The Wheatley Institution

Facing Old and New Defense Challenges

James Schlesinger
February 9, 2010

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If you're going to be introduced, be introduced by an old friend.  I'm reminded of a story of a funeral in which the widow was sitting in the front row, and the clergyman went on and on with his eulogy.  And as he went on and on the widow got more and more restless, and finally she tapped her oldest son and said, "Will you go up and see whether it's your daddy in the coffin?" 

In 1840, Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America wrote, "As for myself, I do not hesitate to say that it is especially in the conduct of their foreign relations that democracies appear to me decidedly inferior to other governments… A democracy can only with great difficulty regulate the details of an important undertaking, persevere in a fixed design, and work out its execution in spite of serious obstacles.  It cannot combine its measures with secrecy or await their consequences with patience…"

The heart of this bears repeating: "A democracy can only with great difficulty regulate the details of an important understanding, persevere in a fixed design, and work out its execution in spite of serious obstacles.  It cannot combine its measures with secrecy or await their consequences with patience."

That may have certain ring of truth at this time, particularly with regard to measures of secrecy.  I saw the other day that the New York Times was indignant that some secret had been leaked from the White House.  The New York Times apparently feels that it alone has the right to leak the Nation's secrets.  It has become a serious problem of increasing leakage of things that should not be leaked.  There are many things that are classified that should not be classified, but there are things that should not be leaked, and consequences awaited with patience. 

Sometime in the early 1990's I testified before the Armed Services Committee, and I said this has been a problem for the United States over the years, of having a policy that is reasonably stable, and I cited "de Tocqueville's Challenge" as I put it.  And I said, "But de Tocqueville was wrong."  What the Cold War history has proved (this was just after the collapse of the Soviet Union) is that the United States did indeed persevere in its objectives, and awaited the outcome with great patience.  For 40 years the United States stood "the watch on the Elba," for those of you who are familiar with the phrase "the watch on the Rhine."  For 40 years we were stable in support of the European democracies. 

A question that will cross your minds is whether that same kind of stability can be demonstrated as we deal with current challenges to the United States, which are much more amorphous and less obvious to the public, which rallied around the country in dealing with the Soviet threat.  Fortunately from one standpoint, the Soviets were rather obvious in their tactics. And once they had seized Eastern Europe in 1947-48 the American public never changed its view that it was our duty to oppose Soviet expansionism.  So, there is that period in which we managed to rise to the challenge that de Tocqueville cited. 

In the middle of the last century Henry Luce, publisher of Time and Life, referred to the 20th century as the American Century.  Since he was starting in about 1940, much of the century had disappeared and for the rest of the century it was the American Century.  It was so primarily because we came through the World War II unscathed.  At the close of World War II the United States had about fifty five percent of the world's manufacturing capacity and about fifty percent of the world's income. Other countries were scrambling for dollars, which we were rather generous in distributing in order to help them through the post-war period. 

And then the Cold War started.  The nations of Europe in particular, but other nations as well, felt that they needed the protection of the United States, and as a consequence they rallied around us, and the United States was the dominant power in that period, a dominance in part in reaction to the Soviet Union.  With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States became almost alone in terms of world power.  It was what Charles Krauthammer referred to as America's unipolar moment, in that there was no challenger out there like the Soviet Union.  There are today those who think that China is rising as a potential challenger. But, from the period 1991 until after the fall of Baghdad in 2003, there was no question of U.S. dominance in the world.  The question that I want to put before you tonight is whether that dominance can continue.

Here is a quotation from the National Intelligence Council, which works for the Director of National Intelligence.  These quotations are from a volume that's produced every five years called Global Trends, and this one is for the year 2025:  "Although the United States is likely to remain the world's most powerful actor, the United States' relative strength even in the military realm"—we'll come back to that—"will decline and U.S. leverage will become more constrained.  The United States will remain the single most powerful country but will be less dominant.  Shrinking economic and military capabilities may force the United States into a difficult set of tradeoffs between domestic versus foreign policy priorities."

And we shall return later to that subject.  The point to bear in mind is that this is not intended to be a declinist view of the world.  The United States will still be the world's leading power, but our period of dominance will be coming to an end.  This [statement] is not by those who condemn the United States; this is by the National Intelligence Council.  Why would this period of dominance be coming to an end?  There are a number of reasons; the first is the rise of Asia.  China and India are the fastest growing nations in the world.  Japan is still one of the world's leading powers.  Power has been moving from Western Europe to the Pacific increasingly over the course of the last several decades. 

