tv William vanden Heuvel Hope and History CSPAN April 21, 2020 7:58pm-9:04pm EDT
covid-19 testing and the house majority leader steny hoyer's indicated that members are poised to return to vote on the measure this week. watch the senate live on cspan2 and you can see the house on c-span. >> coming up tonight on book tv, and ambassador william vanden heuvel on his life and career in public service. then david, ford or counterintelligence advisor to the general and later bradford on the power and influence of the european union. next, ambassador william vanden heuvel discusses his life and career in public service. it is the subject of his book, hope and history. he was in conversation with his daughter, nation magazine publisher catrina vanden
heuvel. [applause] so good evening everyone and welcome to the new york historical society. it is great to see you on a very wintry night and our lovely auditorium. tonight's program hope and history of my more of tumultuous times is part of our distinguished speakers series and as always i would like to thank mr. schwartz for his great generosity which is enabled us to bring so many fine speakers to the stage. [applause] i would like to thank and
recognize the chair of our executive committee has joined us tonight and i like to thank you rick, for all of the very many things you do on behalf of this great institution. thank you. i want to thank all of the council members who are with us this evening as well for their great support of newark has direct jet historical tonight's program last about an hour : : :
>> a former president and executive assistant to william j donovan special counsel to the governor and special assistant to a attorney general kennedy. founder of the franklin eleanor roosevelt institute is also an investment banker. and also the author of "hope and history". we are also welcome to welcome ambassador christina as the moderator who is editor and publisher of the nation 1995 through 2019. a frequent commentator on all
international politics for abc msnbc and cnn and also in the new york times l.a. times and boston globe among others she also writes a weekly column for the "washington post" and the author of several books including the age i believe in and what i believe in and then i would ask as always please silence anything that makes a noise now please join me to welcome our speakers tonight. thank you. [applause] >> i cannot more wonderful thing than spending an evening with one's father. i wanted to say a few words.
almost every sunday morning my father and i sat at his kitchen table across the stack of newspapers we would talk about life and family and we would laugh and then return inevitably to news and politics of the day and then laugh and scream. [laughter] and i always learn something from our discussions and debate with a much more creative way to come away with the challenges feeling overwhelming as they pull the country apart. my father has been a witness throughout his life and its struggles with its destiny and has worked alongside the most intriguing men and women who are facing challenges similar to what we face now and he reflects on those experiences from this book "hope and history" and beginning with his childhood in rochester new
york where he was raised by immigrant parents in the shadow of the great depression and retraces his path to the highest governments from the new deal to the civil rights movement to the trump era. it is part memoir and part call to action, which i love with insights on america's past to chronicle the new york a store school society brinkley writes in a wonderful passage to the book the constant pendulum swings of history that also engages with an ending in a powerful warning that you will hear firsthand endless wars and racism so in so many ways with "hope and history" is a source of inspiration that so much of us are struggling to find help in these tumultuous times as a great friend of my father's rights, the book reminds us
how honorable public service can be and it reminds us of the importance of heroes, justice and memory just one more word family members here all encourage my father jill cannot be here but she is in london a longtime friend of my fathers who pulled together memoirs diaries and letters in the speeches he's given over the years to pull together i think what is a riveting book of storytelling. so on to the storytelling. dad, and i called him daddy. [laughter] mr. ambassador, daddy. [laughter] in many ways this book emerge from a seminar you gave when you visited in prince george's
can county and then at the roosevelt house in 2017 and a talk about your two closest mentors wild bill donovan and roger bolton in that span is a span of history, leadership of this country's history and maybe can you say a few words about your mentors and what they represented to you? and your work as an assistant to mr. donovan when you were in thailand. >> thank you for laboring through this evening with me and with in front of her associates in a community of historians across the country for this institution which has grown so effectively in the
