Madeleine Albright, Principal, The Albright Group, LLC
Brent Scowcroft, President, Forum for International Policy
Andrew Kohut, Director, Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
Joseph A. Klein, Staff Writer, The New Yorker
December 5, 2002
Joseph Klein [JK]: Hi, good afternoon. Hello, everybody. Hi, good afternoon, I'm Joe Klein, from the New Yorker, for the moment, and we're here to discuss an absolutely fascinating study on an absolutely crucial topic, and I'll take my prerogative as moderator to tell one quick story that I think gets to the heart of this. My best friend in China, who is an academic, and I have dinner either here or there on a yearly basis, and every time we get together I ask him, so what are people talking about at dinner parties, in Beijing? And two or three years ago I asked him this question, it was during the time of great tension between China and Taiwan, when we sent the fleet through the Taiwan Straits and they were lobbing missiles.
And I asked him the question and he said, well, the thing we're all talking about lately is our kids, our teenage kids. And I asked him why. And he said, because they're sitting there in front of the TV, cheering, watching us launch those missiles over Taiwan and cheering at each missile strike, and they're sitting there wearing National Basketball Association t-shirts, sweatshirts, paraphernalia. And to my mind, that duality is highly symbolic of the results that we've seen in this study and the problems that we face in terms of presenting ourselves to the rest of the world right now.
But the first I'm going to do is introduce Rebecca Rimel of the Pew Charitable Trust, and I asked her what her title was, and she told me it was Herder of the Goats and Keeping Cats Off the Table. (Scattered Laughter) But I think she's also in charge. Rebecca? (Applause)
Rebecca Rimel [RR]: Thank you very much, and thank you to the Council on Foreign Relations for this lovely event, and thank you particularly Secretary Albright and Andy Kohut, for this extraordinary piece of work. It's rich, it's thoughtful, it's compelling, and for me, the more I read the more I understand how little I understand about how the world perceives us, how we perceive the world and how people in various other countries are experiencing their lives and their futures. It also raises for me a really ironic point. Just at a time when the ties that bind us, whether it's technology or transportation or the economy, are growing so much stronger, the differences that divide us, religion, culture and poverty, seem to be getting deeper and wider.
Our differences I believe are the thing that places us in very troubled times and troubled waters. This work, however, improves our understanding and enlightens our approach. It helps us understand that our futures and our fates are very much tied together. I'm reminded of the conversation we had in the Secretary's office late in 2000, when she and Andy presented a very compelling case as to why they needed to renew their partnership, a partnership that had begun a decade or more before. It was at that meeting that I understood how important the Global Attitudes Project would be.
In fact, it really fit into much of the history of the Pew Charitable Trust. We see our role as providing fact based, nonpartisan information to the public, to the press and to policy makers, information that will serve us all to help us make better decisions, and particularly better decisions as we face a very uncertain future. I am reminded, to all of us as Americans much has been given, and therefore much is expected. And I believe this work and all the work that will follow will help us live up to those expectations. It's for that reason that I so value my friendship and partnership with Andy Kohut. He has taught us so much, it's been a wonderful partnership that we've enjoyed and I think Andy, we are all very much in your debt, and the Secretary's debt, for this piece of work. Thank you. (Applause)
Andrew Kohut [AK]: I'm very proud to be one of Rebecca's goats. (Scattered Laughter) And very happy that we had the resources to do this piece of research that has been a dream of mine for a very long time. We had 38 ... we had conversations like the one Joe described with 38 thousand people around the world, in 44 countries, with a highly structured interview, and interview that was translated into 63 languages and dialects twice. Once when we sent it to the best survey research organizations around the world to do the field work, and then once when they sent it back to us, so that we could make sure that they understood what they wanted to ask.
We conducted the interviewing in ... from June through November, we doubled back to Britain, to France, to Germany, to Turkey and Russia in November to ask a few more questions about a potential war with Iraq. Most of what I'm going to talk about comes from the principal survey. Now this is a very big survey. It's a half hour interview, much of it has to do with globalization, much of it has to do with the gulf in social attitudes around the world. Much of it has to do with the way people in democratizing countries are struggling with that process. I'm not going to talk about those results, because they're slated for March.
What I'm going to tell you about is about the way America ... Americans and people in 43 other countries judge the state of the world at the end of this tumultuous world…the way they judge their own lives, they way they judge their country, and the way they look at America. There are a lot of headlines to come out of this survey, but the one that dominated the newspapers this morning was the extent to which America's image has slipped around the world. It's not only a case of the Moslem countries not liking America ... people in the Moslem countries not liking America, it's a case of U.S. being less well liked and less well regarded in allied countries, in NATO countries, in eastern Europe and emerging countries, and certainly in the Moslem nations, where there have been the most dramatic decline in positive attitudes towards the United States.
We had 27 countries where we were able to get a trend measurement on a basic favorable-unfavorable rating, which is a standard of survey research practice. And of those 27 nations, we found a lower rating for the United States in 19 of them, and that of course was the headline just about all around the country, if not the world today. But I want to emphasize another thing that the survey showed, that there's still a great reserve of good will toward the United States. It's not all bad news. In 35 of the 42 countries in which we asked our question, about the United States, the majority of the public said they still have a favorable opinion of American ... of the U.S. and the American people.
And counter to the trend, we see ... the overall trend, we see a better opinion of the U.S. in Russia. In 1991 ... I mean, I'm sorry, 1999 and 2000, only 37 percent of Russians had a favorable view of the United States, and that rose to 61 percent, so we do see some progress with some areas. True dislike if not hatred of the United States is mostly concentrated in the Moslem nations where we did the survey. Unfavorable ratings were in the 60 to 70 percent range in seven of the five countries in the conflict region of the world. Only the Uzbeks have a favorable opinion of the United States, of the countries that we polled in.
The most disturbing readings in the survey was the way the Turks have come to regard the United States. They're a NATO ally, our NATO allies have a definitely unfavorable view of us, 55 percent currently hold an unfavorable view compared to 30 percent pre-9/11. Anti-American opinion is very strong there, 42 percent of the Turks that we questioned said they have a very unfavorable view of the United States, and in Pakistan, our new ally in the war on terror, 69 percent, nearly seven in ten, said they don't like the United States, so they don't like Americans.
