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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 25, 2013 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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they complain and they will continue to come in yet they are hoping the united states will join them because they cannot destroy iran's nuclear facilities by themselves. they lack the capability. the country's economic power is perhaps diminished with china and other countries but it remains a preeminent economic power. so, is this period worse than the period of the 1970's or not? >> i don't want to send like a defender of jimmy carter, and he had his share of faults. but let's remember, this was the post of vietnam years and this was after watergate. this was after the crisis in the foreign policy. there was a deep crisis in american governance each and we
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remember this is posted vietnam syndrome when the nation was reluctant in international affairs. jimmy carter has hardly improved the situation but you have to sympathize with his predicament. president obama came to power after two terms of george w. bush, which i have to say did not quite improve american global spending. at the same time the united states maintains the predominant power, no question about that pitted the united states remains a predominant economic power. that is what putin basically was talking about. in terms of the financial system we build it and continue to run
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it and everyone depends upon us and on the chinese. .. even if you are exceptional, you
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have two act and the purpose and i think when people in different countries, they're asking, what kind of barack obama are they dealing with? i got a call yesterday from a leading gentleman journalist who reminded me how obama the team immensely popular in europe, especially in germany when he was still a candidate in dealing with the speech, which actually propelled him to become a nobel peace prize winner before he was able to do anything. there is a huge promise coming from barack obama. keep that respect of mankind at the same time on a regular
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basis. and now, you have ascertained should announce a chance for both germany. it is unacceptable. this of course is not the only difficult to you in the u.s. germany relations. when people are looking at obama's previous speeches, his speech in cairo, his initial approach to china with secretary cletus said we are not going to the human race because we know how they would respond. they would talk back. it will not lead to anything. then the obama approach to russia. and what we have today, we have today is the united states act act -- nixon and kissinger when the united states with moscow
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and beijing is what they would have with each other. there's a very successful policy. there's various differences between china and russia today. you can see how china and russia are becoming closer and closer to the obama administration foreign policy. this president wants to accomplish something. he looks at everything and ideas to the domestic prison. he does not want to expose themselves to any domestic article criticism than the result of our foreign policy is counterproductive and people and governments wonder, can we trust our words? and yes. the president of the united states cannot award the stability. >> i think wayne and the color next to you. let's gather them all up.
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wayne. >> wayne, american foreign policy council. i'd like to ask robert merry to touch on something he talks about going in his remarks, these issues outside as a whole. it seems to me for much of the country as a whole, this is not just about the financial and fiscal budget issues that consume washington, but other issues that are sometimes in the rubric of the culture wars. but in those issues, washington is not the main theater of battle. these are issues taking place in state houses and even in the count of the checkerboard across the country. a thick legalization of marijuana usage. like same-sex marriage. you have those taking place across the length and breadth of the country in washington is often not a player or even reactive. the obama administration has been very opposed to things like
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legalization of marijuana use. it's been a catch-up on some of these other cultural issues. so my question to you has given this dynamic is not just about washington, it is about america and american society. where did those issues play in any situation where the battlefield is the country and washington may get involved in these closing down the government toddles. but that may be quite irrelevant to some of those other cultural disputes. >> that's right. i have a thought on that. i first want to apologize to jeffrey, his first name and misuse in addressing him earlier. i'm sorry. wayne, you're absolutely right. this social and cultural issue nature is front and center to the question of what kind of country we are going to be ended
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as a great driver of the frustration that leads to such things as the tea party. i think the tea party is focused primarily on economic issues, but there is an undercurrent against what they say about this. there's an undercurrent of all this as well. it's happening there, not even so much in terms of washington and not even to some extent in terms of local governments, but the cultural thinking of america is largely driven by our younger people is really altering all of that. but that generates frustrations that can be sometimes directed her mr. right goodbye to people who feel this frustration. i think we are seeing that. you get the supreme court decisions, which agitate people further and some of those issues as well. you're right that washington is not crazy not. but it was racist sentiments
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that are becoming more and more significant, just as people generally are. but it's contributory to the mood of the country and the question of what kind of country. it's the definition issues of america that generate the kinds of complex deadlocks we have today. the greatest definitional issues with the issue of 1850s regarding slavery. it was not solvable through normal democratic processes that have been so brilliantly established. >> why have i think a last question right here. from this jump in and he's patiently. if you could identify yourself. >> yes, of course. [inaudible] >> i came months ago.
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of course i've been listening attentively to the panelists and foreign policy. at this time, i don't have any questions, but allow me to make a brief comment, just a sentence or two. of course i do not like to criticize, but as a friend of your county, i would like to say on many, many occasions, were told american system of the government is an example, if not the best way around. of course, the country is making decisions on time and to the benefit of the country and if you like to play a role of our leader, the benefit of the world. but i am trying to say his
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episodes like the last government shutdown and other episodes today are damaging your mh. thank you. >> thank you. i would like to end the session by saying it occurred to me recently that the republican party is becoming too interesting for its own good, at least politically. but it does make for great copy and you can read all about these issues in our magazine. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> i saw firsthand the tragedy is that children face when they are not cared for by loving parents. it was in the sheriff's office where i first witnessed the horrors of child sex trafficking and it convinced me that we needed to do more to protect our youth at risk of abuse.
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>> like me and many other youth in care, we are accustomed to being isolated much a victims of domestic violence by death to multiple moves from home to home, this allows us to easily adapt when traffickers move us multiple times from hotel to hotel, city to city and/or state to state. these exploiters go without fear of punishment due to the lack of attention when young people from the population go missing. no one looks for us. i wouldn't want to make this clear. no one looks for us. >> when they hear the term child sex trafficking, most americans to get happens in other countries or foreign children are brought here to be sold in large cities. in fact, we have learned that most of the victims of child sex trafficking are american kids who are trafficked in small towns and large urban areas. if people are not aware of it, they are not looking for it.
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>> former afghanistan were commander john allen said recently the presence of u.s. forces in this country want your event out now that the decision has been handed over to a group of local leaders. speaking an event hosted by the foreign-policy initiative, general allen said the u.s. military must be protected from further cuts in many to be engaged in unstable middle east and elsewhere. here are his remarks.
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>> welcome, everybody. the early burst of testimony caught the worm, so very pleased to kick out this conference. the program looks very full of very interesting panels and discussions. none will be as good as this i'm sure however. introducing general allen is a tough task. it would be taking most of the time and results in a lot of hieroglyphics, at least for us civilians. so i am going to translate, but i got from reading the full cave wall last night while prepared for this. general allen is a serious infantryman. of course come every marine a rifleman, the general allen is really a rifleman. not only has he commanded the
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infantrymen, but he's got the infantry basic cores and command the basic cores. so that is sort of like being from canterbury in this aspect. he's defending the faith, not examining. secondly of course he's best known for his senior commands, most notably in afghanistan. that's where will begin our conversation. but i would also like to point out the general allen has been her a very important sort of washington jobs. for a rifleman, he's got more than a little bit of a whiff of washington about 10, beginning at a pretty young age. even as they capped income and washington fellow for strategic and international studies. i'm not going to complain about the lack of aei on his resume,
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but there's still a chance to resume this in the picture. at any rate, to summarize, if it's possible to summarize and, he's conducted campaigns, waged wars and in some the making of u.s. security policy at the highest levels. i can't think of anybody else i'd rather have a conversation with. please join me in welcoming general allen to the stage. [applause] >> in here because the cross examination. i would like to really try to begin with the theme at the conference, the choosing under the conference. since we have established the
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international order that exists on world war ii. it's obviously been a challenge in a struggle, but it's also been one marked by really sort of successive and historic proportion. the number of people lifted out of poverty and into political decades is really numbered in the billions sent out. it's all been done by historical standards will be considered will be a small boss. why is that a question for us? why should they naturally can send you to perform the role that we perform for 75 years?
