tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 26, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EST
us here or there. we would like to collaborate them with limited steps and helping moderates in the middle east in different ways because they have different aspirations. >> do you want to add to that? >> i largely agree on that. i think we have to be a participant in the middle east but we should not want to be an owner. and we ought to help those states which we think are trying to produce if you will a modern system. that's why i mentioned egypt. egypt is a serious power.
they are of the region. and they do have great capability. we don't have much discussion going on with them right now but there's a new government and i think it's one we should look to. turkey is an ally of ours. the turks are in a very difficult position. it seems to me we need to be careful and use force where it accomplishes ends. but for example, try to go in and end the syrian war, i don't think we want to own syria. it is a very, very complicated country. as are some of the others in the
middle east. i agree basically. we have to be in the middle east but not of the middle east. >> thank you both. >> i want to thank both of you for being here and thank you so much for everything you've done for the country. i wanted to follow up on your comments, dr. brzezinski. i found them having interesting about putin and that, in fact, you were concerned about some of the statements that have been overlooked that he has made that have referenced nuclear weapons. and including some of the overflights russia has under taken in scandinavia, westport gal, other areas. so i wanted to follow up in light of the potential and i think actual violation of the inf treaty we've seen and that i
know general scowcroft you wrote about as well. you wrote in op-ed in 2014 this should be a real concern to nato because they embarked in across the board neutralization of nuclear forces. if russia developed a cruise missile in violation of the 1987 inf treaty, obviously, that type of system could virtually reach all of nato europe. how do you view, both of you, the violation of this treaty in light of where we are right now and some of the statements you heard putin made. what should i concern be about that. i appreciated your comments dr. brzezinski that we have to show commitment and determination to putin and that will hopefully cause him to be so escalatory to what he's doing with ukraine and this treaty. i'd like to get both your
thoughts on this violation what it means for nuclear programs, our interactions with them. >> i don't think he will go all the way violating the nuclear treaty. i'm more concerned about his misinterpreting what has happened recently. let's go back more than a year. i wonder how many people in this room or on this very important senatorial committee really anticipated that one day putin would land personnel in crimea and seize it. if anybody said that's what he was going to do he or she would be labeled as a warmonger. he did it. and he got away with it. i think he's also drawing lessons from that. i tell you what my horror night dream is one day literally mean one day he just seizes
riga estonia. it would literally take him one day. there's no way they could resist. we'll say how horrible how shocking, how outrageous. but of course we can't do anything about it it's happened. we're not going to assemble a fleet in the baltic and engage in amphibious landings and storm ashore like in normandy to take it back. we'll have to respond in some larger fashion perhaps. but then there will be voices, well this will plunge us into nuclear war. deterrence has to have meaning has to have teeth in it, has to have a situation in which someone planning an action like that has no choice but to anticipate what kind of resistance will i encounter. this is why i recommend what i do recommend prepositions some forces limited so it's not provocative. an american country in estonia is not going to invade russia.
putin will know that. he will know if he invades estonia, he will encounter american forces on the ground. better still some germans and french. so brits, of course. i think if we do that kind of stuff, we are consolidating stability, including nuclear one. same goes for ongoing conflict in russia and ukraine. i don't think putin plans to invade ukraine as a whole because that would be too dangerous. you cannot simply predict it will happen. this continuous pin pricking can involve escalation, it has involved escalation. russians at least in the hundreds according to some nato accounts in terms of several thousand fighting within ukraine against an established country. this is something that cannot be
ignored. economic sanctions yes. in the long run they create an attitude concern in russian society which will deprive putin of his popular support. in this ecstatic sense we have become a superpower again. in the short run we have to deal with him. the only way to do that is to indicate to him with tangible steps such as defensive arming of the ukrainians that we will be involved in some fashion in making that military engagement more costly and at the same time indicate to him we're prepared to sthal, send him a signal about no nato participation for ukraine. that to me is a strategy of responding to the possibility that you very rightly raised. >> and without taking those steps, obviously i believe i hear you saying you think the economic sanctions alone will not deter him.
>> i'm afraid economic sanctions will damage in the meantime because what he has a freehand doing, ukraine and russia, there's kind of implicit race as which economy will collapse first. the ukrainian government is still not in full control of its entire society. it is putting together rapidly a makeshift army and it's getting very little support in that regard from the outside. i'm not suggesting that ukraines be armed to wage an offensive war against the russians but i do urology that we do something to make putin ask himself before he escalates am i going to be in something much bigger, and what will that do to me. that's all that's involved but it's essential. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the hearing you're having for all of us and information. i'm sorry you see some of us
running back and forth we have veterans meetings and they overlap. i'm sorry. i hope i don't ask the same questions that have been asked. my main concern i'm trying to learn as much as humanly possible about syria iran, the whole sanctions on iran. as you know we're in kind of a tug-of-war right now. should we should we not. the president has been very emphatic, no sanctions now, don't sign it. you'll mess up the deal if you do. i understand my colleagues are concerned about all the time has gone by and we haven't had a secured briefing telling us where they are. have they succeeded, forward centrifuges out, keep the pressure on. should this be something the president should use if they don't follow through and do what they are supposed to do this is where the senate and united states congress is and they will follow through so it's best to work with me. these are all things i haven't made up my mind yet on that and i'm trying to. a little bit of help there would be -- also syria. i know we have an awful lot of
people that think very strongly. i believe america has to be strong. i don't think they can succeed unless they have our direct leadership in kind of prodding them. also our airstrikes can't be effective as they should be if we don't have good ground support. i understand that. i don't believe we should have massive forces on the ground as far as we've had in the past. that's my belief. i know some of my colleagues differ with that. strategically special forces black ops, we can do certain things. unless they want to take the ground war in that part of the world, it's never going to be cured. make no mistake if they fool with america, we should hit and hit hard. with all that said do you believe syria trying to train and arm some of the syrians at $500 million is what we have set aside for that does that have a possibility of being successful? can we do something different with that to be more successful?
how about the kurds? they seem to be the only people that want to fight in that part of the world, that want to defend, have an identity. are we doing enough there? what can we do? how in the world do you get the kurds to participate or saudis. that's a big concern to me. whoever would want to start. i think i need both your opinions, if possible. >> on iran, i don't think anybody knows whether or not negotiations will work. but we are in the course of negotiations now. i think we should see them out and not take steps which would destroy the negotiations. >> we were told -- in all due respect, sir, we were told the first time if we would sign a letter showing we intended these sanctions to take place it would weaken the president's hand.
we went ahead and signed it anyway and it hasn't weakened the hand. it's been extensions we don't know where stand as far as the negotiations. that's a hard thing i'm having a problem with. >> it is hard. i think the outlines are sufficiently clear now very complicated but clear that i think we're on the homestretch. and to change our strategy now might work but i wouldn't do it at this stage. >> i understand. >> i would wait and see if the administration is successful. >> and dr. brzezinski, your thoughts on syria the training and commitment we have there and if it might be a better investment somewhere else in a different direction. >> i'm not sure whom we would
train because, in fact, the groups hostile to assad are much stronger than those seem to rely on us after what happened over the last couple of years. i think there are not terribly many syrians who want us to wage an intense war because they don't know what the war would be. other groups have more advantage being more sectarian, specific, identified as such or identified a specific sort of regional goals with some historic connection to the world as the syrians perceive it. so i think some sort of cease-fire and discussions about the future would be for us then in anticipation of the war. as far as iran is concerned, don't forget that we're not the
only negotiator with iran. and all of the parties negotiating, including our closest allies as long as the russians and chinese favor a continuation of the negotiations for reasons specific to their own interests. if the negotiations broke down, the whole process would collapse and then what would be the alternative? should we then attack and bomb them and there by make the war in the middle east even more explosive? we have to ask ourselves, why should we do this? a very good simple, practical question to ask. i don't see any benefit to the united states in that transpiring. we have made some progress. whether we have made enough progress, i don't know. whether the negotiations have been perfectly conducted or not, i don't know either because i haven't been there. i do have a feeling there has developed a common stake with
key countries in the world, which we shouldn't unilaterally abandon just because we're being pressured to do so. >> thank you both so much. i appreciate it. >> i'm sure you noted yesterday the signing of an agreement between iran and russia military cooperation deal confront u.s. interference and regional and international affairs. senator tillis. >> thank you, mr. chair. my question is more broad in nature. with the changing of the administration, there were clearly some changes and foreign policy strategy. i'm interested in your view over the past five or six years, more or less if you're engaged in the strategy, what things would you suggest we stop doing? what things do you suggest we should start doing and what should we continue doing?
