. just a brief bullet points of the $555 billion bill back better plan, some of the climate provisions in the plan include extending tax credits to boost renewable power, expanding
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credits for the purchase of electric vehicles, adding rebates to encourage investments in home efficiency, and helping to find communities building resilience to climate change impacts. also finding and creating a civilian climate corps. all of this, this summit, happening at a time when the west, and the rest of the world, are seemingly in an energy -- not crisis, if you will, but increasingly needing more energy and more fossil fuel energy. guest: yes, well, i must say, as an interim measure, and interim could well be two or three generations to come, a strong advocate of nuclear power. not because i like it in itself and not because i think it is a long-term solution, but i think it is crazy, as german greens and others have advocated and indicated, to get rid of nuclear power before renewables are
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fully in place and fully developed. and, you know, we have seen, in part, the results of this in the energy shortage in europe and also in california. so we need to adopt every measure, every available technology in the struggle to limit climate change. host: talk to us about the parameters of this summit, what the plan is in trying to reduce global temperatures and the reality of where we are now. guest: sorry, the plan is -- host: what is the glasgow summa trying to accomplish in terms of reducing global temperatures? guest: well, the original purpose of it was to try to nail down governments to specific, more specific policies, what they are actually going to implement, in order to fulfill the promises they made at the paris agreement five years ago,
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because i'm afraid all too many governments, in whole or in part, made these promises. like the germans, amongst others, they have failed to adequately live up to them. like the australians, who very belatedly -- the australian government has signed up to a program to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, i think, but that plan is totally without detail. i hope glasgow -- and certainly the british government is making a fairly determined push for this -- will lead to some more concrete measures. but, of course, they have been great disappointments. india and china refused to make more commitments. biden's plan is still up in the air. i have a nasty feeling that, in
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the end, most of the progress will come in europe and will not really be sufficient even there, because one has laggards, like the germans, let alone the pols. host: so this goes back to your argument about a nationalism approach, that states solve their global warming, climate change issues as much as they can themselves, correct? guest: yes. i am not in any way against international agreements or movements, greta thunberg and company, but the agreement is going to achieve nothing. the united nations, the inter-mental government -- it has played a vital role in trying to get states to act to the whole covid pandemic has also been an example of that. of course, it would be far better if we had more international cooperation and aid, but there have been so many
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things -- closing borders, lockdowns, vaccination contains -- campaigns that only states can do in the end. that is true with climate change as well. taxes, limits, incentives -- these are all the business of states. host: one of the effects of issues like migration, cross-border especially, water issues that affect more than one country, will be exacerbated with climate change in the future, and how countries, while they may try to solve their own issue, they have to rely on other countries to solve theirs as well. guest: yes, absolutely. one of the arguments in my book as far as america is concerned is america should put far more money into helping central america, including to build resilience against climate change. i find it, actually, quite
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bizarre and scandalous that america spent so much more money on countries thousands of miles away while, in its own backyard, it has really neglected these countries. apart from mexico, there is not a single central american country in the top 10 recipients of u.s. aid. we in the wealthy countries of the world have to help other countries, but very much in our own interests. one of our interests is to limit migration. as i've said, there is simply no excuse for ignoring the fact that migration is a key factor in driving political extremism and polarization in the west. one sees this in france now. we thought the national front was bad enough. now you have somebody who really is a fascist, eric zemmour,
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gaining astonishing levels of support. if we have to push liberal democracies for ourselves in the world, we have to help limit migration, and climate change in future, and already, to some extent, will be the key driver of that. perhaps, if we failed to limit migration, this will be at a scale unimaginable, a scale which will make it simply impossible to manage by democratic means. host: we have calls waiting, but want to get your reaction to some pushback from the copenhagen consensus, this piece in the wall street journal, in which it is written that reading that 0-would mean little for global temperature. if the whole country went carbon neutral tomorrow, the standard climate change model shows that
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the reduction would be barely noticeable. that is because the u.s. will make up an ever larger share of omissions as the populations of india, china, and africa grow and get bigger. guest: first of all, i am not sure that is true of africa unless africa expenses levels of economic growth that we have not seen, alas, in recent decades. at the moment, africa contribute very little to global emissions. china and india, yes. a, the united states will, one assumes, remain one of the biggest economies in the world. my figures certainly do not suggest that, if the u.s. moved to net zero, that this would have a negligible or significant effect. secondly, as they say, that is the question of leadership and influence.
