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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 6, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EST

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challenges that we face, and so it's incumbent upon us as leaders to share that information with them on a regular basis. and to try to address their questions as often and as accurately as we can. sometimes there are things that we can't talk about, but most of it can be shared and i think that pays a great deal of benefit. >> mr. senator, both of my colleagues have mentioned a number of things that have been certainly high on my agenda, such as mentorship, leadership. i would like to add in an isolated difficult post, i think people-to-people contacts can be tremendously rewarding for everyone at the embassy, from the most junior person to feel that they can get out and perhaps give a presentation on some aspect of american life for american culture. and these kind of presentations can be tremendously rewarding
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for the young person giving them, but also give wonderful new contacts for us as we represent the united states abroad. so that's something i have observed and something i hope to continue in tajikistan, if confirmed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. i'm going to wrap up in a minute. before i do, i want one other line of questioning for you, mr. warden. if you're uncomfortable in going down this road, please say so and we can pursue it in a different setting. you talked about the -- i think it's fairly well accepted by the international community, that the assad regime used chemicals, even after they said they wouldn't and even after they joined the cwc and made all of the commitments. they have a partner today, russia. what role does russia play in the organization and, you know,
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when you're standing on this side of it, these things are stunning because -- if the united states was involved with a partner that was doing this sort of thing and we would wash our hands of it very quickly or stop it, one or the other. they are not lifting a finger but yet have the same information you would, that the international community has. what can you tell us about that? >> thank you, mr. chairman, for your question. you know, this has been a bit of an education for me in international diplomacy. when your learn we might disagree with a country on a whole host of issues, sometimes we find a common cause on the issue. i know when secretary kerry and foreign minister lavrov got together and found a way to at least remove chemical weapons from the syrian civil war equation, even though they probably couldn't agree with
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anything else about that civil war both of them saw the value in removing chemical weapons from it. russia has been a good partner in helping to address this dimension of the problem. when the fact finding missions came out and said use has taken place, russia, a little resistant at first, but they came along and, in august, a u.n. security council resolution was adopted which established the mechanism the joint investigative mechanism to actually attribute responsibility for the attacks that had been confirmed by the opcw. russia actually supported that step. and that process is just coming up and running now. and the allegations from 2014, as well as any new confirmation of use that comes along is going to be investigating by this u.n. group and reported to the security council.
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i went into the process with your skepticism. we are having issues with them in other areas, how can they be a good partner here? the time i spent traveling from my current job to the hague and working with russian colleagues, they have been cooperative on this issue and pushing this forward. now we are in a position to actually try to hold people accountable, governments accountable for the use of chemical weapons in syria. it's a remarkable achievement given, as you have emphasized, the other areas where there is really a complete disconnect between the united states and russia. >> let me say that i'm not going to be as generous as you are to the russians. first of all, i appreciate them supporting the resolution and that was the right thing to do and they should of done it. having said that, everything we get is they have got virtual control jointly with the iranians over the assad regime
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which couldn't survive a day without those two supporting them. it seems to me if they are as serious and acting in good faith as you perhaps suggest, it wouldn't take but a phone call from an individual, you know who i'm thinking of, to assad saying, this ain't going happen again or we are out of here. i'm not going to be as generous to them as you are. we will -- i've got some other questions in that regard with you, probably a different setting is appropriate with it. with that, i thank all of your to your service and i thank you for your families to supporting this service to the people of the united states. these things are incredibly important to our success around the world, and with that, we are going to close the hearing. the record will remain open, however, for questions until the close of business on friday. so you may get some more probing questions, but you've been very
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generous with your time and i think very candid with your answers and senator murphy and i both deeply appreciate that. so with that, the hearing will be adjourned.
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on saturday's washington
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journal, a discussion about federal funding of transportation projects with chris edwards of the cato institute and alison black. also a look at the role of law enforcement in public schools. we will talk to columbia university professor carla shedd. weigh in with your phone calls, tweets and facebook comments. a panel of foreign policy analysts discussed europe's refugee crisis caused by an influx of migrants fleeing syria's civil war. they examined how refugees are affecting europe's economy and government institutions. panelists took questions from the audience at this one hour 45 minute event posted by the wilson center in washington,
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d.c. >> let me welcome you to the wilson center here this morning. i am a public policy fellow here at the wilson center. i don't know how familiar you guys are with the center. but my normal job is in texas, where i'm a professor of political science and director of the tower center at smu in dallas. and it's really a nirvana to be able to come and spend quality time here at the wilson center. this is my sabbatical year. i'm delighted to be here. i would like it if everybody just take a moment and silence your phones so that we can avoid phone interruptions, if possible. again, let me welcome you to the wilson center. point out that the wilson center was chartered by congress as the official memorial to president
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woodrow wilson. it's the nation's key nonpartisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for congress. the administration and the broader policy community. today we are going to look at europe's refugee challenge. a response to an international crisis. and i should point out that the program today is co-hosted by several different programs here at the wilson center in addition to the global europe program, which is the primary sponsor, it is also sponsored by the middle east program. this crisis has its origins in part in the middle east. and also by the global sustainability and resilience programs. this is, i'm sure all of you are aware, an incredibly difficult
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moment in time. the conflicts and violence that have been raging across what someone called the arc of stain built running from roughly west africa, subsaharan africa to south asia and the asian subcontinent. i have said that this is a multi-level crisis. it is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis. some would say a humanitarian disaster. you have got in many countries in europe 10,000 people a day arriving at the border. we're looking at roughly a million refugees coming this year, maybe more, with no end in sight. so the question is, how do you cope with this? what are the moral and legal commitments that we have in the west to deal with this kind of
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exodus? and, of course, this is a tremendous political and policy challenge. it's also a crisis, i would argue, of governance for europe and for the world community. we are very lucky today to have a distinguished panel of experts. i'm going to just briefly introduce them. i know a lot of you have their bios in front of you. but for those who are watching online or watching this broadcast, i just want to say a few words about them. then we're going to go straight to the panel. just so you understand, i'm going to introduce them. each of them will make brief remarks. then i will have a couple of rounds of questions with them, a little dialogue with the panel. and then i'm going to open it up for your questions. first of all, i want to introduce phillip ackerman, someone i have gotten to know well in the brief time he has been in the united states.
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he is sitting just to the left of kathleen nuland. phillip is the minister and deputy chief of mission at the embassy of the federal republic of germany in washington, d.c. basically the number two german diplomat in the united states. looking at his bio, you may be surprised to find out that he is a high level diplomat who has a h ph.d. in art history, which is great training, i suspect, to be a diplomat. the other things i want to highlight about him is he headed the german task force for afghanistan and pakistan. so he has deep involvement in south asia. we know afghanistan is one of the sources -- prime sources for refugees coming to europe. among other things, phillip worked as the speech writer for two foreign ministers. and he oversaw the political
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department of the german embassy in new delhi in india. a lot of deep experience in south asia. secondly, i want to introduce the gentleman sitting to his left who is charles gatti. he is a senior research professor of european and your asian studied at johns hopkins school of advanced international studies. he worked on policy planning staff of the u.s. department of state, published many books, including "failed illusions, moscow, washington, budapest." since hungary has been in the center of this, he will have something to say. i might conclude by pointing out that he has a new book that just came out called "this is big," which is the strategy and state
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craft. sitting next to him is captain brian lisco who is a senior coast guard liaison where he serves in the bureau of political and political affairs. he is a career aviator. a very decorated flier. among other things, he has served with the sixth fleet in naples, italy, and a liaison to the european border control agency. so he has a lot of front line experience looking at what's going on in north and west africa, the middle east, the mediterranean and many of the front line european states. finally -- we're going to segue to the panel, i want to introduce kathleen nuland, someone whose work i have known for many years and followed her career. but actually, we have never met until today, ironically.
