tv Washington This Week CSPAN November 26, 2011 10:00am-2:00pm EST
some political analysts say president obama is losing ground with work-class whites and should focus on the economy. at this discussion on the 2012 campaign, we'll hear from writers and correspondents from the "new york times," the national journal, and the pew research center. hosted by the center for american progress, this is an hour and a half. >> thank you for waiting. i am vice president for new american community initiatives here at the center for american progress. and i want to thank you all for joining us. the path, demographics versus economics in the 2012 election. this is being cohosted by two super teams here, progressive studies and progress 2015. explores the history,
intellectual foundations, and public understanding of progressivism in america and is codirected by john and rudy, and progress 205 is a program that looks at the implications for the coming demographic changes in america. and thanks to our video team, progress 2050 is pleased to debut a short video highlighting our increasing diversities. please enjoy.
what people are thinking, what's going on, what trends are occurring, and how do people feel about the economy and the current state of affairs. so we wanted to have a discussion about the implications for 2012. i am pleased to introduce my colleague who, along with senior fellow coauthored the paper released today. and after his presentation he will lead a spirited conversation with our distinguished panel and of course we want to hear from you as well with your questions. >> also a guest scholar where he recently codirected a joint brookings project on dem graphy and geography, the future of red, white, blue, and purple america. his recent writings include, besides the paper released today, demographic of change and the future of parties, the european paradox and the decline of white middle class.
and he holds a phd from the university of madison, wisconsin. please join me in welcoming him. >> thanks. i guess i will go up here for just a little bit but i will probably start roming roaming around. the title slide tells the story of what the papeser about. demographics versus economics. on the one hand the state of the economy writ large is the biggest factor in favor of the g.o.p. candidate whoever that might be. bad economys hurt incumbent candidates, that's the biggest thing the republicans have going for them. on the other hand, the demographic shifts in the country as i documented over the years, and as we document again in this new paper, are very much in favor of the democrats and will help obama in the election. so you could argue we have a
showdown in this particular election of demographics versus economics. in this paper, discusses that in a number of different ways. first, we look at the national picture to see how those equations might work out in the national level. then we look at 12 target states that the parties are going to be fighting about, six in the midwest, three in the southwest, and three in the new south. and i'll get into just a minute what those are in a little bit about some examples. so first let's look at the national situation. now, this is -- these are the minorities, white college graduates and the white working class. there's a lot of different ways to divide the elect rat but this is a useful one. this shows the split in 2008 between obama and mccain among these three groups. obama carried the minority vote by 60 points. he lost white college graduates by only 4 points and he lost
the white working class, those with less than a four-year college degree by 18 points. by far his weakest group. now, look what's going to happen here -- there we go. with the shared changes. we're going to have two points more minorities, more point more of white college graduates and three points less of white working class voters, which are obviously again obama's worst group. so that's kind of some important numbers to keep in mind as we think about what's going to happen in 2012. so thinking about minorities. there are going to be 28% minority voters probably in 2012 is what we project and he got 80% of them in 2008. now, a conservative assumption is he will get 75% of the minority vote which is basically the dract's long-term average. you would expect some slippage in 2012 due to the economic situation. but we're thinking he can still get 75% of the minority vote with again this 2 points
additional share of voters who are minorities bringing it up to about 28%. and he is also going to have another percentage point of white college graduates. so if he gets 75% of the minority vote, which is the decline from 2008, if he maintains those voting support levels among white college graduates and among the white working class, he will still get elected by about the same margin he did in 2008. now, of course that's not likely to happen. so let's look at some other scenarios. what if the white working class here he slips to a 30 point deficit? a 30 point deficit, as the dracts had in 2010 in their wipeout election for the g.o.p.? he would still get elected in the that scenario if he maintains that roughly 47% support level from white college graduates. so he can sustain a wipeout among the white working class
provided he maintains his white college graduate vote. now, what if that vote falls as well for obama, which may indeed happen, although he's looking pretty decent. our calculations are that he could do as badly among white college graduates as john kerry did in 2004, eight years back from 2012 when the demographics were a little different. he could do as badly as kerry did, lose the white working class by 23 points, lose college graduates by 11 points and still win the popular vote by 50-48. so that's a pretty reasonable target for obama, of course a target he might not be able to reach depending on how the campaign works out. so that's the national situation. now, as we all know, the national situation is not how presidential elections are decided. we only have to go back to 2001
to see there are instances where the popular vote does not predict the electoral vote majority. in 2002 it did not. so the issue then becomes where can obama assemble 270? we basically look at the battleground in the following way. we have 12 states here that we believe will be battleground states in 2012. we give obama as his core states 14 of the 18 states, the dracts have carried since 1992 plus the district of columbia. that amounts to 186. we give the republican 22. the 22 states they carried in 2008. plus indiana, plus nebraska's first congressional district for a core vote of 191. and this is basically what's left except for new hampshire which he ch we don't discuss here because it's a little bit of an outliar. but we put them into these
three buckets. six midwest rust belt states, which you see there. we've got our three southwest states and we've got our three new south states. there's 80, there's 20 in the southwest swing states, and there's 57 in the three new south states. so that's what it's going to be about, fighting over those states. now, all of those states have different demographics. each individual state is a different set of trends, different set of support level, different level of friendlyness or unfriendlyness. but there are certain things that they have in common within these three regions. so let me talk a little bit about that. first -- and i'm going to talk about it in the context of trying to look at a specific state in the specific regions. so this is the state of ohio. the much fought over state of
ohio. and here's the basic data down here for how the presidential election worked out in 2008. obama got 83% of the minority vote. he basically split the white college graduate vote which most people probably don't know and he lost the working class by 10 points. this is broadly consistent with the general pattern in the midwest, which is we have relatively low percentage of minority votes. and that is going to average about 15% we think in the six midwest rust belt states. and then you have white college graduates who are relatively friendly to the democrats and the white working class which is relative to national standards. again, obama lost the white working class vote by 18 points, average about a 3 point deficit in the midwest. and here in ohio was 10 points. so these are all slow growth states where the demographics are shifting relatively slowly.
but you can see here there is still some shift. we have another percentage point of minorities in 2012, 2 points more of white college graduates, and 3 points less of the white working class which is the general working pattern you see everywhere. so what obama is going to need to do, a lot of people have pointed out and this is very true, he doesn't want this margin to collapse. i mean, 10 points of a deficit may not look good when you think about it but it's pretty good compared to the national average. and if it goes really far south toward the 30 points the democrats lost in 2008 -- 2010, he will be in a great deal of trouble. but let's not forget about this white college graduate vote. he wants to keep that even split. and believe you me, the republican candidate, whoever it is, is going to be working hard to bring that figure far down in terms of democratic support. and of course he still has to get his minority base out.