Now, obviously part of this has to do with how people in these Moslem countries feel about our policies in the Mideast. But a lot of it is also backlash against the war on terrorism. Large majorities in ten of the 11 countries in which we polled where there were sizable Moslem populations said they didn't like the war on terrorism, or disapproved of the war on terrorism. This was even the case in some countries that have a broadly favorable opinion of us. Indonesia, Senegal, Mali, the United States is well regarded, but the war on terrorism is not. Many people in Moslem countries think the United States is picking on Moslem countries in the war on terrorism.
The poll also showed a very worrisome and troublesome attitude in the large percentage of people in Moslem countries who feel that suicide bombing is justifiable in defense of Islam. In the 60 to 70 percent range in some countries in the Mideast, but as high as 30 and 40 percent in just about all of the countries with sizable Moslem populations, save Uzbekistan and Turkey. Moslem opinions about the United States in the Moslem countries are really quite clear. However, opinions about us are much more complicated and contradictory in the rest of the world.
People around the world embrace us, embrace things American, and at the same time decry the influence of the United States on their country. We found broad like and enjoyment of American cultural products, television, motion pictures, music in just about every country in the survey save the Moslem countries. We found 50 to 70 to 80 percent in all of these countries saying they admire American technology. But in just about every country in the world, people told us that the influence of the United ... the growing influence of the United States in their country is a bad thing. Not a good thing.
The most common policy criticisms of the U.S. are pretty straightforward. The U.S. acts unilaterally, they say, our policies contribute to the growing gap between rich countries and poor countries, the U.S. doesn't do the right amount to solve global problems. Attitudes toward the United States are clearly most critical ... negative in the Mideast conflict area, but ironically, criticisms of U.S. policies and our ideals, the way we do our business, the way we practice our democracy, are sharply high among our allies and old friends. In fact, criticisms of things like our style of democracy and our business practices are more widespread in Canada, France and Germany than they are in the developing nations of Africa and Asia, where we still remain a model of democracy, and a model of free market enterprise for many people.
For all the criticisms of the United States, again speaking to the contradictory nature of public opinion, there's still broad acceptance of America's role in the world. The war on terrorism continues to enjoy global support, outside the Moslem world, in just about every country, and in every country, majorities of the population say it's ... reject the notion of the emergence of another superpower. Even in Russia, 53 percent of ... a 53 percent majority believes the world is a safer place with a single superpower.
Now, we didn't get a chance to ask that question in China, because the Chinese wouldn't allow that question. In fact, one of the things about the survey is that in China, and Vietnam and Egypt, there were many questions that we could not ask because of official censorship or because it's just too risky for survey organizations to ask such questions. But none of our questions were in fact modified, we just had to live with, you don't ask question 26 in China. About two-third ... or about a third of our interview was censored in China, and about the same in Vietnam.
One of the really important parts of this ... findings of this survey is how strikingly at odds the views of Americans is toward how we're seen in the world with the reality of how we're seen in the world. A solid majority of Americans think we take into account the interests of other countries when we make our foreign policy. Eight in ten Americans believe it's a good thing that American customs and ideas are spreading around the world, and the only criticism that resonates in the United States that's also evident all around the world is that the United States policies contribute to the rich-poor gap.
The war with Iraq threatens to further separate the American public from the publics of its allies, from its traditional allies, in particular most worrisome are the views of Turks. When we doubled back in November, and interviewed Turkish respondents in Ankara and in Istanbul, 83 percent of them said they opposed the ... allowing the U.S. to use its bases to attack Iraq in a potential war. In fact, a majority of our Turkish respondents believe the U.S. wants to get rid of Saddam Hussein not because he's a danger to the stability of the region and to world peace, but because he represents another unfriendly nation that the U.S. wants to do away with.
The other element about Turkish public opinion is there's, unlike in the United States and even in Europe, there's no consensus in Turkey that getting rid of Saddam Hussein is a good thing for Turkey. In fact, many Turks, as many as 40 percent that getting rid of Saddam Hussein is not necessarily a good thing. The United States faces a real challenge in keeping the support ... or the Turkish government faces a real challenge of keeping the support of its people, should we become involved, or should they allow us to use bases and become involved in that extent in the war.
While the Europeans view Saddam as a threat, almost to the same extent as Americans do, they are suspicious of intentions ... of U.S. intentions in Iraq. Almost overwhelmingly they say the U.S. wants to ... mostly wants to use force against Iraq because it wants to control Iraqi oil, not because it wants to rid the region of a danger. This despite the fact that they recognize the danger. Just 22 percent of Americans, on the other hand, think the Bush administration is potentially taking us to war because we want to control Iraqi oil. There's a very big gap, not only between us and the Moslem nations, but between the United States and the western ... and its western allies on the question of Iraq. And I think I'll leave it right there.
JK: Okay, I think that the order of battle now is that I'm going to introduce everybody, and then I'll ask each of our panelists a question, and maybe a few general questions and then I'm going to open it up to you for conversation. And what I'd really like to do to try and tilt this forward. We've heard what the data are, the question is, what ... how should we read this? How concerned should we be, and what should we do about it? But first of all, introductions, which in this institution are a daunting and usually a redundant sort of thing to do. My favorite introduction that I've ever heard here was Les Gelb, introducing Yitzhak Rabin about ten years ago, and he said, Yitzhak Rabin was born Martin O'Neill in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His parents changed his name to Yitzhak Rabin so that he would have a future in Israeli politics. (Laughter)
I'm not going to ... (Laughter) I'm not going to do that. (Laughter) But I will ... I don't even need ... to my immediate left ... to my far left here, you know Andy Kohut, he's already been introduced. To my immediate left is Brent Scowcroft, former General in the Air Force, National Security Advisor during the first Bush administration. He's now the President of the Forum for International Policy and an occasional op-ed page troublemaker. (Scattered Laughter) To my immediate right, Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State during the second Clinton administration, and the principal of the Albright Group in Washington.
