You are here

May 16, 2024

US Foreign Policy


Jerrold D. Green photo
Jerrold D. Green | Research Professor, USC Annenberg, and President & CEO, Pacific Council on International Policy

Jerrold D. Green (USC Annenberg, Pacific Council on International Policy) joins Richard K. Green (USC Lusk Center for Real Estate) to discuss a short list of global hotspots from a United States perspective.

Green delivers insights and offers detailed context on Israel-Gaza, China, Mexico, Ukraine-Russia, and the unique position the US holds within the global economy and international relations.

Listen via podcast


- Good morning, everyone. I'm Richard Green, I'm director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to the April 2024 edition of Lusk Perspectives. The Lusk Center is a real estate research center, and most of what we talk about involves real estate, but we also talk about things that are not real estate, but clearly affect real estate. The very first of these was something we did immediately after we went into the pandemic, where we discussed about the importance of testing people for COVID-19 as part of a mechanism for returning to something like normalcy sooner rather than later. And so I would guess that when we look at the history of Lusk Perspectives, about, I don't know, two-thirds are directly real estate related, and the other things are just important things going on in the world, that one if you are a citizen you should know about, but also that clearly have an influence on real estate. I asked Jerry Green, who I'm going to introduce in a moment, to speak to us a couple of months ago because at the time it was just about what is happening in the Red Sea do to inflation? And we knew inflation was coming down, but we suddenly had the supply chain bottleneck arising again. So that's originally why I reached out to Jerry. But of course, the world has evolved considerably since then. And so what Jerry's gonna talk about is going to have evolved from that first conversation he and I had together. Jerry has had a remarkable career. He's a professor here at USC in the Annenberg School and the Marshall School of Business. He also directs the Pacific Council on International Policy and International Affairs Organization affiliated with USC that consists of leaders from diverse professional business backgrounds throughout the Western US. As President of the council, he oversees a robust research and discussion program among an influential group of the world's chief thought leaders. He has also spent time at Rand, including a senior advisor on the Middle East and South Asia. He's been director there of international programs of development, and I could go on and on and on. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago, which is a reasonably reputable university in the Midwestern United States. And he has promised us that he is going to give us a clinical and dry presentation that will give us a tour of hotspots around the world, and how US foreign policy is responding to them. But having had a number of calls with Jerry, I could tell you maybe clinical but never dry, except perhaps in the sense of witty and I'm very excited about having him here today. So, Jerry, thanks for being here. Take it away. One piece of housekeeping, if you have a question, please put it in the Q and A and I will generally wait until the speaker is finished before I start pitching questions. But if there's something that seems very timely and relevant to what Jerry's talking about, I will interrupt him with your question at that point. So again, Jerry, thank you so much for being here, and I can't wait to hear what you have to say.

