America, John Quincy Adams, China discussed on Commonwealth Club
You look within Churchill's point about democracy and the difficulty Frankly, some would say the well nigh impossible mission of forcing that on a country that's not ready for it. You have two quotes that kind of highlight this This challenge about America's role in the world one Should America's mission be to make the world safe for democracy? This is a force brought from President Woodrow Wilson's approach. Or, in the words of John Quincy Adams. Should America be the well wisher to the freedom and independence of all of the Vindicator Tze and champion on ly of her own democracy? How do you parse this When you're confronting events in the world that may not be vital interests. But what is America's role as we watch young people in the streets of Hong Kong? Or we watch other places where people somewhere trying to bring about democracy and, of course, autocrats around the world who say not on my watch, not going out. So where does America go forward, And when do we go forward Using the symphony of powers mean? What does it look like in your vision? John Quincy Adams had another quote that came out of the same document, he said. We ought not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy other words. We ought not go looking for trouble. I think a CZ I write in the book. I think Wilson and John Quincy Adams have to co exist. I think that it is from the beginning of our republic. We have seen ourselves as the city on the hill as an example for the rest of the world to follow. And as part of our foreign policy to do all we could to advance the interests of democracy and reform abroad, and human and political rights where I draw the line is in using the military to make that happen. I think that as we've been discussing, you can't force a country into democracy. These institutions have to be developed. One of the lines that we all use was having won. Election is not synonymous with bringing democracy to a country. A democracy is based on the rule of law is based on institutions and the role we can play is helping countries develop those institutions. This is where the civilian part these instruments of power that I talk about is so important because it are people helping them develop their own institutions and encouraging the development of those institutions, you know. Use a idea in and a number of private foundations in the United States funded a huge number non governmental organizations in Russia, for example, in the 19 nineties to try and encourage the development of democratic institutions and the rule of law, and so on. And it is evidence that those were working that in there in the two thousand's Vladimir Putin essentially eliminated the ability of all of those NGO's toe work in Russia. Some points. There were thousands and thousands of these, and now they're They're just a handful. Same thing in China, so I think we can use a variety of tools that including I would say. Our intelligence capabilities and and covert action. CIA's covert action played a big role in the success of solidarity in Poland and taking on the communist regime there that were kind of three institutions that that supported solidarity, all working independently. The Catholic Church and Pope John Paul, the second CIA and the American labor unions and through the A F L C I o So we have these instruments that we can use to encourage those trying to bring democracy to their own country and two straight helped them strengthen those institutions. But it's us helping them, not us trying to force it on them. Dr Gates when you look at China's advantage, and you noted some with their state run economy and what they could do with money going into certain places, perhaps just loading up dead on countries that will never be able to repay it and developing some degree of control over some sovereign otherwise sovereign decisions. Do you think the U. S endurance to stricter moral standards? Actually weaken just in this competition that is going on between the China model. Barely an authoritarian model. It's hard to believe they would practise kinder, gentler model externally from their country. Then they practiced on their own people are we actually weakened by taking a more moral stance? As we look at our role in the world against Chinese model, which is basically by your allies shoulder your way in Dismiss other nation's sovereignty, whether being diplomatic or economic or even moral sovereignty. Where do we stand in this competition? Well, I think we all know that America a cz much as we love it, and and as much as we admire it, and as much as we believe it is unique in the history of the world. And and a unique force for good is still flawed, and we're seeing the results of that in the streets of most of our cities in the last few weeks, But we do stand for some things. You know, It's not by accident that on Tiananmen Square in the spring of 1989. That the Chinese students erected a statue that they called the goddess of liberty that looked an awful lot like the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. It's not an accident that the Hong Kong protesters are waving American flags. It's not an accident that during the pushback on the Iranian regime just a few months ago After they shot down the airliner that they had painted on American flag. The students have painted an American flag on the steps of one of their schools and people were walking around that flag, so is not to step on it. So I think the rest of the world knows that were flawed. But they also know we're about the only country in the world that consistently tries to get better. We consistantly. We know what we believe in and we work every day and trying to make our actions coincide with our beliefs than with what we profess to. I admire the most in Democratic countries, so I think we have to address our problems here at home. We do need to be a model and frankly, we're not a very good model right out of our politics or paralyzed. We can't tackle any of the big problems that our country faces, whether it's immigration or education or infrastructure or other things. We still have to battle racial injustice. But we're trying to fix these things. And I think other countries recognized that and as long as we continue to profess started ideals. As long as we try to help them create democracies. I think our ideology if you will is still to be admired around the world. Now, the truth is, I think that it is Tarnished now. As a result of several things over the last dozen years or so. The 8 4009 economic crisis in this country undermine sentiment around the world that the American economic model was one they wanted to emulate. I think that economic inequality in this country is a problem that other countries see makes them wonder whether the American economic model is one they want to follow. Our paralysis are polar polarization has been with us since the very beginning of the republic. The names that Jefferson and Adams called each other would fit right into today's political campaigns. But what's new since the end of the Cold War? Really? Is a paralysis and our inability to get really big things done in the country because the two political parties are just frozen at the federal level in their war on each other for all practical purposes. Everybody seeming to forget that the only thing that makes the American system work is compromised. I think right now she jen paying in China is pointing to all these problems that we have here at home, economic and political in particular. And and he is arguing to the rest of the world. Look at the Chinese model. We brought hundreds of millions of people out of poverty were ableto have this incredible 21st century infrastructure. We're willing to help you build a modern infrastructure in your country. Karma, and we get things done. So our model is the one that you should look to. And frankly, there are a lot of countries that look at the Chinese and they say, Well, maybe they maybe they're they're approached. The Chinese approaches is better than the American approach. So if we want to have our our ideology, our belief in liberal democracy and capitalism Be a model for the rest of the world. We got a lot of repair work to do here at home. But I still believe that most of the people in the world believe that America stands for freedom and and for human and political rights, and that's our ace in the hole. If you will. We just have to work at making it even more credible. The problem is right now we have a competition in the world that's going to go on for quite a while. This is old is as a CZ democracy itself, and that is the conflict. Competition between democracy and authoritarianism. My view is communism's dead as a door nail. The only malice left in the world would probably handful somewhere in China, maybe a few in American universities of France or someplace, but but I think communism is dead. Authoritarianism, though, has incredibly deep. Historical roots, and that's the real danger. We defeated authoritarianism twice in the in the 20th century. If we don't address our problems and figure out how to move forward to the country, our ability to defeat authoritarianism in the 21st century, I think will be at risk. But I I That's a very long answer to your question. But I believe that our ideology of freedom and are pro pounding that ideology. Is an asset for us in the world, not a liability, walked and learned most about our country and what freedom means to others. And what we represent. The others threw for a nice I've had Villagers and dirt or villages, and I've had prime ministers and kings question me on. How does America.