tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN May 16, 2016 6:19pm-7:01pm EDT
>> well, you can't expect the emergence of a democratic system in a society that's been awe authoritarian for the entire term of its existence unless you have stability. so you should not expect it to happen if by your actions you are going to eliminate the stability that exists. >> i agree. >> it's important to stress governance as part of the approach to these problems. essentially the situation in iraq is in many ways under scores the point. situation in iraq arose because the malaki government was awe authoritarian and wasn't inclusi inclusive. we had a governance failure in the deterioration. i'm very worried about iraq today.
in terms of our military effort. serious progress. we have a looming governance crisis in my judgment. the body instincts are in the right direction. we have serious pressure on this situation. under scoring the importance of governance in a situation like iraq. this is an important piece of our strategy going forward. >> thank you very much. senator rand paul? >> secretary baker, i enjoyed your testimony, particularly the discussion of ideas of selective engagement and the talk of regime change. the president has now admitted really that it was a mistake to topple gadhafi in libya. he said it was a mistake not to put massive resources and create a nation in libya. there are a couple of possibilities. maybe you shouldn't do it to begin with and then we do it and
we have massive resources and create nations. the question is how do we create democracy in the middle east? people don't realize one of the amazing things about the american revolution is we had representative government for 150 years before that. we had an 800-year tradition of it and continuity of that. we think we can blow up gadhafi and thomas jefferson will be elected. it's naive. it needs to go back to not that we have to be better prepared but the selective engagement should be this is a time we shouldn't select to militarily engage. i would like your comments with assad also. it is the same situation. the only other thing i would mix in is ultimately the solution in syria is not saying well, russia can be no part of it.
probably engaging russia on a solution to syria. >> they have to be part of it and so does iran. the idea that we could come to accommodation or agreement without having those players is ridiculous. tom, you would probably agree with that. they have to be at the table. that's what secretary kerry is trying to bring about. an agreement or negotiation that would tend to improve the situation. you're quite right in your comment about selective engagement. that's why i like the paradigm. you look at each one of these discrete, specific foreign policy problems through the prism of the national interests
and our principles and values and say to yourself, okay, if we take this action what's it going to lead to? that's the way a president should approach these things. look at where the vital national interests of the country are at stake. you might decide to go as far as the military. if you don't get to that point you still have the tools of our political economic and diplomatic engagement. >> i like the idea of the guiding principle being our vital national interests. we too quickly jump to that as a conclusion. what is in our vital national interest. i think what becomes important is congress have a role in this. our founding fathers didn't want to give all the power to the executive. >> they gave most of it to the president. i'm a creature of the executive
branch so you understand my bias. but the president has certain foreign policy powers that were given to him by the founding fathers. i'm sorry to interrupt. >> even president obama admitted no president should go to war without the authority of congress. president bush came twice for iraq and 9/11. in determining what's in our national interest we can get to what's in the national interest. that means congress has to retain some authority and that we should ask. particularly before libya. he should have asked. my guess is the debate would have been messy but gadhafi might be there still, we might have problems but not chaos. >> i agree with that, senator paul. it is always best if the legislative and executive branches are on the same wavelength when you're talking about sending our young men and women into harm's way.
