tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 11, 2014 2:30pm-4:31pm EST
missiles. we thought and hoped, and the terms we've been talking, that these weapons would allow us to put out a theory of deterrence, a policy, a doctrine of massive retaliation, and with that statement of massive retaliation, we could deter everything and maybe even compel some things. over a period of years, 1950s, the truth emerged that we could actually compel nothing and only really be confident of deterrence of an attack on the homeland. but ore things -- other things very hard to deal with. we wished, apparently, to help the french. certainly these nuclear weapons were not going with to do it. we might have wished, some did, to do something about the russian move on hungary in 1956. these weapons had nothing to do
with this. we could claim they were a deterrent against the soviet union, but remember what i said about knowing whether a deterrent is working or not. it was a proposition that it was working. but we weren't sure. there was also the realization as we understood sort of the texture of deterrence that our claims for extended deterrence, that we could actually extend the nuclear umbrella to nato, to the european states, to northeast asia, to japan and south korea. and, by the way, the philippines and australia eventually. that was the proposition. but that other word comes in here, what's the credibility of deterrent? would we, as our allies said not literally but figuratively -- would we trade pittsburgh for paris? that's just the alliteration,
that's all i'm going for with that. we had somebody write about tactical nuclear weapons as a bridge, that would be henry kissinger, "nuclear weapons in foreign policy," in order to reassure the allies that we're worried that we would not engage in strategic nuclear war in order to protect them from a conventional invasion from europe: which we could not stop with congress vexal forces, so the -- conventional forces, so the proposition went. so the tactical nuclear weapons also brought us to a new place. not only was the in the deterrent, but now we're deploying weapons for actual use for war fighting, the tactical nuclear weapons being the first ones for that. then there was a concept of stability as it emerged and began to get defined. initially, it was a very simple concept. you may have heard the metaphor, two scorpions in a bottle. us and the soviet union. one scorpion bites the other scorpion, the bitee bites back,
and they're both dead. doesn't pay to bite anybody in that situation, so everybody is deterred. and there's this happy concept for a while. and then the truth of the situation was captured in a very influential piece written called "the delicate balance of terror," and then everybody began to understand that stability -- now the third word -- the stability of the strategic relationship depends upon the survivability of your capacity to strike back or your second strike capability. just about when that is sinking in to our mindset, the russians orbit this basketball-sized entity, sputnik. and the wonder of putting something in space is surpassed by the horror that if they could put something in space, they
could put something any place. on the ground in the united states. so we leave the '50s with an appreciation for the limits of nuclear weapons, we leave the '50s with an understanding of the difficulty of sustaining credibility, of the fragility of stability. it was not a happy place to be at that point. you remember there was something important in the election called the miss sill gap -- missile gap which was very big just before the election and completely disappeared after the election. it was a myth, in fact. so in the 1960s -- by the way, what you should be holding on to here, the importance is the relevance to the situation we now have in northeast asia with north korea, south korea, japan, south asia with india and pakistan and the middle east
with israel, iran and perhaps others, right? so in the 1960, which might be called the mcnamara years, we are again dealing with conceptually with deterrence, the credibility of deterrence, with the concepts of vulnerability and stability. mcnamara offers the phrase "flexible response," and it actually is used in two ways at least. one is in conventional forces, a more flexible response, but it's also used to cover the topics we're talking about which is our nuclear weapons establishment. and what mcnamara says we need is a strike capability which is not limited to a spasmodic response that destroys the cities of the soviet union. that this is not credible, to do
that. what we need is something that will be more precise, it will be more limited. and he propounds the concept of second strike counterforce. we'd always had, before that, second strike countervalue which is horrifying as it is to say out loud meant that we were planning to incinerate roughly 50 million innocent soviet civilians. i say "innocent" because i don't think they ever voted for the people who were you canning the -- conducting the policy. but 50 million was a nice round number, and all we have are round numbers. and he said this was wrong. we would, in fact, be better off with a more ethical, moral posture of attacking their forces, their military, something of their industry -- though that has a lot of
collateral damage with it. and that became one of first important insights of the mcnamara era. second strike counterforce instead of counter-city. it was supposed to be captured in something that was born in the early '60s, '63 i think, the single integrated operational plan which would have all the targets and match targets with our weapons systems so that when they were put before the president in a critical moment, mr. president, we're under attack and we have a launch under attack posture, just push this button here, and we're good. well, that -- there was a problem with that. it did not match up with flexible response. it was, essentially, the same spasmodic response. eventually, the si-op was around for a good 30 years, actually 40
years, the si-op would begin to reflect a certain flexibility. but for the first 20 years, it really didn't. and it really was quite spasmodic with enormous civilian damage, collateral damage in the soviet union if it were ever executed. the second thing about flexible response, second strike counterforce is that it didn't take too long before the soviets came to understand that if the united states of america was expecting its forces to survive a soviet attempt to destroy them in a first strike and have residual, retaliatory force which we could deploy flexibly targeting their remaining forces, their conventional forces and their industry, it was highly likely we had the capacity to do that damage to them if we struck first and that we had what strategists called a first strike capability.
that is to say we could destroy their offensive forces such that they had no means to punish us to retaliate meaning they had just lost deterrence. that was a deduction of the soviets. and i would suggest to you a correct one from the mcnamara strategy of the '60s. we dominated, overwhelmingly dominated the soviet union during this period in terms of our strategic nuclear forces. the russians in the '60s were very unhappy. the second thing that made them unhappy is something that it sort of rhymes with what happens these days. it was mcthat mora and his colleagues -- mcnamara and his colleagues' enthusiasm for defense. it meant that we explored the ab measuring. we did this with what i now called architectures.
