tv Future of Syria CSPAN March 19, 2018 2:02pm-3:00pm EDT
>> i would like to clarify, do you have somebody in mind for prime minister? and are you going to launch a constitutional reform during your new term? >> at this point no constitutional reform is on the table. as for prime minister and the cabin in general, i'm thinking about candidates. i'll start thinking specifically speedy we will teach you live to reform on the future of syria with specialists looking at up how u.s. assistance should be prioritized and allocated. this event just getting underway now at the u.s. institute of peace. live coverage for you here on c-span2. >> hello, everybody. welcome to foreign-policy and fragile states, and america broad tonal discussion here at
the u.s. institute of peace in washington. i'm joshua johnson, the host of 1a from wamu which is heard on npr where this conversation will be heard soon and welcome those of you are following us on c-span and watching the various networks around the globe. let me introduce the mail today before we dive in. we will get to some your questions in a bit, i first joined us on the panel today is excellent or, the president of the u.s. institute of these which is hosting us today. on top of being president here, nancy spent most of her career working in fragile and conflicted regions, peer prior to doing isn't it she served a system administrator for the bureau for democracy, conflict and humidity assistance at usaid. usaid. need to come welcome. >> thank you. good to have you. >> let's hear it for nancy, please. [applause] >> to your right from nancy is ilan goldenberg, seem to fill a director of the middle east security program at the center for a new american security. previously he worked in the state department and the senate
foreign relations committee for john kerry on issues like the israeli-palestinian negotiations and ending the conflict in syria. ilan, welcome. [applause] >> and to my left is kimberly kagan, founder and president of the institute for the study of war. she's a military historian who was taught at yale, georgetown and west pointer to the author of numerous books and and thisn foreign-policy and his coproducer of the surge, the whole story, , an hour-long oral history and documentary film of the campaign in iraq from 2007-2008. welcome, kimberly. welcome to all of our panelists. [applause] >> we will have time to get to some of your questions in a little bit. what you start with a few minutes of questions from our guests. a little over half the hour and then we'll get to you. it is just after four past the hour by my clock which gives us by 56 minutes that i work in radio. i can do a lot. nancy, let's start with you. what is a fragile state?
>> so a fragile state is a state that either lacks the capacity to take care of its citizens, unable to provide basic security, services and aura ann also be a state that is not considered legitimate by its own citizens. often is repressive, often as part of the problem. a state that is fragile sites able to manage the inevitable shocks that come, either a natural disaster or conflict that can't be managed. so it spirals into by the conflict. and this is the heart of what we are seeing with a lot of the increased unrest in crisis around the world. fragile states that can't manage the shocks of disaster and conflict. >> we're going to talk more about syria specifically but probably speaking what are some of the main ways states to come fragile? are there certain last straws
that tend to recur over and over in fragile state? >> well, i would say a continuous characteristic of fragile states is governments that are not inclusive of all parts of their citizenry. so hold groups are excluded from economic, political, security opportunities because of their ethnicity, religion, race, et cetera. that's probably the number one characteristic of a fragile state. >> ilan goldenberg, how did syria become a fragile state? would you say that it is what nancy described, certain kinds of inclusion, certain groups within syrian society or more factor? >> what nancy talked talk about set the conditions but there did need to be a spark. in the case of syria the particular spark that then took us over the edge started really what you might call the so-called i guess the time was optimistically called the arab spring, now we call it the arab upheaval or basic of his protests protest
across the middle east that led not just to state collapse in a place like syria but also yemen, iraq which had actually already been having struggling since american invasion in 2003. libya, even egypt to some extent and what you saw happened there was a few things. one is you saw this collapse of state authority because institutions were so fragile and you solve the conflict exacerbated primarily because of external actors come into making the situation worse. so you have one of the things that happens we had is fragile states is you create security vacuums anybody else that's around them is worried about losing influence or season opportunity. so the iranians some have close syrian ally that's looking like they are teaching in the want to protect the situation and so they start investing in various militias and groups on the ground and dumping weapons and money. the saudis are quite trying tor the iranians so they're dumping money and weapons. the turks or rudy. now you've taken a fragile state those already on fire and she
dumped a bunch of on it. that's been one of the biggest factors of least in the case of syria that has made the situation really exceptionally bad. >> the proxy aspect constantly comes up in every conversation about syria. we have some clicks to play from some people who are very, very close to the conflict and one of them has to do with the proxy aspect of it. we'll get to that in the second but kimberly kagan led neighboring grid. the trump has been advocating more hard power than soft power, things like aid assistance, diplomacy. it advocated for shortcuts to the state department, 37% in his first budget and cuts to usaid. step back from syria for just a second. how similar or different is this from what america typically does? any fragile state how does america usually deal with the balance between using hard power and software? >> hard power and soft power are both necessary in many
