tv [untitled] May 16, 2016 7:01pm-8:00pm EDT
resources or not allowed by their governments or ngo actors and can the united states do more to help provide them with that to help shore up this vulnerable -- this strategic vulnerability? >> you mean by way of taking on their own restrictions? i don't know that we can do too much there. if those restrictions are imposed by their state, by their -- i don't know that the united states can do much other than through persuasion and diplomatic challenges to get them to remove the bureaucratic impediments. that's all i know we can do. you know, we've been asked to -- a lot of us have been asked to sign a letter to supporting the idea that the uk should not leave the european union, and as
a former treasury secretary and secretary of state, i was asked to sign such a letter and i declined because if i were a minister over here or president of the united states over here and foreign ministers of another country wrote me a letter saying here's what you ought to be doing with your own affairs, i would resent that. so i just said i don't think that's the proper role and i don't think it's our proper role to get into trying to change the laws of those states, internal laws of those states other than through persuasion, persuasion and diplomatic channels. >> i think there's a lot europe can do, though, with respect to advancing its energy diversitdi. they can do a lot more with respect to building on infrastructure in order to receive natural gas from other places -- other places in the world including the united states. i think they can work on a more
rational pipeline and distribution system. and we can provide advice on that and i think we should -- i disagree a little bit, i think we should be advocating for europe to take steps to diversify its energy supply and to reduce any monopoly influence that russia might have. and there's been some progress with respect to diversity. diversity. a lot more can be done. >> thank you. mr. secretary, in a speak in 2011, you said, allow me to be blunt, some of the united states, not a majority by any means but certainly vocal minority see china's rise as a threat somehow to america's international status. they believe that conflict between our two countries is inevitable as chinese ambitions clash with american position and power. ladies and gentle helmen, thes n observers are wrong. their analyses grossly
underestimate. do you believe that statement still holds today? what are our future risks? >> i do. one of the most important, biggest challenges facing american policymakers today, how we react to the rise of china has a global power. i think it's extremely important that we get it right. it's important china get it right, too, in terms of their relationship with us. there are some areas with respect to china where there can be a convergent -- where there is a convergence of interest and where we can be semi-cooperative, it seems to me, but there are plenty of areas where we're going to continue to have tensions. we're going to have tensions on human rights. we're going to have tensions on taiwan. we're going to have intentitens tibet and tensions involving the south china sea. we need to cooperate with china where we can. regional security, energy security. perhaps trade. but we need to manage the
differences that are going to exist. so cooperate where we can, manage the differences where they exist. but we will certainly need to maintain a robust -- continue to maintain a robust presence, military presence in the pacific in the form of the 7th fleet to gourd against any chiness efforts to achieve hogemeny in that part of the world. all i'm saying, it's not preordained the united states and china are going to become enemies at least in my opinion if you play our cards right. >> i want to add a little bit to that. the 7 th fleet you mentioned, freedom of navigation operations, what more should we be doing in the south china sea in addition to this question, mr. donilon, should we also be
pursuing other asymmetric actions, diplomatic channels in addition to our right of passage exercise? >> we should be doing all the diplomacy we can, absolutely but freedom of navigation is very important and we need to impress upon the chinese the danger that these activities present, particularly where you have a conflict between china and japan. japan over the senkaku islands, because we got a security treaty with japan and if they start shooting at each other over those islands, uninhabited out there, it's not going to be a gad thing f good thing for us. >> i think there's really no more serious diplomatic burden that we're going to have going forward than to manage the u.s./china relationship. >> right. >> and because of history, right, and the dynamics between a rising power and existing power, it's a raeal challenge ad needs lot of attention. again, there's a great burden on
policymakers on both sides. second, as secretary baker said, i think this will require us to continue our presence in the region. i think following through on the rebalance effort is quite important ensuring we have appropriate resources and the right balance of forces there. third, we need to make very clear, the chinese, and we have, i've spent as much time with the chinese leadership as anybody in our government the last few years to make absolutely clear we're going to retain our -- they are the basis on which we engage in the region and will continue to engage in the region. one of the great beneficiaries of our engagement over the last three quarters of a century has been china. two or three problematic areas, obvio obviously, the south china sea. principles, freedom of navigation, peaceful resolution of disputes, international law. we do that through our presence and agreement navigation exercises.
