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Today's Geopolitical Flashpoints with Ian Bremmer, Niall Ferguson & Dana Perino

Jun 08, 2021
and welcome to the engaged show in the bush center presented by Highland Capital Management and thank you all for being here for what promises to be a thought-provoking and possibly entertaining discussion of

today

's

geopolitical

hotspots. We are delighted to have two of the leading

geopolitical

experts Ian Bremmer and Neil Ferguson join us tonight and I want to thank Dana Perino for coming back to the Bush Center to moderate tonight first we have some exciting news to share tonight about our fall series that we have scheduled for September 18th to talk to US Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch to be here that day as part of our engaged series and then on November 4th we will have the fall series Laura Bush reading with Mrs.
today s geopolitical flashpoints with ian bremmer niall ferguson dana perino
Bush and author Alexander McCall Smith so those notices and emails will be going out next week or selling out pretty quickly so please keep an eye on your emails for that and members get the first few dibs, so if you're here as a guest: you're not a member. You may want to consider the books for tonight from tonight's three participants. We have signed copies of books that will be on sale after the program. This engaged series is made possible by the support of Highland Capital Management who have so generously endowed this program we are grateful for their support and their friendship and it goes back to the founding of the Bush Center their commitment to the engagement agenda allows us to bring programs that are not you can't see them anywhere else and tonight is no exception and now I'm pleased to introduce Highland Capital Management's CIO and COO Joe Solon who will be hosting tonight's show thank you thank you , Ken.
today s geopolitical flashpoints with ian bremmer niall ferguson dana perino

More Interesting Facts About,

today s geopolitical flashpoints with ian bremmer niall ferguson dana perino...

We are excited and welcome you all to the second annual Highland Capital Conference, part of our Engaged Series. Here at the Bush Center. We are proud to serve as sponsors of the series. When we launched this association several years ago, we came up with the idea. of the Highland Capital conference as a way to dedicate a program each year to issues that impact the global economy, it's safe to say that our theme tonight, geopolitical hotspots, ticks that box, one of the many reasons why those of us who are so lucky to have the Bush Center here. in Dallas is that it draws speakers from around the world to our city, which we love in a way few other institutions can, that convening power is on display in our lineup tonight and we not only have three incredible speakers, but also Jeolla Flashpoints geopolitical topic gives us more to cover by the minute, so hopefully in the next hour we can make a dent.
today s geopolitical flashpoints with ian bremmer niall ferguson dana perino
We're pleased to have Neil Ferguson with us tonight, who is one of the world's hottest. he owned by historians and he is the author of The Rise of Money and the Square on the Tower and many other New York Times bestsellers. other panelists tonight ian is the president and founder of the Eurasia Group and is a leading expert on global political risk his most recent New York Times bestseller is us vs. them the failure of globalism our moderator is

dana

perino

dana

is the former Secretary Press Officer for the White House under President Bush, she is also the author of New York Times bestsellers and is the host of the daily briefing and co-host of the five on Fox News.
today s geopolitical flashpoints with ian bremmer niall ferguson dana perino
Thank you very much to our speakers for being here tonight and thank you all. in the audience for their support of the Bush Center and the important work they do both locally here in Dallas and around the world, so please join me in welcoming Neil and Dana to the Bush between stages Thank you Joe we appreciate that and of course Highland, thank you very much because this is definitely the place to be if you are in Dallas. Thank you very much for coming. It was a great introduction to one thing he didn't mention. Neil has a clear advantage tonight because he has a Scottish accent, so of course he'll automatically sound smarter and more informed.
I want to take a moment for all of us. Depends on what Scottish accent. Who is your best? just a moment to mark a day and have an observance this would have been George HW Bush's 95th birthday and of course obviously this is the first year we've celebrated his birthday but he's not with us and it was quite an outpouring of love from around the world to him and Barbara Bush in 2018 and what a way to say goodbye to the world thanking them for their leadership and contributions to the world so and we in you probably saw but if you didn't I'll mention that the United States Postal Service America

