tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 30, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
>> you flow through bki. >> i do. it's cheaper. there's a theme here. >> your guilty pleasure is? cooking shows. >> yes -- >> i should have let you answer. >> if that was an open-ended question, i wasn't answering it. i love cooking shows. i do not know why frankly. some of them i like better than others. i look to cook. >> which cooking show do you like? >> she is just -- how easy is that? i love someone who says that. you don't watch it, do you? it's straightforward. i can make her recipes at home and they actually come out well. that's -- julia childs i could never do it. >> what else have you learned from a cooking show about life? >> that's a good question. preparation, save steps. one thing i learned i didn't know before was you should get
all the stuff out before you need to use it, and then it saves time and if you follow a recipe, it actually comes out good and over time you can figure out how to wing it. >> i'd like to thank all of you who joined us live, and bank of america for making this possible. thank my political colleagues who worked so hard on this event. thank all of you for coming out and thank you for a fantastic conversation. >> thank you. it was fun. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
so, that wraps up this politico event and of you have missed any of this it will be available shortly to view anytime online as c-span.org. we have more live programming coming your way today. join us later for a discussion on combating terrorism, the potomac institute for policy studies hosts, and that's live at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> tonight, on the communicators, more from the international consumer electronics show as we look at new technology products. >> throughout your day if there's something you want to capture, just take it off your wrist and it will be very simple to take off your wrist and it
will expand, and it will be as easy as gesturing. you'll just toss it, and it's completely autonomous. there's no remote required. it's smart enough to know that the direction you tossed and it the pressure of your touch. so if it's a gentle toes, it will stay close. if you throw it it will good farther away and it being compose a photo take a photo and come back, completely autonomously. >> the communicators tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. join us tonight for booktv in primetime. we'll kick things off at 83:00 p.m. eastern with senator john mccain and his book "13 soldiers: a personal history of americans at war." at 9:15, new york democrat steve israel talks about his work called "the global wore on morris." at 10:00, it's marco rubio and american dreams, restoring
economic opportunity for everyone. and we'll wrap things up at 10:25 with former massachusetts congressman barney frank. he appeared on our "after words" program to talk about his book "frank." now, it's a discussion on how iran and other middle east issues have influenced american politics. panelists include david rothkopf, the ceo and editor of fp group that publishes forepolicy magazine, and dov zakheim, a former defense undersecretary who serve during the george w. bush administration. this is just shy of 90 minutes. >> hi. i am jacob, editor of the national interest magazine, and i'm moderating today on behalf of the center for the national interests, which has invited two
distinguished guests to speak today about iran and american politics. on my right is david rothkopf, the ceo and editor of the fp group, which includes foreign policy magazine, and managing director of kissinger associates and held several high-level positions in the clinton administration, also the author of several books on international relations. and to my left dov zakheim a long-time friend and also the vice president of the center for the national interests -- >> cheese -- vice-chairman. >> dov is also to the comptroller at the pentagon during the george w. bush administration and is the author of a quite provocative memoir published by the brookings institute called "vulcan's tale"
how he believes the administration mismanaged foreign policy in afghanistan. and today, we're going to be discussing iran as i mentioned. it could hardly be more timely. the middle east is always in ferment. but today a defense department official was quoted in "the wall street journal" asking who is going to be the person that shoots the arch duke of the middle east? igniting a new world war i. and with the events, with the negotiations in geneva over iran's nuclear program, and the events in yemen, i think it could hardly be a better time to discuss the role that the middle east and iran are playing in american politics. i are goal to david first to kick off the discussion. >> well, thank you very much. good afternoon. it's a pleasure to be here. i think it's been observed --
the observation i've heard most frequently since i arrived here is that the center for national interests is the best lunch buffet of anyplace in town, and i have to agree with that. i do also want to make a brief side comment before i dive in. several weeks ago i made a pledge not to appear on any panels that did not include women. unfortunately i see that there's one woman at the table but -- i think we can do a lot to enrich these -- well, yes it's true. they should move closer to the table. well let's -- i hope you're not diminishing my point, which is i think there must be more women out there who are interested in this subject who would enrich the conversation. in any event i think it's -- in
a discussion of the middle east we focus on iran because i think it's central to the situation. but before we get into the iranian facts, we ought to jump off of jacob's point a moment ago. there has never been in our lifetimes a situation such as that which we see in the middle east right now. every single country in the region is involved in a military conflict, with the exception of ohman, i think. every single country. the analogy to the balkans is not over the top. it may not turn into world war, but we already see it fueling unrest in africa, in parts of asia. we already know that it has
potential conflict -- consequences for extremism in -- and terror attacks in europe and in north america. it clearly has global consequences economically. we cannot sort of afford to walk away from it, and i think our impulse and the impulse of some in the administration to attempt to do that is one of the contributing factors to the problems we have here. but since the topic is iran and american politics i want to zero in on that for a while, and then we can open it back up to the rest of the region. during the 2008 presidential election when president barack barack obama was trying to differentiate himself from hillary clinton in a debate, when he said the approach ought to be engagement
the questioner he faced said, well with whom would you engage? and his first reaction was iran. and in fact hillary clinton responded to that with some skepticism. i do not believe that our interaction with iran over the course of the ensuing six-plus years is therefore somehow an accident. if you look at the chaos that followed in the wake of the arab spring, and the changes that have come in the middle east one country has benefited. that's iran. iran has benefited with greater influence in yemen, benefited with greater influence in iraq by very considerable amount. it's been fitted by greater influence in syria, with its man asaud looking now likely to outlast obama in office.
it clearly looks to benefit from the upcoming nuclear deals in some important ways. both in terms of sanctions relief and in terms of increased stature. at the same time i think one cannot help but objectively conclude that u.s. relations, with virtually every key ally we have in the region have deteriorated and the only country with which there has been a substantial improvement or potential for improvement, or thawing in our relations, in the course of the past six years is iran. not only is that the case, but our allies who feel shunned aside, or neglected, or
distrustful, feel that way for a reason. they feel that way because we did not respond to their concerns about the greg problems in syria. they feel that way because they saw us embrace too quickly the morsi regime not criticize it sufficiently in egypt and then embrace too slowly the possibility of the -- egypt is the anchor tenant of the arab world. our relationship with israel is at its worst in its history in terms of the leader to leader relationship, and our relationships with gulf states who feel we have been in the midst of a slow -- with iran even as they have had growing concerns as also deteriorate,
although everybody is trying to put a brave face on it. this situation does not look like it's going to improve despite some opt tick -- optical sleight of hand this week that included general austin saying he would never have american crops coordinate with shia mill lit ya, which is preposterous. we are flying air support for the iranians and the shi'as in iraq. everybody knows it. if you don't call it coordination, come up with another word but look it up in the dictionary the word is going to mean coordination. we're playing telephone through the iraqis or we're doing it through back channels. but that was sleight of hand having the shia militias pull out. similar, and then our so-called support for the saudis going into yemen, which creates the confusing situation of opposing an iranian can backed group in
yemen while fight can alongside them in iraq. also does not take away from this particularly since the big looming issue on the horizon is iran nuclear deal. and the iran nuclear deal looks very likely not to be anything like the nuclear deal we sought to get. the primary purpose of the deal, from any strategic perspective has to be are we going to reduce the risk of proliferation in the region? secondary, also important purse, are we going reduce the risk of threat from iran? and the reason i put them in that order is because if only iran were to have nuclear weapons, given the american-israeli and other fire power just offshore, the deterrent effect would work. the concerns that iran gets nuclear weapons and other countries in the region seek to
counter that and that increases the risk that weapons fall in the wrong hands. but if you have a nuclear agreement, that creates the possibility that iran could go from the day it ceases to comply with the agreement to having a nuclear weapon within a year or a few months then every state that is concern about iranian nuclear power is put in the position of having to delved itself and that's thus the proliferation risk remains. and that is what we went from. we went from seeking essentially zero situation to seeking a one-year buffer. we went from not wanting centrifuges to now accepting thousands of centrifuges apparently including send fry fumings in hardened bunkers. we want from -- we'll give into
some iran yawn pressure for greater sanctions relief. and we are going to do this in a way via the unites nations that is going to improve iranian standing ultimate live with a lot of countries that want to deal with them. even if the united states congress blocks this hammer and tong in terms of the places it has power to do so within the set sanctions that require congressional involvement. and so you're going to end up with a less than ideal arrangement that will survive, will get from an interim agreement, will good to a permanent agreement. the congress will not be able to block the agreement. the president will veto any efforts to block the agreement. a lot of it will go through the u.n. and iran will have additional cash and as iran has additional cash, that will give it additional opportunities. clearly it has economic problems at home.
