tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN June 15, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm EDT
chairman, members, thank you very much. i am actually very pleased to be in front of you here today because in my world, which is. >> mr. kepes forgive me for interrupting. would you mind taking police cassidy's microphone and try that one. >> thank you very much. again, my apologies. i hope this doesn't eat into my five minutes here. mr. chairman members, thank you. i am very pleased to be here today because the world that i usually am in is the business world and the expiration and production business. i am a geologist. i have been around the oil and gas energy for 30 years. you can decide whether that makes me objective or not on this business. i think i'm fairly knowledgeable. i am also representing the work and analysis and experience of my colleagues at my company. what i really want to talk today
about is competitiveness of the a&p sector. more than the volumes that have been produced the new supplies from shale are just as important to think about as the incredible competitiveness of the energy. it means cost and efficiency in reaction to market conditions. so, for example, as we look at this low price period, which has many benefits for the economy consumers, et cetera. at one point, clearly, perhaps the saudis and others thought that the u.s. industry was just a phenomenon of high oil prices that is not the case. in other words many thought that this industry the shale oil and gas industry, could survive only with high oil and gas prices. that is not the case. that is one of my points today. this is not a high oil price phenomenon. we have had low natural gas prices for about six years right
now. shale gas production has sustained, in fact grown. that's critically important. why is that so important? >> because when it comes to thinking about energy diplomacy and the idea that we can export the volumes that we have because we will match or meet our internal requirements is not just about volumes. what we are really exporting is competitiveness. i want to make the point is that anything you might consider in terms of energy diplomacy objectives or goals which are quite admirable, they will be sustainable and viable as long as this competitiveness exists. it is not just offering to send supplies somewhere. the marketplace is what is pulling them. whether it is the ukraine or parts of european or mexico as i will talk about next year, which is a great example. they wouldn't be doing this if these supplies exported in u.s. shores were not competitive in a
lower priced alternative to other factors. this is particularly important because if we define very simply what energy security is, which is really we would argue, reliable supply at affordable prices. let's take mexico. right now, there is a lot of interest in mexico because of the opening of the enp sector expiration production. because of the fact that we have had over 70 years of a monopoly of the state oil company pemex going to be reversed. that's not the biggest issue going on. the bigger issue is the fact that mexico is going to be importing a lot more natural gas from the united states. i'm sure the committee knows that right now they import about 2 billion cubic feet a day. that number could go up to 5 or 6 billion cubic feet a day within the next ten years. it is a bigger impact because of two things. one, all this will drive much
more gas fired power generation if the reforms work in the midstream and downstream in mexico. we hope they will. that should result in lower energy prices for the entire economy. we don't know if it is 10% lower or 30% lower but the impact of that on the mexican economy and competitiveness, this is actually the big picture. it is not so much the oil side. it is the gas side and what we're about to do right there. that's a very important factor. now, it is said and it is quite true, that mexico has substantial natural gas resources. in this case the decision they made was if they tried to develop their own natural gas resources right now, it is so expensive that it made far more sense to import less expensive u.s. natural gas. that's a choice for competition. it is a choice for competitiveness. if you want to look at it from an energy policy program for the
u.s., a tremendous success because, as this goes forward, that competitiveness, that lower price and efficiency, is what is going to have a larger impact on the mexican economy and a huge contributor to what has already been troubled at times but a very successful u.s./mexican relationship. that's the argument i want to put in front of you. shale production is not a high-price phenomenon. intrinsic to the supply voollumes we have is the competitiveness of that. if it is a part of the u.s. diplomacy initiatives that's going to undergird of of it to be successful. u.s. infrastructure processes and regulations naturally, have to be equally competitive in order to allow this to be sustained. thank you very much for giving me the time. >> thank you mr. kepes.
our next witness is allison cassidy, the director of energy policy for the center for american progress. thank you very much for being with us. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman whitfield, ranking member rush and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. my name is allison cassidy. i am director for energy policy for the center of american progress. cap is a nonprofit organization developed to improving the lives of americans. before i begin i would like to highlight a topic that is not a subject of today's hearing but i think should be, that is climate change, which, to me, is the most urgent and challenging energy diplomacy issue of our time. it has become a priority in international relations because the climate science is so clear. a failure to act on climate
change risks severe, irreversible impacts on a global scale. as the committee concerns the nation's energy pol circumstance cap urges you to put climate change front and center of any policy you can develop. we can no longer afford to separate energy policy from climate policy. with that int duck roductory conduct in mind, i will jump into a few thoughts on section 134 of cross draft about cross border energy projects. entities wanting to construct or operate a cross border pipeline or transmission line are required to obtain a presidential permit. this section of the billie limb nates that requirement and instead requires the relevant federal agency to issue a certificate of crossing unless they find the cross border interest of the project is not
in the interest of the united states. first, it presumes the project is in the public interest placing the burden of proof on concerned stakeholders to say that it is. the applicant only needs federal approval for the project that crosses the u.s. border. the new process limits environmental review to the cross border section of the project. to me, this makes little sense since we all know these types of projects can have environmental impacts well beyond the border. for a truly transcontinental project such as a pipeline that runs through numerous states, the current presidential permitting process is the only venue for the public and stakeholders to examine and understanding the potential
impacts of the whole project. under the process established by this bill, the review would be fragmented, state by state. no one, except the project applicant, would ever examine the project as a whole. i also have a few concerns about section 3106, which is the lng export section. this section sets a 30-day deadline upon the completion of environmental review for the doe to issue a final decision on any application to export natural gas to a free country. to date, the doe has issued final authorization to six facilities to export up to 8.6 billion cubic feet per day of lng, more than 10% of daily u.s. gas consumption on top of what we already export to free trade countries like mexico. the existing doe system appears to be working.
it puzzle me why we need a bill to fast track the new approvals. cap does not oppose lng exports but we have concerns about placing an artificial deadline on agency review of permit applications. congress should not preclude doe from taking the time it needs to make a well-informed decision. the stakes are simply too high for natural gas consumers here in the united states. last year, they concluded that increased lng exports lead to increased natural gas prices. they create economic winners and losers. natural gas producers and employees would be the clear winners. but, for example manufacturers that use natural gas as a feed stock would face much higher energy costs. in short, the decision to export significant volumes of natural
gas even to our allies is a complex one that should not be made likely given the impacts here in the united states. this is made even more complicated given the growing demand at home for natural gas in the electricity and transportation sector. consumers could pay the price. that's why the deliberative process is so important. with that i will end my testimony and happy to answer any questions. >> thank iyou, miss cassidy. >> our next witness is miss emily hammond professor of law at george washington law school. thank you for joining us. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman whitfield, ranking member rush and the dig tingstinguish td members of the subcommittee. i appreciate the opportunity to testify today. >> in my testimony, i would like to highlight several concerns
that undermine the important goal of a unified energy policy. these concerns relate ses speckly to section 3102 3104 and 3106. in short, those preprovisions fail to properly account for the reliability, fuel diversity and environmental implications of energy policy. they also fail to adequately permit the energy agencies to undertake their work in a par it is pa torre, deliberative and well reasoned manner. let me start with the inner-agency task force. despite the lines between energy and the environment no longer truly exist, the composition of the task force has significant gaps that will hinder rather than help the development of a comprehensive energy policy. most critical is the absence of agencies with environmental
expertise. other key agencies like those whose missions relate to jobs, to the economy, and to transportation, are also omitted from the task force. as demonstrated by the qur which we heard about this morning, all of these agencies can successfully work together towards unified policies. and administrative law will show when agencies collaborate, they are more successful and tend to have broader stakeholder support and reduced vulnerability to judicial challenges. for the same reasons the criteria for the inner agency task force plans should include environmental issues and specially climate change. failing to do so will only deepen the current dysfunctions in the energy regulatory system and the energy markets. the authorization for cross
infrastructure projects does not make clear how doe would implement its authority differently than it currently does. current procedures account for environmental issues and those should be retained. i note as well that the provisions striking portions of the federal power act, in particular section 202 f, threaten to undermine important backstop authority that the federal power act retains for ferc that allow it to ensure grid reliability for intrastate projects that cross international boundaries. i urge the subcommittee to carefully re-examine the striking provisions of this section. finally, the 30-day deadline fordoe deadlines is of concern. even if they are able to act quickly in some circumstances