today

revealed a new postage stamp with a beautiful photo of George HW Bush so you'll be sure to get some of those forever George HW Bush Talking About George HW Bush I just think maybe we just started with China of course 41 was ambassador to china before he did many other wonderful things in his life and there is no shortage of topics we can spend the full 50 minutes on china we won't we are going to try and hit the global hotspots It's these are two of the most despite what I said before they're both extremely knowledgeable and they write amazingly they argue very well and they've actually been in the rooms with these world leaders even recently so if we could start with China and I think maybe only if you both could give a broad view of how you think things are going and then we can talk about trade and technology or even the events in Hong Kong and what's going on, but a broader view of where we're with china today starts with you neal, well let's think about the presidency of george hw bush.
I look back on that time and particularly on the year 1989 and I remember how focused I was at that time on the events in Berlin. I was living in Berlin working on my doctoral thesis in an extraordinary Revolution that was taking place full of risks during the summer of 1989, we were wondering if there would be a repression in one of the cities of Eastern Europe, if Gorbachev would turn out to be just another of the leaders Soviets who would ultimately crack down on the reform. and when that didn't happen when the revolutions raged in that extraordinary spring of the nation's number one, I don't think I was thinking enough about what was happening in China and the suppression of the democracy movement in Tiananmen Square that my The focus was on Europe and the excitement of that revolutionary time, so I think I was in common with a lot of people who underestimated the enormous importance of the fact that the rty Communist Party in China was not going to allow democracy to happen and suppressed it in the way that we had seen happen in earlier periods and the second thing to acknowledge is how extraordinarily skillful Park George HW Bush played at that time many things could have gone wrong and then last year I was re-reading Jon Meacham's excellent biography and reflecting on the extraordinary judgments he made at the time, particularly on the question of German unification for which the leaders It's Europeans weren't ready but he urged them to accept it when one steps forward to the present it's amazing how different the world is on both counts now we focus on China and realize that what happened there has been the great historical event of our lifetime, that the rise of China ultimately turns out to be more important than the collapse of the Soviet Union and I think we also see how the role of the American presidency has changed in 1989, the president was the ability Fruitful arbiter Diplomat Alliance's Broker leader of a peaceful transition and today the president is the great disruptor who, more than any other leader in recent times, decided to take on China and essentially end its seemingly inexorable rise, even so, moreover. to that transition from a president who was the guardian of the Alliance instead of the great disruptor you also had a president who was the leader of the free world and there is no leader of the free world today only today we have seen a million people who demonstrated in hong kong in opposition to this extradition bill which would deeply undermine the independent rule of law and sovereignty in hong kong and president trump in the pack with the Oval Office said well i'm sure hong kong and beijing will figure it out, maybe, I mean analytically, that's possibly the case, but it's not about the Hong Kong system, it's not about the people on the ground who are risking a lot to really prove It's not about the rule of law, a judiciary independent, things that Americans have historically stood out for and that's very different.
I completely agree with you, Neal, that the rise of China is more important than the collapse of the Soviet Union in the long run, and that's because the Chinese turn out to be very different than we assumed 20 and 30 years ago, because As they get wealthier, they don't align with our norms and values, even when we're not sure those norms and values ​​are what we fully want. instead they are building alternative system and chinese felt way as its not all as advertised because quality of infrastructure is not to grade the main numbers are not the real numbers just like the saudis when they say they're going to buy a bunch of guns they turn out not to be the real numbers but they are the only game in town for many countries and the US is not offering carrots and incentives right now for our allies to stick with we instead are offering sticks and to me perhaps the most interesting thing is that those sticks actually work.
I mean, we withdrew from the Iran deal by ourselves. They all criticize us. stick with us to push the Iranians harder because our stick really works and we're about to see that I think with China on Huawei there are a lot of countries that want to buy a cheaper system from the Chinese including a lot of Europeans. but if the Americans decide that we're going to continue with this Commerce Department ruling and if we don't move toward a deal in the next few weeks in Japan with the Chinese and right now, to my mind, it doesn't look like that, then we're going to destroy Huawei and these countries will side with us.
I think we are literally right now. I think we are seeing the tipping point in the relationship between the United States and China. The repressed speech you've been involved in. that comes In the coming weeks, the national security document that talks about China's strategic competitor and China's response. Xi Jinping's response to all of that is a fundamentally different ordering from the way we think about the global system, and it's interesting to us. We can see a play. outside you know that if you don't follow them or read their work I encourage you to do it and my assistant had a small task she had to put together the last three months of columns for the two of us and I spent the plane riding reading them you said you were asleep in the plane i slept two hours it's a three hour flight but now you'll know i actually read it because you wrote about a second cold war do you think we're in one with china are we well equipped to win one if we really are in it and is this on point of inflection the next four weeks and this upcoming meeting between President Trump and the leaders of the g20 in Asia will we know at that point where we are? led the cold The first cold war ended in 1989 and the second cold war will start in 2019.