circumstances. in order to help a fragile state, recovery itself and in order to set conditions whereby governments and civil society can return. and, unfortunately, the solutions that, one, michael to see in syria can neither be exclusively military or exclusively soft power lead. each has its role, and it is vitally important that the united states have a robust budget for its institutions like the state department, like foreign aid which are critical components for us to achieve our mission of helping keep the people in the world secure and free. but it is also actually
incredibly important to recognize that in conditions on the ground such as those that we see in syria, the underlying violence and oppression of human beings is not part and parcel of a stable regime and, therefore, there is a degree of human security that we must again before we actually begin, trying to stabilize syria. >> just to make sure i follow where you're going it sounds like you're saying there's a place for both. maybe the trump administrations balance tends to be harder than the past but there is a role for hard power and software if they're in the right balance? >> i think there's a role for hard and soft power but it wouldn't save the trump administration is pursuing a hard power strategy in syria in fact, if we look at the trump administrations policy in syria we see extranet continuity. with with president obama's policy in syria, namely, an
effort to expel isis from its territorial control and rocket and eastern syria, a backing -- raqqa -- of backing of syrian kurdish groups that are fought with us against isis. an effort at international diplomacy that was actually began under president obama. and so in fact, i see an expert amount of continuity between president trump and president obama, anything neither had a robust humanitarian or civil society or military. >> ninety, let me put the you. the balance between hard power and soft power today under the trump administration compared to what we can deceive and how america deals with fragile states. how do you see it? >> the most important answer to
that was a lot of our military personnel. as you hear from retired for stars, what happens after the fight is as important what happens during the fight. and we need to be sure that the balance remained such that we can continue to have the development and diplomacy tools fully available especially take their neighbor, rack, we concluded yet another campaign. the temptation will be that we should leave. but not was when some of the really, really important hard work happens for which you need those so-called soft tools. but i would say there's nothing soft about it in terms of the importance of rebuilding not just the physical infrastructure but human infrastructure. as kim said, the ways in which societies need to heal so they don't fall back into violence. unfortunately we just end up fighting these wars in cycles
otherwise. >> we have a number of clips would like to add to the conversation including this one from -- a syrian refugee from aleppo now living in istanbul. let's listen. >> i know we look like we are not organized and we don't have an organized leadership but in the end we have a very educated majority of people who were ready to come back and help the community. but we are being pushed away by all these militias, basically any signs you can think of. we need organized sides to actually give us the help that we need. we don't need them to just support one group and throughout the others. maybe supportive group that is unifying all the groups. this is what we need. >> that was a syrian refugee from aleppo now living in istanbul. ilan goldenberg, he wants peace in syria, says there is an entire class and educate a majority as he puts it that are ready to come back. you earlier mention approximate
aspect of this where turkey has its peace and russia and iran and all these competing views of what they want to see emerge from this war. talk about how this comes together, , this large class of syrians who say stop all this and all these proxies who will stop at under different terms. >> this point where we are, i might advocate something different but this point where we are is syria is divided into four or five different regions. they are held by different actors. the southwest the jordanian israeli border some militia groups u.s. has supported. so part of the country with majority of the population resources are held by assad along with support from russia and iran. you have what i call an al-qaeda safe haven in the northwest and then you have a
turkish area also in the north with the turks basic whole territory on the board. yet this whole large swath that's really supported or controlled by an american supported kurdish groups. all the fighting, not all all e fighting but a lot at this point happening with these different tectonic plates me. places where these different on these borders. if you try to get to a piece at this point i'm not for splitting syria partly out of you by wants to like redraw maps because that comes up with its own set of violence and problems but at least coming to short-term and long-term political arrangements to stop the fighting at the seams, and then try to seek and get some kind of a national arrangement is how you would have to go about this at this point. it's going to take years and i'm not sure if we really up for it, if anybody's up for it but it's the best option. >> before come back to kimber,
nancy, i saw you perk up. >> that clip underscores one critical point from is that ultimately peace need to happen from local event action. what we are powerfully there is the desire, motivation and ability as he noted for the syrian people to do that with the right hell. >> the next clip is from a gentleman who is from damascus who works on a cell phone store it is tim pawlenty talks about that very thing how not everybody is looking for help from another nation. listen. [inaudible] >> we want our country to be cleaned of all foreign agents and kick the meta- search. my only regret is to get our country back without fighting powers. why do we have all these foreign powers inside syria? the people of syria can solve the problems either self.
