« Freakonomics Radio

414. Will Covid-19 Spark a Cold War (or Worse) With China?

2020-04-23 | 🔗

The U.S. spent the past few decades waiting for China to act like the global citizen it said it wanted to be. The waiting may be over.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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economics, radio sponsored by the alliance for lifetime income, don't just plan to retire plan to live words to live by in retirement, and loss if he echoed by the alliance for lifetime income, which is committed to educating Americans on the importance of adding protected lifetime income from an annuity to their retirement portfolios, annuities cover your were essential monthly expenses, so that you have the freedom to pay. To those exciting things you ve always wanted to do in retirement, so protect your income with an annuity and plan to live, see how that protected income that work The question is in terms of global, economic damage, global loss of life, global d, corruption. What sort of responsibility it is China have for the spread of? nineteen and on what grounds Michel it start with you. I think it's very clear that it
came from the sorcerer another in war on and it gets very clear, the chinese government sought to suppress, that information earlier on even punishing people like doctors who are trying to make it known and that handling of the early, Isis significantly increased the global impact, issues and the price that every other country of the world is going to pay in lives and in livelihood in economic terms, Michael, same question, but really what I want to get too with both of you is. Should China pay forgiven, keen and if so, how We should be realistic. It's not going to pay, there's different types of payment by the way. If you're talkin about monetary payment, it's not ever going to pay monetarily internal mechanisms to make it pay should have paid politically. Should it pay reputational should pay in a moral sense. I think the answer to all of that is yes Michel, for knowing
runs a strategic advisory firm, called West exec? She is a once and perhaps future government official in my her life. I was the under SEC, trade defence for policy in the Pentagon, and in the Obama administration and in that a I dealt with the full range of policy issues, Including- U S, China, relations, Michael offline, is an a whose forthcoming book is called Asians. New geopolitics a distinguished research fellow at the Hoover institution at Stanford and before that was a professor at Yale, and I hate to force Give you to reduce yourself to a label, but if you had to categorize yourself on the China HAWK Dove Spectrum where do you stand a clear, eyed, pragmatist I see the challenges and threats pretty clear. But I also am willing to work serious. Where is in our interest to cooperate? Another
I know how come Assisi p hawk. I just that we understand the nature of the Communist Party in that it is adversarial to the values and systems that we cherish. I would agree with the importance of was in assessing the communist parties, intentions and actions, but I also think there are areas where it is in our interests to find ways to collaborate and ideally finding ways to actually make progress together, Michael to the notion of collaboration. Do you say well sure that would be nice? Let's try are more likely to say well not in this lifetime with them more. I think the question isn't do we want to collaborate with China? We ve made that clear for half a century now. The question is: to what degree do they want to collaborate with us and and things that that we care about not just that they care about think. The evidence is increasingly clear that they are far lessons stood in collaborating with us than we had hoped and that's one.
Is an machine I aren't sitting next to each other doing this. Over the past several weeks, we have focused our episodes on some of the most pressing and most concrete proof. Items of the covered nineteen pandemic, the masses economic damage and have a? U S. Government is trying to address it. The strain on the food supply chain the ethics of russian medical care, today we're taking a step back, to look at an issue that may seem less pressing, but could wind up substantially reshaping our future? That is the relations between the: U S and China that release ship has always been eventful, but covered. Nineteen has amplified things before the in we were friend, amused at best. We were all in a trade war in some China experts, think this event could push us into a cold war? Perhaps you something warmer than that President Trump has taken complementing China for its aggressive handling of the crisis internally and then, when his own Corbett response
been criticized. Parading China for failing to stop the spread He also announced a plan to stop funding the World Health Organization over what he called mismanaging and covering up China's failures had the devil, hey Joe done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out this lack of transparency? The outbreak could have been gained at its source with very little death this week. Missouri became the first. U S state to sue China for covered nineteen damages its the kind of loss. It was not likely to go anywhere still a lot of people who probably don't route Can we give much thought to the? U S chain relationship Think about it. A lot lately, especially as we learn just how much of the? U S. Supply chain lies in China, especially the supply chain for medical equipment, and this partially explains why we are.
Sperience. Such vast shortages in basics like face masks and chemicals. You did to create millions of covert testing kids so today on frequent radio, how Did the? U S China relationship get to where it is today. What happens next and is covered Eighteen, the last straw. In U S, China, relations from stature and Gunnar productions. This is Reaganomics. Radio broadcasts explores the inside of everything. Here's your home, Stephen definite We recorded this conversation with Michel Flournoy and make ozland on Friday April. Seventeenth they were
their respective homes near Washington DC mine in York City. So as with most interviews during this era, you'll have to forgive any dog sorting door, slams or random buzzing noise on the day we spoke New York state would have five hundred and forty new covert deaths, its lowest total, believe it or not. Since people first, a few days earlier, New York City had past ten thousand covert deaths. The? U S. Total is now above forty thousand on the day. Spoke. It had been thirty five days since President Trump declared a national emergency, thirty seven days and the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic in one hundred and eight days since authority, in war. On first reported in pneumonia outbreak caused by a puzzling new virus I asked Michael Arslan and Michel Florence to begin by assessing the chinese response to covered nineteen. Why think it's hard?