Now it's much more than just a trade war, as Ian rightly said, it's a technology war, but I think it goes beyond just a technology war. I think in many ways we are repeating the pattern. that started the first cold war escalates rapidly extends to a lot of different geographies you didn't know were at stake from Hong Kong to Venezuela I think the most striking feature of this process is how quickly sentiment has changed in this country when President Trump began threatening to impose tariffs on China in his 2015-16 election campaign. He was considered a complete maverick.
The consensus in Washington and indeed stretching across the country to Silicon Valley was that Chai America was here to stay and I used that word American chai in 2007 to show how intertwined the Chinese and American economies had started out, so that Trump seemed completely outlier when he began to go after China with astonishing speed in the United States. It seems to me that the states, both at the elite level and at the popular level, have joined a strategy against China, it is a consensus that is bipartisan and how many other things are bipartisan in Washington, today I can only think of one that is regulation big tech against China has become a consensus, the policy intellectuals, whether they are in national security or economic policy, it seemed to me that they agreed, so you have to give President Trump something of credit, it has achieved a remarkable change in our attitudes, it has been expressed in a more articulate way in the national security strategy document that came out in December 2017 a charm in the achievement of masters now my colleague in the InstitutionHoover and also in President Vice President Pence's speech in October at the Hudson Institute which made it very clear that it is about much more than trade now it is about resisting a Chinese strategic ambition to drive the United States out of what we now call the region.
Indo-Pacific so as a historian I feel like I've seen some of this film before, and Penn's speech could well be cited by future historians as one of the key milestones in the origins of the Cold War, and Dana, you asked, is this a wall? we want to be and a war we can win. I don't think it can be the same as cold or one. I think we have to recognize that if we do embark on containing China, it will be very different from containing the Soviet Union, especially since we're still pretty intertwined with China economically, think of the differences that you know there weren't at the end of the 1940s 400,000 Soviet students at American universities there weren't a ton of American tech companies relying heavily on exports to the Soviet Union the two countries were essentially completely separate from each other with small numbers of citizens in the other side and most of them were recognizable spies so I don't think this could be the same as present. a bit harder to say I don't think it can be the same as the cold war and this is a crucial point China is economically at least a much more formidable opponent despite many predictions to the contrary the Soviet Union will never it came close economically to the United States if it gets to 40 percent of the US GDP is pretty much the best it's ever been and economically it was clearly failing in the 1970s and came close to completely collapsing in the 1970s from 1980, so this is different from China's growth slowing, but still growing at about six percent a year. but that is a formidable challenge and I think you have written or spoken recently about the leverage that is to weaponize the economy rather than any intervention or military intervention when it comes to wanting to get away with it, so President Trump is using that in different places with Mexico that could work because its influence is stronger, but with China it is going to work with Mexico it works because Mexicans get everything from us, remittances, trade, tourism, drug exports, TRUE?
They would completely depend on us and me. President López Obrador, with an approval rating of almost eighty percent at this point, still recognized that he couldn't play the Nationals card, he had to say yes to whatever. Trump wanted to sign that paper we don't know what happens with Iran again we have a lot of influence over the Iranians because ultimately if we cut off the companies and say they can't use our banking system we have the influence on North Korea we don't have that influence, so Trump can meet Kim Jong-un, but ultimately the Chinese and South Koreans matter so much more than the Americans, so they can't push the same strategy.
China is interesting because we have a lot of influence but they also have some influence and I mean Neal just talked about how Americans have changed in China and Trump kind of took the lead there but now he's bipartisan let's look at the other side to which the Chinese have changed. Xi Jinping is a very different kind of leader Much stronger entrenched leadership Stronger authoritarian Stronger state capitalist The first thing he gets right is this big anti-corruption campaign last March Gets rid of term limits Can be president for life China as Nei Yo and I were transitioning from the old Cold War to this one.
