« Freakonomics Radio

395. Speak Softly and Carry Big Data

2019-10-31 | 🔗

Do economic sanctions work? Are big democracies any good at spreading democracy? What is the root cause of terrorism? It turns out that data analysis can help answer all these questions — and make better foreign-policy decisions. Guests include former Department of Defense officials Chuck Hagel and Michèle Flournoy and Chicago Project on Security and Threats researchers Robert Pape and Paul Poast. Recorded live in Chicago; Steve Levitt is co-host.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Fr Economics, radio, sponsored by progressive insurance were customers, save an average of more than seven hundred fifty dollars when they switch and save visit, progressive dot com to get your car insurance quote. It only takes about seven national annual average auto insurance savings by new customers surveyed in twenty nineteen potential savings? Will very, if you'd like to listen to for economics, radio without ads the place to do that is sticker premium five dollars and you can get a free month trial by going to stick your premium dot com and use a promo code freak. You also get access to all our bonus. Episodes and you'll be supporting our show to that sticker premium: dot, com, promo code freak banks. He thereby guess listeners this week, an episode we recently recorded, live in Chicago on a topic that is a bit unusual for us american Foreign policy, a few important He's already changed since our according for one president trumps,
certain to withdraw some? U S! Troops from Syria, which scrambled the calculus for the? U S as well as for the Kurds. Syria turn russian. Who knows how many other players eventually and then Even more recently, U S special forces closed in on ice, leader Abu Bachar, about daddy, who reportedly then killed himself this to happen in Syria. The Democrats, in each went proceedings have also accelerated thanks to trumps interactions with Ukraine. So this topic is. Moving target, to say the least. In any case, we and a lot and hope you do too?
ladies and gentlemen, the post of breaking down the three Stephen Downer, much rear reporting live this week at the Harris Theatre in Chicago, in partnership with the great public radio station, W B, easy now Chicago home too many great institutions, but perhaps our favorite is the University of Chicago a true hotbed. intellectual curiosity and inquiry, its economics department, goods one you should all be familiar with my free economics friend and co author. He is rarely spotted in the wild, but he's here tonight. Please welcomes
eleven. So let it make to have you here. You want to tell us what you working on these days, yeah, so I've kind of got of academic research and decided. I should try to do something useful for, while so the centre piece of Chicago and we're trying to do. Good things in the world is I've. Gotten older. I become more reflective maybe lesson economist and more of a regular person, and it felt like the right thing to do is to see if I could do something useful fine. I applaud your turn toward reflection. There is another reason we ve come to Chicago tonight. There is a set of problems in the world today, the sort of problems that are a constant feature in human. history. Concerning international relations, though at the moment the United States has a relatively charged relationship with, among other, China, Russia, IRAN, North Korea, in Venezuela. The stakes are
The issues are complex. The outcomes will reverberate for decades, if not longer in eleven. Do you have a lot of experience as an economist in the realm of statecraft or spy craft, you'd, want to call it experience, but I did once visit decision campus. I got invited there to work on a project and When you get to the CIA, they basically take all your step and take your cell phone and what not and the hand you about and they say this bad is incredibly important and it is your former identification while on campus and you are travelling without it you will be treated. An intruder and potentially will be shot so up. I took my bad. and I got on the bus, which drove me across campus, and I got off the bed. to go to my meeting, and I for my neck, and I realized I had left my badge on the bus which was driving away, and I raised after the bus started in theory, and I thought, oh, my god. Can, I happen next, and there was.
I see I got off in the distance and I thought to myself like what should I do? Should I approached him, will you shoot me- and I thought briefly about- maybe I should take my my undershirt, often wave it a form of surrender, but I thought properly and more likely besides, if I walked around without a certain Kevin. I approached the guy's Harry timidly and I said I'm so sorry excuse me. I left my bed on the bus and he looked at me Oh, that's your problem war. We're trying to get you out! Take you there don't worry about and I say that was the high point of my statecraft. So far, all right. So I think it's safe to say that neither Leavitt nor I are experts in the field, but there are some experts, also at the University of Chicago in a group called Seapost the Chicago project, on security and threats. They are a collection of sky Those who conduct data driven research on foreign policy and international security. So tonight we will hear from some see posters as well
as a couple of high ranking practitioners of foreign policy that we flown in from Washington, including one former secretary of defence and one potentially future secretary of defence. So let's begin by welcoming the founder of the University of Chicago, see, post the political scientist Robert Paper, so Bob you and your fellow steeples researchers try to use empirical means data analysis when available to understand foreign policy. How rare is that Well, actually, a lot of people use data. The key question is: are you going to focus on real? We current and new problems, or are you to try to solve problems around for fifty seven the years. So a lot of the problems of the faculty at sea posed are ready. Have we new problems or very new
takes on those problems, so my work suicide terrorism- that is a field that didn't exist, thirty years ago, twenty years ago it exists now, there's a lot of good reason to want to throw a whole lot of data at that problem, because it's too easy to have preconceptions and think. Oh, yes, it's religion causing people to blow themselves up, and if you get it wrong. You could do real. We done things like send an army to Iraq in two thousand and three which didn't turn out very well. Can you quickly summarize what you found air and how the data aided that discover a year or so after nine eleven, I compiled the first complete database of all suicide attacks around the world. At that time it oh, that half of suicide attacks were not driven Islamic fundamentalism. Many work done by purely secular group such
