BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Robert Kagan, you open up your book with this sentence. "It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world or even that they occupy the same world." Did we ever think we had this same world we lived in?
ROBERT KAGAN, AUTHOR, "OF PARADISE AND POWER": I think so. I think that -- certainly, my assumption -- I sort of grew up in the late cold war, and my memory was of Margaret Thatcher and Helmut Kohl and Ronald Reagan standing shoulder to shoulder in the cold war, and we had a common enemy in the Soviet Union. And I think we did share, fundamentally, the same world view about things like whether you need to deter with military force and have military force and make it an integral part of your foreign policy.
But after the cold war and as the Europe Union developed and as we sort of started looking at things a little differently, I think we`ve evolved into very different world views. And the Europeans, really, I think, in their own view, moved beyond military power.
LAMB: When did you first start to notice it?
KAGAN: Well, I moved to Europe about two-and-a-half years ago. I live in Brussels. And I came with, I would say, the classic American assumption that we all do agree about -- about these kinds of things, and went to many conferences between Americans and Europeans, and the conferences would always begin and be premised on the assumption that we agree on these basic principles. But as I listened to the two sides talk to each other, it seemed to me clear that that wasn`t the case and that they used the same words, but the words had different meaning for them, so that it just became clear to me that Europeans were looking at the world and had a sense of what international order should be like that was rather strikingly different from the American perspective.
LAMB: One of the things you point out in your book is that Europeans look at us as someone that lives in a culture of death.
KAGAN: Well, that was something that surprised me, I must say. It really came up around the time of the election of George W. Bush. And even before he had set foot in office, even before his inauguration, Europeans were consumed with the question of the death penalty. And somehow, Bush being from Texas, there were lots of cartoons about him with a cowboy hat. And you would go to foreign policy conferences, and the first words out of the Europeans` mouth were death penalty. And they put that together with the fact that we have much looser gun control laws than they do. And even before there was a foreign policy split, Europeans were talking about culture gap, and they did refer -- many of them -- to a culture of death in the United States.
LAMB: You work for the Carnegie...
KAGAN: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, yes.
LAMB: What is it?
KAGAN: It`s a think tank. It was founded many years ago, obviously, with the funding of Andrew Carnegie. It`s a nonpartisan foreign policy think tank that examines issues ranging from environmental issues, globalization -- in my case, I focus on U.S. foreign policy. And it`s got a very strong team of analysts and experts.
LAMB: Is there a point of view?
KAGAN: Not particularly. I would say, you know, on the scale of things, it`s probably a little bit more to the liberal side and -- which means that I`m sort of an outrigger there. But I -- I feel very comfortable. It`s a very open exchange of views.
LAMB: On the back of your book, you have a quote from Henry Kissinger. And he starts off by saying, "Though in the past we have often disagreed" -- I`ll just stop there. How have you two disagreed?
KAGAN: Well, the fact that he was willing to give a comment on the back of this book is a great testament to his graciousness as a human being because I`ve written some quite critical things about Henry Kissinger over the years. I`ve sort of reviewed his memoirs negatively. I -- we have a different view of how the cold war was fought and the question of detente and whether detente was the right approach to the Soviet Union. And more broadly, he`s generally what`s considered a realist in foreign policy thinking, which is to say it should just be about power and relations among states. It should not be about morality and human rights and democracy and other issues like that. I hold the opposite view, and so we`ve clashed over the years on that subject.
LAMB: What was wrong with detente?
KAGAN: It was basically -- you know, it -- in Kissinger`s defense, he was playing with a weak hand. We were in the middle of Vietnam, and the country had had its morale sapped, in many respects. But it was a -- basically, a strategy of appeasement. it was an acceptance of the permanence of the Soviet Union. It was the abandonment of any effort to try actually to win the cold war or to -- or it was opposition to building up military strength to confront the Soviet Union. And it`s what was reversed in the Reagan years, and I think it was that reversal that eventually led to the victory in the cold war.
LAMB: How long did you work for Ronald Reagan?
KAGAN: All told, I`d say about five years.
LAMB: Doing what?
KAGAN: First I worked at the U.S. Information Agency briefly, and then for a longer period, for four years, I worked in the State Department, first in the -- as a member of the policy planning staff, then as a speech writer to George Shultz.
LAMB: Well, Henry Kissinger then goes on to say, "I consider this essay one of those seminal treatises without which any discussion of European-American relations would be incomplete and which will shape that discussion for years to come."
Why would he say this? I mean, why -- if you`ve disagreed so much. What`s going on there?
KAGAN: Well, I can only assume that he -- when he read the essay, he tended to agree with it. I mean, there`s probably no better student of Europe and U.S.-European relations than Henry Kissinger, so I`m honored and flattered that he would say that. But I gather that that -- that his view is that my analysis of the shifting world views of the United States and Europe is largely correct.
LAMB: When did the shift begin?
KAGAN: I think it`s been evolving for a while, and probably back into the cold war, but it began most dramatically, I would say, in the 1990s, after the cold war. I mean, most people seem to think that it happened on January 21, 2001, when George Bush was elected, but you could see many signs, and many important signs, of the split in the 1990s. They seemed smaller then, but in retrospect, you can see that that`s when it really began.
LAMB: Can you put your finger on it?
KAGAN: You know, you remember the French foreign minister at the time coined the term to describe the United States, "the hyper-power." That was when the Clinton administration was in power, and the French and other Europeans complained about the "hectoring hegemon." That was, I think, a reference to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. And the issues that later exploded in the Bush administration -- national missile defense and the ABM treaty, the International Criminal Court, the concentration on rogue states like Iraq, North Korea and Iran, and the specific split over Iraq -- all began in the late 1990s.
LAMB: You live in Brussels, so you were probably there during the "axis of evil" speech about a year ago.
LAMB: What was the reaction the day -- several days after that?