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even though both of us have spent most of our career working on this issue of migration. she's a senior fellow and co-founder of the migration policy institute. among other things, she sits on the board of overseers of the international rescue committee. many of you in this room probably know the irc. she's on the board of directors of usa for unhcr. she is on the foundation for the hague process of migrants and refugees, worked for the unhcr, the world bank, secretary-general. i thought it was interesting she co-founded an organization called humanitas with lord david owen in london. she's the author of many, many, many books. i'm not going to list them all. but we're going to start with dr. nuland. i just want to ask her if she could help us understand the nature and the origins of this
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crisis and give us some historical perspective on this. kathleen, let's start with you. >> thank you very much, jim. thank you all for coming. i'm looking forward to this discussion very much. i really want to start where jim started, and that is with the multi-dimensional nature of this crisis. and as you started your comments i thought, there goes my introduction. since you were so brief, i think i can elaborate a little. reiterating that this is a humanitarian crisis, it's a legal and policy crisis, especially for european states. it's a political crisis both for individual countries and at the eu level, which makes it also a solidarity crisis. but not just at the eu level, also in the region and globally, i think. i suspect that's something we will get into in the discussion. on the humanitarian crisis, i
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think more even than the numbers, which as you know are extremely high, surpassing probably -- the number changes daily in quite big ways, but more than 750,000 people have arrived in europe by sea so far this year. the october total of people arriving was higher than the total for all of last year. so i think the problem is not just the number but the pace. and that is what is overwhelming the capacity in european countries to receive people in a humane way. so far this year, we're approaching 3,500 deaths at sea. which will come out probably at about the same total as last year of deaths at sea. but on a much larger base of people moving. so the death rates have actually gone down.
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and i think that is a real tribute to the rescue at sea effort that the european countries and others, including the u.s., have mounted. and i know brian is going to maybe talk a little bit more about that. the other problem in addition to the pace is that there is no end in sight. and i think this has -- is inducing a real sort of existential panic in the humanitarian response system. not only is there no end in sight, but there's ever reason to believe that the pace will continue or, indeed, accelerate with the advent of russian bombing and the destabilization of front lines around aleppo. more people are fleeing into turkey and from there there's ever reason to expect that they will try to move on. i had a long conversation yesterday with the unhc head in
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jordan. he said people are leaving not because they're starving, not because of cuts in world food program allocations. although, you know, that's a factor. but because they are in despair and they demand of themselves that they try to find a prospect for their families and for their futures. and they don't see that prospect in jordan or lebanon, which won't allow them to work. in turkey where work opportunities are very restricted and so on. so that's, you know, the humanitarian crisis. the legal and policy crisis in europe is in the face of this kind of pace and these numbers how do european countries meet their legal obligations under the 1951 refugee convention? how do they do it in the face of these numbers with at least --
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sweden is expecting twice the number of asylum seekers this year that it had last year, which is twice the number they had the year before. there has been an exponential growth. a real policy crisis around how to deal with this number of asylum seekers. let's not forget that not everyone is a syrian who is coming into europe. that's a very important point. about three-quarters of the sea arrivals to greece are syrian. the next largest number are from afghanistan, which as you know is being deeply destabilized. and then pakistan, somalia, iraq and some others. the sea arrivals to italy, which everyone -- which is out of the headlines now. people tend to forget about it are much more from subsaharan africa. 5% from syria. how do you deal with this? that's the legal and the policy crisis. the political crisis you are
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women well aware of the right in individual country, but even within the countries that have been most generous, both sweden and germany have toughened up their asylum policies and practices in recent weeks. that reflects, i think, the solidarity crisis within the eu where a real two-track eu is emerging with britain, denmark and central european countries being extremely resistant to any form of burden sharing with the other countries and the burden falling most heavily on sweden, germany, austria and a few others. a multi-level crisis. let me just leave you with a question. do we need new institutions, new processes, new laws, new
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international agreements? i don't think we need new laws. on the others i would say, absolutely, yes, clearly what we have in place now is not working satisfactorily. we need to -- because it's mostly aimed at a short-term response, at an emergency response at sort of care and maintenance of refugees. and we need to think about this long-term. we need to look at the potential contributions of these people, not just at the immediate burden that they result. so european democrgraphics, looking at the pattern that leaves people with no alternatives. so labor mobility and family reunification, these are the kind of big long-term ideas we need to be thinking about. >> thank you, kathleen. i want to quickly segue to our german representative here and ask him to talk a little bit
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about the german and european response. >> thanks, jim. thank you for having us here today. thanks for introducing me so kindly. you see from my weird cv, that i'm not an expert on immigration. but i'm happy to talk about the german experience right now. let me make six short points. the first one is, numbers are very difficult right now. we have a rough estimate. what we hear from our administration back home is that so far, 710,000 people have asked for protection in germany. we have been -- this year, 2015, we have been seven to 10,000 a day coming into germany, every day. 80% of them are syrians, afghans and iraqis. 20% are from elsewhere. we have pakistan but we have
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also nigerians coming. and others. 80% are from these three countries. it's not stopping. we somehow hoped actually that the winter will slow -- would slow down a bit the inflow. but the fact is that it is not happening. partly also because there is a very unfortunate human traffickers situation that said if germany is closing the borders, you better get to germany now. otherwise, you won't get the chance. that's the situation as we see it right now. i think we expect this year between 800,000 to one million refugees in germany. if five million people would come to the united states from mexico in a year's time it would be like.
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we have to admit our administration is not laid out to cope with this flow. i mean, we have a very -- cliche, the german administration, very solid, but it's also not very flexible. we have to -- they are stretched -- all our institutions are stretched. it's fair to say that without the help of the civil society, the institutional civil society and individual, we wouldn't have coped with the influx of migrants so far. it's quite amazing to see -- i say that with all modesty -- that somehow it works. these people get shelter. it's thanks to many, many individuals. i heard 50% of germans are involved in the refugee crisis and give some clothes. the population is taking -- contributing to that. third point, that's the point which we hear very often in america. what do we think about the
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security? frankly, this is not our first priority in this case. we are not -- we don't have the privilege to vet the people who come, unlike you. they are there. they stand at the station. but we feel that the danger of infiltration by terrorists is not the biggest problem. we are pretty sure there are a couple of bad guys amongst them. but we have unfortunately experience with muslim extremism in germany. we have 750 foreign fighters from german origin living in germany move to syria and fought there. this is something we have an experience with and we can cope with this. our problem when it comes to security is to teach those people to live or to abide by our laws. the rules of our society, how to
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learn that kids -- boys and girls are co-educated in germany. how to make them understand that alcohol is part of our culture. how to make them understand that freedom of religion is a fundamental right of every person. homosexuals are part of our society. there's nothing wrong with them. this is a security problem because that leads to aggressions and tensions. this is, i think, i think a much more important problem than the terrorism idea one would have. my fourth point is -- that's perhaps -- we have to observe very clearly is the mood point. how is the population reacting? we have seen during the summer, the welcome in germany signs at stations where people came and handed out diapers and stuffed animals. this certainly is not as strong
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as it used to be. i think we still have a very, very contributing, extremely helpful civil society. but more and more people ask questions. you have seen the pulls of our otherwise very popular chancellor dropping. people are -- feel threatened. not that they experience bad things. the crime rate has not gone up. but they are threatened in their lifestyles, not the least because in -- the very famous village in northern germany which has 100 inhabitants gets 750 refugees because there's some empty building next door. they can fill it with refugees. these people are exposed to 750 syrians, afghans and iraqis. they feel somehow uneasy and not comfortable. this is something we have to observe very closely. we have to deal with that.