last 20 year years. it's wonderful to behold. and at the forefront it seems to me every argument has a very special place in the country but to get i give money to a group that identify is very right wing religious organization and the purpose was to raise money on the thesis the aclu is celebrating the 100th birthday this coming year. and the lead of the story was how do you trust an organization founded by one man? that was roger baldwin and then i thought to myself how he would have enjoyed that attack and knowing this that
you don't build an enterprise like the aclu with only one person. but he was a personal friend literally i met him at 65 retiring from the aclu. he transferred his royalties from domestic civil liberties to international and was a shadow at the united nations everybody loved roger. he had the sense to know that if you are going to grow old gracefully then find friends in every generation. a naturalist, his lawyer was louis brandeis. it was like walking with the row with baldwin. >> and a conscientious
objector. we were in prince edward virginia and i was asked to give a statement about world war i to the history class. i said world war i? [laughter] so i will tell you a story of world war i and the personalities of the people. one of them was the greatest hero of that war and one every single battle in country that gave wounded three times the most fearless man i have ever known and described as a great patriot. but also classified as franklin roosevelt so the fact that he was a conservative republican was passed over the other person who was a great
friend who became chief justice of the united states appointed by roosevelt 1941. everybody knew him. a man of the world, a major force and literally the father of american intelligence. he was a conscientious objector he came out of the prison a hero he taught them how to play the piano, it was a wonderful story when i was a chairman of the board of corrections i saw him often everybody every prisoner could use a roger. >>host: the aclu started in
many ways of the incarceration of people that i'm thinking when you worked with roger you and as a leading member during the hungarian revolution which is often forgotten in 1956. what did you learn from that experience was it refugees? >> resistance to the soviet domination began june 17th 1953 with the workers uprising. the atmosphere lead over into 19 sixties. so the hungarian revolution was a spontaneous event rarely seen her students were killed by the fascist secret service
and out of that killing they rose up grabbed arms and grabbed and started a fight against soviet soldiers. that was very important. there was a feeling of military circles that russia's strength was magnified by satellite states the hungarian revolution proved just the opposite were an impediment to soviet greatness so the courage of those young people is so the last great mission of his life but the problem with refugees and immigration and we took 250,000 out of hungary overnight. the world joined together.
it was a memorable experience so it runs we have today when i see how we approach the system of immigration or the system of refugees and different problems and the refugee problem always has a very strong political aspect for now i've been on the board 64 years and it's a remarkable demonstration those whose foreign minister of great britain and i think it's the leading voice of behalf of immigrants in america. >> i love you can see but the cover is so arresting it's my father work one - - walking
with kennedy in paris maybe you can tell us about that moment and that trip when the highlights 1967. >> i think kennedy got tired of always going out and there is very personal things i had to be dealt with so i said let's go to europe. [laughter] it was a remarkable trip and it began at oxford and berlin was the host as you speaking of the crown the other day where the queen now was recognized as being very much
taken by wilson. and we spent a couple of hours and it is a remarkable thing to hear what the queen was listening to. , and said we will not do it i just have to pay the price. but it's a big price. that's constant pressure on me and my government. we want to be known as the best friends of america. so i told him to get out of vietnam. so that was an interesting aspect of the trip. another aspect another was 6-foot 4 inches and was a
presence wherever he was he went to the palace with the conversation and as i told your brother you cannot defeat a swamp and then what the united states was losing he said they were a her what country to fashion the ideals of the world. when the conversation was over and then put his arm around him.
and he said to him, i will say something to you and the wounds that i bear. for both of us vietnam has been a very difficult thing my time dealing with it is over. but my advice to you if you create a future for your country and a larger future for the world and you should protected at all cost. do not get involved with vietnam. it is the sole issue. and just out of admiration to believe in the creativeness.