If you want to use a particular date to indicate that Asian take off, it was when Deng Xiaoping introduced his reforms in China in 1978.  Since that time, we have seen a spectacular rise in Chinese strength, such that by the year 2030 we can expect to see China overtake the United States in terms of gross domestic product.  Not in terms of per capita income—Chinese people will be quite constrained in what they have—but it will be a degree of economic strength that is slowly spilling into military capabilities.  Meanwhile, as Asia rises, Europe is in decline, some might say absolutely in decline as well.  Europe has a particular problem in that the Muslim populations to the south and to the east are steadily growing—burgeoning, one might say—while Europe's own demographic projections are distressing, to say the least.  So Europe has lost much of its appetite, which it once exhibited worldwide, for power politics.  And Europe tends to believe these days that military power should not be used, and if it is used at all it should be only through legitimation by international agencies.  The upshot is that since the European allies are our principal allies, any relative decline in Europe compared to those in the western Pacific will reduce America's role in the world, relatively speaking.

I want now to turn to the question of the budget.  Joe mentioned that I was once the Deputy Director at The Bureau of the Budget.  We used to say at the Bureau, "If you want to know what a nation's policies are, don't listen to the rhetoric.  Look at the budget and that will tell you what their policies really are, as opposed to what the politicians would like to dramatize."  So what are the realities now that we face, with regard to the budget?  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the entitlement programs of the United States, ones like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare (that support me and others), which are now 9% of the Gross Domestic Product, will have risen by the year 2025 (the same year as the numbers in the projection by the National Intelligence Council) to over 20% of the gross domestic product.  American taxpayers have never been prepared to pay provide more than twenty percent of the total GDP to the federal government in the form of taxes.  That suggests that all of the revenue of the federal government will be going to these entitlement programs, unless they are changed. 

If you read the press, there is great resistance to change.  During the recent discussions of medical care reform, the Republicans who in the past have said, "Let us see if we can cut some of the expenditures involved in Social Security," now say, "Don't you dare touch Social Security; the senior citizens will rally against us."  This underscores the difficulty of getting change. The president of the United States has, incidentally, learned that change is easier to discuss on the political campaign than it is actually something you can achieve in office.  The resistance to change is immense, particularly in budget matters.

So what we can look forward to is tremendous pressure on the military budget.  Throw in six or seven hundred billion dollars a year in interest payments on the federal debt, in addition to the amount that we are projected to be spending on entitlement programs, and there doesn't seem to be much left for the defense budget.  As a consequence, there will be continuing pressure to reduce defense expenditures. 

Now, I am not saying these things because I find them particularly attractive.  We must take a look at the world as it will be, not as it has been.  We have had this long period of dominance, but that is going to come to an end.  It's not all that bad; we will remain the leading world power in the future. Others will have to consult us.  But it will require a greater degree of nation cohesion and national stamina in dealing with something like what the pentagon calls "the Long War" against terrorism.  This is a much more subtle thing, harder to grasp than the threat that the Soviet Union represented, or that Nazi Germany represented decades earlier.   You can see it in the resentment, expressed resentment by the public over the casualties in the Iraq War, and now more than fifty percent of the public does not believe that we should be engaged in Afghanistan. 

A collapse in Afghanistan would mean a catastrophe for American foreign policy.  If we are obliged to withdraw, even if we say that we will start reducing our forces in 2011, other nations will begin to make their calculations of the changes that they must make in their policy.  More specifically, think of yourself as a Pakistani or as an Afghan, when you are told that allied forces will withdraw, starting in 2011.  There are very few Pakistanis who believe that the U.S. will be around in five years' time, which is what the U.S. military think is the essential minimum for us to begin to grapple with the problems in that region.  If we fail in that region, it will be catastrophic for the U.S. foreign position, but at the moment there is little reason to be optimistic, given the fact that the American public seems to have been substantially exhausted psychologically, by both the Iraq War and the Afghan War. And the consequence we see is great difficulty in sustaining the resolve, the stamina, the cohesion that is necessary for a democracy to be effective. 

Democracies have worked best for relatively brief periods of time: Get into World War II, win the war, demobilize the forces, and come back home.  It was with great difficulty that we moved divisions to Europe after the Communist invasion of Korea simply because of the reluctance of the public to get involved once again.  We like to move decisively, and then end it.  The problem is that it was not easy to do so.

