tv 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference Global Threats and Violent... CSPAN February 24, 2017 7:24pm-8:01pm EST
>> that's life tuesday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org. >> assistant to the president national security adviser staff member joined other experts at the conservative political action conference today. the panel has focus the discussion on combating isis and other violent extremists groups. this is one of several discussions hosted by the american conservative union in maryland. it is about 35 minutes. >> welcome to the first panel, when did world war iii began, part three. please welcome from the white house, the honorable sebastian gorka. ambassador francis rennie, a former u.s. army green beret, mike wolf.
moderator is senior fellow gordon shank. >> good morning. yesterday during the world were three party we heard about domestic threats. today we turn our attention to foreign ones, and, unfortunately there's too much to talk about. for instance, gorbachev said it looks like the world is preparing for war. patrice said the international system is under unprecedented attack from multiple directions another say global order is sliding into disarray. carter's national security advisor also said there is no international structure capable of handling threats that will
occur almost simultaneously. he is right. there is no capable international structure. let's not forget, there is the united states of america, its friends, allies, and partners. [applause] but the u.s. is under assault from two large authoritarian states, it's reaching proxies and nonstate actors. today will start with russia. ambassador rooney, you served in europe, you know the russians well. are they our friends or are they our foes? >> i think uniform policy it's about defining your specific strategic interests. not everybody is a friend all the time and out of her buddies up all the time. after many years of passive and implicit appeasement to president putin
we have a difficult challenge of reasserting the kind of strength that we asserted during the reagan years. this is a guy who is particularly dangerous as a trained kgb agent and fellow who has been responsible for a lot of problems. murders, the activities in the present conflict zones that started on president bush. we have an uphill climb to go to reassert american strength and get the relationship back in parity with russia. >> in the middle east, how do you see them? are they help her disadvantage trust? >> if you read the news you'll see that president putin has a personal preoccupation ike patient with the radical islamic terrorists, his problem is chechnya. so his support of syria to go after isis and al qaeda is logical from the pursuit of his national interests. we align in pursuing isis and al qaeda, but we don't align with syria and other areas where russia is engaged in a less aligned area. the ultimate question concerning
syria is, what is going to happen with bashar and who they are replacing him with. >> sebastian, deputy deputy system of the present, he just mentioned isis. [applause] they love you out there. where are we on the fight with isis? >> let's start with the last eight years. we have to set the stage and understand what happened under the obama administration. isis did not exist a decade ago. seven years ago it was the al qaeda in iraq a franchise. today, it is the most significant jihadist organization for the last 90 nine years. it's the first organization to capture territory in multiple countries of multiple regions. boko haram in nigeria is a part
of isis that was declared out of muzzle two and a half years ago. that money, capabilities. most scary of all, think about this, let's take politics out of the equation. politics was under manly national security assessment during the white house years of president obama. since the caliphate was declared emotional two and half years ago, we have killed or arrested 125 people in america linked to isis. that is not 25. not 35, 135. when omar mateen killed 49 americans in the pulse nightclub in orlando, what did he search to halfway through? he put down his rifle picked up a cell phone and did what? called 91 one. not. not to bring ambulances, but to swear allegiance to the islamic state.
think the last administration attorney general tried to censor from the transcript of that call. isis is serious and is the worst you had a threat we have seen in almost a century. on january 20, 2017 at 12:00 o'clock it all changed. [applause] we are going from eight years of we are going to ameliorate the threat, we are going to degrade the threat, to about this, we are going to eradicate isis. [applause] >> my, you are special forces commander. you served in the middle east. how do you see the fight against isis and also -- >> i will share with you a personal experience of mine on the ground in afghanistan.