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the united states, as such a rich country -- although it does not feel that way to most ordinary americans -- it is not prepared to limit its carbon emissions. it simply becomes morally impossible to ask poor countries to do so. and it is not just the united states. it is the united states and canada and australia and many of the rich european countries, allstate well, in the end, what we do will not matter very much. put it altogether, and it really is going to matter, and it will be disastrous. host: let's hear from our callers. we go first to john, west hollywood, california, on the line with anatol lieven. caller: good morning. i am not a climate disbeliever. i am a political scientist. there was a fact that came out of noaa, the national oceanic
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and atmospheric administration, that this past winter period, which is our summer in the northern hemisphere, was the coldest ever recorded on record since they have been keeping records in 1957. also, the abrupt discontinuance of america being energy independent and having gasoline and food distribution, everything else, go up at our heart -- at a far higher percent of inflation than is reported in the economy overall is a regressive tax on the individuals who have to pay it. and people who are not in the wealthy category are paying a much higher percentage of their
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income to necessities, and it is actually exceeding the growth in wages. so regardless of any growth in wages, people's purchasing power is still falling behind. natural gas was supposed to be a bridge energy source that would reduce carbon emissions and transition us with enough energy to remain competitive in manufacturing. and i am just wondering, you know, the mainstream media completely ignored this report, from what i've seen, about antarctica having a record cold winter season that was 4.8 degrees fahrenheit colder than ever
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host: ok, john. your thoughts? guest: as all the scientific predictions but also the facts, the recorded facts of the past 20 years show, global warming is not uniform across the planet. it's been suggested, for example, thank god it hasn't happened yet, but if climate change shut down the gulf stream, then far from getting hotter, europe will basically develop the climate of canada. but if you look at the actor -- arctic over the past 20 years, you see on the contrary, temperatures which are not just rising but rising at between two and three times the global average. so whatever happens in the antarctic, you have a massive threat to humanity coming out of
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the arctic in the disappearance of ice, rise of sea levels, and perhaps above all release of methane from the arctic permafrost. things are uneven certainly, but one statistic from the antarctic does not cancel out everything else that's happening including the opposite pole of the world. concerning energy and energy independence, this cannot be abrupt, and that's why in my book i criticize some of the radical and naive greens who say we must abolish carbon emissions totally by 2030. that's simply not going to happen. also why i emphasize the need for nuclear energy and gas will undoubtedly remain. what we need to do for a very considerable time to come, so this won't be abrupt. it will have to take place over
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the next 30, 40 years be -- but it won't be overnight. but what we need to do amongst other things is pour money into research and development. at the moment, the money going into research and development of not just renewable energy but also carbon capture is less than 1/10 that going into military research and development. that is totally misapliepped sense of priorities. ideally we will develop cheap universal carbon capture and then we could go on burning fossil fuels. but we don't know whether at the moment that's possible. we have to work on a lot of things simultaneously. as far as sacrifices by ordinary people are concerned, i entirely agree, but that after all is why the biden administration and
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still more people like elizabeth warren have emphasized so strongly the need for higher taxes on the rich and corporations. so that's the greatest burden of this transition. falls precisely not on the poor but on those who can afford it and who frankly for many years now have got away with, as warren buffett has pointed out, paying scandalously low levels of taxation compared to what they paid in the past or what people are paying anywhere else in the developed world. host: let's hear from michael, illinois. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you. i want the guest to know that i agree with almost everything you said word for word. and i do try on this micro level to do what i can.
