Author Says America Must Look Inward to Fix Foreign Relations

Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass discusses his provocative new book.
3:22 | 07/30/13

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Transcript for Author Says America Must Look Inward to Fix Foreign Relations
Test Text1 plain I'm here with richard haass, the president of the council on foreign relations. He wrote a new book "foreign policy begins at home." And I call it provocative because you are someone, the president of the council on foreign relations. Spent your entire life in the foreign policy cellularcellars. You're saying the most important foreign policy goal, is to fix everything right here. Not a book I expected to write. But I wrote it for the reason you said. If we fix it here, restore the foundations of our economy, we'll have the capacity of the coming decades, to deal with all of the challenges in the world. If we don't get it right, and restore traditional levels of economic growth, we will not have the resources to lead in the world. And you lay out an ambitious agenda. More in education, no infrastructure. And we also have to deal with our debt, the same kinds of things talked about in washington. But it seems like the system is broken. National security has two sides. Domestic policy and the foreign policy. The president is giving a big speech on infrastructure and jobs. The real question is, can american politics work? Can washington work? I hope so because the alternative is we wake up one day, there's a terrible crisis. And the world gets tired of supporting american debt. And we're ced with the same problem as europe. And the rest of the world looks at our system and actually can't figure it out. One of the interesting things is washington, for many years, for your career, isn't working. You see more happening at other levels. But it can't substitute. Our founders talked about checks and balances. We've raised that to a level on steroid. We have more checks and balances than we want. And the result is, we're no longer functioning and can't deliver. We've become a threat to our own future. We're involved in a time when the united states is involved in the longest war in our history. Almost completely out of iraq right now. And it seems like so many americans at home are tired of all that. There's intervention fatigue. We can't make the rest of the world like we tried to do in iraq and afghanistan. This is not prescription for doing nothing. Isolationism would be fol loy. We have to get the palance right. At the same time, we have to fix things at home. What's the most important thing president obama could do right now? I would say the most important thing, is to get -- fix the long-term entitlement problems. Five, ten years out, we know what we have to do with it. Get immigration reform. Passed right now. Have a national infrastructure bank. All these things are domestic. We have to restore the domestic side of national security. At the same time, stop trying to do things in the world that we simply can't do.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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