i think it's important for us to continue to press in the region for a code of conduct to be established for activities with respect to these disputed -- disputed and other areas. i think that we can press with china in dialogue and understanding that there's a real danger here of mistaken miscalculation and one that we should do everything we can to avoid. you know, my conversations with the koucount parcounterparts in government, i said we have a tremendous amount at stake here, right? and some night in the middle of the night, the middle of your day, right, we're going to get a call and have a problem around some rock formation or island, the name we don't know and can't find on the map and will be a real blow to our relationship. it's something the chinese need to think really hard about and we need to be steadfast in addressing it. the last thing i'll say as i said they opening statement, i
think we really a test of the u.s./china relationship going into next year is the north korea situation. this is the most important security challenge we have in asia, as i said in my testimony, most important proliferation challenge globally. the north koreans are proceeds headlong with respect to a missile wrap and nuclear program and at the end of the day we're going to have to take steps to protect ourselves obviously against this because it's not acceptable for any u.s. president to have the north koreans have a miniatureized nuclear weapon that can reach the united states. the number of steps we're going to take obviously going to make china strategically uncomfortable. this dialogue with china i think on this is quite urgent and real test of the relationship going forward. >> thank you, mr. donilon. >> let me echo what tom just said. i couldn't agree more with the north korean comments. . if we have a chance of getting this done sort of some sort of a military response which would be
unappealing at best, it's going to have to be with china. china's the only country in the world that's going to have any real influence on the north koreans. >> yeah, secretary baker, mr. donilon, thank year fou for tha. would love to continue this conversation with both of you about what more could be done le fact, trade has increased and not decreased. that's powerful leverage they seem to be heading the wrong direction on. >> thanks for your leadership on that effort. senator udall. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this committee has been discussing this for a long time. we've talked about sanctions. i'd like to follow up a little bit on the north crkorea part o this. you talked about how important it is that we address the issue. what steps, specifically, do you think congress should take in this conflict we have going on? and then what the executives should take.
on north korea. with what's developing there right now. >> well, i think the -- i think the executives should make it clear to the chinese leadership that this is something that we view very gravely, that it's a matter of utmost and serious concern to us. if the executive comes to the congress and asks for sanctions of any kind, i think the congress ought to respond quickly and effectively and affirmatively. because surely that's not the first response is not going to be a military one. i think we all understands that. but we're going to have to do something because as mr. donilon has said, they are racing pelmel toward nuclear capabilities that constitute a serious threat to us and to our security treaty
allies, japan and south korea. >> mr. donilon, please. >> i would go through a list of things. the resolution is a real step forward. we did this in cooperation with the chinese. there are loopholes in that sanctions with respect to coal, sales and things like that. those loopholes should be closed. my judgment on sanctions, you know, taking my experience from the iran situation, right, where, you know, we basically put together over the course of a half a decade a series of sanctions that were regime threatening ultimately. that's what brought iran to the table. and i think that should be the goal of a sanctions regime with respect to north korea, that they see it as regime threatening. the second is the congress to support the administration to continue to put in place the appropriate missile defense systems in korea. both to protect us and our allies in the region. we're moving to do that. we've opened up discussions with the south koreans on putting a
system in south korea. third, support president park and her vision. she's taken concrete steps, too, including pulling back the south koreans from the joint industrial facility in north korea. support president park's vision of a unified, peaceful korea. fourth, from the executive branch side, to really undertake an effort to deepen our conversation with the chinese about the future of the peninsula. it's an uncomfortable conversation for them but when you're presented with the fact that the united states is going to have to do a number of things to protect itself, they're not going to be aimed at beijing but beijing are going to see them as strategically unkcomfortable, that's going to head us toward obviously a serious, a strategic disagreement with the chinese. but those, again, those steps won't be aimed at china. these are aimed at pyongyang. china is going to have to come to the table with that understanding and work with us a lot harder on imagining a future for the peninsula and working with us in a much more
aggressive way. those are the key steps i think. sanctions, missile defense, politics and a deeper conversation with the chinese about the situation. this is going to be a key test for the u.s./china relationship in the coming year. >> thank you very much for those answers. i would like to shift back. we've had a lot of discussion about syria and afghanistan and iraq and what happened there and one of the things we've talked about, and i in a way compliment the chairman and senator cardin for holding the hearing like this, is at certain points we should take stock as to where we are and what lessons we've learned and it seems to me when you look at those three countries and you look at the amount of aid that we've spent and i think people are talking about greater than the marshall plan, when you look at what results we've gotten and where we are today, what do you think the lessons are that we should
have learned in the -- and in particular i'd like to focus in on afghanistan since we've had so much difficulty there stabilizing that? >> i'm not sure that i'm the best person to answer that for you, senator. tom left government far later than i did and he dealt with afghanistan. i nef had to do that. but i will simply say that, you know, it's now the longest war that we've ever fought. we're still there. but i would suggest that the one thing we ought not to do is to make what i think was a mistake in iraq by withdrawing our forces too quickly. i certainly support president obama's decision to leave forces in afghanistan and i think, unfirefigu unfortunately, that we're going to be there a good bit longer.