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i have to say at the same time that other than -- unlike other european countries, germany so far has not had the big populous right wing movement. we have a small party that now has 7%, 8%, 9%. we have people demonstrate and getting lots of attention. overall, that's fairly normal. i'm very surprised that it's not more controversial. and i have to say that something which i found remarkable, i come from a breakfast with the ceo of mercedes-benz. and he said that this refugee influx to germany is a huge opportunity. he says that this might cause a second economic miracle. so he says -- very openly --
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that they expect -- they are totally firm on the side of the chancellor. they support her 100%. they ask whether they have welders or technicians. they integrate them from the beginning in the procedures. even he says they have sheltered refugees. german business is very optimistic about that. unlike the public mood, i think business mood is better. my last point is -- this is the question i think in the room. what are we going to do? one thing is clear, it can't go like this for another year. we will not be able to handle that for another year. we have to find a solution how to deal with it. we have a couple of tools here. i think europe and the federal government are working on that. we have -- we have been speaking
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to turkey. there are little signs of hope when it comes to syria on a diplomatic level. we have trying to set up hot spots for registration when people come through. all this is a start and it will not change the influx the day after tomorrow. i mean, you have to make clear that this is not going to change things very quickly. so we feel that at the end of the day, we need more european solidarity. we need more european solidarity in this. you mentioned also in sweden i think you should mention them both, because per capita they are taking more than germany. they have been extremely generous, both countries. others have been less generous. i think that at a certain moment we have to find ways and means to get to a solution. >> on that note, talking about european solidarity, there has been tremendous resistance in
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eastern europe to this. hungarians leading the way. i would like for charles to talk to us a little bit about what's going on in eastern europe and why are the east europeans so reluctant to pitch in and help with this crisis. >> thank you very much. i can't help but note after the last presentation that whatever one's view used to be of germany, after or during and after world war ii for that matter, before world war ii, this is now truly over. germany has emerged as the most humane country in europe. and i have nothing but admiration for chancellor merkel and those who support her. i think you should be very proud of your country, sir. the second point i would like to make as a way of introduction is to note, to recall that i was
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once a refugee myself many decades ago, more than five decades ago. i was welcomed in austria and i was welcomed very warmly in the united states for which i'm grateful. and on the way coming here from europe at that time, i was sponsored by the international rescue committee. so i would like to mention that. i have repaid the cost of transportation many, many times. i'm certainly very pleased that you work there and doing the work you are doing. let me start out by saying that i had a student visiting with me the other day complaining about the bad relationship between europe and the united states, including america's seemingly lack of interest in the refugee crisis.
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and so we were talking about the transatlantic relations, not about the eu. and i said to him that this is hardly new. i looked on my bookshelves. there was a book there, a little book called "atlantic crisis." published in 1966. nothing is new under the sun. what is new is germany's rise as a humane country and as a humane society. otherwise, the differences, i'm sorry to say, are not new. as for the european union, i think it is important to state again, it's a miracle that it has lasted as long as it has and that it continues to work. not as well as some of us would
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like. the crises are every year. we just had greece, extraordinary problems that the eu has had with enlargement when before admitting that all of these countries offered very good cooperation but once they became members they could not be influenced as we now see in the case of not just hungary but in poland, slovakia, romania. all of them. will come back to that in a moment. the real question is why is the european union constantly phasing such major crises? i would like to call your attention very briefly in outline form to four points here. one is nationalist resistance. this is not only in eastern europe. it is everywhere. the fact of the matter is that most people identify them services by their national identity rather than as
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europeans. this has been there. it has not changed very much. in other words, the culture follows very good institution building and follows it very slowly. the second is that the european union has always been an elite project. if you put up even 25 years ago or 30 years ago, if you had a vote about the european union, in many of the member states, the vote, depending on, of course, how the question is phrased, probably might have been negative. so the elites supported the business elites, intellectual elites to overcome the wars of the past. it's very important to recall that in the prior to the end of world war ii, more wars had been fought between france and germany than any other two countries in the world. look at them now, how well they
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get along. it's an maamazing story. but it's an elite story. it's not very much else. the third point i would say is that there is a basic structural inequality in the eu. the size of the member states, their development, their history, their culture. it's very difficult to integrate them and bring them all together. and now fourthly, you can add to that the problem of the new member states, which as i mentioned before are new members. therefore, to assimilate them into the mentality of the european union is extremely difficult. what about these new eastern members? the institutional adjustment has been made. they attend meetings. they adjusted their institutions. there are problems constantly. i think hungary received
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suggestions from various european institutions to make this adjustment in the judicial system or that. and the other countries have pretty much the same way. pick only on hungary in this respect, though it may well be a very difficult case. the problem is not so much in the institutional arrangements. it's in the culture. it's the political minds that have not changed. so, you know, the -- i would say a majority say poland for the poles. hungary for the hungarians. slovakia wants only christians. the former estonian foreign minister went further. estonia is one of the better new members. she said that only whites should be there. much of society jumped on them
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for sure. but it was still said and it is a commonly held view, not only in estonia. in other words, watch what's in their heads, not so much institutions they build. against this background, the hungarians got most criticism. the fence they built was atrocious, but a fence had to be built, some kind of control, external control over -- around the eu had to be, i believe, had to be built. the problem was not so much that it was built but how it was built, what kind of fence it was and how the refugees were treated. i'm sure many of you saw the pictures of these refugees at the eastern railway station where i believe purposefully they were kicked outside and looked like the horde, which i what i believe the government wanted it to look like so that
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they could reach out to the right wing party, further to the right, it's a right wing government but there's a far right party there is challenging them as in poland by the way, or very similarly to poland. so therefore, the issue was a domestic political game in order to get the support of far right supporters. i believe this is what's happening in a smaller way in slovak slovakia, in croatia. and the czech republic, which we used to think would be the best candidate for a truly democratic western-oriented society. i know my time is up here. i just want to mention the conspiracy theories that accompany, because this has not been written up in english very much. the conspiracy theories that are rampant all over central and eastern europe. i read up on this. some of them say that the
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refugees are sent -- are sent to europe by americans, so a target of conspiracy theory. so america is seen, i'm sorry to say, as being behind this refugee crisis by those who would like to keep their nation states pure as i guess it used to be. the difference is these people are in a majority in central and eastern europe while in much of western europe even in germany they are in a minority. that is very dangerous for the european union. >> thank you, charles.
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i want to pick up on something that you said about border control and border issues. the border free europe, if it's going to survive, requires some external border, some external control. i wanted to ask captain brian lisco if he could reflect a little bit on his experiences there. what do you think about the border issue? the question of the mediterranean itself and patrolling the mediterranean and looking beyond this at some of the root causes in africa, north africa and the middle east. >> jim, thank you very much. also i would like to thank the wilson center for inviting me to participate on today's panel. what i will be giving you is more an operator's perspective. what i would like to say first off is the coast guard is western hemisphere focused. but we are globally engaged. so we do have a handful of coast
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guard men and women who are over in europe and in the mediterranean and one even in africa who are trying to make a difference by working with our allies and partners to improve maritime safety and security. i will come to the border patrolling issue. i would like to just try to frame this very quickly from an american perspective. what we have experienced, say, in 1980 during the boat lift. that was 100,000, a little bit more, cubans who fled to the united states. that was absolutely overwhelming to our first responders, to our government, to the state of florida. we did cope with it. and then later in the '90s, in the you were '90s, some of you have may remember there was large haitian and cuban mass migrations. those migrations were -- they were large, 25,000 and 30,000.
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but on one day, the record number of migrants interdicted at sea in the caribbean was 3,200. and has been stated earlier on this panel, last week coming into greece, migrants were coming in 10,000 a day. that's epic proportions. and also what i would say, too, is take a look at what that means to smaller countries. someone like malta on the front lines. proportionally speaking, when you look at the populations, one migrant landing in malta is the equivalent of 750 landing in south florida. so when a small rubber raft that's grossly overloaded, manifestly unsafe with 100 migrants and it's an 18 or 20-foot dingy lands in malta, that's the equivalent of 75,000 migrants landing in the u.s.
