tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN September 1, 2010 1:00pm-4:58pm EDT
strengthen aviation in recent months. for example, we have continued to leverage new technology to ensure that we are keeping dangerous people and things from getting onto airplanes. this includes a significant expansion and of the advanced imaging technology machines, which allow the ts say to stria to screen passengers for explosives or other potentially harmful high dams. these machines are safe. they are efficient. the vast majority of travelers prefer them to other screening options. and moreover, a sense of privacy safeguards are built into every step of the screening process. over 180 of these machines are now in place at 45 airports
let me say, again, we are now through a secure flight, we have accomplished the cutover, so we are measuring the manifest against the watch list, and we're doing so for all domestic carriers. we will also be working with international carriers and hope to complete their cutover by the end of the year. this will lead to more thorough and timely watch list checks, and less of the miss identifications that sometimes cause unnecessary inconvenience for travelers and undue media attention. finally, we have begun screening 100% of the air cargo of
domestic flights on passenger planes, as required by 9/11 act. this is a goal that we have been working towards. i know alpa has been working closely with the tsa on these requirements. we will continue to work with you to make sure that this program is as effective as possible and its implementation continues to go smoothly. so as i said at the beginning of my remarks, you remain one of the most vital parts of our layered security for the international -- aviation system. you are literally at the controls of the airwaves, and we can only secure them with the type of participation and support that you have given us from day one. as we look toward the future, we
are going to continue to work airline pilots, and industry partners. we know that, in the face of ever changing france, we must work together to minimize risks and maximize the safety and security of the traveling public. i am here this evening, both to join and recognize -- >> we are going to leave this to go live to the press club in washington where christina romer, who chairs the economic advisers, will be stepping down from her post this afternoon. >> because i am stepping down from the council of economic advisers at the end of the
week, today's talk is a sentimental one for me. i've brought my own audience with me. many members of the council of economic advisers are here with me today. my husband, david, is also here with me today. i have also brought three special friends, colleagues from the council of economic advisers, c.c., jason furman. the first recession that i really remember is that in 1981, 1982. i began graduate school just as the economy peaked. over the next year and a half, output plummeted and unemployment rose dramatically. that recession was personal, my father lost his job at a
chemical plant in the spring of 1983, shortly after the trough of the recession. i vaguely remember the phone call when he called me and told me that he was fired. he told me not to worry about my wedding, which was that summer. there was money put aside. just before, my mother learned her teaching job was on certain also for the next year. nevertheless, david and i got planned, and the wedding was all the more special because my mother and sisters did it themselves. but what i remember was the sense of belief on return from my honeymoon, to hear that my mother school district have found her a position, and soon after, my father found a stable job. by christmas, our family's economic health was almost fully recovered. 1982 was a terrible recession, but it was a recession that
economists understood. like many post-war recessions, it was started by the difficult decisions of policy-makers to raise interest rates to bring inflation down. the suffering of ordinary families was barely real and costly, but once inflation had been reduced and the federal reserve lowered interest rates, construction spending, durable goods, investment from all came surging back. unemployment, which had surged to 10.8%, fell to 8% by early 1984. the current recession had been fundamentally different from other post-war recessions. this is not my father's recession. rather than being caused by delivered monetary policy actions, it began with interest- rate at low levels. it is a recession born and regulatory failures and unsound practices that contributed to a
housing bubble and eventually a full-fledged financial crisis. precisely what has made it so terrifying and difficult to cure it is we have been in largely uncharted territory, and all of financial meltdown in the world but as the economy and the center of the financial system is something that the world has experienced only once in the past century in the 1930's. thus, the president took office in the midst of a recession of historic proportions, but for which history provides little guidance. this afternoon, i want to talk about the tremendous economic challenges the country faced back in january 2009, and the challenges we continue to face as we reach the second half of 2010. i want to discuss what i think we have learned over the past 20 months about the causes of our economic difficulties, but we have accomplished through extraordinary policy actions and
a tremendous work that remained before the economy is fully recovered. according to the national bureau of economic research, the recession began back in 2007. it is now clear the popping of the housing bubble had serious consequences. the dramatic decline in house prices and related drop in stock prices destroyed $13 trillion of household wealth in 2008. not surprisingly, the fall in house prices reduced consumer spending and investment, particularly in residential construction. as a result, even before the collapse of lehman brothers in 2008, the economy had lost more than a million 0.5 jobs and gdp had fallen by more than the average previous two recessions. but as we know, the worst is yet to come, housing prices continue to decelerate, and
eventually set off a panic. credit availability plummeted. had the federal reserve not responded as rapidly and creatively as it did, the crisis would have been catastrophic. as a bus, it was severe as anything we have experienced since the great depression. so it was clear that the strain on our financial markets was intense. what was not clear was how quickly and strongly in the financial crisis would affect the economy. precisely because the severe financial stocks -- shocks have been rare, there was questioned about the impact. to this day, it is not known why businesses cut down on labor as much as they did, given the decline in the output. our firms so dependent on short- term finance and a short-term
freezing of credit flows causes them to cut back immediately? or did the fear engendered by an unknown recession caused firms to hunker down in ways that they did not previously? these are questions that economists surely will be investigating over the coming years. in any event, of almost all were surprised by the violent reaction. the other thing that you anticipated was the degree to which the recession would be worldwide. i remember early discussions within the economics team about whether economic stability in the rest of the world may help to shore up our economy. previous financial crises in sweden, japan, east asia, had largely of localized effect. it was only after the date of fourth quarter gdp data countries like japan, south korea, divided kingdom, start to be reported in 2009 -- united
kingdom, start to be reported in 2009, that they were declining at a more rapid pace that we were. despite the fact that we were in uncharted territory, the economics team was painfully aware the economy was facing a terrible downturn and that we were far -- fast approaching the edge of the cliffs. at a meeting in december, i began by saying the economy is very weak and deteriorating fast. the weekend before the meeting, memo laying said they meeent a out the groundwork for a larger stimulus package. while some have been stimulating at $500 in dollars or less, we urge to grow it substantially because of the severity of the downturn. just as the recession was unprecedented in post-war american history, so was the
policy response. the american recovery and reinvestment act was passed last than one month after the inauguration. the legislation was large, well diversified, temporarily, and fast acting. many would have led to seen a more iconic bill, a moonshot that concentrated spending on a single activity, such as building a nationwide smart electric grid, a high-speed rail network. as with many decisions, pragmatism won out. because the final bill was a mixture of hundreds of measures, many of which do not come with recovery act signs come easily identifiable links, it has been hard for people to see what the act has done, but it is precisely by working through existing programs and spreading
the funds when they come and that we were able to get benefits. despite its pragmatism, the recovery act reflects many of the president's top priorities for forward-looking investments. it invests more than $90 billion in clean energy and provide a down payment on the transition toward renewable energy and greater efficiency. the aide to state and local governments struggling with budget difficulties is focused on health and education and education funds include incentives encouraging greater accountability and widespread quality improvement. the middle class families who had got the short end of the stick for the past decade are getting tax cuts, unemployment relief and support that have helped keep food on the table in the mortgage paid as the economy slowly recovers. now our policy for financial stabilization were similarly pragmatic. we continue to urge support
through bond guarantees, joint credit provision reserves, but not an aggressive takeover of troubled institutions. the stress test formed the centerpiece for the response. implemented as scientifically as possible by the federal reserve and other regulators, it was designed to give an accounting of our largest institutions and determine what actions were needed to resolve insolvency instability. these are unprecedented, pragmatic policy actions have made and if more is different. on the financial side, stress tests sent off a wave of private capital raising that was exactly what the capital -- system needed. perceived risks have returned to almost pre-crisis levels. credit remains tight for individuals and small businesses, lending standards are beginning to loosen.
large firms are able to borrow at favorable rates and get the credit they need for investment operations. and the financial industry has paid back the taxpayer at any rate few thought possible. for the real economy, the turnaround has been dramatic. likewise, employment went from falling at a rate of 700,000 jobs per month, to growing at the beginning of 2010. these swings from horrifying negative to positive is a testament to the speed and effectiveness of the policy response. but compared to the problems we face, the turnaround has been insufficient, although unemployment has come down 0.6%, it is still 9.5%, and
unacceptable level by any metric. real gdp is growing, but not fast enough to create the thousands of jobs we need each month we need to return employment to its pre-crisis levels. it is clear the recovery act has played a large role in the turnaround in gdp and employment. in a report we issued during the transition, we estimated by the end of 2010, a stimulus package like the real estate that would raise funds and prices as well as jobs, relative to what may have otherwise occurred. as the council has documented in a series of reports to congress, there is widespread agreement that they act is on track to meet those milestones. the nonpartisan congressional budget office, estimates from a range of private analysts suggest that the act has already
raised employment by approximately 2 million to 3 million jobs to what it would have been. what it has not done is prevented unemployment from moving above 8%, something else that we predicted it would do. the reason that prediction was so far off is implicit in a much -- in what i have been saying this afternoon. an estimate of what the economy will look like. a forecast of what would happen in the absence of policy and an estimate of the effect of the policy. as i have described, our estimate to the impact has proven to be quite accurate, but like virtually every other forecaster, we failed to anticipate how by lindy recession would be, and the degree to which the regional relationship between gdp and unemployment would break down. the report was clear, there was
a great deal of uncertainty about the no policy baseline, and note that some forecast an unemployment as high as 11% in that absence of action, but the turn that we presented did not show uncertainty so all of critics to take it out of context and claim the spike in unemployment early in 2009 is some evidence the recovery act did not work. if i did this again, i would not focus on the policy projections. instead, i would emphasize the important part of the analysis, the estimated impact to the recovery act, a part that has been brought to corroborate. but i certainly do not regret having done the study. during the transition, not paper helped to build the case internally and externally for a stimulus of unprecedented proportions. only in retrospect can we say that our best guess was that the unemployment rate would raise
9.5% without action. at that time, it was scary. it helped convince our team and congress to go big. laying down a firm marker that the legislation had to save or create 3.5 million jobs helped to prevent a package from shrinking greatly during negotiations. more generally, i will never regret trying to put analysis and quantitative estimates behind policy recommendations. macroeconomic policy making is incredibly hard. policymakers, scholars, private analysts, if they cannot discuss design issues, baseline forecasts, i do not know how we will ever manage to get policy remotely close to right. we need more policy papers, more competing analyses, not fewer. the things that i do regret is there is still so much
unfinished business. i would give anything if the unemployment rate were really down to 8% or lower. the american people are suffering terribly. policy makers need to find the will to take the steps needed to finish the job, return the economy to full health, and no one should be blocking partisan actions -- legislation for partisan reasons. despite the fact that this has not been a normal recession, yet the downturn was on target territory, and so is the recovery. because the recession began with low interest levels, we cannot have interest rates fall, other interest rate-sensitive sectors come roaring back, as they typically do. because of overbuilding and commercial housing, building is
said to be subdued for some time. in addition to the oversupply of housing, households have been through a searing crisis that is likely to make them more prudent for years to come. in the same way that the great depression gave rise to a generation of high savers and cautious investors. likewise, the decline in well that is likely to lead to increased savings to replenish requirement accounts. such savings and prudence are healthy for the economy in the long run, but in the near term, could mean consumer spending will be less robust than before the crisis. state and local governments have also been hit particularly hard. tax revenues are notoriously cyclical tentative and the decline in house prices has further impacted property-tax revenue. state and local budget cutting, reduced gdp, is likely to continue to be a drag going
forward. while the private sector has added jobs every month this year, stated and local government has reduced employment by 169,000 since last december. the administration understood the recovery would be difficult, precisely because many of the usual drivers of growth were missing. that is why we included $266 billion of additional temporary recovery measures in our budget. congress has taken steps to avoid teacher layoffs and extending the tax credit to encourage the hiring of teachers. however, it has acted to stanch the loss and the administration has proposed. as a result, the administration has not had all the support it needed. early in the spring, there was hope new drivers of growth would
substantially compensate for some of the head winds. business investment, equipment and software rose at an annual rate of 20% in the first two quarters. exports grew rapidly. unfortunately, both of those sources of demand have taken a hit in the recent months. if the greek debt crisis and anemic growth in europe contributed to a decline of stock prices and confidence and a rise in the value of the dollar. the latest data on durable goods shipments objects -- suggests we are growing modestly in the third quarter. the results of these powerful head winds and recent developments is the united states still faces a substantial for fall -- shortfall in aggregate demand. gdp estimate are still 6% below
trend. this is the fundamental cause of our continued high unemployment. firms are not producing and hiring at normal levels, simply because there is not demand for a normal level of output. in the long run, the transition to a higher saving investment, higher export economy can restore demand and output employment to normal. but at the moment, as they emphasize is, that process is operating painfully slowly. the pressing question is what can be done to increase demand and bring down unemployment more quickly. failing to do so would cost millions to suffer unnecessarily. it also runs the risk of making high unemployment permanent as workers still deteriorate with lack of use, and their labor
force attachment weakens in hopes of another job base. policymakers should try innovative low-cost policies. the president's export initiative is a good example. given the fixed cost of exporting to a new market, small investments in intermission provision, commercial diplomacy, can bring about an increase in our imports. likewise, responsible trade agreements can open up markets and increase trade in the short run in overtime. policymakers should also take sensible action to increase confidence. while some talk about regulatory uncertainty for the reason that they are cautious about investing, i suspect uncertainty about future sales is a much larger determinate on firm actions. we can do more to highlight and confine our pragmatic approach to regulation.