one is sentinel, it was called, and that emerged or evolved into the safeguard system. it was not designed to stop a full soviet attack. it wasn't defense by denial, it was intended to stop accidents, maybe unauthorized launches and then eventually hit upon the chinese. oh, it was designed because the chinese might attack us. they're so weak this might actually deal with the chinese threat. but the actual architecture was not appealing to everybody. it involved two missiles, both of them with nuclear warheads. the first was called a spartan missile, and the idea was that if we detected the dew line, detected a launch by the soviet union which would come over the poles and attack the united states of america, we would launch a missile that had a five megaton warhead with a bunch of
these. it would detonate exoatmosphereicly, and it would destroy the incoming warheads. brilliant. and there was another missile on the ground called the sprint, and it would go with up -- again, getting those missiles coming over the poles -- and get the remaining missiles with a yield, a warhead in the kiloton range. still city-busters detonating in the atmosphere. among the people who did not think this was such a good idea were the canadians -- [laughter] which you can appreciate, i think. so we left the '60s with the u.s. in a dominant position, the soviets concerned and building fast. having had a romance with ballistic missile defense or antiballistic missile at the time going into the '70s. now, the decade of the '70s was the decade of schlesinger, a decade of brown, two secretaries
of defense, and these were years of, i would call, the search for credibility. that word again. it began early in the '70s, early in the decade with arms control. and the first major strategic arms treaty, salt, strategic arms treaty, which i guess you would say aimed at shaping and a country -- counterintuitively limiting the extent to which either side could defend itself. people didn't understand what's wrong with defense? later that's exactly what ronald reagan would say, but people understood what vulnerability meant. and the strategists were saying our vulnerability is an assurance to the other side. they can always punish us. their vulnerability is that we can always punish them, therefore, deterrence is firm,
therefore, we have a stable strategic relationship, right? not everybody got that. the abm treaty permitted both sides to deploy -- it changes, but eventually -- a system of their choice defending one area. and the soviet union chose to defend moscow. and where did we choose to defend? where? washington. no. >> [inaudible] >> north dakota and montana, naturally. not so naturally, a lot of people didn't get that. washington, maybe not, new york possibly. they weren't thinking north dakota and montana. that's where, of course, we had icbms deployed, and we were making sure our retaliatory ability survived. we were really thinking like strategists. unfortunately, as we were doing this designing of this very
complex treaty and the abm treaty, we were also working on a technological innovation which was, arguably, the most destabilizing of any technology we had developed and put on the ground, and that was the multiple independently-targeted reentry vehicle or mmirv, and that allowed you to fracture the warhead, put a number of warheads on one missile whether it be submarine launched or an ibmc, and that meant one missile could destroy a multitude of targets. and all of a sudden the misis sill to target ratio switched. it used to be if you wanted to be assured of taking out your target, you needed three missiles. so it was actually an advantage to not fire first. once you put several warheads on one missile, you get an advantage to striking first, and that's called destabilizing. and we deploys mirvs first, and then others deployed -- others being the soviet union.
so this was a period in which the schlesinger/brown period in which we went through arms control, we went through some defense. and interestingly, in what's called national security decision memorandum 242 we focused very much on or war fighting. on war fighting. we were moving away from, and this is a very important concept for later in our lives in south asia, northeast asia and the middle east, instead of thinking of nuclear weapons as the weapon of last resort we would never use, it was a deterrent weapon, it was a minimum deterrent weapon, no, we were moving to war fighting with our weapons. and this was a function, really, of look aring at these weapons concern look at these weapons as -- at looking at these weapons being used. in other words, what is a war going to look like, how will it end, who will win the war? these were not concepts that we
had been comfortable with before, but we started thinking that way. we thought -- we started thinking that way to add credibility to our posture, the theory being that the credibility would then lead to stability. the diversity of targets, the counterforce capability, the precision with which we could destroy targets were all emphasized by schlesinger during his period as secretary of defense. when brown became secretary of defense in the carter administration, he had presidential decision memorandum 59, p.d.59 in which the countervailing strategy was framed. we were aiming at this point to be sure that whatever it is the soviets valued, we could target. there was no point in us having, as we did in the si-op and we
had from the very first days of nuclear weapons, we had three target sets. we were imagining what it is it would take to deter the soviet union. well, we started getting extra insight during the carter administration because we were watching the soviets build some very deeply-buried bunkers for their leadership. and it became clear that what the soviets valued most was themselves. in the leadership world. and so we worked very hard at being able to target that leadership and to make sure that they knew that we could. very heavily counterforced. lots of emphasis on precision, lots of emphasis on a capability to do so with confidence. we move by decades, we are now into the 1980s and the reagan years, and this is really the high point in nuclear weapon
deployment in terms of numbers and capacity. we were deploying on both sides roughly 30,000 strategic weapons on each side. that was probably enough. there were over 16,000 targets in 1983 in the si-op that we were thinking we had to deal with to deter the soviet union. the soviets, of course, were going heavy. they were moving from a big, ugly missile -- the ss9 -- to a bigger, more uglier missile, the ss18. they were increasing accuracy, having high levels of many warheads per missile. and there was a great intensity and concern about what all this offensive capability meant for a first strike capability on either side, first strike
capability meaning you can target the other side's forces and destroy a sufficient number such that they cannot retaliate in a second strike and cause you, the striker, unacceptable damage. i know that's a little contorted, but that's how it goes. there was, in other words, surprise attack, fear. gorbachev and reagan meet at reykjavik, and they hit it off. there's a i new book by ken adleman about that, those days at reykjavik, and it's quite -- i recommend it to you. the atmosphere is very good for these two gentlemen eventually, and much to the horror of both staffs, it looks like they are going to agree on serious reduction in nuclear weapons. but there is one enormous stumbling block. ronald reagan is deeply committed to defense. he has been briefed on star wars. he now is aware that there are
other physical principles, there are architectures he can barely imagine, physical principles he can't imagine, but the idea he can end nuclear weapons and instead deploy a defense is just incredibly irresistible. he does not understand, he claims, gorbachev's reluctance to be so unenthusiastic about this. gorbachev is thinking if we do this, of course, they will not have an ability to deter us. we will, if we decide to strike them, disarm them. whatever residual forces they have left will not be able to penetrate the impenetrable star wars defense. don't laugh, it was serious. it is laughable, though, in a way. one of my colleagues, al -- some of you may know in this room -- said at the time that through
the mid '80s the soviets were panicked over star wars which got a lot of press. and they kept deploying ever larger icbms. in response, the united states deployed ever more colorful view grass of ballistic missile defense which we did not have. the end of the decade, you may know, they went broke, and the soviet union falls. now, i'm not saying that the soviet union fell because we caused them to build themselves into oblivion, but there is an argument that goes something like that which is actually not a live trivial argument. so the decade of the '80s ends the huge competition, strategic competition ends with it, that kind. and we find ourselves in the '90s in a whole new world. the decline of nuclear weapons. we have an arms control treaty, s.t.a.r.t. 1-rbgs, at the very
beginning of the decade. we have an international structure which is no longer bipolar. it could be called unipolar. we have a phenomenon called globalization that has various pieces to it, but it appears to be part of a fundamental new world order. i love that phrase. it had the imagery of military force was till there, but not -- was still there, but not nuclear weapons. economic measures of power were going to be so much more important. there was a prediction of the decline of the nation state and the concept of national sovereignty where international commerce, or information technology would replace this. the book that captured it, of course, was friedman's -- [inaudible] and old to live tree, eventually the world is flat. quasiacademic leader, jessica matthews wrote a piece in "foreign affairs" that was very influential that also predicted this new world we were moving