the Tamil TIGERS in Sri Lanka, which is a Hindu not even in islamic Group, a marxist group and anti religious group. What I found Ninety five percent of suicide around the world since the early nineteen eighties we're in response to a military intervention, often army being sent on their territory that terrorist prize so what I did as our new powerful it's our deputy secretary of defence before the work was published. I sent this work to Wolf, what's and basically the word was about we're still door Iraq, but we will move our troops Saudi Arabia and we're start restarting air base and cut her. So that's: where are you need? Airbus started in two thousand and four and basically I said in my published work that that wasn't gonna be good enough, that we were going to touch off the largest sue I terrorist campaign in modern times, which we did so. Let me ask a question to both of you. You know receive Chicago professors, Bob Paper and Steve Levitt. There is this:
Lovely idea that academic research that's done rigorously and challenged by peers and referees will be so robust that it can just be put right into play as policy. How often does that? Actually? So I would say honestly, my research has had no direct impact on public policy. the only on joking, the only law change. I know that occurred because of my work. There is a small town in Alaska which passed a law which made walking dry a crime, because we had written in one read books about the dire risk of walking I think that is the loan policies. Yes, I've ever had almost thirty years, nothing so Bob so September. Two thousand and five I got a call from deputy Secretary of Defence Eglon Wolf, which have been replaced master come to Washington immediately. So I went the next day
this meeting by saying professor pay. We want to see your data The Vienna see tomorrow, is having a meeting where their images I'd, whether to send an army to an african country and Vienna see wants to know. How good as your data, so for three hours they try to destroy. Roy the finding in my data we never did send the army. They never told me a country it was, but I'm pretty sure it was small so one wives are on the line. Man. Are they going to try to really repair data part to Bob? I understand you once found yourself advising a Republican and the democratic candidate for the present in the same risk, any talk about how that work that Europe so wrong was a republican and he picked my book up a burns and noble and random House who published look sent me a note saying there are some Congress.
From Texas, giving a whole speech on the house more about your book and well then he ran for president and he asked me to be an adviser and I kept saying no. No, no and the truth is he wanted me because of a rack, and that was really what I knew. I dont know about income tax and gold standards and so forth. You guys might but IDA but then I also really believed that the guy who was gonna win was Brok Obama and he was completely on the same page. I was what is that page say when you say on the same page about around them railway understanding that by going in invading Iraq in two thousand and three, we broke the system in a way that was going to create the chaos in Hornets Nest of terrorism, and we really had to come to grips with. That is a fundamental cause, and did you have any sense that run Paul was perhaps on the same wavelength as well? You know perfectly on the same way by the real thing. Happened here, as you had a Republican, and you had a Democrat who maybe didn't agree on anything
but they agreed on the most important foreign policy shoe and solved without high out double date. Well, I didn't during intentionally. This is one of those cases where, as Now you academic, I'm really understanding what it means to be advising to campaigns same time, once I realize this, was not going to work. I just stepped back from both of em at exactly the same time, and Is it important for you to maintain some kind of political, middle them or independence? You consider yourself, a political person are you register Democratic Republic, and so I started life as a Republican, basically Reagan republican and then in the mid nineties. I started voting for some Democrats, so ninety six, I voted for Clinton strain on foreign policy. Two thousand. I supported George W Bush, two thousand and four because of what happened with Iraq. Carry two thousand
Obama. I really don't vote on domestic politics at all. I'm really true. And see which presidential candidate do, I think, has the best foreign policy or national security policy for our country and when you say best, can you unpack that for a moment What's that mean I'd like to think it means that these are people who will listen, advisers, whether within governments, civil service, academia, but that they also know how to make important decisions and they have a familiarity with history. That's what I would think of his best. Maybe you have a different f here, so I think best means it's going to enhance the strengthen security of the United States over time, and I believe that best dime. Working with allies. I believe that's best done by promoting regional stability. Some people may think we, get ahead in the short term by playing hardball with this actor that actor and they may be right within six months or a twelve month period of time, but
believe an enlightened self interest and academic terms. It's a little bit longer term time horizon a water respect for Ronald Reagan, foreign policy. After all, he ended the cold. Or without aspiring shot. That's it incredible outcome that it heard after many many years of working in that direction, Obama's foreign policy, I think, was really wouldn't say perfect, but I would say, was really quite good right up there with Ronald Reagan. I put the two together, I believe. Stronger when we have friends working with us, then when we push our friends away- and I think we see that's it s. So I'd like to talk about the research you ve been doing looking economic sanctions, so this is something we all read about all the time. I'll be honest, is a lay person. It's really hard to know what quote works and how it works if it does, and what kind of timeframe we're supposed to be looking at as a success. So you know that some of the? U dot S is current Uk
Sanction targets include Russia and IRAN and in Venezuela. So what can you tell us empirically about the efficacy of this kind of sanction year? It really matters whether you're pursuing sanctions for ambitious foreign policy goals like regime change to pull back and military and serve like Russia going into Ukraine or to stop a WMD programme. Are you doing more modest things like you're trying to cut a trade deal you're trying to free some hostages? It's really import to see the division between the tough goals and the easy goals sanctions, work really well for easy goals, the tough goals much poorer track can you give us some numbers and Europe and am also curious to know about your dataset? How far back did you look? How good is the data on this topic, etc? It's really quite good. Going back to World WAR one so since world war, one well over a hundred fifteen cases of economic sanctions, and we can really
