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John Negroponte: A conversation on leadership and foreign policy

February 27, 2014 1:19:49
Kaltura Video

John Negroponte discusses what makes a good leader and the lessons learned from successes and failures in national security and foreign policy. February, 2014.


>> Good afternoon and welcome.  Welcome to everybody who are wearing suits and ties today or just t-shirts.  I'm Richard Boucher.  I'm the Towsley Foundation Policy Maker and residence here at the Ford School.  Before I introduce our speakers, I want to acknowledge the hard work and excellent preparations of Professor Al Stam, director of the Ford School's International Policy Center, and Theo Rowe for her work in planning the event.  Thank you very much.  You all know me here, I'm trying to masquerade as a professor but my first admission is that I'm one of these guys.  I'm a career diplomat that was turned into a teacher--trying to turn into a teacher.  They've done it successfully already.  But let me introduce them.  Mel Levitsky, many of you know, he's a Michigan grad who became a senior leader in the US Foreign Service.  He was executive secretary of the state department running all of those little guys down below.  He was US ambassador in Bulgaria and Brazil.  He was the head of what affectionately call Drugs and Thugs which was the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement which comes with its own small air force.  Now, he's in his second career, translating all that experience into knowledge for you here at the Ford School as he's done previously in Syracuse.  So Mel is with us here all the time and I'm proud to be among his colleagues again.  John Negroponte, our main guest today is one of America's most accomplished diplomats.  He served 37 years in the Foreign Service including early days in Vietnam before some others of us in college were out demonstrating against the war.  He was confirmed I think, eight times by the Senate if I did the math right.  And he represented the United States as ambassador in five different countries, in Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, Iraq, and New York, the United Nations.  He went on to become director of National Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of State making all of his career officials both envious and proud.  And now, he works in Washington for the McCarthy Group and he teaches at a university in New Haven that has a four letter name.  John's experience distinguishes him from the rest of us.  He's demonstrated leadership over and over again in all these jobs and the service of our country of presidents of both parties and secretary of states, secretaries of state of both parties.  Now, all of us have served in some difficult and even controversial situation.  I'm glad he's here to reflect on that experience.  I've worked for both of these guys.  I look forward to hearing the conversation about leadership between these two most excellent American diplomats.  And I'd like to remind all of you in the audience that if you have a question for Ambassador Negroponte or for Ambassador Levitsky, please write it on one of the cards, pass that at the entrance, Ford School volunteers will begin collecting cards at around 5 p.m. and our students [inaudible], sorry, will read your questions.  If you're watching online, you could submit your question via Twitter and use the hashtag Ford Policy Union that's all [inaudible].  I suppose if you're watching the audience, you can tweet the question too.  Anyway, John and Mel, the floor is yours.  Please.
>> Thank you, thank you.
[ Applause ]
[ Inaudible Remarks & Applause ]
>> Sit over on that side, yeah.
[ Applause ]
Now, let's see if we're--oh, we're wired OK?  [inaudible].
>> I think so.
>> Yeah.  So I have my David Frost clipboard.  That's not [phonetic] Nixon, OK.  So today, we're going to have--
>> Marni Nixon [assumed spelling].
>> OK, I do too, up to a certain point.  Today, we're going to talk about leadership informed policy.  One of the things that's important to most schools of public policy is what constitutes good leadership, and certainly important in government but across the board in terms of non-governmental organizations, international organizations, business organizations.  So we're going to talk about this a little bit and we'll have a free flowing conversation which will, as we talk we'll get into some subjects that had current relevance as well.  But, you know, John and I have been colleagues for a long time and he's had such a long distinguished career.  We can't pass up his comments on some of these challenging assignments that he have and give us some insight into the decision-making process, into the leadership that went into book [phonetic] that he exerted and how he observed presidents and secretaries of state.
^M00:10:03 John has known presidents and secretaries of state dating from the Nixon Administration.  So we we'll use that opportunity.  So the first thing, John, I'd like to ask you is a general question.  When you think of the concept for leadership, what qualities do you think of?  What defines a good leadership?  What defines good leaders?  And thank you, by the way thank you very much.
>> Yeah.  Well, it's my pleasure to be here.  Thank you for inviting me.  And I welcome this opportunity to be interviewed by you Mel and to have an exchange with the audience.  What defines good leaders?  Some leaders or potential leaders don't ever get that opportunity.  In a way, leadership is sort of the baptism by fire it seems to me.  I mean, how would we have ever found out that Lincoln was a good leader if it hadn't been for the Civil War or Franklin Roosevelt had not been for the advent of the Depression, or the Second World War?  So it seems to me that history plays a role in all of this.  And I suppose to my way of thinking as I look at American history anyway and keep that universe of leadership to people from our country, it's people who are able to respond with calm, collectedly, and with a sense of direction in the phase of very adverse circumstances.  It seems to me that that would become my shorthand destination of leadership.
>> So, what about knowledge?  What about ideology or strongly held ideas?  What about flexibility, which is a different kind of quality as well?
>> Yeah.  All right.  Well, so now you think of presidents and secretaries of states--
>> Exactly, and I think in a way, you get into different categories of position of leadership.  I mean, you ask me, is there a difference between--most presidents aren't going to--no matter how much knowledge they have are probably not going to have enough knowledge to be able to deal with a variety of circumstances that they're going to confront right from the beginning.  Take the example of Mr. Obama.  He had been in the state legislature and then he barely completed a term as senator.  Then he finds himself as President of the United States.  Well, how on earth can you have enough knowledge of that, a hundred and so many countries in the world, the different alliances, the confrontations we face and so forth?  So, if you wanted to rate presidents on the basis of knowledge of foreign affairs for example when they first came into office, I guess you'd have to put at the very top of the list, George Herbert Walker Bush, I mean, in modern times because he had been director of the CIA.  He had been our representative in Beijing and he had been ambassador of the United Nations.  I mean, he was almost from a foreign policy point of view qualified to be president by competitive exam.  But that of course, that's not the way it happens.  So he was extremely knowledgeable but he also--he surrounded himself with very good people and he had a very congenial team.  And I think it's probably the best foreign policy team that we've had in our government in recent memory.  I think as you go down the ladder, I think you expect a higher level of expertise.  By the time you get down to the level, say, of an ambassador, sure, you have a big embassy, let's say you're named ambassador to China or to Russia.  You have a big embassy in Iran and you obviously have to have a modicum [phonetic] of managerial capabilities.  But to my way of thinking, if you're going to go to one of those critical posts, you really ought to have a deep knowledge of the society and the culture and hopefully language of the country to which you're being chosen to represent the United States.  So, it varies a little bit from the position.
>> I want to interject here a recent example of this, which I think is a really bad example of choosing personnel.  The recent appointees to go to Argentina and Norway--
>> Right.
>> --who testified and knew nothing about either country.
>> Right.
>> They were of course political appointees so they had, you know, that old thing about I can pick up the phone and call the president, which is kind of a myth I think.
>> But it's not really true.
