tv Tavis Smiley PBS July 16, 2010 3:00pm-3:30pm PST
tavis: good evening from los angeles. i'm tavis smiley. tonight a look at the long-term impact of the two biggest stories of the summer. the gulf oil spill and the war that has become now the longest in u.s. history. fishing has been decimated by the spill at time when fishing around the world is in jeopardy. paul greenberg is a contributor to "new york times" magazine and the author of a new book on the subject called "for fish." and former advisor to general petraeus, david kilcullen. on wednesday alone eight more american soldiers lost their lives in combat. we're glad you joined us. paul greenberg and david kilcullen coming up right now. >> all i know is his name is james. he needs extra help with his reading. >> i'm james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference.
>> thank you. >> you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join dallas mavericks in removing financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] tavis: paul greenberg is a contributor to "new york times" magazine, his latest book was excerpted in the magazine. it is called "for fish:the future of the last wild food."
paul greenberg, good to have you on the program, sir. >> good to be here. tavis: given all that we are hearing about the oil spill and what it is doing to lives of the fish that we love to eat. why a book called "four fish"? why these four fish? >> well, when you look around at all the land mammals that we eat. four we domesticated. cows, pigs, sheep and goats. you look at all the birds, turkeys, chickens, ducks and geese. where we're at with fish now, we have huge problems with overfishing. fish farming is the largest production of food production now. tavis: and they are? >> they are salmon, sea bass, that applies to a lot of fish
but in this case, the european sea bass and cod fish and tuna. tavis: you used a phrase a moment ago. overfishing. define that for me. >> well, overfishing is a relatively new concept that has come out. it means that you're catching more fish than the ecosystem can replace over time. generally, a lot of times it is considered when you go over 40% of the -- excuse me, over 60% of the historical population of any one species of fish or any one stock of fish. then you're into an overfish situation and then you risk the long-term viability of that population of fish. tavis: i would assume that it means that we are overeating, to put it another way, that we are eating too much fish? >> you know, fish consumption has doubled per capita in the last 50 years and quinn up theled in overall pounds around the world. we take more fish from the
oceans now in terms of raw weight, like around 90 million tons every year. it is more than the weight of the human population of china that we take out of the sea every year. when you think about it, that is quite a lot of fish to take out of the sea. tavis: what is the end game here? if we keep overfishing, to your point, what happens long-term? >> we're going to get stock collapse of fish all around the world. they are going to lose their general itic varyability. we're not talking about extinction now. there are still a lot of fish in the sea. what we need to do right now is preserve their abundance. that's critical point we're at right now. if you look at tuna around the world, all species have declined 25%. on one hand, that is pretty shocking. on the other hand, 75% are still left. what i'm saying now is we need to rethink way we fish and really focus on trying to save
that abundance so we don't go down any further. tavis: what does that mean? overfishing and protecting their abundance? >> we have seen industrial fishing in the last 50 years that came out after world war ii, all of these new technologies like the use of sewn ar that destroy the bottom keeling and taking fish all at once from the sea. we need to turn it to a more local thing to get back to a level of take we had 20, 30, 50 years ago to let the oceans rebuild. what i'm proposing is let's try and make the fishing sector for artismal. let's try to farm some fish but as soundly as possible. tavis: i hates to break this news to you but there is obviously a whole lot of money being made by overfishing.
if we're eating all of this fish in restaurants and our homes, etc., there is a whole lot of money being made with overfishing. how do you put that genie back in the bottle? >> that is true. what we need to do is reimagine fish. think about it. we wouldn't drag a net over the serengeti plain and haul off all the zebras and lions and pick out all the wildebeests. we're dragging huge nets along the bottom, ripping up the coral, the bottom structure. in the long-term that is not a good solution for anybody. i'm proposing we selectively more carefully take fewer fish but charge more per fish in the marketplace and in order to do that there has to be an ethical realignment that people understand they are a eating a wild animal. how many times have you heard a vegetarian say i am a vegetarian
but i eat fish. that's kind of crazy. they won't eat a farm cow or a farm pig but hey, pass that wild animal fish over to me and i'll eat it. tavis: what about the notion that eating fish is healthier than some of the other meats that we'd -- we eat fish and i hear your joke about being a vegetarian. i eat fish. i'm trying to be healthy and watch my weight. i'm told eating fish is better for me. now you're saying i should have a come to jesus moment every time i sit down at my plate. i'm lost, paul. help me out here. >> first of all, you're right. fish is healthier. it is lower in fat and some of the oiler fish have high levels of o mega fatty acids.