The Chinese always said that we are small, that we are poor, that we cannot take responsibility, not Xi Jinping did in China 2025, we are going to lead the world in artificial intelligence by 2030 he played directly into this and now we have a Belton Road conflict now we have a conflict, so I mean, I think it's not just that the Americans have decided that the Chinese are a problem, but the Chinese have also decided that they're ready to go out there and create an alternative that the Americans can having a president who pushes hard and punishes but the Americans also have a president who is alienating many other leaders around the world and the Chinese see it as an opportunity maybe they stretch themselves too far we don't know who is going to win, we know it's a very different kind of cold war because they know the fact is that not only do the Chinese have the financial wherewithal and the strategy to spend, they not that they are also today a technological superpower five. years ago they were not Joe Biden is the only person who has decided to say that China is not a competitor I saw it I saw it but he said it but if you wait half an hour we could have another change what and Trump does too but you I know it was interesting as soon as he said I look back and said when was the last trip Biden had taken to China.
I think it's 2013 and China wasn't China, literally, it wasn't a tech superpower in 2013, in five years they literally became one. and I think it's the rapidity of change and if you look at what it means when China is the largest and global economy, suddenly it becomes a cold war that is not only very different but can be very unbalanced. I agree with something you just said. You know I don't want to suggest for one minute that Trump also started the cold war because I don't think he did. This is how Europeans see it. That's how many American allies see it. but I think that we should really see the reaction against China as a US reaction to an increasingly aggressive and threatening China and I think it could be argued that even before the time of Xi Jinping, the Chinese had systematically broken the rules of the World Trade Organization and they were systematically involved in stealing intellectual property not just from the United States and so the United States had long since said enough and one of the other things about the subsequent presidency Obama's point was that, in effect, they gave up if you look at the last national security strategy document which was Susan Rice's, it essentially admits that the United States cannot stop the rise of China, that the turn to Asia had It's been a failure and I think in many ways if you see the failure of the Obama administration on that particular issue, then Trump reacted to it.
It doesn't make much more sense. Ordinary Americans responded very well to Trump's call to take on China not only because of the outsourcing of American Manufacturing Jobs, which was pretty much where he started, but also because I think Americans felt that we had allowed this went too far and that Delta posed a threat, so farmers who are worried about not having a market, but actually standing up. strongly behind the president saying we understand this has to be done can we make a slight transition just last week i think president xi went to russia to meet president putin and what do you think of that alliance or fake how real is it what on Putin's influence or lack of influence I think it's not an alliance, it's a relationship of mutual convenience The Chinese are rising albeit more slowly The Russians are in severe decline The Chinese Putin seems to think he's really doing it oh no he no 't oh I don't mean no I don't mean everyone says he's a great chess player he's not he's a great poker player with a short-stacked port and knows how to psychologically take advantage of weakness and opportunities, but I mean, if you think about how much Russia has lost, I mean Ukraine was mostly aligned with Russia, they're not anymore, the Russians ended up taking a small part.
Central Asia is economically increasingly seized by the Chinese Putin for the first time in his presidency had to backtrack on a policy that was his, not his prime ministers, not his as his, which was the pension reform because It was very unpopular demonstrations throughout the country and, for me, the most interesting thing about Russia. right now it's how much they blame the United States and they did have a hand in our election we know and they did support Trump or should I say they really opposed Hillary mm-hmm but if you think about where they are today I thought it was really interesting that the Last week, for the first time in two and a half years, Trump's state media, I mean Putin's state media, Russian state media began to go after Trump individually, they never had.
And that before that is not a coincidence, it is because the policy of the Trump administration towards Russia has been extremely antagonistic in terms of sanctions for giving weapons to Ukraine, they just announced today a thousand troops to Poland that they are going to send to expand the defense, the politics of Venezuela, the politics of Iran, well. there's no question they supported Trump in 2016 because they had a bunch of people like Manna Fort Bannon Papadopoulos Carter Paige Flynn we're all fully in the bag for Russia all those people have been fired or are in jail right?
I mean, I'll say something very controversial, I have no idea if you agree, zero, which is, I completely believe that the Russians will interfere in the 2020 election, they're already trying, it's not clear to me if they'll support Trump, no, are they? Andrew yang I mean, one of the 24. I mean, if it was Trump vs. Bernie, for example, I think they'd probably go for Bernie. I think if it's someone like Biden, I think they're more likely to do it. just try to deal with an unbelievable election mess with it, promote fake news but don't put your thumb on the trump scale, I think it's all about these Russian disinformation campaigns and it's not just happening in the US, it's doing it everywhere, note that in 2018 they tried to interfere and were severely punished because we attacked their so-called internet research agency and shut it down.
We didn't get a lot of coverage, but this was a very successful preemptive act, a cyber war against the Russians and it successfully prevented any significant interference on them in the midterm elections. I think Ian is right to suggest that one cannot predict what they will do. Their goal is as much as possible to delegitimize democracies wherever they can and so they will certainly try and try with new techniques to interfere in 2020, but it may well be that we are better able to thwart them than the Obama administration in 2016 because we actually have a more aggressive cyber warfare strategy significantly, but I want to go back to the original points about the relationship between Russia and China because if you think about what happened in the Cold War, one of the most strategic moves Important ones were Henry Kissinger's opening of communications with the People's Republic in 1971 and Richard Nixon's historic visit in 1972 exploiting the fundamental divide that had opened up between the Russians and the Chinese in the late 1960s, usually China and Russia. and not the best of friends historically, they have often been in conflict and there is territory that Imperial Russia disputed against Imperial Russia.
