tv [untitled] May 7, 2012 10:30pm-11:00pm EDT
bigger than microscopic. the fact is that the democratic party has been overwhelmingly and consistently supportive of a policy that respects israel's right to a independent democratic jewish state. you are talking about in the house of representatives 10, 20, maybe, 25 votes, very small minorities, a couple of republicans, more democrats, but this notion that -- the republicans have, have marginalized ron paul and buchanan but the democratic, anti-israel wing, critical of israel to the point. here is the difference. i would differentiate it this s way. and the point is that do people take their -- historically, conservatives have been critical of the israeli government thinking they went too far. and translate that into tractions that deny the needs in foreign policy. foreign aid, et cetera. the answer is that neither party's wing that is, excessively critical of israel
and unwilling to support measures for israel had any impact on the policy process what ever. when people take credit for the fact that obama has become more pro israel. i think we are talking about an elephant stick. an elephant stick is a guy walking around -- central park with a big stick, and people say what is that for? he said that is to keep away the elephants. they say there are no elephants here. he said, yes, because my stick worked. i don't think obama needed that. even during the time when people are interpreting the speeches that way. i from the beginning of this administration, orr administration, on foreign aid and everything else, i have seen no action from the obama administration anything less than fully supportive of israel's need. >> let me ask another foreign policy question. across the wider region of the middle east. over the last 16 muchonths we h seen the collapse raof regimes d we watch the horror that is syria. has the the obama administration been fast s enough and wise
enough in its response to the arab upheaval. what would a republican administration do differently. want to mix it up. you want to start, barney? >> let me say, there was a tendency for us as a country to say everything that doesn't go right is our fault, our responsibility. we have to deal with. but the arab spring has been a serious set of issues for us. the notion that democracy is a good thing is something i believe in morally. but it isn't always created -- clear the consequences are going to be of the right sort. what's happening now in egypt is troubling, with people talking about cutting off the contractor. one of the best things that happened in the middle east, the camp david agreement and willingness of both sides to live up to to the extent that is called into question, that is deeply problematic. i think the administration has been dealing with it fairly reasonably unclueding by the way, let's be clear, people pointed out, neither this administration nor i believe any republican administration has
shown any great eager ngs to urge the rulers of bahrain or the rulers of saudi arabia to join the push to democracy. once again, reality constrains. the problem here is not party differences who would do what. how do we reconcile our deep belief in democracy and support for human rights with concerns about the -- the negative aspects of what happens. look, as a matter of democratic principle with a very good thing that the palestinian authority had elect,s. and that hamas won them. and that was not such a good thing. and that is a dilemma. i have not yet fully worked out. as to what to do -- when elections are going to bring about -- negative consequences. so i think it does call not for a, just, oh, let's be for it. but to give serious thought to what is involved. >> could the u.s. have steered the outcome of what is happening in egypt in a different direction with different policies early on in the revolution? >> that's hard to say. and hard to say in retrospect.
let alone at the time. i was a little forward leaning policy there. but i agree with barney on this one. this is a tough foreign policy choice. you find splits in both parties and among different groups, most of the foreign policy communities in how, just as a practical matter on how to handle this, how much influence we have. i am part of the anti-saudi arabia wing of the republican party. i will totally agree that is a very minority view in both parties. there seems to be something about the saudis that causes people when they get into power to really decide it's a wonderful place and we have to be extremely nice s to them. if we had more energy development at home we would have to be less nice s to them. >> it's cultural lag from lawrence off rain yeah. a -- lawrence of arabia. >> those looking at the arab spring. we don't have much choice.