it needs more flexibility given the very complex issues at stake. imposing a rigid deadline threatens more delay. first, deadline suits which are contemplated by the discussion draft, tend to impose additional delays even if those suits are successful. with stakes so high and such engaged stakeholders judicial challenges are inevitable. we can easily predict lawsuits no matter doe's decision. if d.o.e. is rushed in making its determination, the record is less likely to be carefully developed, the agency's reasoning may not be clear and, once again it is likely to be more vulnerable to judicial remand and imposition of even further delays. to summarize, the relationship between energy and the environment must be considered
as the united states seeks a uniform energy policy. careful attention to administrative procedure and its role in promoting good governments must also accompany any new energy statutes. if we move forward with u.s. energy policy with these principles in mind we can make substantial improvements for the future. thank you, again, for the opportunity to testify today. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, miss hammond. that concludes the opening statements i want to make an announcement that we are expecting some votes around 1:30 or so. there are only six members here. so we each get five minutes. that will be 30 minutes. i think that we can make it through and give you all an opportunity to respond if we go efficiently and quickly. i'm going to recognize myself for five minutes and then we will go from there. >> miss cassady and miss hammond both made comments about climate
change. certainly, that is something we are very much concerned about. i would like to remind everyone that within the federal government just u.s. federal government, there are 68 different initiatives on climate change, a total of about 36, $37 billion spent by the u.s. government alone each year just on climate change. so the differences that we are having with president obama truthfully is that he views it as the most important issue facing mankind. some of us have different views that a job access to health care, clean water, affordable energy, economic growth are very important also. so i appreciate your comments and mr. pallone is coming. that's another person. i am going to have to hurry. i want to make that comment. dr. dozer in franzgs france, a large
percentage of their electricity is produced from nuclear. germany made the position to stop all production by nuclear. is that still the policy in germany? >> that is the policy. we decided three days after the puck shi fukushima event in 2010 to phase out. wed an earlier change in 2000 and another in 2009 and fukushima is still the key event in germany. at the moment my prediction is that the current situation is that half of the nuclear plants have already been phased out after 2011 and the rest eight of them are still in operation. they will be phased out by 2021. >> of course, you all in germany, they have been moving
very quickly to renewable energy, wind solar whatever. what has the result been? >> it has affected the price of the consumer, it went up 30% for electricity for the private households. perhaps one conclusion is and i'm not here taking any particular position, if you change policies, do it in a pragmatic matter without too much momentary intervention. i think the change in germany has forced us to react very quickly. it had some rather unintended consequences at the moment we are the main importer of u.s. coal. this is a little bit odd and awkward to have more coal. >> i was told last year
two-thirds of u.s. coal exports went to europe. >> so we are supporting west virginia. a consequence of our decision to phase out nuclear was defacto to promote coal. for the moment my prediction is this policy will not change. none of the major political parties, including the one to which i belong intends to change. however, i think if i listen to correct what my wife tells me opposition among the people is growing to this policy. the question is is that affordable, what we are doing at the moment in the long-run? germany has many issues, as most other states. we need more schools. we need better universities. we need more streets. the question is, can we focus our budget in the way we did on
one issue alone which is -- >> when you were talking about europe being more vulnerable is that what you were referring to? >> yes. >> the policy about renewables? >> the policy about renewables together with the policy of phasing out nuclear power means that we need more energy in the future as regards gas. we have a very special situation. we can get more gas from russia, from iran, from algeria or at the moment from norway but norway is about to peak. in other words, our choices are not considerable. i would like to come back for a moment to u.s. policy. the u.s. has criticized us for being dependant too much on russian gas. correct, almost 40%.
at the same time, now, of course, in a year of abundance, one would hope the europeans would hope that the united states allows for more gas to be exported to europe in a situation where we need stronger support with our alternatives. i think even small additional imports from the united states would help on a symbolic manner. in other words, the position in europe that you hear quite often is, on the one hand, the u.s. criticizes that we are too dependant on russia or iraq or whoever. on the other hand, the u.s. does not allow and facilitate exports to europe. i think this is a position that may be reconsidered. >> at this time, i am going to recognize mr. rush for five minutes. >> i want to thank you, mr. chairman. i just want to take a moment to welcome back to the committee miss cassady. she served for many, many years
as an expert staffer under our former chairman henry we canmanckman on this side of the table. now, she is on that side of the table. i wanted to welcome her back. so good to see you again and you are continuing your outstanding work. so thank you so very much. i want to ask you a question and also miss hammond in response to certain comments by the chairman. in your opinion, both of your opinions, are energy and environmental issues inherently related and why is it so very, very important that any kind of comprehensive energy policy also integrate environmental concerns
in that policy? do either of you have any specifics? do either of both of you know that? >> can you turn on your mike? >> shall i project? >> you have a great voice. >> yes. it is true that energy inest inevitably impacts that. the energy sector is where we see the greatest greenhouse gas emissions. that is pure fact. the question is what to do
about it? if we make energy decisions that do not consider environmental implications, we will see further market dysfunctions. we will see the loss of fuel diversity and degradation of the environment. my recommendations at the very min minimum are that the task force include environmental agencies and are innum merenenumerated for the plan its sever. >> i would like to add, the energy decisions with he make today will last for decades. we are locking in decades of new emissions or not. that is why it is very important to consider whenever we are consider energy pol circumstance
we should consider climate policy as well. how will this energy project affect our transmission negatively or positively toward a zero carbon future. >> the gentlemen yields back. because we now have call votes, i'm going to reduce the amount of time for three minutes for everyone so hopefully we can give everybody a chance. mr. olson you are recognized for three minutes. >> thank you, chairman. i apologize. we got behind. an energy superstar in votes coming in this hearing room at about 2:00. i have one question for you, mr. grumet, about mexico. as your testimony, mexico is on the verge of a revolution for energy, changes, changes, changes. i moved to texas in 1972. i saw the struggle opec had on america first hand. 1979, i just got my license. i was sent down to get in line
for gasoline. gasoline, a long line to get gas, depending on the last digit of your license plate. if it was an even date, go on an even day, even number. long lines. gas prices doubled. they had a stranglehold on us. now, with all this new production in america north canada and mexico, i see a vision of opec going away, replaced by napec, north american oil production. how can we make napec head of opec? >> you might want to think about that. i'm back. i think you make a very important point. we used to look at our headlines and opec was having a meeting and there would be a chill through the land. now, they can meet or not meet. it doesn't matter much to us if
we seize the opportunity of abundance. our opportunities with mexico are profound. we have to give a lot of credit to president nieto for trying to reverse 60 years of investment policy that discouraged first world technology. i think the opportunities to spend a lot of time working with mexico on something that is pedestrian but incredibly important, that is data quality. the ability to have north american energy security depends on having good data, shared analysis, shared understandings and a trans parency across our analytic platforms. boring but incredibly difficult and important to do. our energy administration is the gold standard. if we have that shared data foundation and thoughtful laws that provide time for environmental deliberation but actually require a decision, i think we can have an integrated energy system. >> shared data, number one.
that's the best we can do right now. >> i think that's something you could get done right now. >> that would be better. >> yield back. >> recognize the gentlemen from new jersey for three minutes mr. pallone. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wanted to follow up on a few statements made earlier about section 3104. this provision makes an end run around the national environment nal nal nal energy. the tiny portion that physically crosses the national boundaries. miss cassady, does limiting it to a small sliver of a cross border project make any sense to you? what are some of the drawbacks of looking at the cross border section of a pipeline or transmission line? >> thank you for the question. no, it doesn't make much sense to me. if you look at the more
controversial pipeline in other projects shall the controversy has never been around the impacts at the border. the best constructed, highest technology pipeline, an accident can happen. they span hundreds of miles and pass through sensitive ecosystems. an environmental review is to make sure policy makers have all of the facts about the potential impacts of the project over the entire course of the project, not just small at the border. in order to understand the potential consequences of the project, we need to look at it as an entirety and not just border. >> how about the presumption. how would looking at the cross border segment impact the border
security. >> the presumption of approval stacks the deck against a stake holder who has ledge i had matt concerns about whether or not a project is in the public interest. it forces them to make the case that it is not in the public interest rather than forcing the applicant to make the case that it is. the way the bill is written focused on a narrow part of the proposal and doesn't look at all of the potential impacts, 2 will be harder for the potential stake holder to make the case that this project is no the in the public interest. >> they are a lot more than a border crossing. they are going to last for decades. it requires us to look before we leap. we should not be carelessly narrowing or creating loop holes in the law. i think we need to understand the impact of these projects before they are constructing so we can protect public health and safety in the environment and