to make an assessment on how China and Beijing in particular, is handled the covert crisis because of the latter of transparency and information is increase. We accepted now. The evidence is starting to come out. The degree to which the party state covered up it. Knowledge of the crisis, the severity of the crisis, the actions it took. The house, arrests of doctors, intellectuals, businessmen, who tried to warn about this We know now that in the beginning of January, what is This document number three went out to researchers. Two to ordering them to destroy samples of Ireland? nickel samples or send them to central Report the Tories. That information is coming from, where Michael from sources New Tang dynasty. These are taiwanese Hong Kong and opposition mainland new sources, and if you look at today's Europe,
run document number three: they had pictures of the document that one out given We live in an age of information and disinformation and especially given that the majority of the American press Corps has just been expelled from China New York Times, Wall Street Journal Washington Post. I am curious when there's report from opposition in China about a document like this. How viable. We might want to consider it. This is a very good question. I would say that the here that an outfit like New Tang dynasty doesn't have an agenda would be naive. Which they have an agenda. They were opposed to the regime, but they also have a track record of bringing information that we haven't found in other places in this is information by the way that the chinese people who try to get out, and we need to make a very clear distinction, of course, between the people and the government. Then what we saw early on was Beijing's concern. Not with reforming its own people of the world about the crisis,
but rather with clamping down and controlling social media, so that the information, he could not get out so there have been subsequent rumor, they encounter rumours and charges encountered, charges that the outbreak was either not an accident that there was a lab- research from which it may have escaped. There were rumours the? U S, military, bring it in these he's athletic competition. So I would like it is just your best thinking on that series of of just encounter charges, so What the science points to so far is a disease that came bats that were either in the wet market and on or being used, as you know, test animals in the laboratory? It does not here to be man made. It certainly did not come from the: U S military! I mean that was a complete effort in Otis
point the finger in another direction by a chinese Foreign Ministry official in its has no bids? in reality whatsoever, the question is: did it come from the bats in the lab or in the market, and you know there's both. Intelligence, inquiry and scientific inquiry to try to figure that out. We may never know we had a report just the other day the? U s not only helped fund part of that lab, but there State Department, visitors at the lab several years ago, warned about the lack security. So I think the pieces are together, where it's no longer crazy, to suggest that it came from but, as Michel points out, this was highly unlikely. You have been a bio weapon, highly unlikely to have been deliberately released. I do think that data in China, the number of cases and deaths attributed to covered, aren't gonna get worse. I think The Chinese have already admitted that there adjusting their covered case numbers up, because many people
in home and work unnecessary, captured in the medical or hospital data and to be fair, the exam same thing, happened in New York City within the last few days. Right sure. Yes, I mean it the data that we are seeing now everywhere is going to get worse because we had a full picture of the disease. Yet, just yesterday the guy, revised upwards by forty percent. The number that's an will hunt, but people in one hand themselves for the past month have been used: crowd sourcing by looking at crematoria activity, the number of people picking up earns of deceased family members to come up with a way ITALY accepted figure of forty five to four seven thousand, who died and will haunt alone woe that's more than ten acts. What we ve been told, the aid is definitely more than ten acts. There was unquestionably a cover up in war on, because the parties it did not want the world to know how bad this was more important. Lee, though, is that Beijing new in
early January that this disease This was transmitted human to human. Bad is the key marker. They did informed the w h, oh as they were legally bound to do under the international health regulations which they signed, they did not tell their own people they. Let people travel they did not inform the world that health care providers we're getting sick, which is the way you know that it's transmitted initially between people. This is what caused the global dynamic, a chinese researcher at the University of Southampton, and Britain with a team, calculated that, if the party had acted, just three weeks earlier in a period when we know that he knew about this, to shut down travel and warn the world. Ninety five percent of this could have been avoided, but Michael, I gather from but you ve written in the past, that you're not surprise at those choices, were made. Correct transport She is the enemy of the Communist Party. It always has been. We know that It was the regime
and we know the nature of communist regimes in general and so should respect that. We saw this in two thousand three in fact, ironically the World Health well in two thousand three that discovered that the pretty state was lying about the Sars epidemic. It didn't two thousand each Sichuan earthquake. It's done it over and over and so a certain point. I think we now to ask ourselves when we begin giving the party the respect of actually dealing with it as it is and as it tells us, it wants to be, as opposed to the party that we hope to be a little bit like waiting for Godot in their present form, would you characterize. The trump administrations China, policy, pre, covert. Nineteen, why think Trump inherited as well as shaped a funding little change in: U S, China!