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i recycle everything that i can possibly do and so forth. i don't even know if they actually recycle any of the stuff we throw in our special garbage cans, but that is beside the point. my specific question, and it's two parts, i wonder -- i would like your opinion as to the likelihood that mass migrations because of some problem, drought, whatever, would trigger a war between either some of the superpowers or some blocs of nations and where do you think the most likely flash point would be? that's kind of what i'd like you to comment on. guest: i am not sure that in the
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medium term, migration will lead to wars between nations. i think it may more likely lead to the collapse of nations or political systems. although in the longer term, if enormous populations troy to move quickly, wars between nations are possible. i think, though, it is worth pointing out from this point of view that in the west understandably enough we are focused on migration to us and both those who till to -- hostile to migration and advocates talk about what is happening in the west but actually the most ferociously militarized anti-immigrant border in the world is the fence that the indians have put up to stop migrations from bangladesh. more than 1,00 people are being shot dead on that border over the past 10 years or so.
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and india is absolutely determined to prevent further migration by every means, however ruthless. so i fear -- look at the reaction of many neighboring countries to the exodus from persecution in myanmar. you are quite right. whether or not it leads to conflict between states, it will certainly if climate is exacerbated by climate change, it will certainly lied to -- lead to much more violence, local conflicts, clashes, massacres, genocides, god forbid in future. so that's another reason why we have to act quickly to limit climate change. host: several reports ahead of the glasgow summit about china's continued need for the use of coal. their headline, china's need for coal clashes with global climate goals.
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yet you write in your book about the alternative fuel efforts that -- in your book you write that another truly radical development that china is already engaged in the plan is to make 50% of vehicles electric by 2025 and 100% by the 2030's through a mixture of small businesses and sanctions. if they manage this, and there are enormous obstacles in the way, it would be a very important contribution to limiting carbon gas emissions and also very convincing testimony to the ruthless efficiency of the chinese system. so on the one hand, the chinese are making progress on that front. yet continued reliance in china on coal fired power plants, for example. guest: yes, and of course, one must recognize that electric vehicles are great and reduce carbon emissions from the vehicles, but the electricity has to be produced somehow. if the chinese produce the electricity from their cars, for their cars, by coal, that would
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be a step backwards, not forwards. i suppose the one advantage the chinese have, i emphasize in the book, is they can produce programs with life spans of 10 years, 20 years. obviously the american democratic system but also the lack of scone sus on climate change -- consensus on climate change makes that very difficult for the united states. but the chinese are basing the program on the belief or the hope, i suppose one should say, that over the next generation, they will be able to develop means of carbon capture, which will allow them to transition to clean coal. the problem is that this of course is a gamble. it's like a nuclear fusion
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energy. we don't know or the attempts to develop much more efficient and larger scale batteries to store renewable energy. all of these are hopeful lines of research and development and deserve massive investment, but of course we can't know that they will work. we will only know that somewhere down the line. host: let's hear from steve in san jose, california. republican line. caller: thanks for taking my call. i would like to make three quick points. we are getting mixed signals when biden, after trump stopped the russia to germany pipeline, biden allows the russia-germany pipeline. when we -- we would provide -- we were offering to provide germany with gas that is 42%
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cleaner than russia. point number two -- trump got out of the paris climate accord because they never met their goals. point number three -- i would like to see world debate on the issue, but it is not allowed and the other side, those that believe in it, climate change, do not show up and they will not allow it. what are they afraid of? goodbye. host: ok, steve. anatol lieven, any thoughts of any of those points? guest: well, first on north stream, the biden administration went along with this because they wanted german support and help above all against china, limiting china's global economic influence. germany plays a position in
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europe. germany is absolutely central to that. i am afraid this is what diplomacy is. if you want people to do things for you, you have to agree to things they really want and the germans had of course poured so much money already into the north stream pipeline. they were very unwilling to throw it down the drain. and of course, forgive me, but the united states is not necessarily always a reliable ally when it comes to helping its allies. they reckon that russian gas, once they committed to the pipeline, would be a reliable and essential support for the german economy. other people also have national interests, which the united states has to recognize and try to compromise with. second thing, as i said, most countries have failed to meet their full commitments under the paris agreement, but they have
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plans in place. they are meeting them in part. they are doing something, some more than others. that cannot be a reason for the united states to do nothing at all. on climate change. unless you simply don't believe that there is climate change. i am sorry, but the scientific evidence -- the evidence from our eyes and skins is such now that i really don't think that that is a rational position. as to the other side not showing up, i don't quite know what you mean. i am here, and as far as i know, most of the senior and distinguished figures talking about this are always willing to turn up and talk about it. you could say we do nothing but talk, but we do talk, and listen and debate. host: here is a headline from the guardian.