we reckon probably about 18% of the vote will be minorities. he wants to keep that figure as close as he can that's primarily driven by the black vote. so where is it all likely to happen? these three metros are the most important. cleveland, columbus, and cincinnati. that's where a lot of the vote is. the fastest growing part of ohio is here in the columbus metro area, particularly the columbus suburbs and the democrats have made phenomenal progress there compared to duke casscass i believe that obama did 3031 points better in terms of margin in the columbus metro area. so that's quite a swing and that's the kind of thing they're going to need to keep up and that's where they do particularly well among white college graduates and minorities. so this is the kind of battle that's going to be fought out in a place like ohio where obviously the state of the economy is going to be weighing down on the democratic ticket and in ohio, but he does have
these demographics sort of the sort of changes that are taking place in his favor. and he's also got those relatively favorable white college graduates to try to keep in the fold. so that's the kind of set of factors he is going to have to deal with. now, let's look at the southwest states. southwest states are pretty different from midwest and rust belt states. they're very fast growing. they have a relatively high percentage of minority voters. i believe the average for these three states is 36%, which i think is exactly the level we project for minority voters in 2012 in this election. so this is a kind of state where the minority vote is obviously going to be absolutely critical. look at how much more minority voters there are. there's going to be 4 percentage points more in nevada elect rat and there's going to be 5 points less than the white working class which
is clearly obama's worst group. so we really have a collision here between demographics and economics. the democrats have made huge stride in the last decade or two in this state, a lot because of the changing demographics. those changes are ongoing. even in the space of four short years it's going to be pretty different than it was before. but obviously the economic situation in nevada is just atrocious. i think the unemployment rate is over 13% and that includes in the all-important las vegas metro where basically i think it's about 72% of the vote in last vegas is -- i mean, in nevada is in las vegas. most of the rest is in reno and very little in between. so that's the nature of the kind of struggle in a lot of these southwestern states. you want to keep these relatively friendly white college graduates. you want to make sure the minority vote is high and highly supportive of the democratic candidate, and you want to try to prevent the
bottom from falling out of the white working class vote, which is the most -- the weakest part of the obama coalition there. and obviously this is the republican candidate will try to do everything kind of in reverse as it were. finally, let's take a look at a new south state. now, this is really critical for the republicans, i think, these new south states. if they can get 57 elect ral votes out of these three new south states, all they have to do is add that to ohio. if they can pick up ohio from the midwest, they're basically almost there with their 2-7, i think new hampshire would put them over the new line. so i think they're going to sweep these states if obama can carry one of the new south states that puts him at a stronger position. so let's take a look at this example of a new south state. these new south states are just like the southwest states
fast-growing, they're going to have a high percentage of minority voters in 2012 i think we estimate about a 31% share of the overall elect rat and 2012 i believe that's exactly where virginia is. and look at these demographic changes here. they're just huge in a state like virginia, should have an increase of 2%age points. again up to about 31% i think. white college graduates, a 3 point increase and white working class down 5 points. so this is really shifting the whole political demographicy in virginia in a direction that's very good for the democrats and relatively bad for republicans. northern virginia here has been the locust of republican weakness in the past presidential elections, about a third of the vote in virginia. if you take these three metros here, northern virginia, richmond, and virginia beach, it's about 72% of the vote in virginia and the rest is a mere 28%. of course these are the areas the democrats have made the
most progress and the area above all is northern virginia where you see white college graduates moving in their direction. now, note something pretty interesting here that i think is worth thinking about. we've heard about how there is this alleged opposition between a virginia strategy and an ohio strategy for the dracts. because while ohio is so blue collar, it's all about the blue collar worker, in virginia it's all about the white college graduate. i'm not sure this makes much sense. we've got 31% minorities here for openers in virginia. that's a huge part of the challenge and look at the white college gratwuts. yer, they're port to obama but look at that 44-55. remember, there's an even split between white college graduates in ohio. so contrary to popular impression, a key part of successful obama coalition in 2012. so it's not clear that looking
at these kind of data that you would necessarily advise a radically different way of running in virginia as you would in ohio. in fact, i would argue that, you know, what obama is currently doing makes a fair amount of sense. he's emphasizing the jobs issue. he's trying to improve the economy in any way he can. to the extent he can improve the economy, he's trying to put more of the onus on the republicans for the bad economy. and this is the classic incumbent strategy. we're going to be punished for a bad economy, but the question is how much? how much of the blame will you get? he's trying to difffuste that blame. he's also trying to raise popular issues like preserving social security and medicare, increasing tax rates on the rich to help pay for some of the things america needs. and a variety of other things. there's things about the environment. basically, it's to highlight relatively extreme positions of the other side that are massively unpopular and going to be hard to wiggle out of.
that's what he is doing and i think it will work pretty well with minorities, i think it will work pretty well with white college graduates and i think it will help as it were lessen the pain among the white working class. so it's not clear to me he needs to run in a radically different way as he looks toward 2012. conversely for the republicans, i think the way they want to run is not going to be that different from state to state. they clearly want to drive down the white college graduate vote. above all they want to increase the white working class margin. and they want to taung relentlessly about the economy. that's issues one, two, and three. economy is bad, obama's the president. did i mention obama is the president and the economy is bad? that's how they want to run. and the other thing they should do is stay away from anything that seems extreme and basically try to project an image of moderation. they want to avoid some of the marred hard-line tea party positions that have become
associations with the republican party. so that i think is the basic landscape. that i think is the basic strategy. both parties want to follow. and as i say, i don't think it's going to look that different. i mean, every state will be a little different but i don't think massively different in the way some people have argued. so i could go on forever about this. i could talk about every state. but why do it? we have a great panel. so let me bring the panel up and have them take a seat and we're going to have a conversation about all this stuff. and of course we'll hear from you guys eventually. so sit wherever you want. it's open seating. and we do have an excellent panel. we have a superb panel. we have a world-class panel. but alas, i'm afraid i have to tell you, ryan, who is the editor of the agenda blog for national review and just a really dynamic conservative commentator, can't make it. he missed his train in new york and he just can't be with us.
so i know he's with us in spirit. but we do have a great panel. we have jackie, who is white house correspondent for the "new york times," we have paul, director of the pew hispanic center and ron brown of national journal media. so let's hear from the panel. i'm tired of talking. jackie, maybe you could comment, if you will, on there's a lot about comics in this paper and how that's going to be so crucial to the 2012 election. is obama getting over with his latest kind of economic line? i mean, is he kind of putting these economic policy issues in play in a way that's going to help him? >> i think as best he can at this point. he's doing better, let's say, than we're seeing a little bit of improvement since august in the wake of the debt limit fight. he's doing that by, as you're hearing and seeing, that he is
showing -- hes being more partisan. he's talking more about jobs. initially, yesterday in the wake of the collapse of the super committee, he didn't in his first remarks, did not even mention deficit reduction. he only came out and said let's get to work. no politics. and he talks about the jobs plan. not a word about deficit reduction. so he's moved from that strategy that marked the first half of the year where he was mainly talking about compromise with republicans including on entitlements and really aggravating his base. the problem is what we have to watch for going forward is how much does this undercut his brand with independents to the extent that he looks like just another partisan and he's complicitly saying all that i said about being a post partisan figure and making washington work well, forget about that i've thrown up my
hands. >> ok. paul, there's a lot in the report about the hispanic voters and how critical they're going to be, especially in certain states. i know you study this issue every day. do uff stuff toupt add? >> i've got a lot of numbers for you and they are not about 270. but i'll work my way back to 270. let me do two or three minutes of hispanic 101, first the economics then demographics and back to the politics. and on the economics, talk a little bit both about wealth and poverty among hispanics. by the wealth i'm not talking about the 1% we've all been thinking about. i'm talking about median household wealth is not a stass tiss tick that is easy to get at but household wealth is everything you own minus everything you owe, your house, your car, your 401(k), minus