we aught to do everything we can to promote an agreement between the government and the taliban, anything we can do to get that done and enhance that is what we ought to do. those are my thoughts. >> senator, think it's an important question. with respect to our undertakeings in afghanistan, as secretary baker said, it's been our longest war but we have, in fact, really diminished the threat from al qaeda through our efforts in the region. that's an important -- obviously an important outcome. it underscores just how difficult these challenges are and i do think it would be useful for the -- for our military in preparation for the next president coming in to office is to ask the hard question, what are the lessons about how we fought war in the last decade and a half and really drill down on it and prepare for the next president, lessons learned as to how we fought war. we've had some successes but made obviously a number of
errors and had some strategic, strategic difficulties. i agree with secretary baker. where we are, given the pressure from a resurgent taliban, i think we're going to need the current level of something like the current level of u.s. forces we have there for some time, for some time to come. it is important to underscore we did make significant progress against al qaeda. we did provide the afghan people with an opportunity to build a society there. but, you know, you have to have some humility about this as well, right? the ability for this distance to reform societies that are so different than ours is vareally something that's limited ultimately so we need to identify the threats to us, deal with those, do what we can on the other side. i do think this lessons learned exercise about how we fight war is a useful thing for the next president to be able to look to. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i'm going to have my second interjection to give senator flake just a moment since he just stepped in.
in afghanistan, i will say that al qaeda is coming back. i say that not to challenge. and that we just recently allowed our troops to go against them which was pretty phenomenal and there's no question that pakistan is undermining us every day with the support of the haqqani network which is the greatest threat to the afghan government, to our men and women in uniform and the duplicity of pakistan in all of this has been hard, i think, for most of us to stomach. let me just ask this question. selective engagement is the way secretary baker has framed it. mr. donilon, what would be your take on that view of u.s. foreign policy? >> i think it's sensible. united states should always ask before it engages militarily what the interests are involved, what interests are implicated. the degree of interest implicated as said earlier will dictate what we do and what steps we take. third, the response to every
problem in the world is not a u.s. military action. >> so let me -- i thought you would agree. >> yeah. >> so let me take it to the next step. the world is watching right now. i mean, we are the greatest power on earth and so the world is watching as this presidential race evolves. certainly europe's watching, had a leader from china in yesterday and i can tell their demeanor has changed greatly over the course of since i met with them last in february. as they watch what is occurring. what is the best way for us to communicate strategic engagement? because, you know, there can be inconsistencies there, right? because we're going to be looking at our core national interests but as you -- as you look at the best way for our nation, if you were advising folks who now are going to be the focus, if you will, of u.s. foreign policy over the next six
months, as to how they might communicate that to the world, how would that be? >> how they would communicate the principle of -- >> that's correct. that's correct. >> well, when we have a new president, he or she ought to say this is the foreign policy paradigm that i'm prepared to follow. a and i'm going to take a look at each and every one of these issues as they come before me, i'm going to test them against the national interests, test them against our principles and values, i'm going to test them against what i and my advisers think is doable here then i'm going to decide whether or not it's how i'm going to address that problem. am i going to address it just economically and politically and diplomatically? or am i going to address it militarily as well? i mean, i think that's the way it would work. so it's going to depend -- it's going to depend upon each specific instance or issue that comes before the commander in
