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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 18, 2011 1:20pm-1:45pm EDT

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certainly something like a week or week and a half was certainly be adequate. again, at least in my mind in terms of government by and for the people, the reason this is important is so that politicians can focus on issues rather than shipping turn out. shipping turnout means that we can avoid the issues and just manipulate the electorate in a way that benefits one party or another to the extent that politicians know there is going to be maximum turnout. and the way that they can win is not to suppress voters or even to turn out particular voters but to argue the merits, are you the policy, explain why the position is better for the future of our country. >> what about mandatory registration, mandatory voting. >> i am very comfortable with the concept of automatically registering everyone, just as,
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you know, everyone may have to serve on a jury or may have to pay taxes. i'm very comfortable with that. one reason i am incredibly comfortable with that is that in the 2008 election i think it was, about 70 million people did not vote, and 80 percent of them were unregistered. registration is one of the biggest barriers to voting. also when we talk about things like purging people from voting rolls from a provisional ballots not being counted our people not being on the role, a lot of that is directly related to the registration problem. very comfortable with the registration modernization. in terms of mandatory voting it is merely a philosophical question. i think other countries to have mandatory voting, just like jerry service or just like some people have to serve in the military. one problem with it is, i think
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we really have a culture of liberty here in this country, and so if we had mandatory voting has certainly think we would want to have a none of the above option so that people could exercise it. politically i don't know if it is realistic. i think a lot of people resisted. so as opposed to going for something that is unrealistic to think we should focus on how we make voting accessible to people so that as many people as possible participate. >> what do you teach your at george washington university? >> voting rights, campaign finance. i am doing a lot in terms of campaign finance. we had a citizens united which allows citizens to spend on politics. we have an opinion on the supreme court striking down a public financing program in arizona. minute edition of campaign
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finance is that we should not focus exclusively on preventing corruption, and we should not focus exclusively on no rules and just money. i think what we should do is encourage participation by as many people as possible. we definitely have this norm that we want everyone to vote. why don't we have a similar norm in terms of money in politics where we want everyone to give a contribution. it doesn't have to be $20,000. this can be $10 or $15. if more people participated in terms of the financing of campaigns i think that politicians would be, frankly, less beholden to particularly large contributors in now give the bulk of money that politicians receive.
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>> here is the original cover of "stealing democracy." then the paperback came out. any reason? >> the publisher made the decision. i liked a very simple vote that is suppressed in terms of sending the message, but frankly when you are an author you are flattered when the book goes to paper. so i was very happy with any cover, right, in terms of the paper. >> is the south still a problem in terms of suppressing border rights as it was in the 50's and 60's? >> part of the voting rights act, section five of the pre clarence revision, and it applies to only certain states, many in the south, not all.
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also counties in certain places. there is a national debate right now as to whether or not that is constitutional and violates that federalism of those states. whether this is really estate issue end the federal government should not get involved. i need -- think that it is still an issue. there is a question of is this outburst and other places? i think that is a legitimate question, but this month's -- notion of a check on partisan officials and their changes i think is a good thing. at the debt is a good thing in part because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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reviewing an election changed before it is made is much less expensive than litigation after the fact, after you have had an election. it could be discriminatory or problematic. also with this review does is helps all voters, not just those of color because politicians are less likely to engage in shenanigans when they know that it is going to be reviewed. i am very sensitive to the question of whether or not this formula that applies to only particular states remains legitimate. it was set up in the 1960's. is that still the same formula. that is a legitimate question, but this question of should we have a check on voting procedures, the real question is maybe we should have a check on voting procedures nationwide simply because there is such an opportunity for mischief or if not mischief self-serving
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behavior by certain election officials or politicians. >> do you have another book you are working on? >> you know, right now i am focused on money and politics. focused on a number of academic articles that i see coming together possibly into a book. right now within the obama administration for about a year-and-a-half before that i worked on policy for the campaign and also did the transition. and you know, when you come back into the academy i think you want to have some academic credit. dino. it is great to do bucks and i certainly enjoy them, but i also want to come back and send a message to my colleagues that i am back with great new ideas from my experience, new academic ideas and while i will certainly eventually put these into book form, academic
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articles, sharp academic articles is the first thing out of the box. >> spencer overton is a professor at george washington university and the author of this book, "stealing democracy: the new politics of voter suppression". here is the hardcover, and here is the paperback. thank you for joining us on book tv. >> thanks you so much. i appreciate it. >> every weekend book tv offers 48 hours of programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. watch it here on c-span2. >> book tv is here at george washington university in washington d.c. talking with some professors who are also offers. what you are seeing on your screen now is that cover a professor elizabeth saunders book leaders -- "leaders at war: how presidents shape military interventions" professor saunders, why did you use the word intervention? >> this is a but primarily dealing with a very particular
