Examination of witness (Questions 60-79)|
TUESDAY 24 APRIL 2001
60. At this moment in time?
(Professor Reich) At this moment in time.
61. Not likely to be ever again?
(Professor Reich) Oh, no, I would not make that judgment.
What I am saying is that special relationship, the argument is
that somehow mystically it has been formed on culture or language
or shared values but, in fact, it has been founded at certain
periods on very specific things and none of those are evident
at the moment.
62. Well, ". . . strategic partnership
with ... NATO . . ." still very relevant. Our membership
of the Security Council and often our attempts to stay together.
The United Kingdom and United States disagree violently on most
Security Council issues. That would be a matter of concern, would
(Professor Reich) But part of the glue in those instances
that you have talked about has always been predicated against
the common identifiable enemy or problem. That no longer exists
and because it no longer exists there is more of a centrifugal
rather than centripetal motion.
63. The third one is our "... leading role
in the European Union enhances the relationship between Britain
and the US". You have answered that you do not think the
new US administration really has Europe as a major priority in
(Professor Reich) I think it is that but I think it
is more embedded than that. If I may offer a response. I have
spent a long time in the United States. I have done some work
there. I used to work in the US Congress, I have done some work
at the State Department, I have talked to people at the CIA. If
in those meetings you were to allude to America's special relationship,
well in this country, of course, we would assume that it was self-evidently
with Britain but if you asked somebody in the CIA or the State
Department about America's "special relationship" they
would say "with whom?". It could be the Germans.
64. Not on the intelligence front.
(Professor Reich) It could be the Israelis. I am asking
in a more general sense. The Germans, the Israelis, it could be
the British. We do not share a reciprocal understanding of that.
We see that as unique, special, and in a hierarchical sense above
all others. I am saying that ours certainly is not common, I am
not suggesting that either but it may not have the unique characteristics
that we afford it.
Sir David Madel
65. When you say "our interests coincide
with the United States" is not one of the most important
things how we handle the emerging Russia and all the States that
were part of the Soviet Union and are now struggling to find their
feet? Do you not think we have a great common interest there?
(Professor Reich) I think we should, I do not think
we do. The spirit of your comment I agree with but the Americans
do not have that interest. I spoke recently at Chatham House to
the Director of the Eurasia Foundation in Moscow and his mandate
is to dispense 15 million dollars a year on behalf of the Foundation.
He came, and we were fortunate enough to have him give a talk
to a round table series which we runwhich we would be delighted
to invite all of you to at any point if you are interestedand
the survey he gave of the scene suggested there was an alarming
lack of interest and an alarming lack of visibility by the Americans.
So while the Americans are undoubtedly worried about instability
on the European periphery, which is the term I have often heard
used in Washington to describe that, it serves largely as background
noise. Now if something explodes then the Americans will presumably
reassess that. The current administration clearly has not got
that as a priority and should it be a priority, yes I believe
so. Should it be a priority and is it a priority to Britain, yes,
but far more evident. It will get the Americans attention when
something major happens.
66. But not until.
(Professor Reich) But not until, that is my estimate,
I may be wrong but I do not see evidence.
67. On that point, Chairman, if the relationships
that you have discussed are in fact background noise, what is
in the foreground in terms of American interests?
(Professor Reich) Well, certainly hemispheric.
68. Which one?
(Professor Reich) Western, as they describe it, meaning
Latin America and that is why I mention the Summit of the Americas
yesterday. Nuclear missile defence clearly but with a very narrow
sense of that which is the defence of North America not the defence
69. From China?
(Professor Reich) From "rogue states" and
rogue states is a nice misnomer of the term, it could describe
anybody. Iraq, North Korea, China, they just do not want a stray
weapon going off. It could be parts of the former Soviet Union
where somebody, not necessarily a Government but somebody gets
hold of a capability to act and of course you can put a nuclear
weapon in a suitcase, I am not quite sure of the utility of this,
I had an allusion today in the newspaper to a Maginot line potentially.
The notion is NMD opening up liberalisation which will move from
the Americas into I believe a more aggressive stance towards part
of Asia. Issues such as genetically modified food could potentially,
with Bob Koellick, become part of the issue agenda it protects.
70. After NMD you are saying that most of the
issues are trade led?
(Professor Reich) Well, yes, and partly it is a function
of the views of the administration and partly it is a function
of the fact that the American economy is going into recession
and when it goes into a recession historically it becomes more
nationalistic and nationalistic does not necessarily mean protectionist.
It can also mean becoming more aggressive and sharper in opening
up other people's markets. You see that, you saw that in the early
1990s before the Clinton Administration and you are seeing it
now quite clearly.
71. May we come back to the relationship. We
may also involve ourselves in illusions by talking of our role
as the bridge between the US Administration and our European partners,
is that an illusion?