your mortgage, car loan, student debts, whatever. we were able to look at what has happened to household wealth at the median from 2005-2009, covering four years of this horrible economy and the assumption is it's affected virtually everybody but there is quite a differenttial impact. white households, median white household wealth in went down by 16. black household wealth by 52% and hispanic 22% down to a point if you take a snapshot in 2009 in the relationship between those three groups, whites now have a 20-1 household wealth advantage over blacks and an 18-1 over hispanics. this is about double the rate that has prevailed over the last 25 years. it's a somewhat shocking number if you think about the hispanic in a lot of it is driven by the
value of your home. and if you think about hispanics and about what they are in this country, they are the most recent immigrant group, most geographically mobile group. they move to economic opportunity. that's what's drawn them here. so through the 80s and through the 90s, where were they likely to locate? las vegas, phoenix, orlando. what were they likely to do? to build a lot of those houses that went up and some did well enough to buy some of those houses and many went as the bubble was inflating. so when the bubble hit, they have suffered disproportionately where as the white typically older home owners bought long ago, sure they've taken a hit but it hasn't been quite as much. let's switch to poverty. which is not a subject that is easy for the american public to get its mind around. if you'll permit me, because in my former life i did spend a lot of time worrying to getting to 270. and in the 80's i covered both
of jesse jackson's campaigns. and stop after stop i would hear him say as he was trying to reach out to white audiences and talk about poverty, he sort of understood that a lot of people poverty is somebody else's problem. and if an african american is talking about it it's my community's problem. so he would make the assertion again and again in the 80's, you know, most poor people in this country are not black. most poor people in this country are not white. and that was absolutely true because the numbers were such that back then, of course 80% of the country was white and the numbers were numbers. the rates are much higher among blacks. well, that is no longer true today among children. most poor children in this country are no longer white. they're not black, they're hispanics. this has to do with the population bulge and it has to do with the economic marge nalt of this population group. that's true whether you count by the old method or the new
method the census just came out with a new way of measuring poverty. if you take the new way, all hispanics now have a higher poverty rate than blacks according to the new way. so one of the things to understand about the latino community is it is economically at the margins. it has gone through a very difficult time. and how that plays out politically remains to be seen. hispanics voteded 66, 67% obama. having not been a big supporter, in the primaries, they were hillary clinton supporters. will they remain as loyal given they have felt the brunt of this economy? briefly on demographics. hispanics are 0% of the population. we project by 2050 they will be 29%. that was our projection as of 2008. that's a big, big number. that we're going to redo our
population projections next year. i'm guessing our projections will tick down because in the last four years you wouldn't know it from the political debate that's going on, there's been a major decline in hispanic immigration. at the peak recently in 2006, there were about 1 million mexican-americans. and when you're talking about the hispanic population, about 63% are mexican americans. but it is far and away, there are more mexican immigrants -- the united states has more immigrants from mexico than all other countries have for all other countries in the world. it was at about 1 million a year in 2006. it is down by 60%. it is 400,000 a year. probably a combination of our bad economy and increased enforcement. but nonetheless, hispanic population in mexican-american continues to grow at a very
rapid rate. it's the birth rates of the immigrants already here. they are behaving like immigrants have throughout human history. those who get up and leave, and leave something familiar and go to something new are strivers, they're believers in the future, they want a better live life for themselves and their kids and they have a lot of kids. and if you compare birth rates of mexican women in mexico which 40 or 50 years ago, now it's about 2-1/2 children and mexican american immigrants in this country the birth rates are higher. so we're continuing to have this major population boom that's now driven more by births than by immigration but is going to continue. which brings me back to the 270, which is, all right, here's this population that's currently 16% of our population. politically speaking, to use a
boxing analogy it punches below its weight. it's 16% of the population but it's only 9.5% of the eligible lerktrrt and nine years ago it was 7%. so why the gaps? the gap from 16 of the population to 9% of the eligible is young so a lot are not 18 yet and they also skew noncitizen or nonlegal. so if you factor all that in, it is a 9% share of the eligible. and then only 7.5% of the actual voters are lower among the latino population than they are among the white and black population. now, all of those gaps actually have been closing and the march of dem graphy will close them even more. so this is a population that has a lot of kinetic energy. it's coming. and every year waves of 18-year-olds turn and that's where the population bulge is.
so my sense is, from the great map and reported we knew this in 2008, i think it will be the case again in 2012, it's a strategically located constituency of the small number of swing states in presidential elections hin passics are overrepresented, certainly in the southwestern states and in florida. it is i mean, you know, we know through the bush and rove they understood this demographic states and the battle for the hearts and minds of the latino vote is really a battle for the decades and next generation or more. so the stakes are very high not just this election but on down the pike. >> you've been all over this political demographic stuff as i have for many years, and just like me frequently try to look
at this division in the white population between the white working class and white college educated voters. your thoughts based on the report and your own work? >> thinking about the report, which i think nails the correct trends that we're kind of looking at, i want to pull the lens back a little bit to kind of put them in the larger context of how each party's coalition has been evolving and the power between them. if you look from 19 96 to 1998, the republicans averaged 52.5% of the popular vote. they averaged 417 elect troll college votes over those. in the three elections in the 19 0s, the reagan and bush, the democrats won the smallest share than they had won in any three consecutive elections since the formation of the modern party system. so people understandably at that point were talking about likely a republican lock on the college. now, since 1992, democrats have
won the popular vote at least in four of the past five presidential elections. and if obama does win in 2012, they also will have won the popular vote in five out of six elections just as republicans did in the earlier period nchings not by as commanding margin. so what changed? what took us from that first world to this world? and i would argue to you, and i think the paper kind of embedded in the paper, there's two things fundamentally have changed that will continue to effect us in 2012. one, as you know is the growth of the minority population and the minority share of the vote. when bill clinton first elected, minorities cast 12% of the vote. in 2008 it was 26%. and it wasn't like there was a sudden surge for the first african american candidate. there's been a steady growth driven by dem graphy. and as that minority share of the vote has gone up in direct fashion, the share of the vote cast by the most republican
segment of the elect rat noncollege working class whites, which is itself a big change from our politics, their share of the vote has gone down to 39% now. so while republicans remain dominant with that group and obama's problems with them are not unique to him. he got only 40% but no democrat has done better than 44% since 197 . and in the last five elections for obama the variation was only between 38 and 44%. he was actually right in range with what democrats get with those voters, which is not much. so the first thing the minority share of the vote is increased. the other big change is the democrats are now running better among upper middle class, college educated. you know, they were running around 40% of the vote in the late 00s. that went up to 44 percent and obama got all the way to 47%. and that should be further qualified because outside of the south he won an absolute
majority of college educated whites. and we could talk later about the why this has happened. it used to be democrats ran better. but we've had this class inversion in which they've changed roles. so those are long standing trends that have changed the political landscape and allowed the democrats to move states like illinois and new jersey that have voted for republican in the earlier era over to their side. the combination of more college whites voting for them and more minority voters. and what we saw in 2008 was that the suburbs in north carolina and denver and northern virginia went through the same kind of trapsition that we saw in the 90's in new jersey, philadelphia, oakland county, michigan. cleveland. that's why the map expanded. now there are states that in many ways embody the same forces that obama himself represent, diversity and
education. and the future of the democratic party, so the future i think runs through primarily states like that after the election in 2008 i argued that obama had assembled what i would call a coalition of the ascend nt, which is he did best among the groups that are growing as a society. especially women. and by the way, the gender gap among whites is almost entirely a function of primarily a function of well-educated voters noncollege white women are almost as republican as noncollege white men. the only portion viewed that way that obama carried were the college plus white women. so the net effect of all of the changes is to reduce the share of the white vote that democrats need to win every four years. and as ray pointed out, if the minority vote goes up to 28%, which is possible dem graphically possible, and democrats hold three quarters of that, which is not an