Let me conclude by observing that even though the projections are that our long period of dominance must necessarily come to an end, it's not all that bad just being the leading power in the world, which we will continue to be for the foreseeable future.  I think that the future looks generally bright in terms of avoiding major conflict.  Neither Russia, nor China, which are the best armed countries in the world, now has any temptation to strike at the United States directly.  The threat from China, which is probably more significant today than the threat from Russia, is more of a political-economic nature.  The collapse of our financial system in 2008 (which had to be buttressed by the Federal Reserve just a year ago) has given great credence to the Chinese model of authoritarian state-controlled economy.  So the proclivity that earlier existed of much of the world to be drawn to the American model has come, if not to an end, at least to a major interruption.  Countries in Africa and Latin America are tending to turn more toward the Chinese model.  That is now more the threat from China--even though we must hedge against the possibility of a future serious clash between ourselves and China. 

The United States has provided protection for many other countries; one of the forms of that protection has come from the nuclear deterrent that the United States has maintained for many years.  As Joe indicated, we have recently had a number of task forces in the Department of Defense and the "Commission on Strategic Forces," authorized by the Congress, which have come to the conclusion that for the foreseeable future the United States must maintain its nuclear deterrent.  Talk that you may have heard about proclaiming a vision of the future without nuclear weapons would require an adjustment of the world political situation which is not foreseeable at the present time.  The present status of international politics simply does not permit the elimination of nuclear weapons. 

So, we are in a position in which we are holding the nuclear umbrella over some thirty nations.  Most of them are allies in Europe, and we will have to continue to do so if we want to avoid giving those countries an incentive to acquire nuclear weapons of their own.  As the commission indicated, we are near a tipping point in which the non-proliferation policies that the United States has endorsed since the end of World War II are in danger of coming unraveled.   One can see evidence of that in the nuclear ambitions of Iran and the nuclear achievements (such as they are) in North Korea.  A continued unraveling of the non-proliferation regime would make this world a more unstable place, though I reiterate that nobody is likely to launch a nuclear exchange with the United States as long as we have our nuclear deterrent.  That does not mean that a terrorist group getting its hands on a nuclear weapon could not inflict substantial damage on an American city, and that is part of "the Long War" that we face as the leading world power.  Thank you very much.

Question and Answer Session

Q: First of all, thank you for being here. You made a comment about Europe being in trouble because of its growing Muslim population, and I wondered if you could clarify why that's trouble because for some that might seem like an inflammatory statement against Muslims.

A: The cohesion of the past in Europe, Western Europe, is being undermined by the failure of the European states to assimilate the Muslim population in the same way that the United States has done. And the consequence is that the traditional attitudes in Europe, which include the support of NATO, are being watered down. It's not an inflammatory statement about the Muslim populations of Europe, but the reality remains that the alliances that have existed in the past are going to be weakened by the substantial change in the nature of the population of the European states.

Q:  Dr. Schlesinger, a couple of years ago, you addressed the association for the study of peak oil and warned that oil depletion constituted a serious threat to the United States. I believe that warning was correct. Would you tell us a little bit how you came to be convinced of the dangers inherent in peak oil, and what you would recommend to alert the American population to its threat.

A: Well, various people have been shouting about the energy problem now ever since 1973; in fact it goes back earlier, to the Eisenhower administration, which attempted to sustain 88% of US oil needs by domestic production. That attempt was a failure as was the so-called energy independence that was announced by President Nixon in 1973, followed by the energy independence blueprint in 1974, which said that we should be self-sufficient, whatever that means, by the year 1980. In 1973 we were importing about 3 million barrels of oil a day at the time of the Arab oil embargo. And in 1980 we were importing 9 million barrels a day, if I recall, which did not indicate that energy independence had been much of a success.

The problem that we have over the long run is that there is a limit to the amount of oil that we can produce. It's not necessarily a peak, but it is going to be a plateau and as we reach that plateau, one worries about a country as dependent on the internal combustion engine, as the United States is, and the consequences for our economy as oil prices rise when supply cannot adjust to a bourgeoning demand. The problem we have is that we are going to pass through a transition at some point, and we probably ought to get started now. And if I may say, so here politically, it's not going to be solved by "green jobs" that are going to be coming in the next few years. It will require a lengthy adjustment in which gradually we move away from the addiction to oil that former President Bush talked about. Unfortunately, we did not do much about the addiction to oil until such time as we had the financial crisis, which of course has brought down oil demand in the United States temporarily. That does not affect the growth of oil demand worldwide, because oil demand in China and India continues to grow.