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you have concerns, how are we going to accommodate these folks to take a look, make sure they are okay medically? that they're -- that they have food, water, shelter. that can strap some of these countries very quickly. and then depending on the migrants and if they stay in that country, you can see there's a chance to change some of the culture and fabric of that country. i speak to malta because i was posted as the coast guard adviser at our embassy there. also, i would also say the migrants, what is very -- it's a humanitarian crisis and the european partners and north africans, many of them are doing the best they can to respond. but there's also a law enforcement aspect to this. there's the transnational organized criminal networks that are enabling and are making hundreds of thousands, really millions of dollars transporting these migrants in unsafe boats,
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in unsafe sea states. and it's just for the money. and it puts people at great risk. and where does that money go? does it just go to the crimink l criminals? does it go to terrorist organizations? with regard to the border patrolling in the mediterranean, having been stationed in italy and in malta and knowing a lot of the folks with the european union naval forces as well as the european border control agency, it doesn't own any maritime forces. it coordinates a european response to protect the external borders of the european union. it's a massive undertaking because of the sheer numbers i've said. but they've gotten very, very good. you are all familiar in late 2013 and then in 2014, there were four incidents where
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migrant boats sunk with more than 1,000 lives lost. that was tragic. the italians really did lead the way and form the operation where they saved really probably more than 140,000 migrants in the year that that happened. but they did that by having a lot of ships and aircraft and personnel assigned to that central mediterranean region. there's probably a cost to that. they may have wanted to be in other places. definitely, a financial cost. and then with the -- right now they have their joint operation in the central mediterranean. because as kathleen pointed out, although the biggest vector is coming from the east and in the aegean sea, you know, where you have more than 600,000 have
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arrived in greece, that vector still exists in the central mediterranean, there's been more than 140,000 migrants that have come up from libya heading toward italy and points north. so it's a very daunting task. they are out there. other eu member states have provided forces, whether it's planes, boats, debriefing teams to try to help the collective european effort. i tip my hat to them. and then two more things. one i would say, you cannot overlook the impact that this has on merchant shipping. the mediterranean, this particular area in the central mediterranean is really the crossroads of the mediterranean when you look at merchant traffic coming out of the suez canal, it goes right through the area where eu naval forces,
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their operations are operating as well. those merchant vessels, they have a there is mariners in distress or vessels in distress to render assistance and they've done a very good job. in fact, 800 times, so far this year, a merchant vessel has been diverted to render assistance. so the shipping industry is owed a debt of gratitude. but at the same time, there is a cost associated with that. because that is taking their vessel off its regular service, there is an economic cost. but they do it. and they continue to do that. and lastly, the mediterranean sea, sometime people lose track that it is a sea and it is not like a small lake and the weather gets very, very
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challenging and very nasty, starting right now in the fall and then in the winter it gets very bad. so it is important that there be those first responders out there. but it is just -- it doesn't paint a rosie picture. >> okay. would you like to go one more quick round of questions and then we're going to open it up to the audience. but i want to come back first to kathleen and ask you, to talk a bit more about the refugee convention itself. explain what the convention involves and what its requirements are. and i would like for you, given your back ground and work with unhc and others, what is the u.s. role in this? what is the u.s. responsibility in this. i was just in europe and the europeans were saying, hey, where is the u.s.? >> well it is a great question. and it is one that i hear a lot as well. the core obligation under the 1951 convention is not to return
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a refugee to a country where his or her life or freedom would be in danger. that is the language of the convention. the sort of catch-22 in that, from the perspective of a refugee, is that there is no right to enter a country. you have to somehow reach another country's territory in order to claim that protection against not being returned -- the legal term is nonreformand and it doesn't enter unless you are in the jurisdiction of other country. there is controversies over maritime indictments and whether the ship of that country on gates your country under the refugee convention, no agreement on that. and the u.s. supreme court has
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said no, in fact, the convention obligations don't apply extra territorially. so there is a lot in this primarily maritime crisis, there is controversy over that and that creates an in sentive for countries to prevent people from landing. now fortunately and to the european's great credit we have not seen that happen. we have no seen pushbacks from the shores of europe and god forbid we should ever see that. but there are certainly forces within europe that would like to see that. and the discussions with turkey, with other countries of first asylum are very much aimed at keeping people in the region and disrupting the flows to europe, for all kinds of good reasons and perhaps some bad ones as well. now on the u.s. role, you know,
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i hear this from europeans all of the time, 10,000 refugees from syria, this year, really? when that is a day's intake last weekend to greece -- or a day's reception. very important to remember the distinction between asylum seekers and re-settled refugees here because the united states is protected by the geography. as philip said, germany doesn't have the luxury of screening people and deciding who will be accepted and so forth, and planning for the reception, which we do through our re-settlement program. but there is a lot of pressure from u.s. advocacy groups, from refugee resettlement organizations, including the irc, for the u.s. to take more. that there rowe prosals we should take 100,000 syrians a year. that is impossible logistically. so if that is going to happen,
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we need to change our procedures. >> great. i want to quickly turn back to philip here. and when i was studying germany many years ago as a student, i was told that germany had this very specific culture, the folkish culture and this is a country based on a strong culture identity. today your chancellor tells us that the germany has a new political culture, it is called a vic comens culture and talk about what that means and the german leadership on these issues in europe and getting the e.u. to respond to the crisis. >> folks don't like these words any more. it is a time -- thank god, a time ago. but the fact is, and this is the interesting thing when you observe germany over the last two decades, would you say that it is the fact that germany has
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become an immigration society. 20% of germans have a nongerman parent, which is more than the u.s. so we are clearly an immigration society. and i think now political parties from the right, more conservative in the u.s., they wouldn't qualify as conservative, but the more conservative parties in germany have now come to terms with this and they now see that we are an immigration society. and everybody in germany sees that we need immigration. we have a bad birthrate. we have 1.4. which is very bad. we are shrinking demographically and therefore we need migration. and needing migration and getting a million refugees in a couple of months is a different cup of tea. that doesn't mean the profiles match with what we need. we would like to have a canadian approach, protected by geography, you say, to pick the
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midwives an the welders. we can't do that. we don't have the privileges and the geography doesn't allow us to do so. but we have to work with what we get now. and i think i was quite encouraged to hear them say let's try to make the best of it. but i think that generally speaking all european countries, and particularly the one in central and eastern europe should be aware of their shrinking democracy. poland was the worse birthrate than germany. and i understand that countries who found their freedom just 20, 25 years ago, again, are very homogenous and very unified than germany over the last few years have the problem opening up to refugees and i understand that and it is a difficult process and it took us dabe aids to understand we have a migrant society but times are moving
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quickly so you have to understand you need immigration and you have to prepare for that. i don't expect slove aqui or czech republic, the countries you mentioned, to take the same percentage of refugees germany takes. it is not -- it is an illusion. but sort of the total blocking of refugees because it is a danger to the culture or the values, i think that is also wrong politics and we should -- for the international interest in politics, not only because there is a lack of european solidarity, but also have a national point of view, they should be much more open-minded when it comes to immigration. >> charles, i have to come back to you. the hungarian prime minister, victor or bin, accused germany of moral imperialism. what was he talking about? >> i don't know. [ laughter ] >> could you ask an easier one.
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i think what he must have had in mind, we have not talked la lately -- with you used to in the 1990s, actually, a lot. i think what -- what he must have had in mind was there are certain national interests as opposed to universal moral values and humanitarian approaches. and national interest dictated by his standard, by his standard, is that the countries remain homeo genius. that is what we are talking about. they don't want anybody who is not like them. and so i think -- and when -- when chancellor merkel, as you can tell, i admire, said that -- that the refugees are welcome, as you mentioned, they are
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welcomed in germany, or all thought that was an invitation for them to come and for to come and millions to come and he did in the think that the individual countries in the european union are prepared to -- to embrace them and to admit them. now this is the best interpretation i can give you. if you want to hear what i really think -- [ laughter ] >> -- we'll talk after the session. >> this is on the record, as we all know. one final question for captain lisko and then we'll open it up for your questions. would you like to hear you say more about the border control issue in europe and how the europeans are dealing with this. because we talked about shengan earlier and i assume everyone in the room understands what it is. it is a remarkable
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accomplishment, for those of you like me who are old enough to remember the days when you travelled in europe and you couldn't cross a national border without having your papers checks. the europeans have constructed a border-free europe. but the deal is if you are going to have internal borders eliminated, you have got to have external border control. and fun tex is just a skeletal operation, as i understand it. they have very, very few assets. so i mean, how are the europeans going to get a handle on the border questions, do you think? >> well, jim, it is definitely a challenge. fron tex is out there. we have the luxury in the united states of having a u.s. coast guard, having customs and border protection, having federal agencies with broad authorities and responsibilities. but although you have the european union, you still have the sovereignty issues with each state, if you will. so it is -- it's challenging. it is very challenging.
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and i'm not really the best qualified person to speak to that. i'm nor of the operator level. one of the things i look at and we look at in the u.s. coast guard are the push and pull factors that are associated with migration flows. and so when we look, say, to africa, where we are engaged through coast guard mobile training teams and african navy and coast guard partners coming to the u.s. to do coast guard training, and really what i would say maritime governance, it is through good maritime law enforcement, through search and rescue and port security. because if we could help, say, sub say hairan africa coastal states with the economic development, which maritime trade and in a safe and secure marine transportation system affords them, then maybe they
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won't feel the need to leave their country. and i'll just give one example. there is a west african coastal state that historically had a lot of illegal fishing that was going on in their exclusive economic zone. and there are a lot of effects that had. the country was not receiving the revenue for fishing licenses, because it was illegal fishing. so they lost the revenue. their local fishing fleets were either unemployed or under-employed because stocks were taken and they couldn't get to the fish stocks. there was a food security issue because, in that particular country, a majority of the protein that the citizens got came from fish. so when you have that perfect storm, if you will, that led some of the citizens to try to depart and head to europe. and a mass migration.
