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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  October 3, 2011 8:30pm-11:00pm EDT

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question. >> guest: do you -- well, what next? are you going to meet your deadlines? meet the time line you wanted giving the new testing mandate and the fcc? what's next? as an investor, i'd be thinking, you know, wow, the faa saying hundreds could be killed, and in is a public safety problem. you know, what next? >> guest: we're working very hard on ensuring we make and deliver on fcc's mandate to us, to build the network on the schedule. i'd say not only we're confident of making those commitments, but we think we'll cover 260 million americans by the end of 2014, a year ahead of fcc mandated to us. we're able to do it because of a
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first time in the industry in the relationships we've done, first time anywhere in the world we have now created with sprint and think about end of next year and launch of the network. i'll give an example of what i get excited about as a consumer, my family is excited about, my friends get excited about. today, if you wanted an unlimited data, text, and voice offer on your cell phone, you can get a package anywhere from $59.99 to $105. that would use less than 1 gigabyte of data a month because that's what you typically use on your smart phone. to our retail partners, that one gigabyte of data, we would charge them $6.
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think of the benefit. let's say our retail partner doubles it, triples, they have to pay were distribution. american consumer saves $50-$60 a month. that's $600 in the pockets of americans. it's $14 billion of investment in the u.s. infrastructure at a time when we are not only behind, but getting further behind in the broadband infrastructure. remember -- we're number 17 in the world today, 17, comparable to malta in terms of broadband connectivity and slipping. it's 15,000 new technology jobs every year for the next five years. when we're hurting with unemployment, it's every single penny of our investment is private money.
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$14 billion over the next eight years. >> host: we're going to have to leave it there. sanjiv ahuja is the chairman and ceo of lightsquared. lightsquared.com if you want more information or to see the full page ad. cecilia kang, tech reporter with the "washington post." >> host: this is the communicators program, and this is the second half of the interview with sanjiv ahuja, chairman and ceo of lightsquared. cecilia kang is the guest reporter. cecilia kang? >> guest: you are right now at the subject as well as the regulatory agency, the federal communications commission, of at least two investigations by people, lawmakers on capitol hill. there's a lot of question as to whether relationships that the companies had with the white house and meetings with the fcc, a fast process some say at the
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fcc for getting approve -- approvals you need to get up and running. you defend yourself in full page ads as peter mentioned. what's wrong here? are you misunderstood in your mind, and if why, can you explain? >> guest: lightsquared has gone through, in my recollection, probably the most extensive regulatory process i've seen anywhere in the world. the spectrum has been going through a process of eight years now. i'm an engineer, i'm and entrepreneur. i built businesses. telecommunication is my passion. i came back to the united states after having worked in europe for almost seven years. we used to come back here with my children when they were going
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to school and college. i would look at their bills. i would look at the network quality. it was not better than how i left it in early 2000. when we could build networks in europe that could penetrate through two walls, and a moving elevator, and we were offering tariffs 30% lower than the bill of an average american, and coverage that when i went 20 minutes outside new york city to visit my son in philadelphia, that a phone would not work, i felt that there was an opportunity, a need to build the networks, the right prices at rates that americans truly deserved. istle give an -- istle -- i'll give an example. i have a business where we build
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broadband and wireless in emerging markets. we offer in bangladesh $14 a month, unlimited wireless data. how many americans get that? zero. that hurts me. that hurts me as an entrepreneur. it hurts me as an engineer, but that's also an opportunity, and the basis of that opportunity, we have raised billions of dollar and invested. we have created the world's most sophisticated satellite systems, built by boeing engineers. we launched it, and it's working today. it is the largest commercial satellite ever built anywhere. we believed that it could be done, and it has been done by american engineers. >> guest: so no doubt of the potential, this story that you're talking about, the potential that the government is
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well, the obama administration, the fcc, would like to see realized at some point, but we have a reality today where there have been tests that you've done as well as the gps industry that shows interference problems. you came up with a solution that requires more testing, of course. who needed early on in the process, what engineering minds, the great american engineers that you talked about, from where? the federal government? the fcc? the ntia? the private sector? who needs to speak up early saying this is a potential problem if 260 million people are covered in a 345szive network with -- massive network with devices that could potentially interfere? why wasn't there a loud clear voice, particularly from the federal government and who should have sounded off that alarm early? >> guest: i think federal government, but more than that.
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let's talk about the history of this as i said because that's really important, that primary authorization to build the network happened in 2003 followed by that in 2005. with all the related players, not just the government, but all the gps manufacturers through gps industry council, and others participated in the process, and supported it. this is when you go through a planning board. your neighbors participate in most of the towns. you expect that neighbors would expect that if voting approve 3ing the -- voting approves the application and they would then build and you are not encroaching on any piece of land or property. in 2010, the company did not have the financial resources, so i think this issue really should have been brought up back in
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early 2000. by the folks in the gps industry to say, look, if you build a network here, we have devices that will never be able to deal with it, and actually in their defense, they did ask us not to transmit any power over to the gps spectrum, and at that time, we started investing millions of dollars, $10 million was invested, in building a very thick wall which said we would not transmit any power over to the gps, and you would expect that gps guys would be able to handle it. a couple steps forward, actually, in 2008, department of defense and others worked
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specifications out and said that there would be a network that could be built up here in the frequency band, so our gps devices ought to be resill yebt yent -- resilient to that network. for themselves, for their acquisition and other things, and 23 you go back -- if you go back, we had moved away from the gps spectrum, so when people talk about the interference challenges, they are referring to the word plan. moving further away, and as i said issues related to precision devices, we announced solutions last week, and amazingingly, you've had half a dozen or so gps manufacturers approach us and say we can build devices that live harmoniously with lightsquared.
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we work with many of them. >> host: what about the faa's concerns, though? have those been addressed with your new plan? >> guest: we -- look, we are working closely with faa. i think their spectrum is i don't see any aviation safety issues. >> host: were you taken by surprise by the faa's raising of these issues? >> guest: look, the issues were understood when the suggesting happened, okay? we were just surprised that there were devices out there that should have been building properly since 2003, 2005, and for almost a decade not designed for the build up. yes, that was a surprise to us. >> host: is that what you mean in the full page ad that when you say despite the fact that interference is caused by others' inappropriate use of lightsquared's licensed
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spectrum? >> guest: look, this is all spectrum users, use this spectrum just like the land you have to build a network in their spectrum. we committed not to transmit over to gps. interestingly, these gps devices look into the lightsquared spectrum to perform the service. >> host: it's the gps users -- >> guest: some gps devices, but your cell phones work absolutely fine, your navigational systems in your cars work absolutely fine with the plan we proposed. you're not going to get lost. actually, the precision receivers we tested, almost a fourth of the receivers work absolutely fine as well, they are by the large precision mother and mother and father --
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manufacturers. we have gps equipment manufacturers saying we can build devices that work harmoniously with lightsquared. >> host: when it comes to the faa, the pilot's union has said that the next generation, of course, of faa control is going to be gps based, so is their use of the gps still into your spectrum? is that their concern? is that how you see it? >> guest: what i can speak to is the faa concerns by not only related to the old network. it's the new spectrum proposed which is further away from this, and we're working with faa to ensure that the power levels, the construction of the network and design of the network is in a way that should absolutely not have any safety issues. we have as much as anybody, not
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only that, but look what we're building is a business that helps americans, helps american consumer. it has to be a system that leaves personal safety issues of any kind on the table. all of those issues, we don't believe exist, and the networks we've built should have absolutely no personal safety issues at all. what this is about is serving american people in the way they deserve it, and it's about opportunity in this country. it's just not about economic opportunity for lightsquared and its investors and its employees and the suppliers to it. it is an opportunity for entrepreneurs. it is an opportunity for a college graduate sitting in missouri and says i have created a new game that can run on
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internet. can i get access to the broadband wireless network to take that game to the market because if they -- if he or she wanted to do it today, the costs of entry would be $2 million or $3 million to work with one of the large wireless operators. we keep the test center open to all entrepreneurs to come and test their devices, test their applications, test their games, fest agriculture app -- test agriculture applications to the most advanced business to business applications to that they can deliver that. when you talk of economic opportunity, it's not just about lightsquared, but economic opportunity for engineers, people like my children, people like your children, our friends, our relatives. that's what this is about. >> host: do you think that the
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verizons, the at&t's, the comcasts are trying to squeeze, do you think some of the recent noise about lightsquared is raised by some of the larger established wireless companies? >> guest: peteer, as i explained to you, we are building a network that's wholesale only. this industry has a business model that's complel -- completelily -- they build the network, operate the network, they manage the network. they have retail stores. they go to the customers that provide service to the customer, and they decide to you what applications come on the network. for instance, can you run ip? no, you can't. we encourage you to run radio on
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the network, and we charge at the rates that we think your prices as a consumer would hurt your and my pocketbook every month should drop $70 a month. that's straight money in your pocket, so any time you try to do a destruction in an industry, establish players are uncomfortable, because you're challenging the existing business model, but that's expected, but the real model is, as i said, if they are not our customers today, i want them to be our future customers, so we look at them as partners in this business even now or in the future. sprint is a partner, and we value that relationship and i expect at&t would be partners, comcast would be a partner. at the end of the day when we get our service operational, 330 million americans gain.