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>> in many respects, it is great to be on the stage. i have it tattooed in a place -- [inaudible] last night in many respects, your question answers the question. there probably has never been a time for the strategic leadership that the united states has been more important and you rightly incorrectly state that much of what that looks like an international order, whether political order or diplomatic quarter or security or financial order, either was originated by the united states are cursed by the united states are facilitated by the united states. end of the environment today, where we see, particularly in the region from packet and in the east all the way across what
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we have traditionally called the middle east or the northern tier of africa, so much instability and ordering across all the measures of power. there's never been a time in my mind for the strategic global leadership of the united states has been more important. not just to buttress, not just to reinforce the order for which we can take justifiable credit at a time when it's really important to reservists and the stability he can, but also to exert our leadership and no specific areas in locations where we can have an outcome that can bring about stability and from that stability can bring order back to a particular region. so we shouldn't be questioning today whether there is a role for the united states to be a global leader or strategic leader. to me it's a non-question and i spent 42 years in uniform. so i've seen the crank turn
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several times. and in all that time, i have seldom seen a circumstance is come into greater confluence across all the measures as we understand it is demanded more leadership for the united states than now. your questions a really important one. we should be asking ourselves that question in washington every single day. what role do we have uniquely before the united states in the world? our unique contribution in so many ways and so many of these crises are unique contribution in many ways to facilitate further stability is our strategic leadership in our strategic reach. average isn't necessarily a military reach, although it is the reach diplomatically, the reach in the financial sector. so today is an important time for the united states to continue its global leadership. the question will be what means do we have to facilitate that
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and over the long-term? >> so why don't we sort of get down to the next tier granularity? analyses concluded by talking about the means. there is still some pain about the end of american leadership to there's obviously some confusion about the way it is one of the things we should talk about that you mentioned in your remarks was the military means, which are not the only means that we have, but are arguably the means that set the conditions for other things to happen and certainly the reason experience would suggest that. before we get to that, let's talk about the middle east. and if you don't find -- and i should say general allen is constrained and talking about
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the israel palestine issue because he's still got an official duty serving as the security advisor to the peace talks there. it has a little holden and donna, but it's the really charge when you're talking about the middle east. why don't we begin with south asia, your most recent experience and where we are obviously coming to a fateful date in the coming year. i'd just be interested in your assessment of the situation as you know it or as you knew it and things we should look for that you think are really critical for the coming year. >> were really are approaching a critical moment. 2012 and 2013 have really set the conditions both as a plan for them to be sacked, but also the reality of course on the timeline. 2014 is a really important year for a variety of reasons. first i think the most
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conspicuous reason is the presidential election in afghanistan will occur on the fifth of april and it will be the election, which will facilitate authority and power from the karzai government in whatever form that has taken over the many years, he has been in power to what will come next. we are now beginning to get clarity on who those candidates will be. some of them we've expected. some of them we didn't. we got some pretty strong candidates actually. that election will be very important. it will be very important not just in the technical outcome. it is the democratic process that we hope will render an outcome that is credible, internationally recognizable as a credible democratic outcome. it will produce an administration with whom we hope we can work over the long term.
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there's no reason to believe it wouldn't give them a slate of candidates were beginning to see emerge. but what is really important is that this election, the point that has been made frequently by not just united states, but many other international partners is this election is not viewed as being credible, inclusive and comprehensive. we are going to see it very difficult for many of our partners are for the united states to justify the long-term commitment we've made to afghanistan. so this is a really important moment. it's really profoundly different in many ways because there has been that maturation, the development of governments -- governmental institutions and the capacity. much needs to be done still. there's a long, long way to go ultimately in democratic institutions. but from where we were in on
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nights where we are today, that process has progressed a great deal. so there is a greater governmental basis from then which an election can have meaning. the other profound difference between the last election and this election is this afghan national security force at 352,000 has reached that is unparalleled in afghanistan's history. so where before the question might have been asked, who had access to polling stations in ballot boxes and all of those things, the capacity of the government to secure not just the people trying to about, but the process of the election is far better than it's ever been before. when you walk out of a tour in afghanistan, by the end of the following the cure deeded. so i'm careful about what i say. we worked very, very hard to assist the ministry of interior
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cowshed leading security of the election. to go about the business of ensuring that election is solidly secure, the ballot boxes are solidly secured and support to the independent public will commission a sash that the counting of those ballots secured as well. so that a better platform and a governmental sense for an election to have meaning. you better platform for the government and the process of the election to occur. so i am more confident now than i was in 09:00 p.m. or confident as they watch this unfold lately than i was a year ago. but that doesn't mean this will still be difficult. if there is a runoff, we have potential the next administration will be forming its government at the end of 2014 that the isaf mission ends and the next mission begins. there is a next mission and that is the next issue.
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we've done the planning. there are several different options to be announced that could be deployed ultimately to be a residual force. did you know -- determines resolute support. it ambitions a u.s. component and international component, the idea being from the first of january 2015 for some period of time, measured in years will have an advisory mission in afghanistan to continue the development of the ansi and to give them stability necessary so that the new administration has the ability to get its legs under it so that the distortion of the wartime economy on which afghanistan has voted for a number of years can begin to settle out. all of that relies on secure his ability security platform. we think an advisory mission with the ansi factor 2014 will
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facilitate a political, but economic maturation necessary based on activities of the ansi. the bilateral security agreement with the launch of the strategic partner agreement, which present obama sign in kabul about 18 months ago. the issues are daunting. any nation that engages in the status of forces agreements, which is sort of what the bilateral security agreement is goes into those negotiations anticipating some requirement to compromise on sovereignty. it's an emotional issue for any state, especially a developed state. for a state like afghanistan which is emerging into sovereignty, which is a conflict ridden state seeking to become a post-conflict society, it is in more emotional. so there are some issues that are third rail issues for president karzai politically and he has elected, now the
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secretary kerry has recently been there and has advanced the came of it to president karzai has elected to lateral to her decision-making on this to age loya jirga. it is a traditional afghan approach, where the elite within the afghan society, when i see a lead, that doesn't mean top echelons. it means the representative will come together, will break into committees. they will consider what president oprah to the loya jirga, about the conditions for approval of bilateral security agreement. they'll recommend back to him whether afghanistan should should go or not. now, and as with the outcome will be. my guess is after the outcomes have seemed improvement over the last several years across many of the measures of societal improvement whether its life expectancy or child mortality
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are proven economically, none of that could have happened without the role of the united states and isaf and the coalitions in providing support specifically over the long-term. my guess is the iphone's will look at this closely and what their options are. if they don't approve it, the united states will not be for us there. the president has been clear without jurisdictional protections of forces and the aftermath, he will not leave our forces in afghanistan. afghanistan's need to see this video. you need to ask yourselves the question, what are your options that united states elects not to late forces because i very strong suspicion is our coalition part nurse won't either, in the $16 billion that was pledged, at least by our elements in tokyo in the summer
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of 12 relied on a security platform that we could rely on, could depend on. we will see a lot of that as well. asking people need to ask themselves what they need to trade in terms of sovereignty are the long-term security of the country and relationship with the west and afghanistan. then he talked us briefly pakistan. pakistan is important to the united states. i have strong feelings for the country and for the people. i relationship with pakistan has been a troubled relationship frequently. it's been difficult on a number of occasions to see eye to eye across the frontier between afghanistan and pakistan. it is of course both a place for a policy relationship, but also a place where large numbers of the insurgents varied in who
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they were and what they did and how i had to deal with them. there's a place of sanctuary and safe haven as well. there was real frustration in some respects at the safe haven of pakistan, but often enough frustration was operationalized in the policy relationship of pakistan and we've always got to be very careful about our relationship with pakistan. it is a country with a brittle democracy. they deserve a lot of credit and allow sharif has been elected and we've seen the first transition of a civilian government to civilian government in its history. general pion he has been successful as the chief of the army staff in keeping the army in the barracks. we see many times in history pakistani army has overturned the civilian government. he's worked hard to keep that from happening because the army