into. military power was still relevant, of course, because the decade began with iraq i, the war to throw the iraqis out of kuwait. but really there was a huge, huge unilateral reduction in nuclear, strategic nuclear forces. nato no longer had to contend with the warsaw pact, it consumed the warsaw pact. we were not worried about the soviet union, it was gone, and russia was our partner. thus begins the first decade of the 21st century. it is the bush-obama decade. force remains relevant. immediately it becomes relevant on september 11th. we discover a i new kind of terror -- a new kind of terrorism. we are involved immediately in afghanistan and then iraq ii. so military forces definitely on the -- force is definitely on the table. but it is conventional military force that we emphasize, and it
becomes clear to the world that the united states of america has unique capacity to project force with incredible lethality and precision. modernization occurs, but not in the nuclear weapons or their systems as i've been describing. modernization really comes with the improvement in the delivery of that force projection. and we embrace now an ability not only to project force with precision and lethality, but to do it more quickly. so we have prompt global strike. instead of days or weeks sometimes to deploy forces in order to do this damage with cruise missile, aircraft or whatever, we want to be able to do it right away, within hours. ideally within 24 hours. initially, we hit upon the delivery systems for nuclear weapons, and more than one strategist believes the best thing to do with these
conventional weapons -- now that we're de-emphasizing nuclear weapons -- is to deliver them with those very reliable icbm and slbms. then it becomes clear that many people feel this might create ambiguities in the minds of the russians and the chinese and that maybe we shouldn't use strategic nuclear systems to deliver conventional munitions. so we have been thinking of other ways of accomplishing that objective. but it's still conventional, not nuclear. there is a doctrine to go along with this. the doctrine was one of, actually, preventive war masquerading as preemptive war, and we argued that, of course, we were engaged in preemption when we, in fact, weren't. i mean, iraq was not about to attack us, just not. not in the way one understands the word "preemption." while this is going on, nuclear
weapon numbers have dropped to one-tenth of what they were in the 1980s. from 30,000 to a few thousand. sort, the bush administration's strategic arms control that's essentially unilateral, gives way to new s.t.a.r.t. and the middle of the obama administration's first administration in 2010, and we are down no depending on how you count roughly 1500, 1550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons. much diminished nuclear weapons. there's also a de-emphasis in, i would say, the popular press. the four horsemen article, be you recollect this -- if you recollect this. henry kissinger, george shultz, bill perry, sam nunn write a
piece about zero nuclear weapons. and the interesting thing is, they say, we're not kidding. this is not just that the npt requires us to commit to this goal, they meant it. they said that's where we ought to be going. that's the only safe future for the world. now, that's what they said as a group. obama at prague makes a speech in which he says zero nuclear weapons. maybe not in my lifetime, he says, but that's where we're headed. and he says this is not just rhetoric. he meant it. he said we were going after the comprehensive test ban treaty, the ctbt. he said we're going after the fissile material cutoff treaty to stop production of fissile material. he said we're going to deal with the nuclear fuel cycle problems which impacted the prorough ration problem -- proliferation,
we'll establish international fuel banks so we won't have to have the problem of uranium enrichment, and there will be more and more reductions that we will accomplish unilaterally if necessary. that was the first decade of the 21st century. we are now at the midpoint of the second said of the 21st century. and the big thing that happens now as best i can tell is i go back to georgetown. that's clearly -- [laughter] that's clearly the news here. north korea. we've been dealing with north korea for decades. but if we look at north korea now halfway through this decade, north korea has not been dealt with. north korea is following the classic pattern of plutonium and highly-enriched uranium as fissile material for their nuclear weapons. they are developing a variety of
delivery vehicles including, interestingly, a weapon which might actually, a variant of some kind, reach the con innocental -- continental united states with one of those nuclear weapons pretty soon. it'll have a circular our probability the size of ohio, but we still will not be happy about this development with north korea. plus, north korea has been engaging in transfers. it is transferring ballistic missiles to other countries. the pakistanis, their mainline mrbm, medium range police you can missile, is the gari. sounds very pakistani, but it's actually north korean. and the mainline medium range ballistic missile that iran has and has deployed is a north korean nodung.
and you may have heard that in 2007 the north koreans were discovered to have built in syria -- you will be syria, used to be a country -- they had built in syria a plutonium production reactor identical to their plutonium reactor. now, i used to rail about in nuclear terrorism talks the concern about the transfer of fuss style material -- fissile material from one country to another. and very often critics -- and i have some on the subject of terrorism, nuclear terrorism -- would say you've been reading too many spy novels, watching too many movies, that's not going to happen. we'd catch 'em. ..
and a country that in months and years can put a weapon on the continent of united states of america. this is new and it's with us now and that's north korea. they are following the classic route of both platooning a man highly enriched uranium. it's got a lot more attention into centrifuges. they have the heavy water production facility that would produce the run-up in the normal conditions that would produce ideal weapons to go with the uranium program.
they have completed the work necessary to define the package they don't yet have that could have relatively quickly. yet there are negotiations and yes the 24th of november is a very important date in these negotiations. they could fail or they could succeed. either way, iran is going to have a nuclear reactor and some enrichment capabilities. exactly how much, i don't know. either way if they succeeded in israel will not be happy before any of you watch what has happened in iraq and fear you. i'm not predicting anything. i am making an observation. this is not a good situation.
this could be another future weapon state in the middle east and we could have a complicated situation and if they perceive they will not stand by. this could get very complicated very quickly. pakistan for about 20 years had a recessed nuclear weapon capability in other words to manufacture nuclear weapons it didn't, we don't think at that point it did certainly in the late '90s with the tests after the indian tests but things have changed and it's no longer possible to maintain the minimum capability but just enough to deter the indians.
they've adopted the policy from the 50s and adult and are deploying the tactical weapons for the war fighting purposes. they have the delivery vehicles that include aircraft fighter-bombers that includes ballistic missiles and the platform. they have the material in the nuclear weapons program in the whole world. they are aiming for two to 300 weapons which puts them in the range of trends in britain and china.
we've been watching the situation which is at times not as stable as we would like. india, if pakistan returns for 20 years and minimum deterrence was their policy. it is end anymore. this is relatively new because the respondent in the program want to be able to target dissenters on the east coast of china. in the ballistic cruise missiles and aircraft for the delivery of nuclear weapons but have become
strained india for decades no longer constrained india because of what we did. we did a deal with india in which we took india off the list of countries and we did a deal which allows india to legitimately buy uranium. it doesn't anymore. they can buy uranium for the nuclear power program and use the indigenous uranium for the program thank you united states of america for doing that and that program is off and running as well.
we had in the business restraint for a very long time since the 60s at various times they characterize themselves as having minimum deterrence. i would offer that's questionable. they have the capability to deter the united states of america. i'm not sure that that was true. whether it was or not is a question because the chinese are no longer there. they are building and modernizing the forces so that the rangers have increased, they have gone to the concept of mobility and increased survivability of the forces, they may be moving and so the chinese program is now much more
robust than it ever was before such that has even troubled the russians now. there is this argument that we come to that you might have noticed they are rested and back. we have georgia, crimea come eastern ukraine and then today we have the baltics. the russians have noticed from the very beginning actually in the '90s that there are now conventional forces between them and us, what it used to be and if nato has switched and they do not have the conventional forces to defend should they get up and decide to invade russia. plus as word of the chinese by
the way impressed with our prompt global strike. they had been impressed with our continued enthusiasm of the various architectures and baby leave that there could be circumstances in which either the territory where the forces were threatened by the capability. this is in the open literature it has led them to explore apparently concepts of de-escalation through the use of nuclear weapons first against u.s. forces all around the world including continental united states. if you didn't get that that means there instances in which they would be leave they could de-escalate the united states of america by attacking us first
with nuclear weapons. of course they would be tactical but this is new and troubling. then there is us. we've got to be enemies and then there is us. we are modernizing our strategic nuclear forces. they have the had the higher class boats and plan to upgrade. in the reductions i point out indeed that the administration makes the point.