chief. i don't know whether that answers your question. >> i'm going to follow up in just a second. mr. donilon, what do -- >> it's important for people who are going to be president to communicate their vision of the foreign policy they intend to bring. it's important to do that in some detail i think during the course of the campaign. i hope we can have that during the course of this campaign. i think it's important for the next president to communicate that with confidence because as we both discussed here today, the united states is and has the resources to be the leading nation in the world and should be the leading nation in the world. i think it is required to bt leading nation in the world. i do think it's important to communicate that we'll continue to have a focus on our economic growth which is obviously important for us but important for the world, and i think there needs to be a very important focus on allies and the value that this global, unique global alliance system we have has to the united states and will continue to have. those are the kinds of themes,
but it's i think a confident presentation, economics at the center an allies is really the key to how we work in the world. >> and how would that be different, from your perspective, fairly briefly, how would that be different than you think the world is viewing the united states today? >> well, you're going to have -- well, it will depend who the next president is. >> no, no, no. the selective engagement. >> yeah. >> so what the two of you are talking about, if you were going to contrast that with how you look at u.s. foreign policy today, what would that be? >> you want to -- >> well, you're talking about right this very minute or u.s. foreign policy over the past 20 years? >> do both. >> i mean, i think the beauty of this paradigm that i've suggested is that you look at each and every foreign policy problem on its own bottom. okay? and you then decide what range
of tools you're going to use to try and address it. you're not wedded to either a foreign policy based only on idealism, we're only going to go for principles and values, or, frankly, only on the national interest. what i would say, once again, if you're talking about sending america's young men and women into harm's way, you better have a really significant national interest at stake because as the body bags begin coming home, you will lose the policy. if you don't have a significant national interest at stake. witness vietnam. witness iraq in 2003. and so, i mean, i don't think that -- i don't know what the view of u.s. foreign policy today is by people on the outside because, frankly, we've embraced a number of digfferent
paradigms. that's the best way i know how to answer -- >> i think i know where you're coming from. i guess the question would be if you assume that there's perceptions in some quarters about the retrenchment in pulling back of the u.s. leadership, my judgment is that that's not the facts. i think i know where some of this comes from. the fact is, of course, the united states continues to lead aggressively around the world, whether it be in asia where we're itmplementing a rebalance asia, engaged with china, actually in constructive ways and in terms of managing our differences and confronting our difference. if you look at who's leading in terms of putting in place trade agreens at ttp and ttip with the united states standing in the sender, most important trade agreements around the world. if you look in the middle east, united states led the effort to address the nonproliferation challenge from iran. the united states is leading the counterterrorism effort in the
world. and the united states has increasingly, i think it's been important, actually, to accelerate out efforts with respect to the challenges of syria and in iraq. so i think it's important to underscore the facts and i think also we've also taken some very important steps with respect to deepening our relationship in our own hemisphere. that, by the way, gets way too little attention, i think, in terms of a strategic strength of the united states. no great power, no great important nation in the world has the kind of strategic base we do in terms of the americas and the potential. so i think it's important to underscore the fact of american leadership with specifics. i do think it is important for us to continue to accelerate our efforts in iraq and syria to address those problems which are going to exist beyond the end of this -- president obama's presidency. but those are the kinds of -- that's the kind of conversation i think that we should be having with the world. confident, based on the fact and rooted in u.s. leadership. >> can i say without this being
interpreted as a political statement, which it isn't, because i agree with 99% of what tom has said here today, we need to make the world understand we're going to lead from in front and not from behind. because i think that's an oxymoron. >> thank you. senator flake. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and apologize if i'm plowing old ground here, questions earlier. i couldn't be here earlier. with regard to the jcpoa and iran, the purpose of it was certainly to blunt their nuclear program, but we can't deny that it's really kind of changed the order in the middle east. iran has been a pariah since 1979 because of its pursuit of nuclear weapons and other activity and now it's -- it's gained status, at least, as, you know, a responsible nation state, i guess. how we're going to treat them by relieving sanctions.