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they gain in their pocketbook, get better quality network. they get not one or two more choices. they get tens of new choices, obviously, driving superior network and lower prices for them. that's the benefit, and people in this country for the first time are connected coast to coast. >> host: sanjiv ahuja is the guest on "the communicators" he's the chairman and ceo of lightsquared. cecilia kang is the tech reporter with "the washington post." >> guest: back to peter's question. explain that more. it sounds like you're saying that, yes, competition is the competitors are afraid and they'll be challenged, and philip sa rcone, the lead investor, said in an interview recently on fox news, he believes competition might be behind this. what's going on? from the outside, it's a very expensive political battle going on. full page ads, lots of lobbying
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going on. there's so much around -- you don't even have a network up yet. what is the battle going on? can you tease that out a little bit? when you talk about competitors feeling challenged, what do you think is challenged? how is this being played out just for observers who are concerned. a lot of people have big questions. why is a private company with big aspirations in the situation in the first place? can you -- >> guest: cecilia, when you do a disruptive business model, it has to make the incumbents uncomfortable. when you talk of an environment where you can serve american consumers and have them pay prices that are dramatically lower than what they pay today, the industry as it exists today is challenged.
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i believe in fair competition. i built my career over fair competition around the globe. i believe in america's competition to free and open market. i believe this country encourages risk taking, private investment, entrepreneurship, and i believe that any time you try to build a new business, you expect competitive pressures, so i'm good competing with the competitors on a free, fair, and open ground. i have no concerns with that, and we are very effort comfortable, but our model is it really doesn't compete with what's out there. the market has a need that the current operators cannot satisfy. they don't have enough capacity.
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we at lightsquared are trying to fill that capacity gap. i think eventually the bilgest gainers of this is not just existing operators because they will not have the capacity to serve their customers, and they are running out of capacity over the next two to four years as early as two years, most of them run out of capacity. look at the new tablets out there. new devices out there. our appetite as consumers in this country to consume wireless broadband data is insensationble. there's the new iphone. look at the devices. it's first generation defieses. this is like old commodore pc on your desk 30 years ago. this is -- when you go out, you consume -- the companies that
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may feel that they are under competitive threat from somebody is as disresultive as -- disruptive as lightsquared, i think they'll come around saying we need the capacity, and they would want to be our partners. that's what we want to be. we approached them. we are trying to work with every single one of the operators in this country to say, hey, look, we can help supplement and complement your network where you have congestion today, and we expect you will not have enough capacity so they can serve the american consumer better. obviously, you know, we will solve them so the american consumers will have tens of these kinds of companies. >> guest: there are, though, concerns when you talk of a level playing field that lightsquared as a private company did not play on a level playing field, that perhaps there was influence or special
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favors granted within the white house through requests of the fcc of an expersonal expedited process, and the inclusion of a particular portion of their national broadband plan that really applies to your business using the l band satellite for terrestrial use. address the concerns for this not being a level playing field for a private company. you talk of the consumer being a beneficiary, but lightsquared is a business. you'll benefit in the billions as well. >> guest: the process that's relevant here is the 2003 and 2005 process. 2010 was a change of control which was a very long several months long process, okay? i don't know how it could have been a longer and more detailed and more comprehensive process. this is comprehensive a process
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i've seen anywhere globally on any spectrum change of control issue. we went through a very extensive process and that required us to commit $14 billion of investment. investment that we had to go out and raise a substantive amount of that money from private investors to invest in the u.s. infrastructure. we had to convince investors, several of them, that this is a good opportunity. it benefits american consumer, but it also obviously has to be good economic opportunity that we could get them to invest into this company, but they have invested over the last year we have raised from several investors over $2.5 billion for this company since the
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acquisition of that and that's been done on the premise of 2005, 2003, 2010fcc specific authorizations that have been born from 2003 and 2005 primarily. now the challenge for us is to raise the rest of the capital that we can raise the the rate fcc mandated us. how e with see it and how i personally feel it. it is a battle in some ways, and you stated it. it is about lightsquared versus very large established players in some ways because we are disrupting the business model. it is bouts companies that are worth hundreds of billions of dollars with hundred year history and longer. it's about changing and industry
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that is trying to make it different to provide more choices to the customers. people ask me how do i feel about a david and goliath situation? i said, i feel fortunate if i were the size of david and what he did to goliath, but, you know what? this -- in this country, and the foundation is fair competitive process. we are trying to go through a -- not a one specific incident of the process. it's a teared process. if you really step back to look at it, this process, each step of the process has been a very long, very detailed comprehensive process. >> guest: i wonder though, at this stage, if how much of a
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david you are in the sense that if you, with the waiver, and i think you're own economic analysis for the battle group might have supported this. please clarify if i'm wrong. that essentially with that waiver of the terrestrial component, your plans to go about this terrestrial network, you take spectrum, and spectrum is so valuable that you didn't pay for in the first place, clarify that please, but you make it exponentially more valuable, and you're trying to raise capital to build it out, but could you at somepoint -- oak, forget i said that part about you not paying money, but you made it more valuable to the regulatory process, and the question is what happens if you don't raise the capital, actually build this thing, could you sell this spectrum for a lot more money? do i have a totally wrong, please? >> guest: with all do respect,
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if i may, i think there's several misperceptions in what you just said. let me point out and highlight a few of those if i may respectfully do so. >> guest: okay. >> guest: the spectrum was given to this company in 1989 four or five predecessors ago as part of american mobile satellite systems. at that time, there were no onyxes of spectrum -- auctions of spectrum in the united states. the fcc rules established were established in 2001, 2003, and the authorization to build the network was given in 2005, okay? if there was an economic gain for this business that happened, that happened six or seven or eight years ago. it was a long process the company went through, but at
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that time, the company did not have economic where with all to bill a terrestrial network, but it had the authorization to do it. if you go back to 2005 filings of the predecessor company, it is openly stated that the company has authorization to build tens of thousands of base stations. fcc authorization of 2003 and 2005 clearly states that the company has authorization to build the network you know what? one part you're absolutely -- we saw that as an economic opportunity when we tried to acquire the company, and when we acquired it in 2010, it was based on the authorization company had in 2005. >> guest: what is the atc? >> guest: the atc rules were established in 2005, so you're
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absolutely right. this is about entrepreneurship and seeing opportunity where others don't see them. we saw the opportunity in 2009 based on 2005 rules. ..
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and this economic opportunity also serves the american consumer's better. it has a positive, very positive 600, 700 from $800 in addition to every american's pocket every year. that's what this is about. >> 30 seconds for question and answer. >> would you and respond to questions by the senate republicans to agree that e-mail for exchange between white house officials and widespread officials to get meetings with white house personnel at the time you are in two campaigns, the officials were.
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>> cecilia, you were building a significant network and then you are making a significant technology investment in the country and then you look at the telecom operators for the technology companies and you pick up the newspaper opening in all of these companies meeting with various government officials as they set out to businesses in 30 centuries over my career to go meet with different government officials all the time dahuk especially with a significant as a contribution that we firmly believe to help american consumers reduce their prices and the wide network that needs to be communicated to everybody in the country and that is what they are communicating. that's what i'm trying to communicate to you and to the
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audience and everybody here to look at not only the direct opportunity that we are creating with the new jobs. the jobs and opportunities that were created by the existence of the network. it's not just the 600, 700, $800 more in your pocket a year. it's that you can spend that money and create more employment in the country you're facing 90% of unemployment then invest $14 billion in the infrastructure it is not just the impact of that company and the economic opportunity to share that with every person in this country. >> sanjiv ahuja is the chairman
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of lightsquared and cecilia for the washington post. this has been c-span communicators.
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next a look to the supreme court agenda for its new term which began today. from washington journal this is 45 minutes.ashing >> savage is "los angeles times" supreme court reporter. good morning. thank you for being here. to kick off your story about the
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supreme court opening of thet yu term by writing itat the supreme of its most anticipated terms in which a justice can strike down the obama healthcare lost, and declare an end to affirmative action in colleges and universities. it could be a very dynamic term. guest: not say -- they have a lot of blockbuster cases in the next few weeks. health care and immigration are big issues. they will hear these cases all next year and hand out rulings about this next summer in the middle of the presidential election campaign. health care is an issue dividing republicans and democrats. immigration is an issue that has come up around the country. questions like if the state of arizona can pass tough immigration reforms.
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it is a big issue. it will be an interesting term. host: you mention health care a is a bit of an unknown. you believe it will come up. why is that? the obama administration was in favor of the supreme court taking it on? guest: yes. it is hard to figure out how the case will come out. they want to take it is that and appears call -- appeals court said the mandate is unconstitutional. one person in ohio said it is constitutional. the court has both sides appealing, singing take the case. recently, the supreme court has to take a case from one of the regional courts if the federal law says it is unconstitutional.