And to my far right, Timothy Garton Ash who is the Director of the European Studies Center at Saint Anthony's College, University of Oxford, and he is also, as many of you know, the great, great chronicler of the liberation of eastern Europe and also of the Balkan wars of the last ten years, a journalist whom I admire immensely. Let's start this ... let me start this with a question to Secretary Albright. Given the fact that our image in the world seems to be a bit worse than it was, what do we do about that? During your administration, we tended to ... we closed down the USIA. We closed United States reading rooms in countries around the world, which had been very popular. Do you think that was a mistake, and what should we be doing as we go forward to try and present a better image in the world?
Madeleine Albright [MA]: Well, first of all, let me say that I think that this survey does provide one of the most interesting facts in what I would call bad biofeedback, in that we think we're great and the other countries don't see us that way, and I think if you put this in personal terms, I think in many ways that is a very serious issue. And obviously a lot of it does have to do with the kind of message that we send out. You're kind of half correct in what you said, which is we did not ... we moved the USIA function into the State Department and created an Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy. Because we really believed that it was important to try to get a better connection between what the message was and what the diplomacy was, and the whole concept of public diplomacy, which I've always admired, I think it was very important to integrate it better. To some extent, some of the libraries were closed for different reasons, which were unfortunate.
Some of them to do with cost, some of them actually to do with our problem of too much exposure and terrorism. I think one of the real questions that I think we all should ask ourselves is that, the role of U.S. embassies abroad has really changed, because we used to have a lot of glass doors and big windows and we were situated in the middle of towns and we invited people to come in. Unfortunately, as a result of what began, in our case with the blowing of the embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, we had to start putting our embassies behind barricades, so that has something to do with it.
I do think that what is essential here is to hone the tool of public diplomacy, which means that we have to figure out how to get a worldwide message out when you, as well as anybody knows, part of the problem is the mixed audiences. So that ... and I think some of the things that's created this dichotomy is that when we ... when President Bush speaks to the domestic audience, to get everybody all ginned up, it sounds very macho to the other people who are hearing it, because there's no way to isolate a national message from an international message. And I think basically what we need to do is not to have advertising, but to have information that goes out, that tries to explain what American policy is about. But that is a new tool ... it's an old tool but it is a new way that we're trying to use it. And I do believe actually that bringing USIA, the USIA function within the State Department was a good idea. And it carries out also other parts of public diplomacy, which are cultural exchanges, student exchanges, and those visiting programs.
JK: I've just been reminded by the powers that be that this meeting is on the record. Darn it, I thought I was going to get an exclusive. (Scattered Laughter) Now, to General Scowcroft, I want to pick up where Secretary Albright left off, and I want to read you a quote from Theodore Roosevelt. "We are too big a people to be able to be careless in what we say." And I'm wondering about your reaction to some of the rhetoric that has come out of the administration in the last couple of years. Phrases like the axis of evil, the way that we left the Kyoto Treaty by saying Kyoto was done. The announcement that we simply wouldn't deal with Arafat any more. Do you feel ... how do you think the rest of the world reacts to this? Do you think it's appropriate? And how should the United States, the President of the United States present himself publicly to the world?
BS: Well, those are excellent questions, and I think they're part of what I take from this survey. I was not surprised by most of the survey, some of it I was. But I think what the survey does is reflect a world that is in a fairly sharp, I don't want to say transition, because I don't know where it's going, turmoil of change from the Cold War world. And I think before we prescribe, I think we need to diagnose. And let me mention four things. First of all, the end of the Cold War, 1990 or so, we really relaxed. For the first time in anybody's adult life, there were no real threats out there, and so we turned to what we usually do when there aren't any threats. That is, we ignored foreign policy as a people, and went about our business.
Frank Fukiyama, for example, wrote this book, "The End of History", the world is democratizing, democracies don't make war against each other, relax. And so we missed a lot of the currents that were building up. Now, what are these currents? The first one is, an unprecedented world in terms of power. Not certainly since the Roman Empire has there been any country so predominant in terms of raw power than the United States. We're uncertain as to how to handle it, and the world is uncertain as to what it means for them. And so we say, well, we're the only power now with worldwide interests. So we can't consult the way we used to, because everybody has their own parochial concerns. We're the only ones who have the global concerns, and therefore, we need to act, since we're altruistic, we have no aggressive designs. Once we've acted, the world will see that we're right.
The next issue is globalization. The fact of globalization, not a policy in its own and so forth. In 1945, the U.N. had 51 members. It now has 190 members. And many of the governments of these new states simply do not have the power and authority to provide for their people the kinds of things that we expect governments to do. Now for us, and for western Europe, and the industrial powers, globalization is an opportunity for integration, greater prosperity through trade and so on and so forth. But for many of the societies of the world, it's the onslaught of alien forces on their countries, on their cultures, on their family life, everything. It threatens them. It threatens the traditional way of life, and it panics them. And the symbol of globalization is the United States, with its blue jeans, whether it's Big Mac's, whether it's movies, globalization is the U.S. And I think that turns a lot of people against us.
And last I think is terrorism. And terrorism has had I think a much sharper impact in the United States than the rest of the world, and primarily because the rest ... people in most of the world feel vulnerable much of the time. We never feel vulnerable. It's been over a century since there's been any fighting in the United States. Pearl Harbor, yes, Pearl Harbor was two thousand miles out in the Pacific Ocean, it was away. The attack on 9/11 made us feel vulnerable, and we reacted in a way that was at least as much emotion as it was rationalization, and I think we did things that the other rest of the world didn't understand.
Now all of these things are going on together. Unfortunately, being the greatest power in the world, we have the most responsibility and I think we are still in the process, and have been since 1990, of feeling our way, realizing gradually who we are, what our responsibilities are, how to exercise those, is still a work in progress.
JK: Let me just follow up. What about the rhetoric?