ignoring the impacts is not going to make them disappear. thank you again. >> recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. pitts for three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. martin lancaster county doesn't have any wells of marcellus shake being drilled in it. the nearest well is 100 miles away. how has lancaster county been fitting in marcellus shale, the boom you mentioned even if there are no wells drilled in the county? >> first and foremost, one, pennsylvania putting forth an impact fee with moneys that were distributed back to well counties and counties that had pipelines. those kind of funds that are coming back are used to conserve open space preserve, act preservation easements and replace structural deficient bridges. we are also seeing the economic
impact here as well. we have i.d.t. companies that do data information. it more than doubled in size. over a two-year period, they bought an additional 75 vehicles. i used in my testimony examples of the pennsylvania national guard or shady maple, saving over 170. tess a smorgasbord. $175,000 saved in energy. they said we are going to tap in and they are going to realize the savings. we would like to see more of it. unfortunately, about half of pennsylvanians do not have access to that natural gas. given the premise of the open access nature of pipelines you will start to see more of these entities like the pennsylvania national guard and others that are able to tap in and realize that savings. where we expect to see most of it and where we hear from a lot
of our constituents, specially in the area of manufacturing, those who are heavily reliant on energy to do that. we have companies that spend over $3 million in energy costs but they are nowhere near the nearest pipeline. i think we will see further opportunities coming forth. i want to add, congressman, two of the great things i see is you are now able to get an education in pennsylvania in the petroleum and gas industry that you had to go to texas tech to be able to get. they are investing in areas $2.5 million grant to la ka wa na community college. a two-year program. the cost for that two years about $22000. when they are coming out of that program, their starting rate is like $68,000. those are the type of things you are seeing. these are good, middle class jobs that not only use your head but also use your hands. we are seeing that grow. that's something we hopefully continue to see grow not only in
lancaster county but throughout pennsylvania. >> thank i very much. >> i recognize the gentlemen from texas, mr. green, for three minutes. sdwr >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate hearing from the county commissioner. my accent gives me away. every school in texas has energy courses, from community colleges texas tech lubbock, ut, a&m and university of houston and everyone where. miss cassady, i want to welcome you back to the committee. i know you are familiar with the nepa regulations. an agency is specifically prohibiting from piecemealing projects. proposals or parts of proposals related to each other are evaluated. the discuss draft requires the state department to promulgate rules on cross border pipelines. you heard the secretary say that
the agency is required to do it. miss cassady, wouldn't the federal agency in charge of the environmental review be charged with the nepa review that satisfies these regulations looking at the whole project? >> my understanding is that the nepa review only applies to the cross border segment of the pine line project or the transmission line. so the federal approval only app plis to that portion as well, therefore, nepa would only apply to that portion. there would be state by state reviews if it was passing through a state. in terms of federal review, that just applies to the cross border segment. that's my understanding. >> so much of our nepa process is done by other federal agencies. if you have a pipeline coming from texas and eagle forward to mexico, that cross border pipeline, state law covers it on
the property that's not federal but it may be crossing federal lands. so the nepa process would come into play on that. granted, the cross border, which is international, as tax payers we own our part of the border. you don't think the bill calls for them to look at the whole project? it may not be one agency doing it but other agencies whether it be at eagle ford or into mexico. that's what worries me. my colleague from new jersey said that the nepa process is not covered. i think it is. if it is not, it would be another federal agency if they had the authority in there or in some cases state agencies. so the nepa process would be included. mr. chairman, i know i'm almost
out of time. >> that's our view as well, mr. green. we would love for our staff to sit down with miss cassady but it is our understanding this does not change the nepa process. >> i have to ad anytimemit we have a company in texas that was a canada pipeline that was dormant. they wanted to change the name, because they bought it. their goal was to not only bring crude oil from canada but also to attach into the united states from balkan. i want a federal agency looking at it but the state department shouldn't decide whether a pipeline out of balkan is good or not. we are getting crude oil in chains in houston texas. our refiners do that.
it is so much safer and easier to put a pipeline than it is to bring the 100 cars full of crude oil. >> we recognize mr. griffith for three minutes. >> thank you very much. i will take anybody who can answer this. i suspect mr. grumet or miss cassady or miss hammond. are you all familiar with the regulations relating to production of electricity in mexico by coal? >> no is a fine answer? if you don't know, you don't know. nobody knows. the reason i ask that question, part of our proposal and one i'm interested in has electric transmission facility not just pipelines. one of my concerns is that we are putting coal miners out of work in appalachia and we are putting coal miners out of work
in app latch ya. if we allow electric transmission lines to cross over from mexico using not as good a coal with not as good a process and not as clean of plants, what gain have we maiden virnment tally? mr. grumet do you have any thoughts on that i think you make a very important point. electrons and molecules don't have a lot of concern about arbitrary political boundaries. that's why we have to have a shared solution that brings the technology of the united states on the issues in mexico. i will not try to get into a lengthy conversation about regional climate actions in 60 seconds. there is a real opportunity to lift the mexican system so it has parody with the u.s.
>> i am reminded have o the nasa study that says it takes ten days for the air to get from the middle of the gobi desert to the eastern shores of virginia. if we are going to eliminate coal, waiting another 30 or 40 years in asia means we are putting our people out of work and not doing much or the northern hemisphere air. >> we have to find a way that meets security and environmental interests. we have to invest the resources. >> we should and could do more. i look forward to working with you on clean coal technologies and i yield. >> there are no other questions. thanks all of you for your patience. we look forward to maintaining contact with you and continuing to work with you as we try to bring this legislation to the committee. i am also asking unanimous consent from the statement from the canadian electricity
association be submitted for the record. we are going to keep the record open for ten days for any additional material that may need to be submitted. that will conclude the day's hearing. thank you all for your interest and mr. dolzer thank you for coming all the way from germany. next, senator tom cotton of arkansas on foreign policy and deputy secretary of state, tony
lincoln, on the middle east process. today the foreign policy program at brookings will host the chief of staff to the united nations secretary general for a discussion on how that organization is adapting to new geopolitical, trans national and sub-state challenges. see it live at 1:30 eastern on c-span3. c-span road's to the white house coverage continues when former florida governor, jeb bush, formally enters the 2016 presidential race with an event in miami. that's live at c-span3. tuesday, businessman, donald trump, will announce his decision whether to run for president. you can see that live at 11:00 a.m. on c-span3. >> the house returns at noon eastern with legislative business set to begin at 2:00 p.m. on thursday, they could take a
revote on the trade adjustment vote that members rejected on friday. the senate back at 2:00 p.m. at 3:00 p.m. they resume work on legislation concerning defense programs. watch the house live on c-span and the senate live on cspan2. this summer, book tv will cover book festivals from around the country. this weekend, watch for the annual roosevelt reading festival from the franklin d. roosevelt library. we are live at the harlem book festival. at the beginning of september, we are live from the nation's capital for the national book festival celebrating its 15th year. that's a few of the events this summer on cspan2's book tv. tonight on the communicators, austin myer,
nutrition founder, dan july zadoff and democratic representative from georgia hank johnson talk about technology issues and patent issues before congress. >> 90% that are sued by patent lawyers have to settle. they pay an average of $300,000 to the patent troll that's suing them. when they pay the $300,000 settlement, they are locked under an nda a nondisclosure agreement, which says they are never allowed to tell anybody what happened to them. >> so far, this new congress seems very excited to have some legislation on the topic. we will discuss the best way to help entrepreneurs defend their products and any of these demand letters that currently exist would put a company like ours
under. >> the patent reform we are concerned with currently has to do with closing the courthouse door to those that create making it more difficult for them to use the courts to enforce their property rights. that's a big divide. that's a hurdle that we will have to overcome. tonight at 8:00 eastern on "the communicators" on cspan2. freshman senator and iraq war veteran, tom cotton, spoke at johns hopkins university on foreign policy. he criticized president obama's foreign pol sand the iran nuclear organization saying the goal to keep it to one year is impractical and indangerous. his remarks are a little over an hour.
>> does everyone want to take their seats and we'll get started? i think the microphones are mainly for -- i hope you can project. i'm sure you can. just a few. this is the fourth in our series this week for the issues forum, 2016. we are kind of going from senator bernie sanders who is an announced democratic presidential candidate on wednesday. wednesday night lincoln chaffy announced for president. yesterday morning, former senator webb who said he is going to announce for president. i don't think our speaker today will be announcing for president. maybe in four years, we will have him back.
along with the "financial times," we will be hosting most of the presidential candidates. we have the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, bob corker, coming in the fall. let me have your cards and i'll put you on our list. today, we are honored to have the youngest senator in the senate, tom cotton from arkansas. he is a harvard graduate, a harvard law graduate. he is on the banking committee, the intelligence committee, the armed services committee. as we know, he served in iraq and afghanistan. he has also served in the old guard at the arlington cemetery and been awarded several award, the bronze star medal. he also served in the house of representatives. if he does decide to run for president, he has been in the house, senate would be the next step. the youngest u.s. senator. i think i just read you may be a new father. >> five and a half weeks.