but you know, iraq has economic problems. the government of iraq is wrong. it's enable to operate -- unable to operate its oil fields in the southern portion of the country and the iranians have put. thes in a sponsorship situation with the baghdad government that is a shocking reversal from dual containment. there are posters of the supreme leader in downtown baghdad. is haled as the leader of the pushback against isis, and if the iranians have the ability to help the iraqis further and we're disinclined to do so which we are imagine what that is going to mean in terms of further iranian influence there, or syria, or places like yemen or places like western afghanistan. and so i think it is highly
likely that we will come into the 2016 election cycle with iran being the big middle east winner from the obama administration, with the middle east being in the most precarious shape it has ever been in that the approaches of the obama administration to the middle east being seen as egregious failures even month hose who argue that the bush administration has more egregious failures in its first term, and by that i mean significant parts of the democratic party. it's pretty dark. and perhaps in our ensuing discussion we will be able to find some rays of light, but i wanted -- because i know dov's sunny frame of mind to provide -- to provide a useful counterpoint so he can now assume his role which is to
defend what the obama administration has done. >> for our c-span viewer is would like to emphasize that these remarks about the obama administration are coming from someone who served in the clinton administration and would be assumed not to be sympathetic, but the situation is very stark. i am extremely sympathetic person. ask either of my daughters. so i will now turn to dov for his further explanation of the middle east which is always so easy to explain. >> well, i'm afraid i'm going to dispoint both people here in the viewers. i'm not going to defend the obama administration. i'm going to take a perspective that is pretty much the same as david's, but expand on it in a variety of ways. first, this guy used to sit at
the far corner of this room and he was a leading journalist, a leading analyst, a brilliant thinker, and quite a character and we're going to miss him and i just wanted to mention that because he really was a regular here and contributed tremendously to the conversations we had. i want to give you some context that goes beyond in some ways what david talked about. you have to begin not just with the debate with hillary. you have to begin with the fact that the president as a candidate, and pretty consistently since then wanted to focus on nation-building at home. that was his priority. do stuff at home and try to keep the world at a distance if at all possible. so what are his beg legacy items? obamacare is one he hopes to
preserve. he still hopes to do something on immigration. he clearly has a -- pushing the envelope on environmental issues and so you start from there and then you look at okay what is his approach to the world. it's been one of if i can keep out of it, i will keep out of it. pull out of afghanistan. pull out of iraq. don't say a word when the mullahs crushen and uprising in 2009 in iraq. no ground troops in libya even if the country falls apart. withdraw two brigades from europe even -- and not restore them even as mr. putin flexes miss muscle. we sent a company to each of the baltic states. that's not a lot of people. only arm the kurds with
baghdad's approval. pivot to asia without more forces except 2500 marines further away from asia than they were. and so you see a pattern here. how does iran fit into this pattern? what i see essentially going on is an attempt to on the one hand create nixon's con behindum with the iranians in the region. essentially more than that. the nixon doctrine said, handle it off. he handed off to the shah, and some ways i think mr. obama thinks that maybe the best way to deal with this crazy region that he doesn't want to deal with, let the iranians handle it. part of that and sort of an outcome of that, is to downgrade the relationship with the israelis. treat them as a secondary power. revert back to the relationship israel had with the united
states prior to the mid-1960s. i think that where is he is headed. and if you look at all the things that have been going on it kind of all hangs together. for example, in the case of afghanistan, everybody is noticing that ashraf began any had a great visit here and we're keeping more troops. that helps the iranians. the last people they need back in kabul are at the taliban. this almost went to war with them. so that one favors the iranians. not providing too much support for the kurd faves the iran yawns because if you consecutive the kurds too much military equipment ask they really feel they can go independent and they have already talked about it in a way that they hadn't as long as recently as two years ago, but because of the collapse in iraq, they're now talking about
it. but if you do that everybody notices the turks will be very upset. so will the iranians. because the iranians have their kurds. so they don't want a stronger kurdistan. obviously we are -- i'm convinced of this. i was in kurdistan for a conference three weeks ago and i came away convinced we are working hand and glove with the iranians, as david says. i had a panel that included the national security advisor of iraq the vice president of iraq brett mcgurk, our emissary to fighting isis, and the adviser -- the chief of staff to the president of kurdistan. and i asked the panel four times, talk to me about iran. nobody really wanted to. i can understand why the iraqis don't want to because they want
us to help and they want the iranians to help. i can understand why the kurds don't want to because they don't want to inflame the iranians. why didn't brett mcgurk say a word? nothing. zero. that tells you something. so it's true, obama has a dilemma right now in yemen. no question. he is supporting the guys that are fighting the iranians. but by and large, that is the -- iran is the direction in which he is headed. look at this deal. everybody has been arguing for ages over how many centrifuges we'll allow the iranians. turns out it's not just a matter of centrifuges. it's matter of allowing the iranians to have centrifuges in fordo, to which they give nobody access and they were supposed to close down fordo and close down arak. they're not doing that. we are givingway on the whole
question that hey have done until now which the yay iaeaeye -- the iaea has been pushing. for an ancient empire, what ten years, 15 years, what's 100 years in the middle east? nothing. and then what? and then david rightly said, look at the reaction in the rest of the region on the part of people who are supposed to be our friends. okay? i'm not as worried about an iranian strike on israel as some people are, for their very simple reason, if the iranians try it just work the analysis. the missile has to go off. the target has to work. none of the four lives israeli missile defense works and only then might something come through. now, if it comes through of course you're destroying jordan and saudi arabia and a lot of other countries. lebanon, syria, as well as
israel. but guess what? with the percentage -- the likely percentage that an iranian missile can make it through -- if you run the percentages less than one percent. the likelihood that the israelis can retaliate and wipe iran off the map is 100%. so if i'm an iranian general or even revolutionary guard i'm not going to recommend that. but if the iranians have a nuclear capability, as david said nobody else is going to sit on their hands. if you are sitting in riyadh what do you see right no? you see iranians still supporting groups that want to overthrow the regime next door. you've see core constantly suspecting the iranians are playing in the eastern province which is mostly see ya dominated. now the houthis are taking over yemen. the classic saudi nightmare
being surrounded by iranian puppets, and supporters. now, add on top of that an iranian nuclear capability. there's no way that the saudis will not go nuclear and by the way, i heard from one gulf foreign minister who told me a thing about a month ago. he said why do you think the saudis have been supporting the pakistans all these years? what do you think is the quid pro quo? the quid pro quo is they'll give the saudis the nuclear capability they need and give it to them very quickly. and you think if the saudis go nuclear the uae won't? you think if the saudis and the uae won't, the egyptians won't? and then the turks aren't going to sit quietly either and for instance talk to the cypriots and they'll tell you how nervous they are about the turks going neck clear. so everybody goes nuclear and in fact think of a map you will now have a chain of nuclear
powers running from the pacific ocean all the way to europe. and all it takes is one mistake. one mistake and then you have worse than world war i. so this is what the iranian deal is going to get us. but again the way that the administration is going about it it's as if none of this matters. the one person who is actually helping the administration more than anies is mr. netanyahu. mr. netanyahu should not have come to congress. he should not have further ticked off the president of the united states. his behavior during the election made the president of the united states feel absolutely justified in ignoring everything he says. and his subsequent backtracking hasn't cut any ice with anybody. now, what did he really do? if there is no override of an
obama veto of new sanctions because of this deal, you can thank mr. netanyahu for that. because the democrats were certainly going to override menendez and assumer and all those guys, but now they're in a very tough position. the only reason an override might happen now is because more and more is coming out about this kind of fuzzy deal that gets forwardier -- gets fuzzier by the day but it's going to be harders because of mr. netanyahu. finally, would point out that if iran were the number one concern before mr. netanyahu, then by definition a deal with the palestinians isn't the number one concern and if you want to worry about your number one concern, you offer something to the palestinians and tell mr. obama, look i'm giving you x, you give me y. he hasn't done that. so, he hasn't helped his cause at all in my view. but objectively, the deal is terrible. the behavior in the region is
all of a pattern even as i say with respect to afghanistan, and the patternes simply some kind of condominium or less, some kind of offshoring american influence, prestige, in the region and just simply handing it to tehran. i'll stop there. >> a very quick response and then we'll take questions. >> i never said the word quick. but i will make an effort to be brief. first of all, i think we need to look at the response of the saudis and the gcc states to the houthi gains in yemen. not just in the political context of yemen nor in the traditional shia sunni terms.