divide up and cut up the data in this way? And this is not just the? U S correct, oh no! This is global, so the problem is whether you have a data set at all. It's our. Dividing the data in the right way. Are you mixing apples and oranges or you comparing the tough cases too tough cases so to speak, and when you do, you see that sanctions for tough cases work less than five percent of the total make good and they not only work less than five percent of the time, but about five percent of the time they have catastrophic. failure give us is specifically in July, forty one. We want Japan to stop using all the military force on its adventures in Asia? So slap maximum price Oil sanctions on the Japanese. We think what we're doing is that we're gonna too The balance, we're gonna, weaken, hawks and empower the doves. We did exactly the opposite. What we did is we weakened the
doves and we empower the hawks, the guy who led the Pearl harbor tat. was Emerald Yamamoto. We know this because when all the documents- and what Yamamoto did was he flipped his position on Pearl Harbor as a result of the sanctions beforehand forty one. He was opposed to the Pro Harbour attack July. Forty one sanctions will what caused him to do the Pearl Harbor attack, because it was a brush back pitch the more we threat the survival of Japan, the more he wanted to take a risk to push us back and that I'm afraid it is what we're seeing with IRAN today. So you said that the sanctions work on a tough problems about five percent of the time what prison. the time do whatever other protests we use on tough problems, welcome their tough problems, maybe there are a lot of other good. I asked other, usually compared Steve to military force. So what you see
is that when you apply economic sanctions on a target, especially for a tough go a lot of times what's happening, as they fail, and then you end up using military force. Pearl harbor again is a perfect example of that For example is when we put economic sanctions on South Vietnam and nineteen sixty three we want to change the government of nineteen sixty three. We tried with economic, sanctions that wasn't good enough? I didn't do it so we ended up pursuing a foreign sponsored military coup and of course then led to our military intervention in Vietnam. I'm curious if you do economic sanctions, whether you actually can measure effects on prices in quantities lemme give you A good case, a rack after Ninety one, so we slapped economic, saying, on country of Iraq and oil producing country cutting offers. We all of its oil starting a ninety ninety, and we kept that off. We cut its economy in half, it dropped fifty percent plus
we have really good data on that and we thought that would ultimately bring about regime change of republican President thought that democratic way I thought that in another republican president thought that and the truth is politically that work we had to invade Iraq. But if you look at the consequences of cutting that economy, we had tens of thousands of miscarriages and other harm due to malnutrition as a result of the sanctions ah blamed on us, the class, your work, just on the regime, and we can measure it and thought because would damage them enough in two thousand. fourteen Russia made military move on Ukraine and the annex, the Crimea and peninsulas. So in response to the? U S under President Obama joined other countries. imposing economic sanctions on Russia, tell us about the consequences of those economic. Sanctions on Russia is far ranging, as you can. I believe that the sanctions have had no effect
on food, and they have we can the economy, but they ve also fed ash nihilism, so one of the reasons why sanctions don't work is because right other than in terms of just raw cost benefit calculation. You, Deuce nationalism, which shift things in favour of the hawks even know they're losing wealth and would have been some of the consequences, russian nationalism in the form of blow back to the United States. Well, things we worry a lot about is that a lot of those sanctions are some of the reasons why Putin has us so much in his gun sites. That's not simply do not personal animus again still recall Do you or others have evidence that one of the blow back Was Russia attempting or actually meddling in the twenty sixteen years presidential election? Not care, go that far now I can't personally go that far. So it's not because there's not occur. Croatia there, it's because a kind of work,
I do so. When I'm looking at the cases of economic sanctions, I'm getting inside to the extent possible decision making on the target country. You can't do that in every single case, so I'd have to pull back and there is a correlation there, but now I can't say for sure: that's the truth. So here's the problem, as I see it, as Levitt, said the reason that solutions to difficult problems don't often work is because the problems are difficult and you're, describing now that sanctions are typically ineffectual and the their choice is typically a military invasion which is costly and many many many dimensions. And furthermore, as you ve said, military invasions and or occupation have a downstream cost of suicide among many other things right, so can you give us any thing mostly resembling good news is rather than have pushed for the sanctions
What we should have done is played up the politics of embarrassment, so we had just had a case in Syria: when the syrian government use gas. Remember that and what the Obama administration did in secretary, carry Secretary of state did was embarrassed. Check out of Putin for supporting this and guides the Russians to not veto in the EU when the most serious anti chemical campaign that we really have ever had and that politics of em Harassment was our best lever in Syria and I believe is that we could have been better off by try that approach in Ukraine but we under waits is how much the politics of embarrassment can for eight, a leader from XO nationalist space, because it's one thing for the public Be nationalists? It's another thing to want to really embrace a war criminal. That's committed murder and killed hundreds of civilians right. There is a very different thing to me and I think it has
possibility of separating the leader from the public, whereas sanction I believe, bring Brigham right again. One of the things Robert papers done at his Chicago project on security threats is assemble. A cadre of younger political I just to like him, are trying to look at international affairs through an empirical lens. We brought up one of these political scientists, Paul Post, for a brief conversation about his research, which has to do with the spreading of democracy or the lack thereof, so The way to think about this is to go back a little bit. You everybody's excited about the ninety nineties because it's the end of the cold war Viewed at this moment that now liberal democracy that represented the west is going to speak.