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biden pledges largest effort to combat climate change in u.s. history. anatol lieven, what was the effect of the u.s. withdrawal from the paris agreements under president trump? guest: well, it certainly -- it very badly damaged u.s. prestige in europe because in most of europe, you do now have a political consensus across the conservative political spectrum, as well as the liberals on the left, on the existence of climate change and the need to do something about it. i myself am going up to glasgow to talk to the conservative environment network. i am a small speaker to that. boris johnson is a big speaker to it. so this does damage the united states leadership of the democracy and more widely. as i say, the u.s. is seeking close partnership with india. so the united states to withdraw from climate change agreements, then you have democrats coming
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back and demanding that india fulfill them, well that does not go down well in a very -- what remains on a per capita basis. host: you mention the conservative climate group. is the difference between views -- the political difference between the conservative group there, you mentioned the prime minister speaking, he is the leader of the conservative party. is the difference as wide as it is here in the united states on the views -- in terms of the view on climate change? guest: no, at least in western europe, it's far, far smaller. the great majority of the conservative party here in britain, moderate conservatives in france, in germany, everywhere really, recognize the existence of climate change and the need to do something about it. something radical about it. of course, there are differences in terms of how much reliance you put on free markets
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solutions, how much you put on state leadership, but in britain we have had a conservative government for how long now, 10 years? and conservative governments have vastly boosted renewable energy in britain and have committed themselves to even more radical action in the future. speaking from a british or west european perspective, there is really no contradiction and i mean no contradiction between a conservative political position and a belief in the need to act against climate change. on the contrary, and here once again is the point about my appeal to patriotism or nationalism, a conservative who is dedicated to his or her country and to the future of the country, the future of the nation, a conservative who believes that national society
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is a contract between the living, the dead and those yet to be born, is more or less i would say naturally committed to trying to prevent radical climate change from getting out of hand because it threatens generations yet to be born, as burke said. host: let's hear from new jersey, mark on the democrats line. welcome. caller: good morning. host: good morning. caller: thank you very much for this very important, and your guest is very impressive. i have questions. one for your guest, one for fellow listeners. to the guest, i'd like to know what you think about all of the messaging surrounding climate
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change by really people in your call, the people with brains, who are aware of what's happening, you are doing yourselves a disservice because you are talking about the sacrifices and hardships and as you suggested, people are thinking in the short term. why are we not messaging this as this is going to create jobs? this is going to be a major infrastructure project similar to when the western world had to fight nazi germany? and imperial japan, and that created jobs. that's why it was so popular. people got back to work. i don't understand the messaging isn't similar. host: mark, you are breaking up a little bit. lieven, i did want to read a little about it in your book. you write, the green new deal is
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an essential step in winning over the working classes on climate change. the massive reconstruction effort necessary to overcome the economic effects of the pandemic is a maaing enough -- magnificent opportunity for this. such programs are especially incompatible with the advocacy of open immigration by many of the people advocating the green new deal. expand on that issue and what the caller is suggesting as well. guest: yes, responding to the caller, on one side i compleelle with you and the book is indeed strong -- written strongly in support of the green new deal and the need and the possibility of creating many new jobs. however, as you mentioned the war against nazi germany and imperial japan, of course it did
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create many jobs. it also required enormous sacrifice, much greater sacrifices than the struggle against climate change because it required hundreds of thousands of american and british lives. i don't think there is -- it's wrong, i think it's democratically wrong, and i also think it's politically unwise, simply to talk about opportunities and not to acknowledge that there will be difficulties, there will have to be sacrifices, there will be damage to communities which have to be compensated by state policy. but if we put out too optimistic a view of how this is going to be a wonderful transition in which nobody will suffer, well, i think we risk then being accused of bad faith or utopianism. the other point, of course, as