unreasonable estimate again, if he can do that, he only needs to win 40% of whites in order to have a majority of the popular vote. but there's no guarantee he can do that. democrats did not do that in 2010. republicans won the highest share of the white vote than they've ever won in the history of modern polling because not only did the noncollege white vote collapse but the college whites fell to 39%. so as you look forward to 2012, it is unlikely that obama will match his share of the vote with either of these three big blocks. almost think of this like 1984. if you think of the college whites, the noncollege whites and the minorities, obama is not likely to match his share of the votes with any of them. the question is can he manage the decline enough. and i think if he does it is much more likely that the white upper middle class will save him than the white working class. and particularly it will be if he can hold enough college educated white women very similar to the strategy that
michael bennett had in colorado in 2010 which david axel rod cited to me where he was obliterated. he lost two thirds of white men without a college education and still won because he turned up enough minorities and that doesn't work in ohio. you lose white college men in ohio you're going to lose. it does work potentially in virginia, colorado, nevada. so one last point quickly. the big tough question i think is not answered for democrats. is whether there is in fact kind of a tread mill here. and that is that as the minority's share of the vote increases and becomes more visible and becomes more identified with the democratic party, over 40% of obama's votes came from minorities, does that phenomenon itself suppress their vote among whites? it's worth noting that in the pew study of generations last came out two weeks ago as well as in our own heartland modern
polling, we both did a similar exercise we asked people about how they felt about the ongoing change. just whites in their poll, which is the most recent one split about 50/50. 50% said too much change too fast. 50% said no. it's nourishing the country. i asked andy at pew to run some of these numbers for me in their poll looking at whites divided by how they feel about the racial change. of the 50% who said that change was happening too fast, obama's approval was 21. 70 disapproving. among those who felt comfortable, obama was at 45, 47. among those who felt they were comfortable, obama was winning against romney among those whites. among whites uncomfortable with the change, romney led 3-1. so it's not to say that opposition is obama is primarily driven by race but it
does mean attitudes about racial change are intertwining with broader roles of government. ipping we're seeing much of the elect rat go back to an 80's style. as these intertwine the challenge for democrats is maintaining, even tazz bar gets lower, clearing that bar may get harder in the white community. >> let's chew on this a little bit, this issue of how do you reach then these white college graduates, the which do seem accessible for obama but also for the other side. if you jackie were going to give advice to either side, how would they deal with them in this situation where you've got this group, a lot of them in a sort of broad sense seem to be more sympathetic certainly than working class counter parts to the direction of change in the country. they sort of feel a little bit sim pat cowith obama in some ways but also discontent about the economic, about the
prospects for their ability and their kids. what can you say to them? >> well, i think if these groups -- i think in terms of obama is not reelected, i mean, there may be no reaching a lot of groups when the unemployment rate is stuck at 9%. and if he just the fete of getting reelected next year in the face of that is arguably as great as his fete in getting elected as the first african american president. it will be historic. but if he does and if he does get defeated, all the things you're talking about, not just the demographics but the issues that each party is speaking to is reinforcing that democratic shift. so when you talk about the college educated whites, the fact that you have a national party even debating the idea of
evolution, denying climate change, these are the kind of issues that are going to hurt them in the long run if they don't come off of them, just as on immigration, you know, it's -- in each of these, they're reinforcing, the republicans are, each of these demographic movements by the positions they're taking. and then the young. i could name right off the top of my head two former republican congressmen who i know quite well because our children were the same age and so they're now college age, our children, and both of them had said to me that their will not call themselves, they won't call themselves republicans or democrats but the sincele reason they won't is because of abortion rights and gay rights. the combination of those two issues. so when you take all those issues, and the republicans are on the wrong side of the
demographic shifts in this country, that they cannot take if they are to defeat obama next year, that they cannot take a lot of comfort in that for the long term. so in terms of reaching -- you see president obama, i traveled with him, there's hardly a trip he makes for any reason where he didn't appearing on a college campus. and we were just in denver, university of denver recently. it's just -- and he draws huge crowds still. it's -- you know, students and you see a lot of older people in the audience, faculty i'm assuming. it's interesting because when -- i read a story recently, i forget which of the republicans, and it made the point that he drew a large crowd of 400 people. it just the contrast with which the crowds that come out and at
college campuses or any place else for president obama versus the others -- and always have. and just as true with hillary clinton as well. so it's just i think he's doing the right thing. i think he's speaking to the right issues on these campuses. but he's having to do a lot of -- it's a lot of implicit defensiveness. here's what i've accomplished. because a lot of people really don't seem to know when i talk to voters or when you look in the polls, the reader e-mails that i get, are all in the spirit of i voted for him and -- in 2008, but what has he done? or he hasn't said what he's done. and when he does give his speeches, it's quite a persuasive case. but he recently was talking -- this is an issue that goes
somewhat appeal to the white college graduate. he said that, you know, the passage of the increase in the fuel efficiency standards, if it had been legislation would have been one of the most important environmental laws ever signed into law. and yet, because it was done through the regulatory process, and with the agreement of the auto industry, the new generation auto industry executives, most people don't even notice. so those are the kind of things he's having to say when he goes to college campuses because they're not clear to people in the midst of all the fighting and setbacks that he -- that really do make the news. >> can we hype thighs then as we think about what you said, jackie, that this approach of trying to essentially type cast the republicans as extreme and
out of step is like a better way of reaching some of these more upscale constituencies, the young, than what i think was the previous model, which was we're going to convince people we're bipartisan and we're going to deal with this terrible long-term debt problem, and we're going to deal with the deficit. and we're the responsible people here. the other side, they're irresponsible. we are responsible. it totally did not pay off it looked like. so are they doing -- is this kind of part of what it's about? >> i think you have to go back. to try to think about what he can do to maintain that vote, you have to go back to basics and think about how it moves in the first place. do you look back from roosevelt to jimmy carter democrats ran better among white voters without a college education than voters without a college education. they ran better with people that work with their hands. and why did it flip? i think it's largely because economic issues were supplanted
by other concerns, both social issues like gun rights and gay rights and abortion, foreign policy. versus diplomacy and alliance argument. it's the flip side of what's the matter with kansas. why are all these people voting against their class interest for candidates who want to raise their taxes? and in fact would raise their taxes? and the answer is a lot of them share other values more important and particularly if you're thinking about it it's not only the social issues like abortions and guns and gays but in that white upper middle class, especially the women, they're much more open to an activist role for government than any of the white electorate. so if he can kind of deached the balanced approach for the deficit that is not cut heavy, that is something i think that resonates well with some of those voters. i also think that the question for them will be how the sharper pop list tone is received among those upper middle class voters.
do they say, ok, well, the people at the top are screwing me, too. or when he talks about the rich paying their fair share, do they worry that they're going to be in that net? because in the epped, i think it's going to be very hard for him even with the most pop list message that anybody could want to make in roads in that working class, they've been resistant to him from day one. so that upper middle class i think is the swing part of the lerkt rat that has mo the most fluid. and mitt romney is a formidable competitor for the same reason he is weak in the primary. they see him as confident and don't think he believes a lot of the stuff on the issues. >> interesting to note in that regard that in ohio the recent defeat of sb 5 through issue two, if you look at the breaks college educated whites were not quite as adamantly against it as working class voters. but they were close.
so that's a pretty pop list issue i guess and they didn't seem to be all that turned out but paul, you have a comment. i'm interested, maybe look at hispanics job approval for obama only about 50. you look at how they're going to vote, far larger margins. maybe you could chew on that. >> let me come back to that and let me pick up on what both jackie and ron were talking about. if you think about the challenge before obama and the messaging, his message in 2008 was washington is broken. i'm about hope and change. his message in 2012 is the republicans are broken. and i will rescue you from what they are presenting. that's obviously a much more partisan edge to it. how effective he will be with that edget, i think the more interesting challenge there is probably among the young. he had the biggest gap young to old of any candidate since exit day election polls enabled us to look at that by age.