in other words, an objective assessment in your view of things that are working and things that need improvement in the middle east. >> in the middle east? wow. >> one thing we have to continue doing what we have been doing which is encouraging those states in the middle east that has historical identity and capability to act, rather than to wait for us to do the job overall. i think the countries we all mentioned, in varying degrees, are tempted to have something done but would prefer us to carry the heavy water and are not very clear about their aspirations. that leaves us in a difficult position. if we undertake to do what is necessary, we buy the whole shebang. we buy the whole conflict and it becomes our baby.
if we sit back, obviously it may deteriorate. so we have to find some formula in between. i happen to admire secretary kerry. i think he's been trying energetically to find a viable compromise. it's difficult as hell to achieve it in these conditions. perhaps this very painful process that we're witnessing in that region will continue for some time to come. but the better part of wisdom in these circumstances, in my judgment is the one that present and i have been both advocating, which is a policy of selective engagement which prevents the other side, particularly the sadists, killers, fanatics, extreme sectarians from winning. i think we have done that. we don't have to do much more than that to maintain that. >> can you give examples of what selective engagement would look
like in your view? >> along the lines currently being practiced, which is airstrikes probably some special forces intelligence, political assistance, financial assistance and willingness perhaps, to change our position on some issues such as to meet this unclear motive for trying to get rid of assad. i don't quite understand why we're so eager to get him out of office. is he that much worse than other regions in the area? what is it? was he our enemy? was he conspiring against us? there were specific regional why the war started in the region. i don't think that was our cup of tea and we sort of got involved in it and now have the whole problem. >> thank you mr. brzezinski. mr. scowcroft, you made a
comment we need to be in the middle east but not of the middle east. can you give me an example what that means in terms of policy execution? >> yes. i think it means we should guide, help, assist but not be a player in ourselves. that is ground troops. i think what we're doing in syria syria, it's okay. it was an emergency. i think that we should not carry the burden on that, much less being in the region or of the region ground troops.
we don't know what the best outcome for syria is. it is very, very complicated. we need to help our friends. we need to encourage others to be more helpful. the turks, for example, have a heavy interest in the kurds. not necessarily the kind of interest the kurds want them to have. we need to be careful all the way through but help those who want to do what we think would improve the situation without it belonging to us. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to join in thanking you for holding this hearing to provide some intellectual and conceptual context of the very challenging work that we're going to have ahead of us
enthese next two years and i want to thank both of our witnesses not only for being here today but for your long-standing service to our nation and uniform. as national security adviser each of you have tributed enormously to the readiness and preparedness and performance of our armed forces in protecting our national security. i want to focus on an area i think you mentioned in your opening statement mr. scowcroft cyber, a new emerging form of warfare, perhaps difficult to imagine in the days each of you served as national security adviser illustrating how the nature of warfare really is changing and perhaps each of you how you think we need to be better prepared not only in the
mechanics of cyber intelligence and cyber warfare but also in the education of our country as to the importance of this very complex area which is also probably going to be increasing importance importance. >> i think cyber is of increasing importance. i believe we're just touching a surface and that we could profit by some innovative thinking about how we can approach that problem and how we can get other countries like the chinese, for example, involved in ways that are helpful.
and we may have to try several different things. but the potential danger of cyber not just to us but to those who are practicing it now should enable us to have some serious discussions with other countries. but we also need a serious discussion within the united states, too, because the government and some of our industries are not cooperating the way, at least my understanding are not cooperating the way which could really move the ball forward. this is a ball that looks different to different people. >> do you think that our response, for example to the sony attack should be more robust and vigorous some let me pose that question to both of
you. >> well i think you need to know more about it before you answer the question. it depends who really pushed the attack and what can best -- what kind of reaction is best to move the ball forward and to give us a better grip on how we can deal with this difficult situation. >> mr. brzezinski do you have any observation? >> i don't have an answer. i have a comment. this is a hyper sensitive issue both in terms of what it involves and the need for secrecy and dealing with it. basically we have to seek two objectives. one is to develop some predictable immunity against some preemptive action by
hostile force and i alluded to that possibility. that will require major, major effort and major expenditure and probably move us into a field which we haven't yet fully sufficiently explored. and the second is to have a preemptive capability. a preemptive capability or preempt some action of that sort or match some action against us tit for tat instantly. i don't want to be too specific about who the enemy might be. i don't think we need to create public hysteria on the subject. but it certainly stands to reason that there are some countries in the world that might think that cyber warfare against the united states is the best way to preempt the whole issue, to change the balance of power. i think we are still on the very, very early phases of
responding to that. something like the united states was in 1943, '44 when we started getting really serious about acquisition of nuclear weapons. >> i want to thank you. my time has expired and we barely touched let alone scratched the surface. i would just offer the observation that our private sector probably is less prepared than it should be and our military -- at least our civilian leadership has the opportunity to provide more incentives and maybe more compulsory measures to assure that we are better prepared in the private sector against these kinds of attacks because certain kinds of attacks are as much a threat to national security whether they are to our financial system our utilities,
even a corporation like sony. i shouldn't say even a corporations like sony who employs and has an impact on our society. thank you for your responses. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you both very much. some observations and conclusions that you've made seemed a bit -- don't reconcile but we'll talk about that in a moment. as to the iranian situation, do you agree with me that whatever chance there is to get a deal with the iranian nuclear ambitions we should take it? whatever opportunity we have to get a peaceful resolution of our nuclear ambitions we should pursue that diplomatically.
just say yes. >> yes. i think if i understand the question. >> i'm not trying to trick you. so i agree with. but one thing we should never allow to happen is for iran to get a nuclear weapon. do you both agree with that? >> yes. >> yes. >> that would open up a nuclear arms race in the middle east, sunni arabs would want one. whatever problem we have today would get exponentially worse. how do we find a peaceful resolution to iranian nuclear ambitions is the primary goal i share with you and everybody else in the world. do you agree iranians in the past have been trying to develop a bomb not build a peaceful nuclear power program. their past behavior would suggest they are trying to get nuclear capability. >> yes i think there was a phase. >> do you agree with me that congress may actually make things worse if we pass sanctions but we should have a say about the final outcome through a one two, three
nuclear review process through atomic energy act. does that make sense? let negotiations go forward without sanctions. but when a deal is reached, would it be okay if both of you if congress under one, two, three session of atomic energy act could review it to see if there's a deal. would that be a good outcome? >> i don't know -- >> i don't know that i'm equipped to say that. >> we have in the past approved 24 agreements regarding civilian nuclear programs between the united states and foreign powers. all i'm suggesting is let the administration pursue a deal with the p5 plus 1 if they reach an agreement. bring it to congress for our review and approval. do you think that makes sense? would that be a good check and balance? >> i think that depends also on the other partners to the negotiations. we're not the only ones negotiate. >> aren't going to left france
tell us what to do. what we're trying to say to you and the administration, we don't want to disrupt the last best chance to get a good deal but we don't want to be dealt out either. we'd like to have a say. under atomic energy act section one, two, three, in the past congress has reviewed deals between united states and foreign powers regarding civilian programs. would that be a provocative thing for congress to do look at the deal after the fact. >> well, let me take a stab at this. i think you'll do it anyway don't you? >> well, the question is should we do it? >> i think that depends a little bit on the nature of the relationship with the other powers and how much you are informed. i think you will make the judgment yourself if you want to do it. >> fair enough. let's get back to syria. this whole conflict started when people went to the streets in syria petitions assad to have a better life within syria.