-- codify our pragmatic approach to regulation. the estimated net benefits, benefits - the cost, of the obama administration's regulatory actions in the first year far surpassed those of the first years of the previous two administrations. for the help of the economy, we should continue to trump and its prudent regulatory approach. while we would all love to find the inexpensive magic bullet to our economic troubles, the truth is, it almost surely does not exist. the only sure-fire way is for policymakers to increase aggregate demand in the short run or for the government to spend more and taxed less. in my view, we should be moving forward on both fronts. the message should be carefully froze and -- chosen to they have the highest bang for the buck possible.
the small business tax cut in lending bill is likely to have excellent job creation effects and should be passed. as the president said in his rose garden remarks on monday, there are a range of other sensible members that deserve consideration, such as tax cuts for middle income families, business in comes in the u.s., much needed investment in infrastructure. the key is we need to take action and we need to do it quickly. given our long run fiscal challenges, any additional support should be done in a responsible way. it makes sense to use some as a temporary emergency measures, but most actions should be paid for overtime with future cuts or a corporate revenues. but concern about the deficit cannot be an excuse for leaving unemployed workers to supper. we have tools that would bring unemployment down without
worsening our run -- long run fiscal outlook. if we can only find the will and wisdom to use them. on election night, almost two years ago, my husband and i did in most on a characteristic bang. we have friends over to watch the return, had celebrated the victory with a glass of champagne around 8:00 california time. shortly after, our friends when home and we were wondering what to do with our joint. i said i needed to be part of a crown. we hopped in a car and followed the sounds of honking horns into downtown oakland. we stopped at the first street corner where people were gathering, and there we were coming two middle-aged economists dancing with oakland teenagers. we were celebrating the promise of a new president who shared our values and our dreams for a better america. what we did not realize that
november evening was just how large an economic nightmare laid before the new president and american people. it would require actions you would have contemplated that evening, just to keep the unemployment rate from rising beyond low double digits. it has been an honor beyond any i could have imagined to be part of a team that president obama's elected to help diagnose the situation and craft a policy response. i am proud of the recovery actions we have taken. i believe they have made the difference between a second great depression and a slow but a genuine recovery. and the passage of health care reform and financial regulatory reform our accomplishments that will be with us long after the recession is over. they will ensure our children inherit a future which families can afford the health care they need, and where workers and firms never have to face the specter of the catskills make
economic meltdown. but i desperately hope that policymakers on both sides will find a way to finish the job of economic recovery. we have already navigated through miles of difficult, uncharted waters. surely, we can go the rest of the way. the american people deserve nothing less. thank you. [applause] >> thank you for speaking to us today. thank you for having time to answer questions. keep them coming. i know we already have several good ones in the queue. you talked about an immediate need to spend more and tax less, work to an economic revival. of course, you are exacerbating the deficit for which there needs to be a responsible way to
cut spending. at what point, what would be the signal that the economy is at that point, where you can transition from one strategy to another? how will we know that we are out of the woods? >> that is an excellent question. the obvious thing is to say, we know we need to do more now. looking at the unemployment rate of 9.5%, it is clear additional action is needed. as i described, in doing so in a fiscally responsible way is incredibly important. how do you know when you can make the transition? the president described this as working both on the problem of the deficit and that the fact that we need to bring unemployment down together. that is why he said of the bipartisan fiscal commission to be talking about the long run and medium run fiscal positions,
at the same time, thinking about what we can do in the short run. even as you are thinking about short run policies, you can be mindful of the long run deficit. to think about pay-fors for spending, future revenues, in legislation crafted today. >> what are the odds of the u.s. looking at a double dip recession? >> my colleague larry summers would know in number to the decimal point. the point is, it is very small. we are clearly going through a rough spot, that i think i described, in the spring, it looked as though we were really starting to grow more strongly. the troubles in your definitely cause some turbulence, definitely took a hit on
confidence, stock prices, things like that. my prediction is we come through this time of turbulence and come back to steady growth. the important thing is, even this an area before we hit this period of turbulence was not good enough. often, coming out of the recession this bed, and you would have numbers like 6, 8%. >> you made reference to the european debt crisis. how concerned should the u.s. be about a resurgent u.s. debt crisis? what can and should the u.s. do to prevent the debt problems of european economies affecting the global recovery? >> certainly, we have been encouraged by the actions that the europeans have taken to deal
with the situation in greece. certainly, their stress test was helpful in getting a read on the state of their financial system, was a reassuring to markets. the most important thing that all countries of the world should do is think about a balanced program. what do we need to do to get people back to work, what do we need to do to get people thinking about making sure there house is in order? the important thing is to emphasize they do not need to be in conflict over a period of time. a sensible economic policy can match more expansion now with credible measures to get the deficit down as you go forward. one of the things, again, that we often lose sight of, how important growth is, not just for people, although
unemployment is terrible, but it also helps the deficit. tax revenues are also down. it even matters in the long run. one of the things that you were about when the unemployment rate is at 9.5% for a long time, when the long term unemployment rate is as long as it is, you were read that workers start to lose skills, drop out of the labor force, and some of that unemployment becomes permanent. that is obviously for the people involved but also for the long run deficit. they will not be paying taxes as we go forward. if all you care about is the deficit, dealing with the short run economic problem is also incredibly good economic policy. >> because there will be a tradition of which run from the economy, going into a more cost cutting environment getting the deficit down, is the u.s. committing itself to and long
term half of slower economic growth than what may have happened from the recession? >> the most important thing is we do not do that. as an economic historian, one of the things that i started talking about at least a year ago, thinking back to the great depression, what happened in 1937 if you remember your history, from 1929 to 1933, the economy started to decline dramatically. then it grew strongly from 34 and after. in 1997, there was a collective sigh of relief. the unemployment rate was still quite high, the economy was recovering, but there was a tendency for the fed to draw back on their actions.
there was the fiscal side, passed a tax increase. we started to get our house in order. the lesson must, the recession in 1938 when unemployment shot up again. part of the reason that the 1930's are as bad as they were, recovery was cut short by natural policy actions. we see where they come from. we have been through extraordinary actions. we have had to take action that nobody wanted to take. they were the appropriate thing for the economy. there is a tendency to say as soon as we have it, let us stop. i think when you mentioned, the biggest risk to our long-term growth is not that we have been through the crisis. that has not had a permanent affect on our productivity or
anything, but if we make policy mistakes, going forward, if we leave unemployment very high for a long time, that is where you run the biggest risk of causing permanent scarring to the economy and obviously to people. >> looking at your restored example, there was a bit of a recovery. but unemployment was still in the double digits. the next question we have to deal with structural unemployment. in the 1990's, structural unemployment must to be how about 9%. as you see changes in the economy, economically, models that the u.s. is falling, in terms of the job market, structural changes in employment trends, is the natural rate of unemployment inching up words, what would be expected in the future? >> obviously, an incredibly important question. when i was trying to argue was
that we are not seeing that yet. the rising unemployment, 9.5%, it is almost entirely a cyclical phenomenon. gdp is dramatically below trend. we do not yet have demand back to where he needs to be. that is the overwhelming source of the employment we have. certainly, there has been a lot of discussion about sector changes in the economy. finance and construction may well be a small part of the economy. obviously, other things will need to grow to fill that space. one of the things to realize, those changes are happening all the time. likewise, there isn't a lot of sector change.
those kinds of sector changes, the evidence that they are driving anything that we see now is simply because they are a common phenomenon. likewise, given the high rate of unemployment, that is simply a consequence of the fact that this was a recession that went on for a long time. if you lose your job early in the recession, we have not been creating a lot of jobs, so eventually become long-term unemployed. as the economy recovers, you would expect that rate to come down as well. >> you discussed per respecters of your economy that might be smaller in the long term. finance and construction. is it a good thing that the financial industry is smaller? they did a heckuva job with the collateralized debt obligations
and subprime loans. [laughter] >> my least politics speech ever, i said something like, it would be fun if everyone in finance did something useful, like science or medicine. that did not go over well with that audience. the perspective i bring to this is a market economies are wonderful, dynamic things, and one of the great strengths, as new opportunities come up, as certain doors closed, others open. that is an important part of the process. if some things are going to be smaller for a while, like construction, my colleagues talk about in a lot, an oversupply of housing, over building now. it will be important that other things fill in non-gaap. particularly for the kind of workers in that section.
i know that is something that is high on the president's list of concerns, something that we are certainly thinking about. >> how many people do you know are unemployed, underemployed, and how have you learned from their experiences? >> i often talk about when we would go back to california, you think you are having an innocent walk out to the mailbox and there is your neighbor who comes out and says my daughter is unemployed, my son is about to lose his home, why don't you do more? you cannot go anywhere without knowing that there are people who are struggling incredibly. early this spring, one of the nicer things that i have done, it was a two-day road trip to ohio where we visited a ford motor's motor factory, meeting with union representatives,
looked at my old town in canton, ohio. what was striking, speaking to the workers, never looking at this ford plant, half of it was a gleaming new factory, and they kept on pointing to the other half which was empty. something to go there because my brother in law is unemployed. there used to be 13,000 of us at this plant. every one of those interactions is the reason why i wake up every day, the president wakes up every day and says, for heaven's sake, is there anything else we can do to get this down? >> how can we revive to -- work to remind american manufacturing? would there be incentives? >> an incredibly important question. as we will tell you, one that
the president and vice-president are so incredibly concerned with. the right thing is a mixture of policies. manufacturing, everything else, everything counts in getting the economy going. manufacturing is inherently more cyclically-sensitive. anything the overall economy does to get going will help manufacturing. the president is also saying, we know certain things like, getting export to going. one of the things we are good at is high-tech manufacturing. if we can make it easier for those firms to export, that will help them. but also, he has identified one of the areas where there could be a market failure. we can see the future coming, we need to get cleaner energy. we need to be more energy-
efficient. one thing he has identified, started in the recovery act -- can we make the economy make that transition? the market system is not doing enough to realize that that is what the future will be, can we do some targeted investments? can we do tax incentives for renewable energy? $90 billion of that in the record react, including tax incentives, particularly for clean energy manufacturing. that has been one of the success stories for the recovery act. talking about additional measures, something the president has emphasized. that program was sold out quickly. as soon as we got more money for it, we started to receive applications. it will boost manufacturing and help us reduce unemployment. >> the question on the bush tax cuts. should all of them to be allowed to expire, or none of them?
>> the important thing is to renew these tax cuts for people who earn less than $250,000. we believe strongly middle-class folks have had a tough time they need this money for them and for the economy. what the president has said consistently is the high income tax cuts, $34 billion in 2011, that is money that we should not spend, especially because one of the things we worry about is if you renew them once, the chance for them to become permanent become a much higher. over 10 years, it would be a fiscally response to -- irresponsible measure that we cannot afford. the other thing that i feel strongly about, tax cuts can be an important degree tool. that is why we had the make it
work tax credit in legislation, some $300 billion in tax credits, but all the economic literature says tax cuts for high economic earners do not do as much as with the middle income family. i guarantee you i can find a way to create more jobs. >> last night, president obama announced the formal end of combat operations in iraq. what benefits do you see to the economy as the war winds down? >> one of the things that always strikes me, as an economist, there is an area that you know a lot. then when you become dea chair, there are all sorts of other things that you have to know about the economy. he has to know all sorts of things as well as what i know about the economy.
you realize how complicated it can be. certainly, for the overall economy, one of the things that has, as combat one down, the president has moved to that -- he says we need to focus on our economy. certainly, there is a budget cost associated with the war that can be used will be put to work here, help to bring down the deficit and debt. just in general, the opportunity and resources to be focusing on everything possible that we can do to create jobs. that is certainly his focus, has been since the day he took office. he announced in the rose garden, it is his focus in the fall. obviously, we need to do as much
as possible to bring unemployment down. >> a couple questions about consumers, companies, and cash. what do you think about companies sitting on so much cash, how do you get them to invest more? >> this is actually a topic that the council of economic advisers looked into some. we know firms are holding onto cash. one thing that was helpful for us was to get historical perspective. it is not an unnatural thing as you come out of recession. there is a strong cyclical component to cash holding going back also to what i said about consumers. consumers have been poor and incredibly searing, frightening two years. the truth is -- a self is true of firms. the reason they are on the sidelines is they have been through a searing crisis like the rest of us. the main thing you do to give
them the confidence to invest, again, like the answer to manufacturing -- like everything -- get the overall economy going. the main thing that will want to have a firm build a new factory is a new customers. something that you may not think of as an investment-related policy, like a tax cut for can economy?hat can be the president has been strong to emphasize, we do not want to go back to where we were. i always find it helpful to remember the president was running on economic issues before there was a recession, before there was lehman brothers, precisely in things like we are not investing as much as an economy, we were living in a bubble-bust cycle, consumers were not saving, and we have seen some consequences of that unbalanced growth. certainly, as we think about what the world will look like
once we come through the recession, we anticipate consumers to be saving more. we anticipate how we are going to fill that gap, we expect firms will need to be investing more. we need to be exporting more. that is why we have had an emphasis on exports. the reason for this digression -- in the report, we did some empirical estimates to see what consumers are likely to do given the state of the economy, given what has happened to their wealth, their expectations. the current savings numbers are pretty much dead on, they are following our predictions. as we come back to normal, the savings rate will be between 4% and 7%. fundamentally, that is healthy for the economy. what we would all like is for consumers to be a bit more robust now, getting people back to work, but then certainly coming back to that place,
ultimately will be good for the economy. >> we have some questions about your upcoming life, your future teaching role at berkeley, how your time in washington will influence you. how has your experience in the council of economic advisers ned syllabi r plansyllab for class. as well, your husband has been known to offer a class known as chicken soup for economy. what can you do for your students who are working to turn the economy around? >> let me start with what i have changed about my syllabi. let's be clear, and i have changed the whole course. in the spring next year i will be teaching a course on macroeconomic policy from the great depression through the great recession. i think -- the whole thing is to
take what i have learned, what i think economists in general, have learned from the crisis we have been through, to show what has worked, what has not, what questions still remain. that will be hugely important. chicken soup. david it much better -- is much better at giving wisdom. i would say to anyone thinking about bringing something to the council of economic advisers -- as i have said, it has been an honor above anything i could have imagined, but also, for me, it has been very important. i often described it as -- you hit 51 and you are not sure you can learn again. as an economist, you tend to get their work and never work,
and i was used to one kind of research. it was helpful to be brought into this council and it has been liberating to rediscover some of those skills that you discovered in graduate school, such as health care. for every policymaker, to be open to that ability to learn, and to embrace it, it can be terrifying at times but important to realize it is what makes the job both so important an incredibly rewarding. it is a chance to learn about the things we need to know about. >> before asking the last question, we have a couple of important matters. first, we remind our futures and guest of future speakers. we will have david beckmann speaking to discuss eliminating
hunger. jon cornyn and robert menendez will be here. and then general chief of staff schwartz of the air force will be talking about challenges facing them today. second, we want to present our guest with one will soon be the most coveted item in berkeley, the traditional national press club mug. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you for spending some time for -- with us today. our final question comes from an anonymous audience member. dr. romer, you seem like you would be a lot of fun at parties, are you?