BS: I think the rhetoric is designed for multiple audiences. As Madeleine says, and that part of ... that's part of the problem. Because you can't ... the President can't select his audience, and he says things and does things to appeal to a certain audience, and then scrambles to adjust to the wider audience. Take an event, for example, the steel tariffs. They were designed for a specific domestic audience. They created enormous problems in the wider world audience, so we've been scrambling, by making hundreds of exceptions to the steel tariffs to try to have our cake and eat it. We have a long way to go. You know, the British have managed the world for hundreds of years in one way or another. (Scattered Laughter)
BS: But until 1941, we were always able to hide behind the European powers, see what they were doing, make up our mind whether we wanted to get involved and how. We're out in front now, and it's a new position for us, and we're not really used to handling it, I don't think.
JK: Well, that's a neat segue to the question about Tim. (Scattered Laughter) What on earth is going on in Europe? I spent some time there last spring, and in six different countries, and talked to a lot of the leaders there, and a lot of the younger people, who are pretty angry at us, and it seemed to me that we were a convenient vehicle, to allow them to vent, to express anger and that they were far more concerned, when you got past those first anti-American sentiments about problems in Europe itself. You know, the problem of expanding the ... and the role of the European Union. The problem of immigration and crime. And so Tim, is that an accurate perception, and could you talk a little bit about the differences in perception between western Europe and eastern Europe?
Timothy Garton Ash [TGA]: Sure. I mean, I think most people spend most of their time thinking about their own problems. But I think that Europeans spend a great deal more time thinking about America than Americans spend thinking about Europe. And I think that a lot of Europeans now are actually spending a lot of time thinking about America. And the problem is not, it seems to me, as it's so often described here, anti-American. I mean, there are anti-Americans, you're never going to convince them. The problem is a deepening ambivalence about the United States, in a much wider part of European opinion, and this is what the survey shows. I mean, even the French, as the survey shows, love American music and movies, but hate American foreign policy. Even the French.
My family doctor in Oxford, spends his evenings watching "The Simpsons", "South Park", "Friends", "Frasier", "E.R." and "West Wing". (Scattered Laughter) All on prime time British television. But last time I saw him, his parting shot was, with real anger, that Bush is a real cowboy, isn't he? And that ambivalence seems to me the key feature of European opinion. That is to say, these are America's floating boaters(?). And I would say one in three Europeans is a kind of floating boater on the United States, and because, as General Scowcroft said, we no longer have the discipline of the Cold War, we no longer have a clear and common enemy in the Soviet Union, and because terrorism is not seen the same way here and in Europe, as a common enemy, it follows that those floating boaters can drift quite a long way away from the United States.
It seems to me that, if I look at the survey, there are two issues that struck me, two answers. One is that ... the thing that Andy Kohut mentioned about Europeans and others feeling that the United States exacerbates the gap between rich and poor. And it seems to me that's quite a deep view in Europe, and it's not just about foreign aid or attitudes to the developing world. These are feelings about America itself. People feel, they may be right, they may be wrong, but they feel that America represents a sort of capitalism red in tooth and claw. A market society, not just a market economy. A place where the rich go in stretch limos, but the poor die in the gutter. And I think that's quite a widespread feeling, particularly in Europe, and I think it's one of the biggest, as it were, presentational problems for the United States.
The other finding which is very striking is about unilateralism. I mean, what Europeans and others mind about American foreign policy at the moment is that they feel they're not taken into consideration. In the survey, more than half the British think, we're not being considered in decisions about Iraq. This, by the way, despite the fact that Tony Blair has clearly become a senior member of the State Department. (Laughter)
TGA: Well, I'm glad for you to say that, not me. (Laughter) Although I'm very struck here with the ease with which everyone talks about Cheney-Rumsfeld versus Powell-Blair. (Laughter) But the point about this attitude is that it is so much about having this feeling of actually being consulted, being involved, of there being a wider community of the west or the free world, so that I would almost say that you could do something right, but do it unilaterally, and many Europeans would be against it. You could do something perhaps wrong, but do it multilaterally and many Europeans would be happy with that. And that brings us to Iraq, and this is my last point, because on Iraq, Iraq is a perfect illustration of that. Of course there are differences about substance, but if you ask what is the key to European opinion over the next six months, and the likely war with Iraq, the answer was two syllables. U.N. If you have clear U.N. authority, Tony Blair will not have a problem with the Labor Party, the French will come on line, Europe will be with you. If you are seen not to have clear U.N. authority, they will not. It's as simple as that, I think.
JK: Another wonderful segue. I'd like to ask Andy a quick question, to go a little bit deeper into his data, and use that as a springboard to ask all of you a question. Tell us ... can you tell us a little bit more about Turkey? To my mind, that was one of the most disturbing aspects of this. Why ... do we know why they're so down on us? And I think that I would also like to ask each of you to jump in and talk about how you think, you know, the impending situation in Iraq, I'm putting this in the broadest possible terms, how you think the pending situation in Iraq is going to affect these sorts of attitudes in the world? So, Andy, first of all, Turkey.
AK: Turkey's interesting, because the Turks are not only down on us, they're down on themselves. Turkey's in a funk. They are a people who are least happy and contented with their lives, their region, let along the world. They are very dissatisfied with national conditions, they were dissatisfied with the leadership that was voted out at the ... since the survey was taken. And I would guess that part of the ... certainly part of the attitudes of the Turks for the United States reflects the war on terrorism and backlash against it. Some of it may be misguided hostility towards the United States for the problems ... their problems with the E.U., which, (Laughs), we're trying to deal with, and we're probably taking some blame there. If there's any nation that falls in the category of depressed and troubled, it's Turkey, and they're going to have a critical event should we have a war with Iraq, and it will really bring to fore all of the bubbling tensions there.
JK: How much do you think, Secretary Albright, is this about Turkish fears about Kurdish independence if Iraq is invaded and destabilized?
MA: Well, I think some of it, but I think it's more complicated than that. I found, and I'm sure Brent did too, that dealing with Turkey was one of the more complex issues, because it really is situated, both geographically and culturally on a fault line in terms of Europe and Asia, and it's ... as a secular Moslem state and a variety of issues and especially after the end of the Soviet Union, its potential influence in Central Asia, and I just found it, of the various countries I dealt with, the most difficult and the most fascinating at the same time, because it is also a NATO partner and very important to us, as it had been during the Cold War. I think that clearly the Kurdish issue is a part of it, because one of their whole problems is that their Kurdish population might in fact wish to, if there were the break up of Iraq, create this mythical state of Kurdistan, so I think that that is a part of it.