do you agree with that? that's how this all started? >> that's one of the things anyway. >> you just made an observation that most people now are going to say i have dignity. i'm not going to let the guy down the street tell me how to live. we can read and see how life could be. that's a good thing. do you both agree the individual in the world being empowered and knowing the difference between a good life and a bad life is overall a constructive thing. >> it certainly is for -- >> would you want to live in assad's syria? can you understand why millions of syrians believe that assad's syria is not what they want to pass onto their children? can you understand why people throughout the world no longer want to live in totalitarian dictatorships for our convenience? i can understand that. there's a complication here i get. but the big theme sweeping the world to me is that young people have had enough living a life that none of us would adopt for
our convenience. i'd like to help those young people in the process. do you agree with the president that the goal should be to defeat and destroy isil, degrade and destroy. >> destroy what? >> defeat, degrade and destroy isil. that should be the united states goal? >> i'll speak for myself. i think it's important we do what is necessary from the standpoint of our national interest. >> i agree with that. >> if isil kills our people, we certainly should act. >> do you agree with the goal the president has stated that it is in our national interest to degrade and destroy isil. >> i support that. it depends on how we do it. i don't want us to become the only protagonist and others sit back. >> do you agree with that general? >> yes. >> do you think the strategy in place today is achieving that goal? >> no. >> i agree with you, general.
would you like to comment where it's working? >> i don't know if it's working. i think it's going to take a long time. we're in a situation where there's a mix of motivations in the region. >> absolutely two good answers. i just got back from the middle east. nobody believes this is working. the best solution from my point of view would get an islamic coalition together, doesn't have to be all there, an islamic coalition to go on the ground in syria and take isil down in the name of islam saying you do not represent this great religion. we're here to take you on and destroy what you stand for. does that make sense, a good outcome, have the religion coalition of the willing within the religion to go in and take isil down. >> if it's spontaneously formulated in the region and not created by us yes. i think if we tried to create it it wouldn't work. >> finally, should we support such an effort giving capacity
to that will where we have unique capability? i'm not advocating 100,000 american troops go on the ground in syria, but i ahmad vokting the longer this problem goes the more likely we're going to get hit here. i ahmad vokting america capital sit on the sideline and let 300,000 syrians get slaughtered because it's complicated. i'm advocating we defeat this enemy to mankind, not just to islam, and that we get islamic world engaged but we provide capacity when they have will that we would provide air power special forces, intelligence capability. gentlemen, what i will not accept is the status quo that it is okay to not go after these guys because it is not at every level in the world it is not okay. so my only plea is that you would have an open mind to a ground component where we play a role, not the leading role,
before it is too late. thank you both for your great service to this country. >> would you like to make a response to that tirade. >> i wouldn't call it was a tirade. i thought it was very sincere and impassioned. i don't think deal sufficiently with the complications of the region. they are different countries in the region. there are some regimes we can work with, some playing a double game. last but not least there is unfortunately unexpectedly much more support for assad in syria than we would have wished or probably anticipated. otherwise, why is he still there and has not been overthrown. >> general, would you like to make a comment on the exchange that just took place? >> well, i think --
>> because i think it's important. >> syria is a most difficult place. it's next to lebanon it's probably the most mixed up in terms of physical mix-up of different groups of any area of the middle east. i think i understand the concern. i am reluctant sitting here to get into executive legislative struggles, but i think we ought to do what we can without getting ownership again. we have not only the syrians to worry about, we have to worry about the turks, too. the kurds are very heavily
engaged there. they have different notions about their own future. >> do you support a no-fly zone turkey asking to protect syrian army and population from further destruction and no-fly zone to give people a chance to regroup? >> i think we -- i would consider that but i would not use air power to do it. there's some 20 air fields in syria. we could bomb the runways of all of them with missiles and keep bombing them. in effect ground their air force. i would have no problem doing that. >> doctor? >> yeah, i probably would have no problem but i don't think that solves the problem, the larger problem. >> i thank you. i think it's been a very important exchange.
senator king. >> thank you. gentlemen, i apologize for coming in and out. i had a meeting with mr. carter who is, as you know been nominated by the president to be secretary. mr. brzezinski you mentioned something very interesting which suggested that given the threat of terrorism to russia as well as other parts of the world, does this create an opportunity for an alliance with russia to deal with an issue like isis that might be an opening to a more general settlement in syria that we have a common interest in dealing with this terrorist threat? >> yes. but i wouldn't use the word alliance because that goes too far. i think regional accommodation regional cooperation might be in their interest and our interest, for reasons i've mentioned they
potentially expose themselves and it would make it more difficult for russians to sit on the sidelines and watch us getting bogged down alone. they own part of the responsibility for the problems in the middle east in terms of previous policies. much the same applies to china. >> and i would think that the russians would see this in their own national interest. >> one would have to assume that's the case because they have a national interest. >> a second question, partially a statement partly a question. i was delighted to hear you, general scowcroft talk about the threat of cyber. i sort of feel like we're england before world war ii ignoring a threat that's right in front of us. we had the sony -- what if sony instead of a movie production company had been new york stock exchange or gas pipeline. i have never seen an issue where we've had more warnings and we're doing less. i hope you would concur with
meed this should be one of congress's highest priorities to deal with this cyber threat and develop cyber strategies. would you agree with that? >> yes i do agree with that. we're still at step one. i think we need serious analysis on what the character of the problem is what our alternatives to take a more positive role can be and which one we should select. >> i thought one of your interesting suggestions was a kind of reprice of mutually assured destruction strategy of the '50s in the cyber area to create a deterrent not only to -- not only a defensive posture but deterrent posture. could you elaborate on that? >> well, i don't -- i used that only to show how serious a
threat i think cyber is. it is on the par with nuclear weapons. it doesn't kill people itself but it can destroy the sinews of the country, the banking system. >> general i just hope what you said today and that analogy is a headline tomorrow because we've got to -- we've got to deal with this issue. one other area of concern. doctor brzezinski i'm very interested in developing a strategy beyond ad hoc military intervention to deal with isis and the whole issue of jihadists and extremism. could you talk about what you would think would be the elements of an anti-extremists strategy beyond just military
response? >> some form of cooperation with the more moderate and more established states in the region in creating viable outcomes that consolidate well-being permit their political evolution and so forth. the list has been mentioned. it's turkey. it could be iran under some circumstances. it could be saudi arabia which otherwise might face serious international problems. it certainly is egypt. on a more limited basis, it includes lebanon and jordan, with the latter being close to an explosive situation given the number of refugees that flowed into the country. there is potential commonality of interest here but it should not be focused primarily on american military action as such, though we have the right of self-defense and we have the
right to deal with threats that become sort of extensive enough top possibility of destabilizing the region. last but not least, if i may say so we should be very careful not to proclaim our actions are somehow or other anti-jihadist. you used the term. we don't want to convey to that part of the world that we in any way are engaged in a religious war against them. jihad means holy war. and so we don't -- >> anti-extremists might be a better term. >> yes, exactly, something along those lines. fanatics in some cases sadists, like those beheadings. avoid saying we're engaged in a struggle with jihadists. that frankly attacks some people in what they say is holy war.