i thought the vote on the jcpoa was a closer call than most. i ended up opposing it because of iran's other activities i didn't think we could address. can you talk a little bit about th this, what's ahead in terms of iran and the change in the order in the idle east? you mentioned that -- i heard before that we need it be careful and maintain our alliances with the saudis, for example. how do we do that with this new order in the middle east? >> well, i think we have to reassure not just the saudis but our other allies in the middle east, israel and the other states of the arabian gulf. let them know we still got their back. let them know that as we said over and over that this deal with iran is nuclear only. doesn't have anything to do with anything else. it's too bad it doesn't, but it doesn't. and that we're going to be there
and we're still going to oppose the participation in terror that iran is a state sponsor of terrorism has been -- has lived with for some time. and just reaffirm our support for them and help prop them up because they're really -- they're really not happy with us. they're not happy with us about this deal. now, when -- back there when the question was whether we should go forward or not go forward, i was in favor of going forward because i didn't think we could bring the europeans along to maintain sanctions. you could argue that we nef shou never should have gotten into this negotiation. if you think that iran's bad behavior outweighs the risk that -- outweighs the stability that we'll get for ten years of no nukes in iran, then you
wouldn't have started this to begin with. i mean, we freed up all those iranian funds, whatever it is, a billion, billion and a half, and they're still free to do all the nasty things that they do in the region and they're going to do themes in my opinion. but when that issue was before the congress and before the country, i said that i was in fave of going forward with it because i didn't think we could ma maintain the sanctions and i think the sanctions would have gone. those sanctions were very effective in bringing iran to the table but now i think our obligation is to really let our longtime allies in the region know that we're going to have their back and that we're going to -- we're not changing our view and our opposition to iran's bad actions in the region. >> tom? >> yeah, it's a -- secretary baker described the determination, right, it was seen by president obama and the
administration as the principle security threat in the region and a very serious nonproliferation threat. it was at a stage where we had the opportunity to stop it and we succeeded in negotiation which essentially stopped it with pretty much reasonably high degree of certitude for a decade and a half and now with the decision that was made. and i think it was the right decision with respect to really serious security issues that we face now. it was not some sort of qui quicksodic exercise, though, with allusions about the iranian regime. as secretary baker said, it was a transactional, no a transformational exercise, where we in a transactions arms control setting dealt with their nuclear program for an extended period of time. we still face an iran regime, right, that is engaged in destabilizing, confrontational
activities in the middle east and we have to confront it. i think a number of things. one is that there are two different pieces here. there's the four corners of the deal which need to be enforced strictly and need to be penalty for a diversion from the four corners of the deal. there are iran's behavior outside the four corners of the deal which is going to be much more problematic for us going forward and needs to be confronted and confronted directly i think in working with our allies and partners. and third, we need to have in place, and this is a -- excuse me. we need to have in place a very serious deterrent. iran needs to understand that if, in fact, they pursue a nuclear weapon, contrary to the undertakings that they took in connection with the deal, that the united states is prepared to take action, any actions necessary including military action to keep them from doing so. this deterrence messages are very important message i think going forward here for the region and for the world.
>> thank you. secretary baker, i met you first time, you won't remember, it in 1989, i was in monivia and we th they were going through that transition, and -- >> that was nabivian independence. >> politically leaders don't want to leave after their terms in office, in the drc right and east africa as well, rwanda and barundi. what are your thoughts with unilateral sanctions or other measures we could take? we -- our influence at times is limited but we do have some influence. >> yeah. >> how should it be wielded? >> unilateral sanctions are never as effective as multilateral sanctions.
we all know that. but there may be a time for those. particularly in instances like that if we, looking at it through the paradigm of selective engagement, if we say, okay, this is a matter that is of great interest to the united states, concerns the united states. we need to be endangered. we're going to be endangergaged putting sanctions on individuals who won't step down. do a cost/benefit analysis. what are we going to gain from it? what will it cost us? i don't see a reason we shouldn't do that if we think it's the right approach to take. >> thanks. we'll be hearing holdings in the subcommittee on that issue, so this is a good preview. thauc thausks you for your testimony. >> thank you. senator markey? >> i thank you for being here and for your service to our country. secretary baker, thank you so much for recommending to
president bush that you not go to baghdad. that stands the test of historical scrutiny. >> i don't think you were here, senator, when i said shortly after we got out of office for two or three years after we got out, every time i'd make a speech anywhere, people would say to me, why didn't you guys take care of saddam when you had the chance? i don't get that question anymore. >> you have to balance i think what you did, american military might with wisdom, and you brought that to that decision. we thank you so much. >> thank you. >> and so now as we look at iraq today, we can see the rising influence of el sadr. he was behind this shia takeover of the parliament. >> yeah. >> ostensibly they're calling for reforms but those reforms include changing the role in