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so -- >> i wanted to get you to tell the audience what you were talking about before we started. you were talking about libya in particular and how the smuggling operations are working in libya. could you say more -- just to use libya as an example of what is going on there on the coast. >> well, i would say just the european union did have capacity-building mission in libya. and they were trying to help their navy and coast guard. but the conditions became -- they were no longer permissive and they had to leave. in the past, libyan coast guard has been trained by western countries. but right now when you have no effective border control, it makes it very difficult. so just that vector of 140,000-plus people coming basically from the north central africa from libya, you don't
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know where that money is going, you just don't know who is facilitating that there. and so i would hope that -- >> could you describe the smugglers a little like travel agents, you know. >> right. i mean, this is definitely -- when organized crime is involved, transnational organized crime, they want to make things as easy as they can for really their victims, if you will. and so it is almost like a travel agency. and if you want to go from point a. to point b., you may your money and do that. >> can i answer something. i'm very amazed that you think that everybody knows what the chain is. i think even in europe they would not. >> the british refer to it as sheng an land. >> yes. the alaskans would say the lower 48. i think that what we've seen is a desperate attempt to try to
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secure our borders. hungary set up the fence to serbia which is not a member of the european union and the greeks have tried to secure the border. we have to accept the fact that if people, for whatever reasons, are trying to walk through the bull cans and through -- bulkans and through greece and if there are 200,000, 300,000 people walking, border protection comes to an end. imagine the pictures, and have you seen that in the hungarian-serbian mud, when 100,000 people sit there before the border, what do you do. what is the border protection worth these day. imagine that honduras has a major catastrophe and half of the population moves to the mexico or the u.s. and what is happening to the border in the south of the u.s. you have to cope with the influx.
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securing the border only goes so far. so what the european union is trying to do is set up this registration centers where you channel -- and this is called hot spots for reasons i never understood. but they are in greece and italy and you try to channel the refugee influx through the registration centers where you get registered and that means at the same time that you are, if you are really a refugee, you are entitled to asylum and refugee status. but if you are not refugees, because we have many of them, that you might be sent back. >> kathleen wanted to add something to that. >> yeah. i mean that is a very good description. one of the problems in europe is that the nonrefugees are not sent back in great numbers. i mean, i think it is sort of pre-this crisis, only about 40% of asylum seekers were being returned. it is probably much higher now. well, asylum -- the systems are
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so overwhelmed that people are not moving quickly through the system. but the problem that -- and it is not easy -- that europeans have with returning people who are not entitled to international protection is one of the factors that they are trying to come to grips with. but it's really a very difficult one. people have family ties, people have supportive communities, dragging people out of their beds in the middle of the night and putting them in chains on a plane. not a good optic. so that is a difficult problem. >> so the audience has been incredibly patient. so let's open it up now for questions. i see this gentleman right over here has a question and if you could keep your questions brief, to the point, no speeches, please. and we'll have a chance to get the reaction of the panel. yes. >> thank you. as i watched the news of this refugee crisis and listen to the comments of the panel, i can't help but think of the response of european nations and the
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united states and great britain, to the efforts of european jews to escape the holocaust and i'm wonder whether any of you have thought of that parallel in your own work? >> of course. >> i couldn't say that this is certainly something which is so strongly in our mind that that will always direct german politics. something that is very, very clearly one of the numerous reasons why we would not close up our country to refugees. let me emphasize here that the u.k. is part of europe. that is very important. >> let's go to the gentleman back here and then we'll come down here. this gentleman in the back here. yes. >> thank you very much. my name is knee acwood. i'm an immigrant from ghana. and my concern, when i look at the crisis in europe, and i sympathize with what the europeans have to go through, it see seems me that everybody is for
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getting and i thank lisko, everybody is for getting the libyan part of it. and that the european union, especially britain and france, intervened. and they helped to break libya. and our former secretary of state said you break it, you own it. and therefore, would you like some comments on why the african refugees trying to get to europe through the central -- i mean the mediterranean are getting far less attention. president obama said of the u.n., that he confessed that the intervention in libya was not handled well. but when he is increasing the refugees to come to the u.s., he doesn't mention the libyans at all. so i think there is a blind spot where the libyans are concerned and if the panel could share some thoughts on that, i would appreciate it.
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thank you. >> kathleen. >> yeah, well, of course, very few of the refugees coming through libya are libyan. they are coming from points further south in africa. the sea arrivals to italy, about a quarter are from airity rhea and another 50% from nigeria and then sudan, gambia, bangladesh, senegal and syria. so of those, all but two of those countries are sub sahara african. and many of them are not considered -- people seeking protection from many of those countries, senegal, ghana, gam bia, yes and no, are not considered to be prima fascia refugees. the countries are not at war. they are almost all -- the
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asylum approval rates are over 80% in europe. syrians over 90% and somalia and sudan esa and era treeans are among the top groups and they are regarded probably more than half get asylum. the problem with the libyan departure is that they are almost all from western libya, which is not controlled by the libbon government that we talk to but by the islamic libyan government and that coast is lawless. and we don't have the power, the europeans don't have the power, nobody so far has the power to bring order to that. so it is really the wild west, worst the wild west. and that is really the problem. i will say that the numbers coming along that route have declined, compared to last year, as opposed to the agian to
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greece where it has increased a thousand percent to last year. there is a focus on greece but there is no excuse for ignoring the central mediterranean route. >> philip. >> i think it has become much more dangerous, compared to acrossing the aegean sea is different. and when libya was still under gaud afy, many countries, including those of the european union, have sort of a deal with the guy. we have to accept that he was -- closing the sub sahara africa from refugees away, he didn't allow them to embark. now we have lawlessness and they do embark. and last year -- but they are still continuing to come over the mediterranean. i would say that -- i think that in the near future, refugees from ghana or senegal and -- have less of a chance to stay in
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europe because of the syrians. i think we'll be less generous with african refugees than we used to because of the other syrian -- the syrian, afghan and the iraqis. >> let's go to this gentleman down here in the front row and then bill. and we'll go around as fast as we can. let's take this question. >> my name is david loudoun, i'm a 40-year analyst and i have' very easy question for you. it seems that the west and europe has been forced just by sheer numbers to be reactive. how we get ahead of this power curve and address it in a humane way and for mr. gati, on the issue of conspiracy theories, one of the kpurs conspiracy -- conspiracies or talking floated
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is syria is actively supporting the egress of syrian sunnis so that, one, he gets rid of a problem, and two, he can reup - repopulate those areas with very friendly peoples. thank you. >> including the christian minorities in syria, by the way. >> go ahead. >> well conspiracy theories are absolutely all over the place. there is no day when i could not read a new one. what you mentioned is just one of them. it is a habit in russia and in eastern europe to look under the rug and look for a reason other than the one that is given. now, many times this is true, i don't deny that. i also work for the u.s. government so i have some idea about what is going on as opposed to what is being said.