he was 66-31 among so called millenial voters. they didn't turn out 18 months ago or a year ago. so the skewed way old and that was the angry. can he hang on to the young for whom they sort of drank the cool aid of this is somebody knew. he embodies the kind of diversity that is second nature to us, you know, very appealing, his message about being above politics and changing politics very appealing. and one has to assume three years later there's a good bit of disillusionment as there is across the board. but ron talked about the coalition of the offended. we have never, in 40 or 50 years we have never seen this old to young age gap. indeed, if you go back to as recently as 1996, i believe, the clinton-dole election, young voters voted more
republican than older voters. we've completely turned that around. part of that is that the older voters -- back then the older voters were part of the fdr coalition and the group white working class and accustomed to voting democratic. most have gone along to their greater rewards. so the current generation of older voters has been more conservative throughout and very, very angry about the economic circumstances and probably uncomfortable and uneasy with the demographic change they see around them. the younger voters completely bought into the demographic change like obama for who he is but i wonder how they will react buzz they are resisting. they don't like being democratic or republicans they think the whole system sort of sucks. and the last thing i would say is the system has really delivered them economically a terrible hand. you know, we have -- we looked at wealth by race and ethnicity. if you look at wealth or if you look at poverty or look at income, any indicator that sort
of makes sense for how well people are doing in this country over the last 30 or 40 years, what you find is that today's old are doing better than yesterday's old on almost any measure once you adjust for inflation and everything else. today's young are doing worse than yesterday's young. so you have -- the young who are not going to college are having a terrible time finding a job. you have record high unemployment rates among under 30s. especially among those who didn't go to college. the silver lining is a record share of young are going to college. some is probably because they can't find a job anyway and so a lot are flooding into community colleges they can afford. but the other side of that story is they are coming out of these colleges with record shares of student loan debt very hard to get started with that noose around their nevkeds can't find a job still living with mom and dad. and this is a story playing out throughout america. and i think it makes it a much
more contested sort of group how you get the messaging right for them i think will be an interesting challenge for both part eafments >> i want to ask you a question because it goes right to the heart of the economics and demographics because paul was pointing out what's true is also true about hispanics and african americans which is the groups of the absolute core are the same groups that have been hammered the worst by this recession. so you're talking about the minority share of the vote demographicically having a potential to grow. but what do you think the impact of that economic discontent is going to be both on turnout and share for obama in the groups that are parted of this coalition? except for the college educated white women that are having a hard time? >> well, that's why they hold the elections we don't know. but i mean, i think it's fair to project there will be some compression of margins among these groups. there will be some compression of margins among young voters, some compression of margins among hispanics, for example,
maybe some among blacks. he can li with that. the question is what's the level of that compression? these groups are still very sympathetic to obama and even more broadly very importantly sort of where the dracts are coming from at this point versus the republicans. this is a good way of slipping in the interesting disjunction tur between approval ratings and support in horse race questions at this point. if you look at hispanic job approval for obama at this point it ain't that great, maybe around 50%. and yet you run him against romney, who is the strongest candidate at this point and his margins are not that far off the margins in 2008. they're a little bit compressed but not drastically so. blackses are actually about the same margin which i think shows the loyalty. i think for obama which is going to be very good particularly in some of these states. you look at young voters, the same thing. young voters 18-29, the best of
any age group. but definitely running below the 66% of the vote he got. but if you run obama against romney among these voters again the strongest candidate, the margins are still quite high. so i think that economics is like a weight on obama among these groups, but i think a weight that he can partially keep off his chest. >> if i can go back and answer the question you ask about his approval ratings versus his head to head among latino voters. it's interesting to think about the conversation going on now between the republican nominees for their nomination. and the same conversation that went on in 2007 and 2008. you had a republican nomination process which on the subject of immigration has been driven i think both times by very hard line. you know, the view that we really have to get tough and crack down. now, it happened -- and this came after eight years of a
george w. bush presidency coming out of texas, understood the demographics and the political power of the latino vote actually did very well, i think he won close to a majority of the latino vote more than 40% i think when he ran for reelection as governor of texas. >> in texas. >> in texas he was close to 50 and whether or not he got 44 or 40 in 2004. but the republicans clearly feeling this is a -- we are not going to be locked in. this is not going to be like an african american community where we're going to get wiped out. and that's part of our challenge. i think that the republicans have hurt themselves with this constituency with the nature of their primary process conversation. now, if you think about 43 years ago, actually they wound up nominating the one candidate from their field who had been most open to comprehensive immigration reform and kind of a centrist on that issue and as a result immigration sort of
disappeared as a general election issue. we were on to other things. something similar may happen again this time. hard to know where the republican nomination process is going but i think both of the conversations that latinos have been listening to now at the national level has not been very receptive. they t republicans have not done a good job of reaching out to this constituency and that is likely to hold obama in good stead. >> i would agree that when you mention mitt romney, i have to say i was surprised recently in the past couple of months how much -- how he has ratched up the anti-immigration reform rhetoric and he did so initially because rick perry had just entered the fray and rick perry had, like two other national republicans from border states, george w. bush and john mccain, you know, had a record of being in favor of comprehensive reform of pass the citizenship for the many millions already here.
and so romney really poured it on. and had arguably, except for the colorful sort of herman cain let's dig a moat and put alligators in it kind of rhetoric, romney has really already, if he's the nominee, got a verbal record that is going to stand him in really bad sted with the hispanic voters * test*
the democratic party where obama was intimidated from pursuing immigration reform in this first two years by the fear of losing many of these blue dog, low diversity, low education and rural districts which they were annihilated in any way. the broader one of the democrats is if obama does win, it will only be by accelerating the transformation to this new coalition, which is essentially a bimodal coalition of minority votes and educated whites, and it does require you to rethink some issues where you are kind of stuck driving with your eyes in the rearview mirror. there is more protectionist sentiment in the republican party than the democratic party. maybe even the gun-control, certainly trade -- i think they are being intimidated by the fear of losing people who they
are already lost and not really serving the interests of the coalition. think about the fight over entitlement. democrats now are lying in front of the train tracks to prevent cuts in programs that benefit white seniors who are voting over 60% republican. in the process, they are creating a long-term squeeze on discretionary spending that will benefit -- that is really needed for this growing minority population to move into the middle class that is already 80% democratic. each party, i think, has an agenda that is not entirely in tune with what their actual coalition is now. that are governing of the memory of whom used to elect them. >> what i have to say that -- i would disagree with the metaphor of laying on the train tracks to the extent that democrats -- and i think if there had been a boehner/obama deal this summer, i am, but he would have gotten the votes in congress to pass that regardless of the changes made in medicare
and social security. because democrats -- understand just what you said is that these programs have to be -- the future spending has to be curbed. hope springs eternal that they can reverse these numbers on the senior voters, but they do understand that the squeeze is on the colleges. it is on anti-party programs and education and so i think democrats are much more willing to give on entitlements than republicans. >> i should amend that because health care also reflects that. health care is the only program in modern history that explicitly transferred down the income ladder. this conflict between this emerging on-white -- heavily non-what millennial and younger generation and these older whites who are getting more conservative and more anti- government -- i think that will basically be the structure of
our political debate for several decades. the kind of brown versus great constructs i think will increasingly define the political choices. >> ok. it sounds of like the consensus of the panel is that the immediate sense for obama is putting his foot on the accelerator. the transformation for the other side, talking about how, "did i mention the economy is not so great?" i think it has been great. we have put a lot on the table. let's hear from the audience. >> i am not affiliated with anybody. i think the presentation has been a great and a lot of good information. i think, though, it is based on a all things being equal approach. it seems there are factors in play now making the playing field not all things being
equal, one of those being the growth of the superpac's, unlimited, and accountable misinformation. redistricting, now controlled by a preponderant of republican governors. other factors that are going on right now that seem to not want a playing field that is equal. i wonder if you could talk about the impact of those elements of those discussions. >> can anyone offer a comment? >> that is a big topic. certainly, the polarized and paralyzed congress is a reflection of the way the districts are drawn, and that is a long and unhappy story. in a way, it has created political parties that are more ideologically coherent than they have been in our lifetime.