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was engaged on the line of contact with india on the one hand based on its own strategic interests, he drew large portions of the line of contact and otherwise committed to each of the federally administered tribal areas. they sustain more casualties than our forces have been a much shorter time fighting an insurgency, which has helped us. i'm always very careful about the natural reflex in this town to punish pakistan over policy differences. we should seek in many ways to create as much opportunity for stability in our relationship with pakistan instability within pakistan as well. it's got a role in the peace agreement but ultimately will be led by the afghans in pakistan as an enormously complicated and complex issue for the united states, but also one we must grip in very serious ways with respect to policy. we have a van of course. one of the principal supporters of terrorists and for a variety
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of its own reasons. which causes it to be a challenge everywhere from his former relationship with hamas threw his support to syria. it suffers in the gulf region to put us far down in yemen and its problems the saturdays. but of course, the elephant in the room on any occasion when they talk about a man as its new care program. without the transition from ahmadinejad to rouhani and we have seen a reignition if you will to talk in the p5 plus one to engage all that extra area port right now. is bob gates once said, he spent his whole career looking for a moderate iranian. we need to determine whether we have a moderate iranian in the rouhani and what real decision does he have absent the immediate approval of the supreme leader to do anything? so you know, we are getting the
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rhetoric. rhetoric sounds good. it's about the action that backs up the rhetoric, so we will watch that very closely for ally, israel, who is enormously intended as well. moving west again, with difficulties associated with iraq. they weren't there long enough to provide the top cover for the solution of many of the political difficulties that might have resolved itself if we been there for a longer period of time, so consequently as we departed, the same as tectonic plates begin to grind each other again and the body is counting up and the hope is we can hold society together against the increase in violence. that increase is also a direct result of the al qaeda elements commuting back and forth across the syrian border to assist the resistance in syria, which is the next large opening soar in the region. the strategic stakes in syria
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cannot be overstated. ever from the strategic relationship in the united states with russia and china, by the way, which doesn't get much play publicly in this, but we should all not miss the opportunity to ensure we understand that china is doing in the region writ large and more specifically. coming from the strategic we have the governmental issues, the regional arab states and their roles in supporting the resistance or support inconceivable by charla side and the resistance itself. a hundred thousand fighters range from those of the pre-syrian army, which theoretically lineup with us across the spectrum to the solid phase and she hot is -- cannot qaeda organization. syria will never look at the same as it did two years ago, three years ago. we may see a governmental entity
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of verse, but reliable to see one form or another around the periphery. so commissariat is for a whole variety of reasons, between shia and sunni, moderate sunni, resistance elements, whether it's the other states against another considerably to support our strategic level, syria is an emblematic of how bad the middle east problem can be and is really an essential point where the united states can observe greater strategic leadership. and shifting to the west even more are very old and dear friend, jordan. of course that separate the humanitarian crisis that is somerset exterior with a large influx of area and refugees already has a large influx of palestinian refugees from previous wars in the region. nor can i syria. they been this place there large iraqis so jordan is an old
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friend doing a great deal with that friendship and for that friend to maintain stability and help maintain the demographic balance in this country to be that stable platform in the region. shifting around, we had each a in egypt has gone through two major political spasms since 2011. it would be difficult to overstate how important initiatives to the united states into the region and to the west. egypt has enormous social and economic and political challenges, which ultimately prompted the departure of morrissey and the defendant of the military. united these relationship with cj is extraordinarily. we are attempting to navigate the shallow water where we are right now, but it's hard to overstate how important egypt's relationship is to the united states into the west. in the center of all of that, and we have our old friend and dear friend, is real.
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we have the emergence now of a potential for progress on middle east peace, two state outcome. the conversation is underway. the negotiations have started. we are not talking much about it, but any occasion where the palestinians and israelis can take down across the table and seriously does as progress towards a two state outcome is a good time. the regional platform makes it a bit more difficult right now because the regional platform is in many ways x chaos. but any progress we can make, any progress we can point to on behalf of the emerging sovereignty conceivably of the palestinian people as they stay at the continued security of israel as a friend and ally. any progress to that and is useful not just to the region, but ultimately to the united states had a strategic level into the world.
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we could go across the northern tier of africa, but that generally is a snapshot that creates the global challenge for u.s. leadership today. sorry to go on. >> you know, i'm tempted to say that our conversations but every country is mentioned. he did mention we could go -- >> turkey is extraordinarily important this process. >> you also mentioned in your tour of the middle east the increased role china is playing her. one of the things that is often repeated without necessarily thinking it through is that this is the period where china has risen to be a great power and increasingly a global power. before you became a centcom middle east expert, your first job as a general was to run the asia-pacific desk. in fact, that's how many of us
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came to know you. that is certainly the other open-ended power question, geopolitical question for our time is what china's rise means to american leadership. and our conversation is often paralyzed on the one hand, the only choices on the menu seemed to be sort of pass the form of engagement of the chinese to do as they will for the other sort of null set is sort of a rip rivas the cold war containment, when obviously, neither of those answers is going to meet the challenge, both of china's economic rise, but also its military and geopolitical influence. how come we can't solve this puzzle? if you got any answers, please advanced now. be back unhappily, i am out of
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government. there is no clear path on this. when i was the principal director for asia-pacific affairs several years ago, it is very interesting at the time as chinese officials came to washington. china was really embarking, really beginning to emerge -- force is not the term i need. an entity comic political economic entities to be reckoned with at a global level. there was a tendency to want to engage chinese visitors at a very high level in this country, to engage them in a discussion on inherent responsibility of china to be a responsible stakeholder in the international community. they actually found it very interesting because as you might imagine, the word stakeholder doesn't train laid neatly or easily into the chinese,
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regardless of dialect. so we spent a lot of time, unfortunately, trying to understand, trying to convey we saw the stakeholder. i think china has done, given its root, its recent past, it's really worth taking development. it has done as good a job as anyone could have expected to emerge as a responsible stakeholder within the many different root entities where it can play. the world trade organization in the united nations and the ims in the various asia-pacific forums in which it currently exists or participates. it doesn't mean we agree with all that china was the to do or accomplish or perform in any of
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those forums. but they have emerge pretty responsibly and all of those. often the discussion with regard to china tends to be a binary discussion. we are either going to give china free reign in east asia are we must ultimately move to appoint a unitary confrontation. it doesn't need to be binary. i am not someone out of a school of thought that sees we are inevitably on a course for confrontation with china or even conflict with china. i think it is inevitable that we'll find ourselves with respect to china and competition from time to time. that is not necessarily a bad thing, but i don't believe they are inevitably on a path for conflict. and i hope we are able to conduct the kind of diplomacy and military engagement that keeps us on a path that prevents confrontation. we've had this debate to asia
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and i think that is an overstatement of what we are seeking to accomplish and it also often in the conversation is framed and deployed as a military picnic to asia and is actually much more than that. it's a reinvestment of our national prestige, it does not rely necessary on military force him although we will be pivoting some of our military capacity to the region while louis the gain a presence in the middle east if you will. but the idea of what we are doing in east asia is to continue to strengthen our relationship with the emerging southeast asian state to strengthen our relationship with our treaty allies in east asia. the rhetoric that we use, the
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relationships we seek to improve, the deployment of our forces to the region can sometimes be to pick better cast as her attempt to contain china and the reality upon examination are not as that's not in fact the case. our military presence in east asia for a generation. you said that in decades since during the cold war and since facilitated china's rise. was very good for china. the stability that existed as a result of the u.s. military and diplomatic presence in east asia. we are very much a pacific nation and our interests have always been grounded very heavily in east asia and in particular given the economic development our economy is tied irrevocably to china and other economies from the region. so the rebound game for the reemphasized the united states in east asia is as much about our diplomatic, economic and
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political reemphasized us would ever be about the military emphasis. and it's not about containment. it can be read that way. it's not about containment. i would say a couple of other things. we have sought to bring china into our military relationships out there as well. the more we get to know each other in this bilateral or multilateral exercises, the more confident china is that this isn't about there being targeted. i think it is also important that china has learned some hard lessons of late come in particular being overly must or perhaps in it's pushing against its territorial -- territorial claims is the right word, the claims against the south china sea and the conflicting claims with its neighbors in that regard. having done that, it has created a level of alarm amongst those
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states, which has given them, i think the regional review with respect to china that would probably not have otherwise existed. there's a recent development for the chinese, i believe, have come to an agreement with the vietnamese to join in exploration and south china sea. that is the sort of thing on the one hand someone would say that's the sort of thing we want to see, some form of peaceful exploration conceivably of the floor of the south china sea. other regional states have conflicting claims that area may see the chinese are dividing and conquering that might otherwise be a solid bloc of states seeking to bring china to the table for concert is responsible talks about how you share the resources in the region. select all other things, it is a complex issue. we have strong relations with china economically. we have a strong relationship with the chinese people.