i think the administration fell back. once things started to happen in egypt. this was not partisan. a failure of government bureaucracy almost. they could have done more. i think on the ground. in terms of economic developm t development. efforts in congress, bipartisan to do a little more to get serious economic devil ofmeelod. one of the things ironically that i sort of would criticize the obama administration for, and this isn't at all, really isn't partisan, just a government management thing. they talk a lot about soft power, smart power, as owe pezzed to bush who just used hard power. they actually have not reformed the u.s. government as much as they should have. aid is not a well run, i think most people. not well run agency, development agency its money doesn't go to grassroots. public diplomacy hasn't been improved as much as secretary clinton hoped beginning of her
term. should bowe a bipartisan effort. to adapt to the realities we live in. i have written things, signed bipartisan letters urging the obama administration to be more forward leaning in syria where it is a complicated situation that is a government that is an ally of iran that is, both a terrible government, in terms of human rights and democracy and strategic enemy of ours, and i think we should do more to stop the slaughter there and to try to affectuate, the toppling of the assad government, the administration is for, haven't done much to make it happen. i would do, like what we did in libya, no fly, no drive zone. for starters. senator mccain, and lieberman have called for. >> i understand that. again the criticism i would make of people that advocate that. there are people who think we are not doing enough militarily in syria. then at some point if you are going to expand the military reach, please raise taxes to pay for it. don't make everything come out of -- there is a serious problem
with those who are -- advocates, i don't mean bill here, congressional colleagues who are all for doing more militarily, but, but, forget about them. the other thing i would say is this. as far as getting aid into egypt, development aid, we wanted good old-fashioned walking around money. kind of hard for a government to do that. but the point, i guess, want to say is this. totally nonpartisan. not everything that goes wrong is the fault of the incumbent american administration in the world. we have been guilty of it ourselves. we have taken on the responsibility. well you, read it in the newspapers. gee there was this massacre. where was the american government? well the american government was in washington trying hard to think about what to do. but we should not -- get ourselves put in the position where it is this expectation that american, every problem, everywhere in the word, and then that, that idea becomes an
unfair metric for any administration and i have seen it used unfairly against both. >> okay. we have a question, question from the audience. about a. b about, about iran. if sanctions against iran duo nt work, how long should we wait before pursuing a military option. do you see differences in the time line, time tables that a second obama administration or romney administration would apply? bill? >> you know it's, this is one of those things you can't really predict how an administration will behave. certainly a new administration they often do things that, people don't expect them to do. both, more hawkish or dovish in different cases. governor romney has spoke any bout the unacceptability of iran nuclear weapon. president obama has moved to that view. they don't sound that different from each other. a lot depends then on whun's judwhun's -- one's judgment, what is acceptable, iran getting close s
to break out scape bicapability. it would be better for the u.s. military force. if this is our responsibility. barney can be right. we can't do everything everywhere in the world. shouldn't blame the administration for everything that goes wrong. bush or obama administrations for everything that goes wrong on their watch. but there are certain basic things we need to do around the world. one is to try to maintain, keep some sort of lid on nuclear proliferation and worst s regimes, terror sponsor regimes, getting their hands on nuclear weapons. i believe iran getting nuclear weapons would be a games changer, nuclear arms race, and cuban missile crisis situation, ability to put an umbrella over terror sponsorship, much harder to deter them. i think that is a huge issue. and you know, trust the romney add straugs to ha administration to handle it. if the obama administration is
re-elected. i hope he does the right thing. i hope he will do the right thing in an election campaign itch if it comes to that. >> as far as unjustified partisan thing at the end. there has been no real difference between the two administrations. the president said very clearly we rule out containment. that means, you take military action because that's the, the other -- the other, the other -- option. as to when, and i think here there is no difference between administrations. you are now talking about -- probably the most serious military undertaking since vietnam. i think that, in fact, taking on the iranians if they have nuclears is more of a deal than going into iraq. and in terms of iran's capabilities else s where. so what you are going to have off to then do is some very careful planning in conjunction with all of our middle eastern nations with which we are aligned. the israelis.
