|Air Date: January 27, 1998||Program 9804|
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JEFF MARTIN: This is Common Ground, a program on world affairs and the people who shape events. In this edition of Common Ground, a look at the United States relations with its neighbors in Latin America.
LUIGI EINAUDI: It's a little bit as though we still have not recovered from winning the Cold War and from the psychology of believing that everything should be all right and we shouldn't have to worry about foreign affairs anymore, and we should sort of retreat into our own continental greatness.
MARTIN: And then later in the program, an update on the work of a former Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization.
GEORGE RATHJENS: There was a great suspicion and a belief that those of us who were involved actively in it, in the West, from the West, were being used by the Russians, that we were dupes and that everybody on the Soviet side was just mouthing a party line.
MARTIN: Common Ground is produced and funded by the Stanley Foundation. I'm Jeff Martin. This spring, President Clinton travels to Santiago, Chile for the next Summit of the Americas. In this portion of Common Ground, Mary Gray Davidson talks with Luigi Einaudi, former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States, about the relationship between the United States and Latin America.
MARY GRAY DAVIDSON: During his last State of the Union address, President Clinton emphasized the importance of the hemisphere to U.S. national interests. I'd like you to outline the primary interests the U.S. has with our Latin American neighbors.
EINAUDI: Neighborhood. Basically we are talking about a hemisphere that has the same origin— European conquest, colonization, settlement, ultimately the birth of a new world dream of freedom—which historically has generally been contradicted in practice. And which only really in the last generation with the end of European colonialism in the Caribbean and the gradual dismantling of dictatorships in Latin America, has begun to live up, at least to the name, and the promise, of the New World and of a freer and better order. And as this has happened, really quite an extraordinary thing has developed: a convergence of values, really, between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean. And it creates lots of opportunities.
DAVIDSON: Now, during his first term the President never traveled south of the border. What is the reason for what seems to be a new found engagement with Latin America?
EINAUDI: Well, I think the first thing that one has to realize is that with the end of the Cold War the United States really has looked inward. And it has looked outward mainly at the residual areas where there could really still be major conflicts left over from the past, like Russia or the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, so forth, the Middle East, and now there's a certain amount of concern over China. Under those circumstances, you don't really have much time left over to worry about areas where there aren't big problems. And as I just said, Latin America, not only are there not big problems, there are growing opportunities. And I think that what President Clinton has decided to try to do is consolidate some of those opportunities, get things on the right road. He held, invited all of the democratic heads of state, which means 34, everybody really except the Cuban regime, to Miami in 1994. Now he is leading up to going to a second hemispheric summit in Chile next April.
DAVIDSON: As you mentioned, there are new opportunities and in fact I think the President alluded to the fact that his trip was rather a celebration of the positive changes that have been sweeping the continent. And if you would, would you give an overview of what has taken place in Latin America?
EINAUDI: Well I think that first of all the smoke of war has cleared away. Central America, which had so focused our attention and caused so much suffering and despair over the '70s and '80s, we have now seen really the affirmation of cooperative, more democrat models and an end of certainly the externally sponsored international conflict, whether on the left or the right. In South America, you've seen even before then the departure from power of military regimes and the affirmation of democratic elections and so forth. More than that, the hemisphere seems to be stabilizing around that. It's true, there are, have been some extraordinary exceptions. The Mexican peso crises of 1995, the conflict that broke out almost at the same time between Ecuador and Peru over an old problem of boundaries. But these really are the glaring exceptions. What you're seeing is consistent elections, fairly consistent, open systems, the defeat of major guerilla insurgencies and so forth. So that generally, the hemisphere looks like better neighbors, a better neighborhood, better markets. There are of course problems that President Clinton did not focus on directly. The whole drug problem; the erosion in the stability of Columbia, which he did not visit, caused by the continuation of guerilla fighting. It's the one country where that is really the case. So that it's not, it's an uneven picture and there's still a lot of social injustice in the hemisphere. On the other hand, there's also, particularly from an American perspective, a surprising amount of development and progress.
DAVIDSON: You mentioned the summit next April. What are the goals of the U.S. in this summit process and is there a consensus among the 30-plus nations who will be there about what the goals should be?