robert kennedy was not necessarily like that but. >> arrogance? he smacked long that she felt that it had been a circus of problems but churchill felt that way for great britain. so it was very important meeting for robert kennedy and stood up with a level of knowledge that is not enormous but they learned. and to talk to historians but the government would come every week and have discussions. so this was the case with robert kennedy. certainly in vietnam as long
as he was his brother's protector, he never disagreed with the forces it's only after his brother's death. then it became much more difficult because it look like he was envious of johnson but he wasn't. >> what kind of relationship did they have? with there's a wonderful book called mutual intent. [laughter] there is a picture on the cover of the book of bobby sitting and scowling in the front row of the audience while lyndon johnson is speaking. there were two people who really disliked each other unfortunately had many opportunities to express that and especially to each other. [laughter] >>host: it's astounding you just went off to europe for a few weeks. i think if you walk down the street then you run into
truman capote. [laughter] >> this is 1967. >>host: just a couple more questions about working with robert kennedy you were his special assistant years earlier as attorney general so one of the civil rights to reopen the schools in prince edward county that had been shut down for four years by whites who refuse to enforce the brown versus board of education decision. tell us about the lessons you drew with that quest for racial justice and how we confront racism today? >> it is difficult to remember the state of virginia led the fight against brown versus
board of education massive resistance were the words used to be head of the political system in virginia said once the decision was absorbed with that interpretation yes the support loan - - the supreme court may order us because there's nothing in the constitution that obligates us to the educational system so they used it as a test case of an extraordinary county in the heartland of virginia prince edward county, strange in the history of the war between the states prince edward county is where robert e. lee april 7th
1865 but then they met the next day and then ended the war but so in that setting the prince edward county case know be expected that but to resolve the issue but they used every strategy. so when president kennedy came to office and found were schools were denied to american children he became interested in it. and then the attorney general was instructed to give priority attention and then said to size up the situation make a recommendation. it was unique and different and difficult i said let us set up a school system.
model skills just want a system to show them how they can work and then we will fight the case and the courts eventually which we will win. they will not be denied an education so one of the great qualities of robert kennedy he was a decisive leader in very creative. and was capable of seeing what an idea had as a possibility. so we set up a school system and recruited teachers from around the country which was a wonderful reminder of how idealism motivates so much in the teaching around the country and they came from all over paid for by the local systems to be in prince edward county and it ended up having the most modern up-to-date methods and the national interest of what was going on
children can go to school come out of this reading and writing and then it was regarded as an extraordinary achievement that both the whites and the blacks excepted what had been done and that was very important. the national attention we hoped it would get was destroyed overnight. >> the night before the press conference and then the four little girls were killed in birmingham so then the nation will return to tragedy instead of hope as we anticipated but then in the supreme court nine / zero and then the schools were open and robert kennedy came down to prince edward county and was given the
hero's triumph i don't think there is a place that grieve the death of john kennedy more. because they felt he personally had taken an interest in them. and he did. >> it's extraordinary to be there for the 50th anniversary for the opening of the schools because president obama gave the first date of the union address and prince edward county voted for barack obama. so today so we feel the nation is torn apart as we go through pain and trauma. >> i think of that often. >> there is a resilience to remember but how do you remember that. especially going to the white house the day after kennedy was assassinated? >> i hope the institution will
forgive the partisan things of these cabinets but it is cataclysmic and we are apt to forget. you mentioned 1963. the president of the united states was assassinated. that was extraordinary it stopped government and stopped people and all of us and to absorb that and loss of potential president of the united states and we lost the leader of the civil rights movement and stop to think about what that means of the
loss of those men at that time was cataclysmic and the fact the country held together was due to jackie kennedy onassis who led the nation and disciplined grief one - - grief who had an extraordinary knowledge of government and who work to carry it out and took advantage of the situation. but yes we should be very concerned today but if you look at the 1968 convention, i say this edge of violence.