- Well, thank you Richard. And special thanks to Marilyn Ellis, who actually wrangled the Green cousin, we're not really related, but both the Greens and actually made this happen, scheduling is never easy. So I'm delighted to be here today, I bought a house a couple of times in my life, so I'm clearly an expert on real estate as well. But what we wanted to talk about, and this really hasn't changed, Richard and I talked about it, is to try and provide a geopolitical toward the result of kind of hotspots around the world. Leaving plenty of time for questions and discussions once I've made my, I was gonna say formal remarks, but they're gonna be fairly informal. Nothing's off the table. We can talk about anything you want, but I think it's really important for people to focus on these issues. So let me start with the one that's on everybody's mind, which is, is Israel Gaza, I'm gonna have to do it quickly because I wanna move on to Mexico, China, Ukraine, Russia, and so forth. I don't want to talk about what's going on in university campuses, I simply work there, I'm a working stiff, I don't have any unique insights into students' minds and demonstrations and politics. But I was telling Richard, it's kinda like in his world, people will blithely talk about the economy, and he's probably riving while they're being blithed 'cause they don't know anything about the economy, they just talk about it. It's not that dissimilar in my world that every time there's a crisis, everybody's an expert. And the reality is that these are much more complex issues than people generally understand. October 7th, there was a horrific barbarian, there aren't enough adjectives to describe this attack on Israel, on the homeland by Hamas from Gaza. And you've all heard the barbarity, the cruelty, all of the horror associated with this, and Israel suffered and is still suffering PTSD as a result of this. Israel, a number of potential fronts, and that's kind of what I really want to talk about. An attack from Gaza was the one they least expected, and indeed, before this happened, there had been major demonstrations throughout the country, but primarily in Tel Aviv about changes in the Supreme Court and other sort of political judicial issues, which divided the country at the worst possible moment because Hamas made this attack which nobody expected. You know, typically some junior intelligence officer, this was kind of Pearl Harbor like, had the information that Hamas was gonna attack. It never made its way up to the top of the Israeli intelligence food chain, and they didn't act on it. And for people like me, it's somewhat reminiscent of the 1973 on Kippur War which was a surprise. People had the data, but it was still a surprise. In any case, I don't wanna painfully go through day by day what happened, but the conflict is still going on. Israel responded in Gaza with massive force as one would expect, there is deep divisions about how appropriate this response was. I don't think there's divisions about how effective it's been, I think it's been proven to be largely ineffective. Hamas still exists, the leadership still exists, they have a lot of hostages. But in any case, this interaction between Israel and Gaza, or Israel and Hamas has roiled the waters globally. US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, is spending every waking minute in the Middle East. He's I think in Cairo today, he was in Riyadh yesterday trying to negotiate some sort of outcome to this. But what I wanna talk about is the broader context. How does this affect Israel? Because Israel's political behavior is certainly a consequence of this ongoing conflict in Hamas. And we can certainly talk about the Palestinian side as well, which I should do. But let me start with the Israeli side. A as I said earlier, Israel is having PTSD, I mean, Israel just never expected that an attack of this brutality or effectiveness on the homeland. Israel is also in the center of what potentially is a multi-front war. What's significant and should be disturbing to the Israeli national security establishment, is the weakest link of this being Hamas, which never really worried the Israeli military that much, proved so effective and potentially far more devastating adversaries of Israel have not really begun to act. So here's the situation. Gaza is one front, there are the Houthis in the Red Sea, which Richard mentioned earlier, in which the Houthis, you know, with support from Iran, Iran has its fingerprints on a lot of this malevolent stuff is attacking shipping. This is not good for Israel. In fact, an Israeli ship was hijacked, but I don't think this provides an existential threat to Israel, but it certainly is a consideration. This is a second front. Third front is the Lebanon, Syria front and specifically Hezbollah. Hezbollah, believe it or not, Hamas is kind of the junior varsity in terms of military capability. And they got on the field and they were far more destructive and effective than anybody ever expected. Hezbollah is infinitely more threatening to Israel than was Hamas, so Israel is confronting the possibility of a second or third