it may not be as you are surprised to hear. there is the new need for we have felt to reassure our allies at the credibility of extended deterrence and we've been doing that in europe and northeast asia. we are continuing our pursuit at the strategic level and at the theater level and at the tactical level the layered defenses of the various kinds. notwithstanding what the president has said in the last decade there will be no fuel bank and there will be no unilateral reductions by the united states of america and its forces. so in 2014 midway through this
decade issues of credibility in the deterrence into stability are all back with us. for the u.s. and russia and also northeast asia, south asia and the middle east. and those relationships are marked by the mocked by the new kovic city greater than we were familiar with in my horseback ride through history. we have multiple actors in these cases it's not just two countries and even conceptually that raises all kinds of problems plus there are new theaters to worry about. there is cyber, there's space where they are not easily transferable from the nuclear period. we need new concepts and we still need to worry about accidents and unauthorized use. we need to worry about terrorism and the nuclear device that's
made as a result and we continue to have to worry about nuclear energy ambiguities. there there's there is still in busy as important enrichment and the use of plutonium as a fuel and you're going to hear about that very soon in the public of korea and the united states of america announced the new arrangement. all of this says to me that nuclear weapons are back into discussions about our security and other countries they are something for all of us to worry about and i hope that you all have a very nice day. thank you. [applause] 's okay as we do that q-and-a a couple of things i would like you to do please wait for the
microphone because again we are recording this and we would like it to be on tape. the second thing is please stand in the microphone is brought to you and tell us your name. we would like to get one question only. we know everybody likes to put the question in context but if you could keep up short and actually ask a question, that would be great. then finally, hopefully your questions should relate to tonight's talk. >> 28 years in the osd. i just wanted to comment that first of all, mcnamara lasted a year on the counterattack. but when i get into it in 1962, he was onto the destruction and that kind of thing in the cities. second i'm a working 13 years on the nuclear weapons i never heard the term extended deterrence. i've only heard it in the last ten years or so.
so it was a bit cartoonish. what you cite a good source of history that goes through all these things for instance flexible response it was about the conventional. it was about the mc 14. it wasn't about the nukes and solicitor got into that and i knew about it and i got deeply involved in this and that subject. so, what is a very good source for all of these histories? >> beg for consideration of two planes and i said this at the beginning. when you do things by decade it's not precise. at first this is not precise.
however i want to push back on the response when maxwell talks about the response cemented just what you said and that was an appeal and that whole period was one in which the conventional forces were focused and i'm going to assert to you and hope that if you go to the book whose author is a great who is at the king's college and who has done a revision on the strategy i think you'll find that while one would find that it properly goes through the conventional it was used by many to cover the development of the counterforce capability as opposed to the response that was understood to be largely and i don't have the text in front of me but i believe that to be true.
a >> we have to stay on the unclassified sources. maybe off-line we can talk about that a little more. you have a second plaintiff that he wanted to mention. >> my name is peter and i'm a retired engineer. you talked about counter population in the industry and so on, but russia likes the perception rather than the approaches and there are a lot of other players attacked by the high-altitude as a particularly attractive attack if you can
bring the ship in close and launch a missile or two that could be pretty effective in which you have no residue or anything to find the source. what's the answer to that? >> i don't know what the answer is. we have been obviously aware of the emp impact and i am aware of the work that has been done to shield against the consequences. but you're absolutely correct it is a one of the results of a nuclear detonation and one can imagine a situation in which we have either a combined attack as well as looking for a connecticut impact or just to be result and i'm sure people are thinking about that but i cannot
characterize that to you. i am steve from nasa and as a historian i appreciate the writer through the decades of history. but me ask you what would you draw upon to think about what your policy prescriptions would be for dealing with iran right now. >> the question was on history and how do you make this history relevant to our prescription for dealing with iran and iraq as they we have experience with our countries that have weapons for more than one reason.
generally people start with the security and most countries they have required the weapons that seem to be a good answer and that is just the beginning of the answer dealing with this case because after you deal with the security issue and provide reassurances and nuclear under allah's white we have been on nuclear weapon states isn't it because the technology is unmanageable after 60 or 70 years that is not it is for a variety of reasons they decided that their security needs are best met without nuclear weapons and the idea when you're dealing with north korea or when we are trying to persuade pakistan and now iran can you persuade them in the first instance that they don't have a security need or
that they are best matched by other means but right away you recognize this is and what it is about. it's about standing and self perception of one's position in the region where there is a perceived to be an israeli nuclear weapons program and it is clearly that there is a western nuclear weapons capability that sometimes is projected into the region. there is a desire on the part of iran to be the dominant power in the gulf as a regional power and hegemonic power from the arab side. how would to be addressed and then there's the domestic consideration. you would see that when we look
at whatever it is that is offered to us by the negotiators in the united states. some of it is going to be there because of the domestic push. it's not going to have a lot to do with the security needs. and i think that we get that from other countries we've built with. there was a time when south korea had a secret nuclear weapons program and there was a time when taiwan had a program in daytime and south africa have a secret nuclear weapons program and then they disassembled them. there was a time that we believed the programs in brazil and argentina. so we have been around around for history does in four months of the easy thing to say is what i'm arguing now that one of the things we learned from this is that simply addressing what looks like the security needs is a great start but very often the motivation is much more complex
and even goes down to domestic politics. >> i really enjoyed your talk. a couple of days ago i read a report that one of the groups in the serious killed a scientist and a nuclear engineer and scientist. what do you think they were doing their, not the jihadi but the nuclear group. [laughter] a >> you just told me something i didn't know. i think it would draw too heavily so i shouldn't do that. i really don't know. what you're suggesting is the kind of thing the intelligence
community does is see who's talking who is talking to them and to try to understand what national interest are and what the countries may be trying to do. this is a very tough target. in the back. >> i was wondering if you could elaborate on the topic what you think the response from saudi arabia and egypt would look like >> the proposition that out there is a nuclear weapons program notwithstanding the assertions they have no interest they just want the rights in the
nation party. they have peaceful nuclear equipment so if this turns out not to be true among the countries that will not be surprised with the saudi arabia and egypt. it is clear that it is possible that relationship would facilitate a transfer of technology from pakistan to saudi arabia until the returned basis and they might have instant nuclear weapons. that is one scenario. i know nothing in detail about the relationship and i can't give any texture to that but
that's one model. the case is tougher both because of the political situation and they are currently experiencing to the best of my knowledge they haven't moved down yet to develop their own capability in the enrichment route or the reactor and reprocessing route so they would be some years away and it's questionable to me by egypt could do this but one of those things as the leader of the world looks at iran and sees iran as an entity in the region.
they are a lot closer and they certainly have no indigenous capability to do this. they have some delivery capability if they were to have the weapons principally by the chinese said that would be a concern right away and if we are thinking as you are about domino's even though the member of the country to be concerned about it. >> retired from the staff of the foreign relations committee, 20 years ago you briefed the committees on the framework with north korea.
you did it masterfully but it still came under a lot of fire. if there is an agreement with iran will let you read command -- what would you recommend? [inaudible] >> as you have undoubtedly observed of the the agreement is not an agreement and it is wonderful attack by those who believe they are friends of israel and it's one that does not operate any capability operating within iran.
i don't imagine that they were banned from the negotiators and will end with zero enrichment capabilities so i can proceed pretty clearly a. there will be critics critics that will go after whatever the provisions or that require them to clarify history. it's going to be important. there's a lot for the critics to point out about the deal if there is one that is similar. because it is an anniversary that is celebrated it's just
that any deal will be open because it won't be perfect and when i was testifying before your committee i very often said what would be your plan and when i heard their plan it was essentially we would get everything we wanted and they would get nothing they wanted and i thought if i buy a car i will ask you to do it for me. this isn't going to be easy. the elections at the midterm when it was right before the midterm in 1994 and if you recall the democrats on both houses and all of the friendly chairs couldn't wait to meet me so it's going to be hard.