The other part I think has to do with the fact that this population is unclear about the secular Moslem aspect and how it fits in with the rest of the Moslem world, I think that is a part of it. And the part that Andy mentioned is the terrible treatment, and that's the only way to describe it, that the E.U. has given Turkey, to the most recent comment by Giscard D'Estaing(?), who I would think would know better, and part of the issue here as to whether the Turks belong in Europe, and in a way that they feel insulted. And it adds to the whole issues of immigration issues and how they are treated in Europe and I think if there is a specific policy issue that needs to happen now from this administration, is even stronger pressing in terms of having Turkey have some kind of access to the E.U.
But for me, as a political scientist, what I find the most difficult here is that we are asking the Turkish regime to do something for us, i.e., to have either overflights or whatever, which is in direct contradiction to what its people want. And the question is how many times you can go to the well on something like that. And what kind of long term problem do you buy for yourself when you ask other nations to salute? And so, this is a cauldron basically that we're looking at, and even more important, because ultimately many of us believe that a Turkish secular Moslem model may be the kind of thing that we'd like to see happen in the other Moslem countries. I do think that the affect of a war in Iraq will be felt as strongly in Turkey as anyplace, partly because of the Kurdish issue, and partly because of the whole trade issues and oil and various other parts. So I expect those numbers to stay very volatile.
JK: Tim, you had something you wanted to ...
TGA: Yes, I very much agree with what Madeleine Albright just said. But I have to say, it does feel to us a little bit rich, when Paul Wolfowitz comes to London, and tells us that we the European Union must take in Turkey so that Turkey will support the United States in going to war with Iraq. (Scattered Laughter) I think one does have to understand that this is the biggest decision now facing Europe. Not Russia, not the Balkans, not eastern Europe, Turkey. Because everything that Madeleine Albright said is clearly true. That is to say, it's an extraordinary historic chance to have an Islamist party that accepts a secular state, and to show that this can be rewarded by bringing them into the west, and it's actually up to the E.U. to do that.
On the other hand, I'm sorry, but most of Turkey, historically and geographically, is not in Europe. It's not, (Scattered Laughter), at least it's a much less European than most other parts of Europe, let me put it delicately. (Scattered Laughter) And so the other side of this coin is, that if we do take Turkey in rapidly, the European Union not only becomes somewhat less European, it also risks becoming somewhat less of a union. So it's a very big choice for us, and I don't think it can be made just on the basis of helping with the war with Iraq.
JK: Secretary Albright had something to say ... (Overlap)
MA: Just quickly on this, because I think that we, the Clinton administration was interested in trying to get the E.U. to accept Turkey long before anybody was talking about a war in Iraq. And it was being done in a way to explain, in the following things, Turkey is a member of NATO, and then in another thing that I've been involved in, immigration policy is a central question, issue in Europe, where the populations are getting older and older, and there are the Turkish working force that is a major force within Europe. So it is ... it becomes, frankly, an issue of racism, to some extent. And so I think this is an issue that has to be looked at in a very careful way, and it is ultimately hugely destabilizing and those numbers on Turkey, to me there's several really startling things in this survey. The Turkish numbers are a big headline, the suicide bombings are a big headline, but the Turkish issue is something that is hot and needs to be thought about very carefully.
JK: Yeah, it's (Inaudible).
BS: Just to add a couple of things. I would remind Timothy that the Ottoman Empire at one time for hundreds of years owned a huge chunk of Europe. (Laughter) That doesn't mean they're necessarily European.
TGA: It certainly doesn't. You know, the Turkish ... (Laughter) But the Turkish ambassador, if I may, to Brussels said recently that Turkey's been a part of Europe since the tenth century. (Scattered Laughter) Rather like saying the English have been a part of Ireland since Cromwell. (Laughter) / (Applause)
BS; Good point, good point. But I think there are other elements in Turkey, and part of it goes back to when we want something from the Turks, we put pressure on them. When we don't want anything, we tend to ignore them. They were ... they worked hard to help us in the Gulf War, and it wasn't easy for them. And they insisted that anything we did had to be NATO's doing, so that they could ... they did participate. And then, after the war was over, we all went home, forgetting that Turkey depended heavily on commerce with Iraq, especially the oil pipeline through, which is still closed. So there's a drain on the Turkish economy and has been ever since the Gulf War and I think they think they get no credit at all for that.
The other thing is the Turkish political structure, it is such that it encourages stagnation. Stagnation of parties. Ecevit was first Prime Minister in 1974(?) ...
BS: ... Demero(?) was his opponent, for 30 years they kept trading coalition governments, just trying to stay in power rather than to move Turkey forward, and I think, you know, we may be on the edge of a real change. The Turks don't think we have supported them adequately in their attempts to join the E.U. But it's sort ... I think they feel they're fair weather friends. When we want them, we really play up to them. When we don't, we tend to ignore them.
JK: Let me just ask you a last question and then we'll open it up to questions from the audience. And it's a pragmatic question. I think we have to assume probably that any sort of military action by us in Iraq, even if it's done with a semblance of a U.N. coalition, is going to exacerbate some of the negative attitudes towards the United States, certainly in the Arab world but also probably in Europe as well. What can we do, diplomatically, and I mean in terms of actual diplomacy, in addition to public diplomacy, what can we do to ameliorate the situation? What can we do to smooth down the rough edges, if anything? Is there anything that we can do to present this to the world in a better way, and is there any way we can go about doing it that will make it seem less intrusive?
BS: Well, I think ... if you're talking about the Turkish ... I mean the Iraq issue ... (Overlap) the Iraq issue specifically. Yes, I think a lot will depend on what the possible (Inaudible) turns out to be, and how it is interpreted. It wouldn't surprise me if Saddam Hussein, for example, tried to test us by doing some little annoying things that we would say, that's a material breach, then the French and the Russians especially would say, oh, no, it isn't, to try to split the Security Council. I think what we could do is try to preserve the unity which was achieved at the Security Council, which was remarkable unit, including China, which abstained in 1990. So I think if we will stick to the resolutions and try to get a Security Council interpretation of Iraqi actions in connection with the resolution, and try to keep the Security Council together, it will make a huge difference in the reaction to conflict.