>> that's a very good point. i appreciate that. i think the other side of that is we have to be very, very careful in this country to not lump in the muslim world with these extremists. i think that also is a recruiting poster for them if we do that. this cannot be the war between the west and islam. >> that's right. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you very much for your service to our country. i apologize for no, sir being here for the entire discussion this morning with several different committee meetings going on as usual, it appears. i did have one question i would like to focus on, perhaps in a little different vein than i've heard in the last 15 20 minutes. that has to do with the national
security strategy that was last presented in 2010. my understanding is that normally that would be updated or expected to be updated in 2014. the qdr was presented and completed based upon the 2010 strategy that was in place. i don't understand but i was hoping you might give us your thoughts a little bit about whether or not that strategy that was completed in 2010 whether or not with all of the changes today particularly those issues in the middle east changes in terms of russia and what's happened since 2010, whether or not the qdr that we currently operate with and the strategy that was proposed in 2010 that we operate with today whether or not we're missing something here and does it really matter. is it time for congress to take a different approach in terms of looking at the overall
strategies when it comes to our national defense. >> that's a very difficult question to answer. i think my answer is both. the congress is responsible for providing funding for a particular strategy for the military themselves. the president is in charge of the armed forces. that's the kind of cooperation that is getting increasingly difficult, but it still is the way we have to proceed. when you do unilaterally things like sequester it destroys what
is needed which is consent between the congress whose responsibility is the armed forces and the president who runs the armed forces. >> i would add to this, and maybe this is not what you have in mind that i think there is a bit of a problem in that the state department has a planning council that presumably plans for diplomacy defense department has similar agencies in terms of defense capabilities and needs. cia has its own view how the world is changing. i'm not aware of any sort of large scale systematic effort in the national security council to define national objectives and to help the president think it through and eventually endorse it as a kind of overall national
security planning mechanism. i think we could use that and perhaps that would be helpful in clarifying some issues. >> would you consider that to be new in terms of how we have operated or is that something which you have seen both seen interactions between the administration and congress over a period of literally decades. is this new? is this something which people have looked at and simply said that's the way it is, or is this something that clearly presents a threat in terms of how we do systematically the planning for the defense of our country. >> i think we ought to take a look. i don't know whether it's new or not. i think we ought to take a look at the existing system. my sense is we don't really have in the white house a service to the president when he makes his
decisions, a deliberate effort at creating what might be called a national security plan for the four years or whatever that administration is in office. other agencies do that. i think that creates perhaps some of the uncertainties to what we're doing. >> one more thought on this. it seems to me when we talk about in business when we talk about those issues we're concerned about being important issues as opposed to on the day to day business that's urgent in front of us. we tend to focus on the urgent as opposed to critical or important would you care to comment, we face on a military basis day to day. items in front of us regularly,
those urgent issues, have they clouded our ability to keep in front of us those important issues that we are losing >> i don't know how to answer that. >> i think the answer is, the answer probably yes. on such a thing as our national military strategy. we've tried different things some work better than others. but it is also a political exercise as well as a strategic exercise.
and i don't think we have developed anything which is -- goes beyond bureaucratic to genuine steps forward. but i think we ought to keep trying. >> mr. chairman? >> thank you, mr. chairman i work forward to working on this committee and continued with my colleagues and thank both of the witnesses for their presence today. what is each of your opinion about need for congress to expeditiously work on an authorization for use of military force to cover the current war against isil which is now in its sixth month. >> i'm not sure how to answer
that. i think we should not be more involved. the isis exercise. i believe this is a case where the region is being threatened. and the powers of the region are being threatened. the states of the region are being threatened. and we ought to encourage and help them to respond. that's a difficult line. i think it's an important one because the middle east is -- does belong to the middle east countries. and we ought to encourage them to behave responsibly. >> dr. brzezinski. >> in different ways i think we ought to strive, first of all to engage the other major powers in
the world to be involved and shouldn't be our baby only. and i have said this this morning, russia and china. secondly, i think we have to minimize the visual involvement in the problem of other powers who could be helpful but whose record in the region is so negative because of their involvement with colonialism that they, in fact handicap the effort of dealing effectively with the region. and third we have to try to involve in a difficult process, those states in the region that have both viability of sorts and some inclination to be moderate. >> you've each answered my question in this strategic and tactical sense. and i actually meant it in the institutional and constitutional sense. the president started a unilateral military campaign against isil on the 8th of august that is now in its sixth month justifying that based on
the two previous authorizations done in 2001 and 2002. the president last night said congress should do an authorization and weigh in and vote about whether this mission is, in fact, in the national interest. do you have any opinion on whether that is an important matter for congress to take up? >> well, if he asks and since he's acting as commander in chief, i should think that he's entitled to make that request. and probably congress should consider it. but if for no other reason than it helps to consolidate national unity on the delegate but terribly complicated issue. >> i think as i understood your last answer on the tactical side, let me do a follow-up question. there's been much discussion about the role of ground troops as necessary in iraq or syria to defeat the threat of isil. ground troops broadly defined, regional ground troops the peshmerga, the iraqi security forces.
syrian, trained syrian moderate. what do each of you think about the wisdom of using united states ground troops in the mission against isil in iraq or syria? >> except in very special individual circumstances where the use of ground forces will be very limited in terms of its mission basically against boots on the ground so far as the united states is concerned. i think the political and historical climate is so uncongenial to us doing it that it will simply become involved in the protracted conflict which will be extremely costly and, which it'll be very difficult for us alone to win. >> the president has announced a plan to withdraw u.s. forces completely from afghanistan by the end of 2016. should the u.s. actions with respect to the forces in afghanistan be based on a date on the calendar? or should it be based on conditions on the ground and whether there is sufficient stability to allow us to withdraw without plunging the
country back into a chaos that could affect the region and the world? >> you can't entirely separate the two. but you have to take into account that at some point a proprolonged engagement at the very least begins to create its own antithesis. so i think some end line is absolutely necessary. >> i -- i think in the case, particular case of afghanistan an end line right now is not the right way to go. it is my sense that afghanistan has made considerable progress that the new leadership shows great promise, and that what their military security forces really need is the sense of the
u.s. hand on their shoulder. we're back here. we'll give you some advice. we'll help you here. we're not bailing out on all the effort we've put in in past years. i believe, i don't know how many thousand, but a few thousand forces would pay us back big dividends if afghanistan moves forward in the direction that it seems to be moving. and it is certainly worth a few thousand troops to be that hand on their shoulder. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you gentlemen this has been very, very helpful. let's talk about russia and nato. when russia invaded georgia,
about all we could do was talk about it and denounce it. when russia took the action that they took in crimea, a treaty ally of ours whose border we had promised to defend if they gave up nuclear weapons military action was clearly off the table. presumably russian action would not call for military action by the united states. but dr. brzezinski, you draw a line when it comes to the baltic states. and i'd certainly -- i want to agree with you there. let me ask you this, could you explain a little more your idea about working with nato on trip wires in the baltic states? general scokroft, what do you
think about that idea having it been described? and what can we do to get our nato allies to take national defense and western defense responsibilities seriously? we ask them to spend a mere 2% of their gdp on the military. and frankly, it's only two or three of those nato allies that do that. if you comment on dr. brzezinski you can begin. >> well, first of all, on your last question i think we should address that in nato. and perhaps some device, some procedure could be formulated whereby nato members who, which fail to meet that 2% standard lose some of their sort of entitlement to participate in key decisions. i don't know precisely how to work that out, but it seems to me if you don't pay, you don't decide.