there has been a lot of discussion and a lot of handwringing that we are 15 years into this war. it is our nation's longest war. a lot of folks do not realize it, we do not remember necessarily be in almost ten years. afghanistan wears started we afghanistan where it started we are 15 years in and counting. i was out on the ground when president obama announced the surge in 2009. i was standing my headquarters, and the same speech he announced his withdrawal. an officer standing next to me said sir, can you imagine fdr if you remember world war ii announcing d day and telling the germans were leaving at the same time. i can tell you that out on the ground we immediately felt the effects of this notion of america is leaving, america is turning its back and america is not going to lead in the world anymore. in my own experience i had been
working with an afghan elder for the better part of one year. i hadn't drank too much to do with this man to build a relationship and a week after president obama's announcement he looked me in the eye and said, me, my tribe, mi 1500 fighters that i wanted working with us and not the bad guys, we cannot support you anymore. he said take this message back to washington. i think this is illustrative of what we're dealing with. he said until you are prepared to commit your grandchildren, not your children, but your grandchildren to stand shoulder to shoulder with my grandchildren and fight islamic extremism, then then you will never be successful here. so are we 15 years and, yes. are we in for a lot more fighting and do we need a long-term strategy to undermine the ideology of islamic extremism just like we did
fascism and just like we do communism? yes, we do. do. i think we are in for the long call. i think our nation's leadership needs to begin telling the american people, i am sorry, we don't have a choice. we are 1515 years into what is going to a multigenerational war because we're talking about defeating an idea. it is easy to bomb a tank, very difficult to defeat an idea. that is what we have to do. [applause] >> you heard mike talk about a long-term strategy. will the trumpet ministration have one? >> absolutely. read one of these that was not paid attention to the presidents campaign speech you'll see everything and everything we need to execute i have to agree
disagree with i collie, it's it's impossible to defeat an idea. wrong. >> i agree. [applause] >> we know this is a generational war. we will defeat isis entropy them rapidly. to undermine the idea ideology will take longer but not generations. remember in 1987, a man called ronald reagan stood in front of the berlin wall and he said, mrn this wall. eighteen months later, without a shot being fired the people imprisoned on the other side of that wall, took it down. ideas ideas can be defeated, especially that one. [applause]
>> the american islamic forum for democracy, there there are ideas that we have, aren't they? >> i am the son of a syrian refugee who escape syria in the mid sixties. 60s. there is nothing more american than fighting theocracy. that is how our country was founded. their muslims across the world that share our values, are against dictatorship, both sides of this fascist equation across the organization of islamic cooperation of both the firefighters but also the arsonists. the only adults in the world is the west, is america. that was founded on the fight against theocracy. we have to's top racializing islam. we are not as the left wants to believe, and a tentative movement of a check the box minority. we are diverse, global population with ideas that span from fundamentalist, orthodox, secular, we need to start taking
sides within the house of islam. the green revolution in iran with a cyclist fighting for freedom, the only all 20 century bargain that the enemy are enemies or friends have produced this whack a mole program. we could get rid of isis tomorrow or next year and a couple years there will be another radical islamic group, unless we in the muslim community, that's when a reform is about. we want to see the government. finally we have a president in the white house willing to identify islamic extremism. i hope he can shift the excess of approaches domestically and abroad from this violent extremism to countering violent islamism. in the land of the free we have to's top the blasphemy on the claim of islam a phobia and begin to engage muslims across the planet that
tried to fight against bureaucratic islamism versus muslims who want to be free and practice their faith free of oppression. [applause] >> americans not wants were not bashful about talking about our ideas. as sebastien mentioned there was a ronald reagan who is forthright, who is willing to talk. unfortunately that is not the case now. ambassador rooney, putin, does he have ideas which is somebody in pursuit of his own power? what is russia? >> russia is smaller now, i think putin made it clear that he wanted to re-create the greater slavic -- that's part of every russian mindset. he seems to be moving forward in that respect with the news moves that he has made. it's up to us to project enough strength to counterbalance that
historic strongman which is dominated russians ambitions. >> it seems to me that essentially when americans talk about their ideals they are strong because if we have any justification for operating abroad it is because we stand for the things that people want. clearly when we start talking about the islamic world, there is a lack of ideas. we don't seem to be fighting and that arena. >> were avoiding embracing groups on the ground. we want to to do the low thing improved syndrome which is to work as group who identifies islamic. that's how you identified islamic parties, as a faith rather than the conservative movement believe in the separation of church and state. we believe in the individual rights of groups rather than leftists collectivists ideas. that's why why there's a bargain between the left and islamic.