front opening on the Syrian Lebanese border, and indeed, there are ongoing hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah on a daily basis. After October 7th, President Biden repositioned an aircraft carrier group in the Mediterranean signaling to Hezbollah that should it choose to attack Israel, the United States would respond forcefully. Hezbollah chose not to, but this doesn't mean that Hezbollah will not. And one theory I have, which again, you don't hear about this from students demonstrating and every expert, and the instant expert in the real world is that Hezbollah could be waiting for Israel to continue to be divided and weakened, and demoralized by what's going on with Hamas. There are 300,000 Israeli citizens, Jewish Israelis, who are displaced within Israel because they've had to move them away from their homes on the northern border and the border with Hamas, the Gaza border, the ones in Gaza seem to be moving back, the ones up north are not. The demonstrations in Tel Aviv that predated October 7th are now beginning to happen again. The metaphor, I saw a couple of names of people that look Israeli on the call, I was peeking. So the metaphor is Rehov Kaplan. Rehov Kaplan is a street in Tel Aviv, Kaplan Street. And Rehov Kaplan is where these demonstrations are now starting again, it feels remarkably, I don't wanna say like a civil war, but it's significant divisions within the Israeli electorate, and within the Israeli body politic, which emboldened Hamas and could certainly embolden Hezbollah. So the northern border is the potential third front is a serious consideration. The fourth possible front is the West Bank, where there is a large, large Palestinian population. 500 Palestinians have been killed on the West Bank in recent months, you don't hear a lot about it. The question that one would ask is, what if this population on the West Bank chose to rise up against Israel? This could be another front. It's a very conflictory situation because you have Israeli settlers living on the West Bank, some of whom are religious extremists or religiously very conservative. You have an Arab population that doesn't want them there. You've got the military that's kind of stuck mediating between the two groups, so this is a potential fourth front for Israel. And then a potential fifth front, which I don't accord a lot of significance to, but I think we need to be attentive to it, is Arabs within Israel proper, in other words, Arabs who are citizens of the state of Israel. They can vote in Israeli elections, they can do some sort of national service, they don't necessarily serve in the military, but there are other things they can do. This group has been, I think from an Israeli perspective, remarkably quiescent, they are smart enough to realize they don't wanna go the way that Hamas is going and all the terrible stuff in Gaza, the West Bank, 500 Palestinians have been killed and so forth. So it seems that this group is in a very... they're playing it very smart. They're not thrilled with what's going on, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of political turmoil within this community. So the point I'm making is Israel is not out of the woods, there are five potential fronts for conflict, which certainly are threatening, and it's a problem. On the Palestinian side, the Palestinians are bedeviled by unbelievably bad leadership, as frankly as is Israel. Again, this is not a political editorial, but you know, one of the t-shirts you see in the Rehov Kaplan streets, or people are now wearing t-shirts that say, You are the head, you are guilty. So there's a really anti BB quality to much of what you hear in the civil unrest. Although there seems to be pretty strong unanimity amongst the Israeli public about what's going on in Gaza. On the Palestinian side, there is equally deficient, maybe even worse leadership because Israel's a real country with a real government and the rule of law, courts a foreign ministry, you know, all of that stuff. The Palestinians aspire to being a state, to having a state, but a lot of the apparatus of a state doesn't exist, it hasn't been created. We have Mahmoud Abbas on the West Bank who has been promising elections next quarter for 19 years. The guy is corrupt, he's a disaster, nobody trusts him, and then on the West Bank you have Hamas. So you have the Palestinians pressing very, very hard for a state, but the infrastructure that would promote this state doesn't exist. And the leadership that one needs in order for Israel to even consider this, doesn't exist. And after October 7th, as you can imagine, the Israelis have very little taste for creating a Palestinian state, so what many are advocating, including the United States government, is something that neither side is really prepared for. The Israelis aren't prepared, the Palestinians aren't prepared, and as of American peacemakers have said it no matter how much we are involved in mediating in the Middle East, we can't want peace more than the protagonists. And the time now to promote some sort of Israeli Palestinian piece couldn't be worse, but the volume is turned up.