it's also a response to the sense that there are no other stabilizing forces in the region right now. and that iran is gaining. it is a message from them that they are unwilling to tolerate or further deterioration of the situation with regard to iran's regional position and therefore, is a broader consequence than it's typically described to be. so far dov and i have not disagreed on any point. i'm now about to say i think he may disagree with but i want to throw it out there if only to validate your assertion i was in the clinton administration and that in fact i'm a democrat. i'm not one of those people that believes that anything other
than a good deal shouldn't be done. i think we should get the best possible deal we can. i think we should embrace the gains that deal gives. but i think that for that to be effective, it needs to be in the context of a strategy. and the strategy needs to work with regional allies to allay their concerns and rebuild a regional alliance that extends from the gulf to egypt and includes all of those who are concerned by the iranians and gives them the assurance that we are standing with them and we will tolerate no deviation from this. it requires a kind of balanced approach and a long-term view and a strategic framework that we have not seen, and i think one bit of evidence of the absence of a strategic framework is the degree to which the iran deal itself have been
overemphasized in the context of iran policy. not only while we're worried about iran gaining nuclear weapons, is iran gaining ground in the middle east which is a greater threat to the stability over the middle east but in other areas, there are other disturbing patterns. we're in the midst of a cyber war with the iranians. they are, as snowden documents have indicate they're regularly attacking private sector targetness the united states. we're willing to negotiate a deal on the technologies of the 20th century and give them sanctions relief while we are exploring the risks associated with the technologies of 21st 21st century consulates, at the same time. so we may end up rewarding them even as they're attacking news other ways and they're attacking
our allies and even as they're destabilizing the region in other ways. this does not suggest a strategy. it suggests a very narrow gauge focus on deliverable, a campaign oriented approach, to how to deal with geopolitics. let's get a win. let's get something out there we can show for it without putting it into any kind of broader context. the final thing i'd like to say and this again may confirm your suspicions that i am a democrat, i don't think it's been all bad. during the first term of the obama administration, when they were get something good advice from hillary clinton, leon panetta, bob gates, they were pretty good in imposing tough sanctions on iran. they were squeezing iran. they were gaining benefits from iran. from those sanctions. they were getting themselves in
a position to negotiate a good deal. but what happened since then? not only have those people left, but i've talked to people inside the negotiating process who will say they reach an impasse and then there are other people, more senior, come into the conversation and they say things like, how do we solve this problem? and they capitulate and they soften the deal. spoke to a former senior national security official democrat, who said to me just two days ago at this point in the negotiations from the school of negotiation in which i was raised, i would be ordering everybody down into the lobby with thunder luggage -- with their luggage and saying we're leaving because only in showing that you don't need the deal, do you actually have the leverage you need to achieve the deal you want ask that right now our body language and the iranians know and it our allies know and it
grandmas in toledo, ohio know it, is that we want the deal more than the iranians want the deal. that is extremely dangerous and that is what gets you into less than adequate deal, and that is particularly dangerous when it exists outside the context of a coherent distract for dealing with iran or the region. >> that was david rothkopf. we will now have a response briefly, as promised, dov zakheim. >> a couple of thingsful david's obviously right. the focus has been totally on nuclear. one area they haven't focused on at all is missiles. you can't destroy too many countries unless the bombs are carried in a suitcase, which nobody has tried yet. you have to mate them to missiles and the iranians are moving ahead and we're not saying a world about it. we have a problem that you cannot resolve even if you have
halfway decent agreement and that is nobody trusts us. and if you are saudis, for example, and your ambassadors who was beloved by the previous king and is highly trusted by the current king, was the subject of an assassination attempt in washington by the iranians you're going to have a lot of trouble accepting that all of a sudden the iranians are good guys. it's just not going to happen. and the problem is we haven't been trusted for years. yes, it's true this administration accepted and i use the word accepted advisedly -- sanctions. those sanctions were pushed by the hill and everything single time the administration tried to fight them until they can't fight them anymore, and everybody knows that. and what is most important the people in the region know that. let me be more blunt even than david about this negotiation. why do we have an end of march deadline anyway? it's an artificial deadline.
we chose to have an end of march deadline of we chose to have an end of june deadline. so we're fighting against ourselves the whole time anyway. and one other point, and this isn't widely understood. but you know most of the arabs, virtually all of them, see us as israel's closest ally, and watch how we treat the israelis. they figure with treatment the israelis badly, we're not going treat them any better. if we are underminding the israelis, they notice that. and i was just at the munich conference last month, and the iranian negotiator said in front of everybody and i double-checked with somebody who was there, so i wasn't hearing things, that the israelis responsible for the burning of the jordanian pilot and the killing of the two japanese, said it with a straight face because he does things with
straight face -- nobody in this administration said a word about that. and so you have a fundamental problem of trust. the israelis wet know don't trust them. but the arabs don't trust them. and you're not going to turn around and cut some kind of deal on an artificial deadline that, as you just heard, even democrats are worried about. and then turn around and say trust me, it will all work out. >> our first question will come from dimitri seims, the head of the national interests. >> i think your indictment of the obama administration, i simply would agree with both of you 100%. the best i can say to defend the administration policy that in two years supposed to come to this. now, the question is not
however, from the flawed policies and whether if we handle the negotiation as david just suggested perhaps would permit a deal but -- but my question to both of you, in particularly to you, dov, because you acknowledge that perhaps the threat to israel is somewhat coming from iran is somewhat overstated. my question to you is what is the alternative? you would articulate now under current circumstances would you reject the deal and suggest that we leave more or less with the status quo but perhaps like david have suggested, making the new strategic approach in the gulf or contemplate an attack on iran? and if you would be in favor of that, or at least if you think
that we can -- what would happen to the price of oil. what would happen to putin's fortunates? would putin use this opportunity to create further mischief in ukraine,on eastern ukraine where russian forces are here now. are we going to be better off by rejecting an agreement at this point? >> most of to the questions were directed to me so i'll start. let me first say that i've written and i've spoken over and over again i think not only would an israeli attack on iran be useless, it think even our attack on iran would be usesless there are too many targets. it will take far too long not a one short deal but a we don't have as great battle damage assessment as we say we do.
the u.n. will tell us to stop within a few days, and the job will not have been done within a few days and let's assume that we or the israeli are or some combination could take every iranian target out. fine. the iranians now say we're on our own and they get the bomb within a couple of years anyway. so i don't think a military string -- strike is the answer. what die think is the answer is essentially to turn around to the iranians and say look, this isn't good enough. we got to keep talking. netanyahu said a year ago that the interim deal was a disaster. it's turn out not to be a disaster in that respect, the administration -- it worked. iranians haven't moved anywhere as far as they otherwise would have moved and there's still sanctions squeezing them. i'd continue to talk until theirs a new president. i don't trust this president. think he will grab the first opportunity to cut a deal, but
if i had my druthers we would ukeep on talking, keep the sanctions that currently exist, and do not more at this stage. >> david. >> well, first of all, i agree. i don't think there's any be fit to us -- benefit to us attacking iran and i think in the current situation in the middle east it would be calamity. building off of my prior point my sense is that we're going to end up with an interim deal what that will turn interest a final deal and that the final deal will reduce the threat from iran somewhat and provide for inspection and other kinds of oversight that can ensure that the risks from iran are somewhat less.