there are a couple of solutions. first of all, we need to start eating smaller fish instead of eating these big, long-lived rare fish. bluefin tuna lives a long time. it is very, very susceptible to fishing pressure. you can get the same benefits by eating a mackerel, maybe not as tasty but you can get used to it. give it a try. especially smoked, it is really good. there is also some great fish out there, farm fish, that you know, don't have a huge eke logical impact like tilapia. also cat fish. one of the greatest fishes out there. farming actually creates a wildlife habitat. all of those cat fish farms all over the south, are great. low fat. fed on really good feed and it is delicious fish.
tavis: cat fish and tilapia more than the salmon that i eat. >> they don't necessarily have those great omega fish oils that are so great to eat. if you're willing for something with the omega 3's, mackerel is a great fish and an arctic char. it is very closely related to a salmon but unlike salmon, it lives in the arctic and a lot of time the ponds they live in freeze almost solid. they are used to crowding so they are great for a farm situation. they get farmed in close, contained places and don't interact with the wild and they will give you those omega 3 fatty acids. tavis: no matter how successful this cap turns out to be in the
gulf, the damage done is going to take, i suspect, a long time to clean up. what is the impact that it is going to have on the conversation we're having tonight? >> well, the biggest fish that are going to be affected are the biggest fish. bluefin tuna, yellow finish tuna, sword fish all spawn in the gulf. those fish are going to have a really hard time for the next few years. the smaller fish, shrimp, the smaller the creature, usually the quicker it breeds and recovers, so there is actual population declines on the smaller species might not be as bad. and you have the toxicity causing concerns down there as well. tavis: how concerned should we be? we're hearing stories of them finding oil inside clams and other things. >> yes. well, it is a concern.
at the same time i always say we need to be protecting fish but we also need to be protecting fishermen. you know, noaa and the f.d.a. have very careful monitoring. they closed about 35% of federal waters and coastal areas to fishing. there is i think they have a seven-person panel that examines seafood on a daily basis and they do a smell test to see if it has an oily smell and send in samples to first toxicity. so far it is testing out ok that is coming out of the gulf. that is on a short-term basis. long-term we don't know. i for one, as a grown man that doesn't have issues around fish like children and women of childbearing age, i decided acally to eat gulf shrimp because i want to support the fishermen down there. tavis: paul greenberg has given
us our men use. his book is called "four fish: the future of." thank you. >> thanks, tavis. appreciate it. tavis: up next, david kilcullen. stay with us. dave zave a former counterinsurgency advisor for david petraeus and former secretary of state condoleeza rice. his new text is called "counterinsurgency". david kilcullen, good to have you on the program. >> thank you for having me. tavis: let me start before i get too much into the text about two individuals whose names have been in the news a lot of late. petraeus and mccrystal. we know that mccrystal was removed from being our top leader in afghanistan. he is goings to retire from the military. you have advised both of them.