>> thank you so much for the presentation. i enjoyed it. he basically talked about all of the countries that have the nuclear weapons except for israel. i was wondering first of all why and secondly would you elaborate on the whole they have to play to make dot nuclear zero but a nuclear weapons free zone in the middle east >> i usually talk about israel as a reason to end i invite you
those that are very hostile to israel in which they had a potential to be an actor to look at the rangers and you can see. >> i don't think the program is driven in other words i talked about them not here but i talked about them a lot in the middle east and i don't believe that they would reduce the double negative in a sense. it's not clear to me that i would have any impact on what's happening right now with iran
except the rhetorical point couldn't be made but i do not believe that they are driven to have nuclear weapons. it means they won't have the option so now i'm trying to take away the programs and in my view it wouldn't have an impact on what has happened with iran. we don't believe they fear from their security and i agree fundamentally with its security it was willing to accept that
issues now are more regional than simply a bipolar world and as the technology has spread so has the weapons. with iran to the east and to the west of the nuclear program was primarily funded through saudi arabia so there's a lot of speculation out in the open source literature that they already have them. they already have the nuclear weapons from pakistan because they can give you code funded the program to begin with a. it easy to go after the nuclear weapons to the head and sees the security among other things and
manager for uranium enrichment secretly becomes responsible for lots of transfers to the other countries in the centrifuge and the nuclear weapons we are certain that as well. we went from north korea and elsewhere. it sounds to me like i know less about the connection then we do. the comment was in the open source which means it might well be true. i can't say that it's not.
it's still active and one of the scariest things. it's not that the government is out to get the united states of america and because the situation in pakistan has four abilities. they have the hosts interpreters of islam that have attacks on facilities that leads us to be concerned about that very fast-growing nuclear weapons programming in the material program in pakistan but what exactly is still going on is with respect to transfer and i would like to make the distinction between the transfer and the leakage the pakistani case of the network intended
that and the leakage is what may happen out of russia i don't think the russian government has gone to transfer either nuclear weapons or materials that it is the complexes are so large and material relative to those that we worry about unauthorized access to this material. the >> so, going back to egypt, saudi arabia, israel can you foresee sharing technology with neighboring countries in case iran gets nuclear weapons? tonight as i understand and you it you can just nod and answer if iran acquires nuclear weapons extending the best efforts, what israel share its weapons technology with its neighbors?
i find that extremely unlikely. i don't think it would. there were good stories and i can't go much beyond that about israel the time ago when there was a famous flash in the south atlantic and the possibility that the time they colluded so that israel could test the nuclear weapons or a component of a nuclear weapon in the atmosphere so that is the only sharing that i know of and i don't even know that that happened but that has been in the open literature so therefore it qualifies as something that may be true but i find the idea that israel would help its arab neighbors of the fire nuclear weapons to be hard to impossible
to imagine for me. >> ambassador, thank you for being here. i'm from harvard and you talked earlier about the soviets having this idea that they could limit the nuclear threat by making a counter force attack. >> not exactly. of the theory as i understand is that they could get into a situation in which of the asymmetric advantage in the united states has the ability to reject force would be them to not defend their territory or forces in a circumstance that puts them in dire straits and that rather see situation escalate to either have that
loss to the united states are escalate strategically they would use tactical weapons in the mode designed to limit collateral damage and de- escalate the crisis by demonstrating their seriousness resolve. >> your close personal friend argued at the attack on the united states would be responded to by the counter force attack from the united states. so he never accepted the idea that they would now be attacked by us. he accepted that was the only option and i addressed this in the sense of iran and israel. they have a very suspect capability to do any damage to the iranians.
israel has a genuine possibility to be a deterrent threat come have a deterrent threat of counter value and it would be sweet to see them published up and identify which downtown shopping areas are going to be destroyed once they would be counter value. >> you have confused me massively now. don't sit down you please hold on to the microphone. so, here is why. first of all, i have strategies i think generally which i am not one but i do reserve the praised counterforce for the strategic fight. so i've not been talking about a russian counterforce attack on
america. i've been talking about a demonstration perhaps a limited attack on u.s. forces where they are not going to have an impact on the surrounding territory population and maybe something in the united states this is very scary stuff mostly for me because it's completely misreads my perspective against us, our allies from our forces, anything if they honestly be leave they can be escalated by weapons we are all in a lot of trouble. we have been misread before by countries about the resolve so this would be a big horrible mistake on your part.
i hope and pray that if it happens that retaliation would go completely counterforce and completely aimed at the termination and aimed at shutting down the conflict. one of the things that the nuclear weapons being back and whenever i'm teaching now everything many of us looking around this room know about what nuclear weapons do have been lost. i did and so i worry a great deal that we have a lot of people in this country that don't understand the magnitude of the destruction of the art
talking about so the idea of doing anything other than counterforce and other than striking back in a way that aims at disabling and ending the conflict is so reprehensible jimmy i cannot begin to express it. >> unfortunately we had the same idea. we need to let them know what kind of shape forces were in so that they understood that the only viable response might very well and very quickly been tactical weapons and we had a series of step downs that have been released. we are not worried about the influence that he has across the world and if i was a soviet and reading his statements and his comments your close personal friend as saying that the counterforce attack it's not sufficient and he would never
step off that including in the tactical situation would be responded and that's because that got us into the war fighting this was a concept with nuclear weapons. >> something i should throw into this conversation for everybody my thesis advisor when i was a graduate student was one of the great theorists and maybe some of you were in that field he wrote a number of pieces and the one that was best known was titled more may be better and if you can imagine how uncomfortable he actually believed that the bus load spread was good for
international stability and that they are chilling to everybody even crazy people who run countries and so it actually will stabilize. the last thing he wrote before he died was a piece in foreign affairs about why iran getting nuclear weapons would be a good thing for the middle east. so there are other views that i do not have any sympathy for and i probably should say that i have no sympathy for the position. >> thank you for your m. arts. i'm an independent consultant. if you exclude a declared weapon state come is the distinction between the thermonuclear
weapons and nuclear weapons of any consequence for how the deterrence works going forward into the future? >> the first part of the question i didn't quite understand. >> if you exclude the states so the u.s., france, england is the distinction between thermonuclear weapons and nuclear weapons important going forward into the future for how the deterrence is going to work quite >> it's important because when i said a while ago that think in terms of the two orders of magnitude 100 times more damaging and it could be more depending on the size of the
weapon the amount of death and destruction is massively different and when we see tactical nuclear weapons what we usually mean is something about the range of this is the end of the yield of the weapon. it doesn't mean it can't be a thermonuclear weapon in other words it could be one of these things and still be tactical because you don't have to design the weapons are that it produces the yields so this all may get lost and i don't think this is important for you to focus on when you think about the deterrence it is important to for security of nuclear weapons and there was a time in 1979
when i was minding my own business working in the department of state and i was approached by the general counsel and some people about an article about a published article in the progressive magazine and the question was should they attempt prior restraint of the publication, someone who believes he has good liberties by instinct was absolutely not and then i looked at what was going to be published and at that time we have what we call tickets for all kind of stuff that goes on. i wouldn't have had the clearance for this kind of stuff and it was going to come out of
the magazine and we knew how long it took them to go. and we knew these other countries were asking. this is enormously important and as you may know it was published in the secret conceptually was put out in the open literature. if they have done damage on that. i don't know that whatever i hear that has happened a few times has claimed that it has successfully detonated the western and then we also read that our judgment is not really. i'm happy about that. because the level of disruption can be the difference makes a difference but in terms of what we have been talking about here in the deterrence theory of the
credibility i would say not much. >> thank you all very much. [applause] >> c-span2 is live at the memorials on this veterans day. here's a look at the world war ii memorial honoring the 16 million people who served in the armed forces into the more and of the more than 400,000 who died. it opened back in 2004 and there are 56 engraved with the names of the states and territories as well as the district of columbia symbolizing the unity of the country in the effort.