In reality. Is it didn't just happen and that post says is because the big countries that have historically prided themselves on being the big spreading of democracy, the? U S in particular, are in fact not very good at spreading democracy, or maybe just today, wrapped it with other pressing matters? In any case, imagine you are the leader of a smallest country, that's heading toward a new democratic set up in these leaders, a lot of times they're. Looking for resources, they're like I need help any legal expertise, everything here is geared towards giving out bribes. I need help building roads. How do I do this? The common perception post told us is that the? U S is always willing to step in and provide this help. My research showed is that doubt wasn't fool What happened is that what I have found is that countries that are what we call democratizing, meaning there, basically in the first place ten years of being a new democracy,
dramatically more likely sandy order, thirty percent more likely to form new international organisations, organizations compared to say stable democracy and talker sea or in, other kind of just regular country. In other words, these new democracies can't get what they need from big countries like the. U S or big organizations, NATO. Instead they rely on what post calls middle democracies. My favorite examples of this is something called cobalt: bat, the Baltic Battalion, the Baltic battalion was an organization formed by the Baltic states after the end of the cold war and whose steps in is the Nordic Countries particular Denmark, whose a NATO member there come in and actually help them the form. This new organization to where it was referred to as a Tori School for NATO and that Organisation
and started allow them to get the resources that they needed to help to start to consolidate. So two of the most avid advocates democracy spreading in the past, the? U S and the UK, they both seem much less interested in that form, at the moment. So do you- and I mean this sound as bad as its about to sound, but you feel in your research. It you're chasing a piece of history. That's already evaporating Ah, yes, that is the common Have you here right now? I actually Despite being very cynical, I asked they have a much more optimistic view of it. Even if you go back to them, ninety ninetys? It wasn't the? U S. That was leading the way the smaller middle democracies and led the way or if you go back to them, team forties with the creator NATO it was Canada that came along. Said: hey: U S. There's this thing I want to get involved with that. Would really how about Europe Use, I'm shocked that candidate could come up with
idea. So when you talk about spreading democracy, you focused on cod is that already have a nascent democratic process in place, but when I think about the, U S approach to spreading democracy, I think about I see a fascinating leaders. Bombing places. Doing very undemocratic things to trigger the process. Is there any day? yeah, I'm the success rate of big democratic powers, doing very undamaged: things to try to induce future democracies. We call this poor. imposed regime change, but the key to that is not necessarily democratic change, because all those things that you mentioned the: U S, did they also did it the reverse. They ve also. Engage in operations that undermined a democratic regime, largely because they felt well this Particular regimes can be more pro com well there's on pro. You ass, then say the democratic regime that is there so
there has been a lot of work is known, is usually what its found, though, is that if you are using a military option, its typically because it's a very bad situation, its comparable to what was saying about sanctions where its typically very successful and, of course, we observed that with a rock all right, so We have learned, among other things, that big democracies are really bad. spreading democracy further, we ve learned to economic sanctions, rarely work and that the root cause- of suicide. Terrorism is more likely to be political, then religious and then will conclude. The egghead portion of our programme coming up after the break will speak with a couple of foreign policy practitioners, a kind of people who consume the academic research we ve been hearing about. As for those who produce
this research, big things, Robert Pavement, Paul opposed from the Chicago project on security and threats. We will be right back. for Economics, radio sponsored by Petsmart Petsmart- makes it safe and easy for you to care for your pet at Petsmart. The health and safety of employees, pet parents and pets are what's most important, which is why they require face coverings, social, distancing and stop plexiglas shields and enhanced cleaning to follow CDC recommendations for contact with him, thing just order online at Petsmart, not com or on the Petsmart app joy, easy curbside, pick up for same day, delivery powered by door dash free through January thirty. First, two thousand twenty one check out: Petsmart dot com for more details.
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the United States Secretary of defence very interesting fit. Considering that he's republican and the President he served under was Barack Obama. Would you please welcome separate, Chuck, eagle, eyed, you I'd like you to tell us in all honesty how the depends department considers this. of Academic Research and analysis we ve been hearing about. do you take it seriously? Ordeal dismiss it as the work of a bunch of pencil. Geeks you dont know how the real world works. We have to take seriously the mistakes that were made and Bob paid talked about some of Summum Vietnam, Iraq, I don't think we had a very clear understanding of information, culture, religion, history of these areas and Afghanistan,
It is a good example here, eighteen years in Afghanistan, that country has never been ruled by a central government. Great powers of different errors have tried and all fail because they lost the people and research and analysis helps guide you not guarantee but guide you into small. Wiser decision making, so Bob Peep told us that he was on the same page. Foreign power three wise as Barack Obama as well as run Paul for what it's worth at the same time. What about you and Barack Obama? What persuaded you that the Obama doctrine with something that you as republic in could help and act as secondary defence? Well, first I got to know Brok Obama when he first came the Senate. We serve on assent foreign relations Committee for four years and
admired his thinking. I liked his style and Iraq was really at that time it because he got there in two thousand and four the centrepiece of our foreign policy and ass. He moved in two presidential campaign in what he said about Iraq. I agreed with John Mccain was very close friend of mine fact. I was. chairman of John Mccain's president election, two thousand but John is very aggressive on Iraq and actually want to do more in the Middle EAST, Told John I couldn't supporting and why than I thought foreign policy is dangerous. If he was elected president, it would get worse. So I know nothing about foreign policy One thing when you want our eyes: what do they struck me?