>> Usually not really true.  [inaudible] I mean, as I remember could do that.  But with [inaudible] but very few could do that.  So I think that's a good point.  I want to ask you a very specific question and I don't mean to be partisan or favorable toward one of the other in any way but, you know, President Carter for example had a very strong influence in Foreign Affairs.  Human Rights became a much more solid part of our Foreign Policy and he had Camp David.  And President Reagan did a lot when he had Iran country [phonetic] and yet--and certainly couldn't have been depicted as someone very knowledgeable of Foreign Affairs when he came into office.  So, why do we--was it generally considered that Reagan was a god leader and Carter was not?  What's the deal here?
>> You know, what's the deal?  Well of course, one of the deals is that I guess we can agree when it comes to politicians at that level, the electorate passes judgment in and of itself.  And of course, Mr. Carter was defeated in his bid to win a second term.  I would agree with you that he--I think that Camp David Accords were a major accomplishment in American Foreign Policy.  But on the other hand, at the very end of his administration, he was completely unable to cope--
>> Iran.
>> --with the question of Iran and the seizure of our embassy and the hostage taking of our diplomats in that country bungled to a rescue attempt and kind of left us feeling rather helpless and hopeless at the end of his administration.  You could--those of us who were old enough to remember that time, we can see the tide shifting right in front of our eyes moving from Carter to Reagan.  Reagan first of all I think he was lucky.  He came out of the Iran country thing in the end more or less unscathed.  I think also the progression of his term of office was very interesting.  And I did work closely with Reagan.  I was his deputy national security adviser for more than a year so I used to see him everyday.  But we went from the evil empire, do you remember that, at the beginning, that's how he characterized the Soviet Union, to run this watershed meeting that he had in December I think it was or late November of 1985 which he had with Mr. Gorbachev in New Geneva.  And then all of a sudden, Mr. Gorbachev became his friend.  And he proceeded in his second term to establish a much friendlier relationship with the Soviet leadership that led to a major arms control treaty at the end of his administration.  And I think that generally speaking, everybody feels that we were moving our Foreign Policy in a very positive direction.  And of course, a couple of years later, the Soviet Union actually disintegrated and the Berlin Wall collapsed and so on and so forth.  So, Reagan I think benefits from the evolution of history.  He also benefits, let's face it, I remember correctly after a very difficult economic period at the beginning with high unemployment and high inflation, he benefited from a significantly improved economic situation, shall we say, the second two thirds of his government.  So I think that was a factor as well.  I thought he was very serene in the way he dealt with things.  And I think--
>> Possibly, yeah.
>> Well he was.  We briefed in, he didn't get all panicked, he didn't always, you know, what are we going to do, you know, I mean, he was always--we always start, I mean, I briefed and went in with General Powell, he was a national security and he's always starting with about five minutes of jokes.  And he pulled him out of his drawer [phonetic] and he loved Polish jokes, he loved Russian jokes.  And he told him and he run into us, and I mean he really took him seriously and then we went on to his briefing.  But I never knew him to flap really.  And yet, he had very--he had much more intellectual curiosity than he was giving credit for.  He read Gorbachev's book on Perestroika before he met him.  I once was sort of the moderator at a luncheon that he had with about 20 Soviet scholars, American Soviet scholars that we went around the table and he asked questions of each of them for one and a half hour period.  I'm not sure a lot of Americans get him credit for that kind of engagement.
>> Yeah.  And well, I think also since I was Washington at the time as executive secretary, I think we have to give a lot of credit to Secretary Shultz too as a leader in terms of his influence and also Nancy Reagan.
^M00:20:00 I think Nancy Reagan had a big--you tell me if you think this is right, had a big effect on Ronnie.  She was thinking of his--they had a very close relationship, she was thinking of his historical legacy.  And this whole thing with leaving something besides just the evil empire talk I think was important to her and to him.
>> Well, first on Mrs. Reagan, General Powell, when he briefed me on my job as deputy national security adviser, he said, "I'll handle Mrs. Reagan."  I mean, this is [inaudible].
>> OK.
>> So I said, OK.  That's fine by me.  So I never really had much to do, Mrs. Reagan except an occasional helicopter ride when I was accompanying the president somewhere.  And she was always perfectly gracious and kind.  I think you're absolutely right about George Shultz.  I think he was a wonderful secretary of state.  He was a superb leader of people.  And I think that came from a combination of his, first of all, marine, he was a former marine and I think that really meant a lot to him.  He fought his way up to the Pacific Island chain during World War II and he never forgot that part.  He was an academic and a great scholar.  And this was in fact his third cabinet post.  He had been secretary of labor and treasury under Richard Nixon.  There's again, knowledge and experience and a high level if you--I want to say if you've run one cabinet department in the government, you probably have a pretty good chance of being able to run just about anyone of them and I think he had that kind of leadership experience.  And most importantly and I'm sure you remember this, when something really bad happens like a terrorist incident, a hijacking of an airliner, or one of those TWA airliners that got hijacked at least somewhere, George P. Shultz afterwards would say, "Now, this is, you know, a priority issue for me and we'll have a meeting on terrorism question every morning in my office at 7 o'clock or 7:15 for, you know, a period of weeks" until he felt he had the issue under proper management and control within the department of state.  And I thought that was leadership.
>> You know, he also--before he made a lot of trips to Moscow, before he went to Moscow, we always had what he called a Saturday seminar.  He'd pull academics that knew something about the Soviet Unions, historians and others, and he'd have this talk in the afternoon before he went there.  So he was able to kind of bridge this gap that some people think exist between academia and--
>> Well, I think that's a good example of how his academic background served in very well.  And I did attend at least one if not more of his seminars, because I remember going to one of his Saturday seminars on Mexico, subject in which I had a great deal of interest.  When I was deputy in national security adviser and then subsequently became ambassador there.  So I was able to witness that personally.
>> So let me--Richard mentioned controversy, challenges, I want to ask you about Honduras.  A long time ago, a lot of controversy over Honduras, Central America, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Contras, the Sandinistas, can you talk a little bit about how--what interactions you had with the secretary of state, with the president and how you ran an embassy that was very diverse where we had a considerable presence, and as I recall a good deal of disagreement even within the Foreign Service core about what our--how our policy was going.  And remember, there were Foreign Service offices that use the descent channel and the state department for example, to register disagreement.  So can you talk a little bit about that?  That was a tough post [inaudible].
>> That was my first ambassadorship actually to a country.  I've had the rank of ambassador for some fisheries negotiations that I've done before that.  But that was my first post, if you will, as an ambassador.  I went down there in November of 1981 which was during the Reagan Administration.  I actually hoped to go to Southeast Asia because I had been the deputy assistant secretary for Southeast Asia but that didn't work out, that's a long story.  So, I got called by Thomas Andrews [assumed spelling], his assistant secretary one day and asked me if I'd like to go to Honduras.  And I said sure, I want to have an ambassadorship.  And actually, Mr. Reagan was a very--being the gracious man that he was, he used to call--
>> Yes.