(Professor Reich) I think potentially increasingly
so. I was struck by John Prescott's visit and the reception he
received. We held a meeting in Chatham House recently where we
invited over 30 producers from the BBC to come down and we talked
to them about what we thought might be major stories in the course
of the forthcoming year that they may want to focus on and one
of the things that we talked about was the prospect that a senior
Government Minister would go to Washington and come back rebuffed
by simply being ignored. I do not want to characterise John Prescott's
visit in quite so stark terms. But if the notion that we were
going there to talk to them about the Kyoto Protocol, to be a
bridge, if that was the mission then the mission did not succeed.
It was interesting that on Sunday when I was in the States listening
to the tv programmes on Sunday morning there was lots of time
given over in tv discussions to American environmental policy
in which Christine Todd-Whitman characterised the Europeans as
having very starkly and shamefacedly painted the Americans as
the "bad guys", as she put it, because the Europeans
were never going to live up to the Kyoto Protocol so they got
the Americans to be most explicit about it and, therefore, take
the blame for it as a result. This was after the Prescott visit
and I think that is quite telling myself.
72. Given your prognosis, presumably under your
scenario NATO will wither?
(Professor Reich) I think it is functionality. One
of the things that comes across in the report, to come back to
the report for a second, is that the way foreign policy is defined
in the report is largely through geographic areas which I do not
think best sends a description of the world in terms of what we
are really interested in which is functional questions, whether
it is interventionism, terrorism, whatever, it is not geographic
in orientation. The reason why I mention that is because NATO
is built on a certain functionality, a historic functionality,
that has now obviously fallen into disuse. I would not suggest
that NATO will necessarily wither but I would suggest that it
will have functional problems unless it redefines its mission
somewhat more clearly. If its mission becomes stability on the
periphery, to come back to an earlier example that we talked about,
then I can imagine the Rapid Reaction Force, a counter-terrorism
capability, becoming central to that, even peacekeeping, even
humanitarian intervention if it chooses that kind of a mandate.
Obviously it is in transition. It would be inappropriate for me
to say it is going to wither because the question really is can
it redefine its mission effectively?
73. I have to say post Cold War you talked,
and we heard it quite a bit from Mr Mark Leonard this morning,
about this concept of globalisation of diplomacy and functionalism.
In fact, post Cold War geographic issues have become more important.
Kosovo was not a functional issue, it was very much a geographic
policy issue. Indeed, the restoration of small nation states,
ethnically based and all the rest of it, is not a global issue,
it is very geographic, is it not?
(Professor Reich) I would argue that perhaps it can
be profitably seen as a response in the geographic area to a changing
global context. What happens under globalisation is the winners
and the losers get redefined. Let me give you the example of the
former Yugoslavia as it was constituted. I would argue that much
of what we have seen in the Balkans in the last ten years has
had precious little to do with nationalism and identity, although
it is often characterised that way for the purposes of garnering
popular support. It has much more to do with the fact that when
the former Yugoslavia was divided there was also a division of
resources and a division of wealth. What you have seen is a series
of issues in which the losers in that divide have tried to reclaim
strategic resources from the people that they think were unfairly
granted too much. I think Bosnia is a classic example of that.
I think the same argument applies across the globe to Rwanda,
for example. There is a very interesting project being undertaken
at the moment by the International Peace Academy in New York,
to which Chatham House is potentially a shared collaborator in
the project, in which the question is what are the economic sources
of ethnic conflict, and there is clearly a pattern emerging. Chiapa
in Mexico is again an example. It is no coincidence that the poorest
region in Mexico, that by all economic indicators has gone furthest
backward in the context of pre-NAFTA and post-NAFTA, is the one
that has been the source of greatest resistance to integration.
I think that it takes a geographic orientation because in a sense
it always must inevitably, but there is a pattern here that crosses
not only countries and national borders but continents.
74. There have always been often underlying
economic motives in any secessionist movements, that is not new,
I could quote quite a few of them. If anyone talks to a Montenegrin
or a Kosovar or a Bosnian there are also issues of identity and
ethnicity that come up very strongly. They may have other ulterior
economic motives but they articulate their differences in their
language, in their ethnic origins and so forth. I do not think
they are an either/or, they often go together, you are quite right,
but I do not think they are just purely economically driven.
(Professor Reich) I would respond by saying that they
may both always be self-evident but there is a question of degree
and what happens under globalisation perhaps in the current version,
in a way unprecedented in history, is it makes the distinction
between the winners and the losers all the more acute. I spend
a lot of my time researching on Mexico, for example, and while
NAFTA has bought elements of wealth and created a Mexican middle
class for periods of time, the capacity for that middle class
to be utterly destroyed within a relatively short period of time
by currency problems is quite phenomenal in a way that historically
we have not seen. So it makes the differences more acute and even
the vast majority of the wealthy enjoy only a fragile wealth.
I think that is what is different about globalisation. I do not
think that weBritainrecognise that necessarily because
we are one of the few countries that do have a tremendous stability.
But even within Britain, if I may say, it is very evident to me.