what is the party persona of christina romer, and will it change now that you are getting out of here? >> i do not know comment jason asked me, are you and david going to react -- reenacting dancing in the streets? but just take me add my word, we can be the life of the party. certainly, i will have much more sleep, and i will not be falling asleep at parties as much. >> thank you once again. [applause] >> we would also like to thank national press club staff, library, broadcast operations center, as well as our catering group. for more information about joining the national press club and how to acquire a copy of today's program, please go to
[general chatter] [general chatter] >> president obama is in the middle of a busy day in the nation's capital. during the morning, he met with middle east leaders in preparation for the peace talks between the israelis and palestinians. if today, he is meeting with the president of the palestinian authority and the israeli prime
minister netanyahu. the president will make a statement at 5:22 on those talks taking place tomorrow. you can watch his remarks from the rose garden at 5:20 eastern. this evening, more from the president and middle east leaders as they will speak with reporters from the east room. joining present obama, prime minister netanyahu, and palestinian leader of bosnia's king abdallah of jordan and egypt and president hosni mubarak prepense see the five leaders speak today -- today live at 7:00 eastern. a short time ago, the president and israeli prime minister made a statement after meeting earlier today. from the white house, this is about 5 minutes. >> hello, everybody. prime minister netanyahu and i had a very productive discussion
about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between israelis and palestinians and throughout the middle east. i will have more to say about the meeting today not only with prime minister netanyahu but with the other participants in the rose garden later this afternoon. i wanted to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near hebron yesterday. there are going to be extremists and rejectionists who rather than speaking peace are going to be seeking destruction. the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by
terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we are up against. i want everybody to be very clear -- the united states will be on wavering in its support of israel's security and we are going to push back against these kind of terrorist activities. the message should go out to hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this will not stop us from not only ensuring a secure israel but also securing a longer lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course. i also want to express my deepest condolences -- beacon -- the deepest condolences of the american people of those who
were gunned down. i want to thank prime minister netanyahu during a difficult time for his country still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today. prime minister? >> thank you, mr. president and for expressing what i think is the sentiment of decent people everywhere in the face of this savagery and brutality. four innocent people were gunned down and seven new offerings were added by people who have no respect for human life and trampled human rights into the dust and butcher everything they oppose. i think that the president stated an expression of our desire to fight against of this terror and the talk we had was
in the open, productive, serious in the quest for peace also centered around the need for having security arrangements that are able to roll back this kind of terror and other threats to israel's security. that is a fundamental element, an important foundation of the piece that we seek and work for and i appreciate, mr. president, your efforts to a band's this piece for us and our neighbors, for our region and i think we can say, for the world. thank you. >> let me just say that i will be meeting be meetingabbas this afternoon -- afternoonabbas this afternoon. he condemned the attack as well. i have the utmost confidence in his feeling for a two-state solution where the palestinians
and israelis are living side by side in peace and security. i am also grateful to him for his presence here today. we have a lot of work to do. there will be those who will do everything they can to undermine these talks but we will remain a stalwart. to prime minister netanyahu and prime minister -- president abbas and president mubarak and king abdallah of jordan, i am grateful for their participation. i will have a longer discussion later this afternoon. thank you.
the debate is courtesy of ktud public television. see it tonight at 9:00 eastern. on c-span. >> search the term "mid east peace" and you'll get more than seven in other programs on c- span and curly at -- including an early mike wallace interview with of but even. --abba eban. this is washington and the world your way. book tv primetime continues tonight with a look at social networking. david kirkpatrick on the influence of the facebook. also the rise of facebook. --myspace.
both tv primetime tonight on c- span 2. -- book-tv primetime tonight on c-span 2. >> they look at what the withdrawal of iraqi forces means for iraq and its government from this morning's "washington journal" this is 45 minutes. "washington journal" continues. host: noah feldman, how much onus did the president put on a rack's government for its future? guest: there is a tremendous weight already. if they did not form a government soon, it will lead iraqis to have the general feeling that the future is not going to be organized or ordered. and fear of collapsef order is what will drive people back to the militias, where they were three or four years ago. so, the government realizes this and are trying to play a complicated game where each of the political parties want to gain advantage without completely alienating the general public.
and there is a time limit. he was reminding them of something at a fundamental level they understd. host: how would you rate the government's performance today on big issues? guest: there is no government right now. i would rate the politicians performance pretty low given that the elections were in march and is now the end of august. actually, september. they still haveot managedo overcome their differences, which are both politic and also the nomination of insectarium, to form a government. so they need to get their act together and do that. to the ordinary, everyday services, i would say security in iraq is substantially better than at previous times but still not all the way there. we know that from recent attacks that's certainly are not a coincidence, just at the time when the u.s. announced it was withdrawn combat troops. host: what did they have to do to push themselv from where they are now to where they need to be? guest: they need to make deals. the two leading vote-getter in e elections in march were a party that was mostly supported by sunni iraqis, although the
leader, awlawi, mostly sunni and other was s other washia party that split from the more religious. it look like they are not able to form a deal with each other. it sms like the division is so fundamental that they are refusing to do a deal. that means what is needed is for one of the two to make common cause with the kurdish political parties and probably the more religis shia parties. the more likely scenario is the portia party of all molly k., the president, -- shia party of al-mailiki, the president. concessions are the name of the game in consensus politics. host: what kind of chips they have to put on the table? guest: chips that not only they don't want of the united states,
either. religious shia part is one greater influence of religion, were religious leaders and important -- positions in the government and the port -- courts, and the kurds always wanted the same thing. they won greater and greater autonomy in their part of the country. it is partly a matter of pride and language but also a matter of oil. they have proven oil reserves and a suspect that have more and what a greater percentage of the revenues to come into the country. that is the price they are placing on their continued participation. host: here is your chance to talk with noah feldman today. when you helped craft the iraqi constitution, tell me a little bit what you did back then and
what is playing out in the day by day effort? guest: the role i was lucky enough to play was a period before and during the draft, the transitional law, which essentlly was the draft constitution. operator for a year before the constitution was ratified and is quite similar. what i was lucky enough to see is iraqis who got involved in politics came to realize pretty quickly that they were not going to have any kind of agreement unless they made substantial concessions, which means people of secularrientation had to agree with islam played a major role and religious folks had to agree the constitution would inude a promise that the state would be both democrat and islamic at the same time, which is very innovative feature and an important one because it meant a concession by all iraqis any signal to everyone in the world that democracy and islam were in fact compatible, which now i think we don't doubt but many doubt it is significantly when the draft was going on. and the kurds had to can see they were not going to have
their own country. arab speaking iraqis had to acknowledge that the kurds had been mistreated in the past, they were a distinct group of people, and they would have some degree of autonomy. each and every one of the concessions was agonizg. painful to make. he last thing -- and this is something i think profoundly true of all constitutional drafting -- the issues that were the hardest to resolve, kirkuk, for example, ethnic caught dea with a lot of oil, terrible combination, or the deepest cut deductions between democratic value is an islamic, they were planted, pushed down the road. a lot of constitutions do that. the u.s. constitution puntedn the fundamental issue of slavery, allowing it to remain in place, thinking the slave tre with and in some period in the indefinite future but not ending it at the time. these kinds of contradictions can lead to trouble down the road. but if you don't make these
concessions, you do not get the constitution. that is the trade-off of constitution writing and you might say the dirty secret. the hard issues are often not resolved and in the case of the united states, mean to the civil war. h., -- host: you wrote aut soh korea. u.s. military troops being there. is the military going to be an important part of 50 iraqi government operates well? guest: in the short term, yes. but our agreement with the iraqis until the end of next year we still have troops and the numbers and specific but 50,000 are there right now, a substantial deployment. in the next year you mig see and i think are likely to see an elective in nine -- iraqi government asking the united states to renegotiate and leave a significant number behind after the deadline for complete withdrawal. that will be a tricky political judgment but probably would agree, as long as violence is not too significant in iraq, because our presee gives
everyone a kind of assurance or a backstop guarantethat we would not allow the country to collapse back into the civil war. in south korea, 1953, when the armistice happened, that is 57 years ago and we still have close to 30,000 troops in korea, and furthermore, there were 35 years of military dictatorship which we supported and then eventually south korea and merged into a democracy. that is a very long period of time and it means a lot of patience and a lot of resources. as long as u.s. troops are not actually killed, the american public in general has been willing to snd for it. and i suspect it will be true going forward as well, if american troops are in harm's way we will probably have lots of people say take them out, but if they are safe and are contributing to a record stability i think it is probable that the american public would be willing to stand for that, but who knows, i am not a prohphet.
host: noah feldman is here to talk about the fute of iraqi government. you are on the line. go ahead. linda, are you there? caller: yes, i am. host: go ahead. caller: thank you. i would like to know why is it that we keep pretending that these wars -- i am talking, can you hear me? host: you are hearing the feedback from the television. caller: why is it we are pretending that these wars are not causing up all of our financial problems? we have lack of employment, people dying because they cannot get health care insurance but yet wkeep catering and helping people in other countries like haiti and iraq, what is the difference if you die from an earthquake or the taliban or just not getting medical
treatment over here? guest: i thi you are right, linda, we have serious economic problems in our country that we are grappling with and we have under insured people and other very serious issues in the country. i don't think that most economists believe that the war caused the financial debacle as we experience. everyone agrees that the war has been extremely expensive, but the iraq and afghanistan wars. and the money we have spent on them is money that we don't have, it is true. that is a note of the president sounded to some degree in his speech last night when he said specifically we need to turn back to the economy. that said, we also do have ethical obligations of around the world the same way we have certain ethical obligations at home. we certainly have a duty to our citizens to provide health care, in my view, and certainly to help people get back to work but in the case of iraq, the iraqis ourselves the not asked us to invade their country and the do
not ask for the civil war that followed. and one of the reasons that we required such a need to put money, time, and also american lives, almost 4500 had been lost in iraq, is that we created that situation and we have an ethical response ability to bring it to at least some sort of function in conclusion. iraqis have responsibility, too. we are not the only ones. but i think it is significant we have a duty to people. host: from twitter -- i guess he is making the observation they are learning the same lesson. guest: no question that anyone who thinks it is easy to write a constitution is quickly disabused from that notion. the bottom line isetting people to agree when you have different interests is very hard and in the u.s. case, we had small states with different
interests, northern and southern states, creditors and debtors who have different economic interests. the people in iraq have all the sets of issues and on top of that they have denominational differences and ethnic differences. these are sigficant long-term problems. again, the key to iraq working its trouble out is security. security has improved a lot of the still very far from being all the way there and probably why u.s. troops continue to play an important role. host: arlington, virginia. you are next. republican line. caller: in regards to the democratic transition of iraq. analysis in that region and pretty much around the world, went to callahan governments make the initial transition from being a -- when totalitarian governments make the transition
to oth types of role, a democratic state, pretty much inially the state starts off as a weak democracy, a we state, pretty much transitioning as they adopt more of their ethnic and cultural the values in their constitution. part of my question is, with regard to the development of the iraqi constitutn -- host: we lost him. guest: we lost him, but if i could ck up on what he was saying, i think you are right to say that it takes time in the process of democratic development for governments to take on board itself the practices of democracy and for the public to incorporate democracy into their own setf cultural values. iraq is certainly in that prospect. one day i saw the -- in iraq
that i thought was pretty remarkable is the basic idea of democracy, the basic idea of elections and fundamental rights is surprisingly intuitive throughout the world. it is not as though the first days the iraqis say, how do we do a democracy? people had no trouble having elections at the local level and ultimately of the natural -- natial level that were successful. the difficulty in developing institutions is both functions work and both respect and the credit now use. the iraqis had some functioning institutions but they were totalitarian. during both -- extremely difficult. it is important for ordinary people to take o the values and idea of democracy but they will only do that if they see a government that deliver services for them. otherwise they say, what is democracy? a recipe for us fighting. i pick many iraqis have the suspicion over the last couple
years because the institutions of the state have not function. it is worth remembering that we really destroyed the infrastructure of the iraqi state. it was not a great infrastructure to begin with. under saddam hussein, many things that looked under the surface as a real institutions actually were not. but we did physically bomb institutions and stood by and allowed the looting of government ministries. one of the important effects of the setup failures on our part as occupies is the institutions of the state were really gone to a great extent when i -- i division began and remains gone when the occupation ended and a lot of the work in the last several years was trying to rebuild them. host: what is the perception of the people about a future of the government? how important is it for a government to function? guest: puget in for and for the government that ordinary iraqis believ -- it is hugely important for the government that ordinary iraqis believe it. i think the bottom line is that most iraqis seem to believe that there can be a functioning iraqi
government but they are kind of pessimistic about how good the government will be paired they are realists, that is a good thing. they should not have idealized expectations. but to the extent they are skeptical about basic services, th is undercutting. it needs people protest pient. in a democracy you cannot rule by gunpoint. the have to do more than just a vote but ty have to participate. they have to not go to the electrical plant and blow it up or tried to steal electricity. they have to be willing to pay taxes. >host: what is the importance of prime minister nouri al-maliki? guest: he played a significt role in recent years. when his prime ministership looked week he took aggressive action to associate himself with security forces and helped put down the shia militias. that was a great move. it was very riskyut it turned out pretty well because it did not only strengthen him as prime
minister but strengthened the perception that the government could create law and oer, that the government can say to militias, we do not care if we share denominational background, we will not let you run the show. there have been allegations of corruption connected to his government. if you compare it to afghanistan, the record does not look that bad. iraq has suffered from insignificant -- significant correction but he himself has not been impugned the same way that i need karzai -- hamid karzai has done. what he has not done as well reaching out across denominational lines, especially to sunnis. use all that in the elections when most sunn is voted for a different party that actually got a slight majority -- not a total one. i think there is probably his weakest point. host: it seems like adherence to
the nomination and religion -- guest: it is something that has to be caught and over. absolutely right. if the sunnis voted for a shia, that was a significant fact. he was someone they could do busiss with but the fact remains his support was not framed in denominational -- it is a nondenominational party. in a perfect world it would be nice to see that party and the other big vote-getting party working together. when it comes to their actual policies, like on the kurds or the more extreme requests of religious parties they are relatively close together. the fact they have not managed to come together despite being closer on policy issues is beside the nomination still remains a significant issue. host: noah feldman, constitutional law professor.