KAGAN: Well, the first reaction was a kind of stunned disbelief, and then the second rather quick reaction was that this was -- I mean, this was the European view -- that this was a vaguely insane comment.
KAGAN: Europeans don`t use words like "evil" to discuss other nations in foreign policy. They think that`s an American oversimplification, nothing is that black and white. They pointed out, as many Americans did -- have made the argument that, you know, you can`t lump together Iran and Iraq and North Korea. But I think what most sort of shocked European sensibilities was this -- this sense of implacability on the part of the United States. It had labeled countries evil. Clearly, it was going to do something about them. And that was a -- that seemed to the Europeans to be a very aggressive approach, which very much contrasts with the European approach.
LAMB: Why don`t -- why wouldn`t they use the word "evil"? What`s in that society that`s not in -- that`s not in this society, or what`s here that`s not there?
KAGAN: Well, I think it comes -- it goes back to European history. You know, after -- the Second World War and the First World War, but the Second World War, in particular, was a very searing experience for Europeans. And if ever there was a government that was evil, it was Nazi Germany. But after the Second World War, Europeans had to find a way to come to peace with each other and to reintegrate Germany and to create what we now see as the European Union. And I think that the European perspective is, Let`s not talk about things like evil. We have to put this kind of -- because they wanted to put the past behind them, they wanted to put the discussion of evil behind them. And it`s a touchy issue even within countries. France`s role during the Second World War and other European countries, with their treatment of the Jews, for instance -- I think they`d prefer to have things a little bit more in the gray area and not so starkly black and white. It makes it easier for them to solve the European problem.
LAMB: Two-and-a-half years in Belgium. Why Belgium? Why Brussels?
KAGAN: Because of my wife. She`s a U.S. diplomat, and she serves in the U.S. mission to NATO, which is in Brussels.
LAMB: Does that help or hurt you in your work?
KAGAN: I`d say it both helps and hurts.
KAGAN: It helps in the sense that I benefit from her enormous wisdom and insight into these matters. I mean, she`s a real working professional who gets things done every day at NATO. She`s not like I am, you know, sitting around theorizing. It hurts in the sense that I`m not allowed to use anything that she tells me in any way. And I write monthly column in "The Washington Post," and I`m always very careful. I can never really write about the subject that she happens to be working on at the time. We have to keep a kind of firewall between us when we -- when we talk. But mostly, I would say it`s positive in the intellectual stimulation.
LAMB: What`s her name?
KAGAN: Victoria Newland (ph).
LAMB: And what does -- today what does NATO do?
KAGAN: Well, right now, NATO is gearing up to prepare for some kind of role in -- maybe -- if not in direct participation in the -- in a possible Iraq war, but in providing defenses to NATO members. Right now -- NATO does a tremendous amount -- it`s a simple answer. They provide AWACS coverage, perhaps, over potentially threatened countries like Turkey. They patrol sea lanes. There will be a lot of NATO support activity, even if not direct NATO involvement, in...
LAMB: I guess -- the reason I wanted to ask is -- how big is it? How much military? How many countries are involved? Headquartered there in Brussels?
KAGAN: Headquarters in Brussels, 19 countries, with a new relationship with Russia, and they`ve just admitted new countries. And it`s a giant organization, multi layers of bureaucracy and -- a political side and a military side that works together. They try very hard to coordinate civilian and military. And they coordinate among all the governments, and all decisions are taken by consensus. There`s no majority voting going on. You have to have complete consensus.
LAMB: Who runs it now?
KAGAN: Well, there`s a secretary general of NATO always, and the current secretary general is Lord Robertson, George Robertson, who`s from the United Kingdom, and he`s a very fine leader of NATO.
LAMB: Stepping down?
KAGAN: He is going to be stepping down. He`s announced that he`s going to be stepping -- this is his final year, yes.
LAMB: So how does -- your wife works for them. How does she get a job with them? I don`t mean -- you know, she knocked on the door and say, Hire me, but how does it work? Is she...
KAGAN: Well, she`s a State Department official, and she worked in the State -- she`s been in the foreign service for over 20 years now. In fact, we met at the State Department in the early `80s. And it`s just one of the jobs that -- that foreign service diplomats can apply to. She`s the deputy chief of mission, the charge, sort of the deputy ambassador. And it`s a -- it was a highly competitive process, but she got that job.
LAMB: And how old are your kids?
KAGAN: I have a daughter 6 and a son 4.
LAMB: So living in Brussels, compared to living -- where would you live if you didn`t live there?
KAGAN: We`d live in the Washington area. That`s where we lived before that.
LAMB: Or living in Europe compared to living in the United States on a day-to-day basis -- what`s different?
KAGAN: Oh, I -- you know, I enjoy living in Europe because, for one thing, you can visit so many interesting countries in a very short time. I mean, if you`re living in Brussels, you`re an hour and 20 minutes away form Paris by the fast strain. And so the richness of the culture -- I mean, it`s a cliche, but it`s true. The richness of the culture, the different -- the long histories, the different kinds of people. Sometimes I find Europe a little bit more rigid than the United States at simple things like, can you go get a bottle of milk on a Sunday. And basically, in most European countries, the answer is no. They tend to do things the way they`ve always done them, and I find the United States in general to be looser and more -- you know, you can get whatever you want whenever you want it.
LAMB: What about the military? How big is their military in those 19 countries of NATO? And how large is Europe now? What would be the European Union?
KAGAN: Oh -- how many countries?
KAGAN: I think it`s in the nature -- with the expansion, it`s in the nature of 25 or 26, something like that.
LAMB: And with the United States being 288 million, 290 million, how big is Europe in people?
KAGAN: You know, I think it`s in the neighborhood -- I`m going to -- I`m going to, you know, get angry mail, and my wife will poke me, but I think it`s in the neighborhood of maybe 300 million, 350 million or something like that.