>> he was speaking through a translator for some damascus and works in a cell phone store in istanbul. kimberly kagan, clearly he wants the rest of the world to kind of leave syria alone. i wonder if that's even doable. if it is, what that would look like. is there a path to getting all of these proxies out syria and let it sold its issues of fragility by the will of the syrian people although? >> the quotation from him in istanbul really illustrates what had been a democratic revolution at the beginning of the conflict time, had evolved into a great power and small power conflict inside of syria. one of the key objectives that we the united states and the international community writ large should have is to ensure
that syria is, over time, disassociated from the extraordinary global and regional conflict, in which it finds itself. or perhaps i should say syria has become a black hole into which regional and global powers fall. so it is absolutely essential to disconnect syria from those complex, but realistically that's not good happen anytime soon. we have watched that revolution which had the civilian democratic aims replacing the assad regime and bring a reform, change into a violent and existential conflict. and we have to work with the fact that we have such a conflict underway inside of syria. what do we do? the first thing that we need to recognize is that different great powers have different objectives, and we the united
states tend to want to find a common objective among all of the different powers, and we strike on something we think would be common like fight isis. but we all put that in a different point in our prioritization list. it is more important to the united states that it is to turkey. it is more important to turkey that is to the assad regime. the assad regime is not fighting isis. the assad regime has every incentive actually to make sure that extremist groups perpetuate themselves inside of syria so the outside powers can't come in and strengthen the opposition and make a legitimate and democratic. therefore, i think we really have to be eyes wide open but different actors objectives, and we also need to recognize that we can't just fight isis alone. we actually need to start working now on creating
conditions of stability and different areas of syria just like ilan said. so that over time there is hope for stabilization, a generation, not adhere. >> kimberly kagan, the founder president of the institute for the study of war, nancy lipper, president of the usip, and try to director for the middle east security program. we are at the u.s. institute of peace. on joshua johnson from 1a on npr. nancy, let me come back to you. let's .1 a clip from its simple purchases from -- both from damascus. they are addressing something that is on the vines of a lot of syrians now which is the violence that's been going on for seven years. hundreds of thousands of lives lost. most recently in a place called eastern ghouta which is located just east of damascus.
here they are. >> you know, nowadays we have -- [inaudible] hundreds of people die and hundreds of children have died, and nothing has been done. [inaudible] >> translator: we are asking people to take care of the ghouta victims. it is being reported that aid is being delivered but it's not true because the roads are blocked and no one can get in or out from the area. please see mercy and take care of them. >> they were speaking to a translator, both of whom are from damascus. both of them spoke to us from istanbul. what's the moral obligation of the u.s. to help in a fragile state? the united nations is basically thrown its hands up and said, apparently you all don't care about eastern ghouta because nothing we have said has made a
cease-fire stick. the world seems to be content with letting these people buy and preventing anything from being done. just on humanitarian level. the u.s. has the resources to make anything happen but what should the u.s. be doing with the front to sit like syria, special in a clear he american disaster like eastern ghouta were all people need is a little aid? what should the u.s. be doing? >> what the u.s. has been doing is providing ever escalating packages of humanitarian assistance, including efforts to get it across the border. unfortunately, and tragically, what's going on in eastern ghouta is simmered to what is been going on for the past seven years over and over again. the issue is less about the matter humanitarian assistance, but rather what are the mechanisms for stopping the source of the need. we are actually much better at responding to crises and providing assistance after a crises has it then we are at
either preventing it or in the case of syria, the ability to stop it. it speaks both to the set about options that are available for stopping it, but also to the weakest of the international system, the usual tools and levers that we have through the u.n. to really enforce whatever agreed on at the u.n. security council, but has been flagrantly and repeatedly ignored. >> i wonder also, ilan, just for the average american we say in terms of our responsibility to do more in fragile states. secretary of state rex tillerson has said it syria that he doesn't want to engage in nationbuilding by the thinks the u.s. should be creating conditions for stability, the trump administration has taken a much more isolationist policy when it comes to foreign aid. that's the sentiment at the heart of america first. i wonder where you see that
human conversation in a developed nation like the u.s. when looking at a fragile state like syria? and figure out what the populist believe is the right way to help. >> this is i think the problem. one think i think we can do as the united states is lead. the world listens to us more than anybody else because we are the most powerful country in the world, still. and so that means if you're going to encourage others to rebuild you have to be at the forefront pick you up to be, if you ask others to throw money at the problem you have to throw money at the problem. this is one of the problems we've had with the current administration is general desire to pull back on funding for all kinds of programs like this across the board. it's not just we pull back and others will chip in. we will just get the gulf states to do a lot more which is often what we do in the middle east. we assume they're made out of money and they can pay for everything. they watch what we do and they will invest based on what we invest. what they care about as much as