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we've got humanitarian issues that we still debate very vigorously and we will not walk away from the spirit that our economies are inextricably linked in so many ways that i think we have substantial levers that doesn't rely on military power is a coercive element to keep china in line in east asia. so i would like to see opportunity. i would like to see opportunity there. i don't necessarily see that we are in a trap for conflict. >> before we go to the twitter and audience questions, i do want to get in one last topic they would be absolutely remiss if we did not try you out on. and that is the question of our military estimates the touché and. anybody who commanded the basic school and knows where it's come from. we've had just a phenomenal
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success with the professional all fallen sheer force for again decades now. it has gotten smaller. it's apparently going to get smaller again. if there's one thing that really was the most debilitating problem in the past 12 years was that we were insufficiently large through iraq and afghanistan at the same time and the fantastic weapons platforms that we've become familiar with over the past generation are reaching the end of their service life with no obvious replacements immediately on staff and thanks to the miracle of sequestration, magnificent training institutions and capacity that we once had almost inevitably going to result in at least for the next 18 months or
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so, forces that are as ready as they know how to be and there used to be. this has been without saying that our policy has been overly militarized, military power is still the ultimate reserves in the state and kings and it's been a central pillar of american leadership, particularly since the end of the cold war, but the end of the cold war as well. how can we expect to exercise leadership of that sufficient military power to back diplomacy, the conclusion of the free trade act, et cetera, et cetera. >> well, what has made and what has sustained us as the superpower has been the sheer capacity that we have across many of the measures of the national power and the enormous
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political capacity and diplomatic capacity, the strongest economy planet, which in many ways has dictated the international system, which is an incredible power. but undergirding all of that, as you correctly state, has been in the end the ability for us to our power and no diplomacy in the end can be affected without the potential course to try diplomacy home. and so, the value of the united states military has been twofold in any respects. it has underwritten the strategic leadership of the united states by virtue of our ability to project power credibly to almost any location on the planet, to avert crises were to stand for conflict and to do it quickly and high levels
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of technology and enormous the capable formations built around development of a wonderful officer corps. and then, should conflict emerge, we have the capacity at a strategic level to deploy forces, sustain forces to fight the large where, ultimately to close the theater and move to the steady-state security environment, which would follow the large conflict. so we have the ability really to do it all, to respond very quickly for a crisis, but also if we had to fight the good work, we could do it. the challenges that we now face are becoming a series of challenges searchers sent priorities. again as i said, 40 some years in uniform in the previous occasion that looks like this right after the gulf war in
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terms of the decisions that would need to be made about structure of operations and modernization. but this is worse. after the gulf war, we didn't have the levels of chaos that we see in the middle east. it is generally very stable platform. as you recall, many of the middle east they come at kingdoms, countries have been participants of the coalition of the gulf war and the outcome of the gulf war desert storm dedicated their stability at the same time were able to solve the issue in kuwait. however, from the northern tier of africa, the african sahara, across the middle east, across the asia, all the way to the border of india, pakistan. we've got some very substantial challenges with respect to stability and the requirement to move very quickly. i have watched the service peas
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and i will stop to say the service chiefs when i was in command in afghanistan during the beginning of various kinds for services denied me nothing. whatever i needed to fight that war in afghanistan t whatever i needed to fight that war in afghanistan to the credit of the service chiefs, son who was ill in place today, i got everything i needed, even recognizing that created even more pressure is on the forces acting united states. my thanks to them and i'll be thankful to the secretary into the chairman, mike mullen and marty dempsey. i have not seen the kinds of choices that are service chiefs have made and these are really start some respects. were going to have to choose between comprehensive modernization programs and the kinds of technology in the hands of our troops for the operation
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and sustainment and maintenance funding necessary as you pointed out correctly to maintain the high levels of readiness through training and selection and development and the sheer size of the force because manpower costs, personnel costs a lot of money. and though, as the budget pressures increase, the services are going to have to make choices between and among modernization, readiness and size that can permit that force at the end of 13 years of conflict in a very focused operational environment, to reembrace and any respects the core competencies that we need for the forces to have after having fighting a counterinsurgency, to reembrace his core competencies on behalf of the national security objective of the united states
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at a time when we are shaping the force to be smaller, at a time we are trying to desperately assure that a standard, the continuing high standards were in the neck, that we are putting money against the training so we can remain a highly ready for his come able to the moment notice, but also given the modernization to our troops necessary for them to fight and win and a high-technology fight. these are very tough choices. not only do we have to make choices about the services, but you recall that as you well know, for your own expertise our services provide forces that are combatant commanders. combatant commanders have workplan that have been developed with an expectation but in terms of how fast we can get there in the size of the forces. as those forces began to mature and change to determine what we now can do as time goes on. this constrained budget
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environment has effects not just within the services. it has really substantial effects on our ability to project force, whether it is for a crisis or a big war. that then goes back to the issue of the roof of military for superpower. can it be the underwriting safety net, if you will, to enforce our political intent, strategic outcomes and strategic objectives and diplomacy. i don't think we've answered the question yet. the trending causes me significant concern. >> a question for us. i would like to try to get one outside question and you i'm not going to try to attempt because i would only butchery. but it is a question that reminds me that i see where retiring from others every prospect that your next assignment would be in europe. the question about the nato summit coming up next year and
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whether alliance should be on the agenda. but if i could write that and ask you, just to get us briefly your assessment of the security situation in europe. ..
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i think your question is an important one. none of us today could visualize a major conflict in europe. so the question about nato is; has nato outlived the universalness? ic we have been here before in the conversation. nato, i think, deserves to be considered and deserved to be measured beyond the simple security dimension of its original charter and why it existed. thinging a -- the con influence of values that has come together by the 28 state of nato.
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the willingness, i saw it at the business end. i saw the young troops from nato countries bleeding right alongside their nato partners. the willingness of nato to share a security burden was a really important realization for me. nato is not just about a security relationship. nato is much bigger than simply the sum of its countries. it is -- it has been a stable ides -- stabilizing feature -- a global stabilizing feature for many years. at the political level, the dip maltic level, they probably would not exist in the form or fashion we see it today if not for nato. i would say the benefit that nato accrues to the west in
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general by virtue of giving it a coherence and a common vision and a platform for common values is extraordinarily important, particularly now where there is so much chaos in so many locations of the role. i see there's a role for nato. it's less clear that there will be out of area security deployment. i think it's going to be a long time before we see nato deploy outside the on an afghan-type type or libyan-type expedition. but i see the value of nato in the coherence. as 28 states that are strong democracies, growing democracies, and have common values. the sum of which is far greater than the simple capacity of the individual parts. in that regard, i think it's a forfor stability globally. it's a force for democratic prince.