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you cannot have a case where the federal law is unconstitutional in one part of the country and not in another. they will almost surely take up this case sometime in the next couple of months when the appeals are ready to go. we have to figure out how it will come out. it is possible that they could rule that these cases are not right. that there is a central law that affects tax is that basically says, you cannot challenge a tax in federal court until you have paid it. it is an article that comes up rather late. the notion is no one can really challenge this to 2014 where they pay the tax penalty. almost sure the court will hear this case, but not sure how they will decide in what they will say. host: let us look at the line of justice is heading back to the bench.
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looking at the division from "usa today." tell us about the swing vote in the questions people have had about if the justices should refuse themselves from the health care decisions. guest: most the conservative bloc has five votes. justice kennedy is a swing vote in some of those cases. the majority tends to be with him, justice ginsburg, justice sonia sotomayor, and justice takkagen. many will tell you, that there are a whole lot of cases that do not split along that ideological divide. there are criminal cases where they decide 9-0.
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in the very biggest cases, that tends to be where these litt is. -- with the split is. host: there are questions if elena kagen should exclude yourself from the health care laws. some say she may help prepare defenses for the law. some called on justice clarence thomas to recuse himself because of his wife's involvement in lobbying against the law on grounds that it was unconstitutional. guest: it seems very political. almost all republicans and conservatives would want elena kagen to step aside. almost all democrats and liberals would what clarence thomas to step aside.
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a lot of people say he should step aside. but the truth is a justice -- his spells can do what he wants, and it does not affect how he decides a case. the same thing with elena kagan. she said at her hearings and has continued to say this that she did not actually work on the health care litigation. therefore, she was going to participate on that case. the truth is that there will be taught about refusals, but none of them are going to step aside from these cases. host: david savage, a reporter for the los angeles times, is our guest. immigration and other big decisions could come down at a
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highly charged time politically. there was a piece saying it could influence the 2012 race. guest: they should not take into account, but they should decide this case in view of the law. they cannot decide how we are going to affect the election and should we take a case at a particular time. i do not think it will affect when they take up a case or what they decide. i do think the outcome may have some impact on a race. host: let us get to the phone lines, independent line, indiana. caller: you have the recent decision in arizona about the immigration law. you also have a very similar law that was upheld, i am having a kind of moment.
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alabama. they are very similar, but they are very different rulings. i was wondering how that might affect the this coming to the supreme court, if you have any ideas about that. guest: a good observation. the classic situation where the supreme court intervenes is when the courts around the country are divided on a common legal issue. this is just such an example. the law was put on hold by judges in phoenix. the alabama law, a similar law, allows the state and the police to set up question and arrest illegal immigrants. the obama administration says of alabama that you cannot do that. immigration is a federal matter. the judge allowed that law to go into effect. common-law a different result in the courts, and it increases the likelihood that the supreme
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court will pick up the arizona case to rule on this question of can the states on their own enforce immigration laws, even if the federal government would prefer that they stand back. host: let us talk about the issues of personal freedom. asking if police need a search warrant with attacked -- tracking a gps monitoring to a car. -- monitor to a car. guest: this is big where you can track anyone anywhere they go. the question is can the police were federal agents track a motorist for a month or two and follow them everywhere they go. the government says you have no right to privacy when you are on a street. the fourth amendment protects your right to privacy at home.
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they cannot listen to your phone calls. the notion is once you get in your car and drive on a public street, a plainclothes officer can follow you. the governments of view is since you have no right to privacy where you drive, we can use this technology to follow you everywhere in track you without a search warrant. the other side says, this is an unreasonable search. if you can use computers -- imagine if you could track every citizen to some technology all of the time. would we want to live in a country where there is that type of total surveillance? that case comes up in november and it could be very interesting to see how they view that issue. host: talk about the specifics of what would be the exact situation in a case where police suspected a gentleman of dealing drugs. guest: mr. jones was an owner of a nightclub in northwest d.c.
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the police believe he was involved in a cocaine operation. they did not know exactly who was involved in it. they wanted to build a case against him. they tracked his car going back and forth to some steakhouse. they raided the house and fall -- found a lot of cocaine and drugs. when he was convicted, his attorney tried to keep out the information about the movement. the judge said not an unreasonable search. when the case went to they overturned his conviction and said it was it fourth amendment violation. the government cannot -- it would be one thing if they fall due for a day -- if they followed you fridafor a day. the supreme court has to resolve
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this question. host: our obama, derek, it democrats -- alabama. caller: my question is about the supreme court and its ability to weigh a case objectively. you mentioned that more than likely the conservative view and leave towards a liberal view. is it really possible to ever have a case that is truly based on the laws when at the end of the day, everyone on the supreme court goes home and they are going to be people just like me and you. about this immigration thing that is about to hit the fan. this is common practice.
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research on the tenancy of police dispatch. a black man over here does not seem to be in place. then people will profile him. there is no way to tell if mexicans are immigrants or not. does it have to be something to come down white people? you cannot pick and choose if somebody is racist? if that was the case, how many white people will be pulled over and profiled? a larger percentage of pedophiles and rapists, people who commit mass murder or all white. -- are all whilte. guest: there are nine justices. they have their own views on
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law. i think they do their best to sit with the law is and their understanding of the law. when the lower courts are split -- on the example you mentioned, i think if you have a situation where there was explicit racial profiling, that all the justices would say that is wrong and unconstitutional. what happens is that we don't get cases that are that clear. but i do believe if the police were using race in an explicit way and saying, let's stop black motorists or whatever, that is the allegation. if that was the case that police were doing that, i think all nine justices would say, we cannot do that the government. there are a lot of -- i know
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this issue will come up. it will not be decided right away in this case, racial profiling of hispanics. the supreme court will decide the big picture question of whether the states can go ahead and do this on their own against the wishes of the federal government. host: let's talk about another case. this one looks at the question of a death row inmate and whether or not his lawyers were ineffective and botched the opportunity for him to get a fair trial. is a missed deadline to file an appeal justification to reject a death row inmates argument? guest: this is what you'd call a screwup, which is not a legal
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term. you have 30 days to file a notice of appeal. he had some attorneys in new york that were representing him. they left the law firm and the notice was not seen by anybody. the time to file past. when he went forward in the court, the judge said, sorry, you did not appeal on time. hear appeals cannot be heard -- your appeals cannot be heard. it comes down to a question -- a lot of justices and judges are inclined to say the rules of the roles. you have to follow the rules. if you don't, you lose. this going to do differently because it was your attorneys fault.
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the outcome will not affect the is. this is one that divides the justices. some of them like to follow the rules and some of the others are inclined to say, this does make any sense, or this rule is fundamentally unfair, or this rule shall not apply to this person because it wasn't his fault. this could split 5-4 because the attorney made the mistake. host: when you watch arguments like that, how big of a sense do you get that the justices are weighing in at that the lot is the law -- the law is the law as far as his individual story? guest: i think it happens all the time.
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there is the law on one side and the justice question on the other. host: do you sometimes know which way they are going to go? guest: i think you can pretty much tell. a lot of the justices have a relative clear view. they will say, our job is not to do justice in each case. our job is to apply the law. others will say, we need to stand back and make sense of the law and be fair. there's always the debate about applying the law strictly are being fair in a particular case. host: this is what pamela says. that is coming to us from twitter. guest: the term limits comes up quite often.
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i do not think either one is likely to happen. it would require a constitutional amendment. the constitution says they get to serve for life and they are appointed. it is an unusual situation to have a light -- elena kagan said when john roberts called her after she was confirmed, he said, he wanted to walk, her to the court and she said, only 25 years? it is an unusual job where you become a justice and you can be there for perhaps 30 years. host: let's look at another issue. this is the question about whether cameras should be in the courtroom. here is elena kagan. >> i said before i do think it
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would be a good idea. i differ from some of my colleagues. in this last year, i have come to better understand the opposite position. but i guess the reason that i i was watching case after case after case. this is an unbelievable court to watch. this was the court before i got onto it. everybody was so prepared, so smart, so obviously, the concern about getting to the right answer. i thought if everybody could see this, it would make people feel so good about this branch of government and how operated. i thought it was a shame that only to wonder people a day can get to see at -- only 200 people
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a day can get to see it. host: kenneth starr weighed on this today in "the new york times." host: he thinks this would give more people a view of what is going on.
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are you sensing any movement? guest: elena kagan is one good vote. i've been talking about this for years. it has been a long time. c-span and others have said we will telecast these live, not just sound bites. it is easy to say what you would be good. elena kagan has a good point. if people watch, there would be impressed. they are well prepared on all the cases. you come away impressed. these cases are hard but they are doing it well. if you ask a justice to talk about it, one of the things i often hear them say is they remember the house and senate 30 years ago before tv was there.