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question about the use of military force in american foreign policy and specifically how presidents use military intervention as a tool in american foreign policy first. this is using military force to intervene in the internal affairs of another state, usually quite a distance away. the book is dealing with the central question of why we see certain kinds of military intervention is under some circumstances rather than others. i argue there are two models, transformative where we see the united states getting deeply involved in the domestic affairs of another state. we can think about the nation-building interventions of the 1990's in haiti in the balkans with the u.s. is really getting quite deeply involved in those states domestic affairs, building and rebuilding,
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changing their domestic institutions. on the other end, you see the united states going in, trying to fix whatever the problem is and getting out without really trying to leave a big footprint on the domestic affairs of the target state. the central question is dealing with why we see one of these models of intervention at a given point in time rather than the other. >> what is an example of a non transformative intervention? >> i would argue the first call for a rare week kicked saddam hussein out of kuwait but did not kill and and change the regime in baghdad. arguably the 1958 intervention and 11 non was another example. it is only more of a surgical strike. trying to deal with the problem and get out without really changing the domestic institution. >> why the focus on presidents eisenhower, kennedy, and
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johnson? >> people have proposed a lot of different explanations for why we see it to different models. some argue that it is a lot to do with the international environment. maybe the cold war recede a certain model of intervention and different models dominating in the post september 11th time frame. if the united states always chooses one model. scholars have argued almost always try to promote democracy. it really has to do with to occupy the oval office. it is the president who matters profoundly. and so i showed that there are not an infinite number of ways. really a major fault line, and we can categorize presidents based on whether they fall into one of two categories depending upon how they perceived threats. what i would call an internally
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focused president really believes the way other states are organized and family matters is the ultimate source of threat to the united states, threatens u.s. national security. those leaders are much more likely to choose the more transformative model of intervention. kennedy, carter, reagan are examples across party lines where you see president's choosing that more transformative model. on the other hand you have leaders to focus primarily on what states do, four and security policies and don't focus a whole lot on domestic institutions and a more likely to choose the more surgical strike kind of intervention. george h. w. bush, eisenhower, and i would argue wind in johnson. so crossing party lines. i focus on eisenhower, kennedy, and johnson because i wanted to show that even within the cold war when you would think there was a pretty strong threat consensus we now understood what the nature of the threat was.
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you would actually seek a pretty wide variation and you can see these two different kind of presidents and intervention models even within a situation like the cold war. that is why i looked at those three in particular. >> dwight eisenhower, not transformative. what are some examples? he did mention one in 1958. what about a ron? >> that is a very interesting case. in 1953 covert operation in iran and also utley similar intervention in guatemala are considered a pair. people often ask aren't those what you call transformative interventions because in these cases the united states uses covert operations to topple the regime. one of the things i . out is that not every regime is -- not every attempt is necessarily what i call transform it is. just changing the top layer of
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and leaving the other institutions of the state in place is not really institutional transformation. it is just decapitating the regime. i would argue these are more like akin to the surgical strike model than they are to be transformed of interventions. >> john kennedy, an example of intervention. >> i would point to the vietnam war. another reason why it is useful to look at all three because they made decisions about the vietnam war. that helps me show president's looking at the same conflict can make different decisions. kennedy decides that he believes the nature of the institution is one major reason why it is at risk for going communist.
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he intervenes in a transformative way where he is trying to build local institutions to connect the local population more closely to the central government in saigon. he really is homing in on this nation building when he is intervening in the early 1960's. it does not work terribly well. i'm not trying to explain whether it works, but what mall the president chooses. even if it does not work it can have profound consequences. >> why is it important to know which model? >> well, even if the president changes his mind and changes the intervention model midstream or if it doesn't work, you may see years of struggle on the ground. you may see a failed war. i think it is important to understand why the president goes in with a particular model of intervention. also important because presidents don't choose these in
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a vacuum. they make decisions when they first come to office that have profound consequences for how prepared they are to undertake these interventions. staffing decisions, of point people in the department of defense and the department of state. in a budgetary decisions. they make decisions about what the institutions to create. all of these things come together and affect how prepared you are to undertake certain kinds of intervention. if you support somebody to the secretary of defense to is not supportive of nation building in means you're not likely to undertake nation-building, and if he switched to that kind of policy later on you're much less prepared. you have invested your resources and it. so what you do at the beginning can have a lot of consequences on the ground. >> professor saunders, we mostly think of vietnam, we think of
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president johnson. you say he was in a non transformative category. why? >> this is also kind of a surprising finding for me. when i set out to look at johnson i had this image that we all have of johnson trying to wrap export the great society. of course he was trying to a broad. that is what people often argue he was doing. but when i went and looked at what he was doing, it is not that he didn't care about the vietnamese people and not that he didn't want to improve the domestic institutions of vietnam in the largest sense and hope it became a democracy, but that was not his war fighting strategy. his strategy was much more in line with traditional army doctrine of search and destroy it. find the enemy and engaged and the fee.