>> --ambassador nominees personally to offer them.
>> I think the only president that did that.
>> Yeah.  I've never got called by any other.
[ Multiple Speakers ]
>> Maybe by President Bush because--
>> Right.
>> --at that point, I was at a much more senior level.  But I happen to be traveling at that time.  You know, I knew this was in the works.  And the White House operator calls my home in Washington and we've been sort of on tenterhooks [phonetic] whether we're going to get this job or not.  And the White House operator called and said, "Is Mr. Negroponte there?"  And my wife said, "No, he's in Manila.  He's there on a some kind of a mission."  And they said, "Oh well, we'll wait until he comes back."  And my wife said, "No please, please call him now."  She wanted to get this waiting period over with.  Anyway, the president--the White House operator tracked me down and I was at a meeting with the Filipino Secretary of Commerce.  And boy was he impressed.  His secretary walked into the office and said, "Mr. Negroponte, President Reagan is calling you."  That's the only time something like that had ever happened to me. 
>> You were successful on the negotiations?
>> He must have thought I had a lot of cloud.  And he invited me to do that job.  Anyway, a number of months later, I went down.  Honduras at the time I got there just had elections, or no, they had just written a new constitution and they were about to have elections for a president after a nine year interval of military rule.  And about three weeks after I got there, they had these presidential elections.  And I was there for the next three and a half years.  It was a very turbulent period because basically a phrase I'd like to use was Honduras was surrounded by trouble.  In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas had come to power about a year or two earlier.  In El Salvador, there was basically a civil war going on, and in Guatemala they had the makings of a civil war as well.  There was a lot of internal turmoil.  And in fact, you had refugees from every one of these countries in Honduras.  Honduras had a huge number of refugees from those other countries.  So they were in a very vulnerable position.  As you mentioned, there was the Contra thing.  I got there November 6, November 19th, the president approved one of these findings for a covert action to harm some of the rebels inside of Nicaragua, which I had not been advised of before I went down to Honduras, I've learned about it after I got there.  And what started out as a fairly small sort of effort ended up with a bad use as you said [phonetic] or other large embassy with a large number of CIA people.  And probably, 3 or 4,000 people under arms, maybe more at its peak.  So there was that going on.  There were refugees as I said, and we also established a close relationship with the Honduran military and established an air base there.  We negotiated an access agreement to an airfield there and we stationed some US troops there some 6 or 700, because we had limitations on how many people we could send to El Salvador.  There came a point at which the congress took exception without going into all the details to the Contra business and voted an amendment called the Boland Amendment to which prohibited military assistance to these people.  And quite unwisely I think they're after people within the president's administration working around the embassy, around me, around everybody else chose to illicitly support the Contras with funds from Saudi Arabia and heaven knows where else, which got revealed at one point and caused a great deal, this in 1987 I believe it was and put the administration through a period of real tension and anxiety, but the president somehow survived the controversy.  The whole Contra Program was completely shut down.
>> So this is a question that often comes up in our classes. 
>> Yeah.
>> I'm sure it comes up at Yale as well.  How do you deal with descent in a situation like that?  There were seemed to be--there was--it seems this was coming in a kind of illegal operation with Ali North [assumed spelling] and some of these cohorts.
>> Yeah.
>> But the policy was set to support for the Contras, opposition to the Sandinistas.  I'm sure you had some ideas about this, and yet as ambassador you're bound to carry out exactly what had been decided by the president.
>> Yeah.  Well there are some--
>> Then you have--and you get a letter that says you're in charge of this from the president.
>> Yeah.  Particularly complicated situation because--and here's the part for anybody who's going to be an ambassador, the hardest part is if Washington has divided about what to do, it really makes your job that much harder.  If you know there's serious division between the state department and the White House, and there was, you mentioned that.
>> There was.
>> If you know the serious division between the Congress and the White House and you were supposedly representing the entirety of the United States of America and country X, Y, or Z, it's very hard when you don't feel you have a unified government behind you.  Now I think one of the ways I dealt with it is I had a fairly clear idea of some things that were not controversial that I knew I wanted to get done.  For example, support a buildup in economic and military assistance to the government of Honduras for legitimate purposes, nothing to do with this Contra business or anything else.  But Honduras was vulnerable.  If the Nicaraguans who had an army four or five times as large as Honduras ever decided to lash out at them, they were going to be very exposed.  So I worked on trying to build their military up in a sensible way but to build it up nonetheless and also, to get them more economic assistance because they were very much under stress because of the refugees and all the turmoil in Central America that made Honduras not exactly the ideal investment destination.  So you had that problem.  Luckily, Dr. Kissinger [assumed spelling] came down with a commission at one point during our time there.  And they decided to recommend to the government that we increase our aid to Central America.  And I think that was very--including a lot of scholarships for Central American students and they got that program going.  But how do you deal with descent?  I mean, I think the best ways to have a reasonably clear idea what you yourself want to get done, work on that and try to deal with the rest of the issues as best you can as you go along.
>> The general rule is a lot of talk, a lot of debate up to the point of decision.
>> Yes.
>> And right after the point of decision, you either stand to in theoretic policy or do something else.
>> But if someone in Washington is circumventing the law--
>> Right.
>> --unbeknownst to others or with a limited universe--
>> Causes somewhat of a problem.
>> That makes it a little bit difficult.
>> Yeah, yeah, yeah.
>> Anyway--
>> You mentioned Kissinger--
>> The [inaudible] legacy of Honduras for me is I have five adopted Honduran children.
>> Good for you.
>> And they've been a source of tremendous joy to me and my family all those years.
>> Good for you.  You mentioned Kissinger.
>> Yes I did.
>> You worked for Kissinger.
>> I did.
>> So talk about controversial.  I think in his old years now, I mean, he visited Brazil when [inaudible] to have mellowed somewhat but he was a tough guy to work for.  Can you talk about him a little bit?  I don't think he's going to be watching live in any case.
>> No, it's OK.  He's a hard man to work for.  He's a taskmaster, no question about it.  And I knew him all the way back in Vietnam when I was a political officer in Saigon and I was what they call a provincial reporter out of the political section of the embassy and I covered the northern part of South Vietnam, first core area for anybody who's a Vietnam vet here.  And Henry was a consultant for Henry Cabot Lodge.  He was a professor at [inaudible], he came out to advise the ambassador.  And he came out two successive years, I think '65 and '66 to advise--or '64 to '65, advise him on how his political observations and try to help us figure out what to do in Vietnam.  And he was a lot of fun to take around, and we each were assigned to take him around a certain part of the country.  So I know him pretty well from his two trips to Vietnam where I had something to do with arranging his different visits.  And he was highly intelligent or articulate, quick study, a wonderful guy.  I then was in the Paris peace talks if you fast-forward a few years later.  And under LBJ, Averell Harriman, and Cyrus Vence were running the delegation, and Henry again was showing up from time to time to be in touch with the delegation.  And then of course, Nixon wins the election and Henry becomes the national security adviser.  About a year later, I ended up working on the national--being recruited to work on the National Security Council staff in a year or two, 1970.  And after a few months in a sort of obscure planning job, I ended up being put in charge of the Vietnam account on the national security.  I was the director for Vietnam in the National Security Council.  So I accompanied him on every single one going forward from then of his secret negotiations with the Vietnamese, North Vietnamese, to Paris.  And the different meetings we had, we would take secret trips here, there, everywhere.  We would fly to--in Air Force 1 to Orleans which was French air force base and we take a small plane provided by President Pompidou and it would fly us to a little military airfield outside of Paris and then to defense [inaudible] you remember General Walters--
>> Oh, of course.