Again, anecdotally, I grew up in this country and I left it in
1981 to go and study in the United States. If I may say, pointedly
and personally for a moment, I do not remember people busking
or begging on the streets. I do not remember that in the way they
are now when I walk across Hungerford Bridge. I do not remember
the acute differentiation in terms of health care. Whilst I do
not cast aspersions or criticise anybody individually, I am saying
it is part of a general syndrome. Globalisation does not necessarily
differentiate just between one country and another country, there
are people who benefit from this in all countries and it creates
networks between them. There are very rich people in Mexico. Mexico
has 15 of the richest 100 people in the world.
75. If you draw this alternative conclusion
about the nature of the problem, what is your alternative diplomacy?
(Professor Reich) I am sorry?
76. What is going to be your alternative diplomacy
to handle this? What is the role of a British Foreign Office,
or a foreign office not only of Britain, to offer a diplomatic
service? What do they do in this situation?
(Professor Reich) Clearly it maintains some of its
traditional functions, I would not suggest that it does not. For
example, if we think about the export of democracy perhaps it
takes on a more grass roots kind of approach to the export of
democracy in a way that the Americans often do through their foreign
aid programmes rather than the export of democracy through the
inculcation of values more broadly through the British Council.
It obviously clearly takes on a lot more of an integrated and
collaborative role with British business in the export of British
products and in its most radical form would lead to the integration
of the DTI and the FCO. I am not suggesting that Britain give
up the ghost on multilateral institutions, nor give up its global
role in that sense, but what you have at the moment is a multilateral
institutional role running parallel with a bilateral institutional
role and the promotion of many values. I am not sure that you
need both. I myself, just as a statement of personal preference,
would probably forsake some of the bilateral in favour of the
multilateral role which Britain can play.
77. I want to take you back to the United States'
interests. One of the things we have all been seeing over not
just this administration, although it may well be enhanced with
this one, is that managing the relationship with China is a much
more important aspect of American foreign policy than managing
the relationship with Russia. China is an emerging power, Russia
is a diminishing or non-existent one. Is this in practical terms
leading to an emphasis in US military planning and deployment
of Foreign State Department assets much more towards the China/South
East Asia problem, and coupled with that what if any role would
the United States look to Britain/Europe to play in that?
(Professor Reich) I would respond first of all by
saying from the evidence to date and what I anticipate is that
this will be a far more reactive administration in foreign policy
than some of its predecessors. The Clinton administration foreign
policy was about the export of democracy, the Reagan administration
was about the export of American values more broadly but it was
also about setting the agendaevery day there was going
to be a story and we were going to tell you, the popular press,
what the story was. So far this administration has been much more
reactive and I anticipate it will continue to be reactive. I say
that in the context of saying China became an issue because of
the aircraft, I am not sure China would have been an issue, certainly
not anywhere like immediately, if the incident had not occurred.
So I think this is a reactive response. Is it likely to lead to
a strengthening of America's role as a Pacific power? Probably.
The Americans have always been much more of a stronger power in
the Pacific in the second half of the 20th century than they have
actually in Europe, because in Europe they have been tied into
a series of multilateral institutions such as NATO, such as playing
a pivotal role in the initial foundations of the European Union.
So it has always been an established power in Europe but one with
collaborative partners. Apart from Japan, it has not had that
institutional structure in Asia, so it has always played far more
of a unilateral role. I suspect therefore that the American response
after some debate will try and be to build multilateral institutional
links in Asia, to try to augment a regional capability, because
the concern of China's regional neighbours is about the Spratley
Islands for example. Much of this is a debate not about the politics
around this incident but really the politics about China's capacity
to expand its claim over the Spratley Islands, with its enormous
oil resources which China wants to garner. So in that sense we
will see more of a focus on Asia. About their attitude towards
the Europeans the Americans are tremendously ambivalent and always
have been, which is that they move back and forth, especially
about the Germans. On the one hand they do not want the Germans
to have cheque-book diplomacy, they want the Germans to show leadership
capability but when the Germans do they say, "Yes, but you
should follow our leadership", so in that sense they cannot
win. I think that is symptomatic of Europe more generally.
78. In incidents like the aeroplane, if this
got more serious and China thrust into Taiwan and the Americans
feel the need to demonstrate their willingness to use military
power there, will they look to Britain or the European Union,
or Britain and Germany or whatever, to play any role in that at
all? Or do you think they will see this as a Pacific conflict
they will handle on their own with whatever regional allies they
(Professor Reich) The Europeans have been relatively
active over the last six months or so in trying to build bilateral
ties with Asia, and I would imagine in that contextand
this is just imagining them playing it outif the Americans
wanted the Europeans to play a role it would be encouraging the
Europeans to speak to the Asians bilaterally about that rather
than integrating them into some Pacific force. I think that would
be stretching it too far.
Sir David Madel
79. Are you saying on the China policy with
this administration we will be informed rather than consulted
as to the policy development of the United States towards China?
(Professor Reich) I think there might be the veneer
of consultation but at the end of the day it is the kind of consultation,
"We have heard you, we have listened to you, if we do not
agree with you, we will respectfully go our own way."