MA: I would say that it is really important to do some detailed diplomacy and consultations along the way, in a way that the administration came to quite late. Also more consultations about what the next steps are. And the importance, as Brent said I think, of following out whatever this diplomatic string is. I foresee a very bumpy few weeks here, because we are already hearing differences within the administration as to whether the inspectors are useful or not. Whether whatever they have written is a lie or not, and I think it would help both public and private diplomacy if the administration disagrees with whatever lists come forward December eighth, and they say that something exists, that they actually tell us what it is. We ... this is a democracy, it is not unpatriotic for people to ask for this kind of transparency. In fact, I think it's our patriotic duty to have it, and ask for it.
So I think that would help our diplomacy around the world. I think it would help both in the public and the private, and remove some of what I think is in this survey, which is kind of a sense of distrust of why we are doing what we're doing. I think as Andy said, some of the people think we're doing it for oil. I don't happen to think we are doing it for oil. But I think it ... our motivation and our actions have to be more transparent.
JK: Tim, my sense is that in Europe there's a growing feeling that the use of force in itself is philosophically and morally wrong. How strong a strain is that, and is there ... are there any circumstances under which we will get the ... we would get the kind of support in Europe that we've gotten in the past?
TGA: Well, this is the Bob Kagan thing, isn't it? Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus. (Scattered Laughter) Actually I think there are quite a lot of Martian Europeans, notably ... (Scattered Laughter) ... the British and I think ... or Marstian and some fairly Venusian Americans too. But I think A), so much depends on the particular circumstances in which we do go to war, if we do go to war. What Saddam has done, what will the responses be? B), does it seem to be multilateral and with sanctioned international law? But C), and just as important, what other things is the United States seen to be doing at the same time? That is to say, if the United States at the same time is seen to be pushing the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and for example, encouraging reform in Iran, it seems to me a very ...important aspect of a larger policy toward the greater Middle East. Then I think if those three conditions are fulfilled, you could have considerable support, or at least acceptance of military action in Europe.
JK: That's an excellent point, I think. We'll open it to questions now. We'll go here first, and then you next, Marilyn.
Audience: Adrian Karatnykcy with Freedom House. The survey strikes me as making a rather obvious point, which is that the United States is not so much perceived as the world's policeman as the world's dentist, and as the world's dentist, it does a lot of unpleasant things, and I'd think none of particularly who have dental problems like the process, and I think in the countries where the tasks are harder, the public opinion of the United States is far more severe. But my question is really a kind of a historical or contextual question. I would say that if you had the same sort of a survey at the time that say, of the late Seventies in Europe, you would find a kind of a great fear of the collapse of democracy, a sort of a sense that democracy was embattled and revolutionary movements were on the rise, and that the democratic model was a failing idea.
The United States public opinion shifted in the early 1980s in the opposite direction, into a much more sort of assertive and optimistic cast and interpretation of foreign possibilities. We had the Cruise missile debates, where I think we also saw a deep, steep opposition in Europe, and it just seems to me that we are dealing with kind of the difficult work, or the difficult tasks at hand, and this is a, it seems to me, a normal, not an abnormal reaction. It's not symptomatic of a particular administration, I think we saw it probably in public opinion in the Vietnam era as well ... (Overlap)
JK: It was the Pershing missile, not the ...
MA: Could I just say that I think that to a great extent something that has happened is that superpowers are disliked. Not because they're dentists, but because they have all the goodies. And one of the things that happened, frankly, with the end of the Cold War and the end of the other superpower is we became the recipients of all the dislike. Before, we divided it between the two of us. So I think that is one part of it. I also do think, though, that there is more of an underlying trend here because of globalization, as Brent said, and an understanding I think more and more of what each other are about. And while I ... what I find interesting about the survey is that it isn't all doom and gloom, that there is a great reserve here of attraction to America, and the only thing that I would hope that the ... the people in power, as I call them, should do is listen to this, and not decide that there's no message here. And to understand that when other countries think that we don't take their national interests into mind at all, I think that's worrisome, because I believe that we should and on occasion do. So I think that is where the problem is. But I think naturally you hate the rich guy on the hill, you know?
JK: As the de-facto Republican panel member here, (Scattered Laughter), do you want to respond to Secretary Albright's point about the consultations and this growing sense that we don't take other people into account?
BS: I think the study has an interesting anomaly there, in the fact that most Americans think we do. And I think that shows the difference in approach to, if you will, the one superpower. The world is afraid we're going to go off without consulting them and do some things that will injure their ... them and their interests, and they're frustrated because they don't get our attention all the time. And we think, my golly, we call them on this, we call them on that, we call them on the other, and in the end, they're not going to step up to the plate and contribute resources like we have to. So I think this is ... this is partly a learning process. And one little anecdote, since it's off the record, I won't mention the name, but it was a former German ...
JK: ... on the record. (Scattered Laughter)
BS: On the record. A former German Chancellor, and we had a discussion ... (Laughter) no, it was, but it was several years ago, and we were talking about the economy, (Scattered Laughter), of the E.U., and the economy of the United States. And I was observing that around the late Eighties and early Nineties, American business suddenly found that it had gotten fat and soft, and it rationalized itself, it tightened its belt, it fired people, and now it was the most competitive economy in the world. And I said, unless you people go through that, you're not going to be able to compete. And he said, aha, we can never do that. We can never ...
BS: ... put people out of work that way. And I said, but now they're all working. We're better off for having done it. And he said, we can not do that. I think that says a lot about the different ... it's not Mars and Venus, but it's attitudes about the role of government, and how deeply the government should intrude in national life.
Audience: …a little bit and ask Secretary Albright. How much do you think (Inaudible) ..do you think that this rather dismal news will filter into the considerations in government, when they're considering whether to go to war in Iraq? Whether they will have a Gulf of Tonkin, god forbid, or something like that? How much is this going to filter up is really what I'm asking?