on the nuclear front. but the primary threats posed by iran are not nuclear. the primary threats posed by iran are regional in terms of instability, the actions of hezbollah, the actions of hamas the actions associated with their support of the houthis their meddling in iraq their support for asaud which is runs to the tells of billions of dollars, and unless you realize and treat those things as the primary threat you're missing the point. and so therefore take the deal enforce the deal and then do two things. build a strong alliance. repair the alliance with the gulf states with the saudis with the emirates with the
jordanians and the egyptians, recognize they have the responsibility for stabilizing in the region first, that we need to support them, that we need to work with them to create sunni grassroots political movements that can be stabilizing in western iraq, that we need to work with them to ultimately find a solution that is going to work in syria that we need to work with them to ultimately get a negotiated settlement that's the best settlement you can get with yemen, and primarily that we need to work with them to counteract the two pernicious forces in the region one of which is sunni extremism which manifests itself in everything from isis to the brotherhood, to -- and the other is iran. and so one of the big mistakes one can make is cut a deal with iran, say everything is fine and move into the mode as if this solves the problem when it
only deals with a fraction, as dov said raising the point of missiles properly -- with a fraction of a fraction of the problem. so use it. but have your eyes wide open and don't think that this is producing a strategic re-align independent this region because it's not because our allies don't want it to, and because it's not going to help, it's actually going to put us at greater risk. >> our neck question is from ambassador jerry bremer, at the far corn are of the room head of the coalition authority in iraq. >> want to first agree with david. the problem that iran poses is strategic. and geopolitical. effectively what he is talking about, which the administration explicitly and hillary clinton explicitly rejected, was a policy of containment of iran. and that may be where we wind up. but there are some very important lessons from the
containment of the soviet union. first of all it was a policy that was carried but by ten presidents of both political parties for half century. during that half century we spent an average of 6% of gdp on defense; we forward deployed hundreds of thousands of troops around the ring of the soviet union, owl allies were spending 3% to 4% of gdp. we had tactical nuclear weapons against the soviet border. the containment is not cheap and it's not easy, and the problem that i -- and it was bipartisan. i don't see how this administration, which has got itself into a very partisan situation on this particular issue of the nuclear agreement is going to have the ability to produce a strong bipartisan support for containing iran, which is basically what david is
calling for. he may be right. that's where we wind up. but nobody should be under any illusions that's going to be easy. it's going to be expensive. we're going to have to put american troops on the ground in the middle east, we're going to have to probably put nuclear weapons on the ground in the middle east. certainly going to have to put nuclear weapons there if we want the host countries not get their own nuclear weapons. >> david. >> well, first of all i'm not explicitly calling for containment i'm calling for counterbalancing itch think it's possible if the iranians make real progress, adhere to this agreement, stop doing the other things they're doing behave in a more constructive way that they could grow in international standing in ways that wouldn't be bad provided were counterbalancing them. so i use counterbalance rather than contain.
but it's all conditioned on them actually doing those things and they've shown no inclination to do those things thus far. and i think we need to be very results and evidence oriented in this regard, and you're right, it's become political. having said that, i can't help but point out that to a large agreeing the political problems in -- well, the political problems in washington cannot be blamed on one party or the other. both parties have played a role in creating the most politicized forepolicy atmosphere we have seen in a long time. that's not helpful. and regardless of who is elected in 2016 one can only hope that as a centerpiece of their foreign policy will be a willingness to commit the effort at home to rebuild the kind of across the aisle alliances that
are essential to having credibility overseas and i think the recent experience with netanyahu illustrates the problem very well. if we are seen as dysfunctionally polarized, we are not seen as a reliable power in the world. and that's a threat to us. and we need to find a way around that threat. >> let me just jump in briefly. i totally agree with you that if you want to contain iran you have to spend money. this administration does not want to spend money on defense. the -- what they've done just now shows that to you. they came in with a request for more defense spending than the sequester and the budget control act would allow. the congress turned around and said, we're not going to bust the sequester, you the administration, know you don't want to bust the success sequester, but we'll take the additional money and put it in the overseas contingency operations account which would
allow us to do the kinds of things to do you're talking about because it's operationings stationing troops. the administration is oppose it. they don't want to spend anymore money on defense so contain. is a nonstarter for these folks. there's another fundamental problem. the way david puts it is essentially to tell the -- our allies in the region bet on the come. we'll cut a deal with the iranians and then fix it with you. that's exactly putting the cart before the horse. if you want support for a deal that is questionable, the first thing you have to do is shore up your allies. you have to convince them that you are reliable, that you have a certain understanding of their concerns and that you're going to act on them because not only after a deal is cut, but before a deal is cut. so when you have a spat with israel that goes well beyond just mr. netanyahu's behavior when you have friction with the saudis that has nothing to do
with the israelis. when you have a cutoff of support for the bahrainis, we cut off mill tear support for them and their kind of younger brothers to the saudis, just across the causeway if you operate in that way, you are certainly not giving them the comfort factor that they would need prior to a deal being signed. we're doing it exactly the opposite way. >> say just one thing in response to that. i agree that the right way to have done this would be to maintain and then build credibility, listen to our allies, understand where they need assurance not undercut our credibility with them at every turn, not offer the iranians a
deal on enrichment we wouldn't offer the emirates. not do the things we have done. but we are where we are. my view now is that if you want to make the best of the situation you're in now you have to look at those relationships and restore them by actions, not words by -- and by the way, you can't restore relationships in a region like this unless you empower your state department to go out and do the work. if everything is done by the white house, you cannot do the day-to-day blocking and tackling of diplomatic relationships that this requires. so, there are operational issues involved here that are serious problems. the final point i want to make is we didn't address part of dimitri's question. dimitri raised the point of mr. putin. there are broader geopolitical ramifications of this.
when vladimir putin sees our behaving fecklessly or being distracted by situations like this, every single time he takes advantage of it. and it is no accident also that when he takessedsed a van advantage of it. people in the region see him as a little strong, and the israel ya have turned to the russians more closely and they have better relations with the russians. others in the region have done the same and as i was saying to jerry before we began here, there's a little ironic twist that's going on. you may recall discussion of something called the pivot to asia. well, we didn't really follow through on the pivot to asia. but you know who is pivoting to asia? everybody in the middle east. the people we were suppose to be pivoting away from. the stalled diz, israelis the gulf states the iranians, their looking to china as a consumer
of last resort. they're looking to india as a big buyer of their energy products. they are looking in a different direction for major power involvement in the region because they don't trust that they can count on u.s. major power involvement in the region and i might add that is compounded by the fact that the notion of eu foreign policy is a fantasy. because the eu hasn't gotten its act together yet enough to actually have a foreign policy. so the atlantic alliance and the deterioration that has taken place within the context of that alliance, has contributed to this weakening in the middle east, as well as to the weakening in the face of putin and that needs to be addressed if you're going address this pivot and these issues in this region as well. >> i would just add this. the reason i said we should continue talking is precisely so
that we can do the kinds of things david talked about. shore up the alliances restore credibility. there's no reason for us to say, as we have been saying, if we can't get something done by the end of march we're going to walk away. that's exactly the wrong thing to say. the right thing to say is if we can't get something done by the end of march, we'll just keep on talking. the longer we talk the more time we have to restore our relationships with the saudis with the israelis arrest of -- the rest of them to plea velocity the pivot to asia to have some kind of credibility with or adversaries as well and potentials a sir varies because it's not just putin who seats us as weak. it's the chinese who see us as weak. everybody sees us as weak. those who travel anywhere, hear the same refrain no matter where you go. we're unreliable. we're weak.
we're looking inward. we need time to restore that. you don't cut a deal and then try to restore it. all you're going to do then is further undermine yourself because you will have proved our week you are for all the reasons david gave you. >> to my left. that was dov zakheim, center for the national interest. on my right, david rothkopf. we're discussing iran in american politics in the middle east. richard solomon. >> as you just said, the subject of this signifies session is iran and american politics. and the terrible message that i'm hearing in this discussion is very fundamental to american politics. and the question is, are we capable as a country, as a country would presumably the most resources economic
military, of any country in the world, are we capable of conducting a meaningful foreign policy and, david you began by appointing out the various ways that iran has been the beneficiary of a -- you have too take that back to bush 43. when we eliminated the iraq saddam hussein challenge we destabilized the strategic balance in the john and -- was anybody thinking about that issue? ...