and that at least might make them a little more conscious of the fact that collective obligations should be treated seriously. inso far as the guarantee itself that the baltic countries, what i said earlier, i'll simply repeat. i think the russians don't know how active we would be in saving them for one reason or another. the leader of the russian federation decided he can get away with the seizing quick action which altogether alters the situation which he finds so abhorrent, namely, the creation of independent states or the recreation of independent states in the place in the late '30s and early '40s. if you are to do that, we would be faced with a horrible
situation, because we don't have the means to stage an amphibious warfare that results in the landing of our forces and gradual ground war presumably on the territory of the baltic states and the expulsion. the only sensible step we can now take i think, is to preposition some trip wire type forces forcing putin to consider seriously whether he's prepared to go into major conflict with us. and if he does that then we have no choice to respond, not only in the baltic republics, but perhaps elsewhere. for example, the worldwide embargo. soviet ships soviet airplanes other actions of semi military type, which would be a response designed to impose further costs and including, perhaps, some occasional military engagements chosen elsewhere if we couldn't do something directlythe
baltics. >> what do you think about this topic? >> well, first i think that we don't want to recreate the cold war. and i don't think it's necessary necessary. i think if we want to do something, trip wire nato is the trip wire, to me. and i think if we want to tell what we will do if they do certain things i don't have a problem with that. but i -- i can see putin just trying to provoke us to spend more efforts i believe the
contribution of some of the europeans to nato is deplorable. and they're happy to leave everything up to us, including paying for it. there, i think we ought to give it some thought. my sense is we would get greater european support if we had ideas about how to use nato usefully. now that to me a threat of march of troops is not a reasonable thing to happen. >> let me just ask you briefly if the chair will indulge. do you have any comments for this committee about the adequacy of our naval fleet at
the present time? the chair and his opening remarks talked about the size of our military being roughly equivalent to what it was after world war i. do we have enough ships? are we building enough ships? is our fleet adequate to protect? >> i cannot give you a straightforward answer. >> i don't think any one of us has examined that kind of question. simply don't have an answer to that. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, both, for being here. isis has said they are establishing a caliphate. and their caliphate they want to establish is a whole lot bigger than where they are right now.
their goal also if you don't share their religion, you convert or you're killed. and they tend to expand. how does the united states watch this when -- and i don't want to get into exact historical references, and i don't mean to by this, but we've seen this kind of thing before. >> well, the danger is, if we get involved directly in opposing them, it will make it easier for them to promote the whole concept. >> well, i don't mean directly. i mean as a partner. you are talking about not getting more involved in isis actions. with training an arab army or advise
advising, providing that kind of assistance helping them to plan, helping them to train. do you think those are appropriate actions? >> i have no problem with training as appropriate action. let's remember that isis or isil however you want to call it, is down in the middle east. there are a number of our friends and allies who live in the middle east. >> right. >> would they be happy to just sit back and have us deal with the problem? maybe. but this is a -- this is a problem, which is a potential threat to other middle eastern countries. >> do you see us having a role, though as a partner? >> yeah. yes, i think a role in doing the kinds of things that they can't do. >> right. >> encourage them in the things
that they can. we can help them know how to do. yes, absolutely. >> certainly, i don't think anybody -- >> but that's training. >> right. i don't think anybody's looking at our troops being the ground troops. but being somebody who can help provide with the backbone, the planning, the training. does that make sense to you? >> absolutely. >> it strikes me as no matter what we hope. and being from indiana where we have suffered from them already. we've already lost citizens who have been kidnapped and killed by them. and they continued to put plans together to cause other activities. and so with their stated goals of further establishment of this and causing taking activities elsewhere, it would seem to me that we'd have to be engaged in some form with partners. because it seems that the goal. it's not something that's going to stay static.
it either grows or gets eliminated. would you agree with that? >> yes. >> dr. brzezinski? >> i also agree with that. >> okay. as we look at putin, what do you think his end game is in ukraine? >> my own estimate is to reverse what has transpired a year or so ago. namely, the decision by the ukraine people to associate themselves and their longer range identity with the west. i think he views that as a major intrusion on historically significant component of the larger russian empire. i think he has this kind of gentle concept of imperial restoration as guiding him. if you look at some of the things he's done to define the
precedence symbolism. a lot of imperial -- and he's prepared to use force to make that happen. and our position has been that we have no desire to intrude into russian sort of security as pragss aspirations. but the nation has a right voluntarily. and as a consequence, we have this very serious problem between us and the russians regarding the future of ukraine. and he's striving to destabilize ukraine. not risking an all-out invasion, but de-stabilize it from within. >> if he takes similar action in latvia, you know his little green men and all of those things. going into latvian territory. and nato does not respond. is that in effect the end of nato? >> i would say so. because nato's meant to be a
collective alliance. and if the united states doesn't respond that certainly would be the result. now conceivably we could let him do it, let him take latvia and we would mobilize nato to counter this somehow. either on the spot or on the larger world front. but would be a much more risky enterprise than doing what i advocate, which simply create a trip wire within latvia which communicates clearly to russia that nato will be involved, that the united states, particularly, is present. and therefore, the risks you're taking are much much higher than you might calculate in the light of the ease of the operation in seizing crimea. >> and doctor, i'll end with did you see that that's as that's the end of nato?
>> certainly it would be the end of nato if the soviet union moved into a nato member. and we did nothing. absolutely it would. but i don't see that happening. i don't see -- putin's a nasty piece of work, probably shouldn't have said that. >> that's fine. >> but i don't think he is evil incarnate. and i think if we tell him quite clearly what we won't stand for in terms of nato members especially there won't be such an action. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> and the best way to tell him is to do something to make him think about it. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for being here today, i appreciate your service very much. today, we have talked a lot about isis in the middle east. and the fact that we do need
partners in that region. we do need those arab allies to come forward. and you've mentioned it. both of you as more of an aside comment. but i would really like to understand how we can more effectively engage turkey, which is an ally, which is a friend in that region. how can we engage them more to combat isis and those other threats that exist within the middle east? >> well, the -- the turks are playing a role. it's partly worrisome a little, partly very helpful. the turks have a large minority
in their country who are kurd. and so they have multiple concerns about what goes on. they also have very emotional feelings about syria. but i think we can help the countries of the middle east, turkey is one with great military capability. as i say egypt is another, and egypt is a -- is a large country in any part of the world. and they ought to want to shape their own region in the right direction. and we lought to encourage that rather than taking their place,
in forming the region. >> thank you. i do agree. and i just would love to know more concrete methods of engaging them. they do have a lot at stake in that region. and i think they could be very valuable partners. i just would love to know how we do get them to play a more prominent role in the middle east. but thank you very much, gentlemen, today thank you, mr. chair. >> senator manchin. where's he going? >> he's going. >> could i say that i thank you both not only for your appearance here but for your many years of outstanding service to the country and your wise and knowledgeable advice and counsel that you provided to many presidents and proven, again, today before this
committee. obviously, there are some disagreements and in fact, might make mention that the head of mi-5 gave a speech saying he believed that isis is planning an attack on the united states of america. i don't disagree with him. i think that would change the outlook of the american people about the degree of our involvement if there was such a thing, which we hope will not happen. but when you have thousands of young men going into this fight who will be returning from the fight, i think something that is not beyond the rem of possibility. but, i would like to say that i'm personally very honored to be in the company of two individuals who have served our country and continue to do so with such distinction. thank you very much.
if you missed any of this meeting, you can follow it online at c-span.org. president obama's nominee to be the next attorney general heads to capitol hill wednesday for her confirmation hearing. that is loretta lynch. currently the attorney general for the eastern district of new york. she'll testify to the senate judiciary committee. and our live coverage at 10:00 a.m. eastern wednesday on c-span 3. here's president obama announcing her nomination at the white house last november. >> have a seat, everybody. good morning. as president, i rely on my cabinet every day to make sure we're not just getting the job done, but making progress for the american people. and in a country that is built on the rule of law, there are
few offices more important than that of attorney general. the people's lawyer. as our nation's chief law enforcement officer this person is responsible for enforcing our federal laws. the remarkable men and women of the justice department. public corruption and white collar crime. judicial recommendations and policy reviews all of which impact on the lives of every american and shape the life of our nation. as i said back in september when he decided to step down, i am enormously grateful to eric holder for his outstanding service in this position. he is one of the longest-serving attorney generals in american history, and one of our finest.