which the sunnis and kurds play in that government in that country. and we're already basically lacking at sunnis in tikrit wondering when do the shia ever let their control over that city go so that they can once again play a role in the government? and that would create problems for the takeover of mosul, for example. so that the sunnis in that city would say that it's worth it to fight the isis sunnis because we will be then given back our control over that city. and on and on. could you give us your view as to the role that iran is playing in this el sada agenda in iraq right now and what the united states should be doing in order to push back so that the forces
of inclusion, so it's not just the shia but the sunnis and the kurds, retain more roles that are prominent inside of the government? >> well, again, tom is probably more up to speed on this because he dealt with it more recently, but let me say that i think, and this is not a political statement, senator, but i think we left too soon. i said that in response to an afghan question. we were unable to negotiate a status of forces afwreegreement. we didn't and we left. iraq is -- iraq is in -- i'm like tom, very seriously concerned about the situation in iraq today. and i think what you saw with
m m muktada al sadr's -- >> do you see it as an extension of -- >> i don't think there's any doubt in the world that iran is the most important player, foreign nation player in iraq today, not the united states, nobody else, iran. they have an influence on the shia government and have had since that government came to power. of course, iraq is a shia majority state. so, yeah, i see -- i see a lot of iranian influence. >> so what -- so what, from your perspective, should the united states be saying, doing building, you know, a coalition of other countries that have a stake in long-term iraqi stability in order to make sure that this shia perspective, this radical shia perspective, does not poison any ability to bring
the pseu-- >> i don't know anything we can do other than continue to work with the iraqi government. president obama is incrementally increasing the presence of u.s. forces there. tom probably knows the extent and degree of that better than i do. but i think that's probably called for now. i hate to see it. hate to see us going back in there. we're not going back in full bore. >> if maliki had allowed for 10,000 american troops to stay in iraq, how, in your opinion, do you think that -- >> i think that would have made a big difference. i really do. i think it would have made a difference in -- it wouldn't have made a difference in whether or not the maliki government did what they should have done, which was to give the kurds and the sunnis a fair shake. they've never done that. they've been very, very partisan
ever since the begin. this new government is less partisan, i think. >> thank you. >> let me turn to tom. >> thank you for weyour wisdom. >> senator, couple of things. number one, the governance efforts in baghdad are as important as the ainti-isisses t efforts outside of baghdad because the source is basically a failure of governance. politicizing the iraqi security forces which led to a great deterioration obviously. and we can be successful with respect to ourests and i think we will be in terms of rolling back isis and defeating them, but it will be a short-term success if, in fact, we have a noninclusive government again in baghdad which will lead to the same kind of dynamic. >> how concerned are you that a body, given this pressure that al sadr is now bringing, won't have the capacity as you're
saying to create a political space for the other religions in that country? >> i think it's concerning but we need to support him in that effort. the other pressure, of course -- >> are you optimistic? >> -- low oil prices. >> we can't do anything about that. except lower them further when the fracking revolution continues in america. so that's the more likely direction. secretary baker's an expert on that subject. but are you optimistic, in other words, in terms of ultimately what will unfold in iraq? can we give the support? can he push back against al sadr? does he have the will to push back against the iranians who actually have a stability in the instability in that country? >> they have a big stake in it. at this point you can only identify the policy -- i can't judge from this distance the likelihood of success. it is to support el badi having a more diverse and representative government.
with respect to isis, what's happened, of course, isis entered a new and dangerous phase moving toward an external agenda. outside the so-called caliphate area. the theater of war right now in syria and iraq. so it's something we don't have any choice i think but to press against and defeat. at this point, we have to break the back of isis percepti' perc >> like you're saying, we can't break their back unless after we take over with the sunnis, mosul, and other cities and it holds. because otherwise it's just repetition syndrome. >> i agree. >> and we go right back into the same cycle. again, i continue to believe unless we can think through and apply the right pressure, especially to the iranians on this iraqi spradr jaebagenda, a
our efforts aren't going to bear the long-term fruit. >> again, i know we're pressing up against a hard stop for secretary baker, so senator coons, if you'd go ahead and we'll end up after you, sir. >> thank you very much -- thank withdrew very much to chairman corker, ranking member cardin for convening this hearing. thank you national security adviser donilon for decades of capabl capable, strong, leadership in american foreign policy. this has been a fabulous hearing. i appreciate your engagele. as remarked by many members of this committee, the current presidential election has seen candidates question olong-held assessments and principles of u.s. foreign policy for a long time and some of the statements seem to have struck a chord with the american people.