missions that began during the Obama administration and was shared across the political isles, but from different perspectives on the demo had excited long term concerns about trade on the Republic inside long term concerns about security, but I think by the twenty sixth campaign. It was clear that the first air of? U S, China relations than one that began with the normalization of relations in one. Seventy nine was really at an end and that the hopes and expectations that we had for the type of both partner, as well as international actor, that Beijing was going, become more, not realised, and therefore there there's going to be a reassessment now the particular way the Trump did it was. Done his own long, actually very long standing interest about trade in his concerns about fair trade. First free trade war. It was in a sense was a great fusion. It was a few ten of positions on economics and trade
security issues on the propaganda and influence issues and it snowboard into something that I think most people in Washington didn't anticipate and in part because they didn't take. From too seriously. Even after he was elected, actually agree with almost everything Michael said in describing the change. I would just that there's a lot of by partisan consensus on the China problem and the nature of the problem. I think, where there has been debate, is over how it's been handled and Many people have criticised jump administration for being quite transit sure and tactical in its to China, quite bilateral, not reaching our allies and partners who have shared interests with us and who had some of the same issues, will China not leveraging the power of a coalition in confronting China, and some of these issues has the covert pandemics
if and weakened, or does muddled the nature of that by partisan consensus. I think it has complicated it, but mainly because the president is now trying to sort of blame chinese in a poor actions, bad behaviour falsifying data, not sharing data, coming up with crazy concern. Heresy theories explaining where the virus came from and pointing finger outside of Beijing or move on There's a lot of clouding of the issue. The truth is the fact we have not found a way to cooperate in a global pandemic. Is goin to set back the relationship even further, with talk a bit now about China, as a global citizen, Michel I'd like you to tell us how Review of China has evolved over the past fifteen or twenty
There is from your first kind of deep experience, observing trying to collaborate with the chinese state. To your recognition of how Beijing wasn't living up to american expectations in and how that's changed. Your views. Don't say that the ninety nine days and through the first decade of the two thousands China would come. Two dialogues with the United States or international fora and say, look we're just a developing country, we're trying to bring billions of people out of poverty, so their limbs So what we can do as international good citizen, an I worry about us. Yes were rising power, but we ve got all these things to deal with at home. We're not gonna hurt anybody were not aggressive. You know you don't worry about us. They certainly did present themselves as a technology competitor and they weren't one seriously at that point. So they were in this posture which we ve come to call
goodbye, hide your true intentions and aspirations to be a global power to take on the United States as a competitor and by your time, weight tell China is stronger and more ready before you sort of pull away the mass and show your true intentions? Well, the arrival of President she soon after as he consolidated power was moment where the mask finally fell and He began taking much more assert aggressive actions in everything from tested areas of the South China Sea, too trade and technology and so forth, and this is too Michael's point. I think The dropping of the mask really occurred in the second Obama term in a way it was undeniable, but on the economic front at least scenario I realize neither of you are a and that's fine, but when you talk about hide in bide, it could almost
the? U S is kind of distant absent observer, but in fact we we are very much a collaborator in this economic immersion by basically offshoring a great deal of our manufacturing there and really helping China on the world market. In that way, how could that have been part of hide, and by that I mean it's hard for me to imagine that it could have been any more obvious. Really. There is a belief in both democratic and republican administrations, that the name The game was integrating China into the global economy. Remember the and it state sponsored their membership in the World Trade Organisation and that by doing so by a sort of fully integrating them, we would change their incentive structure and they would have the incentive to become what Bob Zoellick called a responsible stakeholder in the international economy and the system. More broadly, by adding China to the W g o that is Zella
two thousand one. He was you as trade representative under George W Bush. We strengthen the organization by further integrating China's one two billion people, and why trillion dollar economy into the world market network. This step represents great progress for China. The W Tito in the world trading system was agreed. Erie and we all bonnet and we all worked really hard to bring it about, and it didn't work and do you think the chinese is were laughing when they made that agreement under those terms, if they were laughing here we can treat even the Communist Party, as a complete monolith there were in debates in Beijing between people who thought that that path was actually a good one for me and then others. You wanted to take a more nationalist and service posture
There were reasons to hope that this approach, which we saw very much from our own sets of interest in our own set of values, would carry out the way we wanted. But there's two problems with it that I We should blame ourselves for first, we didn't do or do Dillon along the way. Was China living up to the promises it made? Was it evolving in a way that would just Five! The continuation Then policy we didn't do that number one and number two in here is where it is really a purely domestic issue of a split, I think, between the heartless in the end, the coasts or those who are more globalists, an orientation than those were not. We didn't stop think? What does it mean to offshore and hollow out so many american industries in the nineteen eightys? We had thirty producers of antibiotics in this country today we have none and you can go through industry after industry, and this in what we didn't say was: yes, of course, we're getting better, can