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i would love to see nato concern. i worry we are going undermine it inegg -- integrity and cohesion by making simple adjustments. not, we the united states, but all making adjustments that begin to dismantle unintentionally the coherence of nato. >> i'm going need a little bit stronger -- if we're going over time. somebody needs to -- i'm seeing the throat slitting over here. >> that's the kind of very simple hand gesture. >> we have to deal with me or you or -- >> well, in that case, sir, thank you for sharing your time with us. it's sort of become -- in these circumstance to i thank you people who rrnt in uniform
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any longer for their service to the country. it's clear your service to the country has changed form and continues. so thank you very much for sharing your time with us. i look forward to renewing the conversation. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. [applause] more now from the recent foreign policy event with remarks from the committee chair mike rogers and house foreign affairs elliot i think l. they took part in a discussion on syria and the u.s.-russia deal on syria and chemical weapons. the row few agree crisis in the region. and the nuclear -- >> good morning westbound welcome back. we ask you please make your way back to the seat as we get ready for the next conversation. it's an incredible honor to have
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congressman elliot i -- for a next discussion about the crisis in syria. before kicking off the timely conversation, i want to welcome, again, everyone watching on c-span and invite you to join the conversation at #fpi forum are. for those in the audience, please submit your questions with the preprinted cards on the substantial. you can see the question box in the center. we'll bring it up when we move to the q q & a portion. >> david is an opinion writer at "the washington post. in addition to the twice a week forum -- foreign affairs. he's written eight spy novels. i thank him for agreeing to moderate it and announce the panelists. >> thank you very much. welcome to you what i hope will be a very good and lively discussion of a difficult policy issue of syria. you'll have a change do ask your
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own questions, so please do be thinking and writing on the card questions that can be set up to us so you can play a part in this conversation. let me first introduce our panelist starting on the far right, as it were congressman mike rogers from michigan. i often say the same thing in introducing mike rogers which is that he has taken what was one of the most divided and partisan committee in the house. the house intelligence committee and it made it function as a bipartisan committee. that passes authorization legislation every year, congressman rogers has worked with his ranking member from maryland and that thing that you wish would happen throughout the congress in which members from both parties have each other's backs and try to do the country's work is actually happening in the house intelligence committee. it's terrific.
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so i want to say that in introducing congressman rogers. elliot, the ranking member on the house foreign affair committee is somebody who tried to work on bipartisan solutions to problems that matter to the country. he became a ranking member after howard we we are berman. for many years been in the congress. he's been a member of congress since 199 and has a significant record of legislative achievement and commitment. it's great to have two people who are trying to do the peoples' business in congress on foreign policies to talk about syria. i would like ask of you to begin by setting the scene for us. we've had a turbulent few weeks with syria policy which it appeared that the united states was going to to war. was going to launch tomahawk missile after a firey statement
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by the secretary of state, john kerry. then the president decided it was wisest to take the matter to congress and get congressional support. and then lo and behold, russian foreign minister and the russian president, vladmir putin announced a willingness to work with the united states to deal with a military attack by having a joint russian many-american program to destroy the weapons. ii would like, congressman rogers, to ask you to begin the conversation by talking about where we are. some people say it's terrible, the united states is so weak. putin is the big winner. and paint this in a very dire colors. what do you think? >> well, let's talk about the security footprint, if we can and what is happening in syria and lead to up to that very quickly. so you have an interesting trend happening now in syria. you center al qaeda actually disagreeing with its on the very
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issue of conducting external operations. you have a large pooling of al qaeda-a lotaffiliated group in the east that is certainly cause for concern. in that some friction because they feel they're in a safe enough position in the east should they be conducting external operations to syria. that in of itself is a concerning turn of events in syria. you have he hezbollah actively working on behalf of the regime in syria. you have some kurdish group. you have some groups up along the turkish border, they're looking for some territory they can claim their own and have an ton my is too strong a word. they want to be able to influence events as it happens in the north and east of syria. the one negative thing that happened when the ink dried on -- if there was ink, on the russian
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agreement, is you saw that the russian and the regime and the iran through hezbollah use the opportunity to refresh the troops, to restock, to dig in, to take some offensive operations, mainly through artillery strike and small unit movement to try to take advantage of the position. i think most people would see that conclusion. we are seeing a hardened position today and, you know, the result of the russian agreement. any time you can have an agreement to take chemical weapons off the battle field, that's a good day. what worries me it was a narrow focus. i thought we missed an opportunity by trying to stretch that to conventional weapons system. the rockets they have, the missiles they have -- they being the ashad regime mainly, supplied, by the way, through the russian means and -- are they stepping over conventional weapons system? we don't want to fall in the
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hands of bad guys too? probably. i hope that's something we can engage with the russians pretty quickly. and i reject wholely the people who want to define as a simple civil war in syria. we have goarn -- gone well beyond the point. it's a regional conflict. concerning. jordan ised at risk because the number of refugee. israel is obviously concerned. they for the first time, have al qaeda element on the northern border near the golan heights. something they haven't to deal with the degree thus far. iran is feeling cornered by sanctions em empowered by the event in sir yap. --
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nay departed to another country engaging in command and control and fighting candidly is very successful. all of that is concerning. and the last piece of this we need to worry about is the numbers of foreign fighters exceeds the number of foreign fighters we saw in iraq and afghanistan. think about that for a minute. that sheer number alone should give you pause. by the way, when it's over these beam will be combat-trained, combat hardened. they'll want to go home. we're going have a waive of individuals who are committed. who have training that we've not seen before in europe and, by the way, the united states as well. all of that we're trying to work through i think we're going to have have a long debate what about role we should have with the russians and iranians moving forward in assad's term in syria. i want to come back, congressman rogers, to some of what you've
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said. one point in particular about these entrenched al qaeda fighters and what to do about them. i want to first ask congressman if he would take us back to the days immediately after the president's speech, which the president sadism it's important for the action to be fully legitimate, to take it to congress and get congressional support. it's widely said that one of the surprises and decisive developments of that period was that it appeared increasingly that the president could not hold his own caucus. the house democrats were unlikely to support the president in sufficient numbers. despite fairly strong lobbying on behalf of this resolution in favor of military action by apac. the proisrael lobby group that
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is well-connected on capitol hill. some rent resented it's pushed in the fight. it's not about israel's security and it's inappropriate. >> let me ask you first, is it true that the democratic caucus was iffy? was increasingly unlikely that would support the revolution. second, were you troubled by the linkage of this to more traditional issues involving israel's security? >> i think you have to take the support or lack of support for a strike in syria in totality and not just look at democrats but also republicans. look, i think the united states is war weary. we were hearing from our constituents overwhelmingly they didn't favor any kind of action in syria. i was one of the few who publicly said i support a strike
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in syria, and i supported not because i like strikes, but i think that it was a way of telling assad that the president said using weapons of mass destruction gas on his own people is not acceptable. i think that the situation in the congress was iffy. i felt the president didn't have to come to initially. the war power ability and gave the president 60 days to come to congress. i still feel that way. the president felt otherwise. i respect that. i think when he came to capitol hill, he and his people found that it was a lot of resistance. i think there was, frankly, more resistance on the republican side than the democratic side. in fact, it is a seemed strange to me that many of my republican colleagues who had supported the war in afghanistan the war in
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iraq, desert storm, thicks like that were suddenly opposed to supporting president obama on strikes in syria. it seemed like a disconnect to me. it was frankly, politically motivate rather than stance. it was also a hard sell and the democratic caucus, i think ultimately we'll never know, it was conjecture if the democracy would have supported the president on it. i think it was iffy in on whether the president would get support the congress. respects were opposed to it. i've always felt that foreign policy should be bipartisan. i know, that the committee and rightly so you complimented the way he run the committee in a bipartisan fashion. we try do that on the foreign affair committee. we made it a trademark this year
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to talk about bipartisanship. i think whenever possible foreign policy should be bipartisanship. i think it strengthens us and our president and whoever he or she may be. i think it's very important we keep it in a bipartisanship fashion. i think that was really the reality was it was iffy. i think because of a lack of republican support. in term of apac, i don't think it was wrong for apac to get involved. israel is in the area. it's a difficult area and a bad neighborhood. obviously what happens in syria is very important to israel the golan heights is the border actual now between israel and syria. as you pointed out, there are lots of pitfalls for israel. i think the pro-vale community if they decide to get involved with it, did the right thing, and the reaching of apac is not just a democratic party or
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republican party. st really across party lines. i think apac has built the most effective lobbying force of any organization on capitol hill and they have strong ties and influence in both the democratic caucus and the republican caucus. i think it was appropriate if that's what they came to do to get involved. i think, again, we'll never know what would have happened because the agreement that the president agreed to with russia and syria is a good agreement. i agree with mike. it's narrow in scope. it's good it happened. but it's still, frankly, troubles me that assad is still in power after all these years. you may remember, i wrote a syria accountability act ten years ago. i got it passed and signed with a republican congress and republican president. because, again, i think the foreign policy need to be bipartisan and syria has been a
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bad play the assad has been bad players for so many years. >> let me ask you, congressman, just a brief followup. one of the things that was widely said at home and even more abroad was that the president's difficulty in getting the congressional support to assert this norm against the use of chemical weapons. told the world how war weary america was. in that sense, a worrying precedent for the much-larger and more consequential issue of iran and iran's nuclear program. the iranian's probably looking at this would probably think that it was less likely that president obama would take the country to war to stop the iranian nuclear program. i know, you thought a lot about that. what would be your judgment about whether there's anything to worry about here?