China in the 19th century which theoretically is still at stake so there is something very old about the current close relationship between Putin and Xi Jinping because it doesn't feel historically normal that they are so close I mean she and Putin are closer together often. almost any of the world leaders I can think of and it's not an equal partnership for the reason Ian gave because R Russia is in a much weaker economic position and Russia has to cede ground that it historically considered its own. policy that was initially about spreading Chinese influence through Russia's historic backyard, has now become a global operation, but that was the original idea and the Russians have to put up with this, they are playing second fiddle because they just don't they have another option, they too. too engaged in Ukraine in the Middle East to have any choice but to play second fiddle to Xi Jinping if we were thinking strategically, which I'm not sure we really are, we'd be trying to figure out how we can exploit the differences that need to exist. between the two as long as they're closer together than they normally are historically I think it's a problem I think Kissinger made a very interesting point recently I spent a long time listening to Henry Kissinger because I'm writing his biography and one of his most perceptive comments was that The way things are going, Europe could end up being an appendage to a Chinese- and US-dominated Eurasia, but it could become the island in the high seas. balancing power trying to prevent Chinese domination from being completed now, I think that's a really important idea, it's a big difference between now and the Cold War, because in the Cold War, the United States was fully committed to Europe and Europe , Western Europe was fully committed to the transatlantic alliance andone of the things that really strikes me right now is how weak that transatlantic alliance has started to feel one of the biggest changes we've seen in recent years is how much the chinese have been picking the eastern europeans as a block, they have the framework of sixteen plus one that does not comply with the EU as a whole, they want to really involve Eastern Europe because they understand that the commitment to liberal democracy is less and then the money and so the Chinese believe that She and Putin are seeing each other a lot Liu she and others are spending an enormous amount of time with the Eastern Europeans and they tell you that they are closer to the Chinese than to most Western countries the Greeks feel more and more like that Portuguese feel that way Italians feel that way Germans don't and I think there are real opportunities for Americans to strategize with that, your made up word, you know, you know , he knows Saturday Night Live made it up yeah yeah but we thought it was real we thought it was real yeah we had a whole meeting in the White House every week Costrategia so actually what if you were invited you were Big problem look how out of the loop I am these days I don't even know who invented the words let's see there's a downside to the accident but President Bush thought wrong. ly should be a word, yes, it's pretty good, yes, but we're saying that he was deciding on a strategy, that is, the fact is that there is a strategy, Americans are not, as Neel suggested, strategizing to figure out how to play Really. and exploit these divides yes because there is too much stick and not enough carrot there is a carrot we could do here and that is explicitly on the technology side if the Europeans and others were forced to choose between the Americans and the Chinese they would proactively choose us not we do. we have to stick to that, but we have to coordinate policy, it's not about TPP, it's not about trade, it's actually about standards, it's about AI, it's about data, it's about cloud and Americans , we have all the companies, but the Europeans have the regulatory experience. they're the ones who understand privacy, they understand copyright, they understand GDPR, and as Neil said before, one of the few things you can find bipartisan agreement on right now is not just China, its regulation in technology. , except we're not good at why not put those two points of bipartisan agreement together nicely and engage with the Europeans on one and the Japanese on another?
That would actually be a jiu-jitsu move that would work well for Americans. By the way, strategic, I think the Japanese understand it very well and, in fact, it's what you hear when you go to Tokyo. Can't we come up with some kind of standard on online privacy that actually makes the Chinese unable to comply? but in Europe one does not listen to that discussion what strikes me a lot is the widespread anti-Americanism that has manifested itself in Europe recently in recent polls the Germans said they see the United States as a greater threat to Germany better than Russia never mind China , I think one of the other things about modern history is the phenomenon that no good deed goes unpunished, Germans of all people should be extremely grateful to the United States because the United States not only helped rebuild Germany after the catastrophe that culminated in 1945, but it has always provided security for Germany from the Soviet Union during the Cold War and it was the United States that persuaded Britain and France to accept t the reunification of Germany under George HW Bush in 1990 and what thanks does the US get, the Germans will probably leave the world in their antipathy towards President Trump if you look at the polls, they are the most stellar ones for the current administration and when you remind them that they are relying on this for their security in the United States because their defense spending has reached such low levels that it is almost as low as required because of the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, their attitude is oh no we don't see a threat from Russia let alone from China you Americans from the threat now I find it puzzling and worrying because if you think about it that is the most important country in Europe, that is the type of central state of the European Union.