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senators will tell you they get on the floor and actually debate issues. when tv came, it changed the nature of the debate and discussion. people talk to the cameras and made political speeches and no longer engaged in debate. they actually think that cameras would -- could change the nature of their arguments. attorneys would get up and perhaps give political speeches to the justices rather than engage in conversation. they are worried that it would have a bad impact on their deliberations. i know the public would like to see it, but they are not willing to go along with eit. host: kenneth starr is now the
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president of baylor university. host: they don't have to run for reelection, as members of congress do. guest: i think there is possible there could be growing pressure to try to legislate this and pushed the courts. john roberts said -- they doubted the audio recordings and they are available each week. -- they do the audio recordings. you'll be able to listen to them for people who are interested in the law.
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i still think it is a ways off before the vote in favor of cameras in court. caller: good morning. thatt don't believe conservatives should have the power to tell the re-enter 10 million people what they can do and what they cannot do. -- to tell 310 million people what they can do and what they cannot do. to me, that's just political. and i do believe there should be term limits. thank you. that is all i have to say. guest: you are not alone in that view. the laws have been on the books saying that corporations cannot
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give money to election campaigns. unions were in the same position since world war ii. all this money is about campaigns and elections, the first amendment protects campaigning and political messages and therefore we should allow -- we must allow people to spend money on a campaign ads. but i agree with you. there remains a controversial view. people think it is a bad idea to have that much corporate money and union money flowing into politics. host: we have an opinion on twitter. host: we will see how that plays out. guest: that is a good point to raise.
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does it violate the fourth amendment to track someone's car for a month? the justices said -- does it violate the rights to attach this device to a person's car? it is quite possible that some of the justices might think in principle this is ok, but i do not like the idea of an aged being able to attack someone to some -- being able to attach something to someone's car. caller: i hope you'll let me set this thing up so that the american people will understand what is going on in the courts. i just filed a writ. people not pay so they can look at it for themselves.
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the united states supreme case is 10-9117. let me set this up for you. anthony davis was executed. the youngest person in the united states was a 14-year-old black child. he had -- the me show you what happened to me -- let me show you what happened to me. a judge took my case. the judge sought the case out. let me tell you what happened. he took that case. what he did -- he dismissed the defendant out of the case. they hired the public defender down here to represent the poor
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people while the prosecutor supervised the state employee. host: what is the problem? caller: you have federal courts knowing that these atrocities are being committed on the citizens of the united states. the eighth circuit does not review these cases. the supreme court will not even vote to. -- will not even vote to hear it. they still will not hear what is going on. guest: i think the last thing you said sounds like a better way to resolve a case. this sounds like a complaint about a judge and how a judge has handled a case. a better way to proceed is to file a complaint with the server court of appeals. the supreme court, they look for
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cases that raise an important legal issue that cuts across all lot of issues. they cannot do justice -- they get about 8000 appeals every year. the cannot do justice to a thousand cases -- 8,000 cases. any person who loses in the lower-court can file a petition in the supreme court, they cannot take cases, particularly if they enroll individual allegations of misconduct or bad behavior. but some of the circuit courts of appeals to take complaints seriously about judges. that would perhaps be the better way to resolve this. host: an image of "the washington times" of the red mass that gets under way.
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this is at the cathedral of st. matthew the apostle. you can see the chief justice of there. houston texas, viola. caller: i was wondering if mr. savage was aware of the fact that clarence thomas and his wife failed to report $700,000 of income tax -- of income that she earned through working for the tea party. some parts of the tea party. lobbying or something to defeat the health-care bill. would now be a big factor, that he should recuse himself -- wouldn't that be a big factor? host: we have 8 twa tweet.
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host: we have talked about some of this, this idea of the justices' role. what the espouses do and their role on the bench. guest: there was a strange situation involving the disclosure. you stated it mostly correctly. on the annual disclosure forms, there is a line that says " spouse's income" and it is the source and the rough amounted. for some reason, for several years when justice thomas's wife was for him at the heritage foundation, he just checked "no spousal income." everybody knew she worked at the heritage foundation. there was nothing wrong or
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mysterious about that. for a number of years, he simply check "no." to when this was brought to its attention, he then filed the amended forms and said yes, she did work there and the rough income was this amount. and so a lot of groups have come forward and said this is a major mistake. but it is a strange one because it is not a mystery and everybody knew it. he did clarify and correct the forms. i don't think there'll be any lasting impact. i did not think he will now step aside on the health-care case because his wife has a view on the matter. host: do we know what the ramifications would be as far as penalty if they fail to disclose
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-- there can be big consequences for members of congress. guest: the justices say they comply with these forms. it is not clear how much congress can force them to disclose. i do think it's important to correct the form, but i do not think there'll be any consequences. host: let's look at another case. the or argument will be coming up in january -- the oral argument will be coming up in january. guest: the notion was that the government could regulate television over the air because the was a limited spectrum. we have this tradition with broadcasters, they can be regulated and the government can
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of regulations like no four- letter words during prime time. at the same time, we have cable tv, the internet, satellite, and all those things have first amendment free-speech rights. this case comes up for the broadcast networks were fined for some of these programs and use and exploit when somebody wins an award and the sec said we're going to find new -- the fcc says, we're going to find you. they said it slipped on the air. it was just an accident. but they got fined. but now the courts will decide if these old rules violate the
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first commemorates of the broadcasters. this case is an interesting divide on the conservative side. a lot of the conservatives are strong believers in the first amendment free-speech. this is sort of a family that i use issue. -- this is sort of a family values issue. so there is a hard question to say, are we going to give broadcasters free-speech rights when it could mean for millions of americans hearing stuff on tv that they would rather not have in their house. host: redford, michigan, good morning, philip. let's go to texas, jim. caller: our founding fathers did
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not intend three branches of government to be equal. the legislative branch was intended to be the most powerful. it's nonsense to think that the courts should share equal power. i like the idea of tv in the supreme court. i think the argument that it would turn into some reality show light the house and senate floor, i don't think that argument is very strong because the rules are very different in the courtroom. no i homonyms -- no ad homonyms. that is what i would like to say. thank you. guest: he made the point about whether the supreme court was envisioned as an equal branch.
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the legislative powers -- article one is about the powers of the legislation. the supreme court's power are quite narrow. most people would think the president has an enormous amount of power compared to congress. the supreme court has a narrow power, which is to review a lot bank in to see to it that it is in line with the constitution -- which is to review a law to see that it is in line with the constitution. they pass laws. they do have a limited but very important role to make sure that the loss comport with the constitution. host: monica from ohio on the
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democrat's line. hello. caller: i was calling about the tracking device. you sing it was a month they contract -- you say it was a month they can atrack. i didn't have any kind of record or anything. host: who is tracking you? caller: the law officials. --on't have any kind of anything on my record or anything. i am wondering why they are collecting data like that. you have people watching you where you go from -- why are they collecting that data and what they going to use it for? is there any oversight?
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guest: that is a question i probably cannot answer as to why they are collecting data. it's probably fair to say that if a small town or city, if the police are registered in somebody and they think an individual is involved in some crime, i cannot lead the police would waste their time tracking innocent people. if the police have some reason to think somebody is involved in a crime, they may keep an eye on the person and say, is this person going to this particular building or whenever? so the question is going to be whether the fourth amendment, whether it is an unreasonable search to find some way in a technological -- in a technical way for months of a time. host: amber weighs in about
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cameras in the court room. let's talk about another case that is coming up this week. oral arguments on wednesday. whether teachers in religious schools are protected by anti- discrimination laws. guest: i thought this would have been resolved 30 years ago. you think, how was this not resolved years ago? the first amendment protect the free exercise of religion. everybody agrees that the tellnment -- they couldn't the catholic church you would have to hire women as priests. everybody knows there is some limit that the federal anti- discrimination law cannot reach into a church or synagogue and tell them who to hire or who not to hire.