a care about helping people in a place like syria, they care a lot about wielding influence in the training so they can see what our priorities are and they will try to me or those. that happens and nationally. when we pull back and doolittle, others other than talking others will do the same. more broadly, i do think there's this challenge with a question like syria and terms of her own population which is what we done, and this just isn't the trump administration, this is also the obama administration, we want to do something. we feel terrible but we don't want to get really deeply engaged because we're afraid of a repeat of the iraq war were vietnam and getting bogged down. we do did just enough to make e situation worse with it to make it better. if we had an option of just let assad went and make this goes quick as possible, or very aggressively pushing out, if we have done, chosen one of those two pathways early on i think we would've been in a better position than doing just enough to support opposition without doing enough to really have it
when and which just into perpetuating and makes us know the what of the parties to the conflict that is dumping money and weapons and support to track reship the situation. that's a really tough spot for any president to be in because american present oneself and wants to do the right thing but also knows his or her population does not want to get stuck in a major conflict. >> kimberly, you wanted to jump in. >> i sure do. first, here in the case of syria we have the opportunity to make a moral-based case and interest-based case, and and they align. the cases that there are extraordinary human beings within syria who are the victims of a brutal, violent campaign of oppression perpetrated by the assad regime, abetted by iran and abetted by russia.
what we're seeing in eastern ghouta is indeed something that we've seen elsewhere during the war of a deliberate targeting of civilians in order to achieve wargames. that's with the russians are doing. that's what assad is doing. that is what iran is doing. therefore, we are watching those regimes commit war crimes, break international laws, the law of armed conflict. they are doing so in a way that we have populations that are displaced through the middle east, through the globe, and we have syria that has transformed itself into a fertile ground for recruitment for sunni violent extremists and she is violent extremists from all around the world -- shia -- from the united states all the way out to east
asia what we need to do is recognize that the reason why the recruitment of the foreign fighters is so effective is not because we have narrative problem, because we have really problem mainly. there is no one that is actually protecting the population of syria and, therefore, the rowling cries that extremist organizations are launching to try to get people to mobilize for justice are following on ears that are unfortunately make perceptive by the opinion of the international community. >> i do want to shift gears to slightly but ilan what you type it in terms of probably diagnosing the problem, that reflect something that one of the united states institute of peace generation change fellowes told us earlier -- from south sudan here's what he had to say.
>> translator: failed to diagnose what the issues are, but it has also failed to come up with the right policy tools. and so if you want to engage constructively, i think it is important for them to understand what the real root causes are, otherwise you have a situation of a protracted conflict. >> we are at about half type in a conversation could we do want to get the questions in just a moment. is it anyone who thinks it migt have good question that they might want -- here's one. anyone else? one smart man with one good question. before we get to questions,
three, four. i think we'll have mic moving around somewhere. we'll get the mic moving. before we get to questions i do have one more question for you, nancy. my one rule for q&a whenever i do an event is to be generous with our time. you are all parts are then me on these issues, like to learn as much music possible, the more generosity we can show with one another's time the more we can learn from each other. so please i would urge you to be concise and thoughtfully concise as you fraser question so that we and our audience around the world can learn as much from you as possible. cool? actually. nancy, in a report you co-authored for usip on fragility you wrote the following, quote, the temptation to hunker down and wait for this moment of disorder to pass is understandable but shortsighted. we simply do not have that luxury. there is too much at stake for american interests, for the interests of our allies and partners, and for global peace
and security come unquote. that's from a report you co-authored for the u.s. institute of peace. explain what you mean by that, particularly in light of what i was discussing with ilan that a lot of americans have said it's nice that we been known as the world policeman, what about us. and also in light of the fact that nature abhors a vacuum or i assume if we don't step up, someone else will but a lot of americans are just tired. we've been playing world police for generations, and there are some americans are living pretty third world as it is. can you just gain this out, what happened down means practically speaking? >> sure. and a couple of issues are blended together there. we don't live in the kind of world we can just get in bed and pulled the sheet over our heads and expect that that will solve the issues. way too interconnected, too many threats that come up from places that we are not watching, think