Iraq is after a military victory. It seemed like we the opportunity to win the hearts and minds of the people rock by providing basic economic infrastructure, electricity, keeping garbage out the streets, you know giving people something to eat and it seems like we as a country failed miserably in that activity. Any reactions to that end and how that might have triggered a lot of the problems we had in the last many years well First, we should acknowledge the sacrifice made by the men and women lost their lives in Iraq, who are severely wounded and their families it wasn't because they failed, but our leadership failed to your point about economic structure, always an element of the uncontrollable and again.
It wasn't a military force, militarist, Only be used for a clear diplomatic, strategic objective if you don't have that the military will do it. Best, but the military can only do so much. The military can't fix all those problems, those economic grounds, corruption, problems and govern so and so and so on, and so yes, I think that was part of what you said why we fail the Current secretary of Defence Mark Esper, was your legislative director and senior policy buys when you were you a senator? So I'm really curious to know whether you returning him the favouring whispered in his ear and now and whether you will tell us or not, if you were whispering in his ear there a lot of hot spots around the world. Right now, Korea, IRAN, Russia, China, Venezuela, take your pick, I'm just really curious to know
or thinking on these and tell us what we should be thinking about. That's important. What may be slightly hidden from view that we're not thinking about first, I would say to mark when a hell just take the job. But, and Mark did a good job for me, and I stayed in touch with him over the years and when we talk as to your question, the hot spots around the world We start with the Middle EAST as day is volatile, is any time ever in the history of them at least governments. There don't exist in Greece in some countries you ve got kind of government the revolutions instability, obviously ran being the centrepiece of that. The unpredictability Kim Jong Moon and North Korea present
a real issue with the japanese south korean split. You mentioned Venezuela I would mention another one: the deep stabilizing of western democracies start with the obvious breaks it. but every one of those western democracies is not very stable friend. Germany, ITALY, they're all in a state of flux and uncertainty in and you look at our country. We are as divided politically. In many ways. Polarized. I dont think anything since the civil war water I was a young chief of staff to a republic congressman during Watergate, and that was a bad time, but it was not nears badge what we ve got today in when we're off balance United States. As I announced the world's off balance. Has keyed off of us. May we made plenty of mistakes. The world is always been.
The cure annoying there's a centrepiece. Global leadership, and if we walk away from that a vacuum will surely occur Something will fill the vacuum may later, be China trying to fill the vacuum or we'll go back again to centralize world. Let me ask you bout, your argument about the weakening of western democracies. Tonight we ve heard about the costs of Economic sanctions tend to backfire, not work very well. Military intervention is costly in many many ways and there, unintended consequences there. But let's talk for a minute about potential some of the costs of non intervention, so particular like to get into Syria, which I know you are involved in intimately. So let me describe. essential daisy chain, I may be totally off, but here is one way of looking at it. We essentially decided to not do
much about serious as many people thought or wished, and one could argue that one consequence of that is adding to the instability in western Europe by producing refugee crisis. By stabilizing the Middle EAST, further and so on. So how do you weigh the cost of non intervention? Let me ask you to start the conversation by asking you simply this. Had Iraq not happened, how different might the treatment of Syria have been well in my opinion, our invasion in Iraq in two thousand and three set off a conflagration, in the Middle EAST that we're still living with. Today. I took my own party in my own president on this- and I was vilified. I was called a trader and rhino, which I thought was a compliment. I
but from the brass Foresaw arena was impressive, animal but the point being a rock was really the beginning. I think of the destabilization of the entire Middle EAST we set something emotion we couldn't control is no question President Obama, vice President Biden Secretary, Carry Secretary Hegel all forward, members and a foreign relations committee. who saw all this. We, all condition by what happened in Iraq, no question about it and Obama ran in two thousand eight and I'm not gonna get us a new more those in work. Get out of rock, so He was very concerned, and we all were about getting back into another war, and that was and all the National Security Council meetings we had, that was
much on the minds of everybody, then, when the chemical weapons attack and we should say that the attack occurred after the president had said if such an attack were to occur, that would change Kaliko women present? Was this very straightforward? You that's a red line, What he said. What was your expectations at the point when the red line was crossed, so we had National Security Council meeting after National Security Council meeting. What are our options? What should we do, He went to the United Nations asked for their help investigating it was it aside? who actually used chemical well argued that to confirm, if your god same, maybe two months to confirm it suddenly and then it was a matter of the president asking. Or military options, everything from finally and invasion too. Possibilities that would not put our troops on the ground, which is it
President Obama said I do not want troops on- in Syria, and did you consider that the red line itself, or maybe not a red line, but an option that, once you rule it out, you lose leverage. When I was in public, there was within National Security Council and what what did you think then? the former military man and secretary defence. I supported that, but I also supported as carried it and others on the National Security Council that we had doubts. Summaries, What was on your menu? Well, we problem gave the present Peter. Nine options mean a rocket attack bomb certain headquarters of his command and control systems. We looked at hearing at three o clock in the morning with the least number of people be there. Those were the things that we all talk about. He decided to present that he was gonna pick one.