There are limits on how much oil we can produce. The fact remains that the world is using 3 barrels of oil a day for each barrel of oil it finds. There are oil substitutes, the oil sands in Canada, but they are very hard to produce. They have environmental problems that disturb those in the neighborhood of production. It will be years before those oil substitutes can begin to replace the conventional crude oil on which the world's growth  has been dependent ever since World War II. Over the years, in the decades of the 50s and 60s, oil demand expanded at better than 10% a year. And it was that that led to the growth of the European economies after World War II and it was that that is now leading to the substantial growth in China.

Q: Thank you Dr. Schlesinger, for coming, we appreciate it. During your brief tenure as a Director of Central Intelligence, you made some sweeping changes in the Central Intelligence community, particularly concerning the clandestine service, and that was reportedly to improve collaboration among the different facets among the intelligence community. With the reorganization of the intelligence community under the Director of National Intelligence, what else do you feel could be done to improve collaboration in the intelligence community?

A: Down there, at the bottom of the intelligence community, you have human beings and you have bureaucracies, and it makes it very hard to induce the degree of collaboration that we would like to see. Breaking down classified barriers which were unnecessary is one of the things that we have done recently. As you may remember after the hearings of the 1970s, the intelligence community was forbidden to talk to the law enforcement community with any intelligence that it might have gathered with respect to intentions to harm the United States. That was swept away after 9/11. And we continue to spread intelligence information more generally throughout the various communities.

We have done a lot better in that regard, but you can see from this recent episode with an attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines plane flying into Detroit, that there is great difficulty in moving sufficient information. Everyone these days says if you look in retrospect, they didn't connect the dots. In the advance of whatever episode you're looking at, there are thousands of observations which we would call "dots," and it's very confusing. We should not expect that the intelligence community is always going to be able to map in advance the connections of all these dots. There were great blunders made with regard to sharing info in this recent case of the Northwest airlines. You can trace it in retrospect, the failure to more broadly inform others of the observations of the father of the culprit, in this case. I said culprit, I'm supposed to say suspect-- the culprit in this case whose father said to the CIA people in Nigeria, "He's gone bad – watch him." And we failed to do so because the info didn't trickle up to the top.

We had problems in regard to our European allies, once again, who are sovereign nations and they maintain control of their inspection systems, as in Amsterdam.  In this case, the fact that he was not bringing any luggage and had a one way ticket did not seem to disturb anybody who was watching this process. But bear in mind that the easiest thing to do after you make a mistake is to blame the intelligence community. A lot of these problems reflect much broader considerations at the political level in that we have tended to stress law enforcement as the way to deal with terrorism rather than gathering intelligence. And a law enforcement approach means that you have to give away your evidence in court and that means that you have sacrificed a good deal of intelligence information, as we did in the trial of the first attempt to destroy the world trade towers.

Q: Dr. Schlesinger, you  mentioned towards the beginning of your remarks that there are certain things which are classified which should not be classified, and certain things that are classified that should not be leaked. I was curious if you could expound on your views on which certain things should not be classified, which should be more available to the American public.

A: Sure. One very good reason for classification is that if you allow something to get out, it's embarrassing to you or your agency. So you stamp "Secret" on it and it doesn't, presumably, get out. Probably the bulk of classified information, initially, was classified for reasons of protecting existing institutions or policies of the federal government. There's no need for that to be classified for security reasons. There may be a need to classify it for political reasons of an administration. On the other hand, the leakage of intelligence operations, the leakage of the characteristics of military equipment, advanced military equipment, should be very carefully protected and sometimes that is not. I'm always amazed when I read what is being discussed in the press. Joe mentioned that I was once chairman of the AEC. I am amazed at what appears in public about nuclear weapons, things that we would just go into a classified room and discuss in hushed voices about how nuclear weapons operate. Now you can find it on the internet, some of it released by the federal government mistakenly.

Q: You were talking about how China is presenting a threat to democracy all over the world and presenting an alternative model for a lot of countries in the world. There are some examples like Zimbabwe and Sudan where China has propped up dictatorships. Could you give some other examples of where China has presented a threat to liberal democracy?