we see this across the middle east. want to put one point of caution, we might share enemies with russia against isis, but our families are dodging, rushes not bombing isis in syria. their bombing normal families. any type of anti- regime operation. rushes working with jihad, he's working as a shia jihadists for the iranian regime in russia. that's why we need american leadership to advocate for our ideas in the middle east. make no mistake one reason it has been radicalized is the opposition has been radicalized by the saudi's, qatar and turks who have not help secularism who helped the islamists. that's one of the reasons isis came on 2013.
[applause] >> there's a lot of discussion working with russia against isis. that we have common goals there. the same time rushes working side-by-side with iran, the shia militias in hezbollah. how do we hold iran accountable for what i think is the worst diplomatic to the modern american history, and enforce that? at the same time driver wedge with russia and separate them with their allies. at the end of the day do we end up a fighting working against a both against both isis and the assad regime? >> this is why we need a trumpet doctrine about liberty. as condoleezza rice said in cairo, we, for too long have sacrifice security at the expense of democracy and in the guise of stability.
this barrage of stability and no kinetic war between government has made us get in bed with regimes that are feeling the ideology. it was basically seven country, i would add saudi arabia, pakistan, governments that are feeling the ideas that are un-american. we should be putting on notice that we will that people coming in and groups that we support against islam us ideas. we have to begin to have a long-term strategy strategy just like we did in the cold war. we didn't get in bed with the cuban communist and say because they're anti-soviet we will work with those coming this parties. that's our strategy now when we work with the saudis, the pakistanis, et cetera. we need to start having a long-term strategy. short term military one, but long-term ideological strategy for the promotion of freedom.
this will prove that they're ready for grassroots movement against the establishment across the middle east which are the islamic regimes. >> when you are sitting down having tea, what did afghan leaders want? >> they want a better future for their children. they want the ability to have free market had to make a living. i had an amazing experience standing next to an afghan officer in an arab officer from the emirates. he was talking to these group and he said look what these did for japan and germany. look what they differ colombian the philippines. let's look at these grown muslim societies into in dubai although that's under pressure it.
there can be a better future for your children, grandchildren grandchildren and the way of the taliban for al qaeda and islamic -- for what is otherwise a peaceful religion is not the way. that's exactly what they wanted. in order for that to occur an economy to grow you have to have security. that is the think the united states has provided since world war ii and its global order that's under so much pressure. particularly under the obama administration. >> we have heard both mike and judy talk about what people in that region one. what can the trump administration do? >> the first thing is to understand that we have to rebuild the relationship that were broken the last eight years. i spent six and half years in the defense department teaching counterterrorism tour allies and partners. half of them were from the
middle east and from elsewhere. those nations that want to be on our side look at the last eight years and they say, what what happened? aren't you the good guys? why you give this money and iran? why are you pulling out of iraq? and then it's time to go home and what happened? isis happen. so what the trump administration wants to do is rebuild those relations with those people who want to be our friends. secondly very clearly the president has set again and again, were not not into invading other countries. that's un-american. we were found in as a nation to respond against imperialism . .