eric brought to this job a belief that justice isn't just an abstract theory, but a living, breathing principle. it's about how laws interact with the daily lives of our people. whether we can make an honest living. whether we can provide for our families. whether we feel safe in our own communities. and welcome in our own country. whether the words that the founders set to paper 238 years ago apply to every one of us in our time. so thanks to eric, our nation is safer and freer and more americans, regardless of race or religion, or gender or creed, or sexual orientation, or disability, receive fair and equal treatment under the law. i couldn't be prouder of that. and i couldn't be prouder that today i can announce somebody who shares that fierce commitment to equal justice under the law, as my nominee for the next attorney general, u.s. attorney loretta lynch. [ applause ]
i also, by the way, want to thank the chair of the senate judiciary committee patrick leahy for being here on a saturday to show his support. [ applause ] it's pretty hard to be more qualified for this job than loretta. throughout her 30-year career, she has distinguished herself as tough, as fair, an independent lawyer who has twice headed one of the most prominent u.s. attorney's offices in the country. she has spent years in the trenches as a prosecutor, aggressively fighting terrorism, financial fraud, cyber crime, all while vigorously defending
civil rights. a graduate of harvard college and harvard law school loretta rose from assistant u.s. attorney in the eastern district of new york to chief of the long island office, chief assistant u.s. attorney, and u.s. attorney. she successfully prosecuted the terrorists who plotted the bomb -- plotted to bomb the federal reserve bank and the new york city subway. she has boldly gone after public corruption, bringing charges against public officials in both parties. she's helped secure billions in settlements from some of the world's biggest banks, accused of fraud, and jailed some of new york's most violent and notorious mobsters and gang members. one of her proudest achievements was the civil rights prosecution of the officers involved in the brutal assault of the haitian immigrant abner louima. loretta might be the only lawyer in america who battles mobsters and drug lords and terrorists and still has a reputation for being a charming people person. and that's probably because loretta doesn't look to make
headlines, she looks to make a difference. she's not about splash, she is about substance. i could not be more confident that loretta will bring her signature intelligence and passion and commitment to our key priorities, including important reforms in our criminal justice system. she has consistently proven her leadership and earned the trust and respect of those she serves. since 2010 she's been a member of the committee of the u.s. attorneys across the nation who advise the attorney general on matters of policy, and she has served as chair of that committee since 2013. so it's no wonder that the senate unanimously confirmed her to be the head of the u.s. attorney's office in two separate situations. once under president clinton, and once under my administration. and it's my hope that the senate will confirm her a third time without delay.
at every stage in her career loretta has followed the principles of fairness, equality, and justice that she absorbed as a young girl. she was born in greensboro, north carolina, the year before black students there sat down at a whites-only lunch counter, helping to spark a movement that would change the course of this country. the daughter of a school librarian and a fourth generation baptist minister, which meant that she knew when to be quiet. that's a little intimidating, being the daughter of a librarian and a minister. but loretta rode on her father's shoulders to his church, where students would meet to organize anti-segregation boycotts. she was inspired by stories about her grandfather, a sharecropper in the 1930s, who helped folks in his community who got in trouble with the law and had no resource under the jim crow system. i know that if he were here today, he would be just as proud of her as i'm sure her husband, stephen, is. i want to thank stephen, loretta's stepson ryan, her
stepdaughter, kia, and her other family members who came here today. we appreciate you guys agreeing to share her with the american people a little bit longer. loretta has spent her life fighting for fair and equal justice, that is the foundation of our democracy. i can think of no better public servant to be our next attorney general. let me introduce to you ms. loretta lynch. [ applause ] >> thank you, everyone. and thank you, first of all,
mr. president, for that kind introduction. but most importantly, thank you, also, for your faith in me. in asking me to succeed an attorney general whom i admire, and to lead the department that i love. now no one gets to this place, this room, this podium, this moment by themselves. i also must thank attorney general eric holder for your support and your friendship over the years, as well as by leading by example, and always, always pushing this department to live up to its name. and i want to thank chairman lairty, senior officials of the department of justice, and members of the cabinet, for being here today. to my colleagues in the u.s. attorney community and throughout the department, on whose strength and wisdom i lean every day, thank all of you, as well, for your support, both now, and in all the work that we have ahead. and to my beloved office, the eastern district of new york, my professional home. you have twice now given me the privilege of being able to serve you, and to focus on nothing,
nothing but the protection of the american people. it has been a joy. it has been an honor. and i will carry you with me wherever i go. and of course, to my wonderful family, several of whom are here with me today. all of whom are always with me in love and support. most especially my parents, who could not be here today, but are watching. whose every thought and sacrifice has always been for their children. they have supported me in all of my endeavors, as i strive to live up to their example of service. the department of justice is the only cabinet department named for an ideal. and this is actually appropriate. because our work is both aspirational and grounded in gritty reality. it's both ennobling and it's both profoundly challenging.
today i stand before you so thrilled, and frankly so humbled, to have the opportunity to lead this group of wonderful people who work all day and well into the night to make that ideal a manifest reality. all as part of their steadfast protection of the citizens of this country. mr. president, thank you again, for the faith that you've placed in me. i pledge today to you, and to the american people, that if i have the honor of being confirmed by the senate, i will wake up every morning with the protection of the american people my first thought. and i will work every day to safeguard our citizens, our liberties, our rights, and this great nation, which has given so much to me and my family. i thank you, again, mr. president, and mr. attorney general. and all of you for being here. [ applause ]
>> -- from north korea? >> well, i think it's a wonderful day for them, their families. obviously they're very grateful for their safe return, and i appreciate director clapper's doing a great job on what was obviously a challenging mission. all right? and we'll have live coverage of the lynch confirmation hearing wednesday, 10:00 a.m. eastern, right here on c-span3. i -- the associated press reports that the congressional budget office says the federal budget deficit will shrink this year to the lowest level since
president barack obama took office. says the deficit will be $468 billion for the budget year that ends in september. that's slightly less than the last year's $483 billion deficit. the a.p. writes as a share of the economy, cbo says this year's deficit will be slightly below the historical average of the past 50 years. and we will hear more about that from the congressional budget office director himself douglas elmendorf coming up in half an hour. and we'll have it live for you over on c-span 2. well, two immigration experts next talking about the inefficiencies of the current immigration system and the implications of president obama's recent executive orders the washington center hosted this event earlier this month. >> good morning. thanks for that introduction and thank you for the opportunity to join you here today. i'm going to pick up right where he left off and talk about the president's announcement last month.
on november 20th, president obama delivered a prime time address to the nation to announce a series of executive actions on immigration policy. among other actions, the president plans to expand childhood arrivals, a temporary program for youth who arrived here as children and a new program for parents and permanent residents. as dr. bose mentioned, along with other changes to sort of quasi legalization programs, the announcement covered a little over half of the unauthorized immigrants, the second set of actions will modify existing immigration enforcement programs including who the department of home land security targets for deportation and how dhs partners with local state and local law enforcement agencies among other enforcement programs. and a third set of actions include a variety of procedural changes to support high skill businesses and workers.
a fourth set of actions will support immigration integration on a new task force on new americans. i will say a little bit more about them later but let me tell you that these executive actions together are a big deal. they are almost certainly i would say the most significant changes to u.s. immigration policy in the last 20 years since the 1996 bill that i think dr. bose mentioned. even though a future president could overturn them with the stroke of a pen, they are a big deal. in announcing the changes, president obama described them as necessary steps to reform a broken immigration system given congresses inability to pass an immigration bill. so what i want to talk about is what drove the president to take such significant action outside of the legislative process. i will begin by addressing the prior question in what sense is the immigration system broken
and how did it get broken and also review the history of the u.s. immigration debate -- i'll try to explain why immigration reform is such a persistently difficult issue for congress to tackle. and with these topics by way of background, i will evaluate the new immigration actions. i will tell you how the new programs will immediately affect the broken immigration system and how they influence prospects for a future legislation on comprehensive immigration reform for a more fundamental fix in congress. finally, i will say just a little bit about what the president's actions mean sort of for the broader u.s. political system and u.s. political debate. so to begin, in what sense is the u.s. immigration system broken? one answer is that the answer
has a badly designed immigrant admission system. the u.s. promises citizens and per permanent residents can bring in their families but the numbers don't add up. the numerical limits don't add up to nearly the numbers needed for all of the people wanting to bring their family numbers. there are 4 million family members that have been approved for a visa. wait times are six to 12 years are for people seeking to bring people in to the u.s. to be reunified and over 20 years for families for countries like mexico or the philippines. the laws designed to permit u.s. employers who can't find a qualified u.s. worker to hire a foreign worker. this is a long-standing goal of u.s. immigration policy and of all wealthy countries because allowing businesses to bring in, you know, qualified workers, generally helps the u.s. economy and helps all americans by supporting economic growth and investment.