LAMB: Because you make a point in here that by the year 2050, that the way things are going, the relationship could be greatly different than it is today.
KAGAN: Well, there was a very interesting article in "The Economist" magazine, showing demographic trends over the next 50 years. And you can -- you always have to take these projections with a grain of salt, but if the current trends hold up, the most striking thing will be the difference in age of the two populations.
The European population is aging much faster than the American population -- it has a lot to do with immigration, has a lot to do with the kinds of groups that are in the United States now -- to the point where -- I don`t remember the exact figures, but you know, 30 years -- in 2050, the average age of an American is going to be something like 30, and the average of a European is going to be something like 50 or 52, which has all kinds of implications on economics, social welfare programs. A huge older population has to be supported by a smaller young population.
And "The Economist" made the point that, you know, if you think you`ve seen American power now, wait till you get to 50 years from now and America has a much more dynamic, youthful population as Europe gets older and older.
LAMB: On the back of your book, Leon Wieseltier, who doesn`t, I would guess, exactly agree with Henry Kissinger or with you on a lot of issues -- what`s he do now?
KAGAN: He`s the literary editor of "The New Republic."
LAMB: He says, "For its brilliant juxtaposition of strategy and philosophy, of the realities of power and the ethics of power, of the American ideal of justice and of the European ideal of justice, Robert Kagan`s small book is a big book. Nothing like this has been written since the death of Raymond Aron."
Who`s Raymond Aron?
KAGAN: He`s a French intellectual, a French scholar of a sort of conservative cast, a very famous cold war French intellectual.
LAMB: When did he die?
KAGAN: I`m not exactly sure.
LAMB: And do you know Leon Wieseltier?
KAGAN: Oh, very well. Yes, I`ve written many times for "The New Republic" with him -- you know, in his section of the magazine.
LAMB: Well, the reason I mention his endorsement is because you talk throughout your book about Kant and Hobbes. Who were they? And why do you use them to describe what`s going on?
KAGAN: Well, Kant was a German philosopher who -- sort of an Enlightenment philosopher who -- who -- very brilliant. He wrote "The Critique of Pure Reason." And he -- but one of the things that he wrote about was the possibility of what he called "perpetual peace," and he wrote a lot about whether mankind could ever escape the world of international anarchy and build up a system where there was a kind of international governance that allowed everyone to live at peace because peace was obviously the ideal situation And he actually discovered, I think, that that was a very complicated thing because if you created an international government of that kind, wouldn`t you also be in danger of creating an international tyranny?
Now, in a way, he was responding to Hobbes, who was an English philosopher from an earlier period who talked about the war of all against all and the natural state of society is one of violence and aggression. And when you talk about a Hobbesian state of nature, you`re talking about an anarchic world where the only order comes from those who -- in this case, nations that impose order with their power.
LAMB: And I guess it`s the question about philosophy. Why would you use -- I mean, how often do you use philosophers like this to describe what`s going on...
LAMB: ... and why do you do it?
KAGAN: It was shorthand, and I don`t -- I`m not a political philosopher, and I didn`t mean to make a big point about Kant and Hobbes, but I -- what I wanted to suggest was that Europeans had created for themselves within the continent of Europe something approaching the kind of Kantian image of a system of perpetual peace because they really do have an international governing system in which nations subordinate their sovereignty. And it is true that the prospect of war between any of the European nations today is almost -- it`s almost inconceivable. And so they`ve come as close to achieving that ideal as possible.
I used Hobbes to describe what I see as the rest of the world, that while Europe has this oasis of, you know, post-historical paradise, the rest of the world is still more like a Hobbesian world, where you have your Saddam Husseins and the Kim Jong Ils and the Chinas and others, who don`t accept the rules, necessarily, of the international order that we value and the Europeans value, and therefore, who must be met, in a sense, at the level of the Hobbesian reality, not -- you can`t treat Hobbesian world with a Kantian policy.
LAMB: Size of the military. Is there any way to describe that, compared to our 12 aircraft carriers and...
KAGAN: Well, I think...
LAMB: ... all of our air wings...
KAGAN: Yes, I think that all of Europe may have two or three aircraft carriers of -- and, you know, with the French having one aircraft carrier which is often in disrepair. They`re trying to build another one. The Europeans have large forces, in terms of manpower. I mean, Germany has a large conscript army. But it is not tuned to modern military warfare, in many respects. I mean, the soldiers are in barracks all over Germany, almost as if they`re waiting for the Second World War or the cold war again.
And what America has that Europe does not have is the ability to project force to very distant theaters. We have strategic airlift, big, heavy -- big planes that can carry lots of troops and lots of material. We have a huge navy that can project force for long distances. And the Europeans are lacking in those areas.
And then in the technological area -- the technological military capability -- the gap has just grown immensely, as America has poured billions of dollars into research and development. I think the American research and development budget is larger than the British defense budget. And so over the past decade and more, the United States has been able to build weaponry that is more and more lethal, more and more accurate from greater and greater distances. And the Europeans simply haven`t been able to keep up.
LAMB: How much do they resent the fact that we are so powerful militarily?
KAGAN: Well, they resent it. Now, that`s not entirely new because Europe`s been dependent on American power for a long time, certainly ever since the cold war. And I think it`s normal in human nature that dependence always breeds a certain amount of resentment. But I think during the cold war, the resentment was also mingled with gratitude and appreciation. But since the cold war, the gratitude and appreciation level has gone down and perhaps the resentment has gone up.
And I would say, in fairness to the Europeans, it`s not just resentment, it`s concern. I mean, Europeans really worry that the United States has become too powerful for anybody`s good, that the United States is now too powerful -- they`re more powerful than is in the interest of international order.
LAMB: You mentioned some issues earlier. I`ll just ask you what the Europeans` position would be on a missile defense. What do they think of that idea?