the minority group in america because we can do things in this country to reform the very ideas better be a critically inspiring the militants across the planet in this global jihad that you just can't do with jordan and saudi arabia or i ran so therefore we need to engage muslims in america that feel an urgency, they care about the legacy of whether our children and grandchildren are going to be radicalized by the opal jihadist and whether we want to leave behind a home with constitutionalism or freedom or a home with theocratic ideas. that's a battle that needs to be fought on the front lines on american media university platforms. [applause] >> i'm really glad you said that. the war of ideas applies to the concept of peace through strength just like military conduct and to hearken back when poked with benedict made his address he spoke out more clearly and aggressively against
radicalized islamic terrorist than any elected official had. we saw this moderate muslim leaders business people and scholars come out all around the world to speak up and call for an interpretation of the koran which is consistent with 21st century values respect for life and the same old thing, appeasement -- weakness begets appeasement which begets more complex in strength begets opportunity for people to stand up and whether it's a jordan religious minister who said we have to fight the idea with diplomacy or some the people you are talking about that have written articles. we have to help find a new way to interpret islam isn't to deal with the modern world. >> at eight to be an intervention i think in our community about the conveyor belt from the nonviolent islamist supremacist islamic state identity movement to the militants. right now so many theologists condemn terrorism. our muslim reform movement has a
one-page declaration that is a declaration of principles that 15 organizations signed that says hold on don't be deceived by muslim anti-terrorists. it's not about terrorism. condemn big caliphate in violent jihad leaving in the quality -- equality of men and women believing in the constitution. those are the muslim believes we need to hold accountable to these leaders against the establishment of global islamic state. >> this one is really important. let's explore the islamaphobia charge. it's just a cheaper shot. when he don't want to argue the issues then you are a racist or xenophobic or an islamaphobia. the bottom line is if you don't believe in the u.s. constitution i don't care if you are a member of the kkk, i don't care fewer communists and i don't care fewer jihadi you are threat to all americans. that's the bottom line. [applause]
>> so mike the scene that wayford of course is the failure of american leadership and the inability to really talk about these issues in a direct way and that was clearly during the obama administration. when you were in the middle east, when you were looking and talking to people there was support for this concept that america had to be strong and indeed had to guarantee what they wanted. >> oh sure and again just to break this down down to the village level where they say this is where the rubber meets the road and where things are really being flocked. the most angry iraqi empty most angry afghan that i came across was an angry because we were there. they were angry because they were risking their lives to work with us because they believed in the future partner with the united states. they were angry because we were leaving and our president had told the world and president obama that we were leaving. they said look if we are going
to work with you then we have to know that you are going to stand with us and i think this notion of time is where we may have a little bit of disagreement. i have no doubt that under the top administration we are going to see abu bakr al-baghdadi that leader vices either dead or in guantánamo bay and i look forward to that day. [applause] but at the same time and this is where we have to be honest with ourselves, they have 8-year-old kids, 6-year-old kids that are being brainwashed today and my fear is that we have essentially lost that generation. how do we turn that generation around? i think that's a 10 or 20 or after. i know it's not popular or even longer. the other thing we looked at is look at our partnership with south korea, with japan and germany. we have been embedded with those militaries for 60 and 70 years and they are now after multiple generations after they go from
lieutenant to into colonel are able to stand on their own and are able to pull back and address everything so folks i think it's going to take a long time. think we are going to knock isis in the rear and but until this idea of islamic extremism is going to take a long time and the folks on the ground know that and i think we need to put some strategy in place to deal with it today. what does that look like? one of the things i think it looks like is education and women's empowerment. we need to move that. [applause] both societies can oppress 50% of the population forever and we need to move that from a feel-good humanitarian place to national security place. it is in our national security interest to make sure girls are educated and women are empowered because where women thrive around the world extremists do not and that's a big part of what a longer strategy looks
like. [applause] >> let me add one thing to that. there is a man called winston churchill who said you don't go to war unless you have your final victory. that's exactly right. you know for one man or woman in the battlefield in uniform unless you know what it is you wanted to do and we understand what we wish them to do. that mission of victory for us is a very simple one. i have said this again and again and again. we are going to make the black flag of jihad as repugnant around the world, not just here but around the world as repugnant as the black, white and red swastika flag of the third reich. [applause] the brand of jihad has to be destroyed and it's not just about damascus or raqqa cairo or