>> --from trench coat like that at the airport.
>> How he gladly spoke 12 languages or something.
>> [inaudible] sort of, you know, [inaudible] kind of thing.  He gave us all aliases, he was General [inaudible].  Winston Lloyd was Colonel Lundgreen [assumed spelling] and I was Lieutenant Newman [assumed spelling], and the only thing common is we got the first letter of our last name.  And we went and stayed with Walters.  I don't know who we were fooling, I mean, the French secret service knew we were around and the Vietnamese knew we were coming to meet them so I'm not entirely certain whom we were trying to fool.  But he just loved that kind of thing.
>> Well with China--secret visit to China too.
>> China--yeah.  But he was a real taskmaster.  I guess the most frequently heard story that people who worked for Kissinger will tell you is that if you walk into his office, you gave him a paper that you'd work on and he'd look at you and say, "Is this the best you can do?" without even reading it.  And if you said no, he'd give it back to you and say, "Well, come back when it's the best that you could do."  So people would dubiously go back and rewrite it.  And sometimes, he'd make you rewrite papers.  I mean, I've had to write--rewrite a paper for him a dozen times.  He was a real perfect--
>> Students, keep that in mind.
>> And he worked any hour of the day.
>> Yeah.
>> He would go out to a Black Tie Dinner in Washington, go to a state dinner or the Kennedy Center or whatever it was and then he'd come back at 11 or 12 at night and be working.  And if he was working on something that you had responsibility for, he foolishly expected you to be there.
>> Is it true that he said, "Power is the greatest aphrodisiac."?
>> I wouldn't put it past [inaudible].
>> OK.  Just curious, because he was dating--
>> He dated Jill St. John.  I remember one of our--
>> One of my favorites.
>> --one of our--
>> Nobody will--
>> --peace negotiations--
>> Some of you will remember Jill St. John.
>> --we come back the day that the Vietnamese--North Vietnamese present us their plan to end the war and restore peace in Vietnam, a draft proposal in October, October 8th of 1972.  And Henry promises them a counterproposal the next morning.  We all go back to the embassy.  We were staying at the embassy residence.  He asks us, me, Winston, Peter Rodman [assumed spelling], David Angell [assumed spelling] to write the counterproposal and he goes out on a date with Jill St. John.  Here we are--
>> Did he asked you if that--or did you asked him if that was the best he could do?
>> Well no, we had to write it over again anyway, because he didn't like it.
>> Yeah.
>> He thought it was too tough.
>> So I have another question.  This--again, in the Reagan Administration, I was the deputy assistant secretary for Human Rights in the Reagan Administration which some people said as an oxymoron.  You--
>> That's not fair.
>> --you were assist--that is not fair but in anyway, that's an impression.  You were assistant secretary for Oceans, Environment, and Science?
>> Yes I was.
>> Which also could've--we didn't do the law of the sea treaty, there is a whole kind of resistance within the Reagan Administration to environmental things.  So, you were I think in the job for a couple of years.  Can you say something--
>> I did it for two and a half years and I had done it two and a half years previously as the deputy head of that bureau, the negotiating fishing agreements.  And I guess the one thing I would say is that that was the time, 1987, when we negotiated, for those of you who might be interested in international environmental issues, the Montreal Protocol to protect the stratospheric ozone layer which was the one major global greenhouse gas emission agreement that has been achieved.  There hasn't been another one since.  And what I found interesting about that exercise and I was involved because my deputy was the negotiator, Richard Benedict, and he wrote a book about it, actually called Ozone Diplomacy.
^M00:40:07 And what was really interesting about it was the science adviser of the president didn't believe the science.  There had been a Mexican chemist I think, chemical, and Raymond and Molina, Molina was the Mexican, and they had successfully conducted an experiment that demonstrated that these chlorofluorocarbon molecules destroy the ozone layer and the advisers of the president didn't believe them.  The Russians didn't believe it, the Japanese didn't believe it, the Europeans had questions.  We made an alliance, this shows you how Washington works, Mr. Shultz and Mr. Whitehead [assumed spelling], we had a wonderful [inaudible] he'd been the former head of Goldman Sachs.  We made a league with the head of the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency.  We mounted delegations, scientific delegations from NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NSA, the NASA, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, people who study these kinds of things.  And we sent them to Russia, we sent them to Japan, we sent them to Brussels, we convinced our scientific peers around the world that once that, you know, have weight in any such international negotiation of the merits of the science.  And we basically negotiated this agreement and then we got into one of these sort of things that only can happen in Washington, you know, the Gunfight at O.K. Corral, the showdown in the inner agency meeting.  And Mr. Shultz and Mr. Whitehead held their ground along with the head of the EPA and Mr. Shultz wrote to the president, he said, "I'm sending a delegation to--unless you object, to Montreal to sign this agreement next week unless you have objection."  And the president agreed.  So, you know--
>> It's amazing--
>> Yeah.
>> Who would have thought and Don Hodel, his interior secretary who was against it, he said, "Well, you just, you know, it's not really a problem, just use more sun cream."  That's what he said.
>> Let's move on to Mexico.
>> Yeah.
>> You had an interesting period there.  NAFTA was being negotiated I guess at that time.
>> Not yet.
>> Not yet?
[ Multiple Speakers ]
Early stages, [inaudible]?  You have three countries, three leaders, president, prime minister of Canada, president of Mexico.  Give us some observations about how, you know, this is still controversial.  So many interesting thing people [inaudible] talking about why are we letting those Mexican trucks come all the way up here?
>> Right.
>> So give us your insights into that.
>> [inaudible] that it's quadrupled the trade between the two countries in a fundamentally beneficial to the United States.
>> But how about then?
>> But then, when I went down there was a summer of '89 and you have to go into 1990 because nothing much happened in that first year.  And our trade--the trade relationship in Mexico was modest.  And our--we didn't have any kind of free trade arrangement.  We've been discussing sector by sector liberalization of trade.  But, you know, when you think about it sector by sector liberalization means that you pick the exceptions and liberalize them.  And then the rule is still to have the old protections in place.  But a [inaudible] thing happened.  And I think really, it goes back to the end of the Cold War.  The fact that the Cold War was ending--
>> Eastern Europe was--the Berlin Wall went down.