- Jerry, can I interject? Your point about leadership I find really interesting, and I think back to the end of apartheid in South Africa. South Africa was fortunate to have had a great leader like Nelson Mandela, who was the sort of person who could bring about reconciliation and be a competent leader of state from the minute that he was in a position to do so. And I've always thought when I think about great leaders in history, he always comes near the top of my personal list. Of course, we have the list. Is there anyone in Palestine who remotely is like that? Where he has credibility, where he has the ability to bring about reconciliation in the event that statehood takes you, you get the idea behind that.

- Yeah, yeah, and the name I would add to that, 'cause I've had the same thought. You know for me in my business, we've been predicting this for 40 years, we have always... I say we, the Middle East studies community has always argued until Israel is able to address meaningfully the Palestine question while promoting its own security, and you know the survival and prosperity of the Jewish state, things like this are gonna happen. So A, Richard, you're absolutely right about Mandela, Martin Luther King is the other name that comes up. And many of us have wondered why on the West Bank, they have not been more attentive to this. The immediate answer to your question, is there someone is... what's that? Who is it Richard that said, gimme a one handed economy... you know, the Economist say, on one hand it's this, on the other hand it's that, and then some-

- The story is it's Harry Truman who came up with that.

- Okay, so Harry Truman, "We need a one-handed economist." So you need a one-handed political scientist for this question, because the answer is yes and no. There's a guy named Marwan Barghouti, who was in Israeli prison serving multiple life sentences because of his involvement in the Intifada and loss of life associated with it. So from an Israeli perspective, he's a really bad guy. On the Palestinian side, Marwan Barghouti has sort of emerged as I don't know, Nelson Mandela light or some figure in the Palestinian community who people agree might be able to play this role. He pulls really, really well in Gaza higher than Hamas, and he pulls really, really well on the West Bank. And there are discussions afoot, including amongst, you know, really smart Israelis about is there any role, for Barghouti to play? And your question Richard gets to absolutely the heart of the issue, you can't make a deal if you don't have deal makers and both sides are for different reasons, very flawed. I mean, the Israeli war cabinet, they barely talk to one another, and then the Palestinians are so busy, you know the Palestinian leadership. Palestinian leadership is kind of one the great oxymorons. It's like jumbo shrimp, it doesn't exist. And so the question is, will that happen? So Barghouti is the name you hear, but you know, with revulsion in Israel, America, the US and the Europeans, like the idea of somebody, but it's not about to happen. So the situation there, I think is, is Lincoln is very optimistic. Israel has made a very generous offer, he said the Arabs should take it. There could be an Arab peacekeeping force, there could be a lot of Arab money from the Gulf rebuilding Gaza, all of this stuff which makes sense. But unfortunately the Israeli leadership and you know, maybe the Israeli people aren't there, and the Palestinian leadership doesn't really exist. So I'm an old guy and I've been studying this stuff for many, many years. As far as I'm concerned, this is the most dangerous moment in the history of the state of Israel since it was created. October 7th was far more devastating than the Yom Kippur War in 1973. And then on the Palestinian side, I have always long advocated the creation of a Palestinian state. But events have gone beyond that, and as you see from the rhetoric on university campus, I got a note from a friend of mine who's a professor at MIT, and we kind of... are you going to demonstrations? And neither one of us are, but he actually walked the campus at MIT and he was astounded at how serious things are, how serious things are. And you know, it could go in one direction, I'm old enough to remember when America finally discovered the curse on humanity that was apartheid, and as a country we got behind fixing it. I remember opposition to the Vietnam War in this country. I'm trying to figure out all of this major, political activity on campuses and elsewhere leading to some positive outcome, which from where I sit, and this is suddenly not a popular view will give equal recognition to the rights of Palestinians, to have their own homeland and the survival of the state of Israel. There are people that are way ahead of me, you know, anti-Zionists and so forth. But I just want you to understand what's going on in the region. I wanna talk about the Iranian role because it's important. Iran is very, very isolated. The Iranian revolution, the Islamic revolution has been basically a failure, and Iran has never been able to occupy the global role, which it feels it can. China kinda likes Iran, Russia kinda likes Iran, Syria kinda likes Iran because Iran is opposed to the United States and the West and so forth. But Iran itself is in a very, very dangerous situation. The mullahs the Islamic Republic is extraordinarily unpopular with the Iranian people. And what I always say is, Iran did not create the Hamas attack, Hamas would've done it anyway, but it made it possible and it leveraged it. In other words, sometimes in a client patron relationship, the client has more influence over the patron, than the patron does over the client, and that's often the case with these Iranian relationships. People assume, ah the Iranian spy masters are sitting in Tehran pushing buttons and making all this stuff happen. The reality is that the Lebanese, Shia, the Palestinians, even the Houthis, they're not stupid, and they're not simply empty ponds of Iran. So Iran sees fertile soil to do malevolent Iranian stuff, and then it does it but it finds clients who wanna get support from Iran to pursue their own agendas, which are not necessarily Iran's agendas. So Iran's fingerprints are all over this stuff, but this idea that these people are just a bunch of empty puppets doing Iran's bidding is simply wrong, Iran has a lot of problems of its own. Let me move on if I may 'cause I'd like to... Richard, just mute me whenever you're ready and we can move to questions, but I really quickly wanna talk about Mexico, Ukraine and China. US-Chinese relations are the worst they have been in my memory, they're really, really bad for a whole variety of reasons, which you're well aware of. I actually pay a lot of attention to California-China relations, largely because California which has the fourth largest economy in the world, LA County by the way, LA County has the 19th largest economy in the world. There are areas in which we and China have good relations, climate change issues, a whole variety of other things. I deal with the Chinese a lot, I'm going to Beijing in July to read a paper at a conference. I deal with the Chinese and the Taiwanese, I talk to everybody. But I think the Chinese have taken some missteps, the economy is hurting, what Xi Jinping has done is to take a fundamentally dictatorial system and to make it even more dictatorial. Everything sort of gravitates to him, he is in control of everything, and his control is increasing on a daily basis. And it is likely that, and again, this is more a Richard Green than a Jerrold Green issue, is that the Chinese economy is not gonna be helpful to Xi Jinping in sort of meeting... he's got an unholy deal with the Chinese people. You'll live in prosperity, you'll drive electric cars, you'll have nice houses in exchange for which you will have no rights, and no freedom, and no political freedom, no political say, freedom of speech and so forth. If he's not able to deliver on the economic part, which he's not, a lot of the rest of the stuff is gonna be at risk. So China, again, is looking for openings to challenge the United States globally, the Belt and Road Initiatives still exists, the Chinese are spending money all over the country. The Pacific Council, my little organization has a member, and she is a professor at UCLA who's now the ambassador to Costa Rica, Dr. Cynthia Telles. I watched her confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, they asked her one question, Dr. Telles, when you get to Costa Rica, what are you gonna do about the Chinese? That was the only question, China has come to sort of dominate our lives. And I have a sort of minority view, which is as malevolent and bad as the Chinese are, and they are. You know, Muslims in Xinjiang, Taiwan, Hong Kong, trade abuses, theft of intellectual property, cyber, I mean, they do lots of bad stuff. I don't think that it is in our interest not to find ways to collaborate with China, because in a head-to-head competition, nobody's really gonna win. And that's kind of the challenge, how do we blunt China's most negative instincts, but at the same time find a way in which we can both share the planet, the geography is not gonna change Richard I see-

- Yeah, yeah. So one of my favorite stats, although I'm gonna get the specifics wrong, that the general idea is right, Deutsche Bank had a stat three or four years ago, was just before the pandemic. I remember reading it, that something like, I don't know, 6% of the manufacturing stuff assembled in the US was Chinese content. So that doesn't sound like much, but something like 60% of the US manufacturing had at least one Chinese part in it.

- Yep.

- Again, I probably have those numbers, not exactly right, but you get the idea.

- It's evocative and it's close enough to the truth.

- Yeah, and so how do we even uncouple given that circumstance? Is it even feasible to consider uncoupling given that circumstance?