caller: we should not have gone to iraq and then you would not rry about -- you would not have to worry about how to get that country back together. we've got problems in the united states. terrorism starts at home and not another countries. you going over there trying to the world powers but you should not go over there the first place. host: you could comment, if you wish. guest: i guess i would say that in foreign policy at least, you cannot have any choice, you inherit the world the way it actually is. we did go into iraq and we did it defeat saddam hussein, which had the benefit of removing someone who was a terrible dictator, not just garden variety but someone with the genocidal impulses to kill hundreds of thousands of his own citizens. we also got ourselves involved in a situation where we did not have enough troops to stop the
country going into civil war. we lost a lot of our own troops lives. a lot of iraqis have died. now that that situation we find a cells, we did not have much choice but to stabilize the situation further and try to create the best possible outcome for iraqis. that is the way the real world is. webbings have been a certain way we have to deal with consequences. especially when we as a country are directly responsibleor that. i think as americans we are all responsible and the same way our troops come from all political parties and backgrounds, even if they opposed the war. we as citizens, including people who opposed the war at every stage, like the president, i should add, still have a duty and responsibility and that is why it is ce to say the -- hear the president say week, when we talk about the involvement, all of our country and responsibility. host: this is off of twitter.
guest: it is a tricky question what people want when it comes to democracy. when people, for example, were caught elections, which happens boycottedhe sudannnis -- you could deduce that they would rather have no government or a bad government. that has changed when they came to see that elections are part of the political game. notll of the political game. there is still violence, which is unfortunate. the fact that iraq is voted across back room, across party and the nomination does suggest iraqis understand that they have a democratic government. will there be some iraqis still yearning for a strong man -- straw man? yes. if a functioning government that respects rates emerges, the long term possibility will be high dictator merging.
there will probably be some iraqis who agree that a democratic government is not desirable but the vast majority seem pretty committed to a democratic government, if it can work. host: is there a feeling among the people and the government even in the u.s. that it will take time to make this government function and how much time to a t to that process? guest: one of the strains distortions in iraq and politics for the period of first illegal ocpation and then are defacto occupation afterwards is iraqis got used to americans coming and setting deadlines, sang this has to happen by is. but often ignored the american deadlines. but shaped the rhythms. unfortunately it still does. the fact that our president in a speech to our nation is saying to the iraqis in politics, ok, let's go, formed your government, it tells you about the development of iraqi politics. not developed to a point internal dynamics of driving things. that is one of the distortions of living under occupation.
that has to change. i think ordinary iraqis are a little skeptical about when it will change. my sense is it will change when the iraqis actually realize they are truly on their own. they are not quite there. removing combat troops does not put them on their own. host: did they know that message -- some time going in when the whole process started? guest: at the very, very beginning after e occupation of the iraqis were just confused. they did not know if we were staying permanently, for the short-term, and that confusion actually led in pa to the emergence of a civil war because the thought of themselves, well, the u.s. is not in charge and we are not in charge so nobody is in charge. when you are in a situation when nobody is in charge it is like living in a bad neighborhood where the gangs come by and say can you join a, you did not want to, then the gang says the police are not going to protect you and at a certain point of view to not join the game, the gang, you are a sucker. ordinary people had to go to militias because there was no
state. so the problem -- putting a government in, showing we were in charge. we were in charge of the violence began to reduce and iraq is look more. the government but they still have not fully taken on board whether the government will succeed because they are realists and in other governments still might not succeed so i think the iraqis are making a probabilistic -- it looks probable e government will make it so they are not supporting militias but there is still a chance that it will not and that is why our continued presence is is some value, to suggest that we will not let it fall apart. it helps people not go to the militias. the bad side is a undercut the sense of responsibility they have and they can say, well, so what. let us just wait it out and see when we can get an advantage. host: what is the realistic expectation as they look at security and police forces to help them information of the government? guest: the police force and military canno help in a direct way unless you are truly in a
military dictatorship situation, you need to have civilian control of the military and that is usually import for their future. what they can do is establish enough on the ground and security. because terrorist attacks are designed in iraq always to deepen the tensions between the different groups and the society and also to create the impression that the government is not in control of that is why the recent attacks we saw or heavily against police stations and army recruiting centers. the terrorists in iraq understand perfectly well that the police and army are there to enable security which will let the government function and flourish. so their goal is to undercut that process. host: annapolis, maryland. rose, independent line. caller: probably mad the world and little less safe than it was before under saddam hussei and the other, that i have is america will probably be in iraq for the next 50 to 100 years,
just with the military presence. what is disturbing to me about this is back america today has military bases in roughly 100 countries already and i am really wondering how much that is actually contributing to the rest of the world looking at america as not being such a good neighbor in a way because, you know, if china or russi were starting to expand their military presence to 50 to 100 countries, i would probably be quite alarmed and the other point i would like to make is that it is all a matter of can you afford it. america is in essentially bankrupt and we are involved in these wars that we can't pay for and this will all come back and haunt us down the road. when they talk about america's interest, what is a merkel's interest? president obama talked about that. is it that we are out there to
get the oil from the middle east? while we are in afghanistan because they have all of these tremendous resources sitting in the ground? is that what we are doing? guest: great questions. i counted at least four of them and i hit on all of them. are we safer or less safe as a result of our invasion of iraq and the failures of our occupation and now the drawdown? is a very difficult question to answer definitively. iraqis themselves in the bad times recently did not feel especially safe. that said, saddam hussein myself killed hundreds of thousands of iraqis. it is of a tossup. if you live in a police state, if you oppose the state the state will come and kill you. it in the state falling into civil war, anybody could kill you. in thatituation many iraqis were in during the period in which the civil war was brewing. now things are substantially better. there was a level of violence in
my view still not tolerable. regionally the united states did not substantially strengthen its role but i also did not think we are substantially weaker regionally. it is very difficult question. in terms of our presence in iraq and elsewhere in the world. when american troops are present to add a securities it was in the resentment is different tha if we are appearing to be suppressing the population of supporting an illegitimate government. i think south korea is not a bad example of that. when the united states was supporting military dictatorships in south korea, some koreans who opposed the military government strongly objected. now that south korea is a functioning democracy, the population is more deeply divided. many people would like to see the united states leave because they are very proud and have strong national pride and do not want to have a sense of the united states isn the country but then they understand what korea remains a risk and for that reason there are some south
koreans like the idea of u.s. troops remaining. that imbalance, which is a very complex one, will be true in other countries as well as well as iraq, long run if we are successful in leading troops behind there. last, but not least, on the question of our interest. e united states is not so different from other countries wh it comes to foreign policy. we like tohink that we are unique and would like to care most about moral responsilities are doing the right thing, foreign policy idealism. we are not all like that, we are also realistic. we think autur national interests. and our involvement in the middle is broadly reflects both. often at the same time and sometimes in contradiction. actual foreign picy interest in stabity. we would like the region to be stable partly because we have potential for real global pilots in the region, with israel, iran, other countries potentially at odds. we also have a realist -- realistic interest in stability because we do have oil
interests. we are also a country with values and ideals and i think in iraq the central idea is we have of responsibility to try -- not necessarily to succeed -- to try to provide iraqis a roughly functioning government of their own and i think we are making some guarded progress in that direction. host: boston, massachusetts. charlie, go ahead. caller: i read a couple of days ago story in "the new york times," pretty sad about identifying the dead in baghdad. a really morbid story. .
stability. guest: you said, why don't the sunni king comes of the region, like saudi arabia, come in and explain to iraqi citizens that in a democracy they have to allow the majority to govern. the answer is they're not democracies themselves and they were very apple biff lent about seeing a country in which sunnis controlled the country under saddam and had control of the country even before saddam despite not being a majority suddenly finding themselves in a democratic situation. there was really -- there was real ambenevolence and you pretend you're a kingdom and not a democracy, a successful democracy next door sends a message to arabic speaking people throughout the world that they can have a functioning democracy throughout the world. i think that was one major reason. the other reason is as
shiia-sunni tensions grew in iraq, which is why we were not providing sufficient security, all over the middle east the issue of iraq became in part not holy but a sunni and shiia issues with she eye iran very actively -- shiia iran very actively involved and shiia supporting sunnis in the insurgency. as that happened people in the region began to line up on those denominational lines rather than lining up in terms of -- what ordinarily had been national interest. i think, i think that we're helping -- we've helped a little bit in that direction and the sunni-shiia tensions were less than they were years ago. host: there is a transfer of power ceremony which was set to begin at 8:00. those will take place momentarily. the vice president is set to appear at those functions as well. what's the importae of this
ceremony? what does it do as far as painting the picture of the future of iraq? guest: the ceremonies that we held in iraq have been reducing significance over time, i would say. -- saddam is actually gone. then there was the ceremony where we transferred sovereignty after a year of occupation. that was significant because we remained de facto the occupiers of the country. this i think is some ways less significant. we are saying it's the end of our combat operations phase, but we still have 50,000 troops in a country and the president was pretty equivocal about this. he says now iraqis will take the lead. didn't say we weren't going to be continuing defense of the country. it's important that we do so. i think a ceremony which amounts to the changing of the name of the operation smot a ceremony that will have deep resonance for ordinary iraqis or i think for most americans.
very careful not to say mission accomplished because we said that much too soon the last time because the mission is not accomplished in iraq yet. host: this email, mr. feldman, does the united states really have a clear underanding on the issues inhe middle east? how do we end our involvement there without making matters worse or getting blamed for the failure of those differences being resolved? guest: great question. our understanding as a question of the middle east and also in our government has improved enormously since 2003 when the united states invaded iraq in the firstlace. we knew suppressingly little and the number of arabic speakers in the government, both deployed in the middle east and working in the government on the domestic side, was not many. nothing like it should have been. frankly, ordinary americans didn't know the difference between sunnis and shias. according to a famous story when he was in the oval office with president bush in 2003
president bush needed the difference between sunnis and shias explained to him. everyone understands such differences and that's an improvement in our knowledge. that said, we can still be blamed for difficulties in nonrevolution in the middle east in a range of ways because we remain an important regional player. because we still have troops on the ground, because we have allies in the region, both in israel and also in iraq. iraq is also one of our allies and our closest ally in some senses. so one consequence of that is we will bear some responsibility and often take blame, including for things that are not our responsibility. that's one cost ofntervening in the world affairs. there are consequees and one consequence when people blame when tngs will go wrong. sometimes they'll overstate the case. host: kingman, azona, you are next, dede, republican line. caller: oh, yes, i want to ask
mr. feldman about constitutional question, i guess. everyone calls in and says when gege bush attacked iraq it was n constitutional. and i'm going to give me two scenarios and you answer which one is, was or wasn't. when bill clinton at the end of his term went into iraq and bombed for five days, i think they called it desert fox, said on tv that the reason he did was intelligence convinced him that saddam was planning to go to invade kuwait again after h.w. bush, you know, ran them out. but he didn't tell anyone because he wanted it to be a complete surprise, and he and his staff felt it was necessary
so they sent planes over, bombed iraq for five days and the only thing they did was knock out, i think, a pharmaceutical company. but he didn't have a vote, he didn't even inform congress when he did that. now, i don't know if that's more constitutional than what george bush did when he spent nine months explaining the reason he had to go back -- had to go into iraq and planning -- nine months planng the attack. host: we'll leave it there. guest: well, to offer clarification. mo of the legal decision to invade iraq wasn't focused on the constitutionality because president bush did go to congress and get formal authorization to go to war in iraq. congress authorized the intervention. most typically, from the standpoint of international law and the argument has been that the united states didn't have authorization from the united nations security council, which
is as a matter of international law, supposed to be the final ash tore of international law before we invaded. now the position tt the united states takes and still takes -- took and still takes, we were authorized to invade iraq by earlier u.n. security council resolution that essentially said that saddam had to follow the directives of the security council and if he didn't there would be consequences. so the united states said, well, these are the consequences. you haven't followed, saddam, the orders. many people in the other countries in the world who objected to our invasion said, well, that's not authorization. real authorization would require a new resolution from the security council. so the debate about the legality of the matter of international law of the iraq war has turned basically on that question. and when president clinton bombed iraq in operation desert fox he, too, claimed that the consuences offered by the u.n. security council
resolutions were justification. and i would add that when president clinton through nato bombed kosovo, that was another incidence where international critics of the united states said you haven't been authorized by the united nations security council to do this. and, again, the united states said, oh, yes we were. we insisted we were even though st countries in the world thought we weren't because we hadn't gotten a separate authorization. only both democratic and republican sides our chosen a different interpretation of security council resolutions. host: petersburg, illinois, thanks for waiting. larry, independent line. caller: yeah, good morning. my question deals with the constitutional issue also. we went in, shouldn't we be following the constitution and not the international implications on these issues? and could you talk a little bit
about the statements had a our father -- the things that our founding fathers were concerned about with us being involved in foreign entanement? guest: great question. thank you for asking them. the first one has to deal with our constitution and international law and that's a deep-end hard question. i'll give you the 30-second version. if our founding fathers saw us today, i think they would say something like the following -- your first obligation is to follow our own constitution. that goes without saying. the united states government can't act outside the bound of what our constitution allows. but the founding fathers also believed that the unitedtates had to follow international law and ought to follow international law and they wrote that in the constitution in a range of different ways including in a clause that says the treaties that we make, which are part international law, are in fact part of the law of the land. and some people believe that our constitution through, for example, the declaration of war
provision, actually incorporates some of the principles of international law and requires us to follow international law. othersisagree very strongly and say if the united states wants to break international law we're authorized to do that under our constitution the same way any other country can break international law if it wants to provided its willing to pay the consequences. so that remains a deep divide. i think all americans agrees that the first obligation is to follow our constitution. with respect to foreign entanglement, it's true that president washington in his farewell address warned against foreign entanglements and he wants a lot of trade with the world and as little political or military involvement as possible. he was a president of a republic which spans just part of the east coast. you know, from its tip to its bottom it was shorter than the range of i-95 d wasn't a global superpower. over the next 200 years gradual lieu the united states became a global superpower and that's changed our perspective on our
involvement in the world. as a consequence, especially after the fall of the soviet union, the unitestates has played a role in the world, sometimes positive, sometimes not so positive, of trying to establish andaintain a relatively effective and relatively peaceful situation. if we didn't do that to the same extent, how stable would the world will be? that's something that no one can answer definitively. we have to ask ourself a question, we have to be realistic about the answers. host: jeff, good morning, our on democratic line. caller: hello. you were talking earlier about these two factions are having trouble setting up a government. doesn't this reallserve as a good takeaway for the american people to see how important i actually is to have separation of church and state? i mean, if your politics are based on your religion and you want to stay true to your religion, that leaves you no
room to compromise. i'd like your thoughts on that. >> you know, when you have -- guest: you know, when you have a country like our country has been at the beginning, but we were lots of different kinds of protestants with catholics and jews, it's good to separate church and state. it doesn't mean you have to do that, though. it doesn't mean that's a fundamental human right to separate government and church. iraq is overwhelmingly muslim. almost all iraqis on both sides agreed in a the constitutional drafting there that islam should be the official religion of the state. so the challenge for iraqis is to compromise within the framework of your religion. i'd say there are deep visions in the country now but they are not about theology. they are not about the substance of religious beliefs. they are nor about denominational issues with the sense of which team are you on?