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i've already said, we need to shift as many of the sacrifices as possible on to those who can afford to make those sacrifices. certainly it is absolutely politically and morally impossible to demand additional sacrifices from ordinary people while maintaining grossly inequitable levels of tax for the rich, and by the way, i don't regard this as a left wing position. president theodore roosevelt, president eisenhower, even president nixon and president ford would all have agreed with me on this, i think. on migration, yes, the point is we know that while mass migration may boost the economy as a whole, we know that it is very bad for the wages and the
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living standards but with unionization of the poorer sections, perhaps increasingly more skilled sections of the working classes, and one of the reasons we know this is because a number of american corporations have been extremely frank about it. about how migrant labor and especially of course illegal migrant labor, which can't be unionized, can't be used to break strikes and force wages down. this is in no way a racist position or a condemnation of the migrants themselves. if i lived in honduras, i would do exactly the same myself. but i think that those of us who are deeply interested in the future of liberal democracy, of social solidarity, and of green new deals, do have to recognize the degree to which uncontrolled
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migration is a threat to all these things. host: our guest is a senior research fellow at the quincy institute for leadership for responsible statecraft. what is that organization and what is your role there? guest: well, my role is that of a senior research fellow, which means i talk and talk and write and write and then do some more talking on international affairs, including climate change. but also including a range of global security issues. the quincy institute is -- probably ultimately grew out of opposition to the vietnam war. but more immediately out of opposition to the invasion of iraq in 2003. and its core philosophy is that i suppose you'd say of moderate realism. it is deeply opposed to american
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military adventurism and interventionism elsewhere in the world. it believes in attempts, as far as possible, at reasonable compromises with other great powers in order that america should be able to scone trait much more strong -- concentrate much more strongly on a range of pressing domestic issues in the united states of which i would say climate change is one. so we are opposed to american global hegemony by political means. we are not against american leadership by political and cultural means and we are in favor of scone traition on the -- concentration on the interests of american citizens. ordinary americans at home. and brits. host: couple more calls for you. ralph in washington, d.c., go ahead on the independent line. caller: hi, great conversation. thank you for being there.
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a couple points i would like to make very quickly. first of all there is a technology called molten salt reactors, developed in the 1960's, at lawrence livermore laboratories, which nixon killed, brought in a reactor which was a nightmare, never worked. this technology can burn our nique leer waste -- nuclear waste. this technology has a 500-year half-life instead of a 10,000 year half-life. this technology cannot melt down because it's already melted. this technology is walk-away safe. we are spending $13 billion to $15 billion on one nuclear aircraft carrier. all we need to do is to fund some of these small companies that are trying to get it through and the first start or phase, which is a multibillion-dollar phase, and we cannot three or four or five prototypes of the different designs out there. you need to start talking about
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this. this is something that is solid. it's not a scientific breakthrough that's needed. there are some engineering hurdles that have to be overcome but most of those have been overcome and china is currently throwing huge money into this. now, it's not just energy. if this country falls behind and is stuck in the horse and buggy days of energy and china walks away with this technology, they are going to be able to produce cheaper goods and they're going to be able to dominate the industry in the future. this is imperative and it's being stopped by the oil and gas industry and i am shocked that you haven't mentioned it. one last point. i get tired of hearing the stupid arguments that -- well, these other guys are doing something wrong, so we should too. it's the argument, well, he beats his wife, i can beat mine. he beats his children. i can throw my -- if he throws
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his trash out the window, i should be able to throw mine out the window. that is a lame argument. thank you for being -- host: ralph, on the last point what are you talking about and what are you specifically talking about? caller: they say india is burning too much coal and therefore we should be burning more coal. or china is burning more coal. host: got you. we will let anatol lieven respond. you have spoken about nuclear energy, but go ahead and respond to his comments. guest: yes indeed. i am not a nuclear scientist, so i feel shy about commenting in detail on this. i've done more reading on nuclear fusion technology, but i entirely agree. we have to do everything possible to explore the safe -- and develop the safer forms of nuclear energy.