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well, sure there's something to worry about. i think the iranians were watching very carefully how the syrian option played out in the united states. i think it was obvious that the united states is war weary. i think they watch us very, very carefully. that was one of the reasons why i was for striking syria. i believe that assad has essentially turned himself in to iran's proxy in syria. the war for assad was going poorly until hezbollah came across the border and fought on the side of assad and won back all the towns and was very successful. of course, hezbollah is controlled -- hezbollah is a terrorist group and controlled by iran. and the iranians want assad to win.
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so this is something that is intertwined. in fact, i think some of the dissatisfaction we're seeing with some of our allies, saudi arabia, for instance, was what happened in syria plays in the fact that everyone knows that iran is there and watching. but i think that president obama, to his credit, has said that with iran all options are on the table. and just the way i believe it was a credible threat of an american force it forced assad, although it forced the agreement on the syrians and allowed them to agree to it. i think it's a credible threat of american force that will help if there is to be an agreement with the iranians. make sure it's a good agreement. by the way, iom for an agreement, but i want a good agreement no agreement, in my opinion is better than a bad.
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the president continues to say all options are on the table. and the negotiations that are going on now, i support them. but i obviously believe time is of the essence and the iranians are masters at playing for time. i think we should know, frankly, within a few weeks if they are serious or trying to string us along. >> happily, it seems to be the situation where time doesn't play in the advantage. because of the impact of sanctions. i want to ask, congressman rogers about the next big date on our syria calendar. that is the so called georgia geneva 2 conference, which seems to be tentively set for the third week of november. for those of you who don't follow it carefully. geneva 2 would be a follow on to the transitional procedures that kofi annan negotiated a couple
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of years ago. it's a joint u.s.-russian project. it's discussed at great length by secretary kerry and love love are a. i want to ask you whether you think it is possibility to achieve anything significant at a geneva 2 conference now. in that sense, where you support it going forward. and perhaps you could also take this opportunity to does one of the issues that is central to this geneva 2 conference is how can the opposition get strong enough it can bargain effective late geneva and do better on the beaght field? >> well, this is a problem -- it was the problem with the first go around and going to be the problem in geneva 2. once the deal was done with the russians. it was done by two entities who
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are playing very different roles in syria. and so what happened is general -- trying to hold together what we understand as the free syrian army hopefully free of more radicals not going to be the case given the tide and how things are turning in syria. and they felt and probably legitimately so they got their leg cut out from under them. if somebody doesn't have the credibility to tell the opposition here is where we go forward ton a deal, we will get no deal that will hold. period. so we can talk all we want. when we say it's a u.s. and russia-led event in syria that tells me they won't be successful up front front. they are the key players. we are the united states and they are the russians. there are few people that can walk in to aside and say that's it. no more spare parts, no more
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weapons, no more gasoline, and no more finances. your days are numbered. it's time we move forward on an agreement. they're, really, the only ones aside maybe from iran who have no no more questions -- notion to do that. that's why it's important engage the russians in the process. that being said, who walks to the opposition and says this is the way forward. assad is here for 14 months or whatever it is. here is how we do a transitional government and lay it out. there's a ceasefire for a temporary period of time. no government, including the united states of america, can now do that. the saudis are frustrated. i think the representative mentioned the saudis and how they are pulling away from american interests and publicly stating it. it's concerning. so you all the things working against a successful geneva 2. i think that is why elliot and i both cosponsored a bill that elliot authored on trying to find a way forward to arm the
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opposition, train the opposition, in a way that allows us to have friends and influence for a peaceful conclusion. and i know some people think it's a dichotomy by giving weapons and were as and training to the opposition and peaceful conclusion. we believe if they are strong enough and have influence enough and can turn the tide on a battle field, that is the time that the u.s. and russians can actually sit down and broker a deal that can be a lasting peace that doesn't create chaos after ward. and candidly today, if assad was taken out today, we would have chaos in syria we will pay a price for. and so i, too, believe that assad needs to goo. ic now we are in a different place than two years ago. 18 months ago, 12 months ago. the situation is deteriorated so badly. we have to find a way now to stun the chaos that will follow when he eventually and he will,
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leave power. so that's what i worry about on geneva 2. we thought we were promised x. i think a lot of them meant airplane and tank and sophisticated piece of weaponry never part of the discussion but their perception was different. and so when all that stuff didn't show up on the beaght field for the opposition in syria i think it created a credibility problem. real world perceived. it's perceived it's real. that's the challenge they have walking in to geneva 2. let me ask you each quickly before i turn to excellent questions from the audience to address the issue that is at core of the question how to make the opposition stronger and more credible force. that is program syria's hard nose program that would work to
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train, to some extent, arm members of general interests force would help them create and commando unit, help them create the kind of command and control muscle they have needed. congressman, you're so close to this you have to be careful, i guess, but tell us you know what you can about how it's going. it's so important in term of the larger story. and i can't talk about specific detail. i can team you early on, many of us in a bipartisan way believe what can the united states bring to impact on the battle needle syria early on? training. nobody does it better than the united states. intelligence packages, allowing a trained unit that learns command and control but armed in a way that can be effective on the battle field to get to the right place and affect the right outcome on a mission. nobody does that better than the united states of america. and the other piece of this,
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which i think got lost in the e indication was the united states trying corral in what is a whole bunch of countries who have large influence in the region throwing weapon system over the border and running like heck. and it had some serious consequences. we know there are nation states that we work well with who don't really care where weapon system end up. as long as it's pointed at assad it's a good day for them. we've had a difficult time corralling it. part is we had a reluctance of sitting a the the table and showing u.s. leadership. you'll hear the complaint from all of our middle east allies. which is why you see this recent fairly public discussion of saudi arabia pulling away from the united states. which hopefully we can get this fixed and turned around. i think it would be have serious negative consequences for the united states in the long run if saudi arabia decided to keep
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walking down the path. and so what i think the perception problem was as i said earlier all this good stuff was going to come. they were going to have well-trained unit and engage in the fight. the problem is this, that i think the u.s. rhetoric and u.s. resources is a huge gap. as the situation on the ground has changed. i think both our u.s. rhetoric, and our stated goal and intention should also change. so for anyone 2 months ago saying we ought to be all in and help and, you know, do robust maybe even public way sporting the opposition in these ways nap circumstance doesn't exist today. so i think we need to change. we can't keep the same rhetoric when we know on the ground that the more extremist elements are winning the tide of influence among the opposition. why? better funded, better trained,
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better committed fighters. and i think our intelligence services are doing a miraculous job trying to understand who is who. who are the good guys. who are the bad guys. who can we trust that maybe when it falls apart we'll have some friends on the ground in syria. the problem is it's not enough. and i think the longer goes in the current public-stated goal with what we're doing will only create more animosity. i don't mean to be cute by half. it's a complicated situation on the ground. it change our rhetoric, change our goals, change what we hope to influence when it's done. and try to work with our allies to keep sophisticated weapons away from groups we know are radicalized. and, by the way, again in the east, we're not talking about four or 500 people. we're talking about in excess of 10,000 people committed al qaeda