this upcoming election season is an opportunity to reflect on the changing nature of the world, the challenges, threats and opportunities we face and to reassess our role in it. no matter the outcome of the election, the senate and this committee in particular must continue to grapple with the trends that you've identified that are transforming the international system and decide how we will defend our interests, engage with our allies and advance our values. so with that in mind, let me ask two just broad questions and invite you to use the remainain of your time to speak to it if you will. first, this is a process question. the chairman and ranking member have done a great job of working on a bipartisan basis to strengthen the role of the foreign relations committee which i'll just pause, has waned somewhat as the general partisanship and division in the congress has been a barrier to our being an effective player in foreign policy formulations. so my first question would be tell me in your experience how you perceived the role of the senate and what concrete actions
you think we could take to strengthen the role of the senate in policymaking and to be more relevant? and if you'd reflect on that in answering two other questions, that would be great. and how can we con front the fact that there is this whole belt of fragile countries across north africa, the middle l east that runs arguably from mali, all the way through syria, iraq, out to pakistan, in way that wi a real difference? what's the role of the senate, how do we strengthen it? how do we strengthen the world order and address that whole region of instability in a meaningful way in the remaining six monthinutes? >> i think chairman corker has moved this committee back to the role it played when jay william fullbright and others chaired it and i think that's good.
i think it's important. i first started testifying here before foreign relations when claiborne pell was the chairman and i've seen a lot of chairmen. i've seen jesse helms and dick lugar and a whole bunch of people, john kerry and joe biden. >> joe biden. thank you. >> yep. it's a very, very important committee. if you're interested in foreign affairs, this is a -- this is, i think, the preeminent committee of the congress on that issue. i'm sure ed royce might not agree with me on that, but they're both important but this is an extremely important committee. and i think chairman corker and ranking member cardin are taking it back to what it used to be and i'm delighted to see that. that's the only comment i would make with respect to that. what was the second question, senator? >> what should we be doing to strengthen the international rules-based order that the united states really led post-world war ii? >> i thucink it's important tha
we live up to our financial responsibilities. that we pay our dues, yes, to the u.n., among others. but i think one of the strengths of america, and my opening statement made the point that we are the uniquely preeminent power in the world today, and in my opinion, we stand to remain that. there's no real challenger to us for the foreseeable future. and one of the elements of our strengths are our leadership role in these internationalist institutions. whether it's the imf or the world bank or the wto or the u.n. and it's important to understand that these help america. they help us maintain a security for the american people and they strengthen america. so i think that would be my answer to you on that. >> senator, thanks for the question. you know, on this committee, i'd say three things. one is, you know, the coin of
the realm are policy ideas and deep exploration then coming forward with concrete approaches and insideas is really importan and this committee is doing this in a variety of places. it's important to close the deal, actually say, all right, we've looked at the problem and have a set of possible recommendations and policy ideas we want to put forward. i think the second is to continue to be out in the field and to travel and to learn what's going on. there's no substitute for that, as you know very well. there's just no substitute for members of this committee going out, seeing what's going on on the ground, getting a feel for the history and dynamics of places around the world. the third is, secretary baker, i'm a creature of the branch, so it's a statement against interest, hold the executive branch's feet to the fire. two different ways to do that, right? one is to press on the seams of
foreign policy problems where there seems to be, you know, a crack or doesn't really quite fit together, right? and the other is through where there's been a problem to actually do some investigative work and, again, come back with recommendations for how it might be done better in the future. those would be the three things i think that i would say for the committee. with respect to the rules-based order, i think the most important thing we can do is remind the american people and leaders these institutions have worked well for the united states and should be supported and continued. >> all right. well, as a member of the appropriations subcommittee that funds state department and foreign aid, i'll just mention in closing that senator graham has made a number of public comments. we held a hearing. many members, republican an democrat, were present. on the question of fragile states, he is, i think, appropriately highlighting that the cost of restabilizing countries like libya, syria, iraq, and continuing to hold
together countries like nigeria and pakistan is going to be substantial. >> yep. >> and we need to engage in a bipartisan and thoughtful way in advancing why it is in america's interests to prevent the collapse of even more larger and more potentially dangerous states. i'm really grateful for your testimony today and to the chairman for convening this hearing. >> thank you. senator cardin for a closing comment. >> yes, i want to thank both our witnesses again. iran has come up several times in our discussions and i certainly agree with both of your statements about the united states must reassure our gulf state partners and israel of our commitment to their security. i do just make the observation, we all talk about being strong in regards to the iranian activities that are not directly related to the jcpoa, and i agree with that completely. i am concerned, though, that with iran continuing to say to the international community the united states is not operating
in good faith when we are, whether we're going to be able to take firm actions against iran for its non-nuclear activities and have the support of europe because the connections currently being the europe to me could lead to the concern as to whether we could maintain that community in a post jcpoa community. >> that is an issue we need to confront going forward and right now it is a matter of diplomacy and we ought to stay engaged on it starting right this minute and talking to those allies to keep them together because we can't do anything unilaterally on that problem. >> thank you, both. >> we thank you both for your careers, outstanding public service to our nation. your willingness when the time calls to come back and help us as you have today, i think it has been a major contribution to us, i know that. and i think to our country.