vice president joe biden participated in some of the veterans ceremonies at the arlington national cemetery. he shared a message this afternoon showing every adversary has learned that america is warriors never banned and never yield. and still to come live coverage on c-span2 the senator and navy veteran john mccain at the national press club talking about his profile the lives of american voters who served in conflicts from the revolutionary war to iraq and afghanistan. we will take you there live at 6:30 eastern on c-span2. and on c-span gives the page you can share the message with the nation's veterans. james posts thanks for the service seems inadequate but i am grateful to all of those who serve today and those that served in the past. tammy wright -- writes things for your gift of complete selflessness to those that gave their lives or limbs. share your thoughts on
facebook.com/c-span. we will take a look at the importance of the multilateral approach to the diplomacy with the former u.s. ambassador to russia for india and he recommends the grouping to the issue to make them easier to tackle. this is from the remarks at george washington university where he spoke for just under an hour. >> thank you all for coming to this event from the honorable thomas pickering. the conversation is going to be moderated by chris who joined the elite school in the fall of 2014 as a visiting professor at the practice of international affairs after serving as the chairman of the national intelligence council and at the elliott school the director of the midcareer program and the center for the foreign-policy program. in and the government chris served as a staff on the foreign affairs committee under lee hamilton of the deputy assistant
secretary of state and the bureau of intelligence and research and as the deputy director of the 9/11 commission. he was also president of the 9/11 public discourse product for the commission's follow up on the public education organization. he served as the senior adviser to the iraq study group. please welcome the professor. [applause] >> hello. it is an honor to be here tonight. and the very best tradition of the school bringing an area of accomplished policymakers into the academy so that both can benefit and i am deeply dedicated to this continued interaction between scholarship and practice. so, it is an honor to nice to introduce the ambassador thomas pickering. he is a career ambassador and
that is the designation of very few ever received only a few in a generation. the ambassador is a phenomenon the most unpublished -- accomplished of his generation and he joined the service in 1960 and retired the second time in 2001. during that period of time the assignments he had. it's just stunning for me to contemplate him having served as ambassador to the united states of america seven times and the important countries and possessions around the world. he was not limited to any single area of expertise so he served as the ambassador in jordan from 74 to 78 the ambassador ambassador of nigeria from 81 to 83 and ambassador in el salvador can 83 to 85, israel 85 to 88,
just on a personal note, i have never seen an individual with more energy and more creativity and more ideas working tirelessly to figure out ways to advance the diplomacy of this great country. he has served with enormous distinction. i can't tell you how fortunate all of you are, as am i standing here, to have the opportunity to hear from ambassador pickering, and he will speak for approximately half an hour, and then he'll take questions, and we'll have a bit of a conversation here. so, ambassador pickering. [applause] >> thank you all very much. and, chris, thank you for that very elegant, very hyperbolic, wonderful introduction.
i'm sure i'm going to have to put that on paper somewhere and keep it. it's a pleasure to be with you, and thank you very much for the invitation to come by tonight. i want to talk about three things. i want to talk a little bit about the changing world situation in terms of some of the key influences on foreign policy that are new or different or more challenging. and then i'd like to talk about seven major issues, problem areas, challenges, difficulties that we face with the opportunity perhaps on two or three of those to talk about some policy direction ares for the future that i -- directions for the future that i think are useful and perhaps not yet being fully pursued. then i look forward to your questions and comments, criticisms, ideas, thoughts,
whatever. everything but tomatoes, thank you. [laughter] the world is perhaps going through the most rapid change in the human environment that we have ever seen. one wonders whether, in fact, with the geometric speed with which things are proceeding, there is an end point at some time. one used to look years ago at the roman empire, and when the barbarians came in, everything froze. we're all related to both romans and barbarians, so we can be proud of the roman achievements and a little bit sorry that some of our ancestors threw spears. but that is, obviously, a question that none of us is prepared to answer. seemingly, we can move on from strength to strength and deal with change. the most fascinating change that i think we are all facing and that you see, know and master
well beyond what i have to deal with is the electronic information-related revolutionary changes that we all see. much of this has changed the way in which we do diplomacy, it's changed the way in which we understand the world, it's changed the way in which the people of the world absorb it, know about it and understand a pit -- understand a bit about it. and i think one of the major contributions, not the only one, to something like the arab spring or the arab transition as i think we all prefer to call it now was, in fact, the notion of a rapid movement of information. people taking in ideas and thoughts that they had, the notion that dictatorships and autocracy were not a successful way of treating people in terms of governments. and the need to change that and the fact that you could mobilize people through electronics in the main and bring them out and
use public demonstrations to make a serious change in governmental organization was very, very interesting. in egypt it was fascinating that, of course, one of the things that people seemed to have forgotten in the plethora of changes was that there already were established political forces at work and had been at work in society, some of them a little bit underground. certainly, the muslim brotherhood was one. another, perhaps, was the notion that ordinary people ought to be able to gain an opportunity to participate in their own governance in a serious way. there were no leaders of that movement, strikingly. and one of the interesting thing ises is that -- things is that with yo leader -- with no leaders, you cannot win elections. you become absent from the future in an unusual way even though you have perhaps been instrumental in causing it. but these are examples of things that are happening around us all
the time. but the pace of change, i think, the breadth of change in the world is very much due to this. closer to home, and i think more interesting if i can sort of swivel around in a different way, is the fact that over the last decade we've found not to the surprise of a lot of people, but to the surprise of some in the leadership of the country, that military force is not a very good way of solving diplomatic problems and that diplomatic problems can be usefully solved at the conference table often because you have a first rate military force. and if you begin using military force to try to resolve problems that don't, where it doesn't work very well, then you undermine in a serious way the capacity to have, in fact, the value of a first rate military force behind your diplomacy and behind your actions. and so if used and abused, if i
could put it that way, it tends to be less persuasive, less useful, less important. as an american diplomat, i was always grateful that we had a first rate military force behind us. i was grateful, too, that we had a first rate economy. and even with some of the change that came about in 2008 and 2009 from which we're still recovering, i think that our ability as an economy to perform and to show leadership and to deal with issues great and small is very significant. i think that there is another set of questions that's very important that we tend when we add up what is it that's behind our diplomacy that makes us have a great chance to be more successful is in the political realm, interestingly enough. and interestingly enough, it happens to be, i think, our values and principles. if there was one thing around
the world that people admired about this country, it was its freedom, its prosperity, its commitment to doing things correctly, its valuing ethical principles and its ability to act in accordance with them. some of that has gone away. and we've lost some of that. there's nothing written in stone that says we cannot come back to it, and i think we are. i think it's, we're moving perhaps more slowly than we should be, but it's a significant and important part of what underpins our diplomacy in a changing world. i think that there are several other things that are happening. diplomats normally used to work on a country-by-country basis. now we work much more significantly multilaterally. we used to be very much consumed by political questions, and they were always treated by american diplomats as the top priority and the top of the heap.