but due to num erical limits, people who want to bring in high skilled workers because they can't find a u.s. worker have to wait at least two years. if they want to bring in a chinese or indian worker, the waits are five to 10 years. those aren't realistic time lines for how businesses hire people or seek jobs so it conflicts the goal of facilitating of recruitment of the best and brightest workers. more importantly in some ways because strict criteria of protecting u.s. workers from too much competition, most employers of low or middle skilled workers can't hire a low skilled worker at all for most kinds of jobs. there are some exceptions. so these comply and demand mismatches are the biggest
driver for the sense in which the system is broken for the 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants. i want to pause and let the numbers sink in. they don't really mean a lot to us. but 11.4 is more people than all of metro chicago. metro chicago, the third largest city in the country with all of its suburbs have 9.4 million. so that's a lot. if 11.4 unauthorized immigrants all lived in one state, they would be the eighth largest state in the country. just a little bit smaller than ohio with 11.5 million and bigger than georgia with 10 million. if they all lived in their country, unauthorized landia would be the 75th biggest country in the world.
this is a big deal. the sheer scope of that many unauthorized immigrants is really a huge challenge when it comes to crafting any kind of policy solution. just setting aside the politics. the policy challenges become that much more difficult when you're dealing with that many people to craft a solution that sort of weighs, you know, the humanitarian issues versus the rule of law, all of this becomes much more difficult when you're talking about such a large number of people. in a third sense in which the system is broken is that we have that extraordinarily large, unauthorized population despite the fact that the federal government spends $18 billion a year on immigration enforcement, more than we spend on all other federal law enforcement priorities combined. so immigration policy is like the most of what federal law
enforcement efforts do and yet we still have 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants. how did we get into this mess? what's important to understand that unauthorized immigration is a function of policy choices are a bad match to push and pull forces that have been amplified over time. prior to the 1970s. the united states had almost no unauthorized immigrants and those few who were in the country were circular migrants who returned home every year. the modern immigration really began with the 1965 amendments and with earlier legislative action in 1964. congress allowed in 1964 the legal guest worker program that allowed 450,000 mexicans to come to the u.s. every year to work temporarily expired in 1964. then in 1965 with the amendments to the immigration and national act that dr. bose mentioned, the united states eliminated the national origin system and in doing that congress imposed for
the first time strict limits on permanent migration from latin america and mexico. those shut the door to most if not all legal immigration from mexico and latin america at the same time that global economic restructuring greatly increased the demand for low skilled workers in the u.s. and at the same time the cost of international travel were falling shortly. shutting the door to legal flows right when the demand for people to come was increasing, was sort of a perfect formula for incentivizing and facilityizing illegal migration. as unauthorized flows took off, immigration enforcement became a
high priority in the united states throughout the 1980s and 90s. for 20 years beginning in 1980, the united states took a series of steps to secure the border and easier to deport people including the 1996 illegal immigration act but there were several other things. throughout the period, most of the enforcement efforts were concentrated at the u.s./mexico border. we did pass a law to make it illegal for employers to knowingly higher unauthorized workers but for a variety of reasons, that law has never been strictly enforced or generally enforced at all. leaving in place a key driver of illegal flows because the employment magnet remained in place and limited efforts to deport people from the u.s.
the effort was really focused at the border. what emerged as a result was a stable policy regime that was a nonenforcement equilibrium. so we were able to hire illegal forces without being accountable. immigrants were happy because once they got past of the border they were able to work in the u.s. and be with their families here and politician were happy because they were able to avoid hard questions about how to fix the fundamental drivers of immigration as long as they funded more enforcement agents and build higher senses. this broke down in the 1990s because they immigrants began to increase and dispersed throughout the country instead of concentrated in border states, people began to view the numbers that were emerging as more of a problem, especially after the 9/11 attacks, the equilibrium broke down when immigration control was seen as a national security issue.
so since the late 90s and since 9/11 we have seen an additional security measures put at the border and in the u.s. these enforcement measures, i argue, seem to have reached a tipping point where the number of unauthorized immigrants in the u.s. today has been going down. the number peeked in 2007 at 12.4 million. there's been a 10% reduction, almost a million less. it's a little hard to assess exactly how important the enforcement measures are in driving that decrease because many of the most important enforcement additional enforcement measures have been put in place at the same time
that the u.s. has been going through the recession and slow recovery. i will argue that a lot of it is driven by the new enforcement stuff that has really come to have an impact. the biggest impact is that it is preventing new flows. that's a lot easier than establishing population in the u.s. many of these immigrants have been here for many years in the u.s. it's much more difficult to displace people who have been here for five or ten or 20 or 30 years than it is to discourage a new person from entering illegally. so a lot of the immigration debate for the last decade has focused on proposals to take on all three of these issues at once, reforms to the underlying immigration system to, you know, better match supply and demand or to dedesign visas to prevent future unauthorized immigration. tougher enforcement provisions, also to prevent future unauthorized flows and cause some people to be deported and legalization for most
unauthorized immigrants, most existing unauthorized immigrants and recognizing that long settled immigrant deportation is impractical, difficult and for most people inhumane for those who have families here. this is the package that most people are referring to, these three things when they talk about comprehensive immigration reform or cir. so this history is important, generally and it is important because when president obama says that he has to take executive action because congress has failed to act, what he means is that congress has failed to pass a cir bill and that the president like most americans, believes that trying to solve our immigration problems through more enforcement without broader changes is both expensive and a losing strategy. we've really done a lot of enforcement and there's limited additional gains we can make through enforcement measures although they will be part of a broader package. we can get more bang for that
buck. so all of this makes a lot of sense so why is president obama like president bush before him completely failed to pass a cir bill? one answer to this question is sort of the complexity that the doctor was talking about and that i was referring to before is that it's hard to design a good immigration policy or bill that includes certain unauthorized immigrants but excludes others that sequences legalization with new enforcement mechanisms that we trust that we're doing both things in the right order and, you know, the enforcement people trust the legalization people and vice versa and that creates a visa system that balances all the competing interests who care about how many of this kind of worker or this kind of family member, how those trade offs get
managed. just given how deeply intertwine ed immigration is into all of our lives, it's hard to design a policy that works. the hardest obstacles to comprehensive immigration reform are political. i want to mention four political changes that make it different. >> first there's a political economy challenge. what i mean is that the economic interests with the stake in immigration enforcement, operators of private detention facilities, immigration enforcement bureaucracies who have a real stake in the status quo have a more concentrated interest in the debate than those who benefit from reform. they are better to lobby because they have a immediate economic state in the status quo. there's nobody who has a strong
economic stake in reform who can't sort of manage the status quo. there are people like that but the stakes are low for them. there's a rhetorical question that the system is badly designed and the pushes and pulls don't match the number of visas available. but this is kind of a nuanced argument. there's no good guys and bad guys in this argument and there's no one to hold accountable for creating, you know, this sort of badly designed system. there's another story we can tell which is also true about 11 million unauthorized immigrants who have each individually violated u.s. immigration law by being here out of status by coming here or overstaying their visa out of status. my story has the disadvantage of being complicated and not having easy solutions. this story has the advantage of being simple, unauthorized immigrants are bad and of having clear solutions. they should be held accountable by being deported.