president should come to congress and seek approval. we had a democratic senate. it was unpopular to do what we were continuing to do. the only way we got approval of congress was to go first to the security council of the u.n. and get a use of force resolution by them. still, president bush took the matter to the congress -- president bush 41. had congress turned him down i think he would have done what he did. i don't think we'll ever resolve that issue of who has the power -- commander in chief or congress's ability to declare war. >> one of the exceptions granted by almost everybody on whatever side of this issue is if we are under imminent threat, if
missiles are launched obviously the commander in chief would want the poufr for imminent response. the president said it in 2007 when he ran. unless there is an imminent threat. i questioned him on libya he said, yes, there was an imminent threat to benghazi. i was perplexed by the answer. i thought imminent threat was to the united states not a foreign city. if we make the standard that an imminent threat to any city around the world would be okay for the president to unilater unilaterally begin a war i think that would be a standard that would be absurd. wouldn't it be to the united states or a military base of ours or some asset of ours? >> well, yes. if you look at article 51 of the u.n. charter it says any country that feels they need assistance can call on another member state to assist them. that's what happened when we went into kuwait to kick iraq
out. it wasn't an imminent threat to the united states. there was no threat to the united states at all. you know, the surest and best test of a great power is if you have to act unilateral ly you d so. always best to act multilaterally. that's the best test of power. we went into panama with nobody's consent. they were brutalizing our servicemen. we invaded, grabbed noriega and brought him to the united states. there are circumstances when that's appropriate. on balance it is always better for the executive and legislative to be in synch and iffer the united states to act with allies. >> thank you. i hope it would be more likely to be the exception than the rule. >> i would add a couple of
things. in the analysis, as secretary baker said, there are a lot of policy options between an invasion and doing nothing. right? that has to be part of the analysis as you measure up how your interests are implicated and match them with the activities you undertake. number two, i agree with respect to syria. a political solution there is first best and we are working on that with the russians specifically. third, it is important and we talk about governance and a lot of other things that we need to do as a nation. it is important to understand that we have a really serious security problem with isis. we will not settle the problem at a peace conference. the united states is going to have to lead an effort to eliminate that threat. it will be through force, unfortunately. last, i agree with secretary baker.
it obligates us to act with force sometimes if necessary. >> the only response is with regard to isis, we have to ask the question. are they bigger and stronger because of pushing assad back creating space for allowing them to grow or would they be less likely to be a threat if assad were still stronger? >> i might have my first intersection. i don't think we should have done in libya. i opposed it. the president used a very cute "we weren't involved in hostilities" moment to do that. we were way too quick to over throw a long term ally in egypt. where i thought senator paul may go is when you do selectively end up engaging in war, secretary baker, what's the best way to ensure that you are successful? >> well, i'm biased.
i would submit, mr. chairman, that a textbook example of the way to go to war is the way president bush 41 went to war in the first gulf war. he told the world what he was going to do. he then went out and got the rest of the world behind his effort to do it to the extent that for the first time ever he was able to get a use of force resolution out of a u.n. security council against a u.n. member state. he then came up here on the hill and -- very unpopular at the time, but he narrowly got a vote of the senate by 52-48 supporting it and a vote of the house by a larger margin. he went out and put overwhelming force on the ground to make sure what he was going to do would be successful. he went in. he did exactly what he said he was going to do and no more. did not go to baghdad the way a lot of people were pushing on him to do. and won the war and whatever it
was -- a few weeks. with at the time minimal casualties. and then guess what. he got other people to pay for the war. that's the way to fight a war. that war cost $70 million. the united states paid -- i'm sorry, $70 billion. the united states paid $10 billion. the people who we were helping paid the balance. i submit to you that's the way to go to war. when you undertake that effort you have to have the forces available necessary to get the job done, get it done. do that and no more, come on home. >> thank you very much. senator mendez. >> i appreciate you having the hearing so we can have a 30,000 foot view of american foreign policy and a chance to reflect on where we are and where we are potentially headed. i appreciate secretary baker and security adviser donalin for
being here. i think you both have seen american foreign policy and its challenges from both sides of the last quarter century, p pre and post september 11th. we know the developments that led us to where we are and the importance of ensuring that foreign policy is exhibited by both of you at the table and at the water's edge. when we came back over labor day and drafted and passed an authorization that gave president obama a credible option as he went to the g-20 summit to get russia to engage assad and stop the use of chemical weapons against his own people. that was a high water mark for the committee in terms of its
abilities. we acted in the spirit of bipartisanship that's incredibly important. i want to hear your perceptions. from my view at the core of the foreign policy debate unfolding today is the principle and sum iteration of intervention. aggressive intervention without clear goals, particularly in the view of the aftermath of secretary baker has suggested. has led us to wars that have destabilized entire regions and cost us immeasurable blood and national treasure. intervention without the credible threat of consequences whether they are diplomatic, economic or military influence our ability to shape the world. isolationism is a dangerous new view emerging in the presidential debates. only in my view will create the type of permissive environment in which our enemies will thrive because history taught us time and again that nature abhors a
vacuum. what would fill the vacuum of a decreased u.s. role in the world is an incredibly dangerous question. so i see that secretary baker in his team fore shadowed what he called the end of a unipolar era and you discounted the idea that america is in decline. as i travel the world i get the perception around the world that the united states is stepping back from its role as the last super power. whether that's true or not it is a dangerous perception that emboldened our enemies. if the current political discourse is the standard by which we ought to judge the differences in the views, i worry. i certainly cannot believe that building walls, deporting religious and ethnic norths, returning to nor temperature or worse or disarming the world of nuclear weapons is a course that we see as the best for the united states.