options and he went around the table and said: what do you say? Yes, no. Where are we I don't think there was one dissenting vote on. We all agreed. This was the option. I was Are you going to tell us the option? Well, we're was not ground. Troops limit may put it that way. I was in Europe for NATO defence minute, this meeting and I was coming back on the day that- and they brought me into close sir television and we had one more vote on it, everything was ready to go. It was on a Friday and we pushed Marty, Dempsey, german joint chiefs of staff was in The security council room- I was on the plane when I landed at Andrews at six o clock on Friday night, I went home took a shower change. Close in my wife and I went to dinner and
about nine o clock, but my security guys came into the restaurants, said Miss sector. The present needs to talk to you it's urgent my first concern was something has gone wrong We lost a plane or something, and it was all top secret. Nobody was supposed to know that it wasn't. Maybe depressive got a hold of it and I went out to the car and security people left me alone in the car and present came on to check I'm pulling down the attack, and I want you to know we're gonna, have a meeting tomorrow morning. I'll explain everything. I'm gonna call Marty next. What are you feeling Sprise up, obviously pissed? Well, I wish I wasn't pierced. I was just couldn't understand what had happened. What happened here so I called Marty right away and Marty, I think, was on his third scotch
and I say, Marty you're gonna be here and we go in for a fourth soon. Here I just got hold of the press. and he's. She was polar option down and you're going to get a call from him in a minute when I was on the phone with Dempsey, Present called him die, went back and sighed or an offended that he dropped your call to take the presidency just don't let it happen again at seven, so I went back in the restaurant and I think I ordered a scotch, and my security people came back in and said Secretary Kerry is on. The line ok, so now the card. What's your way, feeding at this point? Well, she probably is wondering but is anybody in charge of anything and ok? I think he said something I just what the hell's going on and so John my talk on the phone
then we went the next morning and he explain why had done it Obama was very uncomfortable about going. In Syria and doing anything without congressional concurrent and Republican, just wouldn't give it to him. did Obama use that as a dodge to cover for not wanting to go into Syria. Well, he I don't think was a dodge. I think he really wanted that he was very uncomfortable. Using the military to go back and start something new in the wars, discourages the conflict that we ve gotten into since world war, two The Congress is obviously reasserted itself. I can remember congress- I agree with that. I believe that's right, especially with this present, and I think that their responsibility to declare war is the Congo. So. In retrospect, the syrian civil war is still in some form of you know, and we have troops and we have troops there a lot of
I ve lost a lot of people heard a lot of people fled the country let loose. Fled the country then went to other countries where they were mostly not very welcome that produced political instability in those countries, so this chain of events was massive I'm really curious to know as someone who favoured some foreign military intervention, how you think back to that, I'm not asking you to say you know. I was right we should have done an x y see would have happened, but I'm curious to hear you talk about the overall costs of now intervention in that case. We do not think it is worth. wise enough smart enough to be able to think that, through and and anticipate all that's happened as a result of Syria, one Ample. The Russians were not in Syria Russia's had a little naval,
based on the Mediterranean TARDIS, and there was just nothing there, one of the consequences here. It was disallowed the Russians to get in because the US wouldn't do anything so put the saw. That is an opening help Assad. But you mention the refugees a lot of the poppy nationalism in western democracies is very much a result of those refugees flooding in those countries, an overpowering the systems in those countries. I dont think anybody was clairvoyant enough wise enough to think that far down the road, this was gonna be a compliment. I think our intelligence people were telling us in an ally, that aside probably wasn't last long, there were a lot of people, pretty smart people, giving us advice in thinking that lot of our state Department, defence, CIA, that he just last. We don't know what's coming next, but most likely you're gonna, be aside.
I'm guessing. You have a few thoughts about the Trump administration in foreign policy within. Well, I don't know what the foreign policy is, but foreign policy cannot be America first, if that is policy, then that this country is going to be a lot of trouble. Every nation in his own self interest, none wrong, that's consistent, but we do more than that. We pay more NATO and all of these other organizations we get so much we're out of it as a secondary defence. If we now those alliances we didn't NATO. We couldn't project power around the world, because we couldn't station troops around the world. We could never have herbaceous round. The world naval base is around the world and the world. We have one more dangerous than it is today before we let you go
I am curious to know. What's next, for you, Secretary Hegel, are you you wanna? Be president yourself? You want to open a rhinoceros farm, beckoned Nebraska, perhaps saddle up secretary, Chuck Hagen. Thank you so much you're doin here tonight, and would you please welcome our final guess tonight. She's served in the Department of Defense under President's Bill Clinton Amber Oc Obama from too two thousand nine through two thousand twelve, she was under Secretary of defence for policy. Would you please welcome Michel, Michele Flournoy? I understand you are considered a front runner for Secretary of defence. Had Hillary Clinton become president in the two thousand sixteen election? That's true. I can neither confirm nor effective so that, yes, I'm also told you still can.