- You know, there is such a... I was on a video and I'm a Middle East specialist, that's really what floats my boat but running the Pacific Council and being a Californian, China's really important, Mexico, I'm interested in a lot of other stuff, and I'm not naive about the Chinese, but I frankly can't see a way for us to decouple, and I think we need to manage the relationship effectively, not imagine we can go our separate ways and be in conflict everywhere. And there's a bipartisan commission on Capitol Hill called the Committee for Relations between the United States and the Communist Party of China. And that kind of says it all because China's a problem, nobody denies it. The question is, how do we effectively manage it? And I don't wanna give away the farm to Beijing, but on the other hand, I'm of the don't get mad, get even school. And we need to find a way to engage with them and to get what we want. And when I deal with the Chinese here, which I do a lot at the consulate, every time they stray into the Hong Kong you know, bad territory to start lecturing me, I kind of bring them back. I say, hey, talk about climate change. Let's talk about the Olympics. Let's talk about electric... You know, there's so many things we can talk about. And so China's a problem.

- Well, the other thing that occurs to me and this is a little personal for me right now is, is one of the places where reshoring was happening, or... yeah, reshoring, well substitute, I don't know what the right word is, Vietnam, you started seeing a very, a kind of booming industrial sector, and a lot of stuff that was being done in China was moved to Vietnam. I was gonna take students to Vietnam this May, but now I'm not, because some of the people we were gonna visit with were arrested because the Vietnamese government is now in big time crackdown mode. And I was naively optimistic about Vietnam, just as I suppose 20 years ago, I was naively optimistic about China going in the right direction. And so is there even a reliable alternative? Maybe India is that alternative in terms of we have major trade partnerships.

- Let me give you one, Richard, but you're better equipped to judge this. So this I'm saying is not as an expert, but as you know, a guy who reads lots of newspapers. Mexico is now our biggest trading partner, and there's a whole group of people out there. I'm not one of 'em 'cause I'm not enough of an expert who are really pushing Mexico, and indeed there are interesting conversations going on about the trilateral Chinese Mexican US relationship, the next CEO of the Pacific Council 'cause I'm stepping down in June and I'm gonna not work full-time and go do other stuff. But then my successor is a guy named Dr. Duncan Wood, who's at the Wilson Center in the Wilson Center in Washington, and ran the Mexico Institute. And the new head of the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles is a guy named Dr. Richard Downie, he's a Mexico specialist. So one of the things I believe we should be doing in Southern California is quadrupling down on Mexico. What I mean by quadrupling down is understanding Mexico, studying Mexico, taking Richard's question, bringing out a Mexican lens and seeing if the Mexican lens helps us answer that question because I'm a reserve deputy with the sheriff's department. So let me give you a... not that I'm out arresting people, I'm a little old for that, but I still do stuff. A lot of the precursors to fentanyl, the Mexican cartels are in the fentanyl business amongst other things. Where do they get the precursor drugs? From China. So one of the things we are talking to the Mexicans about, this is good, Richard, 'cause you got me from China to Mexico. So thank you. This is exactly where I wanted to be.

- My pleasure.