frankly, the idea of burden-shifting remains equally perplexing to me in a world where the burden is on us to protect our own interests and project our values. so i wonder if both of you -- and i look at the rhoads profile and i don't know how much truth there is in that, but it certainly worries me that messaging is sometimes more important than substance and the nature of those who speak to the american people create a misperception or a misleading that i personally never bought into but i worry about it. so in the context of that, i wonder if you both would share your views as to a foreign policy of shifting burden to other nations? that doesn't mean responsible sharing of burdens, but the shifting of burdens to other
nations. does that not create a potential for the loss of influence in the world? what's the role in the prague ma tick view of democracy, human rights and the rule of law? sometimes i think we short-change that because in the pragmatic short term process it creates a potential benefit. in the long-term process, we often let situationsfester that become bigger problems. what about the international order? in the post world war and cold war we came to view certain internationaled standards which the world could come together on and agree and violation would create consequences. is that concept of international orders in which we can expect other countries to join with us in enforcing those international orders and having consequences
when those international values and standards are violated. i would like to hear your perspective on those. >> want me to go? >> sure. >> senator, i don't think it is unreasonable for the united states, given our track record to ask our allies particularly to live up to their commitments, for instance, to spend 2% of their gdp on defense. so nato is strong and nato remains the most successful security alliance in history which i happen to believe it has been. so i don't think there is anything wrong with that at all. the fact of the matter is, as tom donalin has said, the biggest challenge facing the
country today or the biggest foreign policy challenge or any challenge is our economy. you cannot be strong economically politically. if you are not strong militarily if not economically. in the first term president obama asked me and a couple of other people, what is the biggest -- what should be my number one priority? i think you were there. i said, mr. president, in my view, your number one priority -- i think he thought i was going to come back with iran or north korea or something. having been a secretary of state. i have also been secretary of the treasury. i said, mr. president, your biggest number one priority ought to be the restoration of our economic strength. i still believe that. i still believe that we will not be able to do what we need to do around the world. we will not be able to remain this uniquely preeminent world power, we will not be able to
continue to lead internationally if our economy doesn't remain strong. i mean back the way it used to be in terms of growth. we are not there. so that's one thing we have to do. well, to the extent that we bear an undue share of the burden of stability and peace in the world, that's not fair for american taxpayers. not fair for american people. i don't think there is anything at all wrong with saying that more of the burden ought to be shared by particularly our allies. i don't think that's going to take us down the wrong road. of course our foreign policy should always be informed by our principles and values. democracy and the promotion of democracy and free markets. but we have to be smart about how we do it. i believe that it's not -- it is
certainly not unreasonable for us to say to the people that we have been carrying the load for, hey, it's time for you to come in here and help carry this load. >> just to clarify, i wasn't talking about nato. by burden shifting i'm not talking about just the monetary elements but taking regions like the middle east and saying largely -- >> taking leadership -- well, you know, that hasn't worked out that well in my experience. i remember when i was secretary of state and we were dealing with the end of the cold war, the madrid peace conference, the war in iraq, war in panama. the unification of germany. and things began to fall apart in yugoslavia and our european allies said we want the leadership here. we said, please, have at it. we have had more than enough on our plate. we turned it over to them. they split like a covey of
quail. they all went their own way. sometimes that doesn't, wo. sometimes you need leadership from the uniquely preeminent power in the world. people appreciate it when america leads. they carp at us. there is resentment, jealousy. but they want to see us lead and they appreciate it when we do. >> it's interesting. on that point, a couple of things. the burden of leadership and pursuing our interests in the world does require us to continue to have a presence around the world. that presence provides deterrence which is short of conflict which is where we want to be. the presence provides reassurance to allies and friends around the world. that presence, for example, in northeast asia an example of that with respect to the nuclear umbrella is critical in terms of preserving the norms on nonproliferation on the nuclear
side. we do have an i are reducible demand, i think, for our presence in investment around the world. the demand signal for u.s. leadership is increasing, not decreasing around the world. it's important for us to meet that demand signal. they have a lot of tools in the toolbox to talk about during the course of the hearing. one is deterrents and presence and various guarantees we can give. also, you know, coalitions that do things like put sanctions on. iran is a good example. you are more familiar with this than anybody. with your help and the help of the congress we had a successful sanctions effort with respect to pressuring iran to come to the table and leading to an agreement with respect to their nuclear capability. but that coalition building, hard work over time was an important part of it. it would not have happened without u.s. leadership.