>> --liberated.  Wall went down and so Carlos Salinas, the then president of Mexico, a PhD political economist from Harvard goes to--
>> Michigan of the east.
>> The Michigan of the east, yes indeed.  And he goes to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January of 1990.  And he meets all these Eastern European leaders who are competing like crazy to get investment from the west to help modernize and revive their economies.  And Mr. Salinas concluded, "My goodness, competition for the savings of western countries is all of a sudden become a lot stiffer than it used to be.  And I've got to do something to make the Mexican economy more attractive."  And so he's the one who proposed a free trade agreement with the United States.  And I went up, his chief of staff sounded me out in March of that year.  I went up to Washington.  I had an appointment to see President Bush with whom I was very friendly to him.  And I had a meeting with him, Secretary Baker and just one other person and we walked him--talked him through the pros and cons of having a NAFTA in a one hour meeting and he said, "Yes go ahead."  And at first, it was just going to be bilateral because Mr. Baker had just been through the process of negotiating a free trade agreement with Canada a couple of years earlier, and he hadn't enjoyed there in some aspects of the negotiations that he hadn't found as enjoyable as he might have liked.  But when the Canadians got, you know, to the fact that we were going to do a free trade agreement, Mr. Mulroney [assumed spelling] basically got on an airplane and went to [inaudible] and persuaded Mr. Bush that it had to be trilateral because--and he told it very bluntly.  He said, "Look, otherwise, you're going to leave--you're going to be in a cockpit.  You're going to have a bilateral with us and a bilateral with Mexico and you're going to be able to--you'll be in the driver seat.  We all ought to be in this together."  So we did a trilateral and started negotiations and by the end of 1992 we completed the talks and signed the agreement in San Antonio after Mr. Bush had been defeated for reelection.  And then we all held our breath when Mr. Clinton came to office and wondered what was going to happen and he appointed Mickey Kantor to be the head--the trade rep and he came down and met the Mexicans and said, "We're going to have to do two additional agreements on environmental and labor conditions before we go through with this."
>> Yeah.
>> And I groaned and everybody else who had worked for three years on this deal groaned but we actually, believe it or not, got that in August of '93.  And you may recall this, Clinton and Gore ended up fighting harder for the NAFTA than I think George Bush might have done.  I mean, you remember the Gore-Ross Perot debate which was all about the NAFTA and which was--
>> Great seconds [inaudible].
>> --which was an incredible argument on TV.  And then Mr. Clinton really went to bet [phonetic] for the NAFTA in congress and it went through.  So it had strong bilateral--you know, bipartisan support, and it was quite the experience.
>> You've had such a long career.  We have to excise some of the stops along the way.
>> Let me just say one thing about Mexico because it was controversial.
>> OK.
>> Mexico that you always got the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And in--
>> There's a movie about that.
>> Yeah, right.  But I mean, it's a little bit like that because for example, the drug trafficking issues and violence.
>> Yeah, right.
>> I had an issue that just sort of kind of haunted the relationship the entire time I was there.  And that was--you may remember Dr. Alvarez Machain.
>> Oh yeah.
>> He was the medical doctor, Mexican doctor who kept--
>> Kiki Camarena, yeah.
>> --agent--DEA agent Camarena alive where they--some of you may remember the Mexicans captured the DEA agent, drug traffickers did and tortured him to get information about what he knew about their--what they were doing, their trade and their practices.  And they used Dr. Alvarez Machain to torture--to help keep him alive while they were torturing him so they could get more information.  And so a couple--a few years later, that was in '85 when I got there, some bounty hunters came down from the states and snatched Mr. Alvarez--
>> On their own initiative?
>> Snatched him from his medical office in Guadalajara and lo and behold, a few months later, he was before a court in Los Angeles.  And there was a huge Supreme Court case whether or not someone who had been detained or captured under such circumstances could rightfully be brought before an American court.  And believe it or not, the Supreme Court upheld the government.  Said it was OK.  And they drew on some presidents that went back to the 19th century when we've had a lot of the bounty hunting activities.  There was a lot more--
>> There was a Bolivian or Peru cases.
>> Well, there were Canadian cases.
>> Yeah.
>> They have a lot of Canadian cases in those days.  You better be aware, I mean, you're near, you're not too far away.  So, that was when the Mexicans went into an uproar.  I mean, I had demonstrations in front of my embassies for the next several days because of that decision.
^M00:50:03 But the worst of it was they then went to try him and he was dismissed for lack of efficient.
>> Yeah.
>> And I said, my god, you know, how can we make such a thing out of this and then not have enough of habits to even snatch.  And I thought that was one of the worst showings of America of our, you know, our prosecutorial system--
>> They did uphold the doctrine.
>> It upholds the doctrine but didn't win the case.  And that's really--I didn't win the specific case [inaudible] but that was a real albatross and we have to deal with it all the time.
>> Yeah.  I like to jump ahead to the UN.  We want to open this up--
>> Yeah, we're going to--
>> --for question pretty soon but I want you to talk a bit about the UN.
>> It's [inaudible] to do with 44 years and--
>> I know but anyway, talk - you win.  So, you leave the Foreign Service [inaudible]--
>> Right.
>> --as the executive vice president as I recall for international affairs and then you come back as, I guess a political appointee, is that correct?  To and or nominated or sent to the UN as ambassador, conformed senate.  So, I remember Senator Moynihan, somebody will remember Senator Moynihan, he wrote a book in which he called the UN a dangerous place, mainly because of the Zionism [phonetic] as racism resolution.  But can you talk about your experience?
>> Yeah.
>> You were there when actually we tried to get this resolution through on Iraq.
>> The second resolution.
>> The second resolution to authorize United States use military--
>> Well, let me--
>> Go ahead.
>> First of all it's a fascinating place.  I don't think it's dangerous.  Moynihan did a great job.  OK.  He got rid - I mean, he's successfully - we successfully defeated the Zionism as racism resolution.  I don't know whether we did it during his time early--
>> No, actually we did during Clinton.
>> OK.
>> Moynihan was very good though because he would drink everybody under the table in the afternoon.
>> Yes.
>> And negotiate with them at the same time.
>> Good, good.
>> For the Russian--
>> With respect for the last senator.
>> --he basically used great.
>> He does a platform for this candidacy to become a senator, right?
>> What else--
>> I believe he's only there six months.
>> Yeah.
>> I mean, I don't think that that's particularly long tenure.  But in any case, it's a fascinating place.  He gets a bum rap [phonetic] in the United States basically.  I mean, I think the United Nations can be very useful tool in our toolkit, Security Council resolutions are binding on the entire membership of the United Nations.  And actually I got there six--seven days after 9/11 and within two weeks with the first resolution we negotiated, after I got there was the resolution that turned out to be extremely useful.  It was template for how to deal with terrorism financing.  It was basically a draft law that every--like an appendix to a Security Council resolution that every member country can use as a template for its own terrorist financing.  There was a lot of good stuff we did.  Even on Iraq, I would say, most of what we did was quite constructive including getting the first--the inspections of Iraq renewed 1441.  We put a huge amount of effort into that.  The difficulty in Iraq with respect to Iraq was that the administration had really--and it's much clearly--it became much clearly to me in retrospect than it was at the time had really decided to invade Iraq anyway.  And so this--UN was kind of a destruction.  I think the president was willing to give it a chance but only if it produced results--
>> Tony Blair put some [inaudible].