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there are parochial schools whose mission is educational. can a teacher in a program school sue her school for violating in this case the americans with disabilities act. the school's view is that this teacher was called to her mission, that her job is to communicate in teach the faith. part of her school day was teaching religion. the government through these anti-discrimination laws cannot telos who to hire and who to keep on the job. if we wanted to get rid of a teacher, that is our business. the anti-discrimination laws protect teachers including teachers and parochial schools. that is the government view. lawyers called the ministerial
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exception. there was an exception for ministers. does that exception extend to cover teachers in a parochial school. host: what else are you watching this week? guest: 8 cases morning involving medicaid and california. california wants to cut back how much money it is providing for medicaid providers. doctors, pharmacists, hospitals. california enacted several cuts. doctors and hospitals went to court and said the state has to provide sufficient money so that there will be providers for poor people who need doctors and what you're doing is going to deprive these people of medical care. the courts in california blocked the cuts from going into effect. the state has appealed to the
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supreme court. the obama administration is on their side. they are saying courts have no lawyer. this is to be negotiated between sacramento and washington. can judges in courts stop state cutbacks in medicaid spending? that is a big deal. almost every state is under pressure to reduce their medicaid spending. host: david savage, a reporter "los angeles times for. -- our justice ginsberg asks a question i can figure out what is bothering them about a case
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and where they are leaning. by law since 1916 the new supreme court begins the first monday in october each year to bring almost 70 cases. this year cases already include gps tracking without a warrant, profanity on television and copyright protection. what the justices on recent opinions around the country online at the c-span video library. all archived in searchable. it's washington, your weight. and
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with the hudson institute and
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the foundation for the defense of democracy is hosted a forum on monday that generally looked at relations between the u.s. and israel. one of the panel's focus on how israel is affected by iran's nuclear program. this is still less than an hour and a half. >> this panel is the threat to the united states and israel and we're going to jump right in and make a few introductory remarks and then turn over to our distinguished panel for a brief five minutes each and then q&a and i really want to encourage a vibrant discussion and questions from the audience. it's clear that iran has all one of the foreign policy agenda after june, 2009 and the fraudulent election and iran on
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the dissidents it led to extensive media coverage. 2,009, 2010 salles diplomatic activity by the obama administration, a lot of talk about sanctions and a lot of action about sanctions both internationally at the security council, the united states congress passed the comprehensive iran sanctions accountability act last year signed into law by president obama, and there's been a fair amount of activity and fair amount of success when it comes to sanctions. that all ended with great revolts in the arab spurring, the debt ceiling crisis, the european sovereign debt crisis and the u.s. perpetual the election cycle which is now started again. so it has been off the foreign policy agenda of the activity in iran and in the region has not diminished all iran continues to move aggressively on its nuclear programs and continues to
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support its surrogates from hezbollah to hamas to the taliban to the shia militia in iraq and continue its brutal crackdown on the irony in people. it also recently has ratcheted up its support of the regime materially inside syria providing financing from economic support, technology, and indeed iranian snipers are working with this. so we want to refocus on iran on this panel, bring it back onto the front burner of the foreign policy agenda and to do so, we have three, actually four, we just added one. hello, john. we have four great experts to talk of the various dimensions of the i really an issue. we are going to start with mike doran to my far left. mica said bookings. he previously served in the
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defense department and on the national secular council and taught at princeton. we will start with mike. mike is going to lay out the strategic framework to a strategic overview of for we are today with respect to u.s., iran and israel, and then we will move down the panel and zero in on the very specific aspects of the u.s. israel iran issue. mike? >> thanks very much, mark. thanks to all of you for coming. i'd just like to do as mark said lee of the kind of big picture and make an argument for the need to have a paradigm shift by the obama administration. i think the place to start is where we were just prior to the arabs bring. and i think most people working on the region at that time had a view in their head of the region has divided between the united
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states on the one hand and its allies, saudi arabia, jordan, so forth and iran on the other side with its allies syria and hezbollah and hamas. i feel as though there were a couple of states sort of playing both sides, the turks, the khator use and so forth but it was basically a kind of the two-party systems for influence in the region and then came the era of spurring and that really kind of reshuffled all of the cards. if you go and ask the question if we continue to look at it as the regional politics as a contest between iran and the united states and we do a score card, i think i would argue that it's kind of a draw at this
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point. on our side egypt has been thrown into play. it was a staunch ally of the united states and it hasn't moved over by any stretch of the imagination. but the extent to which the united states can rely on egypt as a strategic partner in the future has a question over it now. and then on the iranian side, the iranians have almost lost syria. syria has an ally of iran has a big question over it as well. exactly what's going to happen in those countries is not at all clear and whether it is clean to fall out either one of them in a way that works directly to the advantage or disadvantage of the united states or to iran isn't clear. but this has happened to both tehran and the united states do
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to know prior planning for action of there's it's just like the weather, the storm rolled through the region and it reshuffled everything, and i think as mark said, it's kind of to get our attention away from the contest with iran. all these other questions have pushed themselves to the front burner in washington, questions of libya, questions of the day-to-day policy toward syria, the problems in the egyptian economy and so forth and the kind of larger strategic view how to conceptualize the american role in the region i think is kind of fallen by the wayside. one of the things i think -- one of the benefits of this conference is to put that question that on the front burner. it's my contention that we ought to be -- washington not to be reading everything that goes on in the region with the question does this benefit us or iran.
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that's the first question we ask. obviously there are other interests we have in the region such as democracy promotion, such as the flow of oil and the security of oil and so on and so forth, but the first question in every case ought to be is this working to the advantage of iran or the united states and that's because, not because i think iran's hand is behind everything going on. i don't want to suggest that for a minute, but iran is the only power out there capable of organizing the disparate elements of the least in a fashion that works to the disadvantage of the united states. it's the only one capable, and i think that is what it is actually doing. i think that the iranians read everything that goes on in the region and asks us this benefit us or washington? and if you together a whole array of things that they have been doing, working with elements of the taliban in afghanistan, working with militias in iraq, supporting al
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asad, hamas and so on, it's hard to make sense of any of this in terms of ideology. it's impossible to make sense of it in terms of ethnicity and in terms of nationalism. if you put all of their activities together and look at it, i think the only explanation that makes sense is that iran has a strategic plan or is following a strategic and pulse to undermine the united states and its allies in each one of these arenas in the middle east. the odd thing about the middle east is each one of these aretas has its own logic. has its own set of players and issues, and everybody that plays in those arenas with its afghanistan, iraq, lebanon, the palestinian arena has to accept the game as they found it to a certain extent. ..
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prayed to the arab spring was true to a certain extent but he still found in areas like the palestinian arena or with syria that there wasn't a consistent follow-through in this regard and the result of the arab spring i think that the question has become even more muddied. but what we are going to find as time goes on is that if we don't make a concerted effort to restrict the power of iran than we are going to find in a very short period at the time we are going to have a nuclear iran and
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the threat coming from tehran is going to be other very different nature than it is today. so i think it is incumbent upon us to start making this intellectual effort to carry on a consistent policy throughout the whole region and i will stop right there. thank you. [applause] >> thank you mike. that is very much newest perspective. i want to introduce a good friend and colleague, meir javedanfar from israel who is in a randian analyst and teaches at the ibc at their juliet center authored that the first book i believe on ahmadinejad translated into a number of languages. he actually writes politically in english and hebrew farsi spanish and portuguese which is incredibly impressive. user regular contributor to the guardian and the diplomat and we have asked meir to provide some
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israeli perspective on internal developments within iran, questions about u.s. and israeli policy with respect to iraq's nuclear program specifically our sanctions working and just a general on exactly what is going on from an israeli perspective in iraq? meir. >> good morning everybody. thanks very much to the imitation. it is great to be here with you today. my perspective is one israeli perspective are going israelis say are every four israelis we have 10 political opinions and we have about 40 political parties so i'm just going to share some of my observations with you and i thank you for the opportunity. the problem of the iranian nuclear program to me at least, doesn't seem like a nail that can be resolved with a hammer. experience has shown us until
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now that it is more like a series of knots that have to be unraveled one after the other. if there was a military solution to this problem until now, i think we would have seen what happened in iraq and what the press reported about what happened in syria could have possibly happened until now but it hasn't because the iranian nuclear program is a much more sophisticated and difficult challenge than one which until now could have been sold or can be sold by military action. now, with regard to iran, what kind of iran is israel looking at? i think in israel we are looking at an iran that is weaker. we are looking at in iran which is more isolated and we are looking at an iran which looks far more scared of peace than war. the iranian regime especially when it comes to its dealing with the united states is far more frightened these days of
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peaceful overtures than threats of war. why? because the regime has lost so much legitimacy, especially after 2009, the uprising there, that one of the last things, the last glue that is holding this regime together in terms of its legitimacy is the anti-american and anti-israeli sentiment. without it, the resolution ladies and gentlemen has lost all its meaning. in 1979, those people who went to revolt in iran, they where looking for economic opportunities. they were looking for justice. they were looking for war against corruption. today in iran the life of the average iranian is far worse than it was prior to the time of the shah and the shah was no democrat. but the situation worsened by multiple factors and life is far
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worse than the regime has to justify. it can't justify its existence through better economic performance when inflation is high in iran. it is 20% when unemployment is high, when the level of drug use in iran per capita according to the united nations is number one. havoc in their regime justify existence? the only thing that it has these days to justify its existence is anti-israel and anti-american rhetoric and every time the united states especially gets close to this regime we see more infighting within the regime and receive more of a crisis of identity. if the regime loses its card, i think it will face an existential danger. in my opinion, observing iran, i think if one day the iranians hear the sound of the israeli air force jets flying over, they would consider it as a threat against the iranian nuclear program but if one day they hear the sound of air force one
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bringing the president of the united states to iran, to tehran on a state visit to the current rulers of iran, that would be considered as an existential threat because they would be left with nothing else to justify their stance. in this is why they are continuing with their current rhetoric against the united states and this is why this regime cannot for now come to the table with an agreement because if it does reach an agreement right now and if there is improvement in relations with the united states, especially then it is going to be faced with severe problems from within the power in their regime, the decision-making circles. in terms of the sanctions, the sanctions have had significant impact. we don't know how much money the iranians have but what i can say is that there were recent reports in the press that the iranian oil stabilization fund is zero.