KAGAN: Well, Europeans were always opposed to a missile defense system, mostly because during the cold war, they got very used to the idea -- and for understandable reasons -- of what was called mutually assured destruction, where the United States and the Soviet Union kept the peace by threatening to blow each other up, and largely over the heads of Europe. And what Europeans fear -- they, needless to say, don`t -- never want to have a nuclear war on European soil. They`d rather have the nuclear war on U.S. and Soviet soil. And what they feared about national missile defense was that the United States would protect itself, leave them exposed and perhaps destabilize this balance of terror that existed. So they opposed it during the Clinton years. They opposed it during the Bush years. But because Bush was able to reach a deal with Russia, Europe really had nothing to say in the matter, ultimately.
LAMB: How threatened are they by terrorist attacks?
KAGAN: Well, that`s a really interesting thing that I`ve discovered, is that -- and European leaders will admit this. I was at conference with Javier Solana, the EU foreign minister, where he said it simply is the case that Europeans don`t feel threatened in the same way that Americans do. Now, Europeans will say, We`ve lived with terrorism for a long time. And the Spaniards have lived with the ETA terrorist group for a long time, and then there`s the IRA in the United Kingdom and the Red Army Faction in Germany. But the kind of terrorism that they think of are things like car bombs, supermarkets blowing up, terrible events but nothing of the scale of what Americans suffered on September 11, where, you know, 3,000 people are killed in one day. I think it may be the case that in all the years of terrorism in Britain, there may not be 3,000 total deaths, or at least, it`s roughly equivalent.
And so what Europeans do not see as much a threat as the United States, as Americans do, is this threat that terrorists might get ahold of weapons of mass destruction. They just -- it just doesn`t connect for them. And that`s one reason why they have so little understanding of this Iraq operation.
LAMB: What happened in Kosovo? How much of the military activity in Kosovo was fought by Americans versus the Europeans?
KAGAN: And this was a problem because America -- it was a very good alliance war. It was the first time that NATO had ever gone to war. But the fact was that the United States basically carried 90 to 95 percent of the load, flew most -- the vast majority of the aerial missions. Our intelligence was key to picking almost all the targets. And Europeans found this troubling, ultimately, because it also gave America the ability to sort of call the shots on how to fight the war, how to end the war, what terms to end the war on. And there was a lot of fighting back and forth during the war over those issues. And Europeans left that Kosovo war happy that it succeeded but very uncomfortable with the degree of influence that the United States had wielded on their continent in a war involving Europeans.
LAMB: Does -- NATO military operation -- is it ever run by a non-American?
KAGAN: No, it`s always been an American as the supreme commander of NATO.
LAMB: Is that in the charter?
KAGAN: Yes, it is. Yes.
LAMB: What do Europeans think about that?
KAGAN: Well, they don`t -- I don`t think they mind it. I mean, obviously, it makes sense for the largest, and in this case, by far the largest military power, and also for the United States, in particular, given its role in European history, to lead the alliance. I don`t -- an alliance has to have a leader, certainly in military terms. And so that makes sense. But there are, you know, Europeans playing roles up and down the military chain.
LAMB: What do you say to people watching, say, Look, while we`re spending $400 billion on the military and Europe`s getting away with spending hardly any money, comparatively speaking, they get to put all that money in the welfare system or they have a safety net, or whatever it is, that I, a taxpayer -- I`m not saying this myself, but a viewer -- I`m sick of this.
LAMB: We need to change this. We don`t want to be the policeman of the world.
KAGAN: Well, I think that, you know, Americans need to remember that -- it`s nice that we`re doing this, but we`re not -- we`re doing a favor to ourselves, as well. I mean, if we help keep the peace in Europe, in the long run, it`s a lot cheaper for us than letting Europe fall apart and having to send hundreds of thousands of American troops there again, as we did twice in the last century. I mean, there`s nothing that`s a better buy for America than a Europe at peace, if you look over recent history.
I think Americans are right to ask Europeans to spend more on their defense budgets. And I think that it would be good for Europeans if they spent more on their defense budgets. And one of the problems -- I mean, one of the reasons we have this big gap now and this growing disagreement is precisely because Europeans have allowed themselves to become so weak that they`re of no real use to us in a military adventure. Therefore, they don`t have as much influence over us as they would like.
I don`t think Americans should feel like -- I actually think Americans should be sort of proud of the role that the United States plays in the world. I don`t know whether -- I think Americans are proud of it, if they think about it. History has sort of put on our shoulders the responsibility of keeping the peace, and has for a long time. And rather than, you know, say, Well, why does this have to be us, I would rather hope Americans would feel that -- they should be honored to be in this position.
LAMB: When was the last time you were in Germany?
KAGAN: Oh, I`ve been there frequently over the past few months. I don`t know, maybe -- maybe two months ago.
LAMB: What do you see when you`re there that we don`t see here? How can you -- can you explain what`s going on there and Mr. Schroeder and their attitude toward this whole Iraqi thing?
KAGAN: Well, one thing you see is a country that is really beset with enormous problems, economic problems and social problems. I mean, one of the things that Germany is grappling with is its own -- is the unification of east and west Germany. And eastern Germany was a very poor country and very damaged by decades of communism. And so the integration of those two sides of Germany has cost Germans enormous amounts of money and really damaged the economy.
At the same time, practically all Germans agree that their social welfare system is too costly. They can`t afford to keep these benefits going to people as much as they do and that their labor system is too rigid. I mean you can`t fire someone in Germany for anything without giving them a three-year severance pay. It`s just impossible so they have high unemployment.
And so, everybody agrees that these changes need to be made but no one has the political courage really to undertake them. Schroeder promised to make these changes and hasn`t, and so one thing that I think has been happening is that Schroder has been playing a little bit on the anti-American card, which is very popular in Germany, as a way of channeling perhaps some of the discontent with his own government and with the state of affairs in Germany away from him and towards George Bush.