It's a critical partner in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and they're basically not on board, so if it's Cold War II and the United States goes like it did in the Cold War one to its allies and tells them they're with us, I think the answers may not be yes, certainly from the Europeans, they will be very equivocal, so could you talk about the Europeans just having an election as if it were a bigger midterm election than the European parliamentary elections? Is different. It's different, yes, but the establishment didn't do it as well, no, and this is something you've seen in Europe and the United States.
I think you were recently in Brazil. There is a movement afoot. There is a change. can get out is about that yes almost every major democracy today is experiencing this backlash this anti-establishment sentiment started in a big way with brexit and Neil then here in the US with our 2016 election but what you see everywhere now the European parliamentary elections on the one hand showed gains for anti-establishment parties in most countries, yes, but if you go back in history, there has never been an expression. on the nationalists of the world, join the right because you don't know what flag you would fly and that is one of the reasons why I am not so worried about the European parliamentary elections.
I mean that the polls of the Polish government and its populists are profoundly strong. antagonistic towards the russians, hence the desire to have more room for us troops there, the hungarians are deeply aligned with the russians, the germans, the alternatives for germany are actually quite pro globalization and free trade, you look at the italians and you look at the French in and you look at the Brexit party in the UK, they're populist, they're actually much more protectionist, so really, I mean, even the Italians and the Austrians have these populist parties, they actually become They know each other because they have territory. disputes across the border so they actually have despite the fact that they are a lot messier and there are a lot more Eurosceptics that are represented I can't agree on anything which means Europe from the top down is still getting feels fair and pretty stable my concern about europe is more what kind of response you get if there is a crisis if there is an italian debt crisis going ahead with disagreements over their debt and their budget and the rest i mean you just won't have a strong germany with a strong France together with strong European institutions saying we need to make sure we get behind all of this and I think the same is true globally. the resilience in the United States if we had a big, let's say Russian, attack on critical infrastructure that had a big impact on our economy, kind of like what happened to Maris Confed ex after the Russians had the cyberattack on Ukraine ago a couple of years it will cost billions and billions of dollars.
I don't think you'll get the response that you did after 9/11 under W. I think you would have a much more divided response, much less resilient and what about the response from or your allies would it be weaker what about the response from the the russians and the chinese who after the financial crisis of 2008 were quite helpful in the g20 the russians who after 9/11 actually facilitated us bases in central asia for supply chain and logistics that won't be happening that's when I look at what is happening in Europe and, more broadly, a populism. I'm less concerned that we're about to implode.
An Arab spring moment in a major developed economy. I haven't experienced any major crises since this started and when we do have one, whatever it is, I don't think we're going to like the way we respond to it, but and of course, you know you know there's a little more first hand given your ties to the old country you're worried you're worried about britain yes i think briggs seemed to get the populist ball rolling. Union I have been seen as a euro skeptic for many years had been very opposed to the creation of a single currency, but my feeling was that Brexit would be a much more difficult and costly divorce than anyone on the Brexit side wanted to admit that he was right because what happened in the last three years there has been an absolutely egregious failure of political leadership that has come close to destroying the Conservative Party and if you think Boris Johnson can save the day then I have a bridge to sell you but because Boris He has a record of botched jobs, and yet being promoted doesn't inspire any confidence in me at all.
In any case, you will be in exactly the same situation that Theresa May was in during her term as Prime Minister. There is no alternative available to Brexit. The Europeans are not going to renegotiate. Britain is going to pretend it is ready to do a no-deal clash No Deal boasts at the end of October. I think it's an unlikely threat because I don't lose weight. k Britain is capable of withstanding the upheaval that would entail, so the only real question on my mind is how long this weak and unpopular Conservative government can survive before there has to be another referendum or general election and when and when those elections do occur, I am very very scared because the Conservatives have screwed this up so badly and because they are now so divided that a huge number of their voters vote for Nigel Ferrari's Brexit party in a general election, they will lose around 200 seats and at that point Jeremy Corbyn is the first Minister.