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there is no money in there. i find that very difficult to believe. the iranian regime since 2009 has been the -- not in reporting its income to the parliaments. the parliamentarian doesn't know how much the government has burned. in my opinion they have been hiding money away. they have been creating secret slush funds. to the regime without the economy cannot survive. the engine of this machine cannot survive on chance to death of america. if truly there was zero money left in the account of this regime these guys would have been at the negotiation table with a serious offer in order to find a crisis for the nuclear program because the current nuclear program is very costly and sanctions are also hurting iran's oil sector. we see that the chinese now according to recent reports in reuters have slowed down their investments in iran's oil sector but most important, the biggest
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danger facing this regime is not from israel. it is not from the united states. it is not from sanctions. it is on the streets of tehran and the streets of iran's major cities where people are hearing more and more about how their lives are becoming more miserable because of the policies of this regime that they have been protecting until now. when the iranian government officials talk about and the press talks about the 3 billion-dollar fraud in iran, it is because of something seriously wrong. it is because the regime can no longer afford to have 3 billion-dollar fraud. otherwise it would have carried on because the 3 billion-dollar fraud is a drop in the bucket compared to $35 billion that went missing from iran's oil income from 2006 and 2007, $35 billion went missing. we never heard anything about it afterwards because that was
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then, 2006, 2007. iran was not living on sanctions. today the reason we are hearing about $3 billion is missing is because the regime can no longer afford it. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you meir. next i want to introduce lee smith. i'd read khalid to wear a suit today. lee is not used to wearing a suit because lee is not your traditional think-tank fellow. he is an author, he is a journalist and he is reported widely from the region including from syria and lebanon. he is the author of a terrific book called the strong horse which i suggest all of you by immediately and read. it incredibly insightful and an analysis of the region and i would like to lead -- lead to talk about -- a battleground against and some insights on what is developing there.
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>> thanks. i am not sure my insight is so unique that thanks to ftd and hudson. thanks for inviting me here. i wanted to talk about syria and hezbollah quickly but i wanted to swing back around and talk about something that we have mentioned before and that is sort of the debates which takes place here in other places as sort of one way to phrase it is whether or not the iranian regime is rational or irrational and is thinking so i will come back around to that in a second but first i want to start with yeah first i wanted to start with talking about the syrian uprising as one aspect of the arab spring which is still going on now in its seventh month which is actually quite a remarkable thing. and one of the things that i wanted -- one of the things i wanted to point out which has a little bit to do, has a little
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bit to do with iran. if you look at what has happened on the streets in the syrian cities over the last seven months, i think it is really remarkable and i think in lots of ways we as americans or we as observers talk about it as somewhat sane. when we talk about deep administration has talked about this as well and we have talked about witness or when they have talked about well now we understand the violence that the shah is capable of and how this man has exhausted his legitimacy or his respectability. well this is not the point. it is not about us as witnesses. the fact is the important thing is what is going on within the syrian loop itself that these are the people who are taking the pictures. these are the people who are watching it and nonetheless despite its profound violence they keep going back out into the street. that is the astonishing thing that we see happening here. and i think we saw some of that happen in june 2009 in iran as well.
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syria is hugely important to the iranian regime since it is the one arab state allied that has, in the purpose is that it serves are effectively iran's bridge to the arab world, which has also allowed the iranians along with hezbollah to jump to significant divides which would otherwise limit the iranian regime's ability to project power and influence across the region. that is it has allowed its to jump across the shia divide as well as the arab persian divides of these are the main -- i guess some of the most -- two of the most important aspects. the other thing is that the iranians have also use the syrians as sort of a catch pot against its arab adversaries including most importantly saudi arabia and also certainly hosni
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mubarak's egypt and what happens to the post-mubarak region remains to be seen. however most important, the most important aspect of that relationship is the fact that serious has used, serious has served as hezbollah's supply line for about 30 years now and without syria, without access to that border is going to make it much more difficult for hezbollah to arm itself. some of this we have already seen as hezbollah has been moving most of its armaments and there are people in this room who can correct me but i believe most of those armaments have been now moved to lebanon. it will be extremely difficult for them to stay armed without access to that border. i see i'm running out of time. i think one way to look at what has happened with the syrians is that this regime has in a sense already been toppled.
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what i mean is that the problems with this regime are that the way that it affects its neighbors, the way that it has projected power across the region it is really constrained within its own borders to have to fight itself. so in essence the regime has already, the nature of the regime has already change. it is not able to have power the way it has in the past. anyway let me finish just quickly with a rational bed and that is this. that is if we look at the iranians and how they regard the middle east and if we look at how they regard hezbollah and how they regard syria we see a regime that is trying to figure out how to operate across the region, how to project its power how to influence different actors and what i fear when they talk about do we understand this regime and what it means. maybe you saw a mic mullen wants to establish some sort of, some
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sort of hotline connection between the iranians. this is going to sound profoundly ignorant but i don't think that we need to understand the iranians as such. i think we can look at different actions and forget about a question that is it rational or is it rational? we look at the different actions of the regime rather than trying to figure out the nuances of the iranian culture, persian bargaining in all these different ideas which may make for very interesting conversation among us here but they have really stop us from looking closely and carefully at what the regime's actual project is. this is one final example. i just want to say if you look at the hell up an asian war when the athenians decided to wage war, no one doubted that they were rational. nonetheless after the end of that war, absent a democracy number no longer existed as history is no longer the record of various states arias peoples
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and nations misunderstanding their ability project their own power and misunderstanding the power of their enemies as well. i think this is the way we should be looking at the iranians rather than trying to get a deep sense of the culture and trying to understand whether or not they are rational or irrational, so thanks very much. [applause] >> thank you, leave. we will return to a lot of these issues in the candidate that i wanted introduce my colleague who is the vice president of fte. he has written a book and just returned from ramallah and jerusalem and john will be addressing the issue of iran and hamas. >> thank you, mark. thank you all for being here today. what i thought i would do for two minutes here is just to speak very briefly about how iran has become or hamas has become a military and political
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tool for iran in the arab-israeli arena. iran as an increasing influence over time without question and what is sort of interesting that it is largely seen as a sunni-arab faction and is largely seen i think over time under the control of saudi arabia but what we have seen is the influence of iran has been a constant almost since hamas' inception. i thought it would briefly go through a little bit of that background just to underscore some of it and to look at some of the, let's say the balance of power at this point in terms of whether iran is an asset or liability to hamas. but just by way of background, hamas was born in 1988. in 1989 -- 1989 eponymous cells and this was largely done to avoid an israeli crackdown. what is interesting was that
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this was also 19 in 1989 was the year that by sheer came to power. through the muslim brotherhood he had carried out a coup in sudan and to the surprise and alarm of many western analysts began to create an islamic republic in khartoum. what we saw was examples of an iranian style army and an influx of revolutionary guards imposition of sharia law and increasingly anti-western radical foreign-policy and among the things that bashir instituted was a training program for terrorist organizations and among those terrorist organizations was hamas. so with iran in sudan you had the beginning of the training of hamas as sort of a more efficient terrorist organization and it was this training and a stream of funding from tehran although most of the funding initially came from saudi arabia. iran had a hand in hamas' terror operations throughout the
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1990s. famously after israel reported several leaders it was iran that set off this marriage between iran where hezbollah specifically talk to hamas basically leading to a string of those throughout the 1990s. so iran continue continued to sponsor both hamas and palestinian and jihadi. the idea was to inflict as much damage against israel as well as to disrupt the peace process. but it soon became very clear that iran was more than just sponsoring terrorist acts. it had become a political player. it had become a wedge between the two sort of largest factions, hamas and fox have. the iranians hammered yasir arafat and they threw their support behind hamas.
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it was not until really 2004 that hamas was really, that really came under the full control of iran. in that year after a series of domestic terrorist attacks that rivaled saudi arabia the saudi's turned off this bigot that had been going to hamas over the years and so what remained was just a drip. this was a vacuum that was filled iran and they have really began to take over most of the hamas budget if you will. and so, you have that happening at the same time you had the funding of hamas during the palestinian civil war of 2007. it was basically iranian training, iranian weaponry, iranian cash that helps hamas takeover the gaza of the gaza strip from the palestinian authority and the pa in 2007. all the while it should be noted
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that sudan with the influence of iran continue to influence this conflict. they continually delivered rockets and weaponry that came from sudan via iran and travel through egypt over the sinai and into the gaza strip and so that has contributed to thousands of rocket attacks that plagued israel over the years as well as the kidnapping of the israeli soldier and 2006. there is of course the iranian sponsorship of the hamas foreign office if you will in serio. this is another area where it is very clear that iran has have that influence over the years. and so in short iran has had a crucial role in supporting sustaining hamas really from almost its inception and again i think that is something that is lost by the analyst. they think it is only a partially funded iranian project but in fact one could argue that it has become a full proxy. what is interesting that i think now you are you are looking at the fact that hamas is both --
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iran is both an asset and a liability to hamas. it is an asset obviously because now hamas hamas is discreetly difficult to destroy. we saw that in late 2008 in early 2009. the israelis went in and unleashed a poor end of military activity against hamas and it was not something that was easily distractible. hamas still exist today and it continues to thrive. but at the same time i think iran is a liability because it gives the impression that hamas is not an organic palestinian movement. if you look at just the headquarters in syria for example, this is a continued thing that the hamas organization needs to fend off and one can even recall that after the civil war in 2007 there were palestinians chanting shia, shia outside of hamas in the aftermath of that war so it was sort of a purge ordered to
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be sure. so, it is clear that hamas is an iranian proxy that poses a grave threat to israel. the more powerful iran comes to the region the greater threat to the universal and just there. conversely the weaker we can make iran i think in this context the better chances there are of ultimately being able to return to negotiations if that is ever something that is possible. with that i will close in by thank you very much. [applause] >> so we have had a very interesting analysis on a range of issues with respect to iran but let's focus in on some fundamental issues. first is iran is moving aggressively the to build a nuclear bomb. second-generation centrifuges large stockpiles of highly enriched uranium moving their nuclear development to a hardened facility and proton.