Did it a front runner if a Democrat we're too in the White House in twenty twenty, so tell us about what you're doing right now and I really want to know how you stay prepared for the possibility of taking on that job, where it happened, Henry Kissinger wrote several memoirs and one of the things he said in one of his memoirs is when you're out of government. It's your time to re pack. Your intellectual suitcase, because when you're in government you're dealing with tyranny of the inbox outta the crises of the day and all your doing is unpacking and using whatever intellectual capital you came in with and so is a period when you're out of government, it's a chance to learn and grow and reload and obviously there's nothing certain in politics, and elections, but I do have a passion for public service and I hope public services and done with me
Let's talk about Syria and make two thousand sixteen. You co authored report that for a more muscular. U S campaign to support the syrian rebels, more training, more arms and no bombing zone and limited Miller. Restricts perhaps to help turn the tide toward regime change. what was your position during the action that we are hearing about earlier with Secretary Hegel? Went Obama seemed poised to consider a pretty strong response to Assad after the chemical weapons used. So dear to clarify, was out of government at the time. So I was observing this from the outside, but I thought that early on, when we had the massive protests against aside when opposition groups, forming, I thought, There- was a moment where some assistance to them. Might have really constrained aside options and cut short or stopped or slowed, but
They became a civil war. So if I do think we'll never know same time as we chose not to do that. There were concerned earns about providing what, and to the opposition and having them fall into the hands of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups as a very legitimate concern. So it was a difficult set of decisions, but as we watch things start to worsen. I think we could anticipate and we did somewhat, but we didn't act appropriately with. We could see The level of the refugee crisis that was coming and the degree to which that could destabilize the countries around the periphery of easier and by the time you saw this, That problem was it essentially too late in your view, to carry out the plan you'd conceived, I don't think so. I think we could have leaned forward more and worked with the borderline states in terms of preparing the
a train response in terms of getting Europe more involved to try to We consider some no fly zone areas where we were not putting troops on the ground, trying to create an umbrella that would protect civilians in coordinate with opposition forces on the ground and those sorts of options, this sort of slipped away, because we did not take more aggressive acts? and then, by the time, the chemical weapons for used. My. concern about President Obama's ultimate choice and again incredibly difficult decision. He chose not to make good on the red line and not to authorize the strike at that point, having already gone out to the american people and told them we're going to do and gone out to the world and told them we're gonna. Do this, I think at that point, it was a real blow. You s credibility, and we
witnessing that every single day now, where you have a president with a huge say, do gap and it hurts Hugh S, credibility enormously. That's quite a phrase. I've never heard it before makes a lot of sense to say do gap here. Your kids will remain about your say, do have half it's so present, tromp recently declared that the? U S was preparing a cyber attack on IRAN, and I would like to know a in your view? How does a cyber attack measure up against traditional military responses and also be how common were wise is the pre emptive declaration, of the intention to launch a cyber attack, I thought that was kind of interesting, as well. Normally, in Cyber attacks are used. When you don't want attribution, we don't want to be known exactly what you're doing, but the use
of cyber as an instrument by states has really evolved. Countries have to to figure out who is doing what by getting inside each other systems, then we saw a period where countries started stealing information. So, estimated that China has stolen hundreds of billions of dollars of intellectual property. From U S, companies and that's part of what's fuelled their economic rise, now in twice. Sixteen we saw Russia's use of cyber and monopoly have social media as a covert influence tool to try. the election by the election. Do you know of any evidence we asked Bob Paper did not, but do you know of any evidence connecting the interference with the? U S elect. to a retribution for economic sanctions against. I don't I don't know of any specific evidence of you that such evidence,
I think he has a deep sense of grievance in Russia. Not only I'm Vladimir Putin is unhappy, it now, but in terms of the society at large, and particularly at the level one of the things I ve been told about cyber is that offences much easier than defence. Right now, the attackers are way way better than defenders are at defending. Do you have any on that? I would say that I think the Hence tends to have the initiative and certain advantages, but I also think that to clean. The line between offence and defence doesn't really work, and Cyber give an example? It has to do with what happened just before the mid term elections where our cyber command. God indications that the Russians were preparing to try to meddle in twenty eighteen, mid term elections and so as a defensive measure to prevent that
It went on the offence, which was basically doing denial of service attacks on the russian entity, and so it was a offensive move, but in the context of an imminent threat, so was part of a defence. So these terms they get blur level bed in the cyber world, the Cyber world allowing economic activity in return for suspending a nuclear weapons programme was said to be settled under the Obama administration The Trump administration, has sort of unsettled, Greece to know what you think about what menstruation undoing another administrations, work in such case, I think it will go down in history as a terrible mistake to walk away from the iranian Nuclear deal. Let me just say across multiple administrations, Democratic Republic, We ve had the same consistent goals. Freeze of IRAN. We ve wanted to prevent them from becoming a nuclear weapons power we wanted to prevent them.
from developing more and more capable ballistic missiles and we wanted to prevent and stop their support for terrorism, proxies around the region, those hence our shared across a wide swaths of the political spectrum. When present Trump came in here. I've had a well not invented here perspective. If President Obama concluded this, it must be the wrong approach I'm the deal maker, I'm gonna make a better deal. So, instead of building on that is the foundation he ripped it up and in ripping it up and going back to maximum pressure approach. First of neither does the isolated the United States from that coalition, even made us the bad guy and then IRAN as it started suffering. It from sanctions again, which have been quite crippling started. Look for ways to fine leverage and they found that through provocation, so first they started attacking tanker.
