tv Cross Talk RT August 16, 2013 3:29am-4:01am EDT
hello and welcome to crossfire for all things are considered i'm peter a logo is the united states of america a force for good in the world we're still the largest economy and an unmatched military critics claim washington's defined geopolitical interests always trump its loudly proclaimed values friends of washington are given a free pass and it means real or imagined are to be destroyed and replaced. to process whether the united states is a force for good i'm joined by george samuel in new york he is a fellow at the global policy institute of london metropolitan university and in
washington we cross to bruce stokes he is the director of global economic attitudes at the pew research center all right gentlemen it's just the three of us cross talk rules in effect i mean you can jump in anytime you want and i really encourage it george the broad question is the united states a force for good in the world today. no i don't really think so peter. if we think of the post cold warrior of the began since one nine hundred eighty nine which would also call the uni polar air of american global hedge m n a i think the record of this is is really very poor. economically and financially i mean we've had from one financial crisis to another and politically it's been an air of extraordinary instability and an extraordinary number of military interventions and attacks led by the united states sometimes alone
sometimes with its various satellites so i thought the record all of the united states is since the end of the cold war has been really very poor so one look at it right now the united states is anything but a force for good in the world ok very strong words there bruce i would raise the point that while this may be the view of some elites especially some foreign policy elites outside the united states the reality is when you ask people around the world the average person in the street. about six out of ten have a favorable view of the united states. there is a sense that u.s. the u.s. remains a superpower. there's even stronger public support for americans around the world.
and while i can't dispute that some of the criticism of the united states are accurate in terms of the way it's acted around the world i think we can't discount the fact that publics around the world still generally not in every country have a very positive view of the united states well bruce lee as you know when you say hold on when you say that when you say that. good point is that american foreign policy is an american culture is that mcdonald's is that disney i mean can you flesh it out a little bit with that it's a crime it's across that it's across the board i mean there is widespread appreciation for americans sense of protection of liberties for example the end. of the spying on america i mean but it's luck but it's it's all relative right i mean if you ask a question say just china or iran and or the united states how do you feel about
they how how they protect liberties america people around the world still think americans are more likely to have their really read protected in the united states now you want to talk about the n.s.a. you want to talk about that kind of work that's a separate issue although i would tell you that at least in the united states when we've done surveys. people. are more concerned about terrorism than they are the the the n.s.a. listening in or looking at their e-mails but to go back to your per previous point to matter how you slice it and it really does depend on what questions you ask people tend to like american technology and scientific advances they certainly like it when the u.s. steps in to help them in a crisis we've seen that in. after the tsunami and in japan we've seen it after the tsunami in indonesia you get
a spike in support for the united states that people are appreciative of what the u.s. can do for them in a crisis. but you know you're right but let's let me let me all right you know you think there's a lot of people don't like it when america goes to afghanistan in iraq in libya ok also ok fair absolutely absolutely we have we know as for example you don't only american. you don't get brownie points for behaving decently when there's a humanitarian crisis every country in the world does what he can and when there's a tsunami or an earthquake or some natural disaster america is the richest country in the world so yes it would only be reduced. by about. two addressing america is the only one who can actually do that kind of thing george go ahead you do not see what sort of a large and true i mean the many countries in many countries do that and as a matter of fact when it comes to foreign aid and humanitarian assistance america's
record is actually very poor as a percentage of g.d.p. or european countries contribute far more than the united states so if you're just going to do it in terms of a force for good america's recall on that level is much worse than that of the european states but even leaving aside the question of the humanitarian assistance i mean you've got to consider well what about the geo political agenda and that is where many people in the world do have very serious problems and it's precisely the elites. you have kind of being disparaging about the elites but it is the elites who are in many countries that actually follow us dictates against the wishes of its people i mean when we think of all of the recent wars were we thinking of the invasion of iraq where with the way thinking of the bombing of libya when we thinking now of the upcoming arming of the syrian rebels and then going back
further to the bombing of yugoslavia that was widespread opposition among the people not among the elites among the people to their countries getting involved in these american i was and it was the elites that are a way to go we have a nato i think it's good and let's go to. that we have to go along with the americans let's go to the george george costanza he called time equal time rangers equal time bruce jump in please. look look i mean i would agree with george on this i mean our surveys show that eight in ten germans and a majority of the brits and six in ten french are opposed to arming the syrian rebels seventy percent of americans are opposed to arming the syrian rebels even after the president said that assad was using chemical weapons so i'm not trying to pose the publics against the elites i think he's right when he says that if we were to involve ourselves in syria as not only the u.s.