BS: Well, it will ... they still read in Washington. (Laughter) And I think it will. The reactions might be different, depending on your predilection to begin with. One will be, in certain sections of the government, absolutely, it's right on and we need to address these issues, and we need to take care of it. And the reaction from some others will be, see, we told you so. They're all against us, we just have to go out and do what's right.
JK: Andy, have you spoken with the administration about these results? Have you ...
AK: Yesterday, as part of the public diplomacy initiative, we spoke to Condy Rice and Karl Rove. With Pete Peterson, and a group of people from the Council.
JK: And even though this is on the record, do you want to share? (Scattered Laughter)
AK: Well, I think since it was a council activity in the spirit of talking about public diplomacy more generally, I'll pass, Joe. (Laughter)
JK: Okay. If any of you want to hold his feet to the fire, I'd be, you know ... (Laughter) Okay, let's go over to that side, back there. Yes, sir, you, with your ...
Audience: Donald Shriver, Union Theological Seminary. Decades ago, in the week in which the Voice of America broadcast its very first broadcast, there occurred somewhere in this country the lynching of an African-American. In that first broadcast, the VOA included that story, which makes me rather proud to be part of a country that is able on occasion not only to advertise its virtues, but to admit to its vices. What I want to know is, will the new public diplomacy program have that dimension among the other ways in which we advertise democracy rightly, inasmuch as credibility about this country might be increased if we admitted that all is not right inside our boundaries?
JK: Anybody ... we are including, by the way, from what I hear, the poetry and philosophy of Eminem in our, (Laughter), in our overseas broadcasts. And interviews on the FCC and et cetera. (Laughter)
MA: Well, I do think that ... when I was in office, we tried very hard to tell it like it is. And it's not easy often to have those kinds of broadcasts. I think there was a real question in terms of the way the public diplomacy is used, and part of it is you do try to get out the best side about yourself. I mean, that is the way that we operate. But I would agree with you, that I think it's important for people to understand what we are about, and that's why I am for transparency and for people understanding the breadth and difficulties of our society. What I find interesting in this survey, though Andy says that it's not brand new, 15 percent of the people in this country are hungry. It is nothing like the eighties, whatever it is in Angola, but it definitely is an issue here. So I think that helps our credibility.
BS: I'm a little leery about government news programs and so on. I think that you run the danger, first of all if the government's going to say it, it's going to emphasize the positive, to the extent it does, people discount it in other countries. To me, one of the most beneficent influences, almost anywhere you travel in the world, you turn the television on and there's CNN. Warts and all. And I think that is a tremendous influence. Now, does everybody in a local country get to see it? No, but if all ... if even the hotel workers do, it spreads.
JK: You know, I'm reminded of a story than an old Russian told me about the fact that the Soviets didn't jam the jazz programming on Voice of America. And he said, that was the stupidest thing they ever did. There was never a purer voice of freedom than that of Ella Fitzgerald. All the way in the back. You, yes. And identify yourself, please.
RN: I'm Rob Nelson, I'm a Senior Fellow in Science and Technology here at the Council. Is this study telling us that rather than there being ten thousand 12-year-olds that want to grow up to be suicide bombers, there are really a million? And that they'd like to do it here in Manhattan and Washington?
AK: Not at all. Not at all. The question was not about America, the question ... the suicide bombing applied to America or applied to Israel. The question was whether suicide bombing in defense of Islam was justifiable? And I did an analysis earlier in the week, and showed no correlation in these Moslem countries between attitudes toward justification for suicide bombing and attitudes toward the United States. Attitudes in these Moslem countries, on many of the issues that we've begun to think about and talk about are very complicated, and there's a lot that we really don't know about it. And what we hope to do is to take what's in this survey and mine it further and as I started out, as I said at the beginning, we have a tremendous amount of information that we get to release, to go into some of these issues, but that's absolutely wrong. That is ... (Overlap)
JK: Just to follow up on that, Andy, could you tell everybody what ... where it goes from here? What the next phase of this is going to be?
AK: After the war ... no. (Laughter) We have a great deal of information about people's attitudes toward the world getting smaller, attitudes about social issues that attempts to sketch the divides between our ... the people of the planet on issues such as homosexuality, the role of women, religion, we have an in depth questioning about the democratization process in the democratizing countries and questions about modernism and other things, I guess.
JK: Okay. Over here.
Audience: Robin Dukes. I would just like to ask if each one of you would candidly tell us whether you think we're going to war.
BS: Well, I'll start and I will say that it is significantly up to Saddam Hussein. And I have never figured out how he thinks. But if he is what I would call a rational thinker, you know, he has ambitions, and he's had ambitions for ... he's fought two wars on them and presumably they're still there, to dominate the Gulf, dominate oil, whatever they are. If he's dead, he can't accomplish any of it. If he opens his doors, lets the inspectors in, lets everything that's there be destroyed and so on, then we go away and say he's disarmed, he's still there, and he's still sitting on the second largest oil reserves in the world, and he can still pursue his objectives. If he thinks that way, then I'm fairly optimistic. If he thinks the way he partly did in 1990, we really don't have the stomach for it, even after all the threats we've made, or if he thinks he can divide the allies, and create turmoil and get out that way, then we're going to have a war. I think it's up to him.
JK: Secretary Albright?
MA: I actually think it's up to George Bush, and what concerns me is that I can't see exactly a path out of it, given some of the rhetoric and given some of the views of those who don't believe ... I mean, I don't ... I was asked today, I am not in the habit of believing Tariq Assiz, and I don't believe Saddam Hussein. But the way that it has been set up, it is very hard, uh, for them to be in a damned if you do, damned if you don't position, if people are looking for a material breach. I would hope there's a way to figure out how not to do it, because I think that the unintended consequences of this war is something that we have not even thought or talked about. But we can't count on Saddam Hussein to help us. There have been a number of times when I was at the U.N., where we were able to hold the sanctions resolutions together because Saddam Hussein would do something stupid, like move his troops south or north. We can't count on him, and so we have to figure out some other way. If we don't ... I mean, I think we're headed for it and it's going to take George Bush to decide that he is not going to give in to those people who are in his administration who came in with an agenda about this before anything ever got started on terrorism.