prices and were creating efficiencies. But what said do at home? You asked about China, where they laughing all the way to the bank. Honestly, I think if they want laughing, they were probably amazed because you eat, you just have to think They could never have imagined. We would help them. The degree that we did, which benefited sums actors of our society, but clearly not others. Ok, but where did this african assumption come from, was it just wishful thinking? Was there some historical precedent, our assumption, based on postwar you Germany. Postwar Asia Japan and throughout the cold war period was that, as trees modernize as they integrate with a global economy. You ways, or at least very often see liberalization, you see the growth of a middle class that identifies itself in certain understandable ways. This is our modernization thesis and, in some ways of
The China today is nowhere near the China of Mouth, but did the knee Sure the regime change did the nature of its goals for China change. The answer was no, and certainly I We could have made that determination after nineteen eighty nine and era tienanmen. Instead, we doubled down. There is an argument to be made here for what the economist Robert Schiller calls narrative economics. He does. I as a compliment. Schiller's point is: stories are dramatic and even when the story goes sideways, we tend to keep believing it at least the main plot. The? U S China story of the past several decades got off to a very dramatic start, rather an excellent departure for China, South law on seventeen February nine. Seventy two Nixon describing a peaceful way forward, for the two would be enemies. We must recognise that the government of the People's Republic
China and the government of the United States have had great differences. We will have differences in the future, but what we must do is to find a way to see that we can have differences without being an amazing war. The first couple decades of this day, taught were exhilarating and the optimism easily carried over into the ninety nine days and early two thousands or China liberalisers its economy and more It will never the potential of its people, their initiative, their imagination, their remarkable spirit of enterprise. Other changes have occurred in China in the last thirty years and I believe equally dramatic changes lie ahead and the United States would be a steady partner in China historic transition towards greater prosperity and greater freedom and the
optimism carried over into Obama's first term. I believe in a future where China is a strong, prosperous and successful member of the community of nations, a future when our nations are partners out of necessity, but also opportunity, but then, as Michel Flournoy put it earlier, the mask began to slip the story. How much more complicated. But, despite the obvious difficulties, we haven't given this enough time or we haven't execute China's story, but our story to yeah What I'm observed in policy, the king discussions is when you have a point see that has then it's centrepiece for the United States and has been adopted and executed across multiple administration there's a huge amount of investment and attachment to that. I see, and so, as you start to get information that may be, would cause
a question it. If you were an objective observer, they hadn't been years and years of buying and development you might dismissed didn't say: well, that's anomalous, or you know we haven't in this next time or we haven't it as well as we should have a have a name for this too. It's called the sunk cost I will see policy decisions are made all the time based on some costs. Three people get very very attached, but for now I says there was a second big problem, the same thing is. I think we tend to overestimate our ability to change other countries to change the decision, making calculus other regimes, even ones that look nothing like our own, and I think, those two things combined in this case too I've, policymakers across administrations, maybe
underestimate the degree to which the policy wasn't working and hang onto it for longer. Looking back, though, there was plenty of evidence that China's behaviour, fundamentally changing all aspects, the area I know best riches, China's behaviour in the defence and security wrong. So we start and seeing shame promises. For example, China was using landfill to create what it called islands in the US, China Sea. Promise was made again and again, we will not military. As these, you have nothing to worry about, you're, getting wet I too concerned about this United States back off sure enough within a couple of years, they were putting knowledge. Personnel military equipment, air defence equipment and so forth. They were militarized so that was one example where it was very here that she was in a sort of
deceiving the United States. He was untruthful, got his intentions. It was a very blatant transgression of fuel or act of aggression, so I think that even people who were very supportive of china- and maybe some would argue, might events after China, even in those circles in their eyes, were opened and they realized. This is a change of Asia. This is something we have to reckon with the: U S, as, in fact, been reckoning China's aggression this week, sending warships into the disputed areas of the South China Sea to curtail chinese military activity there. Some analysts think China is taking advantage, mobile distraction over the covert pandemic to step up their activity. Still, I asked Flournoy why isn't it in China's interest to not antagonize the? U S in this way. Are there potentially greater rewards in cooperation. I think a lot of depends on. You know how is there
a period in the Obama administration, when China would sort of misbehave they break a rule be too aggressive and inaction. They would meet a wall of opposition that the, U S head, sort of constructed and that did tend to make them stepped back at least tactic for a time I think in this case she had his eye on a very different problem, which is he wanted to figure out? How am I going to thwart? U S? Power protection in the region if I want to take Taiwan some day, if I want to use force to go after one of my, Sovereignty claims undisputed disputed areas one day. How do I keep it? that it states military out and scenario taking the risk of things and things on islands that will significantly improve his. Air defence capabilities. Maybe he'd calculates that that's worth the risk so, Michael back in