the saudis. others. will have to worry about that iraqi government we helped install. which is iran's only other good friend in the middle east. and we need to, do serious planning. this is one that either president would say to the pentagon, okay. we're at point where we have to act. we're told, intelligence people tell them that. because they're about to have of a weapon. what can we do? planning for military action. that means planning in conunderkconjun k conjunction with the other nations. become is a technical point. any president would essentially be working with his defense and intelligence establishnment as o what to do. i do think bill has a good point. it is unfair for is reyl rael t on this burden. one thing we learned from the wikileaks cables, an abuse and putting people in danger, what we learned how scared arab
states are of iran. this, this fear of iran. and this wish that somebody would do something about iran goes far beyond the israelis. it would be unfair to put the burden on israel now. >> thank you, barny. we picked that up in many conversations around the arab world as well. let me turn to, a nonforeign policy question. at ajc we have been encouraging energy independence since the 1970s. better for the environment, economy and national security. if we end our dependence on petroleum supplies from hostile states, is that a goal that is shared by president obama and governor romney? and how can we best advance towards that goal? bill. want to start? >> i think full independence is not realistic. there is no problem importing energy from reliable, neighboring nations including canada where we have a very easy opportunity to build a pipeline which, most, most people
including an awful lot of labor union members are for. the obama administration is stopping on environmental grouvenltdz grounds. if independence is good and environment is good and no tension between them. i don't know that environmental concerns are legitimate. i would argue they're overblown. to the degree that environmentalists believe they're legitimate and the environmentalists are a powerful force within the obama administration they're obstructing energy development, there is no serious question about that. whether offshore, on government lands. one of the great things that happened is natural gas break throughs, in north dakota, south texas much more would be happening developing oil and natural gas in this country if we didn't have excessive environmental regulations which the obama administration has consistently come down on the side of the, what i would call the pretty extreme environmentalists against nose who would look us to develop more energy here. >> barney frank. >> we tend to be too negative. we have been making progress.
the dependence on foreign oil has dropped some. bill is right, the question is not that everything has to be produced internally. we have mexico. we have canada. we have others. there are of course, there is more drilling going on. more production going on right now. than there has been. not on government lands. but of the overall total is up. obviously, alternatives are a parpt part of this. one thing i want to say, we can be too nervous. there is this notion that the fact that we have to import oil from the middle east, constrains our foreign policy. i haven't seen any evidence s of that. and in fact, and one criticism i have of some of my colleague whose want to bomb iran immediately, there is no question, the fact that it is american policy contemplating a military attack on iran nuclear facilities and the fact that american policy has been tough on sanctions is a contribute factor to the increase in the price of the oil and irresponsible not to understand that. not the hugest factor.
there are others. but, i think the good news is, thame that the fact that, what we are doing with regard to iran has some upward pressure on oil prices has not deterred any significant political faction in america from going forward with it. yeah, good to reduce it. i think we have -- overestimated the extent to which that has been a constraint on foreign policy. >> thank you. before we go to your closing remarks. let me ask you a question that came from the audience. it really comes to a question of america's role in the world, america's responsibility in the world. over the last few years against the background of war in afghanistan, and iraq, we have seen a resurgence of feeling of both major maerts parties to tu attention home ward fall back from foreign troubles and commitments what are the reasons strategic and moral that would justify continued american efforts to remain the world's greatest s power? and what do you both say to those who will go to the polls this november with the belief that fixing our own problems is
our first priority? >> i'll start. i think they should be equal priorities. i am one who believes we can substantially reduce a worldwide military expenditures at no cost s to our security. there is an element of people, argument for maintaining status quo and as the republicans would do going beyond increasing military spending unlike what we have now agreed to try to restrain it, i would look to restrain it more. what we have is the notion that it is part of america's purpose that america sthuhouldn't be a nation of shop keepers, we have a moral responsibility to be the leaders of the world. i think we overestimate the ability we have to do that. i would be morally conflicted, i don't think we should be trying to build an afghanistan in iraq, a good democratic tolerant societies because i don't think
you can do that with the military. i think we have a military that is very good at stopping bad things. it's not a good instrument for making good things happen in a socially complex way. i think those things are overdone. secondly, you have this -- reliance s by allies on us. there is a much greater role to be played. libya was a good example. you got the european state to leave. they did a bad job. they needed more from us. we need to insist that for example in the mediterranean there isn't any reason why france, germany, england, spain, can't play a more aggressive role. the french have done some of that in africa. we need to pay more attention to home. reduce the deficit. we have to -- we have to curtail military spending some. increase taxes. particularly on wealthy people. and cut domestically. and that is the difference between the ic position. republicans, forget tax
increases on wealthy people, forget the military, you have to spend more. take it all out of programs that enhance the quality of life here. i think that is a very grave error. >> some of the countries that we want perhaps to assume a greater role in, in defense responsibility are a little strapped themselves however. >> yeah. but -- we're also strapped. it's their defense. we're, not talking about, poor countries. i am talking about germany, france, italy. they have a temporary problem. but, they paid much less than half of their gdp, bill talked a our 4%. they're under 2%. yeah, they're strapped. here's part of the problem -- if you look at the programs they have. medical programs and others. there are people who are giving their own citizens substantially greater social benefits than we give our citizens and that's probably because we are paying their military budget. i think it is fair to ask them.