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there was later in the war an emphasis on nation-building. they called it in the white house the other war. it was never fully integrated. for johnson this was not a war about transforming vietnam into a new and different kind of state. when he takes over for kennedy he says, i don't want so much of this 2-putting social program that kennedy had been doing. i want to get along and when the war. he really he these issues as separate. he wanted to do right by a vietnamese, but he did not attribute it to the way he was going to go when the war. >> are there clues to the president's going in beside their appointees? can we hear it in their campaigns? >> another really interesting finding that surprised me. scholars are a little bit skeptical of the idea that
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presidents make this much of the difference in foreign-policy. it may sound surprising because we have this sense that the person in the white house matters. scholars attribute the decision is more to the international circumstances where the particular vagaries of american politics. the president is viewed as a constraint. to show that it really is the president in matters i had to show clearly that the president came to office already with beliefs about where threats come from already in place. we don't want to look at what they're doing in the crisis because they may say things under the pressure of decisions that don't reflect what they really believe. i went and looked back at the documents that they produced when there were -- before they came to the oval office. i looked at johnson's paper trail when he was a senator and congressman. kennedy's paper from three
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presidential time frame. eisenhower, extremely expensive. very long and illustrious career before presidency. i went to the johnson library in kennedy library in eisenhower library and looked at -- mostly focusing on the pre presidential collections. it turns out that you really can see it. you can see that the presidents are going to of conform to one of these two categories. just to give you an example, in 1951 kennedy goes on a 7-week tour of the middle east and asia with his brother, robert, among others, to go and have a look at the third world for himself and get a sense of what is going on. he kept a diary. he spent an extensive time in vietnam and saigon and talks about how it is the domestic institutions that matter and the french aren't doing enough to build up local institutions. it is ten years before he is
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inaugurated. case after case you see this. what the president does before he comes to office tells you an awful lot. >> professor saunders, in sin years if you're right of follow up and you put president clinton, george w. bush, and president obama on here, how will you find that some evidence? to governors, one of senator for a couple of years and then a state legislator as well. >> trickier when they don't have a long paper trail. these three made easy for me. they wrote a lot down and lots of letters. not the age of e-mail. assuming we can get a hold of an e-mail i would look at that. you have to take seriously what they say even though they don't necessarily have a lot of experience. we have, for example, bill clinton challenging george h. w. bush during the campaign for coddling dictators and so forth. and you see a lot of evidence of
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differences. policy in somalia. george h. w. bush very reluctant to do anything in 1993. when he decides to go and he does it in the most limited way possible and says we will go feed the people and not involved in local politics. clinton comes in and the effort is expended to nation building. i think that you can see some patterns. george w. bush came in with a pretty clear stance on nation-building. appointing donald rumsfeld. rice saying we don't need the 802nd airborne taking kids to kindergarten, and that was reflected to some extent in the way the united states went into iraq initially. the shock and all more surgical strike. there was now a lot of attention to remake domestic institutions in iraq in the beginning.
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price gives an interview in the beginning or she says the idea that we will take off the head and the plea the institutions in place. later on we had a much more transformative coal. rebuilding iraq from the ground up becomes part of the policy, but the fact that was not the way the united states went in has profound consequences for the next couple of years as the u.s. struggles to catch up with this new, transformer that policy and build the resources to do it. it is really not until 2006 we get a strategy for her clear, cold, and belt. obama is a bit of a tricky case. you might think that someone who spent a lot of time during committee organizing would be an institution building a broad, but i actually, you know, from what evidence we have seen, the more useful piece of information from his previous background is his opposition to the iraq war
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most famous on the foreign-policy front. very close to the iraq war, and the actions he has taken as president have reflected that. not. >> tough job on the anti mubarak bandwagon and that egypt uprising, but the 2009 decision on the surge in afghanistan, throughout that debate he is very much coming down on the side of joe biden and the more counter-terrorism approach as opposed to rebuilding afghanistan from the ground up. a very much consistently rejected that approach route to debate and ultimately the policy that he chose. also more hands-off, bombing from afar, not putting boots on the ground. i think those are consistent.


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