>> very important. >> without further ado, i give you senator tom cotton. >> thank you. thanks very much bob. thank you for inviting me. it is an honor to come speak at the invitation of george mason and johns hopkins and "the financial times" that's not just because all three are important an laud i believe institutions but also an honor because of my admiration for the name sams. george mason school of policy government and international affairs should be proud it teaches in the political and philosophical tradition of george mason as father of our bill of rights, he did much to plant or union's roots firmly in the natural rights of man. the johns hopkins center for advanced governmental studies should take price in johns hopkins, the first ben factor. he devoted his energy to perfecting the un jun george mason helped to forge and
supporting constitution many and national rights to all americans. in our discussion of international affairs, it is important to recognize water's edge. america may vindicate these rights, but they belong to every man and every woman. and our closest and dearest allies abroad, the ones who fight with us in the trenches and stand with us in the common defense are those that share and will fight and die for this self-evident truth. the powers and strategic competition with us however take a different view. the regimes in beijing moscow tehran havana and elsewhere, all to varying degrees adopt strategies to delay and discredit worldwide progress toward constitutional government, the rule of law, free enterprise, free trade and civil and political rights both in their own nations and the regions they see as their natural spheres of influence. instead they protect and encourage autocratic
authoritarian systems, one party rule nationalized industry and the subjugating of culture and the open exchange of ideas and ideology. these regimes gussy up their strategy as a principle, noninterference in the internal affairs of other nations. yet these regimes enthusiastically interfere with the affairs of other nations when it serves their interests and expands their influence. sometimes interference is swift, dramatic and brazen. as when russia invaded georgia in 2008 and ukraine last year. sometimes the tactics are more akin to the slow malignancy of a cancer, as we've seen in iran's decades-long buildup of proxy terrorist groups across the middle east. when these regimes refer to a principle of noninterference, what they're really saying is they want to reap every economic and security reward they can from our international system, but at the same time they want to dodge the responsibilities
inherent in a system which calls for peaceful cooperation, respect for civil and political rights. it's worth taking stock, then, of america's position in the world under our current commander in chief and compare it to the positions of these rival nations. amidst the current global tu multiple, it's not an encouraging picture. inspect no region of the globe is the u.s. influence greater today than it was six years ago. in fact in many regions it's greatly diminished and the strategic challenges of our time, we're hard pressed to identify any major achievements not eclipsed by broader failures. these are the bitter fruits of a foreign policy premised on strategic retreat. the president has seated levels of political powers despite consequences to the interests of the united states and our friends and al i say. the motivation for this was in part practical, driven by the belief that america cannot as a structural or historic matter
maintain its lone superpower status and must instead accommodate the rise of the rest. but the motivation is also ideological. our president exhibits a certain humility when it comes to america's moral authority, implying that american exceptionalism is not all that exceptional. at the same time, he seems preoccupied with america's perceived historic failings invoking sins from america's past to aswauj the feelings of tyrants in the present. both the lack of confidence and long run of potential in economic military and power and difficult dense inform the president's foreign policy. these sentiments manifest themselves in ways both large and small but at all times detrimental to u.s. interests. in east asia, the president has made much of his so-called pivot toward that part of the world. but our new military and diplomatic commitments to the region have been lackluster.
we do have new agreements to operate additional military resources out of singapore south korea and australia but these moves are largely symbolic amid the overall reduction of our military forces, and they pale in comparison to the massive ramp-up in military spending we've seen from china. in fact, china is establishing the material capability to deny our military access to and freedom of movement in the western pacific. the united states is also failing to press our advantage with china at a moral level. on her first trip as secretary of state to china, hillary clinton declared that beijing's record on human rights would not be allowed to interfere with u.s.-china cooperation on economic and security issues or even on climate change. that was a mistake. backing away from our founding principles on foreign soil telegraphs weakness and surrenders the moral high ground, particularly with the
chinese government sensitive to international embarrassment. instead, we should point out beijing's abuses encourage reform. standing with our natural allies among the dissidents and owe pressed minorities in china is a powerful diplomatic lever in our relations with beijing. we've also seen numerous instances of retreat in the president's middle east policy. the media has obsessed lately on whether knowing what we knew then -- knowing what we know now about saddam hussein's weapons of mass destruction program, whether we should have entered the iraq war in 2003. but this question obscures that by 2011 the war was essentially won in iraq. as president obama has himself stated, iraq was sovereign and stable. the better question is whether president obama knowing what he knew then in 2011, should have pulled all of our troops out of iraq without leaving a small
residual force to solidify our gains. our military commanders at the time warned against a dissent in sectarianism, corruption and outside influence in iraq. we saw these problems develop shortly after our departure and they rendered iraq vulnerable to the rise of the islamic state. the president's policy of retreat in iraq also mirrors his negotiating strategy with iran over its nuclear weapons program. at the outset of the p-5 plus 1 talks, the american position demanded iran halt all enrichment, give up its enrichment facilities, explain the military dimensions of its program and never obtain nuclear weapons capability. on each and every one of these demands, the obama administration has retreated. if their current proposal holds iran will be allowed to continue research, continue limited enrichment, keep its fortified compound and, after ten years of
collecting billions of dollars worth of sanctions relief it will be in a position to go for full, nuclear breakout. and that's assuming iran doesn't cheat in the interim. the president's head-long pursuit of a nuclear agreement with iran has also disfigured and perilaralyzed his response to syria. iran's only ally would have vindicated both our strategic interests and our principles, but president obama has given only token support to the opposition. he even refused to enforce his own declared red line on the use of chemical weapons. no doubt he had many decisive reasons for his indecision, para mount among them was that he concedes the assad regime's survival is a vital national interest to iran as he reportedly reassured the ayatollah in a letter last year. sadly but predictably the
results have been catastrophic. over 220,000 killed, over 7 million displaced. syrian christians and other ethnic minorities endangered. as we have watched syria become a failed state for hardened islamic groups, the chief among them are allowed to incubate, threaten american interests in the region and our safety at home. the reset with russia is a third example of the president's exercise in retreat. the administration sought pressure with vladimir putin pulling back from policies that offended them. the administration overlooked russian's invasion of georgia acquiesced on missile defense in europe and lobbied the congress to scuttle human rights legislation aimed at thugs in the kremlin. all this was done in hopes of reaping strategic cooperation from russia. not surprisingly, the opposite proved true, as putin sees conciliation at weakness.
the reset along with the syrian red line retreat only invited putin's adventurism and aggression, both in terms of his crackdown on internal democratic dissent and his invasion of ukraine. these are about the most -- these are but the most notable of the president's foreign policy failures. president obama promised to reorient u.s. foreign policy away from what he deemed a tired path, but now as we survey the world, these policies have wrought, america seems only to be losing its way. the urgent question then is how do we reverse this turn toward chaos and disorder? we've lost much ground and our options in the near term have narrowed. but certain policy reversals would expand our options over the long term and foster an environment where the united states can increasingly shape challenges, rather than be forced to react to them. first, we must start by reinvigorating our military.
frederick the great said diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments. in other words, it's inert inaudible and ineffective. if we want our diplomacy to be effective again, we must rebuild a military that has faced devastating budget cuts and 15 years of war. this will require dramatically higher levels of defense spending than congress and our president have managed to agree upon. make no mistake our current defense budget is a mere political compromise. it's not linked to any strategy that confronts the threats we face today or the threats we'll encounter tomorrow. it's left our navy with 260 ships, the lowest level since the end of the cold war. our air force with little more than 5,000 aircraft. it's the smallest and oldest air force in our history. the army and the marine corps are on track to drop below 450,000 and 186,000 personnel
respectively. the bare minimum our commanders say we need to fulfill our missions. but as diplomacy is sterile without military might the force of arms is also unfocused without a coherent foreign policy and a clear sense of our objectives. if we want to maintain our centuries-old position in asia and continue to foster the region's peaceful movement toward greater liberty and freer trade, we must make clear to china that any attempt to exclude the united states from asia in any way will be futile. the obama administration has recently taken some steps on this front. i applaud its efforts to challenge the china's maritime claims and its supposed air defense identification zone in the east china sea, but these modest moves will not suffice over the long term. we will need to expand the military presence throughout asia particularly the reach of our navy. we should lead on mechanisms to
resolve disputes peacefully free from chinese coercion and the psk should reach a pacific trade deal that truly expands free trade on terms that will allow u.s. businesses to fairly compete and win. on iran, the president's current goal of perpetually keeping the ayatollahs one year away from nuclear breakout is impractical and dangerous. even if it were feasible, it does nothing to stop iran's regional aggression. indeed, it encourages iran, because they aren't being punished now and they'll soon get over $100 billion in sanctions relief. it also provides little comfort that we can prevent a regional-wide nukeclear arms race and offers no answer for what occurs after the agreement with iran expires after ten years. the clearer goal would be to dismantle iran's nuclear weapons program which, after all was president obama's stated objective. if the current negotiations