has said they want to do but also the british and french governments or said they want to do it would it be against the widespread opposition of publics in all of those countries ok it would also be against the opposition of people in the region only the jordanians in our surveys want the west to become involved in syria everybody else in the region says stay out even though they say we're terrified that conflict could spread to our country ok so who's right ok george jump in because i mean western involvement in that region of the world is created blowback we're getting it now go ahead well exactly that's the that's the point that this is really what one talks about america is a force for good i mean if you ask people well what do you think of american culture then you know they might have a positive view they may think oh well hollywood movies movies. you know a big macs or whatever but that's true about every country i mean if you were to ask people in the cold war what do you think of the soviet union they think oh
that's that's the terrible things the invasion of hungary and whatever but if you also but what do you think of russia then they think oh it also yes. of. tchaikovsky so all good things so it doesn't so when we are talking about is america feel so good we are talking about u.s. policy and u.s. policies what. he has been very problematic i mean right at the. end of the call. paul wolfowitz who became famous as a neoconservative for the in the iraq war. wrote a memo which was well very important influential within the first bush administration that the goal of u.s. foreign policy should be to ensure that no power in the world emerges at any time in the future on any continent that could pose any sort of rivalry to the united states well you know the united states has been pursuing that very policy since one thousand nine hundred eighty nine and it has led to extraordinary global
instability this is not a. the position of a global hedge benign global hedge and this is obviously or rather a malign global hegemony since we just veer from crisis to crisis due to this desperate desire to be the dominant power on every continent you know blue city not it's a country that most of the world wants to emulate today. again i think you have to you have to desegregate that i mean clearly. cut people in other countries. would rather pursue their own national best today's. country has been working instead of all countries to it and as george said in basically there is aspects of american life that countries want to emulate certainly the middle class lifestyle of many americans they would like to emulate even though they probably don't understand that much of that's bought on credit. or a strong are very appreciative of american culture relative to other cultures
whether whether we which is elites may look down on that or not it's true and the reality is that they don't like american style business practices in some parts of the world. in other parts of the world they like them a lot we ask people last year and for several years in the past you know who do you blame for the financial crisis people didn't blame the united states line any blame their own governments they blame the banks george jumping you can safely say you want to be honest now let me let me let me answer that question to me we actually asked that question thinking this would be the newest source of anti-americanism in the world right the crisis wall street created this crisis and this will be the new source of anti-americanism in fact it wasn't so this is a very complex subject very complex we're going to have to go to a short break gentlemen return to an after show pretty we'll continue our discussion on america's role in the world stay with our.
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welcome back to cross talk we're all things considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing whether the united states is a force for good in the world. ok george i'd like to go to you and we were talking about the financial crisis i mean the you know you financially crisis has not only been a catastrophe for the world but it's been a catastrophe for the united states as well and this is still an economic model that the united states can control globally you have no that's absolutely right. and so you know what this is this particular brand of capitalism that america has championed which is what we call the end of the pyramid scheme capitalism whereby you know you just build up a mountain of debt while your. own and yourself huge fees and then when the whole economy goes belly up you go to the government and the government bails you out.
all of the victims of the loans the small borrowers get thrown out of their homes and i'll go into the street so this kind of pyramid scheme capitalism. has really been championed by the united states and the and this is been very much you know again since the end of the cold war the united states was a strong ad. god well we got to get rid of all of those and not just socialism but the social democracies in europe we've got to get rid of that euro sclerosis all of the you know welfare lack of job mobility you know we got to be like the united states you know this is that where we have this really dynamic capitalism well we've seen this dynamic as we've seen it you know we had the collapse of the internet bubble in the early two thousand and then we have this of the almighty collapse of the housing bubble we're building up in all the bubble now so you know this this you know known wealth a kind of you know primitive pyramid scheme tabel ism is the last thing anyone in
the world would want to emulate ok before we could sort of the programs are going to if i could go you're going to talk about the perceptions of the united states in the middle east but go ahead bruce and i just want to jump in there look i mean george is right if you look at the public opinion surveys we've done in thirty nine countries basically people think the economic system is now unfair they think that inequality has grown over the last five years and they think that inequality is a very big problem so this is a huge indictment of modern capitalism whether you call it american capitalism or not you know that's said and done the current principal threat to the stability of the world economy is still what is going on in europe and no american forced the speculation in the spanish housing market. no american forced the greeks to lie about their finances. this is. a problem
that is in debt make not just to american capitalism but to market based systems in all parts of the world but he's right we have created a winner take all capitalism which has we're now seeing many of the problems created by that well i mean as alan krueger the outgoing head of the economic advisers to the president. said in a speech just this week. the the. this kind of capitalism has has evolved into something that one bed the textbooks would not. would not recognize you know but george i think the whole deregulation thing did come out of the united states and forced upon a lot of european countries as well i mean toxic assets and all of that i mean finally they found their way in every single economy in europe yet though there's no question i mean all of this deregulation credit is a movement that started in the united states in the late one nine hundred seventy