A: Well, China has gone through Africa; Angola is a most notable example. Angola is repaying loans from the Chinese that were given some years ago with the oil revenues that they have subsequently developed. But in these countries, in Africa in particular, which have been the principal targets of China for developing political support, they have given assistance directly and quickly when our own assistance tends to take two or three years in the bureaucracy before it emerges. And these countries begin to see the possibilities of swift action on the part of the Chinese government and slow action on the part of the American government, which they take to represent the American model. You can see it in what has been in the past the cozying up of China, which now provides support for the Panama Canal, and the new relationship between Venezuela and China.

And these countries find that the seemingly Chinese model is very attractive because of the rapid economic growth that China has represented while maintaining authority in the state without having to deal with the problems of democracy. There are twenty nations around the world that have benefited from the Chinese embrace, and I suspect in the years to come, given the Chinese holdings of vast currency reserves, there will be more of them. You can take the attitude: do we really care whether Zimbabwe is democratic or not? That has not been the American tradition in the past, but it is a question that will likely be raised with increasing frequency as the years go by and as China becomes a larger and larger presence in the international environment.

Q: I've been reading a lot in the media lately about Chinese ambitions in the Indian Ocean with their navy. I was wondering what you think America's presence in the Indian Ocean should be in the coming years.

A: Well there are two aspects of that: the aspect of having access to East Asia, which the Chinese understandably are seeking increasingly to deny to us. That is something that if we are to provide continued protection for Taiwan, as in the Taiwan Relations Act, or for South Korea or for Japan, we are going to have to be powerfully situated in the waters off the Chinese mainland. There's a good deal of discussion in the press about the Chinese development of a blue water navy, and that they may or may not have a carrier in the period immediately ahead. In terms of blue water navy, they are well behind us. Second, the Chinese are dependent on their supply lines to the Middle East for petroleum as discussed earlier, increasingly dependent on those supply lines to the Middle East, and they know that the United States navy lies a threat to them. They are attempting to build some bases in the Indian Ocean, but they do not have the military forces to challenge the United States or our other allies in the region, and they will not have that for the foreseeable future. I think that for those who fear that there might be a military challenge by the Chinese, that one must remember their dependence, their continuing and growing dependence on oil imports, and their recognition that they are highly vulnerable in their lines of supply.

Q: Given that you are the guru of all things nuclear, my question is: Given the fact that in the years past the United States has lost its leadership in terms of the usage and creation of nuclear energy, my question is what does nuclear energy hold for the United States in the future, and what would be the number one step to take in terms of nuclear energy in the next couple years?

A: The difficulties of nuclear energy are clear. Substantial elements of the public just do not like it, and they worry about the safety of nuclear plants. They worry about the ability to put away nuclear waste, which is still being fought over at Yucca Mountain. But the biggest problem of nuclear energy is that it is not cost competitive at the moment. It might have been cost competitive when the price of natural gas was $11 per MCF, but the recent discoveries of substantial supplies of natural gas in the United States, which has brought natural gas down to $3-5 per MCF means that for utility, it is a lot cheaper to build a gas-fired plant than a nuclear plant, and that is the chief barrier. It is why the administration has recently called for an expansion of loan-guarantees to over $50 billion in order to sponsor additional nuclear plants. But we have not built a nuclear plant in the US since the 1970s. We have not ordered a nuclear plant since the 1970s, and until such times as utilities see the advantages, commercially, of building nuclear plants, there is going to be considerable difficulty in eliciting demands that will substantially affect the overall energy supply.

Q: Thank you again for coming out. My question is regarding the United States being likely to remain the single most powerful actor in the future with likely budget cuts in military spending. How will the United States maintain its foreign policy success with military deterrence?

A: Well, you plunge a dagger into my heart. With increasing difficulty! Because those countries that have been inclined to defer to us in the past, because we provided protection, and we were visibly the strongest power, will begin to adapt towards others. Not in Europe, but elsewhere in the world, and most importantly in the critical Middle East. Our relations with the Sunni countries in Western Asia are now much more difficult than they were five years ago. During the Cold War, the Saudi Arabians regarded the United States as their great protector against international communism. They no longer have that view. They no longer regard the U.S. as a valuable protector. Others that have deferred to us will be less inclined to do so. And unless, and here's the critical part of your answer, the United States must show greater cohesion and unity if it is to sustain over time that reputation for being the leading world power. If you look at our economic production, and probably the sophistication of our military, we will still be the leading world power. But unless we have stamina and a high degree of national unity, others will not see us in that light.