In February, you wrote in the Wall Street Journal that covered nineteen won't quote bring down, the government in Beijing, but that it spread is exposing weaknesses in the communist parties hold on power and that it may so fundamentally change China's global image and, as we speak, China just reported a massive contraction of gene. P, nearly seven percent for the first quarter of two thousand twenty. This is its first cordially contraction since Beijing's reporting those numbers back in eighteen. Ninety two so tell me how significant you, feel the parties weakness really is and whether Chee himself is in danger, where I think we do have to go back. Just little burden and understand that the party of today is the party that developed in response to Sars in two thousand and three in the car, Europe and the loss of reputation
standing in China. In fact, in some way, sheeting ping himself was picked because of the parties fear that in the period after Sars. It would losing control of parts of of society, because it was seen as corrupt as inefficient as incompetent, so she's in pain was picked by the party in order to bring back it's it's true and reassert itself over civil society over government and the like, so the fear was and if you have another Sars, like epidemic in the case. It was far worse than the same income tents and venality, and basically malign actions of the party I would once again ripple through a society that had higher expectations. Now that was wealthier, that didn't expect its life style, to be up ended. We talked about the economic contraction, something like forty million jobs potentially being lost. This is what the party theirs and so the crackdown that came about
immediately once the officials began to understand the nature of this pandemic, precisely designed to avoid that their fear today as opposed to two months ago, is that the world is no longer buying thee propaganda line and the explanations. The very fact that the party was forced to revise upward the death rate will means that they know that their story is cracking than that the ways. The reason paging launched, an unprecedented global propaganda campaign In the face of this pandemic do you know getting the World Health Organisation to talk about how wonderful it had been in a giving, was actually selling defective medical equipment. When. Beijing understood. The scope of this pandemic. Orders were sent out to buy up as much p p as possible total calculation of this is now that China brought about two point
two billion pieces of protective equipment, think about two billion masks from Taiwan from Japan and from Australia for the United States. Now some of that has been re, purposed and sold back, but that propaganda campaign is is breaking down the fact that all around the world governments have returning the useless worthless medical equipment that the tests, the anti body tests, the masks, the gloves that China send or more more usually sold to them the Wall Street Journal. Or did yesterday that the masks and gloves that american companies made in China are being held up by export restrictions or This is putting the parties reputation at risk and so unfortunate. What I think you're seeing is a party that, doubling down on the proper and a doubling down on the fantastic claims you're having a party that is becoming more repressive
which has disappeared, critics public critics of the regime, prominent public intellectuals, prominent businessmen. This is already. That knows that it can't stay and the sunshine of truth to come in and then real problem for us and figuring out how to deal with it Is the Eu S going to deal with it at coming up after the break? You listening economic, radio, Stephen Governor, we'll be right back for economics, radio sponsored by the GM by Power card from capital on the world's busy, with overflowing schedules, places to go and people to see having a great right now and in the future is always part of the plan. The GM. By our card helps you earn toward a new chevaler, Buick Gm Sea or Cadillac by simply doing the things you already doing each day earn.
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How will the Corbett nineteen pandemic reshape the already testy relationship between the? U S and China, that is. The big question were asking today of a pair of China experts, Michael offline of standards, hoovering the Tunisian and Michel Flournoy, the Pentagon's former under Secretary of Defence for policy under the Obama administration, as much as the pandemic is crushed the? U S it also been a disaster for China. That was heard to say just how much and on which dimensions. Because the ruling Communist Party isn't exactly transparent. In fact, it's quite often the opposite, so you have to wonder with the government's various missteps and the UN Incidentally, economic downturn is checked, strong fisted ruler children, ping at risk of losing his grip. Think he's immediately at risk by. Revealed some real problems, some real cracks and I think the chain,
his leadership is extremely worried about the strength of the public. Push back. There saved in a number of areas. I do think that, our doubling down in trying to rewrite history. There trying to present as this highly efficient, organised competent government who took all the right actions, which again is a and a fictional account, but there's still sign that, and they are also running around the world with what I called PPP diplomas, arriving in smaller, less developed countries with equipment, assistance and so forth, and you know, U S is in part to blame here in that we have ceded largely seated the global leadership field. When you look at past crises, whether it was the financial crisis? The AIDS crisis? We abolished crisis, the? U S, there's always stepped up Republican democratic administration, always stepped up
to read and orchestrate and effective international response. We did not do that. This time we were absent without leave from the G7 leading the g, seven, the G20 organizations, and that means the field is open. Assist in China, more room to come and then try to rewrite history and play the hero, even though their mishandling of this from the beginning is what created the problem in the first place, to what degree? that failure of function of Trump himself, I think president does not think in the terms of leveraging multinational institutions and alliances and partnerships and building coalitions. He thinks it bilateral trends no way- and in this case he's been exclusively focused domestically. But what is very, clear