without u.s. leadership. we will not provide the reassurance. they will not be global trade agreements without u.s. leadership. it is the burden we bear as the most important country in the world. a fair assessment of our balance sheet, of strategic assets and liability lead us to believe with the right policies, choices in leadership we will continue to be the most powerful and influential in the world to come. >> thank you both. on this line, people around the country are looking at our own economic struggles at home. both in treasure and in lives. people coming back wounded and so forth. why doesn't everyone else do more? why are we committed? why are we 70, 60 years after the end of the second world war still engaged in providing
defensive assistance to japan and south korea? why do we need nato? they are rich countries. they should pay for their own defense. i would ask you to describe a world in which nato lost its way or perhaps disint fwr integrati where japan and south korea lost u.s. commitment. what would the world look like? what would the strategic environment look like in asia for example if the u.s. nuclear umbrella no longer covered japan and south korea and what would the world look like substantially diminished. >> it would be far less stable. you would have many more. we have a lot of problems today. we should have a lot more if that were the case. these commitments that we have around the world promote u.s. security. to the extent that -- you know, ever since the end of world war
ii our security alliances with japan and south korea have been the foundation and the basis for peace and stability in the pacific. nato has been the foundation and the base for peace and stability in europe and on the eurasian continent. >> some suggested why not let japan and south korea get their own nuclear weapons and let them defend themselves? >> i think -- the more countries that acquire nuclear weapons, the more instability there is going to be in the world, in my opinion. if you look at the way north korea is using its nuclear capabilities, that's all its got. that's its threat. that's its big card. it plays it. and ever since the end of world war ii, america has led the fight against the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. weapons that can kill millions and millions of people.
we ought not to abandon the fight. that would not promote stability. that would promote instability. >> senator rubeo, this is an important thought experiment and analytical exercise to think about what would happen if these norms and institutions and united states-led operations weren't there. asia, i think, as secretary baker said, for 70 years we have invested in a platform in asia on which asia's prosperity and economic development has been built. if you do the thought experiment do you see over the last three-quarters of a century the spread of democracy in asia? would you have seen prosperity? i think after that you would have seen a proliferation of nuclear weapons absent the united states' presence and the socioeconomic development has been built. nato is another example. it's been tremendously successful. we sit here and take for
granted. in some ways it is a memory problem. we take for granted that europe is stable, peaceful and prosperous. that's not the history of europe absent the kinds of institutions put in place and should never be taken for granted that these are a permanent situation absent really tending to them on a constant basis. the thought experiment you asked is a really important one. the outcomes are clear. >> it is not just a thought experiment. it's been proposed. but let me just talk about for purposes of this committee it is a thought experiment. i don't support doing that, to be clear. i want to revisit the libya and syria situation. sometimes it is misconstrued. we didn't start the uprising in libya or syria. the people stood up against assad peacefully and were met with violence and the people of libya stood up gadhafi. there is a compelling argument
that neither of those leader would have held onto power in the long term unless they did what gadhafi was going to do and what assad is doing now, that's massacre people to hold onto power. there was a valid argument that if you had foresight you would say to yourself these dictators are in trouble. the only way to hold onto power is thomo massacre people. in the middle east, chaos and instability and any part of that region is the basic ingredient necessary for islamic radical jihadists to come in and take vablg of the environment. -- advantage of the environment. it's important when we talk about the situation to remind ourselves these were not efforts by the u.s. government to go in and overthrow dictators. it is the people of the countries that stood up against them. we had to make a decision about what would be in our best interest if we were able to think three steps forward. if gadhafi had gone to benghazi and massacred people you would have seen militias take up arms,
staying in perpetuity leading to the instability we see now anyways. it is accurate to say we didn't start that. we were left to analyze what to do for our national interest. i argued at the time and continue to argue that it is in our national interest to ensure whatever resistance there was to the dictators would be made up of people more stable whom we could work with. the vacuum would be filled by the radical elements that have now filled the vacuums in the absence of our leadership. >> that's not happened, senator. >> i agree. >> yes, the people were beginning to stand up. we enabled it to happen by using our military force to go in there and remove the dictators. same thing in iraq. i don't suggest that this is not a bipartisan problem. it is a bipartisan problem. but look where we are in all three of those places -- syria,