cannot accomplish that goal, then they should be abandoned sanctions should be strengthened and the credible threat of military force restored. in other words president obama should merely be held to what his long-stated policy was. with regard to ukraine, we must take the necessary steps to deter further aggression from russia and deny the kremlin a victory in its attempt to undermine the government in kiev. this must entail equipping the ukrainians with arms, raise the costs of military action on russia and have the united states lead efforts with our allies to build the capacity of the ukrainian government. the ukraine that is increasingly prosperous, free and stable will stand as a rebuke to moscow and frustrate putin's attempts to revise the post-cold war consensus of a europe, whole and free. the challenges we face abroad are deeply complicated and contingent on many military
economic political and cultural factors. determining how we respond to them will require wisdom and decisiveness. the options i briefly described are only a few among many being discussed on capitol hill within the administration, and i'm sure in your academic and journalistic circles. but as we continue these debates, i would encourage us to keep in mind the enclosureclear lesson of the past six years. retreat on the military and moral plane only invites aggression chaos and disorder around the world. the policies we pursue should exhibit confidence in american power and in america's mission. thank you all very much. >> i can open it up to questions. i'll ask the first question and then open it up to students. on the iran nuclear deal, i've been following that for the last
couple of years. it seems like we're going into the final inning. what's going to happen if it actually goes through? how bad do you think this will be for the world? >> well increasing it looks like we might have overtime after the final inning. for almost two years now, the president has had a habit of kicking the can down the road and increasingly reports from our allies whether they're part of the p5+1 or countries like israel or saudi arabia suggest we will not have a final agreement by june 30th in part because the leadership of iran in particular the ayatollah, recognizes that he has the leverage against the president. the president seems hell bent to get a deal on any terms, on any grounds. that's why his deputy national security advisor referred to this as the foreign policy equivalent of obamacare. i would agree, just not in the way theyment. theyment that it's his legacy-making achievement. that's why he lifted sanctions, even when he had iran on the mat
in 2013 and while they extended past the first deadline and the second deadline, they breached the interim deadline in march and i suspect they'll go past the new deadline. but if that's the case i would counsel, as i said in my remarks, walking away from the table. trying to rebuild the sanctions coalition that is already being undermined by the president's unwise decision to go down this path. >> what's congress -- what's your role if it does come to you? what can congress do, say yes or no? >> so under the new iran nuclear review agreement act, congress doesn't have the power to approve the deal congress has the power to review the deal. there will be a 30-day period in which sanctions cannot be lifted, 60 days if it's submitted after the first week of july. and congress will have the ability to pass a resolution of approval or disapproval and send it to the president. no doubt he will veto that if he's reached a deal with iran, which means that a mere 34 senators would be able to
prevent us from overriding his veto and therefore, allowing his nuclear deal to go forward. that's one reason why i opposed the legislation because it turns the constitution on its head. this is not about fishing rights with canada and the great lakes. this is a nuclear arms agreement with the world's state sponsor of terrorism. any agreement should be subject to the treaty clause and require two-thirds agreement in the senate. our founding fathers put that provision in the constitution because on anything as far-reaching as long-lasting as a nuclear arms agreement, they wanted widespread agreement across the united states across regions and demographics and viewpoints and so forth not a small group of 34 senators being allowing one single president to up-ending decades of foreign policy and put our national security at risk. >> excuse me, senator can you talk a little bit more about the south china sea. i've got two questions. one is in 2012 when there was a big stand-off between the philippines and the chinese
military, the philippines wanted to see american ships on the horizon. they didn't show up. i've just returned from five years living in china. a lot of people in the region said that gave the green light to china to do what it's been doing the last two years. do you agree with that is the first question. the second question is what steps would you take beyond what the obama administration is doing now to try and stop china from doing some of their rebuilding activity it's doing in the south china sea. >> so first, our unwillingness to support the philippines in 2012 did, of course, embolden china. that kind of indecision or weakness always emboldens adversarial authoritarian governments. it's not just that decision, though. i've heard from leaders in east asia who also cite the syrian red line as a critical moment in the east asian geopolitics because it once again undermined the united states' credibility and the president's credibility and the credible threat of use of force or other tools of coercion is one of the strongest
tools that the united states has in our national security toolbox. so to the extent the united states ever breaks a promise or is not steadfast in defense of an ally it only helps embolden countries like china. what could we do now? well i do applaud the administration's stated efforts to continue to fly aircraft as we saw over the reclaimed islands in the south china sea. i think we can be more assertive in sending our naval vessels to the south china sea to include within the 12-mile zone around this reclaimed land. i think we should encourage all parties with claims china, the philippines, vietnam and so forth to try and resolve those claims on neutral and fairgrounds. the last thing we want is military confrontation. but we can't allow china to confront our allies with their military might in the region and
not expect dire consequences down the road. >> open it up for questions from the audience. >> senator cotton my boss at the american trust and your good friend walter russell meade has spoken of u.s. foreign policy in terms of four factions the hamilton januarys, the jeffersonians, the jacksonians. now, obama seems to be a mix between the rhetorical wilsonian and practicing jeffersonian. what do you think the -- what kind of foreign policy philosophy do you think we'll need to have moving forward in the next ten years to restore the world we lost? >> yes. so walter's point in special providence is identifying the four schools, is not that any
one school is right or that any one school is ever dominant but these are four schools of thought that reflect our foreign policy going back to the 18th century. it always has and it always will. and no single statesman -- not even the name sake, founders of those schools, no single statesman is solely planted in one single plant but all reflect strains that are very important and will remain very important. in a way we've been talking about the hamiltonian strain. one of the fastest ways to get in a war with the united states is to interfere with travel in the seas or the skies as china is suggesting they might do in the south china sea or in the east china sea with their air defense zone. with a demmatic government like ours, we are always going to have a greater moral element to our foreign policy than most countries will. our people demand it and it's in our long-term interests as well. it can be promoted through
wilsonian means of institutions like the international monetary fund whose actions i far from always approve but whose actions should be shaped by american influence. the jacksonian strain says that no one should ever question our military might and that we have to have the strongest military possible and we have to be ready to crush our enemies to the extent that they want to challenge our status as the world's superpower. and the jeffersonian strain recognizes the challenges that the responsibilities of the world superpower poses to the united states government at home and to our interests abroad. so all of these schools of thought are part of the american foreign policy tradition and i would say no statesman, at least no statesman, you know, of far-reaching accomplishment reflects a single one. >> any other questions? >> senator cotton, you just mentioned moral foreign policy. how is moral high ground
advanced by supporting allies like saudi arabia who are currently in the process of starving 16 million yemenese through a naval blockade? >> there's no doubt saudi arabia has many problems internally and they have engaged in many repressive practices. for decades the united states has tried to influence saudi arabia to be more open, to be more transparent, to respect the rights of their citizens. at the same time saudi arabia is a key ally in the gulf especially in our showdown against a nuclear iran, and yemen in particular that's an example of iran's regional aggression. they are supporting the houthi rebels who have toppled the government of yemen and are leading to a civil war. that's an example of how iran emboldened by the nuclear negotiations is trying to advance their position within the region and trying to undermine their adversaries some of our ally's positions within the region. yemen, which has always been a
hard to govern place because of its gee graphical position and terrain is the latest example of that. the same way syria is an example and hezbollah and the levant. many other countries with whom we have partnered need to improve their treatment of their own citizens, need to promote more constitutional practices, need to open up their marketplaces. in most cases america is more effective in doing that by working with the government in power to try to advance human rights, try to advance the rule of law constitutional government and free market economics in my opinion. >> so how does it make it okay to ignore human rights in cases or give it less of an emphasis in cases like saudi arabia and yet stand by it in places like china, which are perceived differently? >> well, as i said in my remarks, i don't think we should stand by. i think we should insist that china continue to improve, try
to respect the rights of its citizens, that it quit owe pressing peoples like the tibetans and so forth. but we have many adversaries that are even worse. look at what's happening within iran or the islamic state for that matter. their records are as bad or worse than the records of countries like china or like saudi arabia. before we move on can i ask a question of my own? >> sure. >> sir, could i ask you about your four lapel pins? >> yeah, that was going to be part of the question i want to ask you. >> okay. >> i'm a gold star dad. i have three more kids currently serving. i would consider you probably the biggest hawk in washington maybe lindsey graham. you'd admit that right? >> i believe in strength and confidence. >> we'll just use that little term. when i hear that term, when i hear you speak, all i hear is somebody knocking on my door again. i only have one question to ask. can you tell me how long it's been since the last u.s. military combat zone death?