talk to me about your sense of what happened to general mccrystal. >> look, i think it was a very tragic series of events. i think the president had no choice but to fire general mccrystal. if we were having this conversation a few weeks ago and you said what are the problems in afghanistan, i would have given you a long list but mccrystal would not have been on the list. it was just impossible for him to be in command. i was very worried when he was fired and thinking who can possibly replace him and do a good job and the only person that i could think of that would have made me feel confident was general petraeus. i guess it worked out. it was tragic but the way it worked out it was ok. tavis: concerning all the generals that we have and to your mind you think he was the only person in that vast
military who could do as good a job as mccrystal, what does it say about our miltry? >> it is about experience. one of the critical issues in afghanistan now is dealing with an afghan government that is very corrupt. it is abusive. it needs to change. it needs to be reformed. general petraeus has a lot of experience in that in iraq. there is a lot of generals that could do a good job but i think he is really the one at this point. tavis: to your mind, if the government of afghanistan is so corrupt, why, if we think the government is so corrupt, at least you do, why, then, do we keep tiptoing and walking on egg shells. one day we love him and the next day we spank him. general karzai? >> the evidence shuggets it has gotten a lot more -- suggests it has gotten a lot more corrupt
over the past few years. the guys who do the annual governmental corruption survey, their data is based on some pretty detailed field research. in my experience, most of the afghans i talk to will tell you that the main problem, the main driver of instability is actually government bad behavior and corruption. a lot of that, of course, also comes from the aid programs that we sponsor on international systems. it isn't just president karzai but i think one of the reasons we haven't been as firm with him as one might like, is it is hard to see an alternative. who is the guy who would step in if president karzai wasn't in charge? >> alternative or not, if part of the problem is -- not just a part oifert, to your point, i'm paraphrasing. if a major part of it is the corrupt nature of the government, then how do we ever
win, what do we define as victory if what you're talking about ain't got nothing to do with us. >> well, it does have something to do with us. this is the government that we set up. we didn't have the district elections we were supposed to have. we didn't hold these guys to account. this is our after zpwan government that the international committee -- afghan government that the sbnl committee set up. we need to look at ourselfs in the mirror and say how are we going work with afghans at the local level to resolve this. i'm not sure if we can, frankly. i think we had a really good partnership with them in 2001, which has over time evaporated and to get that back, requires their willingness to trust us. tavis: when you're talking to people as high up as mccrystal and petraeus, would you say to them as you said now, i'm not sure we can do this. >> you're not the first person
i've said it to. said it to secretary rice. we were having conversations with the government in general and in a think tank community for a number of years past. as general petraeus said when he took over in iraq, it is hard. the outcome is not certain but hard is not impossible. i'm a rugby player. we have a term called a hospital pass. somebody throws you a ball right as the other guy is coming to tackle you. i think the other guy coming to tackle us now is the deadline. we have a lot of problems in afghanistan and they will be crisis because we have tosoever them all by this time next week. -- so solve them all by this time next year. >> i was going ask whether or not you are suggesting that timeline be more fluid but i'm not sure i want to ask that, in part because it may already be
fluid enough if, you listen to what secretary clinton says, what president obama says, everybody says depending on conditions on the ground. so we have a deadline. it is so arbitrary, if you connected to that particular statement they keep making. >> this is one of those issues where it is partly what they said and partly what -- if you listened to what obama said in the speech and very much so what secretary gates and clinton and biden have said, it is very clear it is going to be conditioned space and depend on what's going on on the ground. it is going to be driven by how stable the environment is. just after the speech was made, that's not what afghans heard. a lot of afghans heard is americans are leaving. the very day after the speech, the taliban came out and said we're still going to be here. which said are you backing. so a lot of afghans are on the fence about that. a lot of foreign investors are weary about what the environment is going to be like next year.