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so not all of these are fantasies. but the one that you mentioned and the one i refer to obvious will false and actually are ridiculous. if i may, jim, i would like to make a comment about the previous question about the holocaust. >> sure. >> because it is a very important question in eastern europe and in hungary. for a while germany has come to terms with its role and acknowledged the horrors that it brought to the world. some of its world war ii supporters have not admitted any responsibility whatsoever. in fact, they say they too were victims. so in hungary, for example there is a new statue right in the middle of the city which i saw, which makes no distinction between -- between the almost 600,000 jews killed with
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hungarian assistance during world war ii on the one hand and hungarians who were invaded by german on march 19, 1944. bringing them together, in itse itself, is an outrage. because they were willing, as the title of a different kind of book said, they were willing executioners and the hungarian participation in the deprivation of the jews was extensive. comparable to what the germans were doing. so if you don't come to terms with what you did, then, of course, your response to the new immigrants, the refugees, the people who look for a better life, will obviously be altogether different. and hungary is not alone in this respect. and of course anti-semitism is
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pervasive. >> let's go to the lady in the front row. and there is a microphone coming, i think. >> martin rabbetic, i was teaching european union classes in europe and i'm originally fromco croatia. and i think this is i've seen the refugees and i think there is actually a lot of sympathy in those countries, like croatia and serbia and mass he hadonia about the refugee flows because we went through this. but the refugees, during the wars of 1990s. but the refugee flows, the migrant flows, are rather different than what we've seen in the 1990s. we saw women and kids and people unhappy leaving their homes and hoping to come back. now we see 70% of young men of fighting age and 15% women and
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15% of kids. and most of these people are not even interested in asylum in any of these so-called safe countries. through the economic country like greece, like slovenia and croatia. they started rioting. they burned tents because they want to get to germany as soon as possible. and they cross through several safe countries and understand they are fleeing the life of despair. and there was a lot of sympathy for this -- for their plight. but my question to you is, how -- to miss new laland, how you see the situation because i think it might endanger the current refugee protection because of this confusion between what is a migrant and what is a refugee and how do you treat in this situation a
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refugee migrant. because you can return a refugee to other countries. and just if i may say to mr. ackemman, i understand about european solidarity and all of this, but i think the problem within europe is that many see that -- and this is not just part of eastern europe, this crisis was partly triggered by german policy of suspending european mechanisms for asylum. and that therefore dublin and others -- and therefore was tl was a rush to get to germany before it closed its borders. so how do you foresee the future? because this migrant flow has exposed the bulk an countries and there is pressure to put a limit to the number of refugees,
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especially from bavarian places. how do you see the future of german policy. >> i knew dublin would come up eventually. and the whole issue of moral hazard. so who would like to start? >> you raised some very good questions. and think you've articulated some of the contradictions that are inherent in -- among e.u. countries where people want to go to germany or sweden because they are economically vibrant and they don't want to stay in eastern europe. and they want to go into a welcoming country. people don't want to stay in hungary because they are hostile to refugees. so, you know, the unwillingness to accept refugees on the part of many -- of the e.u. members that reinforced this dilemma where there are only a few countries that are seen as welcoming. and refugees are rational
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people, and they want to be able to earn a living. on the subject that 70% is a young man. this is very often a house hold decision to send the young men because they are seen to be heartier, more likely to -- more willing and more to take the risk and survive the journey and there is hope for family unity. also more likely to be able to work and send money back to the family. so that is a -- again, that is a rational household decision. it is not that these young men are saying i'm going to leave the women and children behind and go out on my own. they are doing what they think is best for their families. 92% of the refugees in europe say they want to go back to syria as soon as possible. now, you know, they may change their minds if the moment comes. but at this point, that is their objective. and i think that possibilities for temporary protection are probably one of the things that will come on the menu as it was in the case of the bulkan
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refugees in germany in the '90s. and if i could say one more thing, jim, i mentioned at the end of my opening remarks about the need to open alternative legal channels for people to move. and unfortunately what we're seeing now and as philip alluded to, is european countries are going in it the opposite direction. they are probably cutting down on labor migration because they could fill the labor needs from among the refugee populations. they have -- they are cracking down on family reunification because they feel overwhelmed. this will just feed into the illegal movements over time. so, you know, something has got to crack that point. >> philip, do you want to add something. >> the future of german politics is a long question but i'm confident, so let me tell you. it is not going to break down. but if i think aloud here, the argument that the germans
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invited them, this is a cynical argument and i think flat out think it is a wrong argument. and that being -- and i've said that at the very beginning, these people are desperate. they flee their home because they don't see any future the home. it is not that we have an invitation extended to syrians saying please come to germany and we are happy to provide you with a house and a job and a mercedes car, no. this is not the case. they sleep in shelters and they -- on the ground. and they are in very, very difficult circumstances. and you know what, it is not a secret that these people know exactly through their smartphones what is going to be expected of them. so i think that if people are despera desperate, they find their way. and in a way, refugee moves are like water. when you put one border up, they find other ways. and the dublin system, which you alluded to, is very good for
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germany. because in this system, nobody has the right to come to germany. they must stay in croatia, for example. because the first -- >> could you just explain the dublin. >> they agree, whichever coast they come. i think greece -- i think they are overwhelmed are millions of refugees. it is a very fragile country. the fact that the -- the dublin system is when the first country in the european union, you set foot on, is the country that you seek asylum. you ask for asylum. and this is the country that has to decide and you have to stay in this country. now the germans never said openly that the rule applies. they did it in fact. and factuly they set the rule. and that is, i think, very good for very many countries on the road to germany, including croatia. >> how many of the refugees were staying in greece and italy before this? >> well italy, more than in greece. but greece -- i think we have all seen what greece is going through right now and nobody
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wants greece to falter because of refugee -- a bomb being placed on them. and i think of course there is an avalanche effect. it is clear that people are following the ones who -- but don't get the wrong idea that refugees in germany are welcomed with open arms and get wonderful flats right away. they are in a very, very difficult situation. and they know it. they know it. they are not -- they well aware of what is expected of them. so i think that these invitation argument is particularly cynical because it belittles the refugees that flee out of despair. they are desperate and that is the reason why they are there. >> and it gets the countries that are saying no refugees here off the hook. oh, they all want to go to germany. >> just be patient. i'm going to go around. >> may i say something. >> yes. i think we still have quite a bit of time.
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just hold on to you, i'll get to you as quickly as i could. you want to add something quickly. >> two complications. one is that it is somewhat misleading to talk about countries as if they were all good or all bad. it's very important to keep in mind, we are talking about majorities and my point is they do differ from country to country. very complicated. even germany, which i have spent considerable time praising today. the coalition partners, csu, is fighting merkel on this, but welcomed victor or band in baf area. he is their hero. and even in germany there is an issue there. and the hungarians. >> but we know americans are unified an all of these issues. >> right. exactly. that is a very good point to keep in mind.
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but even the hungarians, i saw many civil organizations and individuals handing out blankets and bringing food and whatever. and they are a reasonably poor country. and they were going out of their way to be helpful. the other complication is the refugees all want to go to germany. they don't want to go to lithuania. >> and how do you send somebody where they don't want to go. >> so how do you do this? >> i don't have the answer. but it is an important question to keep in mind. >> but if lithuania made itself more welcoming, i think that would change. >> i think in the middle and we'll get to you in a moment. bill is in the middle here. right there. >> philip -- >> speak in the microphone, bill. >> you mentioned the fact that
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germany has already received 700,000 out of the extraordinary figure of 800,000. but there is an enormous reservoir of potential refugees in turkey, in lebanon, in jordan and of course displaced syrians who are, i suppose, in even more retched camps than they are elsewhere. and this must come to many more millions. what is the situation for handling this? some of the countries in europe, for example, haven't done anything. the one -- i haven't heard anything about france, which is the second biggest country in europe. i think that francois hollande has made nice noises but i haven't heard in policy. >> there is probably a reason for that. >> what can be done now or in,
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l let's say, in the next two years, to them this in the countries where these people are and possibly move toward some sort of political situation so this 92% who would like to go back would at least consider going back. >> okay. that issa tough question. would would you like to take it on. philip? >> leaving one's home is i think a huge decision. i mean, we have seen that in -- during the war and after the war. that leaving home is an emotional and extremely strong feeling. so i'm not surprised that so many people want to go back because syria is still their home. and some might. but if you ask me what to do. 12 milli 12 million syrians are refugees right now. more than half of the population. 2 million in turk ey. and one point something more. >> it is four and seven. >> you are betting on that.