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that is the issue. that is the one clock that is taking and it is taking rapidly. i would like to quickly go-round the table and ask each of you a fundamental question or a couple of questions that are interesting to open it up to the audience. the first is can the iranian nuclear bomb be stopped? if so, how? will contain network? if not, why? >> well our current policy stop it? no. there has to be at a minimum, there has to be as i was suggesting a paradigm shift where we make that are absolute number one priority and work throughout the region to achieve. i think stopping the bomb is not just a matter of sanctions and targeted activities with respect to bomb-making activities but is a matter of putting pressure on the iranians all across the board internally and externally
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and i don't see us doing that at the current moment. i do think it is possible as meir pointed out the iranians are -- have any number of vulnerabilities both domestically and internationally. i am sure we have not done the best job of exploiting them and your second question was? [inaudible] >> containment is the same thing. yes, they can be contained but again it requires a paradigm shift that i was suggesting. if you look at the argument about iranian policy, the same people that today are arguing for containment were yesterday arguing for it before engagement in a grand bargain with iran. so in other words, i think that they containment's discussion has been merrily dominated at those who have never really seen the thread is that ray to begin
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with. they can't be contained but it requires putting together -- that is a conflict we need to ramp up to. we can't just do it the way we have been doing it lately. >> this is a good opportunity for you to more fully address the question of is iran irrational regime? the sanctions to work they have to change the risk reward calculus of iran's leaders. if containment is going to work you have to assume iran is a rational regime that can be contained. is iran a rational regime? >> yes. i assume iran is a rational regime. i assume that, i assume that all regimes, when we talk about rational we made the ones that continue to persevere and save life? of course it was to continue to exist. that doesn't necessarily mean that it will do the things that actually enable it to continue
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to exist. if i can i wanted to come back and ask something that meir said before when he was talking about there is not really a military solution. i would ask a couple of different things. for us about what we mean by there is not a military solution? do we mean by the fact that no one has expressed publicly a bombing campaign that wall and the threat of iran's nuclear program once and forever? was there not a military solution to the cold war? i mean also we are not talking about the soviet union here. basically we are talking about a obscure third world regime which we see what his project is around the region but the idea that we have built this up and do some sort of something that we can't stop and that we have to find the exact place where we managed to leverage the regime's legitimacy, again i don't understand that. that to me doesn't seem like, that doesn't seem like a policy
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the united states united states is actually able to carry off nor do i think it is necessarily a desirable one either. >> but meir let's shift to that because you think a visit by the president on air force one would be more effective than the israeli air force or u.s. air force bombers taking a route i racks nuclear infrastructure. talk to us a little bit more about that and also elaborate on this question of how do you actually stop iran's nuclear program? is there a silver bullet and is not if not what is the range of shrapnel that can inflict enough damage on the iranian regime that it could shift the risk award calculus or indeed can you change the calculus of this regime? are they rational in that sense? >> in terms of sending president obama to tehran, i am looking --
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the way i describe it is how the regime views threats. what kind of a threat can the regime live with and what kind of a thread with the regime find more difficult to live with? they know about fighting. i'm not saying that a military option is wrong or it is impossible. i am not saying any of these. we are looking at something that in the cost benefit analysis for israel would be the best way to find a solution to what is going on and the reason why i said that the military solution until now has not been a viable one is precisely because we have not seen a military attack. ..
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continue with what we are doing now especially targeted sanctions as the regime's the wealth of the regime some which at $1.5 billion worth of accounts in the u.k. i can't think of a more powerful sanctioned to go after in terms of contained i don't want to leave a nuclear iran if i have the choice i don't want to. of the threats we hear from the iranian government and also i know because if iran gets a nuclear weapon guess what they will have a rivalry and that's going to make the mill least in much more dangerous place. can we live with it? yes but it won't be easy.
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>> he worked at the treasury department said not only analyze who is responsible for finding them and detonating. talk about that as a former practitioner sanctioned will sanctions be enough? are they working? what else can be done? >> the treasury full disclosure i was involved in designating individuals not the entire countries, but i have my doubts if they will be able to contain the regime for iran's nuclear program. just looking until now the regime remains defiant, and so we have done an immense amount of the treasury department over the last decade or so going
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after iran and the irg and individual notes en dayron's nuclear program trying to isolate without collapsing the regime but i do wonder whether sanctions are needed to cripple the economy. for the crippled to the point where they can't function any longer because quite frankly we've not got in iran to the point they can say on uncle and exactly what they needed is not known and there are those by the way who would argue that no sanctions at all no matter how tough they are, no matter how many there are what actually detour this regime if this is the one thing they want if they want to go nuclear so then you've got to start thinking about, you know, what are your other options, york military options and i think that is something we have conspicuously avoided in this country for the last several years. it's not something i am particularly pleased about
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raising but i think that a certain point that will have to come into our calculus because the options on the sanction side are beginning to run out. >> welcome there you have it in terms of analysis. let's open the floor to some questions. as a backdrop iran continues to march and we have had a comprehensive policy. it's been a policy of sanctions, cyber warfare, the assassination of the iran a nuclear science, there's been extensive counter proliferation activity and the proliferation supply chain making it difficult for them to move ahead but they are moving ahead aggressively in terms of the regional influences as michael and jonathan and volume in particular emphasized. let's open up the floor.
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>> is there a military option? what it be done by israel or the united states. second in terms of israel how much of a deterrent to the israeli prime minister are the hezbollah rockets? we know that is the main purpose to hezbollah to deter the military action. if he goes on strike against iran for thousands of israelis. estimate on the military option you were to the defense department has in the previous administration that aside for a number of reasons not to take the military option and perhaps
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talk a little bit about why not and whether you think it is a good idea. >> so the military option question is about the united states and about israel. perhaps you can talk more about israel and make one statement that it seems to me quite obvious that if it were to become a military conflict the united states is better positioned to carry out that conflict than israel simply because the conflict between israel and iran could become a regional conflict and a variety of different ways you could imagine for instance i'm just making up a scenario the iranians could respond to an israeli attack by saying that saudi arabia, it doesn't matter whether it is iran could define it that way and retaliate against saudi arabia with all
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kinds of ditcher mental effects to the flow of oil into the regional dynamics and so forth, and would draw the united states and immediately anyway. so, whether united states actually supports the action or doesn't, the action will life immediately draw on the united states so little to be initiated by the united states. personally i think the military option should be the very last option and i think there are a whole array of things we can do before that that we haven't done along the lines quite obviously as it always is war is a very imperfect tool. we don't know the outcome is going to be. we with destroy all the program
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and have absolutely no doubt that we could sit back significantly militarily but how significantly i don't know. what's going to happen there politically afterwards there is no guarantee that scale is going to topple the regime and lead to a set of policies on the part of iran that is going to be beneficial and there is no way to know what kind of affect that is going to have for the united states around the region and the globe. but looking at our own domestic politics right now i think it is highly unlikely that president obama or any of the successors is going to initiate military action against iran, so a much more fruitful way of thinking about this is to think in terms of increasing the pressure on iran. let me throw out 1.1 at and i
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will stop. a concrete example was saying about the things we haven't done. to me it is really striking that on february 11th -- february 10th in delude fifth, president obama called in the categorical fashion for hosni mubarak to step down who's been our ally for decades. and after the uprising began in syria, we didn't call for bashar assad to step aside. after months we finally did it if you read our policy closely, if you read the ambassador's comments yesterday, we have not thrown our weight behind the syrian opposition anything like the seriousness that we did with egypt or with libya, and the syrians have carried out policies that have been a longstanding ally of the iranians and toppling the a loss of regime would deal a strategic blow to iran and to hezbollah,
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and we have yet to take the kind of steps that i think would make it a certainty in the eyes of everybody in the region that al asad is going down and that's the kind of thing i think we should be looking at before we'd look at military action in iran. >> let me ask a quick question about military force because you fifth and now standing opponent of it and after the war of the iran iraq war would eventually convinced ayatollah khomeini the the best time to end the war was actually a military strike, an accidental one. the united states accidentally brought down an iranian civilian airliner, and the iranians believed that u.s. apologies were part of a grand conspiracy of excuses and that the united states was prepared to go to the war with your mom.