ebola, from west africa, clearly isis as it emerged. so from a sacred interest we can't afford to hunker down. it's also not who we are as a people. the american people are very engaged and care deeply about what happens but they want the burden to be shared. the other point though is we are very reactive, and so we are responding to crises after they become far more complicated and so much more suffering, and we've actually been escalating our humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance over the last five years at a very great rate. nobody has cracked the code on how to prevent conflict from becoming so violent, but we can serve you do a better job of it. the last four administrations have identified state fragility as a key security threat. and yet we haven't invested and we haven't organized in a way to
do that kind of work more effectively. and what you see is when states become very, very fragile. as ilan said earlier they become far more affordable to regional and international powers getting involved and messing it up. and so we are going to see a greater disorder the more that we don't pay attention to that. an american leadership is keep. >> do you think we have been paying enough attention because i don't have the resources, the intelligence, information or we just don't care? >> i think it's accommodation of we haven't organize ourselves effectively to really crack the code of how to do this better. >> why haven't we organized? does america as as a governmens a body politic actually care enough, as the citizenry, as a nation come as a government to do that? we have the knowledge but do we care enough? >> i think we do care enough to we care enough to would putting a lot of funding into treating the crisis, the humanitarian
crisis, but you know it's much harder to convince people to take action before something happens. it's the dog that didn't bark,, right? that's what we did your turn our attention investment. she manages to be preoccupied with the thing that blew up but we need to think more about getting upstream of those problems and its organization and a funding challenge. >> before i let ilan mecca, let's get the mic to the chairman who rose his head. we'll get you for the first audience question and then keep working our way around the room. ilan, go-ahead. >> i wanted to echo what nancy said how these localized problems in depth affecting us, and give you specific example in syria how this is heaven. look, the conflict has led to massive refugee flow and massive extra missile into europe and into the list to the united states but its impact of the politics in the united states certainly, he that attacks in paris and massive -- germany
come directly tied to things like brexit, you can type what went to the election of right-wingers across europe, sort of the populist movements and quite frank to the election of donald trump. all these things in my opinion are weakening now are trying to weaken, really core things are basic american security has been the basis of how we govern the world order since 1945 that is kept the world stable and kept us a new world wars and kept those from major conflicts. all of this to some extent can be tied back to what's been happening in syria for the last six or seven years. it's having a direct affect on us at this point on how we're governing ourselves on a daily basis. you can draw that line very directly to donald trump's immigration policy and all kinds of things like that. >> let's start with audience questions for any of our analyst. we ask a question just tell us your name, where you are from, if you with an organization or a student let's get your question. let's go to you and someone over here had a question. then we'll get to you.
go ahead. >> my name is conor clarke, , im currently counterterrorism scholar at university of maryland, and we've seen over the decades debates on the ethical and practical and strategic implications of the appropriate scale and nature of your support for what are to oversimplify imperfect governments and nonstate yet powerful proxies. these of course range from the measuring effectiveness, what those metric should be, what are the results of the appearance or reality of imposing our standards on other countries. and, of course, this is often in the context of saying well, the alternative would be worse. i think this fits well into the earlier points about how nature abhors a vacuum. frankly, a lot of critics of u.s. foreign policy seem to ms. that the most brutal dictatorship uses have supported would quite arguably the stalin during world war ii. so how is this paradigm of this
decision-making in the public discourse and the elite debates in washington shifted from more recent turning points such as the end of the cold war, 9/11, the air spring and so one? and what trends are using now that might be changing how policymakers see these decisions and dilemmas? >> who do you want to direct that question to? >> perhaps ilan specifically what everyone is welcome. thank you. >> ilan, go-ahead. >> sure. >> for the benefit of a loser i want to make sure i resent the mainstream of the question because i didn't go to university of maryland so your way smarter than me. i went to miami. i so much time on the beach. [laughing] it sounds like you're asking about the way we think to global threats, about which ones are the biggest, which ones are worth our time, which ones like nancy said will do with the way becomes a forest fire and how that's change over time, like
the way we think through threats in today's world, is that what you're getting at? >> exactly. >> is a wichita trip? >> exactly and i marchers about the elite level but i am very interested in the popular discourse of the. >> thank you. >> i think part of the problem is where this jacklin night issue at the elite level certainly where on the one in -- jekyll and hyde. where to support discussion of support even if they are dictatorship. it's the elite level and policymaking level, it even comes down to just history of relationships. you work with these people for years and years. you work with egypt and present president mubarak for 30 years on peace efforts and the democracy comes offer discounts on you like what we do about the situation? it's an caudally difficult but instinct as americans is also to intervene positively on the side of democracy and to encourage democracy certainly went when n opportunity like that present itself.