as its in our own interest, to be playing more of a role on the world stage, because neglecting was about to happen on the developing world in terms of the spread of the irish there. That is the most. Likely source of a second wave that comes back to an United States eventually in the big Of course, the United States, the CDC offered on January six, they believe to send it the China as we always do and aging refused at an end to this day has refused not on. The Americans are on the ground, but also a sharing the samples that either destroyed or collected. So if this had been the type of state that can deal with. As you deal with many other states, I think they're probably would have been more of that leadership I just want to stress every choice. The China made in early days of this pandemic. It's made freely no one,
forced Beijing to cover it up. No one forced into silence, whistle blowers, no one forced to mislead the World Health Organization and instead of twisting ourselves into pretzel, not trying to figure out. How do we get cooperation from Beijing? I think some of our effort should be spent trying to say why don't we work with other technologically advanced nations, that we know we can have some type of of more trusting relationship with in and see if we can come up with the vaccines. So loudly- should be going around the world looking for partners to work with, as opposed to thinking that man, Lee Beijing is going to start acting in a way that, quite frankly, it hasn't for decades and discourse, to the question of our over reliance on globalization. We don't make the masks the gloves respirators the PPP, the antibiotics, anything anymore, and I absolutely I agree that we need to take a hard look at medical and health
supply chains and sort of think about public health. More and national security terms. Bring some of those supply chains home. As I agree with the point, the? U S was not in the position to be a primary provider, distance, because we need to focus at home that said, if we had convened the g7 the G20 early, we could have brought those groups together to try to work. Trade, a response that was more equitable and fair to the global community as a whole, and that group might have pressure. China called China out on some of those actions and said: hey. We know what you're doing This has got to stop and the rest Gee. Seven did want to meet, I understand yes, yes and the G20 I mean they eventually did, but without the EU leadership role without a clear agenda without the: U S, driving towards certain agreements when we try to
in front China alone. We are not as strong as when we confront China with others alongside us who see the situation. In the same terms, what happens? if China is first to the bench and first to market with a covert vaccine. How do you see the distribution sharing of that happening? You know, I think, They will certainly have an advantage. I do think Two Michael's earlier point that some of the problematic nature equipment they ve, you know their uneven reputation, the quality of their farm products and so forth will cause people to want to test it pretty heavily first. That said, I don't know he's gonna be a single vaccine. You're gonna have multiple vaccines, multiple drugs, solutions, but let's say a good vaccine or good treatment. Comes too late in one particular country. Let's say it's a: U S! How should the? U S, about cooperating with China
when this recent history has been so fractious, Oleg Work, we to do what we always do, which is to be a global actor and we're going offered immediately to China. I have no doubt we care about global governance. Can I think that's What is so distressing about what China has done during this crisis, that it undermines global governance? The to believe in it and to have it effectively act when you there are certainly things at the: U S could have done an end should have done more. But again, if he had understood in late December or very early January, when the Chinese did that this was transmitted from human to human. I think we would have acted completely differently than the said Polly, is that such a huge part of it could have been avoided if only China, the Beijing had acted as a responsible global stakeholder which it didn't. Ok, big question really for both of you. What does come?
nineteen do overall to you as China relations are we at the beginning of a new cold war? Does the war get warmer than cold, and I do think this will accelerate trends that were already in the works, its reduced trust between the pay is its increased. Hostility on both sides and we're heading into an election season, and we already seeing presidential try to use this as a political issue of who can be done, for on China. I did want to add: Chinese failure to share information was a huge problem. We cannot build aim all the mistakes that have been made on the? U S, side. Only on that. I think this is a clear the case where we need something it into a nine eleven commission due to one This is all over to despair shortly in a bipartisan or non partisan. Fashion goes through the fact is to understand what can we attribute to China and where did we dropped
the ball, and where do we need to make changes? We have to think of public health. As a national security imperative I hear people say that up. What do you mean by that exactly that means is that we have to actually seriously invest in a robust public health infrastructure. The ability to detect monitor her trace disease early. It means looking at stockpile not only national basis regional state level basis. It means Ensuring some of the critical supply change that we ve discovered have been set the problem for us in this crisis, it means planning, exercising making sure that senior leaders have been through some simulation of this before it the first time they confronted, because the lessons learned are quite serious. If you ve, been through this I've, been through some of these exercises myself, one
is the importance of truth, telling transparency, constant and clear communication second, is someone who's accountable for running the show and not the president. I want caution against the assumption that we need a massive new government agency when we the problem in the United States? We tend to create a new organization to solve it, whereas I think it's more about correcting the efficiencies in some of the structures we have created a more coherent interagency process and really ensuring that we know who would be inexperienced, accountable, competent leader in a crisis like this. Rather than a sort of ad hoc taskforce, MIKE at the end of that wall, Street journal peace Are you warned that we shouldn't rule out a revolution in China? Some sort of revolution, at least you