the sinai. it's orlando, it's boston, its chattanooga. here in america it has to be identified and destroyed. >> if i can conceptualize that a little bit, we in the muslim community and american policy long-term cannot be deceived into thinking that isis comes out of thin air. the saudi flag, the iranian islamic republic, the public of pakistan these are islamic states that might be our allies against this monster of their ideas which is isis but their ideology of the islamic state is the oxygen for jihad and until muslims start to defeat this identity state of islamism and islam state ideology and that's why the long-term strategy has to be the resurrection of something like the u.s. information agency where we start doing radio free into pakistan and i ran in order to defeat those ideas and create groups that began to share ideas
and like we did in the cold war without firing a bullet against the soviets directly but winning that fight defeating and by the way the implication of last semi-laws using the turbo islamaphobia. need to stop using that term. islam is a diverse idea but doesn't have rights. muslims have rights. we need to fight bigotry that exists against muslims but don't use the term islamophobe yet because they are trying to shut us all up from criticizing islamic state ideology. [applause] >> ambassador rooney you also served in congress in florida. is there republican support for more money for voice of america and radio free asia and all of those things that seem to atrophy into the clinton administration when everyone thought ocoee won the cold war. we no longer need to have those voices for america. >> i think there is cultural
diplomacy and he can't fight an idea as you mentioned and what happened with the fall of eastern europe. we are going to have to fight the war of ideas while we fight the war on the ground. you can do that without projecting your voice covertly and overtly. i know congressman rohrabacher who heads up the subcommittee on europe and one of the emerging threats used to be a speechwriter in the reagan administration was involved with radio free europe so he is totally in sync with that idea as well. >> mike let me switch gears for a moment because i think you mentioned the i ran deal and it seems to me that must have had an effect on the way people in the region view u.s. leadership. >> absolutely. in one deal our friends folks that we have been fighting with folks that are aligned with us, whether it's in yemen, whether it's in syria, whether it's in
libya and across north africa, saw the united states aligned with the shia extremists the crowded stage and began pumping billions of dollars into it. one just for delay not an elimination of their program but essentially for delay and where's that money going? that money is turning right around and buying advanced russian weaponry missile defense systems, advanced fighters all different advanced armaments so that if they violate the deal years from now how much harder at the time our israeli allied pilots and their own pilots going to have? i think it's an atrocious deal and it sends the absolutely wrong signal to the region and again you feel that when the president of the united states speaks and sends the signals we feel it on the ground at the village level and we feel it when we are dealing with ministers of state and we feel
when we are dealing with civil society. i can't overstate and this is a little bit of a nudge to my friend sebastian, when the president speaks and says what america is going or not going to do it makes either the military's job much much easier much much more difficult that i can swim last eight years and my own experience the president of the united states saying withdrawal, withdrawal, withdrawal was the mission makes it incredibly hard to win out on the ground so i'm looking forward to the next four. >> suggestion -- [applause] sebastian luck i will tell you a story from two weeks ago to show you how there is a new commander-in-chief and how much he gets this and how much he loves our troops. the qualification course where you get your green beret and before you graduate those young
future special forces officers come to d.c.. he meets with various agencies and give briefings about how it works inside the beltway and they tell me at the nfc two weeks ago 18 future green berets came to my building the eisenhower building across from the white house to talk about the nfc and i had a crazy idea. we have a nuke commander-in-chief. wouldn't it be nice to get these young men were going into theater imminently to meet the new boss. not only did president trump invite them to the west wing to sit down with him, halfway through the meeting which made this schedule is going thing he said i'm not supposed to do this, come with me. it took all 18 of them into the oval office. he did a group photo behind the resolute desk and then completely blew that they often said this isn't good enough, all of you stand over there and i want you one by one to stand
>> and now on after words. sophie nelson reflects on the founding father's calls for a unified america. she is interviewed by former republican national committee chairman michael steele. >> moderator: this book is part history lesson, part call to arms, part road map. what was going through your mind to write the book and as you were writing it take the approach to do all these things at one time?