now that has shifted remarkably in questions that are both multilateral and heavily economically based are equally as significant, if not more significant, in the concentration of our effort and the focus of our diplomacy. and that's important. i'd like to say two or three other things. i think that as we come to look at questions, it is important for us to begin to move out of the traditional stove pipes of consideration, particularly if we want to look at questions from a strategic point of view. from a point of view of strategic impact and strategic importance. and i've come to believe that there are now clusters or packages or groupings of issues that need to be taken together as we consider them a foreign policy importance. one example is, obviously, the
intimate relationship between energy policy, environmental issues and policies and climate change. they're not uniquely clustered and all alone, but they form the center focus of, i think, one of the important clusters of questions we have to deal with. i'll talk in a minute about seven of these. they vary. some are clusters of issues that we would call worldwide and functional, and others happen to do with regional areas of the world where, in fact, regional problems, major country competitions are important to us.
more useful for the diplomat, but it gives us an opportunity when we're negotiating in a set of questions to understand that if we need a broader scope to get the negotiations moving to offer either concessions or to seek concessions on a broader basis, looking at questions through the cluster focus is helpful and important in being able to gain those advantages in a negotiating scenario. let me now turn to the questions and perhaps some of the things that we should do about them. i always am a little pit stymied at -- little bit stymied at this point as to which priority is
important. it's absolutely fascinating. i've been talking about this for a few years, and almost every time i come before an audience to talk about it, the priority has shifted a little bit. so tonight i want to begin with what i call the extended middle east as a cluster of questions. it's self-evident, it's obvious. the importance is perhaps, if anything, been overstressed in the press recently, but we can look at that. and so from from the straits ofy gibraltar to the hindu kush, the extended middle east is a fertile field that continues to present us with challenging and sometimes destructive problems. and, in fact, the middle east fertility in this sense has probably outstripped our capacity in any real way to continue to deal with them. certainly, new questions have emerged since the beginning of 2013 or even 2012 with a kind of rapidity that has left us all breathless, left our government
masters -- if i can call them that -- certainly sighmied -- stymied often at the starting post as to how to get at them, and looking now at the complications of their interrelationship. no one set of questions, i think, in the middle east has the silver bullet embedded in it that will solve the others. but it is interesting that as things get worse in one area, they tend to affect others. so that as we fail and, indeed, as the process fails to find a way to deal with the problem between israel and the palestinians, it tends in the main to affect arab attitudes toward the united states that runs across the full gamut of the middle east. and while it wasn't the centerpiece of change in egypt or in yemen or in libya, it is certainly there in the minds of many people who think about that problem. similarly, in an interesting way -- and i'll talk about this
in a minute -- if we are able to break through in the negotiations with iran over a nuclear arrangement, there are opportunities to follow on, because we and iran share some common interest in afghanistan, in iraq and maybe eventually even in syria, although that looks like a long shot at this point. but it is interesting to see that interrelationship, and we should keep it in mind. it doesn't mean, finally, that all of these issues have to be treated in a broader context. we can deal with them in stove pipes. but we should keep our mind on the strategic interrelationships as we go ahead and understand some of that rather than to fence ourselves off in a narrow corner and treat with the policy merely as the policy as we or the press or as our own inventions about the region tend to catalog it. often people in the region don't
see it the same way, and we should be cautious about that. i would say that the number one problem at the moment is probably what our arabic-speaking friends call da da'ish, arabic for isil or isis or is. the islamic state in iraq and greater syria. and this is a serious problem, and we've addressed it as a serious problem. perhaps, in my view, we've overmilitarized it, but it has great military connotations. and if anybody wants to undertake a really unpopular cause, just go out here and raise up a banner and say let's negotiate with isil. [laughter] you can understand why, in effect, this has a bigger military character. but there are political and economic issues that are important here, and i think they need to be looked at. political questions of what kind of a coalition can we build. and those are important.
political questions that have to do with how and in what way in iraq in which the maliki government spent a good bit of its time either ignoring or tormenting sunni, a new iraqi government can pick up its socks and understand that it has to deal with minority from the point of view of their rights as well as, obviously, the significant value of majority rule, and that happens to be at the moment the shia. but those are significant. and economic questions are very important. where's some of our oil coming from? right out of isil land. do we continue to take that oil, and do we continue to feed the money into isis that that oil is being paid to, paid for to recede? a very interesting question, particularly at a time when oil prices are going down. of course, for isil it couldn't happen to nicer guys, but there are still real problems about a
resistance, a fundamentalist terrorist movement that is now heavily funded by the oil enterprise, and we need to think about that. so those are significant. on the military side, i think it's very interesting. there are now clear indications, whether we like it or not, that while our aerial attack has been quite successful both in northern syria and in northern iraq in supporting the forces opposing isis, it it has also nw become an isis rallying cry to try to bring more recruits to the flag, more folks to the kalashnikov. and this is something we need to keep our eye on. it is also useful to begin to think about whether isis in its own galloping mistreatment of the sunni population of northern iraq has opened an opportunity for us politically and militarily to begin to deal with the sunni tribal leaders that we
worked with in 2005 and 2006. is that door going to open? well, the problem with that door is having opened it once years ago and then walked away when they had a feeling that somehow we were going to be around to protect their interests and left them cold in the hands of a new shia government, are they going to move to our side as rapidly as they did before? are they going to be useful? and then the final piece, who are the ground troops who are going to help us deal with isil if we are limiting ourselves now to air, to training, to intelligence support and to equipment? i don't know. it's interesting. the shia forces in iraq have shown up until now they can protect baghdad, but can they help retake the region, which is an important objective? general allen, who's leading the
effort, i believe, is now focused on a two-year plan, that sometime by 2017 he hopes to see the kind of results that we would like to see as soon as possible but aren't going to be possible in part because much training is required and much equipping is required, and that's not ready. i always ask the kind of question myself in looking at this sort of issue why is it that the afghan michigan with almost -- taliban with no training are so effective as military operators when, in fact, the afghan national security forces with all of our training doesn't seem to be nearly up to the grade? and why is it that isil, a kind of ragtag bunch, a combination of islamic fundamentalists, ex-baathist officers of the iraqi army and some real bandiedties, why are they doing so well? we have to look at that a little bit and see, in fact, whether we
have an answer to that particular problem or not. that takes me to syria. i'll only say the following: syria is a real conundrum for us. we've declared war on two of the three major elements in syria, isis and as a sad. assad. assad is happy to fight isis, isis is happy to fight assad, we've picked the moderates who are arguably, perhaps, the most timid of the military forces, maybe the most divided of the military force toes to put our chips -- forces to put our chips on for all the obvious reasons. they're politically the kind of people we should support. but that raises real difficulties. do we, in fact, go slow on assad while we try to go fast on isil? that seems to be some way in which we're leaning. on the other hand, the turks are very upset by assad, don't want to join us if, in fact, we go slow there.