EINAUDI: Hmmph. Well, those are very good questions. You know, to consolidate the economic opportunities, one of the administration's objectives has been the negotiation of a free trade area of the Americas. And in fact that was one of the common agreed outcomes of the Miami summit process. Now that is somewhat up in the air right now as we await the outcome of President Clinton's request to Congress for fast track authority, to be able to negotiate trade agreements and not just in this hemisphere but also with the Europeans and the World Trade Organization and the like. This is an issue that has become, I would say, unfortunately, controversial in the United States. Unfortunately controversial in the sense that I think that free trade has taken a lot of unnecessary hits, partly by its backers who overpromised, and partly by its critics who aren't taking a very long view. But in any case it's become something of a litmus test of American world leadership and in particular in this hemisphere, of American ability to take advantage of the opportunities and so forth. With that somewhat up in the air there is generally an interest in attempting to consolidate cooperation in a variety of areas. For example in education. There is the sense that in order to compete effectively in the world one needs better cooperation in the field of education. And I think that that is one of the things that the presidents are looking at.
DAVIDSON: You brought up the President's plan for Free Trade of the Americas zone, and as you mentioned, the term "free trade" strikes fear in a lot of Americans. What in your opinion does the average American worker have to gain from free trade?
EINAUDI: A continued membership in a growing economy and in a country that sets the standards in many ways for competitiveness. I mean, it is an amazing thing to me that there should be as much concern about free trade in the United States at a time when unemployment is at a very low rate and we have begun to reassert ourselves. It's a little bit as though we still have not recovered from winning the Cold War and from the psychology of believing that everything should be all right and we shouldn't have to worry about foreign affairs anymore, and we should sort of retreat into our own continental greatness and worry about ourselves. And certainly there's an enormous amount about ourselves that we do need to improve. You never can stop working. On the other hand, the world that we're moving into with globalization, this extraordinary computer revolution and all the rest, is a world in which if you don't stand still, if you try to build walls around yourself, pretty soon you're going to start going backwards. And I think that somehow we have become a little bit too uncertain, a little bit too fragmented, to really see that as clearly as I at least believe we should.
DAVIDSON: I'm wondering if in your opinion the reductions in U.S. foreign aid in recent years has affected the ability of the U.S. to promote positive change in the hemisphere?
EINAUDI: I don't think it's so much reductions in aid as it is an ability to do our part. We are overwhelmingly the richest country in the hemisphere. We have really, in spite of all of our problems, some of the most effective government organizations, statistical bases, not to mention powerful cultures. CNN; Ted Turner; the computer; these are fundamental speak-American things. And under those circumstances, when we start entering into a partnership or a deal with others, they expect us to pull our weight. Increasingly, we haven't been and that's partially because I think that our system is sort of tired of having been asked over the years to contribute all kinds of things in the name of anti-communism, in the name of U.S. responsibility, at a time and with many occasions, when people in, oh, I don't know, upstate New York, weren't getting much protection for their fruit crops or people in the Mississippi weren't getting protection for their levies from floods. And really we had in the United States something of a reaction against foreign aid even though foreign aid really is a tiny, tiny, tiny, fraction of what most of the polls suggest the people think it is. And even though the absence of the ability to have resources and to pull our share—you know, I don't think any of us wants to pull more than our share. In fact, one of our jobs in government is to see if we can get away with pulling less: we'd love to. The difficulty is that our neighbors are developing, their leaders are not dumb, and if we don't pull our share we're going to find it very hard to cooperate. We're going to find it hard to open American markets, to sell American good; to make things work for the United States. And then there's one other image I'm going to raise for you, which again maybe people are tired of this, but I deeply believe that the United States, which is a free country, which is an immigrant country, and which is a country that has an economic dynamism second to none, is a country that has within it all kinds of hope and power. Not just for itself but also for other countries. We have to learn how to share, how to pull our weight as I said before; we can't advance our own interests unless we do cooperate with others. The United States has to do these things for itself, but also when it helps others and engages actively in the outside world, it is actually acting as an important part of our civilization. And it's a civilization that has helped save people whether it was during World War II from some of the horrors of the Holocaust or today from some of the horrors of underdevelopment and difficult living conditions.