>> many people don't know you had a chapter is trying to do the criminal justice system you were appointed in 1970 after the prisons with the board of corrections and then you spoke of the massacre in attica and involved in rikers the new brought attention in the way that's happening today and those that recruited from the major law firms and through those ten different forms we had no money on the board of corrections. so john came in as one of those and ended up as the director of the board of correction and to this day is
a major voice in prisoner reform. i hope you take a look at this character because it tells a different story about what life can be. in a nation that has 2 million people in prison, we should ask ourselves every day, why. and i think we will find that prisoners cannot take place in prison. has to take place outside with the individual quality. a run for john lindsay in congress and i think he gets even with me. [laughter] he asked me to be the chairman. of all the criticisms of john lindsay he is a first-class mayor and i think he was a first-class leader i said if
we come to parting ways on issues of how we should handle things i promise you i will leave quietly without embarrassment. but you have to give me your support as mayor and the things that have to be proposed. that worked out wonderfully and he supported me it wasn't easy i was called every name by the corrections association all kinds of people found all kinds of reasons to say i should be executed but for three years we are very good partners and then he brought together a group of young people that made a generation in different attitude and each one of us today is still involved in figuring out what can be done to reform the criminal justice system. i believe the criminal justice
system is run a large part of the district attorney's office. you have to have someone there who understands reform. but today the one day in the beginning of the investigation we found this room of solitary confinement and is said i want to be chairman of the responsibility for a unit like that that's demeaning to life itself. so they closed it down immediately. now i do believe it has been returned to its place. prison reform is a very tough issue. it doesn't have a natural constituency those big walls that are intended to keep people out as well as keep people in and when you see attica and the response of the state government presumably an
enlightened body what was going on there had been prison riots for 200 years. that you can talk as long as you could until the tensions were down and then you reconstruct instead of what the governor said standing sending the guard state troopers the most serious prison riot in the country and only a young man who had the courage with the autopsies to point out the 43 people were all killed by bullets of the state troopers despite what had been announced in the governor's office that gives you a sense of how difficult that problem was. >> you are cochair of the carter campaign in new york
state now once again he's back in the hospital. >> that you saw something the new york times did not they would even have him and let alone an editorial meeting. he win six months after you beat you start and then a passenger on - - then appointed ambassador to the un in the united states to be essential part of your life but what do you see as you near the 75th anniversary? >> i met carter in 1975 a group of others had a small dinner. as a result of the victory but the fact of the matter is i
thought the next thing that the country would do well to have a liberal southerner as vice president and carter was certain to become a vice presidential candidate will he fooled all. the first time i ever met him he looked me in the eyes and said i will be president of the united states. and the brilliance of the 82 page memorandum that he outlined the whole campaign step-by-step is really one of the great political documents. i have great respect for carter. he was unusual and didn't fall into the mold of prior candidates he is a very religious man in that context.
>> and your friend arthur's lesson sure junior didn't want any part of him. >> that's right we took him to the first rally that we had at the unitarian church it was december 191975 and was not happy about the open door at the white house and also was not happy about the fact that an answer to a question to be created by a certain date he said i never saw this but carter said yes that he believed that it was created before. [laughter] i have lived through that argument for so many years. [laughter]
but he was determined to have a full term of office that did not involve itself in war. he believed the elements of war could be handled in a different way. he was in a deal president for the united nations and the own domestic strength held together but the hostage situation in iraq devastated the last 18 months of his presidency and after the failure of the rescue mission it was very difficult for him to seek reelection and the challenge by ted kennedy was very unfortunate. >>host: tough on you? >> tough on me i said you will not win this and it has done
some important things the united nations is such an important possibility for us it makes it hard that president roosevelt last year as sick as he was with the universal organization that could be a major instrument to stop war and keep peace. the president to get the soviets to come into the un and churchill was not interested. but roosevelt believed deeply that the time had come when the wars could no longer be one in the united states at the peak of its power should use the power to show the