- Is pressing the Chinese to stop sending the precursor drugs to the narcos in Mexico. The government of Mexico is suing American arms manufacturers Smith & Wesson and others in Boston because a lot of the arms manufacturers are in New England. And apparently the Mexican government has prevailed in the first steps of their lawsuit. The Pacific Council actually did a study on the trafficking of illegal weapons into Mexico from the US. And the argument that we make, is we in Southern California and as real estate people, this is something that actually should mean a lot to you I would guess, we are closer to Mexico City in terms of distance than we are to Washington, DC. Mexico, may be legally a different entity than the United States, but we and Mexico share a territory and we cough and they get the covid or vice versa. I mean, we are so joined together that this goes to Richard's question about trade, all sorts of other things. And I think we need to start thinking harder about Mexico. And what I'm hoping is my success, the Southern California, I don't know what SC does on Mexico, I don't know if there's a Mexico... UCLA tends to be a little bit more in the international affairs business than USC. They do the language training and area centers and so forth. But for our own peace of mind, we should all become really, really expert on Mexico. Mexico has an election coming up, AMLO, who is certainly not my favorite guy. It is destined to be succeeded by the mayor of Mexico City Claudia Sheinbaum, who is one of his protege. There are two women running against one another, what we know is the next president of Mexico is gonna be a woman. Claudia Sheinbaum looks like more of the same from AMLO, and AMLO is an interesting and different and challenging guy who doesn't really care about international affairs, he is all about internal Mexico stuff, and shame on all of us if we don't become much more expert on Mexico. Let me move to Ukraine and then I wanna stop 'cause I wanna open it up and I've got a hard stop at 10 and I wanna leave time for questions. So Ukraine, I have been dismayed at the difficulty with which we find ourselves supporting Ukraine and trying to link Ukraine on Capitol Hill with border security in the United States strikes me as you know, really kind of stupid, frankly, I don't think the two are related. And I think we need border security, we also need to stop Putin. We can fight the Russians in Ukraine or we can fight them in Crimea, or we can fight them in Poland and so forth. And this is not some naive domino theory back from the 1950s justifying the Cold War, but it's a political reality, it's a political reality. If we look into Putin's psyche, look into his soul, if he has one, this guy really believes that the grandeur of the Soviet Union, the global reach of the Soviet Union needs to be restored. The disappearance of the Soviet Union was the worst thing in human history. And as you know, Finland joins NATO, which is really good news, Sweden joined NATO, which is really good news. The West sort of unites together to stop Putin. This is our helping ourselves, this is not you know, what's her name? Marjorie Green is not related to Richard or Jerrold Green, but so many incredibly stupid stuff that she says about supporting Ukraine. I mean there's some incredible ignorance on Capitol Hill, on some of these issues. And finally, and this is not a political observation, it's a geopolitical one. We finally cut loose the money, we bought some time, the Republicans did it, the new speaker did it. And the aid is flowing to Ukraine, but it's not gonna last forever, and we need to keep up the peace. This notion that we're giving hard earned tax dollars to a bunch of foreigners at the expense of Americans and we're not getting anything is just dumb. You know, Richard could do the analysis, which I can't on the economic benefit we get of giving countries money who then buy weaponry and armaments from the United States. So this creates jobs, which is a Richard Green, not a Jerrold Green question, but geopolitically, it protects us, it protects the European Union. It blunts somebody with incredibly malevolent, destructive global interests being Vladimir Putin. And so I think that support for Ukraine is not an iffy question. Final thing, and I'm just gonna enumerate but not talk about 'em. A democracy is a threat around the world, it's a threat in the United States, it's a threat in Hungary, it's a threat in Mexico, and a variety of other places. Journalism has become which is the free flow of news and ideas has become a contact sport. It's really dangerous to be a journalist in a number of countries around the world. Climate change continues to be an issue and it's something that we really need to be attentive to. And we have a presidential election coming up in November, the eyes of the world are upon us for this presidential election. And put narrowly, there are two different philosophies competing in this election. One is sort of the globalists, which is now sort of a dirty word you know, the United States providing global leadership, which is as unrealistic, and as expensive as that can be, I wonder if we don't provide global leadership, who should? And what would that look like? So it's kind of a conundrum versus a much more nativist internal focused orientation. You know, I'll sort of reveal my sympathies 'cause it's hard not to, I don't hate the FBI, I don't think that the they.... I don't love the FBI, but I certainly don't hate 'em. I don't think that the press is the enemy of the people, not only do not hate immigrants, I love immigrants. You know, if you walk the halls of the Viterbi, again, if Sonny's here, he'll know what I'm talking about. The Viterbi School of Engineering, take a look at the names of the professors and their students, they all come from someplace else. Not only should we not not hate immigrants, you get your Viterbi engineering degree, they give you the diploma and they should give you, a green card at the same time. You know, why don't we want to educate people to go to other countries to compete with us. We should educate 'em and we want 'em to stay here. Immigrants are great. Most of these yahoos that hate immigrants or they don't have the skills. You know, they're taking our jobs. What jobs are they taking? And again, that's more a Richard Green than a Jerrold Green question because there are ways to answer this. But starkly put, there's a real battle of competing worldviews that's gonna be taking place in the next election. For me not only as an international affairs guy, you know, I don't see much of a contest. I travel the world a lot and I'm kind of tired of people beating up on us as a country, and me as a political scientist because they think we've become sort of nativist, racist, xenophobic, inward looking, all of which is true, and I'm hard pressed to defend that 'cause I agree with their criticisms. On the other hand, we can't be everything to everybody, we can't police the entire world, I get that too. But hopefully reality will swing towards the middle. Let me stop 'cause I've got 16 minutes to a hard stop. I went on longer than I should, I apologize. It's a big complicated world. Questions, comments, dissenting views, whatever you like. I'm all yours.

- So let's talk a little more about Ukraine. And I'm going to do that because it's something I care a lot about, and I've been involved in a project on how to rebuild it should the war ever come to an end. And we started working on the project about a year ago, and we were much more optimistic about the war coming to a favorable end than now. How is Putin doing it? He seems to have limited list resources despite the sanctions, despite... and the Russian economy seems to be doing okay, which is something none of us, I think would've predicted 18 months ago. So what does enable... is it he's getting help from the Chinese, he is getting help from... How is this happening that this is so protracted?

- First of all, again, this is the part that makes me nervous to talk economics, let me give you the dirty secret. Most political scientists really wish they were economists, and I say that as a political scientist.

- Well, I play a political scientist on TV too, so it's okay.