MARTIN: That was Luigi Einaudi, former U.S. Ambassador to the OAS, speaking with Common Ground's Mary Gray Davidson. We'll pause here for a break. And when we return, Common Ground catches up with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pugwash Conference.
RATHJENS: At various times the whole effort has been viewed with great skepticism by many people and by some governments, including to some extent by the government of the United States.
MARTIN: Printed transcripts of Common Ground and audio cassettes of this program are available. Listen at the end of the broadcast for details on ordering. Common Ground is a service of the Stanley Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts varied programs and activities meant to provoke thought and encourage dialogue on world affairs.
MARTIN: The Cold War gave birth to a number of organizations dedicated to pulling mankind back from the brink of nuclear destruction. With the Cold War long gone, Common Ground producer Keith Porter looks at how one of those organizations is fighting to survive.
KEITH PORTER: Pugwash. It's an unusual name for an unusual organization. Officially known as the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, the group has, for forty years, provided a space for scientists and politicians from the United States and the former Soviet Bloc, to discuss their differences. This work earned Pugwash the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. Today we here from the new installed Secretary General of Pugwash, George Rathjens, a Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
RATHJENS: Pugwash is an organization that has been going now for forty years. It started out because of concern about the issue of nuclear weapons and the feeling that, in the scientific community, rather narrowly defined, that we really ought to do something to deal with this problem of nuclear weapons between Russians and the West on a common basis. That is we ought to explore what could be done and to try to reduce the risks that these weapons would continue to be developed and possibly be used. It has been through a metamorphosis since then. It's greatly enlarged, it's taken on a number of other subjects and involves people from outside the physical scientists. We use the term now very loosely; it includes lawyers and ex-generals and all sorts of people. All dealing, though, fundamentally with the same issues of war and peace, but expanding that to include other threats which we feel mankind faces in common. Such as the environment and problems in development; a wide variety of issues now.
PORTER: And the name Pugwash, where did it come from?
RATHJENS: The organization came about largely on the initiative of about 20 people in the physical sciences who were assembled in Pugwash, Nova Scotia by a Canadian-American financier, Cyrus Eaton, who had been the Chairman of the Board of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. And he had been, he was a native of Pugwash, Nova Scotia and he had arranged and funded the first meeting, which was held in that small town in Nova Scotia, and somehow the whole movement has been referred to as the Pugwash Movement ever since. We occasionally meet up there for special reasons. We did this last summer on the 40th anniversary.
PORTER: I think there was that one morning in 1995 when we all woke up to hear that Pugwash and Joseph Rotblatt had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Why did the Nobel committee chose Pugwash that year?
RATHJENS: Well, I'm not sure. Of course, I wasn't privy to the discussion. But I did think it was much deserved. Now people ask, "Well, what has Pugwash done that might merit that?" and different people within the movement would make different claims. My own view is that the most important thing was to establish communication channels between people in the East and the West, who were prepared to give the other fellow's point of view some consideration and who were potentially influential. It opened up a channel dealing with these issues at a time when Soviet-American relations, and more generally, East-West relations, were so poor that there was no other really very satisfactory channel for free and frank discussions. And Pugwash did serve that purpose. Now you ask, "Well what particular, what in particular did it accomplish?" I think it was instrumental on two issues, particularly on achieving the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that was concluded in the Kennedy Administration and in resolving some of the conflicts incident to limiting strategic weapons, in particular ballistic missile defenses and ballistic missiles. It has also been important on issues of chemical and biological warfare. I think less so on some of the other issues that it's taken on.
PORTER: I like what you said about giving the other fellow's point of view a fair hearing at least. Even I remember a time though when that was suspect. Giving the other guy a fair hearing.
RATHJENS: Oh it was very hard at times. One time I was, my immediate superior was General Maxwell Taylor and I happened to be in Europe at the time and I was going to go a Pugwash meeting in Sweden and I got a call from home. I was in a place difficult to reach. I finally managed to make the telephone connection and I asked what was wrong. And I was asked, "Is your conscience clear about going to that meeting?" I said, "Yes it is" and I went. Now at various times the whole effort has been viewed with great skepticism by many people and by some governments, including to some extent by the government of the United States. But others in the U.S. government, including some presidents, have been strongly supportive. But it has been a difficult time. There was a great suspicion and a belief that those of us who were involved actively in it, in the West, from the West, were being used by the Russians, that we were dupes and that everybody on the Soviet side was just mouthing a Party line. That was certainly not true. We heard some of that and certainly there were KGB people who were involved and we knew that. And they suspected that some of our people probably were working for the CIA or other intelligence agencies. But nevertheless, there was a core, there developed a core of people who really I think did exchange views with openness and with some sense of rapport.