what are we trying to achieve and that undermines the kind of trust that is reinforced by the kind of domestic political dysfunction that was just talked about. i think we have some -- >> we want to distinguish -- sound like. [inaudible] >> that's right. george shultz, one of the great secretaries of state. anyway, my point is i think the situation calls not probably in this room because the people who have devoted their lives to
security and foreign policy but as a country. look at the people who are coming up on the line as potential presidents for the next cycle. almost none of them have foreign policy experience. so any world that is in chaos or as henry kissinger puts it a period of disorder, or schultz says a world awash in change, i think we have some serious reflection to engage in. in. >> i don't know if david will agree but i think a point that david had previously goes to the heart of your concern. our foreign policy is essentially being run by a very small cadre of people in the white house. most of them actually of minimal foreign policy experience which is remarkable because they've been doing it for six years but it's as if they've been doing it for six days. and i think that regardless of who's elected president, the real issue is does the white
house run foreign policy or do we defaulted back to the professionals? people like yourself, and others, who served in treasury, in state come in defense, incomers. we have a lot of international agencies, and young people are more interconnected with the world than anybody else any other generation. there's no inherent reason why we should be operating the way we are operating today. but i think the key is do we rely on our executive agencies to do what they have been what the law tells them to do? to the extent a new administration, regardless of party, will default back to executive agencies, i think you'll see a very very different american image around the world and a lot more credibility. >> the white house apparatus is
too big the agencies been allowed to atrophy. the rows have become to centralize. it makes it impossible to do the job the agency needs to do but it also makes impossible for the white house to do the strategic planning and the condition oversight role that it is supposed to be. that needs to be fixed and there are a variety of ways to do that, including by the way cutting down the size of the nsc from nearly 400 to maybe 200 back when it was the beginning of this administration. henry kissinger's nsc had 30 people in a. we are over 10 times that. [inaudible] [laughter] >> but you guys were all special. but having said that, that's not the full answer. and there are two other critical issues. one is foreign policy is made
in the executive branch primarily by the president of the united states at the behest of the president of the united states. there is no area in which the old maxim that the institution is the lengthened shadow of a single man, or a single woman, is more true. five out of six of the last president of the united states have had no foreign policy experience coming into office. the american people continue to live under the delusion that foreign policy is the secondary importance and you can pick it up on the job. if that has ever been demonstrated not to be the case certainly the past few years after that message will or should have. you have to elect people who understand this, who understand that the agency's work, who understand the issues who are not going to do on the job training, and who are effectively as. who are capable of managing big organizations.
the united states government is the largest most complicated organization on earth. the skill set that is least valued in washington is management skill. this is the one city in the world where people tend to believe that if you can articulate something that's the same as being able to get something done. not true. you need leaders who are also managers who have clear ideas, and they have to be able to go into the real retail politics of foreign policy as well as they do the global diplomacy and statecraft and statesmanship that is required of the job. they've got to go to the hill. they can't be a loose. they can have teams that are only. they can't maintain campaign mode. they have to engage. and have to of willing partners. and it is not a small thing. the congress of the united states is obstructionist.
many of the people in the congress don't even have passports. they don't engage in these issues. they think that penalizing the president on foreign policy is a foreign policy victory, wind and weakens us every single time it happens. they don't believe in the principles of collaboration and compromise that are essential to functioning democracy. and that has to be fixed too. but you can't fix it all at once. the place you can start to fix it is in the presidential election to you've got to pick the right woman or man to be president in order to be able to begin this process of change. >> let me just point out something. if you want someone who is a manager, and i totally agree in my last incarnation in government i was on the management side and i saw the price we paid for people who did not manage being in management
positions. but the managers out there are not senators. they are ceos. and ceos who are in politics are called governors. now sometimes you get a senator who knows nothing about foreign policy and is still pretty good to harry truman. you can have a governor who is pretty good ronald reagan or bill clinton. it's a function of the individual. if the individual can listen has a good staff, recognizes his or her shortcomings, you will be fine. if the individual has a management background you will be even better. if the individual is convinced, hey, i'm president and you're not and, therefore, i know it all and you don't it doesn't matter what the background is. >> by the way, running a large u.s. government agency like the state department counts. >> i figured that was coming.
[laughter] >> i was too polite to say. two more questions. one from mic of pbs "newshour" and then we go to wayne. >> politics is in the title of the talk. let's get down to the crass level. first of all an election campaign is usually not the best way to articulate complicated issues. but both of you gentlemen have advised presidential candidates. on the democratic side it seems like a candidate, whoever he or she may become is going to have to distance themselves from the current administration without repudiating it. and on the republican side, how to write an effective critique with a just turning into this rancid criticism which not only is rancid but may be counterproductive. your thoughts, please. >> i believe that it is highly likely, that regardless of who the democratic or republican candidate is in 2016 they will
both come to some degree, run against the foreign policy records of the last two presidents. both will seek to identify themselves as something different. as far as democratic candidates i think they will be able to split the difference that you described there, because they will be able to embrace a lot of the president's domestic policies. they will be able to say there was recovery, they will be able say that was health care reform. they will be able to say there was progress made on climate. they will be able to say that, you know, a variety of the gains were made, and they can embrace that wholeheartedly. i think on foreign policy, they may talk about some of the progress that gets made on climate. they may talk about some of the progress that might be made on tpp or some other kind of area. there may be some victories to look at.
but they will make a mistake if they get too bogged down in the details of defending the obama administration's foreign policy such as we've been discussing it today. instead of focusing on what we need for the future, and i believe that with the american people are going to look for is someone who is going to say, i have a different vision as to where we're going to go. i can provide a different kind of character leadership. i can demonstrate that i can deliver that character of leadership, and i can give you a few key ideas about how i am going to restore america to the traditional leadership role that is expected of the country both here and overseas. my final point, is this i think whomever is elected is going to see as one of their central jobs, restoring america's leadership role in the world. and in that respect you will see a lot of similarity in some of the rhetoric that is going to
come out of both the democratic and the republican candidate. >> first of all a republican candidate the obama administration is going to be a target-rich environment, both on domestic policy and foreign policy. i agree entirely that that's not going to be enough that there will have to be a positive vision. i think it will be a little harder for the democratic candidate to fight the bush election again because it will have been eight, nine 10 12, 14 years before. and so it will be difficult. i mean mr. obama has been fighting mr. bush from day one and the reaction gets more and more negative with the passage of time. i think the sense in the country that things are going wrong overseas means that unlike in the 2012 election win generally
speaking mr. romney didn't focus much on foreign policy gear you're going to national security as a major issue again. probably as made in asia as well as in the 1980 election. who knows what's going to happen in the next 18 months, but i don't think it's going to be very good. and so that would be a major issue. the question will then be what do we do about it. either candidate, republican or democrat, had to come up with a viable answer. i don't think claiming credit for climate change is a major national security issue, which by the way is a major element of the current national security strategy. climate change and environment and those sorts of things is going to resonate with the american people when you see what's going on in the middle east and elsewhere. it just won't wash. i surely hope that a democrat will focus on that because it's sure going to help the republicans. >> our next question is from
wayne mary from the american foreign policy council. >> i was struck in a panel discussion on iran in american politics there's been no mention whatsoever of the collective letter from a group of u.s. senators to the iranian government and only a passing reference of the congressional invitation to the israeli prime minister. to come in to talk about iran. the focus of their criticism has been almost exclusively on one end of pennsylvania avenue, which i would be happy to join. but if you're talking about shoring up the lights is i have rarely seen in my professional life and action or set of actions by the congress which have attracted such overt public criticism from senior figures of our closest allies. and i wonder if he would talk a little bit about a positive contribution a role that you could a group of from the other end of pennsylvania avenue? >> i thought i was pretty
critical of mr. netanyahu. very critical of him in writing and i thought it was pretty critical now. i'm certainly not a favorite over there. and i think congress did make a mistake. eddie could have retreated by the way because senators feinstein and durbin had offered to them to speak separately to the democrats. and he could've turned around and said fine, i will do that and i will speak separately and gone to mr. obama said okay fine, i'm backing away i will give separate speeches. i'm trying, and all of branch. that's not a way to influence can make friends and influence people. on the letter, you know, i think that it's a reflection of frustration as well. massive frustration and it goes to the point that david made. this president has absolute relationship with a hill on any issue. he's not a favorite of the democrats either. those who knew him when he was
on the hill knew him as a kind of loader who didn't really ever really become part of the club. -- loughner. if you know the hill, and i know you do if people like you like you can get away with an awful lot. and if people don't like you, they will fault you for everything. a classic example of that is ronald reagan and tip o'neill. reagan and o'neill if he didn't see the world the same way. but they played golf together to a related together come and when things had to get done they somehow worked it out. this president doesn't have to do that. or maybe doesn't want to do that, i don't know which. so you have a degree of frustration and the democrats will be more restrained about their frustration than republicans. this letter was simply, almost like a cat that had a burst. -- get. perhaps it to the way to handle congress, stroking people, be nice to people, giving them the kind of they would've resilience
of the guilty he could've resulted, for example, in the president calling in totten and maybe others and saying, look this isn't the right way to go. if he had a relationship with them he could have done that. >> first of all, you will forgive me but i think i was pretty explicit. i said they were of destruction is. i said they were blocking things. i said they were part of the problem. they are part of the problem. and very few things illustrate this quite as good as cosmic. dov is rationalizing it. bided don't think it's rationalize double. i think the cotton letter was outrageous, ill considered, unconstructive and the kind of thing that ought to be repudiated by both sides. it wasn't. it was embraced by virtually all
with a couple of exceptions of republicans in the senate. and in that respect i think it is a symptom of the disease that needs to be cured, and the way you cure it does not blame it on the president of the united states. who is leading on the republican side looking for solutions? who is leading on the republican side being constructed? who is leading and i mean genuine, not offering up take solutions they know will never be accepted. who is actually taking the initiative on the hill to do that? most of the leadership have expressed one way or another that they see their job is to stop the president to obstruct, to undermine. and certainly the netanyahu invitation was another grotesque example of the abuse of the traditional role. and so i couldn't agree more with the sentiment of the question.