the final political piece is interesting because in dealing with isil, we have this unusual combination of people who all find it in their interests to oppose isil, but with whom we have wide variety of varying differences; iran, russia, saudi arabia, turkey, the gulf states, certainly the sunni gulf states. if we could figure out a way to unify them against their other devisive interests, we would certainly -- divisive interests, we would certainly have a better coalition than if we kind of move in with support from our traditional friends. that's a challenge. it's not yesterday fixed. it's a real problem. in syria this problem is coarsing, taking hold as well because we have serious differences in our interests in syria between us and iran and russia among others in saudi arabia and turkey.
no attention in the papers except when it comes to a problem on the turkish border. we know little about what's going on in many ways, and some of the more despicable, inhuman acts are regular fare, unfortunately, and the principal sufferers are probably women and children, the people who least deserve to suffer for any reason at all. and so this is a huge problem. there's no question at all in my mind that a ceasefire is an imperative, and increased humanitarian assistance. on the other hand, there is no way at this point that we know of to generate the leverage to do that. i think in some ways perhaps, further consideration of things like a no-fly zone might help to
generate the pressure that might bring us closer to the table. but that's an arguable proposition but an important one. i think it is also significant that beyond a ceasefire, if you can get there, then the challenge is to negotiate a transitional government with or without some electoral arrangements. and then, obviously, to ease out mr. assad and put him on his way to whatever hotel or villa arrangements he has chosen. and then see, in fact, whether syria can be held together with all of the terror and turmoil. and that's a huge job. it's a very big challenge and one that i don't see on the near horizon as well. so we're looking at two-year time frames or worse for some of these problems. i spent a lot of time on this because i think it's important to demonstrate how difficult diplomacy is these days, how intertwined it is with military,
political and economic considerations and how complicated the interrelationship is just between these two issues in the middle east. i won't spend a lot of time on arab palestine. i think that there are several things that are important here. we almost know what the solution could be. we also know that the parties are not ready to negotiate on both sides. despite their professions of interest in doing so. we also know that the status quo is not defensible, and it is not permanent, and it is pushing the parties once again toward violence and conflict, whether we like it or not. the bicycle principle applies. if you're not riding forward, you're falling down. and this is important to keep in mind because too many american administrations have kited their arab-israeli check on the basis that the theory that peace has to mean more to parties than it does to us is the overwhelming
judgmental basis for our proceeding. the truth is that if our national security is intimately involved in the middle east -- and i believe it is -- then it has to mean as much to us as it does to the parties. the truth also is that the parties have shown themselves almost congenitally now unable to cross enough of the divide to get themselves started, much less to move down the path to negotiations. the tragedy is that i still think majorities in both camps, palestinians and israelis, with any kind of a reasonable leader would move in the direction of the risks that have to be taken for a two-state solution. and while academics write wonderful papers on the demise of the two-state solution, i don't see anybody who's ready to accept a one-state solution where there is equal voting, equal political rights, equal
citizenship, equal civil rights. at the moment, the situation is that the palestinians are under a kind of virtual occupation, and i don't believe that will continue to be the case forever. they won't accept it. we are a key, perhaps the most important key even though we have continued to fail. and that's a significant issue. i will mention as well iran because aye -- i followed the negotiations for a long time. let me just say this, i said the negotiations, if successful, could produce real progress in the middle east. i think if they're not successful, watch out, because i don't think the absence of progress there will do anything but lead us on the road to conflict again. a conflict we can ill afford and a conflict which will solve little. and the opportunities are great at the present time. we have some gaps to cross, but it was interesting to read on the back page of the paper today
that on the critical question of enrichment, the western side has increased the offer, if i could put it that way, of how many centrifuges the iranians can operate. so i think we're beginning to see a little movement even before the election day in the united states. but that's one of the questions that, obviously, is at the moment containing, in my view, real progress. the other two issues are how rapidly the sanctions come off and what duration the agreement should be. i think they're all bridgeable, but i'm a consummate optimist. nevertheless, i think that the next three weeks will be critically important in where we go. i don't expect to see a full treaty, but i expect to see either one of two with things, and that's a what i'm optimist you can about. either agreement -- optimistic about. either agreement on the major questions that have to be resolved with the treaty to be drafted later or a set of
arrangements that is close enough to that particular goal to justify a further continuation of negotiations. and i believe that both of those are better results than nothing at all. i believe that we can get a good agreement, and i believe that it's now in sight. i'll only mention one other area of the middle east, what to do about afghanistan and pakistan. i happen to believe that there are opportunities there, that some of them can come out of the potential for india and pakistan to find a way through some of their deep problems that underlie, if not overburden, some of pakistan's preoccupation with afghanistan. the new president of afghanistan has gotten himself off to a good start. he's a very intelligent man, he understands some of the difficulties. he's taken a real swipe at corruption, something that was not in the lexicon of the former
president. it will be interesting to see where that goes. in the meantime, pakistan is still a state that has an army or an army that has a state but not at the moment a democracy in which the army is, in fact, part and parcel of political decision making made by the civilians. that, i think, will continue for some time. i'm not sure that the army is ready to move to take back governance in pakistan, but it's always a danger, particularly when the governance gets as weak as the present civilian government is now. well, we spent a lot of time on my number one priority, so let me go through some of the others so you don't get the idea that the world is simply the middle east. the world is even more complex in other areas. the one i would choose to discuss next is probably the one that i like to call rivals and
partners. our relations as a country with china, with russia, with india, with the european union -- which is not a state yet and not in some cases not a state yet -- japan, brazil, if you want to add others, perhaps continental countries where the real sweep with strong economies or growing economies with real potential for the future, a potential to be rivals or partners. and our challenge, obviously, is in our foreign policy, whether we can work to make one and not the other be the outcome of that relationship. it's not all diplomacy, but diplomacy has a lot to do with it and, in fact, can help in an important way. china is slowing down in its economic advancement. that should please some. it certainly isn't pleasing to the chinese. china is shifting some of its economic fs