iraq, libya. would we have been there had we not done those things? i'm not sure we would have. in fact, i don't think believe u believe assad would have crushed the rebellion against him and recaptured control of the entire country? >> i'm not sure whether that would have happened or not, but i guarantee you that i don't think that we would have a situation that we have today. you know, for years we used saddam hussein against iran. when i was secretary of state, we worked with saddam hussein. we finally ended up fighting a war with him. we worked with him trying to bring him into the community of nations but he was our buffer against the interest of renaissance iran. you know the most important country today in iraq is, not the united states with our humongous big embassy there, it's iran. most important outside power in iraq today is iran. and i don't think the libya -- i
didn't -- not my view that the libyan people were going to be able to throw gadhafi over unless we and the europeans -- of course they were the real movers -- went in and there and did it. >> sure, you would have had a conflict within that country that would have served as a magnet for radical jihadists to come in. >> more of a magnet than now with a failed state? >> sure. the same. that's the point. we should have empowered elements there potentially to provide some level of stability after the fact. that obviously didn't happen. >> we should have. >> we started the conflict. it didn't follow through. it left a vacuum filled by isis in the northern part of the country. the same is true in syria. >> we should have done that in all three of the places. >> we agree. thank you. >> thank you. senator murphy. >> thank you very -- mr. chairman, this has been fascina fascinating. thank you, both, for your time. i want to continue to probe this question of what american leadership means today and, of course, your ability to lead is
only as good as the effectiveness of the tools that are in your kit. >> yep. >> so i just want to ask some questions about whether we are today properly resourced to deal with the way in which our adversaries are trying to project their power. this is a version of the question senator cardin was asking. russia has clearly militarily invaded ukraine but its end goal i think is not to march on kiev, militarily own that country, it's to use its military power in order to politically and economically ruin that country. and it's doing all sorts of other things, whether it be bribery, intimidation, energy bullying, to try to get what it wants there. and yet all of our conversation here has largely been about whether or not we arm the ukrainians with military assets. we've had a panoply of responses but the most significant has been the deployment of two
brigades to shore up our allies. and it just seems to me as if we simply don't have the nonmilitary resources to try to play the game that the russians are playing in a place like that that we don't have the ability to offer substantial energy assistance to try to answer the question of dependence on russian oil, that we bleed out a little bit of money for anti-corruptiones anti-corruption efforts in places like kiev but don't have the ability to do that on a large scale. so in a world in which our military strength is still unchallenged, what should we be thinking about in terms of the other tools that project american power that will eventually win the day? and is the fight in ukraine an example of a place in which we maybe just don't have the influencers that we need in order to protect that country? >> well, i didn't hear you mention sanctions which are
having an effect and they're quite -- they're quite strong sanctions. and i believe they're having some significant effect on the russian economy. you know, you're talking to somebody here who drafted the budapest memorandum or at least maybe i didn't draft the actual document, but we negotiated that at the end of the cold war. the ukraine -- i was trying to get the ukrainians to get rid of their nukes, okay? they said, no, no, we don't want to get rid of our nukes. i said, what in the world in this new environment, what are you afraid of? they said we're afraid of the russians. so we said, we'll fix that, we'll get the russians to give you an ironclad guarantee that they will respect your territorial integrity and independence. and we got it. it was called budapest memorandum. look where it is. so i don't think we have an absence of tools really. i think that because we cannot act there, should not act there unilaterally, that we have to
act with our european alleys and bringing them along is a lot more difficult than acting alone. that's why we're having the difficulty we're having. we should not be -- sit back -- if you don't like what's happening in other countries roll attacks which is what russia has done here. that's outrageous. now they're around our aircraft, buzzing our ships in the baltic city. and so i think we got the tools, it's a question of whether we have the political will with the european -- european allies with use them. >> i agree. senator, i think we do have the tools and so with respect to europe, there's a nato summit coming up in july and i think it needs to be a broad look at the functions and capabilities of nato taking into account what rush scsia has been up to. essentially a multidimensional covert hybrid war effort in ukraine.