LAMB: Now, why are the Germans anti-American?
KAGAN: Again, I don`t think they`re so much anti-American but Germany has moved in a very pacifist direction in recent years.
LAMB: Isn`t that what we wanted?
KAGAN: Well, yes. I mean that`s the great irony. You know, this is why I personally don`t get too upset about it. I would rather have a pacifist Germany than some of the previous alternatives, but even more seriously since I don`t think Germany is going back to that horrible past, I think it`s good that Europe believes in peace in Europe.
I think that`s of enormous interest to the United States, and I only wish that they sort of in return for being able to enjoy this paradise, allow us to go do the things we need to do to maintain our security and their security.
It`s the constant carping at the United States and the sort of reflexive anti-Americanism that I find - I really wish Europeans would get over it in a certain sense.
LAMB: We have around six percent unemployment. What`s the unemployment rate in a place like Germany or France?
KAGAN: Well, Germany`s unemployment rate is now over ten percent but it has been for a long time. I mean our unemployment has recently spiked because we`ve been in a recession, but Germany has something like structural ten percent unemployment.
LAMB: A lot of that in the east?
KAGAN: A lot of that in the east, absolutely. The east may be, I don`t know in some parts of the east I`m sure the unemployment rates are 20 and 30 percent.
LAMB: When was the last time you were in France?
KAGAN: I`ve been in France also fairly recently.
LAMB: OK, what do you see there and what`s going on with Mr. Chirac?
KAGAN: I see a lovely country that`s an absolute delight and it is not in a state of depression. In fact, France is a fairly vibrant country right now and the economy is fairly vibrant.
I`m a little surprised with the direction that Chirac has gone in because when he won his election back in the summer and took power, I talked to a lot of people who were supporters of him and who were even working in his government and they all said, they said to me and many other Americans we`re going to get beyond all this, you know, Franco-American tension.
They were looking back at the socialist government of Jospin and said, you know, they were having fights with you. We`re not going to do that. We`re going to work this thing out.
And then, the Iraq issue arose and Chirac has taken a very different attack. Now, Chirac`s position is very popular in France. I mean the polls against the American position on Iraq run anywhere from 70 to 80 percent, and so Chirac is doing a very popular thing.
And, you know, then there`s just an old French tradition of shall we say independence, going back to DeGaulle and Chirac ….and I think France feels that the way they wield power in a world where they don`t have a lot of military power, and where really they`re a middle ranking power in that regard but the way they wield power is through the Security Council where they have a veto and they are the equal of the United States at the Security Council.
So, I think there`s a certain amount of pride and glory and independence here but I think it`s been coming at a cost. I mean I think they may be doing really serious damage in the medium and long term to American and French relations but also to the state of the alliance.
LAMB: When was the last time they participated militarily in NATO?
KAGAN: Well, they always participate militarily in NATO. They participated heavily in Kosovo. There were, as they are quick to point out, they lost 12 French soldiers in Serbia and they participated in Bosnia.
LAMB: What`s the origin of the, you know, the long held view that they don`t participate militarily in NATO?
KAGAN: I don`t know. They`re not - they`ve got a complicated relationship with NATO because DeGaulle pulled them out of NATO in the 1950s or `60s and they`ve never been an official member, but they are for all intents and purposes in NATO, as I say for all intents and purposes not officially and they are always participating.
And, by the way, I still don`t rule out the possibility that they will participate in the Iraq conflict in some way, even if they oppose it in the Security Council. I mean it`s an odd situation.
LAMB: And who knows because this is being taped, they may have already done it by the time this airs, so we`re right in the middle of this difficult period.
KAGAN: That`s right.
LAMB: Because you don`t know when things are going to happen. What about the last time you were in Great Britain?
KAGAN: Well, the thing that I find that`s striking in Great Britain is that although Tony Blair has sided very closely with the United States, I find British intellectuals and British foreign policy experts sounding much more like their French and German colleagues than like Americans, and Blair has really staked out a minority position in Britain.
Britain`s - at that sort of level of intellectuals and foreign policy experts are also very upset with the way the United States is conducting itself in the world and wish it wouldn`t.
Now, at the same time, of all the countries in the European Union, I would say the British are closer to the Americans in still believing in the utility and military power, and that`s why I don`t think it`s really an accident that Blair has taken this position.
They haven`t moved quite as far into the universe as the rest of Western Europe has and, in fact, I quote a gentleman in the book named Robert Cooper who is a very brilliant British diplomat who now actually works in the EU, and he has spoken of the need for Britains and Europeans to understand that there are two worlds out there.
There`s the world of Europe which he calls a post-historical, post-modern world, but then there is the world in which the laws of the jungle still prevail, and he would like Europeans to be able to operate in both realms.
LAMB: You quote Harry Truman in your book as saying the following: "We completely defeated our enemies and made them surrender, and then we helped them to recover to become democratic and to rejoin the community of nations. Only America could have done that." Do you agree with that?
KAGAN: Well, certainly only America has done that and I think that I quoted that because I thought there was something quintessentially American in that conviction, the belief, which I think is justified by historical events.
But nevertheless it`s a very strong belief that America has - well Bill Clinton called it the indispensable nation, but America has an indispensable role to play in maintaining peace and security in the world and in advancing democratic principles.
And, I think sometimes even Americans forget that that is deeply rooted in American history and has always motivated Americans. And, it is something that distinguishes us from Europeans. Europeans want to have an international system which subordinates all the nations. Americans have a very hard time envisioning an international order that America isn`t at the center of.
LAMB: How much of the difference between Europe and the United States revolve around our position and their position toward Israel?
KAGAN: There is a huge gap on that. I don`t think it`s the primary reason for the differences. In fact, I think it`s a subordinate part of the differences. But one thing that polls show is there was no issue on which the Europeans and Americans disagree more. Americans - well I mean...