Britain's minister, no matter how inept and unpleasant, is the leader of the Labor Party and in those situations where the Conservative vote is essentially divided, the Labor Party will form the next government probably in coalition with the Scottish Nationalists and the Democrats liberals and me I hate to think what that government will do, it certainly will not be a loyal partner in the transatlantic alliance with the United States. because Jeremy Corbyn is a deeply anti-American figure who has long been more or less a fellow Coldwater traveler who was on the wrong side of virtually every political issue in my life, so I am filled with despair and fear that When all is said and done, Brexit will have been the epic fail of the populist era.
It's a sad thing to have to say after the referendum result. I said it at the end of 2016. I get it. I understand why the English and Welsh voters accepted it. From the way Scottish voters didn't understand why they did it, I can see why they were disillusioned with Europe in some ways. you could understand why people felt the way they did in 2016 but what has failed them what fails ordinary british eurosceptics is the bumbling political elite essentially entrusted with the task of executing brexit and it is a it's a mess sorry sorry do you support a second referendum? which will alienate the people who voted to leave for the rest of their lives, so I am against another referendum.
I don't think it really changes anything in a good way, but I'm afraid there's almost no conceivable way the conservative can survive. a in a general election although Boris is clearly a hotter and more attractive figure than Teresa and that must be good for some votes I just don't see how you recover from the mess they've made we have about 10 minutes left. and I said we do global hot spots and I also want to ask one final question, but it occurs to me that for maybe the first time since I did one of these things, the Middle East wasn't at the top of my list as a priority and I I wonder if you could maybe talk about that a little bit, I mean first of all, under the Obama administration there was an attempt to pivot towards Asia, it was unsuccessful, but the strategy was right, which is that the United States should focus a lot more in the future. of the global economy global security global technology is going to be the middle east has none of those things and now we are the largest energy producer in the world everyone here knows freedom molecules yes molecules sure absolutely renaming our exports of energy to be molecules of freedom, yeah, I think that's brilliant, well, they move around a lot, so I mean, you know, I think that's what I mean, should we pay as much attention to the Middle East?
No, it's kind of ironic in the sense that Trump's best personal relationships in the world are with MBS and BZ nan Yahoo, so they're in all three of them are the Middle East, you know, sort of leaders who are, in many ways traditional allies of the United States but h how much are they really doing for us how much do we really care trump personally wants out of a lot of these conflicts is happy to engage in a quick bomb in syria when they use chemical weapons but not reallyhe wants it he is pushing back against McMaster Mattis others trying to keep a lot of troops in the region I mean god bless Garrity he wants to make a deal with the Israelis and the Gulf facility and remove the Palestinians and the reason he even it's plausible to talk is because if you're not Palestinian and you're in the Middle East you don't prioritize Israel anymore Palestine you know your point of view is we don't have to deal with Syria and Yemen and al Qaeda and Isis and all these other problems in Israel Palestine who cares you know we can Oman the Sultan of Oman met Yahoo directly I mean five years ago it's not even conceivable so I mean I think the Middle East is more of a mess it's being more affected by extreme weather conditions.
I mean in the long run he can't imagine that just getting power off the grounds is really going to solve all the mvs problems in saudi arabia means they won't work because he's constrained he won't be able to transform the economy to make human capital really work the way he I wanted so what are the economies in the Middle East that you're going to bet on long term and the answer is not quite right. you bet on Israel you bet a little bit like Egypt and a little bit Germany you wouldn't really bet on these countries so I think it's only right that we don't spend a lot of time right now in the Middle East well I'll put a more positive spin on the map because I It seems that after the epic failure of Obama's Middle East policy, they actually made a colossal strategic mistake regarding Syria that President Obama later claimed was his best decision, but the result was a catastrophe, the country was left plunged into an ongoing war with enormous casualties.
The Russians were able to push themselves back into the Middle East for the first time since the early 1970s and actually the Trump administration has done much better and the way they've done better has been to abandon the idea that we could getting anywhere with Iran by exiting what I think was ultimately a bad deal and refocusing on our traditional alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and doing something that no administration has accomplished before, which is building a broad front that stretches from Saudi Arabia to the entire outside world to Israel against Iran and radically alters the geopolitical stakes in Israel's favor when you think about when Israel it was almost completely isolated in the region, I think one of the big advantages that Gerald has with his peace plan is that the expectations are so low that you and other commenters essentially think he's dead before he gets there, that's a very good place to start what seems like a good idea to me is to essentially use golf money to buy off the palestinians, but addressing the issue economically and then having all the core land deal discussions after you've already given Israel two big victories now don't I'm saying it's going to work, but I think it has a better than 0% probability and is a reflection of a fundamental realignment in l To the region, you're rolling your eyes in a pretty New York way that we do for Scott to say that in Texas, but it's actually a major improvement on where we were at the end of the Obama presidency. eyes on that better than 0% Jared making a deal the reason I support Jared focusing on this is because he's not focusing on other things and I think that's a good thing not because when Kenny spent a year and medium, this was the secretary of state of the United States, the most important and powerful foreign policy official in the United States, and he literally spent a year and a half in israel-palestine instead of other things that, in my opinion, are a crime punishable by doing it with his son-in-law -law that sho I would not have an official position and I cannot obtain a authorization.