because that's really what it's all about. that's about keeping us safe. can you tell me how long it's been? >> well, we've had americans die in afghanistan this year. i can't tell you the exact time frame, though. >> 58 days. and before that -- 58 days ago, it was the longest period and it was 116 days. i also ask that question to adam kinsinger who didn't know, another man who called himself a hawk. all i ever ask since that's not an important number to you, when do we get to hang up the mission accomplished banner and when do i get to get my kids come home safe again. that's the only thing that matters to me. can you please answer that question? >> there's no definite answer because our enemies get a vote in this process. i'm deeply sorrowful for your loss and deeply honor the service all of your children have rendered like all of our veterans do. but in the end i think the best -- >> is to have more killed? >> is to win the wars in which
they fought. >> you've been fighting in iraq for 24 years. really. >> and the war there was largely won in 2011 when we withdrew -- >> no, 2010 there was 5,000 civilians killed that year. we had what, 36 of our own killed that year. there was more people killed in iraq in 2010 than were killed in 2001. if that's what you consider winning, i don't know. i ask the people in iraq. >> the president has said that in 2011 iraq was stable, it was representative -- it was peaceful and now we're at risk because we squandered the gains that our troops fought and too many of them died for in iraq with the rise of a terrorist group like the islamic state or the risk of iran getting nuclear weapons and weapons proliferating throughout the world of not only having our soldiers sailors, airmen and marines face death on the front lines around the world but have another mass casualty terrorist attack here in the united states. that's what they're fighting to stop. i think the best way we can honor their service is not only to remember them but to ensure that we don't face that kind of
attack again. >> 7,000 miles away in pickup trucks. 7,000 miles away in pickup trucks without a military -- without an air force or a ship to even get there. in this country we have 90 guns per hundred. in that country it's 6 guns per hundred. we can't win an insurgency there. somebody is going to come over here and take over where we have 90 guns per 100? on the day after you signed that letter, you went and spoke at a defense contractor's meeting. it's very clear what your views are, sir. my views are keeping our kids safe, which include my children. now that you have a child you will understand as well when you have -- the difference between going yourself and sending your child is a much greater thing, sir, and i just think that when you speak of sending our kids again, let's make it worth not just to send them to politically help some halliburton or somebody else to make money because 7,000 miles away riding around in white pickup trucks is
not coming here and cutting our heads off or any of the stuff that you guys would like to present out there. i'm just saying. >> well i think probably the only people who less want to see war than the veterans and the soldiers who have to fight it is the fathers and mothers who fight in it. but at the same time i wish we could say that a group that was 7,000 miles away and had no air force or navy doesn't pose us a threat. but the environment that we face here at home and throughout the west is more grave today than at any time in any of our life times. that's not just my assessment. that's not the assessment of hawks like lindsey graham that's the assessment of president obama's own national security and intelligence officials. i wish that weren't the case and i hope we can look forward to a day when it won't be the case but for the time being it is and we have to remain vigilant and we have to continue to take the fight to the terrorists on their terrain so they don't take it to us here. >> thank you for your service and thank you for being honest. >> well, thank you for everything that your family has done and for the sacrifices that
they have made which very few other people can ever understand. >> my question is about turkey. another ally of the united states. last week one of the most credited newspaper in turkey has published some videos and photos of trucks full of weapons at the syria border caught by turkish police that say -- and they are claiming that those weapons were sent to isis and al qaeda. the government denies that, but there has been some other trucks sent to isis too. that's the newspaper claims. the united states has said
nothing about it. there were no comment. if it's true, how would united states react to that and how would it affect the relations between united states and turkey? >> well, i can't speak about the specific report because i haven't seen it. i will say that over the last three or four months though, it is clear that numerous, numerous opposition groups in syria, to include very unsavory groups have been getting additional financing and weaponry from a host of countries throughout the region. and that's because these countries view it as the only way that they can stand up to iran's drive for regional hageminy. that's why it was -- when the united states didn't work to remove assad from power. but when you have -- they are currently funding and resourcing
many groups to include extremist groups, many of which we would rather not support. but that's what happens when america retreats from the region, when we don't play the role of imposing a balance of power that had existed for many years and when we let the countries fight it out between themselves. and that creates a real risk for the united states as well, not just our interest in allies not just our allies like jordan and israel but again for the united states right here at home because the islamic state currently has safe haven throughout syria and throughout turkey and they are aggressively trying to recruit westerners to include united states citizens in the united states at this very moment to conduct attacks here. >> i forget to mention that it's believed that the weapons sent by the turkish government. >> again i haven't seen the report so i can't comment on it. >> okay. >> i was at a meeting with hillary clinton last summer when isis was on the rise and i did ask her about was it a mistake that we didn't have a residual force agreement. she simply blamed maliki for
that and said he wouldn't agree to anything so they had to withdraw. i was surprised because i thought we were the superpower why couldn't be have forced an agreement so the victory wasn't completely squandered. i want to ask you what your view of that is. what could we have done differently to have a residual force agreement and how do you feel as someone who served in iraq or your finger on the pulse of how the military feels what's the morale, given the squandered victory that we had then? >> well i put responsibility chiefly with barack obama and hillary clinton. the dispute over the status of forces agreement was largely about immunity for our troops serving in iraq. this is the dispute. it had been every time we had a status of forces agreement and every time al maliki and iraqi officials said they wouldn't give immunity. that's a very sensitive topic for any host country that has our troops around the world but we have status of force agreements in every country where we have troops around the world, and the bush administration had successfully negotiated multiple status of force agreements that overcame
that controversy. they did so because president bush was committed to winning in iraq. he made plenty of missteps especially in the early days, but in the end he was committing to winning in iraq and he directed his diplomats at the state department to stay at the negotiating table until they had an agreement. barack obama was committed to retreat and withdraw from iraq. so as soon as the same objection was raised in the same way, barack obama and hillary clinton packed up their tents and said they couldn't do anything more about it. this is not to absolve nouri al maliki who was a difficult leader but as president of the united states and secretary of state, one of your primary responsibilities is developing good working relationships with difficult leaders all around the world to protect our security interests. and we're seeing the consequences of that now. mike morell, the former director of the cia said al qaeda in iraq the group against whom we fought in the middle patter of the last decade and defeated in 2007, 2008 during the surge was largely eliminated in 2011.
but without that kind of residual force to continue to provide stability, mentoring and training to the iraqi forces to serve as a trip wire against iranian influence al qaeda in iraq was able to regroup, able to grow. they took advantage of the civil war in syria and they returned not as a terrorist group, al qaeda in iraq, but as a terrorist army, the islamic state. we're seeing the consequences of that kind of retreat now. again, all of this was not just predictable, it was predicted by many people. that's why our generals suggested that we keep 15,000 to 20,000 troops in iraq in 2011. and it's possible that if we had done so, we might have fewer troops in iraq at the end of this administration than we might end up having now. >> yeah, thank you, senator cotton, for being here today. i was really intrigued that you mentioned ukraine because that's an area i've been studying for the past year or so ever since it's bm more relevant. you made mention of a deterrence model kind of approach where you should be arming them with
lethal weapons to increase the costs for russia with their incursion. so some politicians within the ukraineian parliament has suggested this would be helpful if they were adopted into nato fully as a nato member nation. would you be for something like that? would you advocate for something like that? obviously it would have to be approved by nato itself. just because it would increase the costs for russia if they were in nato. >> i'm certainly open to nato membership for both ukraine and georgia in the longer term. in the more immediate term, though, there's active fighting going on inside of ukraine's borders where russian troops and russian-supplied rebels continue to occupy large parts of eastern ukraine. so the more immediate focus should be on things like providing the ukrainian army with the weapons they need to defend themselves against russian armor, russian artillery, machine guns, providing them better intelligence gistic support and so on. and working with the imf to
promote more transparency in ukraine's government which plenty of its own problems but i think has a group of leaders committed to turning towards the west and turning away from the model of the former soviet union. and the united states needs to continue to put pressure on ukraine -- or on russia not just in ukraine but in every way. i was pleased to see our european partners said they would extending the sanctions against vladimir putin. in the senate this week we just passed an amendment to the defense authorization act that would spend an extra $400 million to upgrade the canons on our strikers in germany as a way to send a signal to vladimir putin we won't stand for this aggression. i think we need to expand our military exercises in astonia and lot via where there are large russian minority speakers. in the long term nato membership and e.u. membership is something we should consider carefully for ukraine, georgia and some of the other aspiring
members of the warsaw pact but in the short term we need to focus on stopping putin's immediate aggression. >> senator cotton the mainstream american pro-israel lobby, organizations like apac, would like to maintain the standard that support for israel in the united states is basically a bipartisan measure. but with recent changes in policy from the obama administration as well as moves taken by speaker boehner to invite prime minister netanyahu to speak and you have members of congress not attending or boycotting that event, many believe that the nature of the -- of american support for israel is changing into more of a partisan issue with republicans and democrats. would you speak to that. and if you do believe the nature of the support -- nature of american support for israel is changing to something more partisan, do you think it will affect the vote of the american jewish community which largely votes for democratic
presidential candidates, upwards of 80%. >> i would certainly like to see widespread support for israel in the united states congress continue from both parties. legislation in the house about two years ago would have imposed new sanctions on iran which i helped draft in the foreign affairs committee at the time, it got 400 votes. many people often say that congress is the bedrock of our relationship with israel. not the administration, not the state department not this particular administration or state department but all -- over time the changes because oftentimes various administrations have tried to put some distance in our relationships with israel, but congress has always remained steadfast. and that's just simply because the american people are supportive of the u.s.-israel alliance because they're supportive of israel. not just a matter for jewish americans, for whom it's the home of their people, but also for most americans who just want to stand up for the only
constitutional democracy in the region that defends the rights of all of its citizens, to include israeli arab citizens. it has an economy based on free market economics and that is our closest security partner in the region. unfortunately, if you look at public opinion polls over the last 25 years or so you'll see that support for israel largely has increased or remained the same among independents and republicans but has declined somewhat among democrats. to the extent you had some democrats blocking -- or boycotting prime minister netanyahu's speech or the president trying to put daylight, as he claims between the united states and israel that is in part a reflection of the democratic base. i don't think that's a healthy thing. i think that america and israel are both strongest when we're working most closely together. one reason for that is israel's geopolitical position. it's a small country and its adversaries are right next to it. we're different. we're a big country on the aur adversaries are farther away.