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that is an accurate reading our history is at least a perception of american oil. the willingness to use force could help advance these other peaceful measures including sanctions that so far have not worked. >> that's one of the reasons but there are other reasons mainly because someone who's seen's forces were using chemical weapons against the soldiers and then start on the border between iran and iraq. so iran had become so isolated that they were finding it almost impossible to acquire the spare parts and the military equipment. there is a famous letter that they trekked the former head of the revolutionary guard to say look you knew they are against ending the war maximo just write
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me a letter saying what we need to win this format. what kind of equipment we need to win the war. look this is what we need, can we buy this stuff? he said no and that is the point that ayatollah khomeini took the point to the challenge of plays and as he put the and there were many people in iran who thought was a challenge for plays and that is one of the reasons the regime stopped and also because they had become so isolated in the region that every country except syria was supporting saddam hussein so the isolation and the fact the war was costing them so much as another reason. if i can answer your question in terms of hezbollah he was considered a moderate conservative within iran over the nuclear negotiator and is now the speaker of the parliament sitting 2008 that if
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the united states attacks here on we will put israel in a wheelchair so even if they don't attack the year on come if the united states attack iran they will attack israel to regain legitimacy. do i think that we could rise the attacks i think we could let's not forget who is the superpower in that region it's the state of israel who are very strong. my concern is how can we finished at war. what will be the exit strategy? this is one reason why my colleagues here that the military option should be the last option because the exit strategies from that are far more difficult to predict and more so the domestic implications in this regime and in terms of stopping the iranian nuclear program one of the biggest things he will face in this program, everything that is happening is what the head of the program is six months ago our biggest problem is the brain
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drain and iraq. people don't want to work for the nuclear program and they are having problems because of the political situation. that is the biggest danger that this program is facing. after the crackdown of to thousand nine people don't see it as a nationalistic project anymore the see of belonging to a regime that is killing, torturing and executing the iranians and they don't want to work for the program and that is the major danger they're facing. >> are we any sanctions sleepwalk? how do you know what they're the last option should be exercised? let's open the floor. yes, sir. >> president reagan in the strike made things very clear. he said what he meant and meant what he said it to me that is the major problem here last
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credible believe in what a president says or what the strategy is and also what is real is capable of. >> is there a question? would you like to respond to that? >> i can't disagree with that. it sounded like you were saying we ought to be making a credible military threat although you didn't say that. but as my previous comment indicated, i don't believe we can make a credible military threat right now and i wouldn't advocate the military solution. but your comment about saying exactly what you mean and making
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sure there are practical consequences when people don't see what you should do that is absolutely true. >> again i would distinguish between the military solution and look at what has worked with the iranians. mike, use it if we look at the end of spring of the scorecard is the u.s. has lost egypt and the iranians have lost syria and that's a good way to look at it. in the last six months it's been the driving and syria. other major setbacks they have faced and it may be as important as what is going on in and syria is bahrain. i don't necessarily to the side of the saudis and the gcc forces that poured into bahrain to put
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down the uprising but the fact is that show of force pushed back the iranians and so did it when the iranians, when the gcc said there is no way that you are sending votes here, part of a flotilla to support bahrain i'm sorry these credible threats do work and these are the setbacks they've faced. the military force or serious threats of military force. there is no other way to look at it. >> this is one of the rare opportunities i get to disagree. yes i think iran suffered some setbacks in bahrain and syria, but when you look at the overall operation of iran in the region, its proxy's have grown over the years and the strength of those proxy's over the years. look at hezbollah and hamas and they've operated impunity in iraq if you look at the iranian support to the various actions inside afghanistan, and i think
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the one thing we haven't heard about it today which ensure we will is the support that we now know to be true is the supported al qaeda. and so what has happened is i think you are correct we haven't pushed back sufficiently on any of those threats so we lacked the credibility to push back on the iranian threat or the nuclear threat as well and so i think there is a problem of not being able to draw lines in the sand and follow through on those and so we have like lost the deterrence over the years by being able to push back on the other threats so what kind of credibility do we have at this point on the nuclear program? this is unfortunately i think where we stand today. >> i would have to disagree. i think they take the military threat very seriously so much so that they are for the shopping the launch of missiles by the revolutionary guard and hiding
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it that the tree to photoshop the number of missiles launched to make themselves look strong and i think the kind of threat that they see in the interest that turkey we know the relations in israel meanwhile it is also pushing iran away by agreeing to launch and host the missile system on this oil that belongs to nato and this is infuriating the iranian government that they are doing this so i think they take this deterrence very seriously. i don't think it is any kind of a threat right now would be enough to stop the nuclear program, but this is something they certainly do take into consideration. >> in 2009 [inaudible]
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you now see it in the arab spring but there isn't anything about the revolutionary uprising in iran. is that something that is still underground a dwelling in the possibility that we would see in order to hope the program gets into the right hands? >> it is say movement that underground there's still an opportunity to provide the material support did we miss a bigger opportunity in june, 2009. >> the movement is scared for its life. the monopoly of year in a year on the people are very, very fearful in the iran. and also the green movement is the only domestic opposition we see in iran but it has some kind of decision because some people love the street when the space revolution in iran and others want gradual reform because in the iran we had a revolution in
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1979 and things got worse so rather than having a massive change we should have a gradual change so on the one hand we have the question of year and on the other hand the question of how to go forward with the green movement and all the other hand like 20% of the population would support the regime because they are living from it. the basij people go to the university because they belong to the basij so they are not going to turn away from this regime that is going against them, so this is a major challenge. with america have been right to support these people in 2009? i think we should try to support people love this freedom everywhere in the world but we should do it in a way that helps them and have president obama come out and publicly support them that would have been detrimental to the green movement at that time because
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the regime with to the public support johnson was elected as a u.s. president and because he's a republican they decided to expel khomeini or even the hostage crisis by saying there is going to be democracy in iran that iran could even have a president in paris he tried to basically maneuver everybody to impose his own sanctions and a belief which is the rule by
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jurisprudence having opposition. how did he want to increase his justification support? >> let me ask you this question pitted the problem is the worst of both worlds right now the iranian dissident. you are accused of being on the cia payroll and yet you were getting very little of the support. are we making a mistake? should we be providing much more significant support to the dissidents? >> i'd like to actually disagree with meir on that issue. i think that president obama missed a huge opportunity. and for two reasons an engagement mode. i think the administration believed when they took power that there was a deal to be had
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with the regime and the green movement caught in the way of the deal if you look how slow they were to respond and how all kurth response was i think it indicates that. in general and suspect of this view embraced by the united states is the kiss of death. if you look what is going on through the region we always heard this look at what is going on in the region there are lots of people in opposition in the middle east who want increase from the united states but the most important thing is to ask them. there's all kind of ways to get in contact with them and say what you want from the united states, what would help and there are all kind of ways they can provide assistance either directly, covert become through third parties, indirectly, all sorts of ways. but you have to raise the question and i don't think the administration asks the question to begin with. we also missed an opportunity
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there with the europeans. the iranians harassed the embassies of the british and french and arrested the embassy employees. there was a lot of rage. the europeans were actually in a mood to do something at that moment psychologically which we could have seized coming and we didn't take advantage of that. i would like to take one other point and that is had the fight against al qaeda which now shows itself in the raid against al-aulaqi and bin laden and so forth, but we have built a new tool of this platform off the department of defense, cia special operations and we don't use this in a strategic fashion. it's an incredibly powerful tool and it can be used both in terms of connecticut operations but it can be used in other ways as well. if we wanted to take the
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incredible information gathering apparatus that the united states has come and it is incredible, and we wanted to identify down to the street level the basij who are shooting people on the street and name them and shame them as individuals and give them and dresses and so forth i feel we could do that but we don't think about these kind of intelligence tools which we use on the battlefield in an ideological warfare. something else that meir said he mentioned about president obama going to iran. obviously that's not going to happen but it has been suggested many times and it's a good idea that we should offer to open up a visa intersection in tehran. everybody knows about the brain drain and that they want to come to the west and the united states is a powerful destination
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for the iranians. we should be reaching out to them and every opportunity to say please come we welcome you to read it to you have an advanced degree in technology? we have programs to to help you become a silicon valley ceo and make the regime crosstown and to have any contact with them we should be reaching out to them in ways that shame them and embarrass them before their own public. it's a kind of -- it's a different kind of engagement than the of administration was thinking of the time of the green revolution. not an idea with the regime but a series of engagements designed to put the regime on its back seat. i feel we could do this. i think we could do it easily if we put our mind to it. >> i guess brookings is probably looking for more but it's worth noting that the number of the nuclear scientist people
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involved to got against degrees from the united states so they came here and got their degrees and their training and went back to iran so hopefully offices will be who admits. do we have other questions? >> [inaudible] would you believe -- would extend to you believe [inaudible] >> i don't mean to in pos but if you look at the problems that we have that

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