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affiliates. this is a serious problem brewing for us. i argue on our current policy trend we're not going to meet the challenge the way we're doing it today. what i hear you saying amid necessarily careful language is that united states needs to have a more aggressive and focused nonpublic program to deal with the reality in syria. am i getting that right? >> i think so. if your stated goal. the stated goal and we both agree on this. assad needs to go. i think the administration's original policy is assad needs to go. we are for it. i'm supporting the position. time has changed the fact on the ground. and i don't believe if our stated u.s. intention we are configured to make it happen. as a matter of fact, i would
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argue we're not we are not a position do that on the ground in syria. we have alienated our ally and opposition in the stated goal versus the resource position on syria on the ground today. i argue let's refocus this. let's sit down and figure out, we are where we are. we have a growing problem in the east. turkish -- you have a hezbollah in the west and in the south. we have to change our calculus. what do we want to accomplish today? again, it's a change of position for me but not. if he goes today we're in serious trouble. not because he's gone but the chaos that ensues. everybody is going to try to get their hands on the sophisticated weapon cache. we better change -- we better reconfigure ourselves. i believe in covert action. i believe it played an important
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role since george washington engaged in the revolutionary war. it is a part of advancing u.s. national security breast. maybe it's a better place for us to do something that influence the outcome there so we gate peaceful less chaotic, more supportive of the allies in the region outcome than the pathic we're on today. >> congressman, i want to ask you a question posed by one of our audience members, tom. identifies himself as a senate staffer and asks what are the u.s. national security interests associated with syria? if i might expand that just a bit, dealt with chemical weapons which are u.s. national security interest. what we're facing in reality in syria today, it seems, the breakup of the unitary state of syria. now effectively can tonnized.
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does the united states have a national security interest in keeping the nation of syria win its traditional boundaries together? >> well, you know, i often questioned how much we should be commit to keeping these colonial boundaries in attack. we the argument during the iraq war, when many of us thought that the kurds in another the part of the country should be allowed at the very least an ton -- and allow to run their own nation. i think the same could be said for syria. i think my very correctly when he was laying out what happened two years ago. we had strong feeling that the general and the free syria army would emerge victorious. as he mentioned, i put in a bill
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which he cosponsored to arm the rebels. things have changed on the ground and there is a lot of chaos there as well. and so i think we need to reassess what we do now. i still believe that assad needs to go. because i think that he is a brutal dictator. i think, unfortunately, a lot of upprizings start with good intentions. the uprising in syria started with people who were fed up with the weight of the ashad regime and strangling the people of syria. they wanted to have a free syria. we in the united would feel very compatible with and akinship with. how jihadist have been pouring to the country even to a larger degree than we saw in iraq.
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again our allies in the region. our close allies, israel, saudi arabia, others as well are right there. we have a tyke in term of what happened. so i think that our interest in the region, are shifting. i think we're in the middle of having a shift. i'll tell you, i think the united states needs to be engaged and that the can tonnization of syria might well happen. the king of jordan game to see us a few months ago in the foreign affairs committee and took a map and started dprawing and showed how you would have the division of syrian. that's essentially what aside is playing for. i think assad, at this point, doesn't care about the north and a lot of area. he cares about this enclave, large enclave including
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damascus, the cap to the, which would have bought lebanon which would be a shiite which is why we believe he used gas on the suburbs outside of damascus to sort of ethic cleans the area of sunnies. if we think what happens in syria doesn't have a spillover effect on the countries including iran as we mentioned before. we're very badly mistaken. i think we have an interest? trying to stabilize syria and trying to transition to a post assad syria and trying to perhaps do it with the russians. i think that it's a long shot. but we have to keep trying. >> i think either of you hear anything from secretary kerry or others in the state department that would suggest in recent conversations with the foreign
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minister love rove the russians indicated a recognition that to stabilize the situation in syria. assad must leave when the term of office officially expires next year. have you heard anything like that? >> i have haven't heard that. it's something we hope. i think it's true. we're hope that the russians will come to understand that assad has no future. i think the agreement we did with the russians in term of getting rid of the gas and the weapons of mass destruction was a good thing. i think something very good came out of that.
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not only in the united states best interest but russia as well. >> what are your sources telling you? >> we knew early on they were looking for an interim period of time for assad to stay in power. it's one of the main things they wanted. i think in the beginning they were asking for complete staying as long as he can get elected. trust me, that system he would have gotten elected. then they started adjusting awhile back on the number of month they are willing to negotiate. that's with the friction started between u.s. effort and russian
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efforts in syria. it's not incompatible with their position. i think they feel they're in a good place today because of the chemical weapons agreement. the fact that assad is pretty much untouchable now between when the end of the chemical weapons agreement happens anyway which would be pretty close to the election cycle. would they try to get them another election? i think they'll start there. i think they'll come to the position eventually that they don't have to he's going to have to go at some point as well. on the national security interest, quickly if i can. about engagement in the world. our national security interest in the syria are clear to many of us from the beginning. eight, you have a place that has aided and abetted and some estimates as high as 600 through
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cutout through syria in iraq taken the life of 600 u.s. soldiers. it a approximatey state for a nation causing bad behavior in the nation. including, by the way, trying to kill the saudi ambassador in the united states capitol. this is as serious as it gets. an earlier intervention. we don't mean military. we're talking about using training and assets we can bring unique to the situation were in the national security interest. because we immediately defeated ousts by saying we're tired of international engagement, we're not going do this. we waited a very long time and now we have a bowl of bad activity. i think elliot agrees had an earlier intervention with helping the opposition two years ago. you wouldn't see the circumstance on the ground. why is it in the national security interest today even more than two years ago? you have a "safe haven" developing in the east of syria along the iraqi border where
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they're talking about conducting external operations which is exactly what happened in afghanistan which lead to 9/11. there are thousands, now, of people who have come from some western nations, the united states other places who are going go back. you cannot have a safe haven operate to people who are committed to act of terrorism to advance their political goal. the only thing we think that are stopping that now the fact there's a struggle between al qaeda leadership saying hold off. don't do it yet. we don't want foreign intervention in the fight yet. they have shown they are have developed a level of patience and strategy we haven't seen before. so in other words, let this call dron go. we'll start and begin planning for external operation. the fight there's a group now
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that said no, we adopt it now. we feel safe and comfortable here. we would like to engage in external operations now. that's what our united states national security interests. we said after 9/11 no more "safe haven." -- safe haven we're never allowing it. we have the largest development of the safe haven without our ability to conduct operations than we've ever seen. that should concern all of us. again, you know, when we don't make a decision thinking we're doing international good or tired of being engaged in the world, what you get now is a worse problem. i hope people study the case and study from 24 months ago to today. i think it might reinvigorate interest in engageing.
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.. can they help or will they hurt? >> i think the first pressing problem with iran is getting them to get rid of their nuclear weapons.