much has to be done on capitol hill and one hopes that in the 2016 cycle, what you would get from some republican presidential candidate is to return to the traditional values that leaders in both parties have had, particularly when it comes to foreign policy, about placing american national interest first and setting politics on the back burner whenever it's possible and where ever it's a necessary. [inaudible] >> don't you think when you have the president of the united states who has promised a new bipartisan environment a different tone in our politics and then consistently ignores the republicans, and if you
would look at the whole variety of issues from obviously is medical reform, more recently immigration reform, the way he dealt incidentally with negotiations with the russians, the s.t.a.r.t. treaty, clearly was ignoring the will of the new republican majority in congress. people who are just elected as republicans. he took a position essential in dealing with congress that everything that is not outright illegal is fair game. don't you think that under the circumstances, the republicans are not just entitled to sit in frustration but also teach the moment to the present and say they should not continue. if you will be ignoring important branch of the u.s.
government, this branch will not be -- [inaudible] what's wrong with this approach to? >> i think it's grotesquely unconstructive. we have reduced ourselves to elementary schoolyard approaches to doing this. saying two wrongs somehow make a right. is obama good at embracing the congress? know. is a good at embracing of the democrats? know. is a good at embracing the rest of his a better station? no. is the isolated? does he get depend on too few people? is a campout of? is he not government will? i think is doing all of those things, but you are conflating a bunch of things. health care reform there was a big battle. people voted, he won, he moved it through and he got his way. that wasn't forcing it down their throats. that was the legislative process working. there were other cases where he achieved a victory. that's the legislative process
using. in using executive authority. republican president gives executive authority. there's always a human crime from the other side saying oh, my god imperial presidency. no matter what they do. but they do it. because that's how washington works. but just as obama has done wrong in terms of not reaching out mitch mcconnell said my job is to stop obama. he didn't say my job is to make america stronger. he didn't say my job is to help the american people through more trade. he didn't say -- he took the opposite side and he certainly has not been terribly constructed. and some of the tea party has been worst in this kind of thing. and they've talked about idiocy like impeachment and such nonsense. look, we've all got to get a grip. the democrats have done a kind of lousy job at the republicans have done kind of a lousy job at the bush administration screwed up a lot of foreign policy. the obama administration has
screwed up a lot of foreign policy. we can either point fingers for the next 10 years and it can get worse, or we can try to reach out across the aisle, fines and areas for agreement, acknowledge that dysfunction is not the way to go and it weakens us. i've said this before and it's lived inflammatory but i believe it deeply. dysfunction in washington is a much greater threat to american national security and isis and every terrorist group in the middle east. and unless we treated that way and fix it we will not be able to do the things that make countries strong whether it's producing defense budgets are producing coherent foreign policy. >> that was a strong statement. >> talk is talk but i think it's a fair point that the first thing mitch mcconnell said and he is delivered on it was that he was not going to bring down
the government, close down the government. andy seth in the face of a lot of people who really wanted to do that. i saw no reciprocation at all from the white house none zero. and at the end of the day lucas made the offer to play golf. it wasn't tip o'neill. these things do have to come from the president. it's just the way it works. it's exactly the same part of the system you're talking about, david. you are not seeing that. it doesn't help matters at all. did the republicans and that many republicans done the things that are egregious? absolutely. the real question is who was supposed to start this process and rolling it back to? i don't see that happening. you could argue mcconnell tried to do that and got nowhere. i just don't see that happening till the next president comes around and i do very much hope that whoever the next president is will recognize that you really need to work with the
congress rather than work against them. >> i'm going to switch it. i'm going to take the last question because we may not emulate the council on foreign relations in many ways here but the one thing i like about is they always end on time. that's a firm rule so that the wewe're going to do as well today. my question to both our distinguished speakers is, i'm going to pull away from domestic strife and contention and zoom all the way back to the middle east and ask you can talk about the iran deal and talk about netanyahu and obama engaging in what seems like a rather abstract tool right now because negotiations with palestinians is not on the table regardless refunds because the situation in the middle east is so inflamed. so let's put aside even these aren't talk. let's talk about right now and
get back to the first question i asked, which is how close are we to in august 1914 moment in the middle east? that's what i'm saying forget the iran deal because whether we signed it or not this region is in tremendous the people. where the saudis a massey miner 50,000 troops, npc reported today -- amassing. next the human. how close are we to the big countries like iran and saudi arabia? we know that these wars get triggered by proxy wars. they can go proxy for a while but you can get dragged in for your proxy. so how close are we really and what would trigger a wider war of complete upheaval in the middle east? david, do you want to answer first? >> first of all i don't know how it can get a wider. i mean, asked you look at it right now libya egypt israel,
syria, iraq by extension lebanon, jordan, all the gulf states iran and afghanistan are all involved in conflict right now. the turks have some role to play in all of that too. so it's as wide as it can get. can it get worse and deeper? she were. libby is going to get worse and deeper. libya is going to become like yemen is right now. you know it's going to happen? the egyptians are going to lead a force that can do this forced into libya. the reason the egyptians signed up for this force was in order to get them the license to go and leave a force again. so that's going that's going to make worse. i think those countries are coming to the conclusion that the united states and its reluctance to put in a boots on the ground in what is going to leave it to them to pick things up. we can breathe a sigh of relief and say that's great except we lose influence b. they may not
approach this in terms of restraint in the way we think that the approach our target them in with enough to be approached or in terms of intimate thing solutions in terms of the successor government in ways that we think is in the regions interest and that will promote long-term stability or u.s. national interest. i think we need to be very careful of falling into the temptation of let them handle it. because we do in interest better to give into the region. is it 1914? no. it's 2015. in other words it's not going to become world war i. it's not going to become something else. but could last for 10 years? could decimate the region? could play havoc with world energy? could get increased dramatically the influence in the region of states that haven't had influenced their before? could suck up resources so these places never can find jobs or
young men again or young women again? that they will never be able to build their economies back up or not for the next 50 years and produce a half-century of unrest from this region? could it spread to africa with boko haram signing up with isis? could it spread to other parts of the world including for example, pakistan with hundreds of nuclear warheads? yes, it could. and so i think we need to say, you know, first of all we ought not comfort ourselves that we're not in a terrible position yet. we're in a terrible position. i think we also ought to say this situation is likely to deteriorate before it gets better. and that we need to have a strategy that's a long-term strategy, and edited because this is something that hasn't come up anywhere in this this christian -- this discussion there is a strategy with the united states can have influence
what it does not have boots on the ground. the reason iran has gained in in the back is decisive because they do and we don't. and i'm not saying that that means another 200,000 troops. i'm saying advisers and special forces in the kind of things that send a message to voters that you are serious. you look at our coalition in iraq into syria and you got a lot of countries that effectively committing library brigades to rbl. they're not doing anything serious because they don't think we are doing enough in syria. so leadership requires actually getting other people to follow -- irbil, and it requires an example and we are a long way from that. i don't worry about a world war buddy worried about a protracted period of time that could be -- destabilized a big chunk of the world and negatively impact u.s. interest and allied interests for decades.