PORTER: Have you regularly had members of administrations or members of parliaments attend meetings?
RATHJENS: Not really. I guess there have been exceptions. It was very hard in all candor, to say, when we were talking about eastern Europe and Russia back in the Cold War days, whether these people were speaking as individuals or whether they were speaking strictly as government representatives. But we have had people that moved in and out of governments. And particularly in the meetings we had with Russians in private, and there were many of those, that is private, just Russians and Americans, whenever that happened we understood that whatever we had to say was going to reach the Russian government. And we always did report back to the American authorities—Secretary of State or the Secretary of Defense or whoever, National Security Advisor, on what we had learned. But we never, at least I feel strongly about this—it was true in my own case—we never took instruction about what to talk about or what positions to take. So we were not in the government but we were an extra-government channel that was available and that I think was used with great effect. Particularly during the days before the big change occurred. Two big changes have occurred over time. One was essentially when Henry Kissinger went into the government in the case of the United States. He had been a member of the American group, participated some.
PORTER: Participated in the Pugwash talks?
RATHJENS: Yes. That, I sensed that at that time, it wasn't necessarily just because of Kissinger, not that at all, but the government-to-government communication channels then improved a great deal. He could talk with Dobrynin in a way that I don't think was common among his predecessors. And to some degree that made some of our efforts less important. The other big change of course has occurred with the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. And with that the focus of the effort has changed. For example, to include a lot more concern about ethnic conflict and peacekeeping, the kinds of issues that have arisen in Yugoslavia and particularly in Africa.
PORTER: That was going to be my next question. What now for Pugwash?
RATHJENS: Well, that's a question I have. In taking over as Secretary General I feel my greatest challenge is to try to see that we focus our efforts on areas where we can be most useful, where we have comparative advantage and also in doing so to recognize that we probably don't want to take on everything. Now I think the area where we have great comparative advantage, partly because of the antecedents, the way the organization was founded, has to deal with the whole nuclear weapons game. Now with the Cold War, that's changed, but nuclear weapons are still with us. We face the problem of proliferation to additional countries and we face what I think is a very serious problem in dealing with the residue of the build-up that has occurred, particularly in the United States and Russia. The weapons that we have that are surplus to any reasonable needs and the fissionable materials that are extracted when these weapons are dismantled. So there are serious problems relating to nuclear weapons and we do have a comparative advantage there. We've had an advantage I think simply because of the people that we've had in dealing with issues of chemical and biological warfare. The environmental problem is increasingly recognized as a ubiquitous one. It's a problem that cannot, at least many aspects of it, cannot be solved by countries acting individually. They have to act in concert. So we have a group going now dealing with the issue of climate change and global warming. The issues of peacekeeping, the role of the United Nations, problems of intervention in ethnic conflict, in the kinds of wars that have gone on and are going on, and which I think we must expect to continue, particularly in Africa probably, I think these are areas we have to take on in a rather big way. And if we can help move things in a constructive way, in respect to those problems, I think if we did that alone I would consider it to be a great success and a great personal success if I could bring myself to believe that I'd had anything to do with it.
PORTER: That is George Rathjens of MIT, the new Secretary General of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. For Common Ground, I'm Keith Porter.
MARTIN: Cassettes and transcripts of this program are available. The transcripts are free, cassettes cost $5.00. To place an order or to share your thoughts about the program, write to us at the Stanley Foundation, 216 Sycamore Street, Suite 500, Muscatine, Iowa 52761. Be sure to refer to Program No. 9804. To order by credit card, you can call us at 319-264-1500. Transcripts are available on our World Wide Web site. Go to commongroundradio.org. And our e-mail address is email@example.com. Again, cassettes are $5.00, transcripts are free of charge. For Common Ground, I'm Jeff Martin.
B.J. Leiderman created our theme music. Common Ground was produced and funded by the Stanley Foundation.
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