you would like to think maybe that is a good thing. that is a clarifying thing. but it has driven everybody to their ideological corners and you do not have people that can find the middle. as for superpac's, as for money in politics, i spent a chunk of my life working on the issue, and there is a lot that has not gone well on that front, either. i would, however, hold up for everybody scrutiny the 2008 presidential election campaign with someone named barack obama, who had been in the senate for all of two years and was a complete newcomer to the national stage but had a message and a set of skills that enable him to get through a process that was very tough in both the primary process and the general, race record sums of money, a lot of it from small donors, and here we are today. i wish our system of money in politics was different from what
it is. that is a personal view. but i did not believe it is at the end of the day certainly not a determinant of the presidential level. % in coming reelection rates in the house at a time when people cannot stand the congress -- you have to scratch your head and ask what is going on there -- 98% income that reelection rates -- incumbent reelection rates. >> good afternoon. the summer and fall, puerto rico will vote to determine its political future. one likely outcome of that is a request to become a state. how will that movement and that almost half a million quarter ricans living -- puerto ricans living in the i-4 corridor and living in key battleground states?
moreover, what would happen to adding hispanic congressman? >> i never thought of it appeared as you going through it, you assume republicans would resist creating a new state that would vote democratic. on the other hand, if you could move -- if your application is the hundreds of thousands of applications would move back, they might be willing to accept the train -- hundreds of thousands -- if your implication is that hundreds of thousands of puerto ricans would move back. i guess i do not think we are adding any states soon. i think we are so polarized i do not see how a consensus emerges to do that. but there is no question that in many of these states, what has -- what has brought them within reach for democrats is a combination of growing minority population, a somewhat growing
college what population that is growing more receptive. anything that interrupts them -- i do not know. republicans might want to see republicans move back from ohio and florida, at least electorally. >> hi. does this work? >> it does. >> four things. one, the issue will turn out has not been discussed very much. i cannot conceive going on campuses that you are not going to get a much lower youth turnout. i cannot conceive it hispanics are a 50/50 that they may divide, but the turnout is going to be conceivably lower. i think that impacts the scenario. i also think conversely, it will be because of the republican positions on entitlement there
may be some breakage on the top end of the scale. the second thing is the analysis does not include americans elect, which i think may turn out to be a significant force because the conditions for it our right -- are ripe. the third thing is there really is a major change that has happened in virginia since 2008. republicans control the whole state and in my county in northern virginia, republicans swept the board of supervisors. the demographic factors are not exactly as presented because the political factors are right now more important. anyway, looking for ron's comment on turnout. paul's, on the latino turnout and anyone else that might want to comment on americans elect and on the changes in the states.
>> first of all, the political point i think is absolutely right. i think you have to expect that obama's share of the vote from each major group will be lower in 2012 than it was in 2008 with the possible exception of african-americans. the issue is he has got some ground to give. the question is -- can he manage the decline enough to survive? i think it will be less and it could be a lot less in the working-class white community which is not only resistant to him but getting hammered economically. to me, the key to victory is holding down losses in places like northern virginia probably by emphasizing the contrast with republicans. i think that will be the key to that. same point on turnout. one issue i was trying to allude to in my response to a boy was that demographically -- to roy, was that demographically, the conditions are there for the shift to go up. 4 million more millennials a
year turn 18. more are eligible to vote, but did innominate it may get bigger, too. we saw in 2010, an awful lot of older, blue-collar white voters came out to vote against obama, and if they really pour out in 2012 again, even more minorities vote and more millennial vote, it is conceivable their share of the vote will not increase as much as you might expect if the denominator gets bigger. i think that is an important consideration. i think there are two separate issues. not only if the score coalitions show up, but how much of everybody else shows up. i believe in 2010, the elderly seniors with the larger share of the but they have never been in a midterm election -- i have got to think a lot of those voters are waiting for the chance to come out again and vote against
the socialists in the white house. there is that issue as well. >> the mobilization pure the question is what will be the mobilization differential in this election? in 2010, it was heavily skewed toward conservative constituents. my view is i very much doubt in this incredibly hotly contested presidential election where they will go all out and the obama machine will have the resources to go all out, and do all the things that we talked about, because the things that could bring in play to mobilize people on the other side. there may be some mobilization differential, but i do not think it will be in the level of 2010. to me, the most reasonable expectation is it will sort of balance out, right? obama will see an electorate of roughly 20% minority votes. the rest of it will be pretty much on trend.
people exaggerate the extent to which the election in 2008 was analogous in turn up. it was higher than normal, but it is hard to change turnout patterns that drastically from election to election and in this case, given how mobilize each side will be, i see the efforts as roughly canceling out, but i could be wrong. >> a couple of statistics on the hispanic vote. if you go back to 2008 -- i looked at these numbers before i came. share of white voters who voted in to the senate was 66% pure african-americans, 65%. that is the smallest gap that has been measured because it was an historic election. -- the share of white voters who voted in 2008 was 66%. 50% hispanic. that was an increase, but it was not a surge. the question now is -- and then the other thing was a huge
turnout and closing the gap among young voters. i do think that there's a real question of whether you can keep the enthusiasm with younger voters. i think he had an easier sell and a better message for younger voters three years ago that he has today. i would not hazard a guess on the latino vote except to say that demographic change will put the base from which hispanics drop because that is where the population vote is. of those however million, many of them are hispanic and most of them are born in this country. the group -- a group of older hispanics are not citizens or illegally, and they have kids and almost all of the kids were born here, so there is not that impediment. it is different looking at age and generation. if we believe in a generational analysis, at least by my definition, there could be about 26% of eligible voters in this election will be from, you know,
the millennial generation and that is because the millennial generation is now leading upward. that is 4 million additional eligible voters per year. that will produce a lot more voters, assuming turnout rates do not totally collapse completely. it is a bigger age group now. not just 18 to 29. more like 18 to 34. that is worth noting. the gentleman right their way in the back. let's go to the back now. >> i have been a consultant. i thank the panel for having this. do you guys think that if
minorities continue to turn out in higher numbers in 2012, obama will win by a landslide? it seems like african-americans are the key in determining the presidential election. also, in these elections in the republican president to campaign in 2012, what about african and asian -- other than just hispanics? the minority vote, and differentiation among the minorities. >> in 2008, obama normally one over nine in 10 african- americans. one 2/3 of hispanics and just under 2/3 of all others. the other is an interesting category. you think not only other but also the hispanics on moving way beyond the kind of states where
they have been influential in the past -- you think about virginia in 2008, 10% of the vote was neither white nor black. in a place like north carolina, the growing other and hispanic was definitely a some on the scale for obama to get him over the top. i think strong minority turnout and a strong minority vote is a necessary but not sufficient condition for obama in 2012. the figures that roy gave are probably similar to what we projected ourselves. it goes up to 20%, he wins 3/4, and that is 21 percentage points. you still have to get 40% of whites, which they could not do. by the way, democratic vote in 2010 was below the 75% level among minorities. you have a lot of people who are hurting. one thing i do wonder that you noted before -- you notice how much of that -- ahead of his approval rating he is running in the head-to-head.
maybe with individual subgroups, but as a cosmic phenomenon, i think he -- it is unlikely he will run significantly ahead of his approval rating. the average is incumbent presidents run pretty close to their average approval rating before the election. in both parties, they used to say if you were below 50%, you were unlikely to win. given how cynical i am, i know what i talk to people in the obama campaign, the kind of put 47 at the threshold above which he has a shot to win and below which he probably does not. >> this is a good moment to add another demographic statistics. a lot of the conversation and a lot of the way we all have been taught to think about politics and electorate is through the prism of race and ethnicity. that is a lot of what we have talked about today. of all new marriages in the united states in 2009, 15% are between partners of a different race or ethnicity.