so described what you could see as a hot war between the? U S and I know some time down the road. Yes, grievous with Michel that dead, unfortunately, were at a spot where I think it's going to be very hard to go back to business as usual, with China and without them, is not meant to be a blame game oral finger, pointing in any way, but I would just that there were always voices that were more sceptical, but they were often disregarded, and I think we would have been better served if we had incorporated some voices that questioned the path we were on with China before this, so that we I've had a more balanced document. Democrats and Republicans because we ve, certainly cycled through administrations, are certainly been plenty of republican administrations that had a shot at right. You know it is really internal, avoid putting it into the you know. Media got your terms, but I bet, I think, those who, in general, felt that greater engagement is and unalloyed good and those
more sceptical that you have to look more too poor national interests in and so that that guy, That's too bad point, whereas, as we noted the bipartisan fusion consensus now is there at our, were really great power competition, a crank war with China. I think the real question is if China believe it's in a cold war without because we ve spent fifty years doing everything we can to integrated, and so the question thus China relations going forward really comes down to what do we do? It goes to the sum the debates that we ve been having over the past three years over five g. And ran away allowing China Unrestricted access into our universities talking about countering its propaganda campaigns whether those are Confucius Institutes, its facebook by. Its legacy media such as global times in shit. Why? In other words, you're saying that people who accused others of being
Paranoid about China should stand down a bit, and the people who were accused of being paranoid should have some reason to feel justified, essentially, it was Henry Kissinger may have said just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get. You are. So it's how we go forward so looking forward and invoking Kissinger, let's imagine for a minute that, rather than you know, Nixon going to China to Michel Michael going to China. You know three months from now and you an audience with she and some party leadership and its your job, to start to unwind this hostility, while recognising the legitimacy of the hostility and propose a way forward. Gimme a couple very specific things: you say and were asked for. I think the thing I focus on, is the importance of re. Establishing deterrence, to be very clear, on what the United States thanks have as its core interests. China talks.
At its core interests, all the time as if their sacrosanct. We have to be much more clear about what is it we are willing to defend we away. There are the lines by then I think They have to make the necessary investments to to ensure that there absolutely no possibility that China miss judge that we have the capability, they. Two defend ourselves and to protect our interests, and that me, it's not only investing appropriately. There's another side of it that we can bring an end to the other side is telling China what we foremost investing in the drivers of american competitiveness at home, whether that's so some technology, research and development in five g, artificial, intelligence, Quantum, completing, etc investing in twenty first century infrastructure, region resting in access to higher stamp education, smart immigration policy, where we attract
the best minds the world and we actually keep them. So why are we didn't? Have Silicon Valley, without the best, in the brightest coming from around the world to start their companies here. I mean we're fantastic, rising to a moment of Christ were opportunity. This is a moon shot moment. This is a time for us to do what we do well and step up: ok, Michael your turn was Stephen First year you're presuming that I would get a visa to China, I'm sure Michelle would. I died, think she would be going and representing the two of us, I first, I agree with with anything. She said, but I think then there's a another side of it that we can bring an end to the other side is telling China what we are going. Do than theirs different policy options. I think one is that we tell China, going to add an asterisk after its name. Now just the way we do. You know, after information that can't be
leave for sure I think needs to know that we are not going to base policy on It tells us we're going to add at a minimum, try to do what Reagan said, which was trust but verify, but in this case maybe not trust and verify, because we have in misled about cyber hacking, we ve been misled about the South China Sea Islands misled about cove it all of it. So number one is to make clear that we're not anymore taking, face value, what it says it has to re or trust. That's number one number two is to decide and then tell China that we're going to die, opt either a zero tolerance which is little hard, but maybe more to strike rule which is you get, one pass in the end, if the action happens again, then. Action will be taken because what we ve never done throughout this entire relationship has really been billing to impose costs were broken. Promises are bad behaviour in and then third, maybe, most importantly, is to make
Clear to Beijing that we are going to expect reciprocity, and I've heard people say that that that bad because that means working to become like China we're gonna act like them. That's not what it means it all right, prosody means not that we become like China, but that we demand equal treatment. That wind. It kicks out our press that it's not going to have on a press access here hey? Don't allow our american cultural centres on their campuses. We shouldn't allow unfettered, can just institutes, academic access, our students can only go to limited numbers. A programme their students can go anywhere. The point is not to punish China. The point is to make clear that relationships must always be to waste. Its envoy, if I'm going it's not to say we're throwing down the gauntlet- and this is now a purely adversarial relationship- is to say in many ways were going to start acting. First of all, protect our interests, but secondly, in ways that you ve been acting.