that's a really hard to limit for policymakers. i guess maybe the best thing we can do is make up our minds and have some clarity of thought. it's a really, really hard to do but oftentimes we found us a lot during the air spring in particular where it was just really hard and events are moving so quickly and your city to try to make a bet of if i come out this dictator, am i going to be dealing with them for the next ten years? if i burn my relationship or will he be gone tomorrow and it should come out because any to look good? this is a challenging sort of problem set for our leaders. syria is a perfect example that came out and call for assad's removal in the summer of 2011 but then we realized way, it's that could happen and that we need, i was going to follow through militarily to do this or not? no, we're not so where do you find yourself? it's a challenging question. don't think there's any great interest to. >> kimberly, i'd like your perspective on this from a
military historical perspective. >> yes. look, stabilization, which is part of the subject of this panel discussion, is in part about establishing physical security. it's in part about helping to establish governance and legitimacy. and i think that we are at risk right now as a look at syria of thinking that backing assad as a dictator is to end the violence, is somehow going to be better and more stable than thinking about what we actually need to do over the long-term to establish conditions for secure, stable governance to return to syria, and that governments need to be legitimate in the eyes of the people of syria.
it's not about us. it's about them. the reason i bring that up is that i think that we are at a moment where we are at risk of embracing dictatorship in favor of order, when the order that a dictator like assad will create will be very illusory and temporary, and it will not actually be backed by institutions that are conducted i the syrian people, and it will be enforced by coercion in a way that actually continues the rise of extremists insurgency against the regime. so we actually have to take the long view rather than prioritizing stability just as an end in itself. if it's only stability for a year it's not stabilization. >> let's keep going with the next question. yes, sir. >> thank you very much.
joshua, great discussion. edward joseph, johns hopkins and national council on u.s. libya relations. joshua, i'm going to be as concise as against but i don't speak as fast as you. >> that's all right. >> i was just wondering if i could take the panel you across to libya. joshua used a very important phrase. he said, mentioned moral obligation and nancy you made a very strong point about the importance of planning for the aftermath of conflict. so my question for the panel about libya is, given come for all of you, given the u.s. role in removing gadhafi and given the fact that compared to syria, libya is less violent, it is less displaced. you don't have half the country displaced as you do in libya, and you have fewer actors acting as proxies. there are some but you have, you don't have the same kind of
proxy factor that you do in syria. does the panel believe that there is a place, again, more obligation as well, for greater u.s. engagement in libya, if not leadership? currently we basically subcontracted it all to the u.n. there's a plan in place, a lot of skepticism about whether the plan could hold elections and so forth. very keen on interesting the panels response. >> so is a role for greater u.s. engagement -- >> if not leadership. >> on the basis of a moral obligation. >> and/or compared to the fact to syria it is not as destroyed, perhaps hopeless as a country or i be interested in thank you. while the get the mic over, is that you? on trees to take our poll, shorthands, a greater role for use in libya and -- yes? all three, all right. what about in the audience? greater role for the u.s. in syria, yes?