then they shot down a drone Now they did a really audacious attack against the saudi whale facilities and who knows what's next, and so we have lost deterrence with IRAN and now the press he's really in a bind now, because, if he doesn't respond, is so double blow the EU s credibility, given all the tough talk and it might emboldened IRAN if he does respond, he risks further escalation, and that could not only involve more attacks on Saturday Oil, which could also heard us her global economic stability, but they could decide. Taking potshots at Americans in Iraq. or embassies in the region. So this is a Billy, dire situation that he's gotten himself into. I understand that you were offered a position in the Trump administration, but didn't take it saying that would violate your sense of values. Is that true? So far I am
as you can tell not aligned with his administration, and I could not Imagine myself serving this president and there when many points that that has been reinforced So I understand that in and respected, but I also want to ask you and you're a Democrat but took Hegel is Republican who served under democratic President bravoes on a partisan issue ripen. I am curious to hear you big so knowledgeably across the portfolio of issues here, whether you think, maybe even just in retrospect, that well better to be fighting for what you think is the right one. From the inside then being on the sidelines and seeing so many moves that you think are really ill advised and will have long term ramifications The only reason I considered the offer in the first place it was because it was from James Madison I have the utmost respect for
someone who served out of a sense of duty, but when you are a political appointee, you can't be wondering every day do I stayed my vote is today the day I have to resign on principle, I mean that's like being in a hamlet on the Potomac. Just wasn't ready to sign up for that. Technology has been an enormous friend of the. U S, indifference over the last, If three hundred years we ve been a leader and innovations, they dramatically change warfare in in our favour, I wonder if you could riff on the future of war, because it seems like with the drone attacks is just the tip of the eye Burg. That things like miniaturization and decreasing costs have democratize the ability of individuals. Rogue nations decree harm on powerful countries. You are
so we ride in that a lot of the most critical technologies for the future of warfare are. affrighting they're going to be in the hands of many not just hours so, for example, through reach chinese military doctrine. They talk about their opening south spinning cyber attacks against critical interest, sure in the United States to keep our military from leaving their home bases and attacks in Spain. to blind us to keep us from community being from navigating from seeing from processing and they hope that that will stop us their tracks or by them enough time to create a fait accompli in Taiwan or the South China sphere. Where have you so they want to actually confront the United States Navy, for goodness sake they want, is never to be able to fully get. Our four is there, and so there thinking about very different means and
The most important thing that we need to be doing investing here at home, science technology, research and development, twenty first century infrastructure, but you know five g quantum computing. All of that too, talent. Stem talent acts this higher education. You need the things that economists talk about all the time. That's how we compete. That is how we set ourselves up to continue. The lead in the future- and my biggest worry- is that our domestic distraction is keeping us from attending to those credit oh priorities, so the moral of the story is people should pay more attention to. Economists, absolutely stop about all this foreign policy stuff. I do have to say, though, what we ve been talking about tonight is thoroughly depressing to me, because we basically-
Learn that you know economic sanctions, dont work and often backfire. We ve learned that invasions have huge cost. We ve learned that non intervention can have huge costs. Why did you choose this? line of work. I'm not joking. I really what brought you to want to wrestle with problems that, by the time they get to your desk or almost inherently unsolvable. I came into the field at the height of the nuclear Sabre rattling, the very end of the cold war with Reagan, and over chess before they ended up at Reykjavik nuclear arms race in my time, was the in the sort of climate change kind of existential threat of the day that if we didn't solve this problem, into the business of arms control. We weren't gonna be around to solve anything else. That's what drew
and I've been suffering errors. So would you say you're an existentialist, then actually an optimist. I really am an optimist, because, even though we go through these very difficult periods denies it's in a we are Phoenix like as a country were good and leaving it to the last minute, but we usually do right. from the ashes and make good choices and figure how to get on the right path? So I have tremendous faith in the mirror. people when we are our best selves and When I have to that's what keeps me go, I have to say I approached tonight's show with a bit of trepidation foreign policy. A nation building are not the sort of topics we usually cover on this programme, but I feel oh we're, leaving snake with a little bit better understanding of and a greater appreciation for the people who do this hardware
every day. So to that end I would like to thank all our guest Michel, Flournoy and Chuck Haider Robert and thanks to Steve Levin and W B, easy here in Chicago and most of all, thank you for listening to sneak in every week to economics, radio good night coming next time and for economic radio. Nineteen fifteen in America abolished it because they viewed. It is kind of a social pressure way to extort money today. That Extortion is called tipping and still alive and well some people like it some heat it just about everyone agrees. It can be confusing. Everybody leaves a tip any full service. Restaurant
but it leaves a tip when they go to Mcdonald's. So let's go to the data. We look at what happened when Goober added a tipping option. The ball. of the reasons why a driver will get kept outside of their control and we ask restaurant impresario, Danny Meyer. What he's learn, trying to remove tipping from his restaurants, but I think the biggest we ve learned is that this is really tough but next time on financed radio programme, its radios produced by sticker and W productions. This episode was created in partnership with W, be easy and was produced by Zack Le Pen scheme, with lots of help from Allison Craig low red ribbon Huggins incurring Wallace. Our staff also includes met Hickey and Daphne Chen are in turn, is Ben shaman. Our theme song, Mr Ford,
was originally recorded by the hitchhikers of libraries, and you heard in this episode was performed by Luis Gara and the Phenomena radio orchestra, all the other music was composed by Luis. You can subscribe to freedom, a treaty on Apple POD castle, where ever you get your pocket, The entire archived is available on the sticker, app for free economics, dot com, where we also publish transcripts and show notes, if you like to hear our entire archive without ads, along with lots of bonus episodes, though to stick your premium dot com, slash for economics we also published every week on medium, a short text. Version of our new episode go to medium dotcom, slash Economics, radio. We can also be found on Twitter and Facebook linked in or even by email, radio at for economics that come drop us no tone we're doing freedoms. Radio also plays on many NPR stations check your local station for details. If they don't carry, it call them up yell at them. As always. Thank you for listening.
Transcript generated on 2021-01-18.