Haass, Rubin, and Gergen Answer Questions at Tate Lecture Student Forum

September 15, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Marissa Belske
msbelske@smu.edu

SMU and local high school students gathered in the Hughes-Trigg ballroom Tuesday afternoon to ask respected political and foreign affair experts about pressing issues on the U.S. economy and international relations in the Middle East and China.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Rubin, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and David Gergen, a senior political commentator for CNN helped kick off the 29th season of the Tate Lecture Series by expressing the importance of U.S. international involvement in a down economy.

The Role of China and Latin America

The experts agreed that with today’s economy the U.S. needs a much broader range of partners. Haass said that a good relationship with China is vital to the future of the U.S.

“They stressed to me the point that the U.S. needs to become and stay allies with China to grow,” said SMU student Daniel Hux.

According to Gergen, China’s renewable energy industry is growing rapidly, at times promoting their economy at the expense of American jobs.

“They (China) are doing a lot of things which are in violation with international law to build up their economy and create these jobs,” said Gergen. “Places, like in Dublin, Massachusetts where there is a renewable energy company, are now shutting down and moving its jobs to China.”

“It surprised me to hear that China has gotten into renewable energy,” said elementary schoolteacher Linda Giesen. “They are taking our jobs and that is scary.”

The experts agree that the U.S. needs to turn their attention to developing relationships with Latin America as well. Rubin says that 10 to 20 years down the road, the U.S. could face conflict in these regions for access to their natural resources.

“We have paid too little attention to Latin America for far too long,” said Gergen.

A Strong Home Front

The U.S. economy was on the minds of all the experts. Haass was especially passionate about the importance of improving the American economy before creating international commitments.

“The most important thing I would say is we need to be strong at home if we are going to be strong abroad,” said Haass. “We are accumulating debt at an alarming rate which leaves us vulnerable. We need to restore again the economic foundations of our might.”

Gergen joked that all students should take history while in college to learn from previous mistakes. While America faces threats from abroad, he says that the America’s biggest threat comes from within.

“I cannot remember a time when our problems have seemed so big and our capacity to solve them have been this small,” said Gergen.

The Future of the Middle East

The experts touched on Iran and the growing threat there due to their economic challenges. Haass said that today Iran is developing nuclear weapons in laboratories and that it is hard to predict what will happen next.

“The question in Iran is what is the timeline of political change in comparison to the timeline of their nuclear development,” said Haass.

While the experts are hopeful that the issues will resolve themselves in the Middle East, they say problems will not be resolved anytime soon.

“The basic message is stay tuned,” said Gergen. “I think almost everything we have said today is stay tuned.”

Although the subject matter of the afternoon was serious, SMU Student Haz said that the student forum was both entertaining and enlightening.

“They are passionate about what they do and it is good to know that we have people out there that are trying to help fix what’s going on here.”
For more information on the speakers visit the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series website. The next Tate Student Forum will be held Tuesday, October 5th and will feature Inventor Ray Kurzweil.

Richard Haass, Robert Rubin and David Gergen To Open Tate Lecture Series

September 14, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Aida Ahmed
aahmed@smu.edu

The Tate Lecture series kicks off its 29th season with three nationally respected political, economical and foreign relations experts.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Rubin, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and David Gergen, a CNN Senior Political Analyst will discuss “The Evolving International Landscape.” The lecture is on Tuesday, Sept. 14 in the McFarlin Auditorium at 8 p.m. Gergen will moderate the evening discussion.

The three will also answer questions at the Linda and Mitch Hart Lecture and the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Tate Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Ballroom. The forum is free and open to all.

For questions about the Tate Series lecture or student forum, please visit their site.