KAGAN: It`s a very hard - I have to say it`s a very hard question to answer. I think it`s because certainly in the American system, America was responsible for the founding of Israel. Again, it was Harry Truman. It has a fairly long bipartisan tradition of support. Israel is a democracy.
I think especially after September 11th, I think Americans see Israel as another country beleaguered by radical Islamic terrorism and so we feel a kinship with that and Europeans have a different attitude, in part because they have very large Muslim populations in Europe, especially in France and Germany. They have a very complicated relationship with those Muslim populations. I think a lot of the tension in that relationship gets channeled into the Middle East, but you can hear a European say amazing things about Israel.
I was at a conference in Barcelona recently where a very respected Spanish intellectual said to me, if you`re so concerned about fascist dictatorships building weapons of mass destruction, why aren`t you invading Israel? And, you know, I think in America that would be considered a fairly extraordinary statement, but in Europe it`s not really that extraordinary.
LAMB: How many Jews live in Europe now since World War II?
KAGAN: Oh, I don`t - I honestly don`t know.
LAMB: I mean do you sense, I mean are many of them going back to Germany?
KAGAN: I mean there is a Jewish community in Germany. It`s not very large, I think.
LAMB: What about France?
KAGAN: In France there is a large Jewish community, and I must say I`ve felt, I`ve been told that the Jewish community in France has been very nervous and worried about their position in France over the past year because there has been a very sharp rise in documented anti-Semitic incidents in France, and many more they believe that go undocumented. A lot of this, most of it is probably Muslims attacking Jews in one form or another.
LAMB: As you know, money often has something to do with the relationship between countries. What`s the trade like between Europe and the United States today?
KAGAN: Well, this is one of the reasons why I don`t fear a real split, sort of a reputable divorce between the United States and Europe because the fact remains that Europe, I believe, still has - buys 80 percent or some very high number of our exports and vice versa.
Europe is totally dependent on access to the American market and the United States is totally dependent on access to the European market, and everything else, you know, China, Asia, it all pales by comparison to that two way trade.
LAMB: Where does Europe get its oil?
KAGAN: From the Middle East.
LAMB: Any particular country?
KAGAN: I don`t know but I mean one of the things that`s interesting about the current situation is I believe that, you know, Europe relies for something like 90 percent of its oil comes from the Middle East, whereas I think the number is much lower for the United States, maybe 15 or 20 percent.
And so, I find it ironic Europeans are always saying to me, you`re really going to war for oil. This is all about oil, and I always say to them you`re much more preoccupied with the oil question than we are, and they are. They`re very worried about a potential oil disruption.
LAMB: So, what happens to our relationship with Europe if we go into Iraq and are successful and literally take over the country until they can get a democracy? What happens then? What`s the relationship then?
KAGAN: Well, if the scenario which you describe, which is that things go fairly well and it doesn`t turn into some kind of debacle as I hope it won`t, my real guess is that Europeans will go back to thinking about the issues that most concern them, which are the issues of Europe.
This is a distraction for Europeans. The one thing that I - one of the first things I learned when I was in Europe is that it`s not the case that they spend all their time thinking about the United States and what to do about the United States, and they certainly don`t spend any time thinking about any other major portions of the world.
Europe is engaged in an all-consuming project extremely complicated, integrating all these economies, integrating their politics, what kind of governing system should we have? There`s a European convention coming up. Are we going to have one president or two presidents or one foreign minister or two foreign ministers?
And these, if you sort of looked at the agenda every day of a European foreign minister or prime minister, 90 percent of their agenda would be taken up by strictly European issues.
When an American secretary of state gets up in the morning and he has China on his plate and Japan on his plate and Korea and Iraq, the Europeans have Europe on their plate, and I think that if things go smoothly in Iraq, they will simply go back to thinking about Europe.
LAMB: So the United States should just get used to being, as you say in here the indispensable power in the world?
KAGAN: I think we should get used to it. I think we can manage it. I think that, you know, right now we`re spending in the neighborhood of three and a half percent of our GDP on our defense budget, which is very high compared to Europeans, but not very high in historical terms. I mean during the Cold War at the end of the Reagan years, we were spending close to seven and a half percent of our GDP on defense, and in the early years of the Cold War, sometimes it was 15 percent.
LAMB: What about Vietnam?
KAGAN: I think it got up to maybe ten or 12 percent during that period.
LAMB: What about World War II?
KAGAN: Oh, I honestly don`t know.
LAMB: But it was huge?
KAGAN: It was huge and so when you think about - let`s say we go crazy and it goes up to four percent of our GDP, which would be a defense budget in the neighborhood of $500 billion or more, I think Americans could afford four cents on the dollar to maintain international security which is of great, ought to be of great value to the United States. So yes, let`s get used to it.
LAMB: But what about the other side of it? People just don`t like to be belligerent. They don`t like to think that they`re dropping bombs all over the world all the time.
KAGAN: Well, and I don`t think that`s the way they should view it. I think the way they should view it, I mean if you think back to the Cold War and World War II and our other - it wasn`t that we were just dropping bombs all over the place. We were resisting aggression and we were serving our own interests and serving the cause of democracy. I don`t think that we`re just - we`re not an aggressive nation looking for ways to throw bombs around.
LAMB: What about the possibility that the terrorists begin to have more activity here because of being so active say over like in the Middle East?
KAGAN: Well, I think we`re already in that. I mean the terrorist demand of us has been very simple. It is leave the Middle East entirely and it isn`t just don`t go into Iraq, and it isn`t just don`t support Israel anymore. It`s don`t support the Saudi government. Don`t have any oil. They want us out completely.
I find - I mean there may - I`m sure there are going to be more terrorist attacks but it seems to me that the terrorism against us escalated when we were doing very little in the way of trying to straighten out the situation in the Middle East. I doubt very much that we will harm ourselves by trying to do more.