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i think in large part how they act towards that goal will determine whether iran will be taken seriously in terms of a player from peace in the region or as someone who has committed all kinds of inappropriate behavior in the region. ia -- and the entire world and that is a record that has mentioned before. iran has been a particular a bad player and i don't think they should be reported or elevated as someone who can be constructive in terms of syria. i think let them first show that they will be constructive in terms of dismantling their nuclear program and i think that is what we have to concentrate on right now so i would be opposed to iran having any kind of a role in syria in the talks
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unless they show that they are serious in trying to be responsible in terms of dismantling their nuclear weapons program. and i think there has to be more than just you know trying to act charming. the new president -- it's unclear to me what responsibilities he has. it's unclear to me if this is more just window dressing or if it's real. if it is real i am happy if it's real but i have my doubts and let's wait and see before we start elevating iran's peacemakers. >> interestingly i interviewed president roh hahne one-on-one when he was here and he said pretty much the same thing. put the nuclear file first and then that's deal with the other issues and the reason is that he seems to have authority for a supreme leader to do the nuclear
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file. he does not have authority to deal on syria bahrain and other regional crises which are closely held where the ra gc. mike do you have any thought about the wisdom of bringing iran into this process? >> i would not have had them sit at the table unless they had a long laundry list of most prior to it. they have not negotiated in good faith and remember this is in first -- just because it's rhouhani and people as of said with some sense of euphoria its great he is with us. that's just simply hasn't been the case so in all of the other nuclear talks the most productive thing was an agreement to have more nuclear talks. that's it. that's what we got out of it and i don't see any change here today. remember where iran is today so they are active they supporting hezbollah in syria. they have conducted well over a dozen political assassination attempts worldwide externally through iran and again including
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the attempt in the united states of america are capital. they attacked saudi aramco and nearly took it off-line and crippled their main cash flow basically in saudi arabia that does all of their oil and natural gas transactions with the very devastating cyber cyberattack. according to public reports iran has been probing aggressively in the hundreds of times just this year alone our financial services networks. in a way that is -- would give one pause. to say that we are going to allow those folks the credibility of which that is what they want here. they want this international credibility that comes with sitting at the table so they are in a better position to negotiate the nuclear issues and ever eventually what is happening in syria. i just think it would be unwise at best and really damaging to
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our ability to control what is the leading largest supplier of international terrorism on the face of the earth and it comes to state government. >> let me run through a few more questions from our audience just briefly. one is a twitter message from the twitter account is at mayhill i think it is but the question is how threatened is the jordanian monarchy by spillover from syria? congressman angle that's the things that i hear the most about when i talk to israeli sources about the situation that as a sunni jihad gets stronger and stronger in syria and consequences to the king in jordan becomes more serious what do you hear and what do you think and what should the u.s. do about it? >> first of all the u.s. needs to do everything possible to work closely with the king of jordan.
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jordan has been a loyal and trusted ally of the united states for many years not only in this crisis but in many other crises and jordan is feeling the weight of refugees hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring across their border from syria into jordan. we have been helping with that and we have been helping a lot with that but i think the king is very concerned and very worried. whenever he comes to washington to speak with us i always feel it's like a breath of fresh air coming from that region because he really i think has it all together and understanunderstan ds what's going on and has a very clearheaded in terms of what the unit states in the west and the u.s. should do. if anything happened to his regime it would be devastating to our policies and we need to be looked upon as somebody who
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is loyal and a nation that stays with our allies and keeps with them and protects them. i think jordan is one of those very important allies but clearly in jordan they are feeling the strain right now of all these refugees and the war right next to them in syria. >> is there something new that we should be doing congressman angle or congressman rogers to help jordan to go to this question of jordanian instability? >> well i think we should just continue what we have done. we have provided a lot of humanitarian relief. we to some degree are an umbrella of protecting the military and protectinprotectin g them. we need to encourage good relations between jordan and egypt and between jordan and israel and jordan and saudi arabia and we need to let them know that we are dependable.
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what mike said before is very very true. people rely on the united states. people have to know that we are a dependable ally. it's good policy for us to be a dependable ally of but it's also good policy for us in terms of what we need. al qaeda was planning and plotting when we weren't going after them. when the soviet union and the russians were thrown out of afghanistan we sort of packed up and went home and we allow that country to fester instead of make ensure that the taliban didn't rear its ugly head. we cannot afford to do that anymore. i know that people feel we are all tired. we are all tired but we have responsibilities not only as the leading power of the world, we have responsibilities to ourselves.
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i'm a new yorker and i remember september 11 compact 2011 like it was yesterday. it was one of the visceral moments in my life and probably everyone's lives. we have to be vigilant and we need to work to make sure that the people that would do us harm are prevented from doing it and the people like jordan that are lining with us like saudi arabia and achieve -- egypt that are allied with us that we work with them so it's a two-way street and protects them and keeps them working with us but it also protects us. >> imagine if 100 million people showed up in the united states in the next three or four months. it would need devastating for us to keep up with and that's basically what's happening over and jordan. i have been in the camps along the border and it's all they can do to keep up with water and sanitary issues. they built the camp literally in the middle of nowhere to hold 10,000 people. they are trying to create a
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small town on the water and filled it filled up in four days. they have small towns along that order that had more than double the population. they had an -- if you have relatives across the border you can come in and within that community so they have doubled the size of the small towns in a very short order that already have water and sewage issues. it is a real problem and we are also seeing some certainly the syrians are understanding that there is flames to be fanned by penetrated these camps and causing trouble and we have seen lots of trouble you -- in these camps and i believe we can trace this right back to damascus and bad behavior. all of that is adding pressure to a country that had reached little resources to offer its country literally hundreds of thousands of people who aren't citizens of jordan. we have to continue to step up
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and help them and they need the international community did to do more than they are doing candidly one of the things we can do is to help try to contain the poppy refugee flow by offering some areas of stability in syria that allow people to find a safe haven of their own and a good safe haven or bad safe haven in this place where they don't feel they have to cross the border in order to protect their families. they are populated with young girls and kids whose parents are telling them to flee. it's a tragic event to wealthy these camps and meet these young folks who have been displaced by some pretty awful, fighting so all of the things they do happen all at the same time and other than events like this we don't talk about syria much anymore. after the big kerfuffle over should be due a surgical strike on their ability to deliver chemical weapons or not we have moved on as americans and i think that's a tragedy. if we don't put more emphasis on
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trying to solve this problem. >> let me ask for one more quick response from congressman rogers because this is an important question and then we'll conclude our session. this is from robert zarate from the foreign-policy initiative and he asks how confident are you that assad will really give and then he quotes the language, immediate and unfettered access which is what is demanded, to all chemical weapons sites and declare it every transfer in or out of syria since 1946 as he is required to do by article iii of the chemical weapons convention. what is your confidence level and what we are doing? >> well what we are trying to do by coffman does level is high and where they are trying to do the best that they can. my confidence level is extremely low that we will have access to all the sites that we need. remember at one time they were talking about as many as 40 new sites.
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the opcw has been 214 or 15 will follow shortly and in the time they have been there they have found equipment used to manufacture but we have tons of of this stuff left. i i think that we are fooling ourselves if we think they haven't short shirted -- if there is sunday at lock set of books on the chemical weapons program i will eat that table. clearly there is. they are going to try to game the system. >> never make an event you can't keep. >> i do worry that it's done and it's neat and clean and we have a clean solution. this is not something we should walk away from varied delicately. we need to continue intelligence gathering to find the gaps. we are seeing some disturbing
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reports about moving some of the excess in certain places in areas that would benefit the regime. all of those things are happening all the same time so i have very low confidence we are going to get it all. as i said am i glad we are getting our hands on some of the production? you bet and i think that's a good outcome but we shouldn't as i said close the book and think we have done everything we should do in the chemical weapons program. >> so i just want to say as moderator in a day when you get a sensible bipartisan discussion about the big foreign-policy issue and you end up -- it's a good day so i want to thank congressmcongressm an rogers and congressman engel for an excellent discussion. please join me in thanking them. it. [applause]


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