either an hispanic marrying a white or white marrying an agent, etc., etc. we had a famous marriage and we have the offspring of that marriage in the white house today. when barack obama's parents were married, the best we could gather -- first of all, it is illegal in 16 states for that to happen and will certainly an enormous and cultural taboo. best we could get this one in 1000 marriages were between a white person and a black person. this is part of the change. i wonder a decade or two from now whether it will be as easy to slice the electorate in the way we are accustomed to because this is very much a part of the change that is going on. i suspect again the young folks -- it is the only world they know and, of course, it is comfortable to them. the older folks are asking where it came from and are having trouble adapting. that is part of the drama going
on. the multiracial, the fastest- growing group in the united states. we're going to take a few more brief questions and have the panel comment. let's take several questions from the middle of the park, so do speak. >> my name is steven. what do you make of the three- day hypothesis? that whoever carries two of pennsylvania, ohio, and florida will be the next president? >> ok, another question. >> in his presentation, you broke it down by white, working- class, college-educated, and minorities, and looking at that gap, that education gap, i wonder how much as it persists amongst minorities and amongst millennials as well and what that might say about the future. >> another question? that will have to be the last one. >> the question is about colorado and how the brown versus great economic situation
and the hispanic population growth -- how all that fits in the colorado? >> ok. three good questions. i am afraid that is all we have time for. cannell, let's show on these last few questions -- panel, let's chew on these last three questions. >> i do not think you have to get two of the three if you get it to do a combination. it would be difficult for obama, but what is essentially in some ways could be argued as a single state -- north carolina and virginia. unfortunately for obama, it is not, i guess. it will be much harder to get north carolina. he got north carolina, virginia, and colorado, you would only have to get one of those three states you mentioned. >> i will put my money on whoever gets two of those three states. educational attainment breaks
and other breaks within minority communities -- if you have an african-american community loading more than nine in 104 obama, there are not a lot of breaks of any kind there. there are important differences, particularly in the african- american community, are around educational attainment. women doing much better than men. how that plays out in terms of public policy and other things is, frankly -- adding in the rest of our lives and it in politics because in politics in a moment, that is a pretty locked in a constituency. >> the 3-8 scenario, likely but not necessary. if obama can hold pennsylvania, 18 states voted democratic in the election since 1992, he could win with the three selfless states and virginia. but more likely, if someone with -- wins two of those three states, that are like little in. hispanics by large vote the way whites did in the 1950's and
1960's. african-americans, there is the difference, but the class and version has not affected hispanic voting yet. then, on colorado, i think colorado has gone from the reach to a necessity for democrats. it has sort of moved inside the line. it is hard for me to imagine obama getting to 270 without it, and i think both of those are harder states at this point. i think colorado embodies what is the modern democratic coalition where you have a significant minority population and a college-educated white population very willing to vote democratic. obama won an absolute majority of them in 2008. in 2010, despite a real movement to the white among working-class whites, rural whites, the sort of thing, there were enough of those people to get over the line. that is the difference then in say wisconsin. you cannot lose them by this
kind of margins and earn enough other people to make it up with. >> i think that will have to wrap it up. i hope that in our conversation, we have highlighted the basic facts and trends that lie behind the basic struggle in the states. i know they will be thinking about it a lot if obama should be named -- in obama and whoever should be named republican headquarters. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
then the to not on c-span, a look back at bill clinton's 1992 run for the white house -- >> tonight on c-span. the former president joined by former advisers and strategists. that is at 8:00 p.m. eastern after that, we will show the cn in presidential debate from earlier this week. eight of the republican candidates gathered in washington, d.c., to talk about national security and the economy. that starts at about 9:20 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> the newly designed c- span.org website has 11 video choices, making it easier for you to watch today's events live
and recorded. it is also easier for you to get our schedule with new features so you can quickly scroll through the programs scheduled on the c-span networks and even received an e-mail alert when your program is scheduled to air. there is a section to access our most popular series and programs, a handy channel finder so you can quickly find where to watch our three c-span network on cable or satellite networks across the country. >> last week, iran said that new international sanctions targeting its financial and energy sectors would be ineffective. this follows a report showing increasing concern on iran's nuclear program. next, we will hear discussion on the response, followed by a keynote address from the u.s.
national security advisor. this event hosted by the carnegie endowment for international peace, is about two hours and 15 minutes. our program today is a joint production of my center and our center for relations between u.s. and europe. we are delighted to have you here today and delighted to see that the united states, the european union, and others were willing to comply with our request to please announced the sanctions the day before. if you go down the street, they will tell you that bookings controls this administration. we, of course, insist on the opposite, but it is nice every once in awhile when the u.s. government does comply with what works best for our timing, and, of course, we do have exquisite timing today.
this is an incredibly important issue and has been made even more so by the recent announcement. our first panel is intended to cover the iran side of this story. obviously, there are many sides to this story, but for all of us, it does start with iran. the iranians are forging ahead with their program, and we wanted to start by getting a sense of the lay of the land -- what the iranians are up to. what they're thinking is. what it might take to stop them. how things are working in tehran, which will ultimately lead us to conversations later on in the day about what it is that we and our allies might do with it all. we have a sensational panel to start this off this morning. you have the biographies in front of you, so i will not keep you link the -- not give you lengthy bios. immediately to my left is the president of the federation of american scientists. i will ask him to start off by
talking a little bit about what we know about the iranian program today. obviously, this is a program that has evolved over time, and getting a sense of where the program is as best we understand it at any moment is both difficult and, of course, very important in understanding where we are and what we might be able to do in the future. after charles, we have kevin harris, the jennings randolph peace scholar at the u.s. institute of peace. we will turn to kevin to talk a little bit about the impact of sanctions themselves. obviously, sanctions have been a critical element to the western efforts to try to turn off the iranian nuclear program. they have so far not yet succeeded in that, but certainly, there are arguments on both sides as to whether or not they have succeeded in accomplishing other goals, whether they might succeed in the future, whether we are just around the corner from success. we'll ask kevin to bring us up- to-date on where things are and talk a little bit about the impact of sanctions on iran.
finally, on my far left, your far right, we will turn to someone who all of you know is a senior fellow at the council on national foreign relations and we will ask him to appear inside the black box of the iranian foreign leadership and talk a little bit about what is going on there as best we understand it. the motives of the regime, the divisions, the infighting -- everything that captures our attention without actually ever being able to know what to make of it all. we will ask him to give us a sense of what we should make it all. with that, let me open things up to charles. tell us about where the program stands. >> thank you very much. it is a great pleasure to be here and to see so many people here in the audience. a lot of your colleagues. it is a great turnout because this is such a hot issue. maybe it was a bit of a freudian slip. when he e-mailed the panelists yesterday, he called me craig ferguson.
maybe he is thinking of the comedian correct ferguson because it is trying to find some humor in the subject of the iranian nuclear issue. it is very hard to do because we know it is a very serious subject, but i guess if there is humor, it is more of a shakespearean farce, become some kind of comedy of errors. it seemed to be a lot of missed opportunities to either engage when iran astride the limits on the nuclear programs or trying to read whether it is really the intentions of iran. since like we keep talking past each other, and i look forward to hearing from my colleagues on those points. ken asked me to kick it off, as he said, to cover some of the basics of what we know from a technical standpoint. we know that there has been a lot going on, as reported in the latest iaea report that came out a couple of weeks ago. what i am going to do is do a
bit of good news/bad this type of reporting to try to get you up to speed on most of the relevant points. we know that iran continues to defy the united nations security council and the iaea board of governors resolutions to suspend certain activities. uranium be enriched and activities in particular and there's also some growing concerns about water ran has been doing at the heavy water facilities in iraq and building a research reactor. i will touch on that a little bit, but the focus, rightly so, is on the uranium enrichment program. board of governors and united nations security council is also calling iran to apply the additional protocols to its comprehensive safeguards and what is called a modified code 3.1. i will get into those a little bit in a few minutes, but let's just cover what we know in terms of the latest news from the iaea. we note that -- here is some bad
news -- that iran continues to build up its stockpile of enriched uranium, including 19.75% in rich uranium. that is close to the dividing line between low enriched uranium and highly enriched. the dividing line is 20% in richmond. even at 20%, it still is going to take a few hundred kilos of that amount of material to have one bomb and iran so far has something like 80 kgs in rich to that level. there is still a way before they have a real break out from that amount of material into a bomb'' worth of weapons grade material they can further enriched to. they have also amassed 4,900 kilograms of about 3.5% low enriched uranium. if they went for broke and completely converted that into weapons-grade material, you might get three or four bombs worth out of that. i would say some what good news,
though, is that is still not enough material to provide iran with a true break out capability, although it is worrisome. i would say some other good news is that sanctions, export controls, and covert actions have slowed down iran's nuclear program. of course, this is good news from the west's standpoint, not iran standpoint. such that the computer virus that attacked some nuclear facilities apparently destroyed about 1000 of the iranian centrifuges, but these were replaced over time. that was clearly a setback. right now, though, iran has something like 8000 centrifuges that are in operation and that continue to build up for these first-generation centrifuges. so far, the ones mainly in operation by these first- generation centrifuges they got.