LAMB: A couple years ago your father was here as a "BOOKNOTES" guest. Where is he today and what`s he doing?
KAGAN: Well, he`s still a Yale professor. I think he`s in his fourth decade of that and he still goes and teaches every day and, in fact, he`s been working on another book which is coming out and he`s still in New Haven and I just saw him recently.
LAMB: How big an impact did his way of life have on what you do today?
KAGAN: Well, I`m sure it was enormous. You know, I grew up, you know, talking to him about - he`s an ancient historian and I grew up talking to him about Greece and Rome and the world of that period, and he`s also a military historian so, you know, that was obviously very influential on me.
And, he`s an old Harry Truman Democrat and so I`m sure I inherited the kind of Harry Truman approach to the Cold War which then I would say, you know, translated into my current views in the post Cold War period.
LAMB: Where did you grow up?
KAGAN: I grew up - he was a professor at Cornell University when I was sort of from the age of three to ten, so I grew up in Ithaca, New York, and then we moved to New Haven when he moved to Yale University.
LAMB: And where did you go to college?
KAGAN: I went to school at Yale also.
LAMB: Studying what?
KAGAN: History, in fact modern European history as a major.
LAMB: And what did you want to do and what was your goal then?
KAGAN: Well, my goal was not to become an academic like my father. I actually wanted to go into sort of maybe a little bit more political or policy activity, and so my first job out of college was as an assistant editor at the Public Interest with Irving Kristol.
And then, pretty shortly thereafter, I went down and worked in the State Department, and I actually had it in mind that I was going to have a career in government but it hasn`t turned out that way and now I`m very happy writing about foreign policy.
LAMB: What did you do when you came out of the Reagan administration?
KAGAN: Well I - when I left the Reagan administration we fairly quickly went off. My wife was posted to Moscow and we went to Moscow and we arrived three weeks before the coup against Gorbachev and, as a matter of fact, when Russia - when the Russian democracy emerged and when Yeltsin climbed out on the tank I was actually standing 60 feet away on that day. It was a very exciting historical moment.
LAMB: And have you been back to Russia recently?
KAGAN: I haven`t been back recently but we - I`m planning on going back in a month or so.
LAMB: Do you get any sense of how they`re doing after the Cold War is over?
KAGAN: Well, it`s obviously a mixed picture. I must say I feel in retrospect that I was a little bit too idealistic and optimistic. I mean when I saw these hundreds of thousands of Russians out on the streets and braving the tanks and Boris Yeltsin, you know, promising these wonderful things, things haven`t quite turned out as wonderfully as I might have hoped.
On the other hand, Russia is certainly better off than it was. The Russian people are better off than they were under communism obviously, and Russia is a much more - it`s become safe for the rest of the world. I mean I don`t think people really have to fear Russia as we once feared the Soviet Union and that`s a good thing.
LAMB: One of the points you make in your book is that with Muslim fundamentalism being so much in the forefront right now that it doesn`t force unity like things like the Cold War did between the United States and Europe. Can you explain that?
KAGAN: Well yes, I mean the - during the Cold War there was this whole concept of the west, which is really very much a Cold War concept that we had to maintain the coherence of the west, meaning chiefly the United States and Europe but maybe also Japan was sort of included in the west because we faced an obvious common enemy.
And in a way the Cold War was about whether the west would survive, not just in a military sense, but in a political and philosophical sense. And in some ways the definition of victory in the Cold War was maintaining the coherence of the west.
I don`t think Muslim fundamentalism replaces communism in the same way. Communism was a competing ideology which was meant to appeal to the west and, you know, I think that Frank Fukiyama was right, that the end of the Cold War essentially settled the great argument about how the west should organize itself politically.
Muslim fundamentalism can take hold in the Muslim world but it`s not something that is going to convert the west. It`s not a competitor with western ideals for prominence in the west. So, the coherence of the west is simply not an issue in this present struggle, which is one reason that Europeans and Americans just don`t see things necessarily eye-to-eye.
LAMB: By the way, the audience ought to know that Francis Fukiyama has an endorsement on the back of this book.
KAGAN: Very nice of him, yes.
LAMB: One word, brilliant.
KAGAN: Short and sweet.
LAMB: In this world, you mentioned him here, in this world is it a you scratch my back, I scratch your back routine?
KAGAN: You know really I - I hope - it may be in some cases but I don`t think I`ve ever. If so, then I owe Frank because I don`t think I`ve ever particularly scratched his back but there must be some of that going on. I hope that wasn`t the case here.
LAMB: You also in one of your endorsers, Francois...
LAMB: Heisbourg is with the "New York Times" or wrote in the "New York Times"?
KAGAN: He was quoted in the "New York Times" actually.
LAMB: He says something about your book but he mentions Samuel Huntington`s "Clash of the Civilization" articles in 1993. You mentioned Samuel Huntington in here. Who is he and why does he get mentioned so often these days?
KAGAN: Well, Samuel Huntington is a brilliant Harvard professor who has, you know, come up with - has written more brilliant commentary on the state of the world probably than anybody else and his most recent famous comment was on the idea of the "Clash of Civilizations" which I must say looks awfully good in the wake of September 11th, because his point was that at the end of the Cold War we hadn`t achieved in fact the end of history, that the new great struggle would be between the Christian world and the Muslim world and the Asian world in various ways.
Now, I think then some, you know, as always one overstates the case but we certainly are seeing a clash right now with at least significant elements of the Muslim world.
LAMB: Let me ask you about that world, your world, Samuel Huntington`s world, the world of writing books and articles. This is a 103-page book, one of the smallest we`ve ever done on the program, but it`s in all the bookstores, published by Knopf, big publisher. Why did Knopf decide to do this and did it start out as something other than a book?
KAGAN: Oh, it did actually. About in June of last year, I came out with an article which was about half the size of this book called power and weakness in a publication called "Policy Review" which is a policy journal.