s. and then it accelerated under reagan you know and then you know where dramatically also still later under clinton and then under bush so yes that was that originate that the united states and the europeans bought into that i mean the europeans bought into the propaganda that was emanating from washington that somehow they were running these sclerotic backward economies and that they needed job mobility that they needed capital needed you know to be free of all the restrictions of from labor you know you and you need you needed to have somehow to compete in the world you had to emulate the americans well i think this is you know shown that this was a really disastrous road down which europeans have gone that that they set of course the europeans are going to do have to share the blame for what has happened but again it does show that the problem with this uni polar moment is that we have
the you know one. financial economic system that is powered. economic by the united states that are through the dollar and through its ideology and i think that's why you know this has really been a very disastrous era because the united states has imposed these. you know economic strictures and has brought no economic and financial stability ok bruce lee let's talk about the middle east here what are the perceptions of the united states in the middle east and what are those what's backing up those perceptions because washington in the western world just can't leave that region alone well what we saw was a dramatic falloff in support for the united states for support for the american president support for aspects of american foreign policy during the bush era and it's never recovered. there was a lot of talk when obama was elected in two thousand and eight of an obama bounce and you certainly saw it in places like europe where support for united states
skyrocketed but you did not see that in the middle east there has been no obama bounce it continues to be a problem for the united states and if you ask people in the region about specific aspects of american foreign policy we've talked about syria already if you talk about drone strikes for example massive opposition to that. and so there is this sense that the united states acts in a unilateral way especially in that region. and it's a very. difficult challenge for the united states and it's not at all clear when or how or if the u.s. ever turns this around the you know it's democracy is something the united states always claims to support you know but in so many parts of the middle east it's not democratic but america has friends there and just as what drew said i mean the american elite knows what people think on the ground but they don't count i guess though that's exactly right i mean who are the u.s.
allies in the middle east saudi arabia the various gulf states some of the most primitive. backward regimes in the world terrifyingly so who are the u.s. adversaries well you know at the moment it's syria which you know whatever the flaws of the assad rate. whether it was a still a multicultural multi confessional state farm or so who then saudi arabia the great champion for democracy and freedom same with with libya. under gadhafi again whatever its flaws was a fairly tolerant it a fairly multicultural state again it was destroyed into a into a kind of. series of warring militias so. the united yes it professes democracy but in reality it destroys the very states that tend to.
embody suppose that american values then under the need allies the and of course there's the the eight hundred pound which is the israel ok bruce that i don't hate i just want fishes eight hundred pound gorilla every. year i mean that you know as far as the eye of the in the middle east the arabs in the world think this is an absolutely outraged that the united states professes to be an honest broker and you know advocating peace in the middle east and reservedly supports israeli policy ok a lot so there bruce go ahead. but i mean i do think we risk here putting the situ us in a situation where it's damned if you do and damned if it don't and other words there was in place that george's implicit suggestion was that the tacit u.s. lack of opposition to assad or to khadafi in the latter years suggested that. that that that was
a force for stability in the world the reality is we have unleashed demons in syria we demons in libya i agree with george. that probably would have happened when ever we decided and the world this well it is i mean to back bruce but i can take i can take it and flip it around again just leave these people alone just leave these people alone leave leave them alone well but with a like us more and the reality is. no no one russia is not leaving syria alone yeah but russia isn't going around the world invading countries at all russia is honoring international longa that is transparent ok i don't it's not it's not to say any thing other it's not the same thing at all not nearly so and and sim city similarly while you know one cannot defend the democratic.
sensibilities of the of the syrian of the of the saudi regime in any by any stretch of the imagination as there is none it's not just our interest it's not just our interest we pursued there at this point if the saudi regime would descend into some kind of chaos it would be china it would be japan it would be europe who would suffer a mark far more economic damage than we would and so while i'm not defending what we have done i am saying that. exiting from this situation to a more stable situation is very going to be very very complex and i don't see anybody stepping up to help the united states on that and knows i think we've demonstrated we need help ok well you know it always sounds like to dictators says you know i'm the one saving you from disaster george you get the last word forty seconds i
disagree i agree that's what i mean that's absolutely right i mean there were always easy solutions in the case of libya you know america could have stayed out. of the insurrection in libya would have ended enormous number of lives would have been laws. supplies would have continued you know and you know happily same way the same as in syria the conflict could've ended years ago now again you know energy supplies to europe the rest of the world ever would have would have continued before instead america got involved and made things much worse and so all right gentlemen i'm sorry george what everyone else is george bruce we have run out of time fascinating conversation many thanks indeed my guests in washington and new york and thanks to our viewers for watching us here darkie see you next time remember across topples.
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