>> libya. >> libya, i beg your pardon. for libya, hands? yes? no? okay. not sure? thank you for being honest. much appreciated. into cummaquid. >> i think it goes will be on a moral obligation. i think there's a security rationale for playing a more prominent role or to be more engaged in trying to bring libya to greater peace and stability. the meltdown in libya has had profound impact across the sale in places like tunisia that share a very long border, goods, illicit goods and terrorist transshipped through the territory pics of their are many good reasons. at the same time that also underscores the importance of partnerships and alliances. i do think we can and should be engaged by do think we can and should do so with strong partners who share our views, our values and our vision for
what the pathway might look like for libya. >> i love to jump in and just recommended a study that had the privilege of taking place in, one of my colleagues at the critical threats project at the american enterprise institute actually did a very substantial study of planning for libya, and i highly commend her work on this project is very through. it's very nuanced and you can find it at critical threats.org. >> we are speaking to comely cake and found the president of the for the study of war, ilan goldenberg senior fellow from the center for a new american security, and nancy lindborg, the president of the u.s. institute of peace. this is an american abroad discussion on fragile states. joshua johnson from 1a on npr. let's continue with audience questions. >> i work at the washington office of -- i'm a citizen at gw. i feel like we have spent enough
time talking about states that it come from the brink of failed statehood and i just want to get your opinion on what lessons we learned from her intervention in colombia. >> thank you, why did you take it? we got a question about colombia that he think come i'm glad you that we will follow with this question after we get yours answer. manta, lessons learned in colombia. >> i think we learned some very important lessons. the first is that these resolution of these kinds of conflicts take a long time. colombia had a 50 year civil war that was just recently drawn partly to a close with the peace accord of last year. in the peace accord was very, very inclusive, and we know that when you more than just the guys with the guns at the table, that you actually victims of the conflict, women, people who were displaced, that you have a better chance of forging a deal that will be more enduring. we also learned that the u.s.
state engaged in colombia across three administrations with significant investment across development, diplomacy and defense, which going back to the what do we need to do differently question about the u.s. government, that's the kind of work we need to do differently, where there is a clear goal aligned across the various function of our government with people, the mr. trump our diplomats an article that people having a shared goal of where it is we're heading. we had great impact, phyla, we had a partner, a partner in the government of colombia across two of their administrations. >> before we get to the next question on the site of the room from this judgment, nancy, i'm going to stick with you. i questions into to us by david with the president of an organization and climate is working to enrich local communities increasing access to education following up with this young ladies question.
here's what david wants to know. >> how can we promote cooperation between the united states and colombia to generate peace that considers -- [inaudible] coexistence, culture and economic factor? >> that was the president of an organization in colombia asking about creating a structural peace and ws can help colombia do so. i was particularly taken by use of the word coexistence that promotes aspects of coexistence. what should the u.s. or could the u.s. be doing in that regard? >> well, one of the important aspects is continued our engagement. because what we know is conclusion of the peace agreement often means that a lot of work still has to follow. and in colombia we now need to intimate what was agreed upon,
and that includes things like the land reform, the disarming of the armed rebels and enabling them to reintegrate into communities, to coexist. and so this is a time for the u.s. to continue to stay involved and that only think about the security threat narrowly in terms of cocoa production, but rather understanding that we will be better served with our security is a fully reach a more inclusive peace. >> let's get the next question. yes. >> i am a program associate at meridian international center. i guess i'm wondering there was a discussion about borders from ilan and then the talk about legitimacy of the government themselves from dr. kagan. wonder what about the legitimacy of the borders themselves? looking back at the great power actors after world war i between
the united kingdom and france, and how much of what we are seeing today in syria what we've seen in iraq and so what if so forth is just a result of the fact we made some really terrible decisions in the early 20th century? >> who did you want to put that question to? >> it could go to the table i guess. everyone has something to say. >> kimberly, why don't you go first? >> i'll start by saying first and foremost, it's really important to recognize that our international border is based on the understanding that borders should not be revised by force, but rather by instruments of the international community. and so whatever they are, the united states and the international community actually have an interest, a very from interest in making sure that those borders are not moved by force.