we need to ensure we have nato that has the kind of capabilities and assets it needs to push back on those kinds of threats, right? that's not tanks coming across the border. it's a different kind of threat. i think we really can make some progress on. we have cyber, i think, assets and can work with europeans as well. the energy supply in europe. indeed, our great progress here with respect to natural gas production in the united states is already promotes a diversity of supply because diversion, natural gas would otherwise come to the united states can go to europe as a way to diversity supply. i think there are efforts under way in europe to do that. we need to continue to work with the europeans on our counterterrorism efforts and i think it's really important in europe for us to complete these ttip negotiations which is importantly economic for europe and for us. so i think it's a variety of tools we have.
we have to have a multidimensional look at this european policy. but i agree with secretary baker, i think there are a number of things we can and should do to focus on the challenge, essentially the challenge from russia in -- and isis in europe. >> with my remaining time, secretary baker, could i biring you back to the middle east for a moment, a lot of discussion about the participation in the saudi led bombing campaign in yemen and worries this proxy war is going to expand to territory beyond yemen. what's your advice, and i'd be happy to get mr. donilon's advice as well on the u.s. positioning vis-a-vis this growing proxy war. should we be backing the saudis' play, in every instance should we be evaluating each conflict on its merits? >> i think we should be applying the principles of selective engagement as i said in high
opmy opening statements. some instances are going to require we be there and militarily. as a generic matter, we need to get closer if we can now to the saudis. they feel we don't have their back any longer. they've been a good ally for a long, long time. have they done things with the m medrasas? yes. we worked, democrat and republican administrations for them to come off of that behavior and come off of it substantially. they've been a good ally. they're an important ally in the region. they really feel disaffect with us now so i don't see any reason why we should not be there for them, have their back, if you will, not necessarily to the full extent of military action but i don't happen to see a problem with our trying to help them deal with the threat from
iran and the houthis in yemen. >> we need to give them our best advice with respect to the operations they is under way and we're deeply involved in doing that and we give them support for a number of these operations but we need to give them our best advice as i said. president obama last month went to riyadh to host a gcc summit. it's important for the united states to provide, i think, reassurance with respect to our partners, our partners like saudi arabia in the region. you know, it's always important to have a keen understanding of the threats that they see and that they feel and for us to really do a clear-eyed assessment of what the alternatives are as we proceed with our policy going forward. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator gardner? >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you very much for the opportunity to hear your hearings -- your testimony today. wanted to follow up a little bit on this question of energy issues and the burden that the american taxpayers are carrying
and nato and other -- other instances around the globe. secretary baker, you mentioned it's not fair to carry an undue burden of world security i think to paraphrase what you said, i don't want to put words in your mouth. i think that's the essence of what you talked about. russia, of course, reliance on energy to fill its federal coffers. we have this 2% requirement with nato in terms of what we expect, would like them to contribute to the nato alliance. but when it comes to energy and some of the other strategic vulnerabilities we see in a number of our nato allies, i look at energy as one of those key strategic vulnerabilities because of their dependence on russia. should we have policies as the u.s., nato, that would help drive some of our nato alliance members to develop further energy securities? a number of policies in europe would prohibit them from developing all of t