- There is the economy of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and then there's the economy of the rest of Russia, which is an incredibly backward, undeveloped place. And it seems to me that Putin is enriching his oligarch buddies and others, but the rest of Russia is not doing incredibly well. Russia is getting a lot of help, Iran is sending drones to the Russians, which they are using in Ukraine. North Korea is sending artillery shells in exchange for you know, Russia is sending oil to North Korea. North Korea is sending artillery shells and other armaments, which they have vast amounts of to the Russians. China is certainly supportive of Russia, this is not because the North Koreans hate the Ukraine, the North Koreans don't like us. And so suddenly Russia has presented itself as a compelling alternative to the United States so that Russia is able to benefit from a lot of that support. And it's not like the North Koreans need to wait for Congress to write a check, Kim Jong Un just does what he wants. So there are a variety of factors that are conspiring to allow Russia to be much more of a free agent than we are. Plus they don't care about massive casualties, they don't care about descent at home. I mean they're less constrained or they're constrained in different ways than are we, and that's the problem. Plus still, it's a very, very big country, 11 time zones, you know, with massive resources, and so what Putin is counting on is outweighing us. And remember, if you were Putin, what Donald Trump has said is he could finish this war in one day. And you know, you look at the polls you're sitting in Moscow or Los Angeles, the polls indicate that it's not inconceivable that Trump will win. So the Russians, Putin is really hoping that his boy Donald, who loves him and says he is a brilliant guy, wins the election, and then all bets are off for Ukraine. I mean Trump, again, I didn't want to get into this 'cause it sounds political, and it is but it isn't, it's also based on what's going on.

- But Gerald, in this case, so I was asked a question actually in Tokyo about a month ago, which is what impact did I think the election would have on real estate in the US and I said none. But it doesn't mean that I don't think the election matters, and Ukraine is the example I gave where it clearly matters who wins, the outcomes could be very different, so I don't think that's political. I mean the two guys have different views of Ukraine, this is not a secret to-

- Listen, I couldn't agree with you more. I'm just trying to be-

- Yeah, yeah.

- I'm trying to appeal. I don't know who's on the call, and if I sound like this... Look, everybody knows you and you know them, I don't know any of the people. If I sound like this wild eye, I'm a very cynical guy, you know, I'm a Middle East specialist. So at the end of the day, I don't really like anybody and there are no good guys in Jerry Greenland. But having said that, as an expert on international affairs, who cares about the fate of the planet, there is no way in hell that I would vote for Donald Trump. Because in the countries that I go to, people laugh at us, make fun of us. Any candidate that the Russians want to win, I don't want to win. And you're exactly right, Trump has talked about withdrawing from NATO. The Heritage Foundation is doing a study of mid-level bureaucrats because the so-called, it's not so-called, the Deep State because they wanna find a way to remove them because they undermine the president's policies. So there's a bunch of reasons that I don't like him, I don't respect him, but I also don't believe he is geopolitically acting in the best... Anybody who doesn't support immigration, doesn't get this country. And this is not this sort of kumbaya insight, it's the example I just gave you of walking the halls of the Viterbi school. Go to JPL-

- I have three questions in that, so I do wanna get to the-

- Sure, go head.

- 11 minutes left and the first relates to that is, what are your thoughts on the seemingly open border policy in the US versus a wall?

- Yeah, walls don't work, we learned that in World War II because of the Maginot Line. We learned that in Israel on October 7th, Israel had this magical electronic, fabulous wall. And then you see pictures of the Hamas people in tractors knocking it down. So a secure border and a wall are not synonymous, they're not synonymous. I absolutely imperatively without a doubt, am supportive of having secure borders. That not a question, the question is how do we achieve secure borders, and building a wall is not necessarily the way to do it. I am a cop, so I do believe in the rule of law. And so it's just the question of how do we get there? How do we make it happen? And we need immigration reform, that's certainly the first thing, we also need people around the world to understand coming to the US is not a birthright show up and you can stay. That needs to be changed. Border security certainly needs to be enhanced. If I may if people are interested in this issue, Richard, let me recommend a subsequent guest speaker for you, Judge Robert Bonner. So Rob Bonner lives in LA, he is the former head of Customs and Border Patrol. He's the former head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, former federal judge, former federal prosecutor, and he is on the Sheriff's Oversight Committee. And he is the guy to give a much more nuanced, sophisticated answer to that question than I can. 'Cause it's a good question and the question's better than my answer, you need a much more sophisticated answer. How do you get border security and at the same time, yield all of the benefits that we get from immigration? That's the issue, that immigration is a net win for us. Sorry, keep going. You got two more

- Yeah. So Farris Asberg has a statement in a question. Israel Palestine piece is such a missed opportunity, but socially and economically, taking note from the Oslo Peace Courts falling apart, do you see a realistic opportunity for a dual state solution if a Mandela S leader rises and unifies the populace, the Israelis fully withdraw from the West Bank in Gaza, the right of return for Palestinian refugees and share Jerusalem as it is holy Abrahamic religions. And then thank you for your time today, this was very educational.

