No, but I can tell you that having studied what we did throughout our history. I mean, I was just, I don't want to bore you, but I was just looking at the 1840s and 50s, when we essentially allowed Louisianans and Kentuckians, and others in this country, to go to Cuba and try to take Cuba from Spain. We actually did that. We actually had a motion in the Senate of the United States to repeal the Neutrality Act, so that these people would not be criminals under U.S. law. They were invading a sovereign country off the coast of Florida against the Neutrality Act. So they could be put in jail, but we were encouraging them to do it. And why were we doing it? We were doing it because we thought if we got Cuba, it would increase the slaveholding States, and therefore give the South more power.
This is our country! This is America!
Rob Kall: Crazy! One last question. What's your take on globalization, and global trade agreements, like World Trade Organization, and NAFTA and KAFTA, TPP and what have you?
I think globalization is a phenomenon that is here to stay. You know, I don't take the Tom Friedman or the Dave Schmidt angle on it, I simply say it's been here before. Interestingly and somewhat frighteningly, the last period of massive globalization was just prior to World War I, when, you know, the telegraph cable had been laid, connecting continents for the first time in human history. You had all these different things going on, that you could argue that it was even more intense, relatively speaking, in the late 1800s, early 1900s, than it is today. So it's a phenomenon, that I think has been around, and it 's not going away. The question in my mind, is how are we going to, we being the governments in the world that care, whether you call it the G20 or the G8, or the G77, or whatever How are we going to manage it, so that we get better results in terms of balance of current accounts and so forth? One of the big problems is that China had so much in it's reserves, and other countries have, after the Asia crisis in '98, started having so much in their reserves, that we were the ones providing that so much. So we were bleeding our Treasury through consumption, buying Chinese products, Vietnamese products, and so forth, while their current account balances were really going way off the charts in terms of positives. So we've got to do a better job globally of balancing those accounts and of creating, not managed trade, in the sense of destroying entrepreneurship and so forth, but trade that's better guided. And that's not Socialism, that's not Communism, that's simply common sense. You've got to have a plan, and you've got to have a strategy, and you've got to manage global trade better.
And when you talk about free trade, forget it. There's no such thing as free trade. There never has been. It's a pipe dream, and if it were free trade than it would be, it 'd be predatory capitalism, it'd be all over the world; like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Chase and everybody else screwing everybody else.
So you don't want totally free trade, what you want is a trade that is basically free, but you want institutions that factor in all the things we've learned since World War II, for example, that capital controls in some instances and for some countries might be good! Brazil sure has proven that. And that the IMF needs to completely adjust its outlook, because it's operating right now under the auspices of the big banks and the big corporations. See, we've got to adjust some of this stuff that we built after World War II, and maybe even destroy some of it, and put some other institutions in its place. And we've got to do a better job of managing globalization. And that's not Communism, that's not Socialism, that's just practical reality.
Rob Kall: Do you think it's possible that to have a globalization that is not, as it currently is, designed primarily for multi-national corporations?
Well, I'm sure you know, that's partly at least the way it's designed right now. Whether it's Exxon Mobil, or it's Monsanto, or one of the big drug companies, or whatever. The way we structured the global financial system is designed to favor large corporations which are less and less sovereign in their nature. That is to say Rex Tillerson when he goes, CEO of Exxon Mobil, when he goes to Kazakhstan and says he'd rather be in Kazakhstan then the United States, he's telling the truth. Kazakhstan's a terrible place. It's an authoritarian, "you're tortured tomorrow morning" country. But he'd rather be there because it treats its energy companies better. It treats its energy assets, resources better. It gives better pay on the dollar and so forth. So Tillerson has no nationality. He is an oil man, and that's something that we have to deal with. We can't give these multi-national corporations like Exxon Mobil, Monsanto, Central, you know-- raping places in South America to grow more soybeans and so forth. We can't give them that kind of power. We either have to give the local governments the power to rein them in, and to override WTO or other rulings that might be blessing this, or we have to do it ourselves. And I think it's probably going to wind up being a combination of the two as it's been in the past, but not been that successful.
Rob Kall: Alright. I lied. One last question! What's your take on how different things will be, whether Obama holds or Bishop Romney wins the Presidency?
I don't know Romney at all. I know President Obama from four years of experience with him. I'm disappointed! I'm disappointed he didn't close Guantanamo. I'm elated that he said "we don't torture!" I'm disappointed that he made a deal with the banks rather than essentially telling them "to put up or shut up." I would have loved to have seen him nationalize a couple of them. I'm disappointed that he didn't do more things to make America's role in the world a little more positive.
For example, shutting down the drone strikes. We've struck 348 times, I understand, with over four thousand casualties, half of them probably not even enemy. People in Pakistan, for example, won't even go to a funeral or a wedding now. They're too afraid of collecting and being killed by drones. This is not a good policy, "policy by assassination." People are going to start doing it to us. And when they do that I'm going to watch carefully to see how we react, when a drone's flying over Manhattan or flying over Times Square, and we are affected the same way Pakistan is being affected right now. Then Americans will suddenly understand what I'm talking about! And believe me, there are other people in the world that have drones. All of that said, I think that President Obama's record shows that he will be a more positive influence on all the things you and I have been talking about that should happen, than what I have seen from Mitt Romney would indicate he would be.
And second, about Mitt Romney, I am most discouraged to have seen how he shifted from the primary language to the actual campaign language, and almost completely reversed himself on almost every major issue. I don't know where his backbone is! I don't know where his spine is! I don't know where his brain is! And I'm not willing to run the risk of finding out, and not liking it.