>> Yeah.  Well, Tony Blaire--I mean, the British didn't [phonetic] do us a favor.  They told the president, you have to have a second resolution.  We got this first resolution that sets up the inspection system that says Iraq is in material breach.  I mean the [inaudible] is on them to prove that they're not in material breach of its international obligations.  And so, we were ready to go without a second resolution just based on the fact that they weren't cooperating with the inspectors.  But Blair said his attorney general insisted that there'll be a second resolution, otherwise you wouldn't be able to accompany us.  And the irony of it is that by seeking a second resolution we lost the French.  The French had been telling us exactly the opposite.  They would say don't--whatever you do don't try to get a second resolution.  If you do something with just the first one, they were intimating that they might be able to live with that.  So, we follow Blair's advice and the French tends threaten the Vito [phonetic] so the whole thing was over and then the British accompanied us anyway even though we didn't have a second resolution.  So, it was a little bit of a mess.
>> So, tell me how--
>> But, you know, the--
>> Yeah.  Tell me--so I think you said that you thought it was not a good decision to invade Iran.
>> I thought it was too soon.
>> Yeah.
>> I felt that we went through and not--
>> How do you handle that at the UN when you're pushing for this?
>> We put a huge amount of effort into getting the first resolution, setting up the inspection.  1441 was a--I mean, an enormous effort and we got a unanimous resolution even the Syrians [phonetic] came along with us.  At the last minute, I remember they called me as I was walking down the security council to cast my vote and that was in like late November and to be making war preparations, then in January or February, I thought was a little bit premature.  Anybody whose going to setup an international inspection system and elaborate UN process, those are going to take a number of months to begin it that they'll be able to see whether you're going to get results or not.  I would have thought--I think they were worried about that the hot season was coming.  It was going to get very hot in Iraq in the summer and the troops were already moving out there.  As I said, they were really ready to go now.  So, then they told us to get the--try to get the second resolution.  We couldn't get even with that--you remember the famous appearance by General Powell with me and--
>> Infamous [inaudible].
>> Infamous and George Tenet sitting behind him and he was trying to persuade everybody in good fate I should add at the time that Iraq had WMD.  And then the president invaded--he ordered the invasion in the middle of March, March 18th.  So, how do you deal with that in what way?  I mean, I'm the ambassador of the United Nation so I'm not--I wasn't even a cabinet member.  Some UN ambassadors are cabinet so I didn't even attend the meetings in the situation room with that dealt with these kinds of decisions.
>> This was the old--the slam dunk thing.
>> Correct.
>> Tenet said it's a slam dunk that they have of the MD [phonetic].
>> Well, he was wrong.
>> He was wrong.
>> And they over relied at one source who turned out to be basically an Iraqi who wanted us to invade Iraq and--
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> Therefore fed us false information and it's in the fact the occurrence that led eventually to the creation of one of my future jobs as director of national intelligence.
>> So, then you go to Iraq, is--
>> I go.  I volunteered to go.
>> Right after Jerry [inaudible]--
>> Right after the--when the occupation is going to be and did I volunteered to go because I said I'm a senior diplomat.  I've been in this business for, well, more than 40 years really when you added it all up.  And I had some experience in Vietnam that had taught me, I thought some good lessons about how civilian and military efforts should collaborate together.  I felt I could--whether you agree with the decision or not, you can make the implementation known as, such thing as good implementation and bad implementation.  And I thought I could contribution to the better implementation of our policy in Iraq by volunteering to go out there.
>> OK.
>> The president then invited me down for an interview 20 minutes [inaudible].
>> I want you to just say a few words about--so you were a cabinet member eventually because you became the director of national intelligence, first one cabinet rank which was a recommendation by the 9/11 commission and by--
>> The WMD.
>> --the WMD committee.  And so, you had to start from scratch in putting this together.  It's now I would say a relatively viable enterprise.  General Clapper's been there for how long?  Three years?
>> About three and a half.
>> You went there that long--
>> Not long enough.
>> Deputy secretary of state
>> Yeah.  I didn't spend enough time there.
>> How about a minutes worth or two minutes worth or the description?  Can you do that in two minutes?
>> About the DNI?
>> Yeah.
>> Yeah.  I mean, it was--basically it was the [inaudible]--
>> I know [inaudible].
>> --inside the beltway part of the intelligence function.  I mean, it was plans, budget, policy, analysis.  It was not an operational job running operations or entities outside the country or anything else.  It was a sort of a oversight function but accompanied by the title, a very important function in my view of being the principal intelligence adviser to the public president.
^M01:00:07 And as a result of it by law, as a result which I was that all his intelligence briefings, and he was very interested in intelligence and he got them six days a week, every Monday through Saturday at 8 o'clock in the morning and those always come back to be extremely interesting sessions with the president of the United States.
>> Do you know if it's a continued under President Obama?
>> It has.  To my understanding, maybe sometimes a little not quite the same clockwork regularity, but yes.
>> But it's institutional.
>> It does.  Yes, it does.
>> OK.
>> And Mr. Clapper has access.
>> We could spend hours on this.
>> Well, at one point I'd make about intelligence is intelligence needs to--intelligence is a tool, not a panacea.  And intelligence is not just collection.  A lot of people think of intelligence as James Bond, and daring do efforts to collect information by breaking into people's offices.  Intelligence is the collection and analysis of information for the purposes of state craft.  And as far as I was concerned, it's the analytic function where we frequently go wrong, where we don't see the trend without seeing the truth that's staring us in the face.  It's not whether we failed to collect this or that.
>> OK.  So, as I said we can go on for long time.  We have questions?  Let's see.  Yeah?  OK.  So, you're going to post the questions and pick some of these out?
>> We're going to read some of the question that the audience has given.
>> OK.
>> All right.  My name is Amanda.  My first year as masters' student here, so in behalf of the students, I just want to thank you for taking some time to answer some of the questions from the audience.  The first question is, given your experience in the government, what do you think the US response should be to the situation in Ukraine, given the US leadership vacuum in the wake of McFaul's resignation?  Has resignation coincides with pro Russian protest [inaudible] military activity in Russia, and Russia's acceptance of Yanukovych request for asylum?  Do you think McFaul's resignation empowers Russia to interfere in Ukraine?
>> Whose resignation?  Yanukovych?
>> Yanukovych.
>> Yeah.
>> Mcfaul's resignation.
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> Oh, Mcfaul's resignation.  Yeah, I'm not sure I know what relationship that has to do with Ukraine.  But the basic question is what should we do about Ukraine?  Is it not?
>> Yes.
>> Yes.
>> Yeah.  Mcfaul's leaving anyway.