and as we go toward the re-establishment of securities, the more those dominational differences will be reduced over time. i hope, i he that i iraq the choice of iraqis to have an official state religion will not ultimately stand in the way of their success. but, of course, i agree with the caller that in the united states where we have great religious diversity, keeping religion and politics separate to some extent is very, very valuable, provided that people can draw on >> as the 2010 midterm election approaches, we are bringing you events from key races across the country. tonight at 10:00, the california democrat barbara boxer and republican candidate take part in their first debate from st. mary's college in california. this race could be a tossup.
you can watch live coverage tonight on cspan starting at -- starting at 10:00 p.m. eastern. president obama is in the middle of a busy day in washington. during the morning, he met with middle east leaders in preparation for the peace talks tomorrow between the israelis and palestinians. earlier, we brought to remarks from the president and the israeli prime minister. right now, the president is in a meter -- meeting with mahmoud abbas, the leader of the palestinians. at 5:20, the president will make a statement on the peace talks tomorrow. you can see his comments live from the white house rose garden here on c-span. this evening, more from the president and middle east leaders as they speak with reporters from the east room. joint present obama is prime minister netanyahu, palestinian leader abbas, king abdallah of jordan, and the egyptian president hosni number -- hosni mubarak, you can hear them at
to a dance they call for the israeli-palestinian conflict. palestinian president abbas. speaking third, an old and dear friend here just arrived from cairo. he served for many years at the center for strategic and political studies. he is a fixture here in america says one of the leader rights of interpreting egyptian politics but broad arab politics to the american audience. that included the washington institute's own, david. our distinguished fellow and director on the product on the
middle east peace process. david only just returned recently from six weeks in israel and the west bank where he interviewed all the key principles that will be involved in this week's launching of negotiations that went deep into the details of all the issues on the agenda of the peace process as we know it. with this august crowd, there is lots will be learning and lots to ask about. with that, we turn the floor over to rob. >> well, good afternoon, everybody. thank you for the kind introduction. it is very nice to be back in washington and to see the familiar and friendly faces. thank you. let me start out by making a few observations and tried to keep within the time limit in half.
first of all, i would argue that this process launched tonight and tomorrow night with dinner at the white house and in thursday with meetings at the state department because the u.s. feels a sense of urgency. neither the prime minister nor president abbas share that sense of urgency. that is not to say that they're not serious about peace. based on my experiences from the last few years on the ground competing with them regularly, i am convinced both sides are serious about peace. the problem right now is the president abbas needs a deal but is fearful of open-ended negotiations. prime minister netanyahu clearly wants negotiations but is not sure that there is a deal to be had. clearly, they're facing a daunting challenge, as is the administration. prime minister netanyahu and president of loss of a negotiated with one another. they know one another. it is clear that there is not a great deal of chemistry there. they're not even coming to
washington on the same terms of reference. on august 20, the secretary of state made one announcement. the quartet made another one at the same time. and the two sides are on different terms of reference. prime minister netanyahu and president of bosky preferring to whether if they have a partner, not that they have a partner. so both sides are not sure. the lack of trust is so deep that this is what president abbas saw international guarantees to get here. and to my understanding, there's still no real agreement on the agenda for the talks. they will be talking about the agenda for the talks when they sit down to talk. all that said, i come back to my experience on the ground more hopeful about the possibilities for peace than i was when i got there. i came to see that the majority of palestinians and israelis do want a settlement. i think many of the taboos that
existed in the process had been broken. i recalled a time when it israelis work restricted from talking to the plo and the palestinians would only refer to the zionist entity. a lot has taken place. there's an international consensus about the two states living side by side in peace and security. the difficulty is getting there. i think one of the most important changes that have taken place is on the ground. the situation that exists in the west bank today is not the same as it was when i arrived there in 2008. one can go to hebron and some of the most troublesome places that have been hotbeds of violence and terrorism today and walk the streets day and night. our palestinian security forces have reclaimed the territory. they're providing law and order and security for palestinians and by extension for israelis.
in doing so, i believe firmly there is a partner for peace and the palestinian side. similarly, i which is based on the discussions that i was privy to over the course of many months with prime minister netanyahu, i am firmly convinced it is all so serious as a partner for peace. so i think both sides want a deal and both sides can do it. one of the court challenges that i think the united states faces in this process is this lack of trust that i referred to. israeli and palestinian people, as much as they want peace, a arsenical, beaten down, and no longer believe that peace is actually achievable. for peace to be successful, for these efforts to be successful, the palestinian people must be brought to believe that the occupation will end and that a state will come at the end of it. similarly, israelis must become convinced that when they relinquish control, if they do, that their security will be
ensured and enhanced. it is my belief that those of the real challenges that the negotiators face. in doing so, what they must do is not only compromises with the negotiating route, but the condition outside the negotiating room, so that they provide the leaders the support to make the historic compromise is necessary. let me say one last word about thursday. i have been talking to some journalists lately, and everyone keeps asking what will constitute success. i think we must be modest in our expectations. i do not think much is going happen on thursday to the public eye. what is going to happen is the two sides will meet. what is important is that they start the conversation. i think september 26, when the settlement -- settlement moratorium expires will be the real test of how this process is going. it will be the administration's
real first test the ability and creativity. prime minister netanyahu says he cannot renew the moratorium. president abbas says he cannot move forward in less if the settlement activity is renewed. i think this circle can be squared or the squared can be circle. but in either case, it will require agility in creativity by the administration and flexibility by the parties. thank you. [applause] >> ok. thank you very much. is the nasd finished in 10 minutes. you have not spent enough time in the region, obviously. [laughter] just a word about today's incident. it is deplorable incident, an incident that we as an institution and i personally
condemned. a is and in human act in its very nature. it is an act that i would say was aimed directly at the heart of the palestinian national interest. the legacy international interest and that the public president abbas and the prime minister and the palestinian authority ceased the interest is ending the occupation. at the end of the day, the only way the palestinians can get dignity is to have their own state. the only way they can get their own state is through negotiations. it is a negotiation process that i believe those past international interest. however, many of you have been engaged in politics and policy. so what i believe is that during negotiations, both sides, have an interest.
they're entering the negotiations with a lot of concern. at the beginning of any negotiation, it is always politically very different. there are conditions towards hard-line positions. and leaders that are not supposed to negotiate. there is domestic position for both outside. not just for hamas. but even some members and said the organization. and for many negotiant perspectives, we have seen a lot of posturing of positioning. no one really knows or the other side is on the issue, with the bottom line is. so the beginning of the early phases of the negotiation, i believe both sides are entering a more concerned about failure than they are confident in success. what we would see at the beginning is a lot of posturing and probing.
a lot of cautious behavior. and it tends to get marginal advantages before the negotiations began. and i believe here the u.s. has a very important role to play. and having a very large part in the negotiation room. to reveal the margin in which they're willing to move. to move away from the opening positions, many of which are unattainable. and most towards a sense of what the margin is they can operate within. more importantly though, as mentioned earlier, what we needed this phase is to start on a political process of strengthening the negotiation and peace process. this required more stagecraft, if you will, and less. it will require an action by the parties, but i think is at the u.s. because the parties are left by their own devices according to old habits.
i think the u.s. should take charge and creating an opposing a code of conduct on the behavior of the party does said the negotiation room. and the conduct would have at least three components. the first component relates to how to deal with crises. today was a painful reminder that crises, terrorism, and other types of crises always happen. there has to be away, a challenge to be creative between the parties to deal with these issues. it has to be part of the public negotiations. when any other kind of communications has to continue, and we have heeded this in the past with many conflicts. and there are other mechanisms to deal with crisis. net think from the institute, there was an excellent book written about this. we have taken lessons and turn them into a structure of negotiations. the second aspect of the code of contact relates to messaging. ultimately, over the next year and even over the last months and weeks, what we have seen
both sides come out publicly pandering to their constituencies. through hardline positions, through finger-pointing coming through accusations. working negotiations while saying this is a process where they do not expect results. we need to see more positive messaging. ideally, i would like to see the parties being convinced or pressured even to make a public statement. if that is not possible, at least what i would like to see at a bare minimum is the absence of negative statements. ultimately, there would be enough opposition in enough within hamas and other movements that it will be playing down the process. i think it is up to the leaders to play up that process. and finally from a negotiation perspective, -- [unintelligible] i have seen recently the palestinians and israelis on tv screens and negotiating various conditions and refuting discussing the issues. that does not help anyone. ultimately, compromise is said
to be made in the negotiation room. it can only be a package deal. and anything we have will harm the prospects. as important if not more important than the messaging part is the behavior side. how the side's behavior on the ground. there things palestinians and israelis need to do -- need to do. the israelis need to deepen and widened. in need to move to more intelligence and counter- terrorism type of things. the issue of assignment has to be dealt with in a more vigorous way. on the israeli side, we have the issue of providing security to palestinians in the west bank and encouragement among the palestinians to engage in continue to engage in freedom of movement and issues of this sort. and then the issue of settlements. now everyone knows that september 26 is seen by many as the next major process.
i am not terribly worried about this. i believe that at the end of the day, no side, not the palestinians, nor the israelis, are willing to hand president obama failure in foreign policy. the domestic price they will pay is too high. both sides have an interest in maintaining and continuing the process. i say that this can be an opportunity on september 26. we need compromise. or by the palestinians will not get the formalized settlement freeze, and they will continue building in the same pace and head for the moratorium. there are some ideas out there and maybe the best known of them. however, i think this will be an opportunity for the site to start talking to the public and saying that compromises have to be made. not only is the and game but throughout the process. this might be an opportunity, and we should start looking at it as an opportunity. all of that said, i believe that
progress and negotiations will obviously be slow. we will go through the initial phase of positioning, of creating trust, of the party's understanding each other's positions, and even after that. this will by definition have to be private. the minute it becomes public, it loses -- [unintelligible] because it is private, it will not accrue any credit to the leaders. we have to find something else to show progress and to show a sense of public support and trust in the process but on the palestinian side, we have a blueprint. we have the formula. the palestinian authority and the president of us in the prime minister has been engaged in the process for the last year. it has been renewed in reinvigorated this week with the new government being released. i think this is where we have to -- [unintelligible]
i see secretary clinton in her prepared remarks gave importance to this aspect of the suspect, the issue of state building an institution building have many advantages. one is being efficient. as the negotiations go up and down, we need to have the sense of constant and consistent progress on the ground. but it can also have bigger and quieter systematic value. talking to many israeli colleagues when i was a negotiator, i know there's a deep-seated fear that once the palestinian state is free, that this will be a failed state. this will be stayed made of gangs and competing services. corruption will be right. i think the more the palestinians can develop an improved security and governance, the more that we can start telling a more compelling story about the need for statehood and the urgency for statehood. at the end of the day, you build
it and they will come. it is important though, as we do this, to insulate this process. the process of institution building. and selected from the turbulence of the peace process. going to my only fear is as a negotiator. often when negotiations are not going well, the israelis through things on the ground. it is a grant to understand that this process is a deep interest for everyone involved. it is important to learn from the lessons we saw -- how the u.s. become enslaved and offer such a process. it becomes ultimately a joint project. in conclusion, and i see my 10 minutes are finishing, i would say i am cautiously optimistic. optimistic because i see a degree of seriousness here by the president. i am optimistic because they see both sides with an option.
i am optimistic because i see a sense of the sides had no other choice but to move in that direction in a political way. i see the palestinians do some building projects. i see the arab world being more engaged. of course, there all the reasons that have been mentioned above at the end of the day, my own belief is no matter what the hurdles are, i do not see any other option. this is something that we have to do as americans, as palestinians, and as israelis. thank you very much for your attention. [applause] >> if you stay for 10 minutes, you have been in washington too long. [laughter] well, i have two excellent speakers before me, and they all have that very important points.
and i'd like to give back a little bit to organize our thinking about the events that we are about to see, and i have a conceptual point that we need badly to distinguish between strategy and history, and i see them too much mixed in the process of arab-israeli conflict and arab-israeli negotiations to the degree that determined of the common causes will succeed or fail. andtegy's -- people decide defined goals in a way to get to them. usually, these goals can be measured and can be looked at. while history is a completely different thing, i mean, we have had a lot of foreseeable forces, and a lot of unforeseeable forces.
big characters like god. it got local mythologies. they got a lot of many that have been oppressed and many that have been eliminated many times. so history is a very complicated thing. and probably one of the agonies of the arab-israeli conflict is mixing both. our business actually to examine -- [unintelligible] what is an obama's hand, netanyahu, mubarak -- anybody involved in this process is to work out how look at history and put it into strategy. that is a conflict that is really revealing. that is the conflict as started early in the 20th-century. and continued with us throughout the organization -- the cold war, both.