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but so the remedy is to stop the conflict in syria. that is the remedy. try everything we could to try to stop the war in syria. and let me say, at this table, that this administration is really showing effort and strength here. i mean, we see your secretary of state doing the utmost to try to come to a solution. and doing also very original things. the fact that he brought the iranian and the saudi arabia foreign minister together in vienna is a huge step forward. that doesn't mean we are close to a solution here. but i think we've seen new diplomatic momentum here and i think we should take care of it. but the only remedy to this terrible crisis is stop the war in syria. >> and to show you how people -- how desperate the refugees in the surrounding countries are, people are already going back to syria from jordan and from lebanon. and before the russian bombing
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campaign started, they were going back and in considerable numbers. the number of refugees in jordan are dropping because people are going back to syria or leave fogging for europe. fewer are going back to syria because the conflict has intensified. that is how bad people want to go back, while the war is still going on. people want to go back to the countries, which i find extraordinary. >> there is a man on this edge that has been patient. >> and the lady down in front here. i can't see her. >> my name is henry prekt. if the remedy is diplomacy in syria, why isn't there more activity in europe to produce some kind of result in syria? why isn't there more military engagement in iraq or afghanistan to try to calm those places? why aren't there more aid programs to stem the flow of
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others who are coming to -- why is the question merely short-term, why aren't we doing long-term thinking? >> that is a really good question. well era trey will not accept aid. i think they are just fine. and that is not -- that is not a conflict or a development problem, it is a repression problem. it is a problem of force conscription which is in effect forced labor. in other countries, i think the answer is we don't know how to do development effectively. there is government issues that are beyond the donor's ability to fix. there are, you know, just massive obstacles to development and development tends to be self--starting so i don't think -- more aid -- i would advocate for it strongly but it
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is not -- in itself, it won't solve the problem. nor i think is military intervention. >> just a sentence, back in the 1990s i served as a senior member of the policy planning staff. mind the title, policy planning staff of the department of state and i can tell you catagorically, there is no such thing as long-term planning. period. >> let's come down here to the front to the lady in the front that has been patient and then to the back over here and this gentleman. >> thanks. i'm a congressional journalist and i cover law. and you are immigration law, and you are right, these -- the migrants do not have the right to invade another country's borders but there is such deep compassion and almost political correctness it seems that we're not allowed to use rhetoric that would reflect laws.
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but i think -- as here in the united states, we have to look at the poll factor as -- the pull factor as well as the push factors. and definitely, it seems that when the migrants are rescued and brought to europe, that is a great reward for their efforts. and so i was in albania a couple of years ago. it is a very sparsely populated country. it is half christian, half muslim. they want very much to engender good will with the european union. they are developing the coastline in greece. why don't we -- why doesn't europe take advantage of countries like kosovo, pay them huge amounts of money, that would allow them to accept and settle at least temporarily many of these muslim refugees and not be rewarded by coming to europe? >> okay.
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all right. anyone want to tackle that one? >> let me just answer this very quickly because until summer of this year, the biggest number of asylum seekers in germany came from kosovo and albania. so that explains where we stand here. i think these are not countries who deem themselves in a position to do that. >> i think they are not getting asylum. >> no, they are all sent back. now they are all sent back because of the other -- but i think -- and kathleen referred to that earlier. i think we are living in a more and more globalized world. there are push and pull factor. american universities are pull factors. a lot of german and russian scientists go to american universities. it is a brain drain. and when people from ghana and senegal think their life is better than in their home state, they are taking the risk and the
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opportunity. frankly, i don't blame them for that. i can't blame them for that. it is possible they will be sent back, because they are not asylum-seekers. but in this globalized world of information exchanged so quickly, we have to come to terms with the fact that mobility is a huge, huge problem or a huge factor that influences our societies. and could only say, you know, america is the best example. the more open a society is, the more reason to believe it will survive. >> good point. let's just keep going around. i want to get a couple of questions here and then i'll come over to you. so the gentleman and then the lady here and this lady. >> i'm dean pinalas. i was an international judge in kosovo and i would second what the ambassador said about the lack of capacity to handle of the refugees. but that is not the point i want
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to make. so far the european countries have absorbed 100% of the burden to their credit. my question is, do any of you think that the arab states, saudi arabia, the very wealthy gulf states, have any obligation to step up to the plate? and i was particularly struck by the irony several weeks ago when saudi arabia hosted the annual haj. now of course it was a catastrophe during the haj. but it struck me that saudi arabia has the infrastructure and the ability to handle millions of people at the same time and i'm curious as to whether there is any justification for saudi arabia not taking on any of the obligation and perhaps it is the tire some sunni-shiite divide.
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but when you look at europe, it is historically christian but europe is welcoming people of the -- of the muslim faith, which is a wonderful thing. so why can't the other folks in the gulf step up? >> because they are all sitting on powder kegs. as you know very well, with their own domestic politics. apart from saudi arabia, which is a big country. the other gulf states have tiny populations. they have as much as 75% of that population composed of immigrants. so i think -- and hundreds of thousands of syrians live and work in the gulf states. many middle class and wealthy syrians have fled from syria to dubai, to abu dhabi and other places in the gulf. they are not there as refugees, which means that they lack
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the -- you know, the right of nonreforma. but they are living and working as syrians in the gulf states. none of the gulf states are signatory of the refugee convention. they don't have the refugee laws. there is no legal status of a refugee in any of the gulf states. which is not excusing them. but explaining what the situation is. so you have a lot of syrians in the gulf. they are not there as refugees. i think the call to account of the gulf states is much more on fuelling the conflicts than on not taking refugees. >> can i add -- i think you would be surprised how little people want to go to these countries. i have served in the arab world and i know that these rich arab countries are hugely unpopular among the other arab countries. and think there is a -- and there is a sort of -- whether it
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is correct or not, i'm not to judge, but there is a general feeling once they are in saudi arabia, they would be treated as persons second or third class, not having the same access to provisions by the government or something. so i think if you ask the majority of syrians, they will say i would rather go to europe. >> let's go to the lady in the back and then we'll come back to you. right back here. >> thank you. i wanted to go back to the question of the u.s. role in the european refugee crisis. i have worked in resettlement through the international rescue committee for a few years and i would like to know what are we doing to bolster resettlement programs to better prepare them for a potential larger surge if we are advocating for more -- the u.s. to take in more refugees, especially syrian refugees? >> well, it's -- um, as i said
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before, theresy strong add -- there is a strong advocacy effort, which the international community is part to take more rfrgs in particular and more refugees in general. and the u.s. government has, you know, upped the resettlement ceiling from 70,000 last year to 85,000 this fiscal year. and aiming for 100,000 next year. it is still a drop in the bucket. absolutely a drop in the bucket. and the resource implications are considerable. just the vetting selection, reception and placement, which does support the less than a year for the re-settled refugees comes to the order of something about $10,000 a person. partly because we make our procedures so complicated. but so if we take an extra 10,000 refugees that is $100 million, that is serious money. so there really has to be a
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consensus and a willingness on the part of congress to deal with the funds or other ways of dealing with this. the canadians have a private sponsorship programs in which private citizens support refugees and would you love to see that happen here. i think there is a tremendous willingness on the part of the u.s. public to do it and we have done similar things in the past. but we would have to really -- there would have to be a serious effort to streamline procedures, particularly the security procedures which we put people through four different levels of security screening. there is such risk aversion and paranoia about the idea that in my view, quite silly idea, that terrorists would use this heavily scrutinized channel to enter the united states. just as an aside, since we've ramped up security procedures we've re-seted 784,000 rfrgs and
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there have been three arrests for terrorism related activit s activities, none of which came anywhere near completion. so there would have to be a reform of the situation. we've done it. rere-settled 280,000 people in one year from vietnam. and if there is a will, there is a way. but there have to be resources. >> charles? >> i realize that was a different time and different circumstances. but i would like to remind here that in 1957, 1956, 1957, when i was refugee, the quota was 3000 or 4,000 and that was filled in practically in minutes in 1956 in vienna. and president eisenhower went to congress and asked for a special quota of 44,000. and that was approved in a few days by congress, that is rather
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different from the one that we now have today. and so as a result, i was able to come here. i realize there was the cold war. the circumstances were very different. but still, this is a different america. that is my response to your question. >> the lady here has been very patient. >> i'm christina stal brand. >> could you speak in the microphone. >> i want to thank the panel for showing this intricate problem that is complex. i'm wondering if we could have each person on the panel say something about what you mentioned, mr. hollifield, at the beginning, about the goal of the wilson center to bring forth actionable ideas and mr. acerman suggested we try to end the war in syria. and mr. gati gave a comment about the woeful inability we have to do any long-range planning. those comments notwithstanding,
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could you -- suggest there might be any actionable ideas. >> that is a suburb question to end the panel and take one final round ever comments from the panelists and this would give you time to talk to and interact with the panel individually. but i think that is an excellent question. i i mean, you know -- i mean, you know, we brought the -- george w. bush presidential library to smu where i teach and president bush said he wanted not a think tank but an action tack. he wants action. let's come up with ideas and put them into action. we could make bad jokes about this. let's not go there. but what are we going to do. what are the europeans going to. the dublin system, is broken. it hasn't worked for decades. and what is the new policy going to look like. if you were asked to design the policy for the commission and build a consensus, what would it
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be. >> that is a different question. we started with it is not -- i would say that -- that europe would try to sit down and try to develop asylum and welcoming refugee policy that is equally distributed according to some parameters that had to be developed. at the end of the day, the refugee perhaps would not have the right to decide in which country he or she is going to be sent. but at the end of day, every rfrg could be assure -- fg could be assured, if he was sent to the -- to the north like astonia or the far west, he would have a decent living in the circumstances. that would be great to have such a general policy. we are far from that, unfortunately. i think it will not be imminent.