Q: With current US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have found that greater cohesion within the military is essential to completing the mission. With that being said, what are your feelings on the current administration's policies with abolishing or moving away from the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," policy?

A: Well I wish you didn't ask, and I'm not going to tell. I think that the law which was adopted in 1994 is quite clear-cut on this issue. You endanger the- what is the phrase- the good order and cohesion of military units with open and permissive homosexuality. This is not a problem so much, let's say for the Air Force, but it is a problem when you have a platoon, small group that is dependent upon mutual trust, and we will see what the Congress does with this suggestion. It is plain that the Department of Defense is treating it like a hot potato.

Q: With the decline of the United States (interjection by Schlesinger: "relative decline"), relatively, and as it's patterned after what happened in Rome with the barbarians, might be called today, terrorism, in other kingdoms and empires in the past, we're following somewhat the same pattern in trying to stay that off the military power. Are there any ideas afoot to change that? For example, with the Three Cups of Tea school system that we've read about in Pakistan. Is there some way we can shift over this kind of energy and money we're putting in to military, to do the job better with soft power?

A: Well, we've been experimenting with soft power, a smart power now, for a year and we've not had any notable successes with regard to Russia, Iran, North Korea, the Israeli/ Palestinian squabble, so it's easy to talk about "smart power," and there are very few people who like to be advocates of "dumb power." Not only can the military budget can be shaved; it won't be shaved, because of the reasons we discussed earlier. I doubt, given the inclination of our public, that we're likely to put very much of that into the educational system in Pakistan. It would be a good idea, what you suggest, because it is some of the Madrassas, some, I repeat, are educating people to be Jihadists. That is not necessarily the bulk of them, whatever you may read in the media, but it would be a desirable thing to be able to replace those Madrassas that are miseducating, in my view, those youngsters. But that will require a great deal of money and effort, and as I indicated earlier, I think that the American public, with the Iraq and Afghan wars, are reaching a point of psychological exhaustion.

Q: Dr. Schlesinger, you started out with a very insightful quotation by de Tocqueville that a democracy has an extraordinarily difficult time in maintaining stability because of the nature of the structure of the democracy. And you also said that it could only do so with an extraordinary cohesion which has been, I think, your message through this evening. How do you foresee, or what observations do you have or comments to make about this democracy, and how cohesion and unity, which has been a repeated theme that you have related to us this evening, what do you see as the best likelihood that such cohesion could continue into the future as it has at critical times in this country's history?

A: Well, there has to be a recognizable challenge. Back there in the 30s, there were great debates in the United States, including what we later called isolationism, and neutrality laws were passed to prevent us from going to the aid of any country like Britain or France, and then what happened was Pearl Harbor. And from the time of Pearl Harbor in 1941, until the Tet offensive in Vietnam in 1968, there was national unity, and the congress tended to defer to the executive branch in regard to foreign policy issues. Not always, but with the difficulties in Vietnam, that national unity began to come apart. It has never been restored to what it was in that period from 1941 to 1968.

It is visible with regard to the opposition, some of the opposition, to our engagement in Iraq, and currently in Afghanistan, and until the public sees a threat, it is very hard, particularly given the budget pressures that we discussed earlier, and the adhesion of much of the public to particular elements of spending, that we are going to have a willingness to come together unless we have a good fright. Harry Truman said in the late 40s, or allegedly said after the Soviets had seized Eastern Europe, "We've got to scare the hell out of the American public." I'm not sure that that is a sentiment that will be widely embraced, but I think it is probably a necessity to bring together the sense of unity which comes when one feels under attack, which there is not agreement on at the present time.

Q: Sir, do you see any clear reasons why we haven't seen even limited terrorist attacks on US soil?

A: Well, I think that we have done a fairly good job of nipping them in the bud, with the very close cooperation of foreign intelligence and security agencies. As you may remember, we have seen three or four recent episodes of attacks on American soil, or attempted attacks on American soil. Some have been spurred by Al-Qaeda-like organizations. And there are the self-sponsored attacks, largely self-sponsored attacks, such as by Major Hassan, down in Fort Hood. So we have seen attacks. We have not seen major attacks on American soil. Sooner or later, we're likely to see them, and as the former director of National Intelligence observed, one of the areas in which we need to be much more alert is attacks on our electric power system, because it remains very vulnerable. It is vulnerable to physical attacks, and it is vulnerable to cyber attacks. And while we have not seen cyber attacks on the electric power system in this country, we have seen them in Britain and Brazil and other places.

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