and each time it was capable of changing itself from being a colonial issue to be in a clash of civilization issue to match the new world order after the september 11. the vocabulary has been here. and that business can watch out. you know, this kind of changing -- [unintelligible] even in our generation. people who have been through the conflict. they have been through the whole process. however, i can say also that, you know, this history was full of opportunities. i mean, the ones for the palestinians are well known -- [unintelligible] but the israelis also lost opportunities. i think the israelis lost opportunities sceptre the first time with egypt.
it was a process. i think now we are about to have an opportunity. i do not know if we're going to lose it or not. the nice thing about it is since 1973, we have another camp that is also resilience, trying to make peace process in trying to make peace. and the result with the egyptian-israeli peace. even the process producing something at the end of israeli peace. so we have also, a well-defined issue now by which an existential issue or problem or contradiction turns it into a manageable issue related to issues that we know about. borders, regina, settlements, a jerusalem. these are things on the map, and we can count in deal with these.
the point is there is room for a strategy. strategies can spell and can succeed. but the issue is, people who are working for peace will continue to work for peace so that it was one said it was only our 13th failure. i hope for obama, it is not his 14th fell year. it will be probably our fourth success or fit success. what are the strategies? what do we have? what we have got here, we have today two peace agreements with egypt and with jordan. with the israelis. and both leaders are here in the process, signifying both the possibility of reaching a document that probably we do not like at the beginning, but we
lived with and live with and implemented for a number of years now. we have a change of heart in the american strategic mind. in the american strategic mind during the bush and ministration, arab-israeli conflict that something was done -- was something that was unsolvable. now, we're hearing from general petraeus, from president obama, for mothers, that the arab- israeli conflict is important for american national interests. we're speaking strategy here. want to talk about national interest, people can meet and the fine with the one, and then they come to the ground. we have an asset of accumulated negotiations. it was not completely lost, the whole talking about the different issues. [unintelligible]
we have an arab initiative, and it is an arab committee commission to follow up and support the palestinians in their negotiations. we have an emerging common interest that is only separated by the continuation of the conflict. i do not remember at any given time before that there was a common interest that it are emerging in the region, and the middle east, between arabs and israelis that really are separated only by the existence of conflict. so there is a new common interest coming here into the process. finally, i will say the alternative to success is really bad. if we did not succeed this time, we will not have a war. and it is almost about time. we have a war every two years. so the last one is now getting to the end of the second year.
the liabilities we know, and this was mentioned. the palestinian division in, the right-wing government, too little time for a success because usually politicians typically hosted quickly. and we have, i will say, once we're dragged into negotiations, people trying to upbeat the level of demands they have, you know, and the issues are tough. borders, refugees, and drizzle on. really tough. so what is the best way to handle that? the first saying is what was said before, that we've got to have resilience in the negotiations. and this resilience should be out of the media. i believe the media was not very constructive in this process. second is how to turn at the
critical issues into strategic issues. in that sense, if regimes are people, once you deal with people, you have a problem with people, like in any country. in which you can find their work -- you can find several ways to deal with them. the jewish of the israeli state is about the simple definition of state. we have the islamic republic of iran. we have the islamic republic of mauritania. if you want to say the jewish republic of israel, it is the definition. it if israel today decided that we will have a constitution this is where a jewish state and in the palestinians are recognizing that, recognizing the state of israel, then and is recognizing that kind of institution. accepting it is sending different. acceptance is different from recognizing. recognizing is a way to define
the international policies. as such, it is a strategy. acceptances in their hearts. hertz are to be warm to. and not through negotiations, i believe. so providence can be turned her from being on the realm of history or whatever into the realm of, you know, the real world. and we got to take the principal then no resolution of an issue should fill in the existence of the other side. i believe actually here, and i would be very flat unless we have our resolution to the problem, and that -- [unintelligible] the same thing, we cannot have a palestinian state without that the occupation of the palestinian state. under any kind of slow again --
slogan, and here, i believe the last kind of double- [unintelligible] we have to define the two-state solution. and we have numbers about the two-state solution, and we have to draw the lines. once we draw the lines, we can get into settlements and and those within the israeli line. is our side and into the palestinian state, it would be a waste of time, energy, and resources. the arab initiative should be operational eyes to -- operationalized and implemented.
a jerusalem to get back to clinton's barometers. what is for the arabs and is for the arabs and what is for the jews is for the jews. when safer and more or agreement is adopted, it should be subjected to both sides. [unintelligible] plus egypt and jordan with united states. i believe we should give back in many ways. and to the framework for the establishment for the state in egypt, jordan, and the palestinians are part of a commission to work out. i will and i what was talked about. i think fayad efforts is to be commended, should be supported, and actually, it is probably
the first step to establish the confidence, whether with the israelis or the international community. thank you very much. [applause] >> david. >> ok, good afternoon, everyone. let, first of all, i want to thank my research assistant, intern for putting together the handout that you see. and i think we all expressed condolences to the families of these four israelis were killed this afternoon. and if there was a first attack and close to three years at a time or the security cooperation has been excellent, and hamas, which is not yet claimed responsibility, but we understand the attack, and this shows security operation is not as great as people think. they clearly had a political and, and i hope it will be denounced by everyone is being
counterproductive to the interests for peace, and as a morally wrong. it is a counterproductive think it goes against the palestinian and trust. it is also a morally wrong thing. and it has come after years of quiet between these two sites. i just returned from the region. i was there close to six weeks. i have had some like five dozen meetings and mostly with the israeli and palestinian officials. also, u.s. and others. i would say to pick up, i provide my remarks quickly because i want to keep within my time when it. one is, what is the possibility of it -- of this given the skepticism? what was the role of president obama? how do we judge the stocks moving forward, and what is the domestic context for the talks? that is what i will try to do.
we talked about the institutional building. the bottom-up efforts. i think i saw something this morning. the imf in the first quarter said the growth of the west bank is 11%. and this is at a time of a worldwide recession, everyone. and i agree with how much the work has been done, and also how it is working for us. as you see in the handout, the public support for the two-state solution is substantial, and i would urge you to read a forthcoming policy why-. -- policy watch. and we're drilling down on the issue a public support for a two-state solution. i think there is all so converging interests of the parties to ensure that the growth of islam does not take off in the middle east and the influence of iran does not grow.
we have a lot of things working for us that we do not have in the 1990's. it is easy to be cynical and skeptical. no one is ever cutthroat about being a pessimist about the malaise. the same time, in their skepticism, we should not forget what we do. there is cooperation an institution building. reduction settlements. the public support, much of the work being done, the fact that there is kind of the converging interest regionally. those are not insignificant factors. what has been the role of president obama in this effort? i think there has been a subtle critique of president obama -- president abbas, and he is given an interview, believing that he was outflanked by the united states in 2009, that he cannot, when the bar is set so high, and he said i am at bay tree. he said it is an interview and i need a ladder to come down. and in many respects, we have wasted a lot of time.
where we are now, basically, we could have been at the start of the settlement moratorium 10 months ago. so there has to be some reflection on that. but i think something happened on july 6 of this year. and we likely will not know. it will take journalists and everyone a long time to figure out what it was. but i think for the first time, obama came out of the meeting with netanyahu, and we know their relationship has been strained in the past, and said it was an excellent meeting and i believe prime minister netanyahu is ready for peace. it is the first time obama has ever vouched for netanyahu's cause austerity. that has led to speculation that netanyahu confided in obama about his bottom line is in a way he is not done so until now. i think that is stuck in the drug of this administration up until july 6. after july 6, we see obama really get into gear and really press hard for the stocks. he himself has been a skeptic of
the futility of talks. you work the arab side, and there is a situation where the u.s., israel, and the arab states were aligned. there were direct talks. timing was of the present. but i think it all originates with obama. and they had other motivations? you consider the midterm is coming up. a foreign policy achievement of barack obama and the go-to person, the democrats minister, and is under enormous pressure. and on a policy level, here is someone who wants to show how these two events are one after the other. on iran, we have seen a change. i think this administration came in with a more hard at linkage approach, believing that arab- israeli progress was almost a prerequisite for progress on the
iranian issue. but i think they have shed most of this. 90% of this, i would call its linkage-like at best. a fairy tale imitation of linkage. they're saying that we're going ahead on confrontation with iran. we have three sets of sanctions. in june. us, the eu, the security council. we're going ahead. it would be nice, but it would be nicer ambiance in the region as we go forward. but i do not know anybody in the administration believes that arab states are going to do something about iran if there was progress if they way they would not have done without progress. bravia been a staging is labeled a lot for linkage, and i think they came in this way, i think they have traversed considerable distance when they realized the region is a little more complicated.
where does it leave us now? with the arab states? i think it is important that the president mubarak is here and king jordan is here. it is a good sign. there was a lot of pageantry in annapolis. with the pageantry are the risks. it looks hollow if there is not progress. this is a much more low-key affair, but it is a question to ask, what will u.s. the arab states to do at a time when you would like the israelis to extend this moratorium on settlements? mitchell's original concept was both with act. i think you do not include the islam in, and it would face a peace and are 90%. but we do not see a similar 90% on the arab side. i think it will not be at the table. this is a legitimate question. how do we judge the dogs going forward? i agree with my colleagues. we will not know a lot this week. it will probably be a federal law, some statements about
wanting a two-state solution, but probably not much more. so i think the thing to look for is more in the weeks when we get back to the middle east, not as much when they're here. what is the format of the talks? it think it is significant that netanyahu says he wants to run the talks himself. and continue on with what ehud olmert did which was have a weekly bi weekly meeting with president abbas. to me, that shows that he is serious and that it is a close call. he could send a dozen guys with briefcases to the negotiating room and hit an impasse within two seconds. if you are serious, you ought to run as yourself. you run a close vote because -- you run a close call because each issue could be political dynamite. i think the format is important. on the agenda, every said has to say they're for comments about comes. and you know what they do that. but i think for the most part,
the borders and security is were the progress is most likely. if those are higher up, i think that is a good sign. the difference between ehud olmert and abbas is 4%. i think each side knows with the other one wants. an age that has signaled everett things that are interesting. there have been settled policy shifts. netanyahu has said that he is looking at presence in the sovereignty. he says security arrangements will change over time, suggesting that the israeli role there will not be by any means a monopoly. and i think that was significant. i think we have seen abbas when he was here in washington in june speaking about i want the end of conflict. if you look at a cabinet meeting of netanyahu the sunday before he left for washington, he put that as one of his top three
issues along with security and recognizing israel. not as a jewish state but a nations did of the jewish people, which was his turn to get around a lot of the religious issues. i think the boss has begun a distance or he talked about the jewish presence on that the land, and i think that he would go further than this as these talks progress. when the role of the public, this is crucial, and i think this is where a lot more focus needs to be. because right now, you have got all this progress, but the public is jaded because the failures of the past. this is where leadership is required. especially on jerusalem and refugees. i am more of a skeptic they will have a process so soon. a could be, if i interpret it, what he said about the framework, you can have a very high level of abstraction on
jerusalem and refugees. but basically borrow language used already. it can be the capital of both sides or the palestinians will go more are some stay. not to use it george bush said there. you could do that. that would pass for a breakthrough. but leaving a higher resolution further down. that might be away of trying to get all the issues under the tent. in terms of solving on these issues, i see no shortcuts for conditioning these societal landscapes on each side. the final one is on domestic context. on the israeli side, the governments have been brought down. pisa's been brought down by the right, not by the left. the government followed part. netanyahu, in 1998, his government fell apart. i think there has not been enough of a steady about 1998.
i looked right a little more about this. i think this is netanyahu's fear, that he does go forward as he did in 1998. he lost the right. then barack obama son opening for early elections, and there was no reconfigured government. it seems to me that netanyahu will not want to lose his coalition until he absolutely has to, so he doesn't know if he has a burden on the palestinian issue. therefore, in my view, he might go with 28 seats and 120 members. but only if he knows that it is ironclad, meaning an ironclad agreement with the palestinians, i do not think could be met with. but i think he is haunted by 1998. i think it is a key factor. on the palestinian context, we talk about the weakness of a boss. icc in the handout, and almost every stage and now, while his supporters not sky-high, double
that of hamas. hamas is certainly not 10-feet tall in the palestinian polls at all. you have hamas now getting $500 million. and again, they will try to stir the pot. i have no idea of what happened today was because of them. i just cannot know. but what is different than in the past? what made those attacks in the 1990's so potent was arafat. that arafat was not viewed as credible. he gave this notorious yellow light to hamas to attack and could violence in the negotiation. the more it is clear that a boss is not of the air fund mold, i feel the potency of hamas will not be what it was in the 1990's. it is this fear the doubled game that scares everyone. also, i think hamas as more to lose because there is an address to hamas in a way the was not in the 1990's. so it is very easy to attack them in a way that was harder in
the 1990's. and i think also the security operation is better. so we since the if there's no double game, i think it will be harder for the rejection is to say that there is a veto over peace. the reason was potent in the 1990's is the was not just the rejection people. it was arafat himself. that is what this has to become very clear, very soon. thank you all very much. [applause] [inaudible] >> gentleman, thank you very much to do this for four fascinating and informative presentations, all kept reasonably within your time frames, which is remarkable. you also all are generally optimistic. which is also striking. i think i have to take the chairman's prerogative to ask a
couple -- i do not want to say pessimistic, but tough questions about this process. and from that position, launched a discussion for the next half an hour. >> 3 come to mind. when president obama began this 18 months ago, the presumption was that there were his three legs to this. israelis, palestinians, and the broader arab world. he was rebuffed by the saudis in june 2009, and there are no saudis here in washington to participate in this event. there are our good and old friends, the egyptians and people from jordan. but we cannot say they are the arab world. that is not what the idea was. so if it was so hard to do this when we thought there were three legs and we achieved no progress for 20 months, what are the
chances of progress with only two legs to this tool? that is the first question. question two, given, i will say, american missteps over the last 20 months that projected -- that certainly could give in the minds of palestinians and others in the middle east the idea that perhaps, as i think robert mentioned, president obama was more interested in this process than many of the local leaders. have ate palestinians least a tactical interest to do nothing for the next several months and to test the proposition that president obama will intervene in this process? now, maybe after several months the restraining himself we might get a negotiation. but is and the near-term likelihood deadlock to test the
proposition that united states will intervene? and third, in a broader scope, i know david, you referred to iran. is it better -- is it correct, rather, to say that the process is more likely or less likely to achieve results with clarity on the iran nuclear program or in the current situation, when as most observers believe, as some point in the next 12-month time span, a lot for these negotiations, we will see something major happens on the iran nuclear friend? is the process that is currently conceived a sophisticated and elegant holding pattern so that the united states and others can
address the iran nuclear program? at the end of which, in may be more likely to achieve progress. or are these two issues truly separate? so let me open up by these three big questions, and then ask my colleagues for comments. you do not have to comment on all of them. please. we do not have time for that. but if you have one or two you want to comment on, i ask you to come to the podium. then we will turn to the for further questions. rob? >> i may be is the fact that i was so brief before. now with my subsequent follow- up, but i will try not to. you raised some fair points, many of them, rob. i think what i was trying to differentiate was about any kind of new mexico ability of success versus what i see as the real --
any kind of a real inevitability of success versus what i see is the real opportunity for success. you can bet against the peace process and probably do well today. what i was suggesting is that none the less i see real opportunities that did not exist before. the real question you have to ask yourself is, are we better off now than we might be down the road? are conditions going to write been or are they going to be -- are conditions going to ripen? in my view, they're not going to it ripen further, especially with what i see on the palestinian side and israeli side. in the past, u.s. in the united states intervened when the president was not on his final legs. president clinton came in at the end of his term with a serious effort. president bush also started with a very serious ever but very little in the presidency. president obama starting relatively early in his presidency by putting this front and center.