I agree with that and I think the probability of him fixing Israel-Palestine is exactly zero. These are these are cheap shots, but I think so, they are under arrest. these are cheap shots we are not a murderer in our lifetime the key problem you are not acknowledging is that there has been a fundamental geopolitical shift to the great disadvantage of Iran to the benefit of Israel the only real problem is Israel's domestic politics that is almost the whole problem . I think if Netanyahu had been able to form a government then the prospects would be quite bright because the Trump administration has now given Israel enough concessions to be in a position from a position of strength. to make some concessions to the Palestinian side so I don't discount this and I think it's actually quite conventional wisdom on their part but I do accept your point on Iran and I absolutely think we have some disagreements on how bad the Iran deal is I think that Pompeii needs an approach which is to stay in the deal but use the Europeans to pressure the Iranians to do more because we are credible and apply other sanctions but not withdraw.
I would have preferred that not be the point. I think what's interesting if I think that the Americans under Trump are actually going further with Iran than most of Trump's opponents would have expected at this point, even to the point that there's a decent chance that the Iranians the Americans could actually comply with no preconditions as set by Trump and Shinzo Abea is headed there this week and is making some offers for Trump that's not a bad thing but if you ask me I think President Trump should spend a lot time to try. to really build a better alliance with the Saudis and that that will be in the strategic interest of the Americans compared to other allies around the world, I would say no, okay, I'm going to stop them both there, so I had three possible questions.
Different endings, but now I've completely changed my mind and we only have a few minutes left. We are here on the Southern Methodist University campus. Both teach both. You're right, you deal with a lot of young people and it's been graduation time. There are a lot of people here who have children or grandchildren, nieces, nephews who have graduated and are embarking on their careers and going to college. do you advise if they are interested in these topics that they are focused on or thinking of majoring in or your general advice is that they see students today what could differentiate young people competitively in years to come the most important thing is Who Should Study History The decline of the serious study of history is one of the really worrying features of academic life and it must be said that public life today and one cannot understand the issues we are discussing without some time. historical perspective, but they must also understand the drastic changes that technology has brought about and will continue to bring about throughout their lives, so the well-educated young man trying to navigate this extraordinarily complex world needs both an understanding of history and a perspective and an idea of ​​the ways in which, for example, artificial intelligence will alter almost all aspects of life in the coming decades in critical thinking by immersing yourself in many different fields so that you have the level of intellectual curiosity to respond well during your life given how many how fast things are changing how fast the skill set you need is changing, but also when I talk to young students who are thinking of coming to my company, for example, I almost always ask them who someone is. you really respect intellectually that you follow their work and deeply disagree with them hmm very few can answer t That question and Ian Bremmer would only say, that wouldn't get you the job.
Now, of course, everyone will. tell them not that you have to watch more CNN if you watch fox or more fox what CNN I know, I'm sorry, but I know, but I know, but only the affiliation has. say you know what, watch Japanese English news about the world, watch NHK for an hour once a week, young because from that perspective, I mean it's kind of boring right? It's not that it's not a lot of graphics, but breaking news I don't have breaking news alert, there's not a ton of screens and scrolling and all that, but my gosh I like that it's so important to get those insights and I see that I mean obviously I completely agree with Neal that we're losing history and background in context, but I think we're also people who are getting so narrow and all the social media is making it a lot harder to get out of that and this is the way you should do it it's great great advice Neil Ferguson and Ian Bremmer thank you all so much for a phenomenal conversation actually on IANS Twitter at the top the permanent entry is you're not using Twitter correctly if you're not following someone you disagree with and I want to say thank you for this discussion because it highlights the Cold War, highlighting questions about what happens in a crisis in the New Order. n World Cup and taking care of Jeremy Corbyn are very important things that we need to have our antenna for, so thank you for that.
I also want to say that for the people here who haven't already, make sure you download the str. Bush Institute ategist podcasts because we recorded earlier today on episode 1 with Dana and one with Ian that will be up shortly so thanks for doing it and everyone can hear more and thanks again to Highland Capital Management for making this series possible no forget your books are on sale and don't forget to keep an eye out for the commitment event on September 18 with Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch and the Laura Bush book club event with Alexander McCall Smith on November 4, thanks all for being here and hope to see you at a future event

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