world how we can live together. and he did not live long enough. mrs. roosevelt was an extraordinary participant to celebrate the universal declaration of human rights and that's mrs. roosevelt's quick work in regards it as the quick work of her lifetime but roosevelt was a practical man to understand the mistakes woodrow wilson made with the league of nation and he would have continued had he had another ten years it would be a very different world today. >> there is a memo in the book
with ten or 12 people with licensure and clinton when he was president. >> much more than that. >> how do you go to be a source? >> president clinton to have a sense. >> and we spent three hours discussing liberalism i've had enough experience with those meetings so i wrote a ten page memorandum and now when you get a chance please look at this and it was about what could be done. but he wants said to me, that every poll shows 70 percent of the americans want the un to
be successful. and prepare for our country to lead it. why would in a president grab on to that? there are 15 percent to hate the un and they vote on their feelings or 70 percent don't don't and those that are equally interested in doing because the un cannot be a major successful instrument of peace unless the united states makes itself. >> i think one of the most moving aspects is your relationship to the roosevelt legacy the work you put into establish what was cons last memorial and the sense of your
immigrant parents the workers in the boarding house had roosevelt as part of their life standing shoulder to shoulder how do you see that legacy today? >> it's definitely in danger including to newt gingrich , this is the last chance to beat roosevelt. we have had three opportunities this is the third we can do have been at this point. that is their thought others don't think in those terms but he changed the country and change the world to create a government that was identified and said don't judge me by those but how much i help those who have need. he started the necessity of
the kleiman opportunities to rebuild the country those initials let me nothing today but the first thing president roosevelt did was so republicans had obstructed it for 20 years and created where the seven states are located this country that it would have been brought the south to modern america and brought the rest of the country together so to enter world war ii that would be the capacity that enables us to win the war of human history. so we were so fortunate that i admired my parents were not political in any way she's 25
years going from the first world war and lost her husband and two children and the battle of world war i were 1 million men were killed. it is a thought beyond human absorption. and that is a different attitude about europe and america my father immigrated from holland. but they saw the roosevelt to the fireside chats. i would sit on my shoulders on - - the shoulders of my father when the president went through. but for me, it was taking my thought there are two meet on - - for my mother to meet the president and to say we could conceive that he was in her
own country. >>host: you think he could be elected in today's political climate? >> yes. i think so. he's a great progressive leader of the 20th century and elected to the middle of the road to balance the budget and keep the government together but when he came president he was ready to deal with those problems in ways that were never dealt with before. so if we see that great progressive force of the 21st century and with two thirds majority in congress of the united states.
and republicans today always have enough votes to make everything possible. i fear for the government of the united states and those to the extent to never once offer an alternate. >> they thought medicare was socialist. >> one of the great big new ideas is the green new deal. >> i know you are a great advocate of that. >> i do think there are one or two people as he steered the country for the people those environmental problems today are from that generation is beginning to take hold with this administration from the paris accord with the scientific community it is not
an encouraging time. >> picking up and what we were talking about, we met in albany in 1967 and introduced me and others to bobby kennedy. do you care to speculate what if? >> what if he lived? >> you said once how one of the closest advisers said keying was preparing to endorse robert kennedy. >> which would've been his first endorsement other. one - - ever. he said i fight for ideas and not politicians but there was a difficult history between the two men to really support robert kennedy. it is certainly a debatable question if robert kennedy could have one the nomination
and for good and sufficient reason did not become available to leave those forces early on and then make it very difficult for the coalition to come together but martin luther king could have come together. george wallace and hubert humphrey. so when said to me that robert kennedy could when it. >> as part of the roosevelt legacy there's discussions today of the takeover of the court. we grew up in a household it was referred to as the roosevelt court reform program. [laughter]
so today suddenly court reform is back. >> it is one of the most important issues facing our country we are in a constitutional crisis of an extraordinary dimension. i supported roosevelt and the current reform plan because what he was doing he was fighting to save the new deal. if he had not confronted the court which had the four horsemen of the apocalypse he would have lost social security, minimum wage, also thinking about what social security means in this country to fight the crisis of 2007 people say that's true if we didn't have social security it would have been a great