that means he's giving himself time to play with this process. i think they're tools there. you spoke about the initial concept about the three legs of the stool, if you will. yes, the proposition was tested and proved to be lacking. the arab world did not deliver in a way that had been hoped. but that may not mean that the process itself is doomed. in means of that element was a flawed assumptions. that said, adding the arab world still has a great role to play here, especially when it comes to when we talk about faith building, something has been the last two years focused on intensively. right now, more than anything, i think one thing the arab world could do most importantly is follow-up on its pledges to the palestinian authority with actual deposits. in palestinian authority bank accounts. tickets to another issue which we cannot touch on today, as something as a focusing on now which is the state-building
effort and the tensions that exist within that. we'll talk here about the top- down meaning the bottom-up, and it sounds a good and is important, but it has stirred up a lot of conflict and conflicting sentiments in palestine and israel as well. but that is a separate issue. yes, there have been at missteps along the route. there will be further missteps. you're absolutely right. in the next few months, it will test president obama. it is not fatal. it is part of the process. there will be bigger tests like the ones we saw today, the violence that will really test the fragility of the process and test the ability of the leaders to move forward. what you say about iran, and i will in don that, is a very important. this 12 months. yes, it would be much better to
have clarity on iran and the ambiguity that exists, and that weighs very heavily. when i said prime minister netanyahu did not commit his process with the palestinian issue as is number one strategic priority, it is iran that is his strategic priority. he is clear about that. and the lack of clarity about iran and were the u.s. might be on this process will affect the process. i did one of the reasons, or i expect, but we may not know for some time, the prime minister netanyahu agreed to one-year is precisely because of iran. because he wants to see where the and ministers in those with this process over the next 12 months. then when it comes time for historic compromise, he may be in a position to negotiation with united states about what it is willing to do on iran and what he is willing to do with the palestinians. so iran does play a role in could very well play a role in this process. but i doubt that it is going to be a positive one.
>> ok. >> let me start with the arab world. yes, i think we missed an opportunity earlier on at the beginning of the process. but i do not think it is irretrievable. i think we can have a new approach that can bring the arabs in a more nuanced way into the process. i would say there three ways to the arab world can get involved in a positive way. one is the point that was just mentioned. the arabs have to support the palestinians. and that should come with no political cost to the arab state. they can argue about israel, but i do not think they can argue that supporting them politically and financially is costly. i think that is the point that has to be hammered more stronger than we have seen. the other level we should start in gauging the arab state is one we do not really talk about. it is guarantees in security and
stature. we talked about providing security to israel. initially, i believe through bilateral forces, and i think the general assembly would be a great opportunity. for the u.s. and arab states to start discussing the issues the right time might be been we -- but there is something to be done. on the issue of normalization, the initial american message -- what i would like to see is a matrix of certain actions and certain other actions. a matrix israelis make rhetorical concessions.
the israelis make concessions, but the arabs make concessions. in terms of holding back until he gets an american proposal, i do not think that is terribly accurate. ultimately, he is jury vulnerable to american pressure. if the americans the lack of good faith, he will pay a price and he realizes that. he is quite concerned of what the american ideas would look like. in the american proposal -- in the american proposal must meet the palestinian goals. that prospect is attractive to the palestinians. they have more of an interest in
reaching a negotiated deal. ultimately, americans would be too dangerous. thank you. >> should go to the questions or comments? >> brief comments, the middle east way. i have a problem. these are very vague terms. we had to be sensitive to the domestic requirements of every arab state. when there is normalization, some countries will change ambassadors.
others in the commercial attache. others send a low-level diplomats. others make economic deals spread each country according to halt its domestic situation would have to be sensitive to that. we cannot get it except that we have a follow-up mission. its mission is to support the palestinian negotiations. many of us have done that for our lives. an intervention -- karcher intervened. -- carter intervened. you intervene and to pay for it. the united states is going to intervene and it is going to pay for it.
the iran issue is on the table. it is one of the elements we are having the negotiations today. but i will say that iran issue is going to be a very messy issue. a few years ago, in 2004 and 2005, how the middle east and division of iraq. iran is iraq multiplied by 10. >> very briefly, on the arab states issue, there was a nude -- news agency piece on the sharp reduction of the arab states support for the palestinian authority. i urge you to look at bats. you can say it was driven by a belief in the arab states that if they withhold money, they would force the reconciliation. that was clearly the strategy.
ironically, hamas did not. that whole idea of withholding money is not proved itself and it needs to be revisited. also, the arab initiative is. we have to make knocked back loaded the way it looks today. no one thinks it should be front loaded, that the arabs should give the israelis everything they want an open up all these indices. we know it is not realistic. it is not realistic the way it is today. it is completely back loaded. israel, get out of the west bank. we will mail you a flat. it has to be more parallel. every step israel takes to the palestinians, the arab states take a step towards israel. there needs to beat some
thoughts about how you utilize the arab peace initiative. on the u.s. role, the palestinians of the past have wanted a commitment from the obama items rationed. be careful what you wish for because the u.s. position on refugees is very different than the palestinian view. the united states here is going to be very careful. before its asian -- before it puts a bridge for, they want to know why there is a deadlock. they may not be in the room formally, but they will be part of the contact. i do not think there will be an obama peace plan until we know how close we are. you have heard me say, you can have a bridge over a river, but you cannot have one over notion.
it makes sense when the parties come close. if they are very far apart -- on iran, is a holding pattern situation? it is possible. i tend to think that if we think iran works to hamas, however, i tend to believe that their ability to stir up people in the most part is going to be on jerusalem. i do not even know if we will get there within a year. within a year, we will know a little bit more. i do not think that means you are frozen and you cannot move at all. you can move on the issues where the parties are closer together. i do not in the process will be done in the year anyway. >> thank you. let's take a handful of questions. please identify directly to whom you are asking. we will try to get a handful in before we close.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5. a very brief questions. no statements. >> what about being invited to this event? tony blair has been invited. where are arabs? >> we need the other microphone. >> i will repeat the question. was the arab league invited? we see that tony blair was invited. >> brief answer, no. >> gentlemen, you will have to stand up. >> the arab league was not invited. >> i am not sure he is very
[inaudible] >> my understanding is the reason that the king of jordan are here it is in the guise of the follow-up to their committee. they are represented. >> we will have to get to the bottom of this one. >> please make sure that the button is pressed right there in the middle. >> very ago. >> -- there you go. >> i am stuck by the difference and -- it pales in comparison to what they did to us in 1991 and 1992.
they will find a formula. the second comment is about iran. i did not believe that anyone seriously thinks that the israelis could make any agreements if the iranian situation is not resolved. i think that the iranians hold all the power. it is an example of what can still happen. >> thank you. >> i want to ask a little bit
more about the iran question pretorius suggesting that there was a quid pro quo between obama and netanyahu where obama promised to take care of the runny in its nuclear program in return for -- of the irani in -- iranian nuclear program in return? >> no. i was not suggesting there was any such thing. all was suggesting is that i was speculating that fort prime minister netanyahu, the idea of accepting a one-year deadline for the negotiations was convenient because it also aligned with the one-year breakout potential for iran. at that point, it gives him enough time to see where things go on the palestinian track and see what the united states is willing to do regarding iran.
it is something that netanyahu is calculating. i was not suggesting any kind of quid pro quo. >> this is directed by david. david, like your analogy. if you did not like the book, you would not like the movie. if i did not like the settlements and a settlement freeze is meant to expire and prime minister netanyahu made no commitments prior to these negotiations about extending the moratorium, while like the movie? -- why it will i like the movie? >> this is the one part that is clearly left wide open carriage we have time between september -- now and september 26. he wants to be able to apply domestically -- played
domestically. he feels that it helps them domestically as well. once the talks are within the talks, he might say, this is different. there is no preconditions. i do think it would be interesting, even if they go for building within the black -- within a block adjacent to is really urban areas, but not the other 95% of the west bank. it would market differentiation by netanyahu and the government for different types of settlements. i am not here to say that i know it is going to be -- how it is going to be solved. netanyahu is saying, i am not going to continue what exists. between those positions, there is a certain middle ground that each side could be happy. there is some drama here and we will not know at this week in washington.
between now and september 26, this is the first test of the talks. i do think this issue needs to be addressed in some form. even if netanyahu goes for the idea of a different settlement, that is a way to signal to the israeli public about your ultimate intentions. israel is not going to keep 95% of the west bank. >> just additional -- just an additional thought about the settlement issue. there is relate to policies out there. there is the public moratorium and the private defacto nobility with jerusalem. one could imagine the israeli government shifting on the quiet defacto inability in jerusalem, which they never made a promise publicly not to do that. that would have an interesting trigger a fact as well. there are options that one can
consider if one is creative about this. yes, please? >> [inaudible] does this conventional wisdom that if these talks did not bear any fruit, it will mean the end of the negotiations? the breakup of his cabinet, to remove 7000 settlers from bosnia, how would netanyahu be able to do that with tens of thousands of settlers to be removed from the west bank? >> clearly, the issue will take longer. netanyahu sees a much longer implementation approach then
israel has in the past. there's been some flexibility. whatever it takes to implement, fine. you do not stop -- it is called a shelf agreement. it's the implementation is longer, i do not think that will upset people as much as an agreement on the principle. the israeli government has not had a great record, to put it mildly. it has been rather deplorable actually. this is an area that needs to be studied some more. i think the important part for me it is upgrading those 80% of settlers that lived and less than 4% of all land. they had been living in limbo. there are 300,000 people all together. if you offer them an upgraded
says you are not a human bargaining chip anymore, that might tell most of the sellers that there is something in it for them. when you -- a creative approach would be to tell the majority of them to live in a minority area, a small amount near the old 1967 boundary. if you want to build skyscrapers, go ahead. >> i know it will have very dramatic effects on domestic palestinian policy. there is a split and a palace and -- palestinian policy. you have hamas running a platform. this is what they're banking on.
if negotiations fail, they would be in a much stronger position. you have the plo saying that this is the only way to get statehood. if that succeeds, -- if the negotiations fail, i did not see them surviving for much longer. i will leave the solution for people to decide themselves. >> i have to note that aid to state solution has been part of the diplomacy -- a two-state solution has been part of this diplomacy since 1937. we are now going on 73 years. the chances that the two state -- two-state solution is going to disappear from the lexicon of diplomacy and his confidence
anytime soon are fairly slim. with that, ladies and gentlemen, let me thank all of our catalyst for participating in today's event. i think all of you are out there for joining us for discussion -- i thank you all of you for joining us and our discussion. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> president obama and palestinian leaders today at the white house. president obama in the middle of the busy day here in washington. he met with the middle east leaders in preparation for tomorrow's peace talks between israelis and palestinians. later on today, at 5:40, the president makes his statement about those peace talks. you can watch his comments live from the white house rose garden here on c-span. also, tonight, they speak with
the campaign 2010 coverage continues tonight with the california senate debate between barbara boxer and republican candidate. it is the first debate between the two candidate and they will answer questions from a panel of california political reporters. still live tonight at 10:00 here on c-span. -- see it live tonight at 10:00, here on c-span. >> book tv primetime continues tonight with a look at social networking. we document the rise of myspace and the battle between rupert murdoch and sumner redstone to own it. the cold of the amateur author, and duquesne debates time magazine. over the value of digital media by the people. but tv prime time, tonight on c-
span2. >> topics that today's state department briefing include the possibility of reopening talks that a north korea and the start of the middle east peace talks. this is about an hour-and-a- half. >> good afternoon and welcome to the department's critics state department. we have the ambassador at large for counter-terrorism and his sister -- assistant director of the euro of diplomatic security. they are here to talk about some steps we announce today it with respect to designations of the ttp.