we are not asking them to subsidize. be self-sufficient. >> bill? >> i think one of the preconditions for a strong america are broad, i'm in favor of. outlined in "the world america made" and the book president obama likes and governor romney, is, i think on that count the world would be, would have been immeasurably more dangerous. can we get allies to do more? perhaps. should we have strong alliance structures around the world? i believe so. you can wish, germany, sweden, italy, france, do, spend more on defense. you can wish they would be more responsible in stopping genocide in africa or intervening in the balkans or helping israel, those wishes aren't going to be worth much not in the near future. i was part, every administration tries to go to europe to get them to spend more on defense. it hasn't worked. now they're in the course, the position they spent a ton on
welfare states and they're going broke and bankrupt doing that as well. so that's not an american in th one of the cases for real eform at home, we need to be strong at home to be strong abroad. i think a world in which we retreat, in which we cut defense spending by 30% and still can provide security guarantees that will keep the peace in east asia, keep something like peace in most of the middle east. i mean, that will keep even peace in places like the balkans. i don't think that's practical. i think it's much too high a risk to run. even president obama thinks it's too high a risk to run. at least he's rejected those people within his own party who wanted withdrawal from afghanistan or radical cuts in the defense budget. >> bill, is there a difference between the parties on american exceptionali
exceptionalism, on american responsibility? >> i don't know about -- american exceptionalism is a term, an interesting term in political science and history. i don't like particularly its use in current debate. i just don't know quite what people mean by it. america should stand for american principles. the republicans have a more pro-bust, vigorous, if you want to use less than nice adjectives, interventionics -- i don't know what -- i'll let barney provide the negative ak j adjectives. there are many who share the view and some dissent from the view. i think there will be a difference in foreign and defense policy between president obama and governor romney. i don't think it will be reagan/carter. i'm happy the administration has moved away from an early mcgovern-ite view of the world to a more centrist, left centrist foreign policy. i still worry about a certain
aspect of the foreign policy quite a bit and the defense cuts. i think a republican administration with mitt romney as president and joe lieberman as secretary of state would be a slightly better foreign policy. not slightly, it would be a better foreign policy. the second term is different from the first term. he has come back -- let's not kid ourselves. he has come back to the center partly because of the political pressure, because of concerns about the 2012 elections. it's not just a republican ta talking point to say he was overheard saying medvedev, once my last election is over, i will have more flexibility. that is a legitimate question for people to ask as they think about who to vote for this november. >> we're merging into the closing statements in some sense, bill, i guess that is almost a closing sentence. if you can continue another
couple of minutes and we'll give you two minutes, barney, to conclude the debate. not just foreign policy but on other questions as well, bill, if you could wrap up the case for republicans in 2012. >> look, i want to make the case for being open minded and taking a real look. there will be three debates, convention speeches by governor romney and president obama in late august, early september, a pick by governor romney first and then three debates, i assume, as there have been the last several elections between romney, obama, and a vice presidential debate. people should go into those with an honest, i think, open mind. if people have strong views one way or the other they'll be committed. there will be a fair number of undecided voters and people should take a look and decide whose policies make more sense in terms of reducing this terrible debt and deficit, in terms of a strong foreign policy and whether the administration has been successful or not and what a second term of president obama would look like as opposed