>> my bottom line up front is pretty much the same. i don't think we can hope to have any influence unless we have some boots on the ground. i think that the president's reluctance manifested reluctance to keep the troops in afghanistan, now he's saying up to 2015 thank god for that, for the end of this year is something not the way to go but i think the best example the best reason for saying it's not the way to go is if you look at the timelines in iraq, mr. maliki becomes a real dictator after december 2010 when we pull out. and it's arguable that had he not behave the way he had the sunnis would not be behaving the way they are. and so having that presence there, and it's not a massive presence, i totally agree it's very important. we are not in 1914. we are in probably 1912-1913 the balkan wars, these kinds of wars that sort of preceded the big one, or it you might say
it's the spanish civil war where each of a proxy war between the nazis and stalin and it's not going to be a world war but it will be a middle east wide war and it be something like the 30 years war but longer. 30 years war was a religious war at the end of the day. and however much you want to dismiss it is between sunni and shia, that's what you're we talked to sunnis and shia. it's come to by the fact that the iranians are not just shia. they are persians who look down on arabs and always have. so it's an ethnic thing and it's a religious thing. those things just don't go away quickly. so the real issue that comes how do you keep a lid on it and she cannot keep a lid on it aecom if you simply are only thinking about withdrawing, and become if you set red lines not for anybody else but for yourself by saying hey, i'm not going to sing any boots on the ground.
that is so unbelievably self-defeating. and what is amazing is that we are slowly being sucked in any way. now we providing close air support over tikrit. what happens when one of our pilots is shot down if god forbid's that happens? than what? i'm hearing this middle east sucking sound all over. it's a briar patch. even, you just look it up. >> i'm grateful to both our speakers. that is does like him -- dov zakheim. and david rothkopf. thank you very much. [applause] >> [inaudible conversations]
>> [inaudible conversations] >> all this week on c-span2, we are showing you readers of our q&a programs. later today a recent conversation with dr. anthony fauci, head of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases. watch that at 7 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> tonight on "the communicators," more from the international consumer electronics show as with the new technology products. >> it is something want to catch them you just take it off your wrist and it will be very simple to take off your wrist and it will expand and it would be as
easy as gesturing. you will just toss it and it is completely autonomous. there is no remote. you don't need to be wearing something. it's smart enough to know the direction you toss it from the pressure of your tossed the if it is a gentle toss it will stay pretty close. if you throw at it will go farther away. it will compose a photo, take a photo and come back completely autonomously. >> tonight at eight eastern on c-span2. >> its booktv in prime time tonight and our focus is congressional authors.
>> next, a group of millennials discussed the issues, culture, misunderstandings and stereotypes of their generation. panelists include a daughter of a former u.s. president found a global health startup the founder of a start new site for use in the national director of the nation's largest student
policy organization. from the new america foundation in new york, this is one hour 10 minutes. >> should introduce you i will be on the other for site is sara valenzuela pictures director of external relations for the public advocates office for the city of new york city of new york the next two or is barbara bush, cofounder and ceo of global health corps and descendent of the leadership council at the franklin project at the aspen institute. next is jake horowitz, cofounder and editor-in-chief of mic. and next to jake is joelle gamble, national director of the roosevelt institute campus network who most weaselly i should note just won the macarthur award for creative and effective institutions. so a big round of applause. [applause] >> thanks again everyone for
coming out come and ago to just turn right over to jake. >> think it's a much and thank you for everyone coming out. i am going to be calling -- falling along on my twitter. i will try to get to them in the q&a question. hopefully i will be a cool moderator. i'm going to produce as much as possible and the discussion cannot make it to stiff. i think first of the question would ask all of you is really important, everybody, she would be using the m word tonight or not? >> i use the word of millennials to describe folks who were aged -- i think it's a useful term to you look at a generation of the context it has evolved and. i also think it's effective for us throughout the discussion to talk about the generation after millennials. so the folks are not 18-32 but are just going to college, they will be a different generation and this was more progressive
and more conservative tickets aboard to talk to millennials in the 18-34 age group that also folks coming up after. >> you know, i don't think that makes much difference but i tend to think sometimes, people use millennial in a derogatory term sometimes because maybe we need to regress but melinda is but it is the 18-34 age group. i agree we can also empower the generation to come to think think the generation that came to force also is important. talking about millennials and we also need to talk about it in the context of who can be forced because they are the leaders we need to be learned from. >> i would just say because i work primarily with people for millennials, i often get asked in meetings like you're a millennial, tell us what you think. you will describe every millennial thanks.
there are millions of millennials a we all might have certain things that are similar but we are all i can't speak for every millennial. >> at mic we don't use the term. we find it's used to sort of stereotype the generation more than it is worth anybody in our age could even knows what it means. i had to ask. i think -- we will use it tonight. i think the best way to start this is to set up a problem which i think is sort of on the one hand you have generation that is incredibly diverse, most educated in u.s. history, very politically active, very informed. came out for president obama in record numbers. on the other hand, you have a generation that has been described to me as one of the most stereotyped. if you look in the media is everything i'm sure we could all tossed out of term but it's everything from lazy to narcissistic to stop the
obsessed. does anybody have a favorite daylight but there's a real fundamental misunderstanding i think as to this generation is particularly in political circles and in the media. i guess i wanted to start by asking each of you why you think the generation is so misunderstood and how you and your work has sort of approach to that problem. may be center if you want to start. >> i think -- sara. we are one of the most diverse generations in the united states and because of that we don't all fall under one or two umbrellas at we look at the generation be forced also had certain things were on the u.s. whether it was a depression, a major war or a major artistic influence that was kind of like grasping most of the generation. with us we're a generation that has so many things coming at us but we have technology rapidly
running through our generation and separating us from the generation before us. and now the generation coming after us, which i ago i did what my niece is talk about have the time, but i think we're such a diverse group that it's hard to cut like -- i think that's where in terms of civic engagement and the terms of government people are banging their heads against the wall on how to reach us because there is no one set way to do it. we are that diverse group. look at the people. of the. look at the people in this room. there's no way all of us relate to one singular thing. >> and have come how would you approach the misunderstanding or is there a misunderstood? >> i would agree. is a misunderstanding and i think it's because as our generation is starting to come into decisions of power influence in government, and policy, we are being disrupted. we are looking at new ways to do things and we are not necessary trusting or in favor of
established or institutions. there was a recent poll showing our generation thus institutions far less than any of the other generation before us but i think that can be disconcerting to folks. that means there has to be a change to the status quo in order to engage young people. think about this past election to there's a lot of folks talking about millennials didn't turn out the vote but in reality we turnout at the same level as we did in 2010. the problem was people did not reach us. they were using old campaign tactics to try to reach a new generation. i don't check my mailbox to vote by mail ballot. if you contact me via text message made i will see. i think that's the way that we can be engaging millennials in a different way that is just not happening as much as it should be. >> barbara, are your friends all taking self these all they? >> i still have a blackberry
which i don't anyone should admit that the good is his i can take a salty because it doesn't have a camera. -- sofie. i think also there's a lot of advantages to the fact that we have grown up more globally connected in any other generation, that way you'll have a voice with abuse of will or not is a different peace. but i think that's something that's been confusing to older people is that now with twitter, with different platforms where your voice can actually be computing to dialogue. it's a different story. and it i think those are both huge assets to why millennials have a lot of value right now. >> totally. i mean i guess i would be interested to from all of you and i can share my experience but for the people the young people, older people in the audience, what is the secret sauce, if you could say? everybody wants to reach the demo. sounds like anybody misunderstands the demo. how do you reach millennials and how have you done in your own
sort of work? >> i don't think i know the secret sauce. i would've totally so to make a lot of money. one thing that's important to think about went engaging our generation is vertical forms, top down forms just are not interesting the way they may have for other generations. we are a generation that it's more horizontal. we are a community oriented. with more access to a different type of people like barbara said more connected. this idea just top down let me tell you what to do and you do it doesn't quite work. i think it means a lot for institutions especially for governments. millennials believe in the effectiveness or the potential for effectiveness government but it's not happening right now. the question is how the bring in more participation to have decreed a more participatory environment for folks to engage with government? i think i will not our generation to buy-in.