>> Yeah.
>> Yeah.
>> Here's what I think.  I think it was in the spring of 2008 that there was in the Bucharest NATO Summit that mentioned the possibility of Georgia and the Ukraine becoming members of NATO.  And I think that we pushed the envelope just a bit too far, in terms of expanding our radius of the western influence into what the Russians refer to as their near abroad.  It was one thing to do it in 1990s when Russia was weaker.  And we sort of got some of these things got accomplished, luckily for them I think and for us like the Baltic State, and the central European countries.  But I think that given the fact that Russia was back on the ascendancy, their economy had quadrupled, quintupled in size from its [inaudible], results, it's not only the increase in price of oil, the doubling of the production of oil and so forth.  And I think that Russian invasion of Georgia in the summer in August of 2008 was really the signal that you're going this far and no further.  That's the way I interpreted what the Russians did.  And so, I think for them the question of then fate of Ukraine is a very neuralgic issue, technically since their historic ties and everything else.  And frankly, I don't where this seesaw is going to end, because when I saw Yanukovych flee and your government take over in Keve [phonetic] and now the Russians conducting exercise in near the border of Eastern Ukraine I think that's kind of a very potentially explosive mix there.  And I think we need to be--I think we need to deal with this in a low key way, I don't think we should [inaudible] about the success of a pro western government getting in the office in Keve and I think we should encourage some sort of reconciliation between these diverse elements in the Ukraine in whatever best way we can.  But without being too interventionist, maybe letting the Europeans take something of the lead, then you've got the other questions about, well, who's going to pony up the money for this financially distressed economy and that's another question we're going to have to deal with as well.
>> Hi, my name is Seema Sing [assume spelling].  I'm a masters' student at the Ford school and I'm asking more audience questions.  In retrospect was it a good idea to arm Shia [phonetic] militias in Iraq in service of the so called [inaudible] and can Iraqi [inaudible] a success when they're continuously a persecution over religious [phonetic] minorities and the lower standard of the [inaudible] Saddam Hussein's rule?
>> Well, I've never been much of a fun of arming militias.  I think it's contrary to the concept to try and build national institutions.  And certainly while I was there my desire was to build the army and the police force has been in the hope that they would become truly national institutions.  I'm not aware that we ever armed Shia militias, I think there was a Shia militia under the rule of--under the command of Muqtada al-Sadr, but he--in fact we fought against him for a while, that was when I got there, there was a rebellion in Najaf and there was rebellion in Sadr City on the edge of Baghdad, which was ultimately brought under some kind of control.  Well, the groups that we did arm were the Sunni militias out in the western part of country in Al-Anbar to help fight Al-Qaeda.  And that met with the modicum of success.  But still it's not a good long term.  I mean, I don't think militias are ever a good long term solution.  What I consider Iraq a success, we said it earlier I'm not sure I would have going in, you know, when we did.  So I think there--I'm not sure we went in, in the right way when we finally did go in.  I think it's hard to judge where it's going to turn out.  We might--I think there's somewhat of chance we might be pleasantly surprised, but at the moment they're going through a difficult patch.  Will they fall back into complete disarray?  I don't think so, I think that the institutions of the state are really quite large and substantial and I think--my guess and it's only a guess would be that they'll hold together.  But they're surrounded now by an awful lot of turmoil, I mean, Syria, Egypt, so on and so forth.
>> Right.  The next question is do you think the military has taken over US foreign policy?  If so, is this due solely into budget size and how can it be reversed?
>> What was the last part of the question?
>> Due to budget size.
>> So, is it solely due the budget size and how can it be reversed?
>> Yeah.  Well, you know, if you go to war some place and you're in Afghanistan or Iraq and you have a military command with 50 or 100,000 troops there, there's no way that they're not going to have influence on the policy to exact country.  I mean, it's a war time situation.  But I think in most places, I think our military is quite respectful of civilian political leadership and it's basically a shared responsibility.  But in most places you go around the world, you visit a country where there's an embassy, it will be the ambassador who has responsibility for all the elements as ambassador Levitsky was saying of the country team, who's really the principle spokesperson and the principle local representative of our policies.  I think during this period at the decade of 2002 to 2000--ultimate to the president, there's probably been a dipropionate military role.  But that sort of receding back into a little better perspective it seems to me and the other elements of national power are coming more to the fort [phonetic].
>> One think, the sequester seemed to have pushed forward.
>> Yeah.
>> You know, Kerri Gates [assumed spelling] actually was quite open about saying there should be more financing for the state department and for the defense department to get out of so called nation building, it's something for state to do.  And in fact he established a fund when Secretary Clinton was there to kind of put together a sort of stabilization, reconstruction unit that could provide mostly civilian aid to the country.
>> So this goes to a more fundamental issue?  My--Now I've got, you know, and I guess I can make some generalizations after having first added the Foreign Service in 1960.  I don't think we're too good in nation building.  I really don't--I don't think we do that quite very well.  And I don't think we're very good at regime change.  And I don't think our experience has been particularly salutary, the overthrow of Diem [assumed spelling] in Vietnam, what do that lead us to?  The overthrow of Somoza of the Shah [phonetic].  You may not like the way they live their countries, but almost invariably the situation got worst after these things were done, the overthrow of Saddam.  So sometimes you have to be a little careful for what you wish for, it seems to me.  And you also have to maybe have a little bit of strategic patience, democracy isn't going to be built overnight.  We have a lot of important alliances around the world, I think those are the institutions that we should really support, out alliances with NATO, with Japan, with Korea, with Australia and the Philippines, Thailand.  And those are relations we should nurture in the first instance.  And then I hope perhaps by our example that these concepts take hold in other parts of the world.  If you look--I mean the news is actually quite encouraging in some parts of the world.  If you look at Africa the degree of democratic governance today compared to 50 years ago or when they first got their independence, a lot of these colonial countries, or Latin-America when I first join the Foreign Service practically every country--
>> Dictatorship.
>> --was a dictatorship.  And today the dictatorship saw the exception to the rule.  And if you look at what happened in Eastern Europe at the end of the Cold War, it's not because of us that they became democratic it's because of themselves.  So, I think sometimes we shouldn't be too hasty to substitute our own desire to be active for allowing maybe the roots of good governance to take hold in the countries themselves.  So, I wish we adapt a bit more of a--well, being interested in the world and caring about maintaining major institutions such as the Bretton Woods System, a free trade system.  Trade is very important, but maybe a little bit more laid back when it comes to telling other people how to run their political business.
>> This is--
>> It's the finger pointing toward of our diplomacy that gives me [inaudible].
>> This is the hardest think for us to do I think.
>> Oh, it's very--
>> To lay back.  It's just not in our constitution or inward constitution.  We tend to be activist.
>> Well, Ambassador Boucher is going to be here a couple more months.  He can explain to you how he was told to finger point so often when he got up on the press day as seen in the state department about commenting on every rich thing that was happening in these countries.
>> Expected [phonetic].