JK: I'd like to go back to something Tim ... (Applause) ... Tim said before. And it's this. We are at war. We're bombing Iraq many days now. And we're also in a war of sorts, although that may be a term of art(?), against terrorists. And I think that the crucial question here is not whether, but how and when and sequencing. He's sitting on some pretty terrible stuff. But do you just do a frontal assault on him, or do you do it, as Tim suggested, by trying to settle the Middle East, trying to re-establish relations with Iran, and pursuing immediately and more vigorously than we are the renewal or in fact the restructuring of the FBI and our other homeland defense agencies, and also our capacities in the rest of the world to pursue terrorists? And then maybe going after this arsenal? But I think that when I talk to people out in the country about what their concerns are, their concerns are ... and it doesn't show up so much in the polling, there is tremendous concern about a frontal assault against Iraq now, absent doing all these other diplomatic, military and homeland defense maneuvers and moves that we should do before we go ahead with this. You ... you had your ...
JK: Hi, Ben.
Audience: (Unmiked) ... how are you? Let me say the most striking feature of this poll was what it told us about what Americans think about themselves, and it strikes me (Inaudible) is not that others love us too little, but that Americans love themselves a good deal too well, (Scattered Laughter), and that creates a kind of arrogance and a kind of insularity from the world (Inaudible) lead us to think that whatever we do, by definition, is good, rather than trying to do good things (Inaudible) on the world, and leads to a kind of self delusion. I wonder whether the panelists could comment on what American leadership can do about this long standing tendency of Americans (Inaudible) innocent or the myth of virtue, and it's there in the rhetoric of Bush, who again and again talks not (Inaudible) but how good they are, and how virtuous we Americans are, and how that spills over into a foreign policy that anything we do, whether we're slaughtering children or bombing Iraq, by definition is good.
JK: And also let me add on to that an additional question, which is, is there anything that American leadership could do about the profound and appalling lack of interest that most Americans have in the rest of the world? Especially at this crucial moment?
MA: Well, it's terrible to say ... I mean, I actually do believe in the goodness of America and the goodness of the American people. I don't think that there are more generous people in the world than the United States. The problem that I think that we have is that in this administration, our power is being used not unilaterally, but uni-dimensionally. And therefore, some of the aspects of the possibility of the goodness of American power, whether it is in trying to rectify this rich-poor gap, or trying to deal with issues that may or ... we don't really know what causes terrorism, but may in fact provide the recruiting ground for those who will join al Qaeda, that that aspect of the American goodness is not used. I have always believed that the American people are the most generous people in the world, with the shortest attention span. (Scattered Laughter)
And therefore, what we need to do is to explain why foreign policy is not foreign, and why in fact the things that happen in the 189 other countries of the United Nations, how they affect us. And that is the, frankly, the responsibility of people ... of the Council of Foreign Relations in many ways, I think, of trying to explain this foreign policy. Because there is a certain amount of hubris and I think that is something that needs to be counteracted. But I've said more than once that I thought the U.S. was the indispensable nation. I saw it on a daily basis at the U.N., where things didn't happen if we didn't get them started, either in front or behind the scenes, but I never said alone. And I think that the combination of using our so-called soft power and using it in concert with others is where you get away from the hubris aspect of it.
BS: I would only add that this is a national trait. Unilateralism didn't start on January 21st, 2001. And it's ... we instinctively think that our motives are pure, so we think everybody else will realize it, and I think one of the most important things institutions like the Council can do is to tell the American people we are in fact a part of the world. We can't just pick and choose, like we've done for 200 years in a way, and our administrations reflect the ... what they think the people want. And I think it's a national problem. I don't think it's a Republican problem, a Democratic problem, it's something we have to work on. We are well motivated. We are not a hegemonic power. We'd like nothing more than just to come home and tend to our knitting. So we don't have the traditional national aims that other great powers have had, but we don't sell that well. We don't act it well.
TGA: Listening to Secretary Albright, I thought, what do I really think? And spontaneously I thought, yes, actually I think the United States is the freest and most big hearted country in the world. That's what I do actually think. And I love it. Which doesn't mean that one loves a great deal that the United States is doing in the world, and in particular that the Bush administration is doing in the world. And I think one of the problems, to come back to the question, is this. There is clearly no lack of critical voices in the United States, many of them in this room. What we here in Europe or elsewhere in the world, despite CNN and my son watches CNN every morning, is President Bush saying that the United States is the greatest country on earth, almost every day. And Noam Chomsky saying, the United States is the worst country on earth. And we don't hear a great deal of all those liberal internationalists, critical voices in between. Whether this is the job of an officially funded public diplomacy or of other forms of media, I don't know, but it does seem to me terribly important that the voices of those other Americans should be heard across the world.
AK: We have a short memory about history. I mean, we went through a period of self doubt and self ... feeling very badly about ourselves and questioning our motives, and we were in a funk, and in the post-Vietnam era, we didn't handle that very well, and Ronald Reagan tapped into American exceptionalism and swept to victory in it and really changed the body politic as a consequence. And your objective is a good one, but it's very, very difficult, (Laughs), to achieve, given the traditional values of the American public, and the fact that we do have an on-off switch. It's not ... anything more subtle than that.
JK: Let me take just one or two more questions? No? You want to ... end it? I'm going to take one more question. (Laughter)
Audience: …just to follow up on that….to what extent is the failure of our own institutions reflected in the data? For example, the failure of our media to be able to put across some of these alternative viewpoints, or a lack of interest in doing so, of some of our own democratic institutional failures, lack of voting, lack of, you know, our schools. I mean, to the extent that our own society is projecting itself perhaps more correctly than we think, and that that's reflected in the data?
AK: I don't know. I guess we could get into a shoot the messenger issue here, but there's an awful lot of media these days, if you want ... if people are interested and want to find it. The interest of the American public and the values of the American public are really what's at issue, because