>> your organization is doing every day. college dudes all across the country how he managed to break through and reach them on a daily basis? >> speaking to the top down idea the beauty is that were driven by ideas of our membership. we have chapters all across the country in 38 states. those folks are working on ideas and their own local greenpeace, coming up with solutions doing research, publishing memos and taking the stakeholders. one of her students is looking at new york city parking policy and how that can bring about this to affect local communities. he's looking at new york city, coming up with some ideas and we are supporting it. i think that's the kind of horizontal engagement i'm talking about the is telling you what your agenda should be but you've been able to build it yourself. >> i think i can piggyback on that pic if you look at the elections that we've seen over
the past few years, democrats lost an insane amount this past year. samoas in this room more to it some of us celebrated. but if you look at it, i think in our generation we are going to necessarily relate to make it as much as we going to relate to the platform they're running a. that speaks were to -- more horizontally-based organization. the women come we are getting whether a candidate runs on health care for women what they think if they think have the right to know what i should do with my body or not. for people who are from immigrant families whether or not that politician believes that immigration reform is a priority. those are the things that our generation just that and i think that's how a lease for me from a government perspective we're learning to engage with people right? an example from office working on legislation on campus sexual assault. he could just do a campus
legislative assault, campus sexual assault bill go into the city council and passive but instead to more she's bringing her bill before 200 students and letting them rip it apart and we write it. i think that's a better way of engaging in to guess what? from the political analysts and prospective that's a much better bill with the community that is affecting is actually involved in the. >> barbara what's the secret sauce? spent i don't know if we've figured out the secret sauce the the, but i work for a nonprofit that works on solving global health issues. every single one of our fellows wants to solve future problems. what they are excited about is issues focused and figure out their skill sets and the background might be able to solve issues. so they are and what they're excited about is digging out the system is broken, how am i going to fix the? iban architect, what am i going
to do with the engineering design background to think of a solution for this? so for us it's easy to engage millennials but we accept 2% of the people who applied your program because they're desperate to get their foot in the door and figure out how they can make a better world or they can be part of the solution. >> totally. for us at mic it's been about authenticity, a voice. young people make up our staff young people are writing in a voice that really resonates with the way we look at the world. which can be hard for some people to understand when we say, why the young people need a media company? i think we look at the world very, very different than our parents on many different issues. we have different perspectives. for us it's been really engaging in people on the issues that matter not talking down to our generation and not treating as in stereotypes but focusing on what are those issues. as editor-in-chief i ask everybody one question, which
tries whether something is a mic sort are not and is a something you would share with different overdid? which is a different audience that if you're sitting with her parents over dinner, or somebody else. anyway, so i think one interesting thing i wanted to sort of touch on is there's been a few examples now of big moments. we have seemed millennials mobilization more recently. the ferguson black lies matter protests. we have seen young people all over the country out in the streets, occupy wall street. my question for people here is are these movements difficult to sustain? in the case of occupied we didn't see a long sustained drawnout movement for young people. i think time will tell what happened with the ferguson movement, but how do you engage
this generation to stay motivated and sustained an issue over time. do we have sort of a short attention span? i know pashtun to have a short attention span and doesn't make it more challenges the? i think we have to define what a movement needs. so we can sit occupy wall street, the groups are no longer camping out, right? we don't see the site as much anymore. we may see them in some of the protest what it was on the erica garner stuff. there was a lot of occupied the court but to me the movement still matters because that just about the people. it's about the conversation to occupy wall street may not have bodies and grand capping out drumming and protesting a they were a catalyst for discussion that is continued all the way up to the supreme court. people are still talking about the things the occupy movement brought up whether it means the affordability of college right? the 1% to those things are still happening. i think the move is to continue.
maybe it's just give and the template is different about our generation to we are so the civil rights movement unfortunately still passed to happen in our day and age. i'm sure during lbj and martin luther king, jr. some they would have never wanted us to continue to have to fight that but that movement is to going and we see it today. >> i want to ask both of you. i get asked by friends all the time who are overseas living in arab countries that can't understand after the arab spring why young people here don't stand up more and don't protest and are not out in the streets? every situation is that bad why do we speak of? is there something to this point the young people just engage differently when they want to make their voices heard and not maybe in the '60s what it meant to be an activist? >> i want to say yes and no. if that's a fair answer to make. i think that there's still a lot
of folks are engaging in direct action. use even in ferguson. you see them in staten island that you see people doing direct action tactics but if it tactics but if they if it wants to read about this generation is our ability to amplify those beyond and would not affect especially using social media and other forms of technology. we see the emergence of a black twitter. names were not in the news at all often became news stories by organizations who would not have picked them up before. i think that ability to amplify things from i think the ground level is different because we have technology that facilitates that. which i think says something from establishment institutions have to think about. we still have figured out how young people and the communities we built online editors are going to be able to marry with you to come institutions like government, like large corporations and things of that nature. that's something we still have to sort out. >> it's kind of a combo of both.
yes, there's protesting and that can be part of the movement, but also their are sort of basis to but i think of sort of the aids movement in the '80s in the united states where a lot of game in india and san francisco were protesting, and then they realized that even though they did no policy, they were mainly, kind of the big leaders in the space, where lawyers, were working in real estate. they learned everything about policy and then went to the nih and were able to speak to what they were dealing with. that looks very different from standing in the streets. equally if not more so important because it changes most effect thousands or millions of more people's lives. i think we need to remember it's both. there's one that much more of a dark image can remember and your mind. there's one that's going on behind closed doors that we all need to be a part of and it's kind of you are all our responsibly to be educated on how that can happen also. >> i want to ask specifically
because i know it's something that's important to all of you about national surveys. i think another way of asking the question is president obama obama, i remember his victory speech where he came in and said this is a great victory but this is about you and not about me. for this to be a real victory everybody needs to do service in their community. i wonder what you think but whether or not that is happening. our young people as motivated and engaged? we saw a huge amount of enthusiasm and the beginning of the obama presidency. lots of friends of mine who would never heard of community service and what that was all of a sudden were doing community service, americorps and teach for america ethics. i was reading a story very recently about enrollment numbers going down over the last few years. i wonder you know what you would all say about that? is national service, again isn't the way of asking very
hard to sustain for this generation? is it still happening? >> maybe it's because i work on every day but i see hundreds of people joining global health corps every year. they are all 30 and younger. the average age is 26. 40% according to jobs. 40% have masters degrees. they are essentially transfigured how they fit into building a healthier world. as a major before we accept 2% of the people that lived we are five is old so we basically a sort of. so the fact that people are coming to our organization that does have big names i forget how to work on these issues such a lot to me. on the tee is a fun, i don't know that it's a sort of defeat for the. i think if you ask them five years ago where do you think your application numbers will
be, they wouldn't have even dreamed of where they were going to be last year or the before. so their numbers rose enormously after 2008, and that was huge. i don't think they have dropped pre-2008 numbers right now. and so i think it can be perceived in different ways. i mean, i meet people every day that are basically begging us like how can i forget how to work in health care issues? i'm not a doctor or nurse but how to get my foot in the door? to me that means people want to serve and its service may look different to me not look like working to put but it may look like working on really challenging issues. >> would you agree? >> i would agree that service does take place in a lot of different ways. for us 80% of our network going to a career in public service whether it's in government or in the nonprofit sector. we are working with young people who are dedicated to that. we are now 10 years old. we were founded off of of the idea that a site than just putting boots on the ground for giving
money to campaigns, young people can change the policy process with their own ideas. that has sustained his over 10 years and other folks in government, running for office working in the white house. i think there is this generation has an imperative. >> i want to ask the fortitude to center, specifically we had a writer in okay day this year to talk about as he called -- mlk -- sort of as 9/11 and mlk have become sort of big national days of service as he put it, a little bit obscures what the purpose of the day was to begin with. i'm not sure if i agree with that or not but i wanted to throw that out there as an idea and i would be interested to know how you react to something like that the these big national days of service are they the right way to think about national service for this generation specifically, or maybe not?
>> well, i'm going to address actually -- i am a teach for america alone. that was the way for me to get into the national service. i was and a lump in 2005 and it was an incredible way to just jump in and asked if after two years i went to bill for five years because i truly believe the legislation was the way i could affect the classroom. and i think that programs like what joe l. and barbara are doing really encourage people to leave their jobs. we can look at things such as startups as the way of being a part of social movement and having national shores because there are plenty of starters from our generation that are helping people. for instance, some in the audience get a shot at because i don't remember off the top of my head, there's an app for women when they been sexual assaulted on the street -- does anyone know? holler back, yes. ..