it's a much more powerful argument to make. it's also why, you know, when we look at children of unauthorized immigrants who we don't see as responsible and want to hold accountable that the group -- that the debate about dreamers is so different because it doesn't fit into the good guy, bad guy, rhetorical frame. a third a symmetry relates to the coalition that care about immigration policy. on one side there's a broad group that want comprehensive reform including immigrant right groups, religious organizations, civil libertarians and others. each care about a different slice of cir, they care about
legalization or low skilled workers or high skilled workers or what enforcement looks like. when it comes to the actual give-and-take of the legit, legislative process. and then there's this group which is smaller in number and more passionate and concentrated in republican districts. they have strong political incentives to support an enforcement only approach. looming demographic change. the increasing number of hispanic voters in the country will eventually shift the dynamics but because of the way the maps are drawn and low participation, those demographic drivers are several years away at best. i think the most important a symmetry is procedural. i have described the current
system -- i described it as a nonenforcement equilibrium. the reason we have nonauthorized immigrants is because we have failed to deport people who are deportable. what that means is immigration hard liners don't actually need any legislative change to achieve their policy goals. all they need is to enforce the laws on the book for the president to strictly enforce the laws that are already on the books. for advocates of legalization and visa reform on the other hand, there are no laws on the books that allow a permanent legalization or allow more family members to come to the u.s. so they need legislation to achieve their core goals. so this gives a huge negotiating advantage to immigration hard liners because it's much easier
in our divided government to block rather than pass. they can walk away from any deal they don't like and they get the status quo. it's very hard for the advocates to do that. finally, what does all of this tell us about the president's executive action? first on this queshgs how would the president's announcement affect the broken immigration system? the answer is that the president's announcement will make it easier for some high-skilled employers and high-skilled workers to navigate the parts of employment-based system where there's already a degree of flexibility but the announcement fails to address any of the deeper root causes of unauthorized immigration with respect to low-skilled workers or family members. and the reason is is that there's no way to fix those problems outside of legislation. the president can only adjust how he enforces existing laws, so he can't address those core issues. it's a limitation of what can be done through executive action.
where the announcement is more important is in its legalization its temporary legalization provisions and its changes to the enforcement -- the immigration enforcement system. these are things the president can do on his own to address the symptoms of brokenness, to address the large unauthorized population in the u.s. so as i mentioned about half of all existing unauthorized immigrants, potentially a little over half, are potentially eligible for some form of legalization either through daca or dapa, the deferred action parents program. or for the two other, the other adjustments to existing policies that the president announced. and you may not have heard, may not realize, that the changes to the enforcement priorities that the president announced will affect at least 80% and probably about 90%, possibly up to about 90% of all existing unauthorized immigrants will be afforded protection through the new
enforcement operators. the new priorities are defined much more narrowly in a way that excludes almost all unauthorized immigrants. so, if the executive action is fully implemented, it would leave in place and probably even strengthen border enforcement, enforcement at the southwest border but it would basically declare a moratorium on most interior immigration enforcement. this would go a long way toward reversing the ratcheting up of immigration enforcement policies over the last decade or so. and so while executive action stops well short of what advocates for cir would like to see in terms of a lasting -- a permanent legalization, that includes a path to citizenship, it's hard to overstate the potential impact these changes will have in 9the day-to-day lives of most existing unauthorized immigrants. so, big deal you know, in a
temporary way for existing unauthorized immigrants. what about for prospects for an immigration bill for comprehensive immigration legislation? in the short run, these actions likely make immigration legislation harder to pass because they deepen already profound distrust between congressional republicans and president obama. president obama's willingness to act alone, you know, undermines trust and discourages people from making a deal with them. this is the argument many congressional republicans are making about it. but that argument assumes that congressional republicans would consider cir-type reforms in the absence of obama's actions. or to that argument to mean anything it assumes that. and historical record makes this doubtful given how hard republicans have worked to block cir bills. if anything, the 2014 election makes republicans particularly in the house less likely to take
on cir because they envoy a larger majority and especially because the narrative of election said the majority of republicans can win elections in states like texas and colorado, even if they take a hard line on immigration, so sort of the political logic of oh, we need to reach out to hispanics, that's a harder argument to make to persuade republicans sitting on the fence on that point. and then the last point i want to make about this which i think is particularly important, is that in the medium term to the long term there's a real possibility that the executive action can break the congressional gridlock and force house republicans to come to the bargaining table. the reason i say this is because a moratorium more or less, on interior enforcement would turn the existing legislative dynamic dynamics of immigration policy on their head. the huge procedural advantage that opponents of cir have in the legislative debate as i've mentioned, is that existing law already allows for tough enforcement. as long as the status quo involves hundreds of thousands of deportations and leaves
immigrants vulnerable to being deported enforcement hard liners can walk away because the status quo looks pretty good to them. obama's executive action changes these bargaining dynamics by shifting what game theorists would call the reversion point. if existing immigrant communities are protected, then by status quo policies, then its advocates for ci are can walk away from a deal they don't like. they're essentially satisfied with the status quo and hard liners have an insensitive to seek a deal. this has the potential to change the dynamics that have frozen immigration in place for the last decade. so, it's still a big if because as dr. bose mentioned executive action, the president's announcement, is still subject to a variety of challenges. it's subject to some lawsuits that are already pending, which could, you know, cause a judge to put a stay on the order and basically freeze it up. it's subject to legal -- to congress using dhs appropriations bills to try to
take away money for it or to attach language that makes it illegal. and the other thing that could undermine the executive action is that if enough unauthorized immigrants don't sign up for it quickly, then uscis the agency that will implement it, will run out of money. it's a fee-driven agency which shields it for the most part from congressional -- from congress taking away the money but it is dependent on people signing up. if people are worried about it, or trust it won't stay in place, then that could prevent ucis from doing it. we can talk more about that if people are interested. the last point i want to make is what's the impact of this recent announcement on sort of the broader u.s. political system? one answer is that it's, i believe, a good thing for democrats for 2016. by restoring waning enthusiasm
among hispanic voters, executive action really helps democratic candidates in 2016 because it's a big deal if it plays out. and republicans really have their hands tied about how to respond. they can either satisfy their base by pulling out all the stops, but that alienates swing hispanic voters and maybe some moderates they could try to pick up. it helps individual republicans in the short run because it helps them with their base, but it really hurts the party in 2016 and beyond. or republicans can work out some kind of legislative deal to, you know, disallow some parts of it and allow other parts of it and sort of negotiation on immigration policy but anything like that ultimately is a victory for president obama. so, you know the move politically helps the democrats. a bigger picture answer in my view is that executive action is also a dangerous escalation of imperial presidency and of congressional dysfunction. immigrant advocates -- immigrant rights groups have made the case that obama's action is similar
to previous actions taken by both republicans and democrats, president reagan president bush, and while that's true in terms of the legal authority, it's not so true in terms of the context. obama's action is much bigger. affects many more people and it comes after a decade of congress explicitly debating these issues and choosing not to do it. over congressional objections, the previous actions were much more consistent with things congress was in the midst of passing or supported, and smaller in scale. so, while i support the president's actions as good for u.s. immigration policy they make me very nervous as being bad for american political institutions. having said that, let me also say that they are an escalation of an already existing trend. so i'm not at all confident if president obama hadn't taken those actions, you know, the next president wouldn't do similar things on issues that i don't care about or that i feel the other way about.
so, i see it as an escalation of a damaging trend that already exists but a significant escalation. so, sort of a bad development along an existing pathway that we're already traveling down. i'll stop there and take questions. [ applause ] >> i know there was nothing controversial there, so -- >> hi, i'm from suffolk university in boston. you had mentionsed that there's -- one of the problems is there's no pathway to citizenship or work visa for
unskilled workers or low skilled workers. in preparation for the talks today, i was trying to research or comprehend the many types of visas there are. and i came across the h2b visa. i thought in some ways that could be understood to be a solution to maybe the problem that you posed. cue discuss if in any way that is a solution >> yes, a great question. so, yes, the h2b, when i said there are basically none or essentially none because the h2b is the exception. the h2a visa is is for agricultural workers and seasonal agricultural work. that visa is numerically unlimited. cultural employers can hire as many temporary workers as they want to work in agriculture. and the limitation of that visa