and we can go back to isis early days operating in cross-border in iraq in syria, and remember them trying to plow up the remnants of that sandy porter. and recognize that however important was to them -- sandy border -- it was nevertheless, a recognized border between two states and we have an interest in preserving it. the second thing that it want to make sure that we recognize is that other than isis we actually have the syrian regime and the syrian opposition, the iraqi state actually trying to reestablish the map as it was, not as they would like it to be. i have always been struck with this when i spent time on the ground in iraq and afghanistan, that we can think that states like iraq or afghanistan are fictional notions, but community
say, people today have a very defined notion of what their state is and it is linked to the physical borders that the is seen on the flag. >> we are slowly running out of time. before we get to ilan that get the mic to her for the next question and then we will not ilan jump in. >> just as i told agree with kim, and i think this is, yes, if the borders were drawn differently, you could look at a different middle east but this is the middle is that we have. not only is it the syrians and iraqis were not find redraw borders, none of the outside actors are trying to redraw borders. nobody wants to redraw borders. part of the reason is it's a very violent process oftentimes at so as violent azerbaijan has been, once we forced the turks and the kurds to define exactly that light is, they will fight over it militarily if they have to, for example, and so the way to try to address this anything nadja boxes of earlier is any
peace agreement is going to have to include essentially a very weak syrian state i think with a lot of different local actors playing a role in negotiating that outcome because those local actors actually control of what's going on in the ground, whether it's the people with the guns or the local governing council and those actors are going to have to be reflective of the views of the population in those areas. that sort how you try to put humpty dumpty back together again, through a federalized system, through decentralization of keeping the actual map of syria is a good the same. >> let's see if we can squeeze in a few more questions before the time is up. >> first off of course thank you for putting on this great panel. i'm a research consultant from university of denver and my question is we have the benefit of hindsight to see these regime trends over the last several decades. we've seen an aquatic and autocratic regime such as assad benefit from this an arab
nationalist movement in that we've often seen that movement come to schismatic collapse with the people under these leaders. so my question type into the earlier question and comment on the separator region of syria is are we seeing any indicators of a common ground to develop an that ties in of these separate combative groups together to the point where we can see in a generation a fully unified movement? >> how about nancy, can you take that question? >> absolute unified movement across different, of the groups? >> it sounds like you are asking in the states whose fertility has caused these fractures, have we ever seen circumstances with the fractures have made it somehow where shared interest, common bonds help bring people back together, is that which are asking? >> the current situation with
each group pursuing a slightly varied ideological movement interleaf and having that try the difference between them whed even some of the regional goals happen to be identical, are we seeing a development of a new, ground ideology that could eventually become a unified movement that unites all of them, or at least a majority to come to a peaceful resolution? >> gotcha. >> i love to tell you yes, but i think answer is no. i think that what you're asking is, is there a sort of pan-arab nationalism, or other kind of sweeping movement, or sweeping ideas or even like the little granule of an idea that could be a sweeping idea that gets all of these groups together. and had to say i don't see it. and, therefore, i think that we
actually need to take each group on its own terms which makes the requirements for negotiating come for delivering aid, for supporting governance, for delivering humanitarian assistance really, really, really tailored. but you know what? we are the united states of america and if we have applied thought to how we need to tailor our assistance to different groups can we could do that. >> i wonder if we go back to some of which is that at the very beginning entrance of what causes states to become fragile, that lack of inclusiveness when people fall apart, this seems to we back into the original point where a nation like the united states could be at 30,000 feet enough to either take that outy to articulate that to everybody and make simcoe we are all after the same thing, or deal with them individually and not force them to walk side-by-side but still think, play the chess game in a smarter way, understand what the divisions are and not force them to come up with it
themselves. >> there's an interesting example next-door dysuria, , and iraq, which is just gone through its third military campaign in the last 13, 14 years, and i was just a few few weeks ago and, in fact, what you find is after the first time probably is iraqis are feeling a sense that they this time were able to win the battle, that they with iraqis led fight one over isis. and so there is after a lot of fragmentation, and you've got the kurds, the sudanese, that she a lot of different minority groups, there is a sense that they will move forward within the state confines and are demanding a more accountable more inclusive government. so that's a shared ideology. and in particular its true for those who are under the age of 35. and what you have in these conflict countries are disproportionately young
populations, and what we're seeing is increasingly it is the young members of these countries who are demanding less corruption, more accountability, more services, better governance. if you want to call that an ideology, that's what i see emerging and iraq, , and you see that as a potential to emerge down the road in syria. >> let's see if we can squeeze in one more question. yes, sir. i'm sorry, go ahead. >> my name is sean o'reilly. i'm from george mason university as a graduate student. to take this over 30,000 feet level down to where the rubber meets the road, what are some of the unique programs that usip has been doing on the ground and what are some ways i get back to the last question how can we incorporate more young people to make a positive contribution? as a younger generation it will be the inheritance of these problems we're facing today. >> i wonder if i we're wrapping up we can ask all three you to enter that. nancy, what is usip doing? what we see as ways to engage
any innovative programs use particularly ways to engage younger people are going to inherit these problems from their parents to help them do so successfully? nancy? >> first of all we have broken that engages youth leaders in conflict countries around the world called generation change which is fundamentally equipping them with some of the key tools and skills and knowledge base that allows them to mediate and facilitate conflict in their own communities and states. we believe very strongly at usip that peace can be, how to build peace can be learned, and it is essentially very practical with skills that are often lost, especially in countries that are going through sometimes generations of conflict. angeles -- >> we are going to break away from the end of this event to get your life to the floor of the u.s. senate. they are coming into s