>> thank you. thank you for attending this briefing. today, i am pleased to to announce the designation of the ttp as a special designated terrorist organization. under executive order 13 to 24. these designations are part of our multi pronged approach to disrupt and dismantle taliban in pakistan. these actions will help stem the flow of finances to the tpp. for those of you are unfamiliar -- unfamiliar, their ability to prosecute terrorist groups and their supporters is greatly
enhanced by designation such as this one, which are essential for bringing charges of material support. in another step against the ttp, the justice program has announced $5 million award for any information leading to the arrest of the leaders. my colleague, assistant director of the threat of investigation and analysis directorate and the euro of diplomatic security will discuss this following my remarks. the department of justice has filed an arrest warrant and charged him with conspiracy to murder u.s. citizens abroad and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. these charges stemmed from the elected involvement in the murder of seven u.s. citizens at a military base on december 30, 2009. the various actions taken today
against the teepee -- ttp support the actions -- we are determined to limit their ability to carry out violent attacks. the pakistani taliban is an organization consisting of a number of melting groups that colette's under the banner -- coalesced under the banner of ttp. it is rooted in the tribal belt along the afghan-pakistan border. he is pete -- we should be very clear about this. they are very much part of the most dangerous terrorist threats the u.s. faces. they have a symbiotic
relationship with al qaeda. they draw ideological guidance from al qaeda antel qaeda relies on the ttp for safe haven. this mutual cooperation gives them access to global terrorist networks and the operational experience of its members. given the proximity of the two groups and the nature of their relationship, ttp is a force multiplier for al qaeda. their goals include toppling the government of pakistan. the group also targets metaphors is in afghanistan. they have claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against both pakistan and u.s. interest. they have also been accused of being behind the 2007 assassinate each -- assassination of the pakistan
prime minister. among the numerous attacks carried out under their leadership, in addition to the december 2009 suicide attack on our base, there is also the april 2010 suicide bombing against the u.s. consulate. it killed 16 pakistani citizens. most recently, they claimed involvement in the attempt to detonate an explosive device in times square. their claim has been validated by investigation that revealed that the group directed and facilitated the plot. let me now turn to -- i look forward to your questions afterward. >> thank you, ambassador. good afternoon. i am pleased to announce today that the u.s. department of state's reward for justice
program are offering rewards of up to $5 million each for information that leads security forces. under their direction, the terrorist organization, ttp, carried out a suicide bombing and attacked the u.s. ground forces and pakistan and planned a failed bombing in new york city's times square. and southern asia, they planned and organized the killing of citizens from both the united states and pakistan these individuals are dedicated terrorist and they are attempting to expand their bloody reach into the american homeland. there a danger to the interest of the united states and to its citizens. for that reason, we urged anyone with information on the whereabouts to contact the rewards for justice program, a u.s. embassy or consulate, or a u.s. military commander immediately. you may contact our of today by
visiting the website -- rfj by visiting the web site. you may submit a tip anonymously peer read -- anonymously. all information will be kept strictly confidential. the program has been an effective tool in our fight against international terrorism. since its inception, the program has paid more than $100 million to more than 60 people for providing credible information that prevented international terrorist attacks are helped bring terrorists to justice. the efforts of the courageous people of staff for with information, the rewards for justice program has helped law enforcement authorities throughout the world stock terrorists and save lives. i am hopeful that a reward program will place similar role -- will play a similar role. thank you. >> more than $100 million to
over 68 individuals since 1984. >> can you give us -- how many people work here? how big is this organization? what kind of relationship doesn't have with -- doesn't have with isi? >> this is a group that is already been described -- prescribed by the pakistan authorities. i think that is very important to note. we may have some numbers for you that we can supply you with. i believe it is in the several thousands of members. a number of other attacks that they were responsible for, there
was a large vehicle ied attack on a police station that killed seven people. that was in april. at the end of may, they carried out attacks on at three mosques and that killed 86 people. there are many, many more attacks. >> any links with the isa? >> i do not know anything about any link spread -- links. i cannot give you the dates that we started this. the important thing to remember about these designations is that it is quite a laborious process. these are determinations that need to be able to stand up in court. if you look back at the history of designation, you'll find that ttp only appears in late
2007. there are much more groups that took longer to designate. there is a great deal of research and evaluation that has to go on before all of these statutory requirements can be met. >> the justice department is charging him with murder of the americans. they were mostly cia, even if you guys have not said. that was in the summer of 2009, correct? >> i believe that is right. it was indeed -- it was december of 2009. >> you are also saying that they were involved in the failed times square car bomb. i realize it is impossible to prove a negative here, but if you had suspected of them in the
bombing and and put them on in these designated as then, would that have made any difference? he was able to travel to pakistan and did his training and experience as well as the money. would that have been preventable? >> i think that is the question for the justice department and fbi. frankly, i am not sure what of the difference. -- it would have made a difference. >> many countries are complaining that these groups are still back in pakistan with a different name.
what are you doing about that? what have you done? you designate a terrorist group but they will just change our name tomorrow. >> we are pretty nimble when it comes to fighting other names for these groups to the designations. it is obviously an annoyance, but it is something that we are capable of doing quite frequently. >> are you speaking to the pakistan authorities that these groups are not afraid under the new names -- >> we notify everyone whenever we had a new name. it is communicated to relevant foreign governments. believe me, we are quite vigorous about making sure that
these designations are well- known and that partner governments are working with us against these groups. >> have there been any immediate practical facts from these designations? what does this mean for money going in and out of pakistan? what happens now? >> we find that out as a result of these designations. i defer to the treasury, which will be able to answer your questions on how exactly that enforcement is carried out. it is because banks are notified that these are designated organizations, i did become much more vigilant about any transactions that might involve the ttp. the best explanation of the enforcement aspect of these designations would come from treasury.
>> de expect this designation to help speed up -- do you expect this designation to help speed up the capture? >> the ttp has a close relationship with al qaeda. with that said, we have a lot of different relationships in the terrorist world, many different groups. we have an individual who has shown rather capable of going to ground and been hard to track. you never know when you will find the right leak. you should never stop looking. i do not think we should be in the business of predicting of this will be the designation that makes everything happen. >> what is the evidence looking to references of mass destruction? >> i defer to the fbi and d.o.t.
on this. it can also be, as i understand it, various kinds of ied's. >> but that was a suicide bomber. a suicide bomber is not considered a weapon of mass destruction? >> it depends on the technical aspects of the bomb. i will let the fbi answer that question. but this is something that is not new. >> have you inform the government of pakistan and what is their response and what are their joint actions going to be? >> let me begin by saying, as part of the whole designation process, we do go out and tell all of our relevant partners about the designation process and its implications. i think that beyond that, in
terms of any enforcement or operational activity, that will be between us and the pakistan is. >> you said relevant partners. who else is a partner accept the u.s. and pakistan? >> there are many, many countries around the world but have an interest in these designations. we have european partners to also -- and in other parts of the world, who will follow in terms of placing economic sanctions on the group and material support in their countries as well. >> or any other, based terrorist organizations being -- there was a similar rewards.
>> i will let my colleague and to the second question. for obvious reasons, we did not discuss exactly a who we are thinking of designating at any particular time. we do not want to give -- show our hands. these are very much internal deliberations. >> no, every board was not given in that case. -- a reward was not given net case. >> and gentlemen, thank you. -- and gentlemen, thank you. >> can we have, like, five minutes? >> we will take a five-minute break.
>> i love great things with halftime break sprayed now all we need is a band. first of all, we welcome to journalists with the fellowship program. if they are with us this afternoon -- they are with us this afternoon. they have completed a five-month program with the columbia ms. iran and the chicago tribune respectively and will be headed home tomorrow. we welcome them to the state department briefing room. we saw a few minutes ago president obama here with prime minister netanyahu. secretary clinton has joined the president today for the first of
a series of meetings with prime minister netanyahu. later on this afternoon, with president abbas, and king abdullah of jordan. this morning, deputy secretary engines -- jim steinberg met with chinese representative for korean peninsula at -- peninsula issues. we can also announced that -- announced that on friday, deputy secretary steinberg will meet with the special representative for korea peninsula of peace on the morning of september 3. before taking your questions, u.s. officials in moscow and st.
petersburg confirmed that several gatherings took place across russia to demonstrate support for article 31 of the russian constitution. according to our embassy, dozens of protesters were detained in both cities. article 31 guarantees the russian citizens the right to gather peacefully without weapons and to hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches, and pick it. since 2009, russian citizens have been holding similar rallies on the 31st day of every month that has 31 days. the united states reiterated the importance of embracing and protecting a universal values, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. >> that is all very interesting. what do you make of the fact
that all these people were detained? we -- >> we are concerned about the actions from the russian government in recent years. shrinking the space for civil society. we have concerns about intimidation of citizens, intimidation of journalists, intimidation of non- governmental operators who are working on behalf of the russian people. it is part of our ongoing dialogue with the russian government and we hope and expect that russia will live up to its human rights obligations. >> have been in touch with them about yesterday? >> yes. >> and? >> through our embassy, we have expressed our concern to the russian government and that conversation is ongoing. >> what is the travel status? >> he is an the united arab
emirates. he will be completing has traveled tomorrow and returning to the united states following what we think is a very successful tour that includes -- we have had the kind of dialogue and activity that we had hoped for to help people understand what it is like to be a muslim here in the united states. >> [inaudible] >> i believe so. he will be returning -- he completes his trip tomorrow. he is back in the u.s.. >> he will return to the united states on thursday. >> believe be available? >> once he completes his tour
with us, he is free to do whenever he wishes. i believe he has indicated that he will make himself available for interviews back here. >> it is no secret that he has been touring japan and south korea. do you have anything to say about this being the right time to do that? and >> what meeting are we talking about? obviously, there were recent meetings with chinese officials. he was here to provide his perspective, as prospective, of where we were in light of these conversations and in light of
recent events, including the sinking of the ship. we will develop our own thoughts and will have further consultations. on the path forward, but first and foremost, we are in a situation that is of the making of north korea. it will be up to north korea to demonstrate that it is prepared to cease its belligerent behavior, live up to its obligations, began to take action associated with the 2005 joint statements. if north korea is prepared to demonstrate a willingness to act more constructively, we will respond appropriately and be prepared for further engagement. we are going to have these kinds of confrontations -- consultations like we had this secret with our partners from
china and south korea as part of this process. we will have further consultations and develop ideas on how to proceed. >> [inaudible] >> there are specific obligations that north korea has agreed to in the past. just making public statements of the willingness to come back to a negotiation is not enough. there are specific steps under the 2005 joint statement that north korea can take to demonstrate that it is committed to nuclear is asian on the korean peninsula. we are prepared to engage north korea as part of this process spread in light of other provocative steps that north
korea has taken in recent months, including nuclear tests, including missile firings, we want to see a fundamental change in their behavior and asked them to demonstrate that it is prepared to engage the united states and other countries constructively. we will be prepared to respond. >> what do you want them to do? there is a whole bunch of stuff in that 2005 subsequent agreement. >> as we have indicated, we will be guided by north korean actions. there are a variety of steps that north korea can take. i do not have a laundry list. we are prepared to engage north korea. we want to see and advance from the situation that we're currently in. it is up to north korea first and foremost to demonstrate, not just by words, by actions that they are prepared to follow a
more constructive path. after they demonstrate to us that they are prepared to engage constructively, then we will evaluate those actions and after consultations with other countries, be prepared to respond. >> there are reports that north korea and has falsified trade documents in order to avoid international sanctions. >> i will defer to the treasury. it does not surprise us at all. there is this cat and mouse process that does go on. we are aggressively pursuing sanctions against north korea. we announced additional steps earlier this week. we're not surprised that north korea will try to respond and hide its activities, but we are confident working with the international committee on implementation of u.n. security council resolutions and an
additional steps we have taken, they will be very wary of doing business with north korea for fear that they will trigger sanctions against themselves. we think the approach we have taken since -- has caught north korea's attention. we will be guided by what they do in the coming weeks. >> we will do what we have done it in the past within the six-
party process spread is not just about the united states. -- six-party process. is not just about the united states. we will listen very carefully to other countries. with that consultation, we will see what we can do. in the meantime, this is about north korea and what is prepared to do and will be looking for concrete actions by north korea to demonstrate his seriousness of purpose. >> [inaudible] >> the six-party process has importance and value. within the process, there is the opportunity for bilateral discussions as well. what we are all trying to do is get north korea to fundamentally
change course. as has been suggested here, there been times in the past for north korea has taken constructive steps and there been times in the recent past, they have taken provocative actions. we are prepared to engage north korea, but before we can do that, we want to see what north korea is willing to do as it demonstrates is willing to change its current course, sees these provocative actions that in -- that increase tensions in the region that result in the death of property of 46 still years -- death of 46 sailors. we will be prepared to respond accordingly. what is crucial here is what north korea does. >> can you tell us what
president carter talked about? did his visit there give us any insight into their sincerity? >> he was just here and he shared his views of his private trip. we will keep his insights private. >> what is the most important step that north korea can take to show they are committed to this process? >> a for step is to cease its belligerence and provocative actions. if north korea is prepared to engage more constructively with its neighbors and other countries in the region, assertively take steps to reduce tensions, that will improve the overall environment, and that environment becomes more open to further dialogue and engagement. but there are specific actions that north korea has committed to under the 2005 --
>> can you share one of those examples? >> as i just said, there are things that north korea has done over the past year that have become impediments to progress. nuclear tests, missile firings, and these kinds of actions impede the dialogue that north korea professes it wants to have with the united states in other countries. as north korea demonstrates its prepared to act constructively, act according to international standards, then we will evaluate the status and be prepared to respond. we're not going to talk -- engage north korea in absence of specific actions that
demonstrates it is prepared to take. >> you keep talking about these actions, but you do not say what they are. the first one should be ceasing its belligerent actions. what was the last one that they took? >> they sent a ship. -- sunk a ship. >> they have ceased their belligerent action, correct? apologize?o what is it -- they have stopped. he said the last one was the sinking of a ship. since they are not out there actively sinking ships on a daily basis, they could argue that they have stopped. what is a dead they need to do? was there a period of time, over
six months, they cannot do anything? >> certainly, if north korea -- the absence of the kind of options -- actions, a further nuclear tests, a further missile tests, for the sinking of the ships. further confrontations by their military forces. if there is a genuine effort to reduce tension in the region, at that does create an environment where engagement and negotiation can be constructive. but certainly, the fact that north korea has failed to take responsibility, that is something that we seek comment that south korea sees. if north korea suggests publicly
or privately that it is prepared to come back to 6, party talks. that is not good enough. we will be guided by what they do. we do not have a specific list to tell you. we will be looking to see if there is a -- if north korea changes its current pattern of behavior, perhaps more responsibly, begins to interact more constructively with other countries in the region, we will see that and see that as a concrete sign that north korea is prepared to -- non>>