to. >> ra romney administration. be open-minded, think hard about the choice that is ahead. don't think about george h.w. bush or -- i'll promise not to raise the issue of george mcgovern if barney raipromises to raise bush. and take a look at the actual real choice before us in 2012. >> thank you. >> could i just ask bill one question? i was impressed with bill's urging people to be open-minded approaching the election. are you open-minded approaching the election, bill, or is that what you're telling them to do? >> i've been open-minded. we praise the obama administration for some things. i'm partisan. some people aren't. you know who you're going to vote for, too. >> right. and i don't tell them -- i don't pretend they should be open. i would say this, if you have decided views about elements of
public policy and you don't know now whether you will vote for obama or romney, something is the matter with you. >> i think that's -- i think that's really -- i think that's really a foolish statement, honestly, barney. >> nonsense. >> i know people, including people who are close who don't know who they're going to vote for and they're not stupid and they're not uninformed. they're conflicted. they agree with the republicans on other issues. that's not an unreasonable thing for people to do. >> that's different than the open-mindedness. >> that is different -- that is different. there are a very small number of people who tend to have those conflicting views. what you were saying is be open about the whole thing, see who is on what side and, in fact, most people who are following things closely will know now who they are going to vote for. there are no surprises coming. i read the focus groups of the
undecided voters. they are not an impressive group of people. they do not know a lot of things that are true and, more frankly, they are convinced of fantasies. but let me go to talk about the election. i do want to say i think bill is a little guilty here of campaigning by innuendo. there are all these obama has moved to the center, et cetera. not a specific public policy has he shown or talked about or alluded to where obama was too far to the left from his standpoint compared to where he is today. particularly with foreign policy. in fact, obama was being criticized for talking about intervention in afghanistan and pa pakistan. this is a myth. there's no drastic change on afghanistan and iraq today. i would like him to be moving out quicker. on israel, i've seen nothing
negle negative. we have a republican party to the right of ronald reagan where mitt romney attacks rick santorum for voting to raise the debt limit, where you have people advocating significant expenditures and no tax increases where they say in the ryan budget and, again, by his own assertion, let's increase military spending so we can make cuts from what otherwise would be there in medicare and medicaid. it is a very radical agenda in the social area with regards to lesbian and gay people, with women's reproductive rights. on immigration they have been militantly anti-. the administration hasn't been successful in trying to get a more rational policy but that is, in part, because they have so willingly opposed it and people are frightened. the one encouraging thing that's happening now is that the
bilingualism is coming in and they're learning to count to spanish. they're up to several million and that's having an impact. you have a very clear choice between a very right-wing faction on the republican side. i hope people will, in fact, having looked at the issues, decide that way. >> thank you, congressman barney frank, bill kristol, "the weekly standard." thank you for being part of our debate. i would like you to make sure -- please stay in your seats. we're with b to begin the next portion of the program. please stay oop while i exit the debaters out. live coverage to tell you about. at 10:00 a.m. eastern, a house subcommittee holds a hearing to examine several legislative proposals for overhauling the
federal reserve. one introduced by ron paul would abolish the federal reserve system. other proposals being considered would seek to reform the central bank. and at 3:00 eastern a senate house conference committee will work on a bill to extend funding for highway and surface transportation programs for another two years. congress passed a temporary extension early this year which expires at the end of june. you can watch high coverage here on c-span3. and to us, north carolina will vote on a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. we'll talk to darlene lipper. then a discussion on the role of federal lobbying. howard marlowe joins us. and then your phone calls on what this weekend's elections in france and greece could mean for recovery efforts.