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i find the prejudices of the environmental camp against nuclear energy. it's a misassessment of risk. at most, at the absolute outside indirect casualties of the chernobyl disaster, 60,000 or so, the actual figure could well be less than a quarter of that. between seven million and nine million people a year die from the effects of pollution by carbon fuels. that's not even talking about the ongoing and future effects of climate change. so absolutely. yes, people have talked about the sputnik moment. you are absolutely right. if the chinese are pouring money into this kind of research and
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development, then if america wishes to compete with china as an economic model and as a world economic and moral and political leader for the future, it is essential that america do the same. once again, for decades after the second world war, what the two of us have just said would have met no resistance at all from republicans as well. eisenhower regarded investment in civilian research and development as simply a natural task and duty and an essential task and duty of the american state. it wasn't controversial. host: let's hear from craig, new jersey, on the independent line. caller: good morning. host: good morning. caller: i have a degree in economics. i am listening to the speaker.
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he thinks -- he refers to the united states and great britain as being wealthy. the united states is $20 trillion in debt. great britain is essentially bankrupt. says nothing about putting the financial burden on china. this is financially not reasonable to the west, totally favorable to china and really listening to him, it sounds like the talking points i would expect to hear from president xi. i wait for a response. host: ok. anatol lieven. guest: britain isn't bankrupt. i've seen no sign of that. america would not be so deeply in debt if it could only fix -- and i quoted warren buffett horks is hardly a communist, if it could only fix its inefficient tax system and get a grip on money laundering as well, which is a universal
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problem. as to xi jinping, have i not just said that in order to compete successfully with china, america needs to put money into research and development in order to compete with china, not to help china. by the way, the development of a variety of renewable energy, including -- once again including nuclear energy, developed in the united states with american technology, that contributes vastly to america's energy independence and therefore national security. those are not chinese lines. if you want to look at some policies which might have been developed in china, i suggest you look at american policy in the middle east over the past 20 years. as far as i can see, the only country in the world that has benefited in terms of the damage it's done to the united states
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and the american economy, american dit and american -- debt and american interest, the only country in the world that has benefited from american policy in the middle east is china. i am not suggesting that it was designed there. it was a last de-- alas designed in the united states. host: you can read more in the book, "climate change and the nation state." our guest is anatol lieven. thank you so much for being with us this morning. >> tonight on q&a, senior fellow at the american enterprise institute discusses the poor side of town, his look at the more than 100 year effort by the federal government, private developers, and others to create low-cost housing in the united states. >> what happened was once your home is to went down -- is torn down, you can only rent in the project.
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you can never own anything in public and subsidized housing. to this day, this remains a problem. 47% of the residents of public housing to this day are african-american. those are all people who are not owning anything, not a community wealth. we should not be a surprised -- not be surprised at having steered african-americans into public housing, there is a gap between black and white wealth. >> author of the poor side of town, tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. you can listen to all of our podcasts on our c-span now. -- now cap. -- now app. how will redistricting affect upcoming u.s. house races and montana and pennsylvania? we discussed that with regional political journalists as well as david wasserman of the cook political report. this is just over 20 minutes. >> wellre

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