a lot of people are concerned about how is it going track. it is a matter of recovering public confidence that we are going to stick around to get the job done. tavis: that's part of argument that mccain made against obama during the campaign. if you set a date, certain time to get out, this is exactly what is going to happen. the taliban is going to wait it out and say the americans are leaving. whose side are you going to be on once they leave. >> it is threw if the enemy know what is -- it is true that if the enemy knows what you're plans are. i think the president understands and all the national security team understand that it is a matter of transition based on conditions. it is a matter of taking and understanding and making is that your the afghans understand that as well and communicating that in a way that makes that confidence. it is a matter of actual performance on the ground. tavis: this comment has been,
you know, this statement has been uttered soigts. we couldn't begin to count, -- so many times, we couldn't begin to count. michael steele suggests that afghanistan is the cemetery of empires. that has been said many times before. is it still the case, do you think? >> well, there has been a lot of empires go into afghanistan and not a lot of them have come out in tact. the most successful was alexander the great who got in by marrying into the tribe. he set up a government structure that worked. this argument about graveyard of empires i think is overapplied in the sense that a lot of afghans have supported us, up to 65 supported us a couple of years ago. the russians or the british never had close to that level of popular support. but i think there is a truism there which is it is a lot
easier to get into afghanistan than to stabilize it and ultimately get out. >> to your test here. define for me in today's world counterinsurgency. >> there is two meanings to it which i bring out in the book. the activity that pretty much every government in history has gone through, which is dealing with internal opposition and armed -- and all of those uprising that go to the romans or persian empire. there is a concept where you take best practice social science, best practice behavioral science, economics, all the sort of modern academic understanding of how traditional societies work and you try apply that to the problemses of how you solve these kinds of rebellions and uprisings. you can see why it is a controversial issue. it is complex and a lot of people in the social science
community are not real comfortable with what we know about tribal populations being used in that way. tavis: your best example of how counterinsurgency has worked. the worst example. where our efforts of counterinsurgency has back fired on us. >> are in the book i go through about 380 instances. one of the interesting things a comes out of that is that there are two really big factors for success in counterinsurgency. the first is fighting in your own country. be able to understand the environment because you're from there. the second one is be willing to negotiate. if you look at it, in about 80% of cases the government tends to win the counterinsurgency. if you're in your own country, you have about an 80% chance. if you're in somebody else's country and you're not willing to negotiate, your chance of success drops to like 20%. ? afghanistan or iraq, the lesson
is work closely with locals who are from there and understand the environment. do a partnership and figure out how to actually come to some kind of position where you're negotiating from a pgs of strength and the enemy are willing to deal and resolve their grievances. the most recent example of that working was the awakening in iraq under general petraeus. that war is not over yet. there has been a lot of other good examples around the world recently but i think the iraq example is the most recent powerful example in the american model. i think people talk about vietnam like it is a bad example. actually in technical terms, counterinsurgency techniques succeeded in vietnam. the problem was it took too long and too many people and too much money and the american people lost confidence in the effort, rightly so and we pulled out and eventually south vietnam fell
toll an invasion from the north vietnamese. tavis: since, i asked that question for a particular reason because i thought -- i thought, having gone through text that we would end up right where we began. i thought when i asked that question of your best and worst examples that europe going to give me riker. i figured you would say iraq is the best example and vietnam would be the worst example but since you don't buy the argument that vietnam the worst answer to that question, it almost sounds like afghanistan, by default might end up being the answer if, not now, somewhere down the road. >> i would say if you look at american history, the u.s. has done some kind of counterinsurgency about 200 times in the last 300 years. one of the most problematic examples is reconstruction after the end of the civil war. you look at what happened down there and how things played out
over a 10-year period and how that was ultimately resolved and then it took another century for those issues to be dealt with. that is one of those examples where we can look at, a domestic counterinsurgency example. tavis: fascinating conversation. the book is called "counterinsurgency" written by david kilcullen. thank you for being on the show. that's our show for tonight. tune in next time. until then keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with tennis great venus williams on her new book and harnsing your competitive spirit. that's next time. we'll see you then. >> all i know is his name is james and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i'm james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference. >> thank you. >> you help us all live better.
>> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. nationwide joins tavis inworking to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more. pbs. [rocking blues music]
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we're having a teddy bears' picnic today. teddy bear picnics are a great way for teddies to have fun together. and they all get to try out their best manners. my teddy says, "excuse me, pido. i need to get the picnic basket down." after you, razzles. thanks, pido. what lovely manners. (raggs) my teddy says, "out of the way." hey, that's not good manners. teddy says he's too hungry for manners. we'd better go, then. after you. teddy says, "after me." where would you like to sit, teddy? next to trilby? good idea. raggs, it's not good manners to sit in other people's seats. but my teddy wants to sit here too. raggs' teddy has very bad manners. then we should show raggs' teddy how to have good manners.