And the article created a kind of sensation in Europe especially but to some extent in the United States, and my editors at Knopf thought that it would be a good idea following in the wake of that to come out with an expanded version and this is about twice as long as the article and bring it out as a book for a wider audience.
LAMB: Why did it create a sensation?
KAGAN: That`s a good question - I mean...
LAMB: What kind? What was the reaction and how did you feel the reaction?
KAGAN: Well, I mean "Policy Review" is a fairly small circulation journal and one the phenomenon began with, apparently people just e-mailing it all over the place. I mean in some respects this was a communications revolution and it was e-mailed all around Europe.
And a sort of pivotal came, I would say, when Xavier Solana, as I said the EU foreign minister, basically took a copy of the article and passed it out to every one of his ambassadors. But it just became a great topic of discussion in Europe to the point where I found foreign ministers and prime ministers talking about the article as well as intellectuals.
LAMB: And what`s the first thing they talk about in the article?
KAGAN: Well, you know, the most common thing that they - that has been said to me in Europe is that your article is very brilliant even though I entirely disagree with it. So, I`ve never quite, you know...
LAMB: And what do they disagree with?
KAGAN: Well, they think that - the truth is many of them do agree with it in some respects but when they disagree it is they don`t actually believe that Europe is as I describe it or that America is quite as I describe it. But many Europeans have told me that they think that there is enough accuracy in it, that there was a certain element in which I was holding a mirror up to Europeans and they may not have liked always the reflection but they could see the accuracy.
I mean one of the things that many Europeans have said to me is that they did not see this as a Euro bashing argument and that I did try and I hope I succeeded in showing a fair amount of understanding and appreciation for the European point of view and how Europe got there. And I think many Europeans who read it understood that it was not an effort to simply criticize Europeans.
LAMB: You - on one page you list a number of things that are European since the end of the Cold War and I`ll just read them off the list. Diplomacy, negotiations, patience, the forging of economic ties, political engagement, the use of inducements rather than sanctions, compromise rather than confrontation, the taking of small steps and tempering ambitions for success, these were the tools of Franco-German ….and hence the tools that made European integration possible. Americans don`t like that, most of those things?
KAGAN: It`s not that they don`t like it. Everything here is a matter of degree. It`s not black and white. But I would say Europeans have always said that you Americans are too quick on - you`re quick on the trigger. You`re impatient for solutions. You may try diplomacy for a while but you don`t go with it too long and you`re intolerant of risks and dangers and threats, and I think that that`s roughly accurate.
Compared to Europeans, America is a little bit less patient and less willing to tolerate risk. And again, I think this has a lot to do with the amount of power of the United States and a lot to do with our history. I think it was pretty clear when you watched back at the Security Council meeting when Colin Powell made his presentation, you could see that Colin Powell was saying enough, enough. We`ve given it time and now we`ve got to move.
And I thought that was a quintessentially American approach, and the French foreign minister was saying no, we give it more time. We need more patience. Maybe it hasn`t worked as well as we`d like but let`s keep trying and that was a quintessentially European response.
LAMB: You early in the book start off with a comment, I`m trying to find the exact quote, where you weren`t too happy with the Bush administration in foreign policy when it started?
LAMB: Explain that and also tell us what you think now.
KAGAN: Well, I think that the Bush administration when it first came into office was a little bit too cavalier and showed a certain amount of disregard for what the founders called the decent opinion, the decent respect for the opinion of mankind.
You know I actually agreed with the Bush administration`s decision on something like the Kyoto Treaty, but the way the Bush administration handled that and some other issues gave off very strong signals, perhaps unintentionally, but nevertheless did give off strong signals of just indifference to European opinion, almost a willful flouting of European and world opinion.
And so, the problem was is that when we did then come in and have a real crisis, the Bush administration had nothing in the bank to draw on. There was already a certain amount of ill will and a sense that America didn`t care about anybody else except itself. Then 9/11 happens and so we didn`t have quite as much to draw on.
LAMB: What do you think now?
KAGAN: Well, I think that Bush has worked very hard. Secretary of State Powell has worked very hard. Others in the administration have worked very hard to try to repair the damage.
I mean one of the interesting things is that when the United States went to war in Afghanistan after September 11th and after NATO, in an unprecedented move, voted Article V, which was the triggering of a common defense situation, nevertheless the Bush administration didn`t really turn to NATO for the operation in Afghanistan, which I understand in certain respects but it really offended the NATO allies and upset them a great deal.
On Iraq, the Bush administration has gone to NATO and has worked very hard to try to bring NATO and bring NATO into the operation and now ironically, of course, you know, the French and the Germans have been blocking it.
But I think that President Bush`s willingness to go to the U.N. Security Council and give that a shot, you know, is a sign that they`d learned that you do have to care about these things.
LAMB: The future of the Kagan family in Brussels?
KAGAN: Will be brief. We`re moving back to Washington in the summer.
LAMB: And what will your wife do when she gets back here?
KAGAN: She`s actually going to work for Vice President Cheney as deputy national security advisor.
LAMB: And what will you be doing?
KAGAN: I will be going back to my friendly home at Carnegie Endowment and continue writing.
LAMB: Now, this is a short book. What book is this for you, what number?
KAGAN: I guess this is the second book I`ve written and I co-edited another book, so …
LAMB: Do you have another one in the works?
KAGAN: I do. I have a much longer term project. It`s a history of American foreign policy from the 17th century to the end of the 20th century and that one I`m still plowing away on.
LAMB: And when do you expect that one to be?
KAGAN: Well, I`ve been expecting it to be done every year for the last three years but I think maybe two or three more years.
LAMB: Our guest has been Robert Kagan. The book is "Of Paradise and Power: American and Europe in the New World Order" and here`s what the cover looks like and we thank you very much.
KAGAN: Well, thank you very much.
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