- The question is so effectively articulated that the questioner should leave the world of real estate and go join the United States... I mean the question is asked perfectly. And part of what needs to be done is the people of Israel need to be convinced that the state of Israel is gonna be secure. That it's viewed as being legitimate and a whole variety of other considerations. They're emotional, they're psychological, Israelis have PTSD. So it's a great question, those are the elements that need to be addressed. One wishes that the leaders of all of these places, look, "Bibi" Netanyahu is doing whatever he needs to do to stay in his job at all costs. So he's making a Palestinian-

- And part of it is if he doesn't stay in his job, he might go to jail, right?

- That's exactly right. That's exactly right. And what the Iranians did is the barbarity of the attack by Hamas made the Palestine question to the people of Israel toxic, and without addressing it, Israel will never be secure. And this was the malevolent genius of the Iranians, this barbarism wasn't a mistake, it wasn't an accident, it was to scare Israelis and it worked, it worked. Israelis are not thinking about it's like anti-vaxxers they're more afraid of the vaccine than they are of the disease. And in this case what Israel needs to understand is without dealing with the Palestine question, they're not gonna be secure, and it's gone beyond that. It's gone beyond that. There were now in the United States, anti-Zionists were opposed to the existence of the state of Israel is currently constructed. The threat specter to Israel has grown dramatically since October 7th, and I think Iran, they're not stupid, I think that's part of it. So great question.

- So from an anonymous attendee, I was struck by hearing the phrase the worst they have been more than once in terms of our global relations. What do we have to get right in the near term to maintain, increase our global credibility and leverage.

- Consistency, consistency. If I had to pick one word, it's consistency. It's kind of... I'm from Boston, so people if you don't like the New England weather, wait 10 minutes, it's gonna change. And what the world now understands is think about... the United States is not a sports car with rack and opinion steering, and the world is watching and they're getting whiplash because there are such wild swings in our policy. How do you balance having a good relations with the Biden worldview and the Trump worldview, because we've had both in the last decade, and we could have both in the next decade. So for the rest of the world to take us seriously, we need to provide a measure of consistency commensurate with the democratic system and our values. But I also think we need to be more respectful to the rest of the world, for the president of the United States to call Mexicans criminals and rapists and bad hombres. You know, we need immigration from nice countries. I mean, Trump just said this two weeks ago, nice countries, what the hell does that mean? Nice countries. My ancestors didn't come from a nice country, I'm still a good guy. So these are the issues that we need to confront. I was just in three embassies two weeks ago talking to three US ambassadors, and we're talking about just this issue. Imagine being a US diplomat and having to represent, these mood swings, it's a really hard job. So again, the question is better than the answer, when we can answer that excellent question, the planet will be a better place.

- Okay, finally, this will be the last question I ask from Gary Kuesh, and I'm sorry I mispronounced your name. What are the implications of Iran becoming a nuclear power, and do you see it possible, if at all to stop this?

- I always say there's nothing good about cocaine, there's nothing good. I guess cocaine worked for off medicines back in the day, so maybe I'm wrong, but I'll ask Sean Penn, who was the keynote speaker at the graduation of the School of Pharmacy at SC, I got a kind of chuckle from that. But there's nothing good about Iran becoming a nuclear power. There's nothing good about nuclear proliferation, period, full stop. And how do we stop the Iranian nuclear program? The answer is, I don't really know. The Obama administration signed an accord with Iran to slow down and stop the Iranian nuclear program. I go to Iran, I don't go anymore, but last time I was in Iran, I got detained at Khomeini Airport and I was coming from a meeting with a foreign minister. I never thought they'd grab me after meeting with him. And what I learned, and actually they kept me for three hours, it was not a lot of fun, trust me. But these were Iran revolutionary guard people against Iran's involvement in the Iranian nuclear accord conversations between the United States, Russia, China, and so forth. So that didn't make Iran perfect, but it seemed effective. The Trump administration said this was the worst agreement in the history of humankind, and they abolished it. So again, really good question. We thought we were on the route to that. I didn't love the Iran nuclear accord, but it was better than anything else. There is nothing good about Iran having a nuclear weapons capability, it's all bad. If they're sending drones to the Russians to use in Ukraine, and they've gotten in with a bad crowd, which they have, we certainly don't want them to have nukes. I'm still mourning the fact that Pakistan has a significant nuclear weapons capability, this is a failed state with a significant nuclear arsenal. How much do you think, and I don't have the answer to this, but just to keep you awake at night, what would it cost for somebody to buy a nuclear weapon from Pakistan? Can anybody guarantee that the Pakistanis won't sell a nuke? You know, it hasn't happened. Everybody tells me, oh, there's great secure... nothing will happen until it happens. And so nukes are really, really bad, and in the hands of Iranians, awful.

- And so on that low feld like note. Jerrold thank you so much for spending an hour with us today, that was incredibly informative. I always say if I can learn one thing in an hour, I am happy, and I learned it far more than that in the past hour. Thank you for joining Lusk Perspectives.

- Thank you all for your patience. Have a good day everybody.