and we thank you for that. and if you could, they'll be questions that will come after this. we'll close those as of the close of business on friday, if you could within a reasonable time attempt to respond to those we appreciate it but we cannot thank y thank you enough for being here today and with your concern. and with that, the meeting adjourned. >> thank you. [ meeting adjourned ]
about a no-fly zone was a time to put that in place and in the northwest triangle of aleppo, dealing with it there. but we would be in a different place today. but let's face it, with russia coming in the way they did, much of the way syria is going to end up is driven by russian -- russia because they came in with force in a way that the u.s. would not do. >> would you suggest a u.s. leadership in forming a safe zone in northern syria to provide passages to fly -- >> i think maybe if this cessation continues to have problems, i think we're beyond -- in many ways we missed or opportunity to really affect things in a more positive way. and again, should the negotiations completely fall apart, i think that looking at that certainly -- looking at it again is special an avenue.
i don't think there has really been, i don't think i'm trying to be too path oraive, but i don't think there is a plan b. and i think russia and iran know there isn't a plan b. so i think the outcome, unfortunately for u.s. interest, is going to be largely driven by -- by russia. >> did you see secretary baker's remarks as a reputation of donald trump's foreign policy or in some ways validating what he is saying in terms of burden sharing? >> so, um, i saw a lot of affirmations, if you want to be honest. and i remarked after the speech was made that i saw a degree of realism coming into those statements and i think that selective engagement that was discussed today is not anchored either in idealism or
necessarily -- realism fully, but sort of a combination of the two. that is what i heard in the speech. and i've said over and over, to me, much of what was said reflects what i think bush 41 and jim baker founded and so i think it was more of an affirmation. >> so you think his policy is harkening back to an early era of republican policy that sort of became behind the scenes after 9/11, so he's harkening back to an older tradition. >> i wouldn't even use a word older, i would say more mature. >> the u.s. high-profile in the south china sea could exacerbate
u.s. and chinese -- >> i'm sorry. >> that the presence may exacerbate -- >> i think if we don't do it often -- it is a big event that you report on and everyone else does. i think the problem is we're not doing it enough. i think we ought to be within those 12 nautical miles weekly. we have 60% of our naval assets in that part of the world. and so unless it is routine, which it should become, then, yes, you have this notion that, as was mentioned hear today in the hearing, that things could quickly escalate and be problematic. as long as trs understood that it is a -- as long as it is understood for our navy to come within 12 nautical miles, we are not agreeing these are claimed by anyone. i think we can go forward.
i would encourage it far more often. >> mr. chairman, please. if there is a chance that mr. trump's approach to foreign affairs might hurt national security, pulling back from nato and telling our allies we are cutting back, how do we deal with that? >> i think at this point -- i sense that you're going to see -- i think you're seeing that foreign policy evolve. and so i wouldn't -- i wouldn't worry too much right now. as i've said to others, i would chill. i would think it is evolving to much of what you saw secretary baker say today. i really do. i will say that i met with a russian leader last night and i met with a chinese leader yesterday. it is causing people to focus more fully -- i think that is actually a good thing. at the same time over the course of the next three months my sense is that candidates on both
sides of the aisle will be more fully laying out where they think u.s. foreign policy should be. again, i like the viewpoints that secretary laid out and much of what tom donilon said today but they seemed to be in agreement most things. but in particular what i've heard from the campaign is something that really does embrace much of what secretary baker said today and with that, i have to go. >> who is the russian leader? >> i probably shouldn't have said that, should i? [ proceeding concluded ] on the agenda this week, in the house, the $106 trillion pentagon and work on military truks and veteran spending and emergency spending