to the extent that anybody in the region doesn't think that israel can count on the united states as support, then that means israel has to be more aggressive on its own terms and that's not good for the region, it's not good for our interests either. we don't want our allies like israel or like japan, to have to free lance in any way. we want them to work closely with us as they did over the past several decades. that's why i think it's important that we do try as best we can to maintain the strong bipartisan support for the u.s.-israel alliance even as we've seen some of that support erode, not just among democratic office holders but self-identified democrats. >> what do you think from reagan to george w. bush support for israel has been common knowledge. everybody has been supportive. what do you think obama's main reason to try to have this friction between israelis and americans? >> well, i think part of it is no doubt personal. he just has a bad relationship by all accounts with prime
minister netanyahu, who's been in office essentially as long as he has and will outlast him. part of it is related to his iran policy. the answer to most questions in the middle east under president obama is iran. he knows that israel is the country that is most threatened by a nuclear iran not also because of a nuclear arms race it would create. he also knows that prime minister netanyahu is the most forceful and eloquent critic of the proposed deal with iran. it is remarkable that the president came into office with a grand strategy to remake our alliance structure in the middle east and he appears to have been successful, more so than any other president. he's brought iran and saudi arabia together again. >> thank you. the nuclear deal with iran has focused mostly on iran just harnessing nuclear power in and
of itself and it has been treated as an issue that is exclusive from iran's missile capability which we know is essentially a litmus test for a country's nuclear ambition. that being said, why has the united states not addressed delivery systems for nuclear power as opposed to just nuclear power in and of itself? >> bad policy decisions by the president. this is an example of something excluded from the negotiations from the very beginning, in part because the president is so determined to get a deal of any kind with iran. so we largely excluded any negotiations about their ballistic missiles. they already have missiles that can hit pretty much every one of their adversaries in the region. the only reason they need a ballistic missile with intercontinental range is to reach the united states, or at least our allies in western europe, or at least to threaten the united states and try to deter us from protecting our interests and defending our allies in the region.
it's a piece of the four american hostages that iran is holding right now that should not have been a part of the negotiations, it should have been a prerequisite for negotiations. >> let me ask a follow-up question. is there any reason that the senate is not addressing this themselves, you know independent of the executive? doesn't this kind of look like we have our tail between our legs? like we're like trying to walk, you know lightly around the iranians because we're trying to get so much and they have so much leverage over us? it kind of makes us look like we have a lower hand. >> well, i believe we should. i believe the senate should be insisting that we not just put iran's ballistic missiles program on the table but their treatment of those american hostages, their attitude towards israel and their regional aggression. but these are policy decisions that are largely in the president's hands. now, there will be a time for debate if and when there's a final agreement reached, and these kind of questions will play directly to the heart of
that debate. one reason why americans object to the ayatollah's having nuclear weapons capability is because they're not a normal country. normal countries don't take hostages on pretext like iran has done. normal countries don't threaten the elimination of israel. normal countries don't try to undermine every adversary they have in the region. normal countries don't sponsor terrorism. japan and germany are nuclear threshold states. not many people lose sleep about them at night because they're a normal peaceful constitutional democracies. and if and when there's a final nuclear agreement, we'll have to consider not just the terms of that agreement, but the nature of the iranian regime and other questions like their ballistic missile programs or regional aggression or whether that agreement is acceptable to american interests. i strongly suspect it won't be. >> did senator paul make the country less safe by forcing the patriot act provisions to expire
a couple of days and also forcing the senate to reform the nsa. >> i opposed the so-called freedom act that sd pa. i think it will undermine our intelligence capabilities and could create a gap that existed before the 9/11 attacks that could have stopped the 9/11 attacks. moreover it was a solution in search of a problem. there is not a single instance of intentional abuse that's been verified under the nsa's telephone meta data program. i personally have oversight and personally have visited with a few dozen men and women who run the program. there's not a single incident of verified abuse of that program. many of you have value cards from your local grocery store. your privacy is much more at risk than anything the nsa collects. your privacy is much more at risk because of the banking and financial data that the consumer finance protection bureau collects than anything the nsa was doing. it was, however, a critical tool in our counterterrorist toolbox
and we have deprived our intelligence agencies of it for no good reason other than misinformation or misrepresentation. furthermore, we have a six-month transition period. i am not confident that the nsa can create an equivalent capability in those six months. we'll see. i hope they can. admiral rogers has said he believes they can. but when you're dealing with a critical counterterrorist tool designed to stop another mass casualty attack in the united states, i don't think we should go on hope or hypothetical. we should have waited until there was a demonstrated capability before we replaced the telephone meta data program. >> what about senator ryan forcing the expiration of those three provisions. >> well, they were expiring anyway. he simply prolonged the debate a little bit beyond their expiration. now they have been revived but whether the usa freedom act had been passed on june 2nd or may 31st or may 22nd i would have
opposed it because it eliminated a critical counterterrorist capability that did not pose any serious threat to privacy. to the extent americans believe it did, it was the result of misinformation or misrepresentation. i would note many of them didn't believe so. a recent cnn poll showed that 60% of americans wanted it reauthorized. i believe it would be higher than that if they understood that the program merely collected the records of calls, the numbers called and the time and duration of the call. certainly not the content not even personally identifiable information. it merely assembled the dots, so the dots could be connected. >> good morning, senator. could you speak to the implication of an iran deal on the world oil markets? with the iran deal there would be a new flood of oil into the world market around under ideal market conditions would lower the price of oil. would that be in american interests. >> well, you're right about the implications of a deal if
consummated is likely to reduce or fully eliminate sanctions very quickly despite what the president has said in the past and that will lead to more oil exports from iran which will probably lead to lower prices as well. lower prices are better for the american consumer but not at the risk of giving iran tens of billions or hundreds of billions of dollars not only in sanction relief but new oil ref newvenue. i strongly disagree that iran will use that money to build hospitals or schools or roads. they're going to do that money to do things like finance the counteroffensive that is apparently about to happen using iranian and hezbollah troops in syria against the opposition forces. they'll use it to reply the houthis. they'll use it to try to kill americans or kill jews all around the world as they have been doing for 35 years. >> senator you had mentioned astonia and latvia and the
possibility of a hybrid war there. do you think under the current administration if that were to happen that we would enforce our nato agreements or would the administration pull back from that? >> the real challenge that we face in astonia and latvia is russian aggression there will not look like what we war gamed and what our troops exercised for throughout the cold war. it's not going to be hundreds of tanks rolling across the plains from germany. it will be some kind of combination of cyber warfare and special forces not wearing russian uniforms working with russian language allies in astonia and latvia who view it in their economic or personal interests to try to create the same kind of ungoing or frozen conflict in those areas. so that's a new challenge that not just the united states but nato faces. the best way to avoid that challenge is to prevent it from
happening in the first place. to continue to conduct military exercises and confront russian aggression in its fights and naval activities and to make it manifestly clear to vladimir putin that we will not accept the presence of little green men in a nato ally. >> senator it's i would say clear that we don't have a strategy in syria. so with that in mind as a policy maker, have you heard anyone in government seem to have a comprehensive strategy for there? and do you have any, i guess thoughts on what we should do? >> well, the best thing to do would be get in a time machine and go back to 2011 and have a strategy there to confront bashir al assad's tie ran cal regime because it is a critical source of iranian power in the arab world and there were not a large number of islamic jihadist groups operating in syria in 2011. it was a genuine uprising of the syrian people who have been oppressed for decades against an owe pressive regime.
today the situation is much worse because we have the islamic state in charge of much of syria as well as al qaeda-linked groups fighting as well. there are still plenty of local syrians who are not extremists who do not want to see one tie rannical regime replaced with another tie ran calorie jetstream. there is the occasional tactical success as when jsoc raided and killed abu sayif and captured his wife a few weeks ago. but at a minimum, we shouldn't -- we shouldn't be letting the islamic state control large swaths of syrian territory, if only because giving them that base of operations prevents us from effectively prosecuting the campaign against them in iraq. >> would you support having some
kind of a safe zone on the turkish border -- >> i've long supported a kind of no-fly zone in syria. that doesn't mean american aircraft patrolling the skies as it did throughout the 1990s with the iraqi no-fly zone but it does mean disabling syrian airfields so fixed wing aircraft can't fly and destroying their helicopters. that is the one key advantage right now that the syrian regime still has over its own population. so i do think that we have to establish some kind of air control in the country that, again, we should have done a long time ago and that i and many others called for a long time ago. >> couple more questions. >> last year you tried to form the asian infrastructure investment bank, a common and compelling nar rafb as that china outmaneuvered the united states in allowing the germany united kingdom and other western nations to join this bank. president obama has said this is not the case and said u.s.