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but that would be a policy, i think, that -- that could cope with crisis like we are facing. >> okay. good try. charles. >> my answer is not -- it has little to do with the immediate issue at hand but in the longer run i think it is essential for the european union to work out procedures to penalize members who are not cooperative and who -- who go far away from the central purposes and standards and spirit of the european union. such measures are not only -- that they don't exist, but even those that do exist could not be applied because if you penalize austria as they try to do 15 years ago, they every other country in the union will believe if they vote for that,
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next time around they could get the -- the bad treatment. this is the same with hungary today. especially because it is a member of the epp group and so therefore it is impossible, short of expelling the country, to apply any serious measures. this way the european union, i believe, will face more and more difficulties unless it changes this, which is not going to be very easy. >> captain lisko, you want to get in on this. >> sure. you bet. as far as actionable ideas and what we're doing. i think the coast guard will continue to do what we do well, which is subject matter, expert exchanges on search and rescue and on border officer training and on how to do things safely in areas such as evidence collection and investigative techniques. we're working with department of
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homeland security agencies and some of our european counterparts now doing that. in malta, we partner with the armed forced of malta there, their search and rescue training center where it prides itself on bringing neighboring countries in for, say, a one-month-long search and rescue coordinating class. so i've taught at this school, and we've had algerian and tunisian officers in class for a month. now they're learning how to properly execute search and rescue operations. that's half of it. the other half is that socialization outside of the classroom, getting to know your neighbors. because the, the international maritime organization and the search and rescue system encourages collaborative agreements with your neighboring countries so that it will lead to a more effective and timely search and rescue response. so i, i would say continuing to do the things we do well, search
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and rescue, maritime law enforcement at sea and working with our north african and southern european partners >> yeah, that is definitely actionable and something the u.s. can contribute in a concrete way. kathleen? >> and it's one of the few bright spots in this whole picture. it's that kind of cooperation that has brought down the death rates and saved hundreds of thousands of people. i'm trying to think how to be brief on this, because the migration policy institute has an entire program of work on exactly that subject. and we are investigating things like legal channels for mobility for refugees and other forced migrants. it's not so easy to draw a bright line between refugees and migrants as those legal categories imply. so opening opportunity through education and training opportunities for refugees in countries of first asylum, in
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countries of destination for migrants and their countries of origin. using technology is something that we are way behind on. there's a great deal more i believe that could be done. 80% of refugees have access to a smartphone, to a mobile phone. and 40% to a smartphone. i mean, that's one of the real transformations of this whole flow, and we should be able to use that technology in more productive ways. i think more generous attitudes to family reunification. it is a key to successful integration of refugees and migrants, and drawing in diaspora communities where people already have ties and have established themselves is an important aspect of that. i mentioned private sponsorship. i think it's important to develop a long-term prospect on
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this. get away from the exclusively of emergency response, which is hard at a time like this. but when things calm down a little, we tend to put it aside and not plan for the next crisis. and we need global solidarity in this. this is not just in the eastern problem, it's not just a european problem. the united states needs to step up to the plate. but so does brazil and thailand and other countries around the world need to be part of a comprehensive way of dealing with these global crises. and i finally think it's really important to bring in the private sector, which is a lot better at channeling flows and logistics and employment and all of these issues, a lot better than governments are at dealing with that, so the private sector and civil society need to be brought into that global compact. and go to migration policy.org for more and more and more than you can bear on this. >> i think it is safe to say
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that we've had a very intense and enlightened discussion here, that all of you who came have learned something today. i hope you will take this back to your workplace and think about it. and let's keep solidarity with the europeans, with our middle eastern friends who are coping with these crises. and just try to keep hope alive i guess would be the way i would put it. so let's thank the panelists. [ applause ] >> if you want, you can come up and talk with them. saturday night on c-span, a debate about marijuana legalization in colorado. with mason tiffert.
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that's at 8:30 eastern time on c-span. c-span has the best access to congress. watch live coverage of the house on c-span and the senate on c-span 2. watch us online or on your phone at c-span.org. listen live anytime on our c-span radio app. get best access from behind the scenes by follow c-span and our reporter online on twitter, stay with c-span, c-span.org for your best access to congress. testifying before the house financial services committee this week, federal reserve janet yellen said the u.s. economy is performing well and that an interest rate hike was possible in december. the hearing focussed on the fed's regulatory powers under the dodd frank act. this hearing is about three
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hours. the committee will come to order. without objection the chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time. testimony on the federal reserve supervision and regulation of the financial system. i now recognize myself for three minutes to give an opening statement. dodd-frank act requires the federal reserve's vice chair of supervision to testify before our committee twice a year regarding the fed's supervision and regulation of financial institutions. regrettably five years after the passage, no such person exists. president obama has been either unwilling or unable to follow the law and appoint a vice chair. we can no longer wait for the president to his job so that we can be allowed to do ours. thus chair yellen appears before us today in substitution.
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as we know, dodd-frank award the fed with wide sweeping powers. under dodd-frank, the fed can now functionally control virtually every major corner of the financial services sector of our economy. separate and apart from its traditional monetary policy authority. disturbingly the fed does so as part of a shadow regulatory system that is neither transparent nor accountable to the american people. simply put, the fed must not be allowed to shield its vast regulatory activities from the american people and congressional oversight by improperly cloaking them behind its traditional monetary policy independence. this is a vitally important point. what is clear is that despite the largest monetary stimulus in our nation's history, middle income families aren't getting ahead and the poor and working class are following further behind. preliminary third quarter gdp growth is coming in at an anemic 1.5%.
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our economy for seven years has limped along at about half the post war average. that means every man, woman and child is thousands of dollars poorer than they should be and millions could be fully employed who are not. trillions of dollars in capital that could fuel robust economic growth instead remain sidelined due to a regulatory tsunami, much of it dictated by dodd-frank and promulgated by the federal reserve. thus serious questions must be asked. why isn't the fed subject to statutory cost benefit analysis. why has the fed yet to find any connection between its volcker rule or any other rule in the precipitous drop in bond market liquidity? why do the fed's stress tests resemble in the words of a columbia professor a kabuki drama in which regulators punish banks for failing to meet standards that are never stated either in advance or after the fact?
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combining the lack of transparency with the new regulatory authority is a dangerous mix. it is a threat to economic growth, not to mention the principles of due process, checks and balances and the rule of law. if we're not careful, our central bankers will soon become our central planners. fortunately the house will soon have the opportunity to reform the fed and make it more transparent with the federal oversight reform and modernization act offered by our colleague and approved by this committee. i now yield five minutes to the ranking member for an opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing and thanks for federal reserve chairman yellen for make herself available. the 2008 financial crisis inflicted staggering damage to our economy. within the months before president obama took over,
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employers shedded more than 800,000 jobs a month, unemployment topping 10%, home foreclosures displacing millions of families and entire industries on the brink of collapse. congress responded to this devastation by passing the most comprehensive overhaul of our financial system since the great depression, the dodd-frank wall street reform and consumer protection act. the act entrusted significant responsibility to the federal reserve and directed the fed to improve its supervisory program so that another crisis of such scope and debt would never happen again. recognizing that the federal reserve failed to apply appropriate credential standards to large banks, congress directed the fed to impose enhance requirements for capital, liquidity, resolution planning and other factors to ensure that no large bank or group of banks could again endanger our economy. i'm eager to hear from chair

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