depression. what he didn't know that former social security program and took into account the dignity made them independent impossible for congress to eradicate the program by giving the aspect of taxes. he won that battle even though in my view it wasn't done very well but he won that because they quit and then to find roosevelt and all the members. it's almost inevitable in my judgment that the constitutional crisis of that dimension occurs whether trump wins are not as long as their five votes prepared to fight the ideology of the radical conservativis conservativism, maybe they don't but if they do then they
will have difficult times and all the work that is being done through the progressive causes in a special jeopardy. the great president proposed and the most radical voice against the supreme court was theodore roosevelt and franklin was always tipped his hat and respected him and as a republican and attorney general and calvin coolidge and then to respect the new deal and the became chief justice. >> you assisted refugees in hungary in the fifties. how do you explain to understand but to say they
were not talking to each other. that's true that they said so to be so filled with that excitement and that meaning of what the revolution was all about to say mr. president don't you think there's something more we might have done to help the freedom fighters? he said without hesitation no. and i was standing there and then to go into that
historical discussion, beginning 1919 right as they took over hungary to always look for an opportunity so when he saw that to get the world to look at them and to say the revolution began october 23rd. the suez was october 29 they are totally unrelated is it is that so? maybe we could have done something. to know what's going on on the
road. [laughter] >> this is for vanden who pulls. living through tumultuous times or has there been material differences? with the cold war, socialis war, socialism, israel, constit. [laughter] >> but and to be responsible for middle america. and to be married to one of the great russian scholars, so they have their world. [laughter] >> and i am most proud of my time as editor in the aftermath of 9/11 in
supporting to oppose the iraq war. at a time wherein so many were supporting the effort including liberals we agree on cuba. we agree on the constitution. you are not as enamored with the insurgent politics. >> you are much more involved in russia than i am but it's sad for me to observe to become so ideological. and reflect the second world war. with the war and revolution.
and to find a way to live with russia. and gorbachev would've come to power and one of the great leaders of the 20th century. >> i see that with a 1989 or 90 but really it was gorbachev's decision in the army's in the eastern bloc to say we will not hold you hostage anymore. and that gorbachev still has to gather communist party. >> we did disagree once my
father ran for district attorney against frank hogan. and someone was running for district attorney who one. and i supported this person and call my father on the editorial and was political i never knew why went into journalism a member throwing the newspaper around the car i hate the media. and with the agenda of the security council meeting. and then i was attacked from behind and that turned out and
as i looked around i was also being attacked at the same time. then it turned out the terrorist from the west coast to express their concern the united states and the soviet union were the two greatest war makers so as he went out the reporter says and to say better red than dead. [laughter] >>. >>.
>> and i kept that suit. and then to come to the nation for someone to write an editorial about them. >> when i was ambassador and then to come over for a visit for a couple weeks in the summer as they went out to the airport and not sure what you will turn into but and the plane was sitting there and they sent a note that they had
at 4:00 o'clock that he was freed answer haunts your on. they would blow up the plane with the partners. and then try to negotiate the person had sent the letter so we had no responsibility. we had to pay and everybody escaped and it turns out the person who came from yorkville. and that roosevelt was treated badly. >> in a race to win a world title for speed.
progress, we haven't begun to do what has to be done to bring intelligence to the handling of the problem. i think the corruption issue in washington is going to make the scandal look like nothing when we get around to finally figuring out what they have done. i think money has made it very difficult to rule this country and i think the most important thing is that we have lost the commitment to truth in our government. you cannot have a democracy without truth at its core. [applause] >> ambassador vanden heuvel, thank you. we could go on forever here in the audience. thank you for being with us for public programs. we want to invite you to visit
in his book "the dragons and the snakes,," david kilcullen, general adviser to david petraeus, looks a looks up of ly hostile forces have adapted to the way of the u.s. by its wars. >> welcome, everyone. founder and president of the foundation for defense democracies and thank you for joining us today for a special discussion marking the release of doctor david kilcullen the book "the dragons and th "the ds how the rest learn to fight the west."he today's eventto is hosted by the center on military and political power that shows understanding of the defens different strateg, policies and capabilities necessary to determine and defeat threats of the freedom, security and prosperity