>> There were many covert torture centers in Iraq during your ambassadorship.
>> Covert what?
>> Torture centers during your ambassadorship.  Is torture OK?
>> No.
>> What--
[ Multiple Speakers ]
>> --what makes torture of accused terrorist different compared to the capture and torture of our own troops and agents?
>> No.  And I think that's a very good point and that's probably the best darn reason why--well, first of all torture doesn't work, and secondly if you want your troops to be treated properly under the Geneva Convention, you better treat other people likewise.  There was a--we had a seminal sort of point in the Vietnam War, where at first we didn't want to treat the Vietcong as combatants, because we didn't want to be bound by the laws of war in the way we dealt with the Vietcong.  But our Pentagon jumped into that argument very rapidly to say, Look, I mean, we got to think about our people.  We had 2000 and the end of the world, we have 2,200 people who were prisoners.
>> But wait a minute the first--
>> A part of this question said there were torture centers in Iraq.  No.  That's right, no.
[ Inaudible Remark ]
Before I got there and it got shut down and it was a great humiliation and embarrassment for the United States and it was totally repudiated by our government.  It was not authorized behavior.  It was outrageous.  I'm not saying it was not outrageous, but it certainly wasn't sanctioned behavior.
>> OK.
>> OK.
>> Anyway it doesn't work and you don't want it done to our people.  And that's not a bad place to start and--yeah?
>> So, there are number of questions about Central America, so we're just going to read one.  What lessons can we learn for US foreign policy today from the era in which you served in Central America, which is largely been characterized by the violent and covert overthrow of democratically elected governments?  Are these practices still necessary for US foreign policy today?
>> Well, I guess if you try to date the last--and somebody is going to correct me, but the last overthrow of the Central American government, it was the overthrow the Guatemalan government in 1954 are advance [phonetic], when I was high school student.  It's not been feature of our government since that become progressively more democratic.  Look, Central America was very interesting combination of circumstances, poverty, large differences between rich and poor, social injustice, overlaid by Cold War competition where you--which aggravated the situation and which was exploited by the protagonist if you will.  I find it very interesting that really these conflicts ended up being much more amenable to solution as the Cold War came to an end.  Gorbachev made a decision in the mid 1980's to no longer support wars of national liberation.  And by 1990, a democratic candidate was able to defeat the Sandinistas at a poll in free elections.  Something we didn't believe was going to be possible.  So I think once you take the Cold War dimension out of it, the Central American issues became more manageable, the Salvador War ended also.  When I was ambassador of Mexico we signed the peace accords of Chapultepec in Mexico.  And it was very moving moments to watch the Salvador and rebels and the Salvador and president walking out in the middle of the room embracing each other, having not ever even met before to end this war.  Now, what's disappointing about what's happened since is that in a lot of these countries now the violence of the civil wars and tensions of the past has now been substituted by these gangs, these criminal gangs in Central America.  And Honduras has got gangs that are number two or three times the size of the army, and that's a huge social problem.  And it's a big problem in El Salvador and Guatemala.
>> It's also been a problem for the us because many--
>> And it leads to crime--
>> Many of the gangs are from deported--
>> From Los Angeles.
>> From Los Angeles, yes.
>> Indeed.
>> Yeah.
>> It's--So it continues to be a tragic situation.  And it's an area where I think Mexico and the United States could cooperate with each other.  Mexico borders right on these countries, they have a national security stake in the situation in Central America.  If only because these people migrate through and violate their border constantly to come up and immigrate into the United States and because, you know, it just figures.  Any country has an interest in having a stable and prosperous neighbor.  So, to the extent that we together can work with the Central American countries to help improve their livelihood and their economic situation, that would be a good and the last point I'd make in that regard is that Mr. Bush I think George W. had a good idea in negotiating this Central American free trade agreement with the Unites States.
^M01:20:07 But we'd never quite been able to take advantage of it as much as we ought to.  There ought to be more American investment going to down there to take advantage of the free trade terms that we negotiated well.  I don't know why it hasn't happen.
>> Maybe the--last question?
>> I mean it's great.
>> You have another one?  You ran out of questions.
>> No, I don't think so.
>> [inaudible] will think it's over.
>> I don't thing it's over.
>> The question states, I believe most Americans today would say US intervention in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan has finally conducted, not would end up--we're not worth the price and lives and money.  How can leaders make it more likely if Unites States will say no when strong intervention will cause more harm than good?  And what [inaudible] do to get [inaudible]?
>> Yeah.  Well, I can't argue with your basic proposition, 'cause anytime you send US forces somewhere and you don't have a desired outcome, people rightfully say, "Well, why don't we do it in the first place?"  How do we avoid doing it in the future?  Well, first of all, remember that the Cold War is over, that's one point.  So I think that reduces the likelihood.  I think we have to be smarter in how we cope with some of these issues in terms of responding to terrorism.  I don't think it's automatically followed that because the attack against the World Trade Center was staged and are planned in Afghanistan that you had to end up with a 100,000 troops there.  I'm not sure that necessarily follows.  So, in a way have to think these things through more carefully.  I think the political tolerance in this country for this kind of deployment or expedition is probably much lower than it's even been.  There is a wonderful line I teach, I co-teach a course on strategy at Yale with several diplomatic historians among them, John Lewis Gaddis who's great Cold War historian.  And we start out by reading all the classics and Sun Tzu, the Chinese strategist who only wrote a hundred pages or something starts out, you know, war--he's a very serious--this is a sort of a paraphrase, but war is a very serious matter, a matter of life and death.  It must be considered very seriously.  And, you know, if you just--remember, that opening line of Sun Tzu, you might avoid some mistakes, but we'll see what happens in the future.  It's still a dangerous world out there.  We still have to work with other countries to try to help maintain peace and security around the world.  I think one other answer would be use the United Nations more and some of these peace keeping operations in the UN have turned out to be actually quite successful.  Sierra Leone was pacified by UN peace keepers.  Liberia peace was restored there.  Sometimes we give as I said earlier the [inaudible], and we could probably use some--it's a better effect, more efficiently.  And so we could spread that risk a little bit so we don't immediately get involved political controversy over whether we should have undertaken some kind of a unilateral action.  And I guess that would be my last point.  James A Baker was successful as a diplomat because he got a consensus resolution through the United Nation Security Council for us to go into the first Persian Gulf War.  We had unanimity, the Russians, the Chinese, the other countries, everybody.  And that makes a big difference.  We went into Iraq without legitimating imprimatur of a Security Council resolution.  So it seems to me that if you're going to contemplate these kinds of activities, go in there accompanied by others, and ideally by the international community as a whole.
>> Well, thank you so much for coming.  Thanks the audience.  A wonderful session.
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>> We invite everybody to participate and to remember your victims.
>> Wow.
>> To remember what?
>> Your victims.
>> Oh, my victims.
>> Yeah, yeah, right.  Your victims.
>> Oh yeah.
>> I don't know who they're talking about.
[ Inaudible Discussion ]
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