foreign policy is more nuanced about this. how do you feel about this and what is your opinion on the aaib in general? >> if china wanted to create an infrastructure bank that was focused on investment and developing asian countries i think it might have been better u.s. policy to recognize that we also have a strong interest in developing asian countries. many of them are our allies many of them are big trading partners. so perhaps it would have been in america's long-term interest if we had worked together with china to shape the rules of that institution as we have shamed the rules of so many international institutions across the decades in the post-cold war period. once our western allies were doing so i think we should have reconsidered and i think there's still an opportunity to do so. >> i've got a question. so when north korea hacked a u.s. movie studio, the executive branch implemented sanctions against the north korean regime. are sanctions something you
would advocate for against chinese hacking, since it appears to be a consistent problem but no punitive action is taken. >> i think first we have to ensure that we get all the facts. sometimes cyber attacks are masked and difficult to follow. we have time to assess that. but we do need to have a mindset shift about cyber attacks that i still think we have not yet fully reached. we have to recognize them as real attacks on the united states and our interests. not just when they happen to a federal agency but when they happen to private citizens as well. when it happens to a company like sony. you know no one thought when those planes flew into the world trade center that that was an act of property vandalism and that the owners of those buildings needed to respond to it. that was an act of war. just like cyber attacks whether they're attacking a government agency or they're attacking a private institution it's our -- it's the federal government's core responsibility to protect the security of americans and
american institutions. and just like we don't expect banks who have been robbed at gunpoint to go out and find the bank robbers, we send the local police and fbi to find them, we have to use all the tools of our government, military diplomatic and economic to make it clear to every country that cyber attacks against united states interests, government or private will not be tolerated. >> in iraq specifically, how do you think the u.s. should confront this problem of oftentimes finding itself providing air power for these iran-backed shiite militias. >> for what? >> the shiite militias in iraq that are often iran backed and having links to terrorist attacks previously against americans. >> we shouldn't be collaborating with iranian-backed militias and providing them air support either. lloyd austin testified that we were not in fact doing so, the militias had all withdrawn
before we began to use close air support in tikrit. we shouldn't do so, one, because it's only going to foment more widespread sectarian strife in iraq, especially if those militias move into anbar. two, it's wholly anyoneineffective as well. they have proven to be a paper tiger certainly when fighting outside of their home turf. just like iran couldn't defeat saddam hussein with its nine-year war, we defeated him in three weeks. the militias have shown themselves to be paper tigers not up to the fight. we need to work with the iraqi government, the iraq security forces. we don't need an arbitrary cap on the number of troops we have there. we need to provide more specialized skill sets to their iraqi military. some of those are things near the front lines like forward air controllers. some of those are highly specialized division or core level assets like intelligence advisers or logistics experts. but we in conjunction with the iraqi government and arab allies in the region need to be taking the fight to the islamic state
not trying to rely on relatively toothless iranian-backed militias. >> what about in terms of ramadi. i know that right now they have had -- they have dispatched militias to retake the city after security forces apparently fled even though they outnumbered the isis fighters. what do you think in terms of that situation? >> i don't think it will be successful, again, because the shiite militias backed by iran have repeatedly shown themself not to be up to the fight against the islamic state. >> good morning, senator cotton. my name is terry ryan, i'm an air force veteran. i'm going to shift geography a little bit. what foreign policy challenges do you see in latin america and in africa? and what strategies would you recommend, because in venezuela honduras, mexico, in nigeria, there's great problems. >> well let me start with
africa, because since it's closer to the heart of islamic terrorism, you do see that. as you've said nigeria faces serious challenges with boko haram. the president was elected largely on a campaign to stop boko haram attacks. there have been attacks in the past week in response to his promises. we need to work with allied governments like nigeria or in northern africa to continue to provide them the support they need to fight our common islamic terrorist enemies. that is going to be outright military support combat service support, it may be intelligence support, but we can't fight -- we can't fight the islamic state, we can't fight islamic extremism everywhere directly with americans, we have to work with local governments that have a strong interest in defeating them as well. in latin america you're right that there are many countries that are on the verge of being failed states like venezuela or some central american states.
we have obviously a strong interest going back to at least 1823 and the monroe doctrine to ensure that the western hemisphere has countries that are aligned with the united states and and that support the western way of life. unfortunately, a lot of countries there don't. i don't think the way to do that, though, is to support leftist governments and the most extreme example of what president obama has done in cuba by essentially up ending 50 years of bipartisan to include very little on the human rights front, but rather to try to work with governments that are open to the united states and they're willing to support constitutional reforms that protect democratic peoples and sometimes that will involve more military or paramilitary support as it has in colombia over the last 15 years to great success but most of the time it will be a matter of economic and diplomatic cooperation. >> it is interesting though, and i'm not trying to bait anything, but when i try to make sense of this is what there are
areas where the u.s. and the congress and so forth feel compelled to actually be much more, you know, adamant much more involved in actually working on the ground and the other ones taking much more of a diplomatic approach. how does one pick which ones you're going to actually get in there like in nigeria or not, but syria, yes? >> we're not in syria either. >> there's more interest in some countries than others to get more involved. >> well, in summary, like the middle east, for instance it's been a volatile region for a long time and we have a critical interest in stability and order in that region and we always have, great britain when it played the role of the global super power for much of the 18th and 19th century did, as well so we've always had an interest in having a stable middle east because it's at the crossroads of humanity. that doesn't mean that we don't have an interest in particular
for the united states in a stable, western hemisphere, as well, but the threats to the stability of world order are greater in the middle east and right now they're greater in east asia as well because of a rising and aggressive china than anything you see in southern or latin america generally. we do have governments there that are not friendly but at the same time they're not as hostile as countries like china or russia. >> i'll ask one final question, since we're in the middle of a political season. what do you think will be the main foreign policy issues for next year with the political campaign and as a republican with 10,000 people joining the race is there anybody you support more than any other? no. i've not endorsed any candidate and i don't expect to any time soon. i do hope to make national security a center issue in the campaign. in terms of the issues we face
they're too manifold just to reduce down to one. i would say the most immediate question is going to be a nuclear deal with iran because the president is treating it as a near executive agreement then it will be largely up to the next president to change course. hillary clinton who helped start us down this course and the secret negotiation has implied that she southland not. i would look at the broader strategic challenges in a few different categories. one is the threat of transnational terrorism, the islamic state and al qaeda. two, rogue states like iran and north korea three a rising nation state power like china and four a declining, but still very dangerous nation state power like russia, and the republican nominee for president i hope and i expect will have policies that will reverse the president's policies and put us in a stronger position in all four of those challenges that we face. >> okay.
i thank the senator for his views, and thank you all for coming and thanks again. >> thank you all. [ applause ] today the foreign policy program with brookings will host the chief of staff to the united nations secretary-general. for a discussion on how that organization is adapting to new geopolitical transnational and sub state challenges.
see it live at 1:30 p.m. eastern on c-span3. c-span's road to the white house coverage continues today when former florida governor jeb bush formally enters the 2016 presidential race with an event in miami. that's live at 3:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. businessman donald trump will announce his decision whether to run for president and you can see that live at 11:00 a.m. on c-span3. the new congressional directory is a handy guide to the 114th congress with color photos of every senator and house member plus bioand contact information and twitter handles and also district maps and a fold-out map of capitol hill and a look at congressional committee, the president's cabinet, federal agencies and state governors. order your copy today. it's $13.95 plus shipping and handling through the c-span online store at c-span.org.
last week deputy secretary of state anthony blinken spoke to the american you'rish committee forum in washington d.c. about u.s.-israel relations and the ongoing nuclear ney negotiations with iran. he spoke for about a half an hour. [ applause ] >> good morning. when secretary of state kerry broke his leg bicycling in southern france eight days ago we all prayed for his quick recovery and indeed, a very quick recovery. the complex negotiations of iran's long drive for military nuclear capability were coming down to the wire.
the secretary had just been in switzerland and would be heading back to europe again soon to continue the talks. the crisis in ukraine was escalating and we will hear in detail in this evening's world plannery about ukraine. isis was on a rampage, seizing strategic population centers in iraq and syria and the u.s.-led coalition was weighing tough choices to defeat this growing peril to american interests and allies in the middle east including israel. across europe, the ugly phenomena of anti-semitism was on the rise with deadly attacks and chilling rhetoric. around the world challenges to peace and stability and human rights demanded american
leadership and wise sensitive cool-headed and confident american diplomacy. fortunately, for ajc, which has been looking forward to secretary kerry's second address to our global forum in three years and fortunately for our country and our friends and allies across the globe, a gifted and experienced american diplomat stood ready to assume many of the secretary's responsibilities following his last weekend's accident. the challenges america faces never stop and in our next speaker they are being met without interruption and by a seasoned foreign policy practitioner, a man of depth
character and resolve and this morning it is indeed my great honor to introduce the senior diplomat. deputy secretary of state tony blinkon is a longtime friend of ajc. he has served on both ends of pennsylvania avenue in positions of great responsibility. in addition to spending time in the practice of law and a stint at a washington think tank. in more than 20 years in government he spent ten working for vice president biden and the head of the then senator biden's foreign commission's staff and the national security adviser. all who know the biden family
are now in mourning over the tragic death of the vice president's son beau nine days ago. to tony and the vice president's many other friends in this room today we offer our sincere condolences. the world with which ajc interacts every day in our global jewish advocacy work is a world in jeopardy and in massive transition with new and evolving threats threats, competing national interests and some, but not quite enough true friends. today i'm privileged to ask deputy secretary of state anthony