Then, hopefully that will allow us to come to a better point at the end of the road and how do you each expect? Your message to peat received I think. Initially, the chinese leadership would probably not I'm still here strong statements about our ability to deter and defend our interests and so forth, but I think it's very important communicate them? Clearly, I also think that it is. The trip would be more successful if we had done our homework first and really brow along the allies and partners, particularly democratic eyes and partners who share our interests and our concerns about chinese behaviour. Michael, I think, though, hate it, but that's ok again, The point is not to become friends with China. We ve already learned trying to become friendly, doesn't get us very far. The point is to create a week, working relationship that is very clearly defined, and I,
certainly agree with Michel on bringing along friends and partners and allies look Asia. The lot bigger than just China, and we ve allowed China to define the Indo Pacific for us as China. It's an enormous area. There is India. There's Taiwan, there's Japan. Let me ask a question about straight up political outcomes which, with I think you guys have both in a really nice job of pretty much avoiding the strait of politics but Michel. It said that you were a likely pick. First, secretary of Defence had Hillary Clinton one in twenty. Sixteen is also being said now that you are a likely pick for certain A defensive Biden were to win in November. So I'd like you to answer this question. First, how would you describe the differences in the Wes train relationships, starting in early twenty twenty one in a SEC, Trump term verses, First Biden term per year, premise, aside I think there is a huge difference. I think
jumped administration wins a second term you're goin see the same, which is very tactical, transactional approach, an inconsistent approach, one that sort of weaves between and you know one day, I'm having the friendliest call in the world with my buddy president. She and then Stay blasting him in the media were imposing additional tariffs and so forth. I think indeed see in a vitamin a is first of all evaluating of expertise. Bringing the end of the best experts and the relevant issues to the table I think you'd have a very deliberative process to really look. At our China strategy in all of its pensions and also taken-
to the important areas of investment here at home in that's gonna, be even more necessary in the wake of this pandemic. So I thank you. Bring all the different elements of power together, diplomacy, defence development, towards taking on in a more clear eyed approach to China. Thank you. Michael, which would you see, would offer a better China policy Second Trump term or by in turn, and why? What? First? Let me be clear that, if Shell is secretary of defence and very happy to surface her assistant secretary for and the Pacific to make sure that gets under the recording? Look. I think one of the great it's about american foreign policy for most of them trees. History has been hit by partisan. Nature, you know we're all old enough to have grown up under the saying that politics stops at the water s edge, and I certainly would like to see us go back to that
in some ways tokay to be transactional with China. I don't like being transactional with allies, but China has been transactional with us. I think you have. Seen some excellent talent in the the first term of this administration, but, quite frankly, are bench really Isn't all that deep We don't do what we did in the cold war, which was to develop through area studies an incredibly deep reservoir of peace. Who, in this case no China inside and out as much as possible for someone who's not born and raised in lives there. So all of I think, are working to some degree at a disadvantage and, of course, I know how hard the job is it its relentless. So I think that in the company. If there is a second one, it's going be trying to reach out and bring in more people who put in, did not serve yet, and I think in the by administration, it will be interesting. Will there be
new talent, is it simply going to be people from the Clinton administration and the Obama administration, or will it be some new talent and new voices? Because all of us, I think, have to develop. A new generation and new cadre of China, specialists to deal with Second era of yours, China, relations which were in and which is not like the first one. You know The one thing I would add is evil as we are more clear, eyed in our approach to China There are areas where we have to sit down and have a more care this conversation about how we prevent the worst. A space on misunderstandings about each other and I'll, give you an example. China his military doctrine, they think they're. Gonna. Stop? U S, power project and by massive attacks. Cyber attacks on our critical infrastructure
and in space, and they think that will just stop things. When you think about that, if she take down the hill trickle Gretta around a military base, probably also going to shut down electricity going to hospitals? American? going to die when Die in a chinese cyber attacks against the United States, a precedent is going to feel, obligated to respond the Chinese. Don't understand that we need to have some dialogues that make them understand that and a try, to take some of the more dangerous scenarios off the by mutual agreement, thanks to Michel Flournoy and to Michael offline. For this conversation, I hope you learned much from it, as I did we'll be back next week until then take care of yourself He can someone else to economics radios produced by sticker,
W productions. This episode was produced by Daphne Chen. Our staff also includes Allison Craig Low Gregg ribbon. Vaclav Pinky met Hicks. Harry Huggins and Cornwallis are in turn, is Isabel, o Brien. We had helped this week from James Foster. Our theme song is MR fortune by hitchhikers The other music was composed by Luis Gara. You can get free economic trading on any podcast up. If you want the entire back catalogue, use the stitched up or go to for economics, dot com. We can be reached at radio at freak. Anaemic start come also on April. Twenty fifth and twenty six through economic renewal is taking part in part. A polluter virtual podcast festival, to raise money for covered nineteen relief. All the money goes to give directly a non provide one thousand our payments, the families hit hardest by covered nineteen, you can buy a ticket at pee, EL, the aid, dot, org and you'll get access to a special podcast. Can That'll feature episodes from more than one
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Transcript generated on 2020-05-01.