some other bad news, though, is that despite the sanctions, iran is still proceeding with its nuclear program, although apparently at a slower pace. it still appears determined to pursue its right to a nuclear program and, as is obvious to probably all of you, the program has become very much a nationalistic issue. it is going to be very difficult for leaders in iran to give it up or at least put some significant controls on it. further bad news is iran is continuing to proceed with developing more advanced designs, although that is tempered with some news. it appears to be having trouble developing many of these centrifuges because of difficulty getting access to the materials to build these machines. further bad news, though, is that, as i mentioned, they continue to defy the board of governors and the iaea security council resolutions to apply stricter safeguards than they
have been. it is the issue of the additional protocol. additional protocol requires states to go beyond just the declared facilities. it requires inspectors to assess whether there are any and declared materials going on, and so far, they have not been able to make that determination. the modified code i mentioned earlier -- it is to iran subsidiary arrangements to safeguard agreement. it sounds like jargon, so let's break it down. basically, what it says simply is that a state is required to let the iaea know in the advanced design information about any facilities it wants to construct. iran has instead been interpreting the safeguard agreement under the old interpretation from the 1970's in that it does not have to report the facility until it is within six months of introducing nuclear material.
the iaea says that is not sufficient because safeguards work best when you have safeguards by design, which you can build from the start, and the best way to do that is to get advanced design information and for the state to work cooperatively with the iaea. iran has also said it wants to build another 10 in richmond facilities and said that it may have selected five new sites for these facilities. that is apparently some bad news, but recent good news is in october, it was said that iran would probably not need further enrichment facilities for at least another two years. still, again, iran has not provided adequate information in that area. some other bad news -- the research reactor in iraq is still being constructed and heavy water facility construction is still continuing. this is once again despite the united nations security council to suspend this activity.
the good news, though, is the the have accounted for declared facilities nuclear materials but the bad news is it does not have any confidence about accounting for any undeclared facilities. summing all this up and looking at what i think is probably the best news so far is that iran still benefits from staying inside the non-proliferation treaty. it still has an interest in not stimulating neighboring states from acquiring similar programs that could provide break up capabilities in the weapons programs. i think what we need to do is to find ways to keep iran in the system and to have it apply not just additional protocol, but go beyond that in places where we can have more confidence as to what is going on with the program. iran says it is truly a peaceful program, it is clearly in our interests to show that it is a peaceful program by becoming more transparent and giving proper access. let me stop at that point.
you can go back to the military dimension and other things later. >> thank you. i think we will come back to that, but it is a terrific base line. kevin, are the sanctions having an impact? >> i want to thank you for inviting me but, by the lead -- inviting me, by the way. i am perhaps the only one on the panel actually travels to iran often for purposes of research, so i want to talk about what is going on inside the country, what have been the recent changes. first, it is clear now and is also clear according to statements by politicians inside iran the sanctions are having an impact. not only the naming of a particular enterprises and people, which is the official policy of some of the sanctions that have recently been implemented, but also the outcome is what i would like to call trickle-down sanctions.
they affect the ability of particular banks and large enterprises to procure for example foreign-exchange and other goods on international market, but the end result is it has an effect on small and medium enterprises in iran. let's take, for example, the automotive industry. the major two producers in iran require lots of credit and capital goods and supplies to maintain operations, and because the business has gone up. everybody knows that now your the upstream and downstream producers of tires and car parts and seat belts and you name it, and many of them are inside iran, are also feeling the effects. it raises unemployment to a certain extent and also increases wages and things like that. many of the labor protests in iran right now are due to non- payment of wages and to a certain extent, we can link that to sanctions, but not the only reason. if one wanted to describe this policy as a target, the
targeting is not as smart as we think. talking to people in iran, i would just sit there is not a lot of people who identify sanctions as their biggest problem. both working-class people as well as managers and people in the middle class. i was talking to people who worked in the construction sector who were building these high-rises for the middle class in northern tehran, and they certainly knew the sanctions were affecting them because they could not get all the kind of construction supplies that building a high rise requires. but certainly, that was not the only thing on their mind as a lot of other problems inside the iranian economy that they are constantly talking about. politically, there is another affect, and i wanted to discuss this a bit. two consequences of the sanctions is as the intensify -- it will intensify the spirit the government has been privatizing to a certain extent many of the agencies that get
targeted by sanctions. there has been privatization of state banks in the past year. this, admittedly, by their own accounts, has been somewhat a result of sanctions, although they have been wanting to privatize some of these things for a long time. but also shipping and import/export businesses and you name it. there's a certain shell game going on where they privatize enterprises and it allows them to maneuver until treasury catches up. on the other hand, there is a re-centralization of economic networks through the state. as it becomes more difficult to interact with particular networks -- segments of the economy, the state has to monitor or control things like foreign exchange, which they have been doing recently. also, they have been trying to re-regulates certain sectors of the economy. they are trying to implement a
value-added tax, and this is caused protests we have seen in the past year or two. overtax, not the overt political issues. -- over tax. this is not the military takeover of the economy that people who work on iran proclaimed. in fact, i tend to work a bit on the subject, and my research generally shows that this notion of a military takeover of the iranian economy is a myth. the state is heavily involved in the iranian economy, and that is true. many people in the second generation of bureaucrats and technocrats are in the military because they fought in the war for years basically. we looked at china, brazil, and every other country in the developing world. we need to be careful sometimes when looking at iran and experts who worked on iran, worked on
ran 24/7 the things that might seem peculiar to iran might be more general around the developing world. certainly, the irgc is more involved in the economy than it was five years ago, but it was involved in the economy in the 1990's. it is more of a general trend that a particular outcome of particular regulations. i will leave it at that. will talk about that later. >> terrific. that is a great start for us. there is some stuff we will want to come back and dig into. makes sense of iran for us. >> i will try to do that in the seven minutes. >> you might have a couple of minutes to spare. >> the rate i would describe -- the way i would describe transposition internally and externally as impasse. i think there's a domestic impasse and obviously an international impasse on the nuclear issue, but other issues
as well. the domestic and past takes place i think at two levels. within the state institutions themselves -- the presidency against the office of the supreme leader, the parliament that wants to micromanage, so there is some degree of institutional obstacles to the efficient operation of the government. that particular impasse i do not think is particularly new. if you look at the history of the islamic republic. it is sometimes in the press and in other venues portrayed as this power struggle, but some of those power struggles are almost endemic to the way this particular system works. if you look at president ahmadinejad's tenure and confrontations with the parliament, and the famous letter to tomorrow, that essentially takes place because
in essence, you have a political system which has some competing centers of power struggling against the supreme leader that wants to have a hegemony of political power. so long as these two coexist with each other, there will be some degree of tension. as i said, that is essentially within the system. the second tension that one notices is within the state of society. it has been, in my judgment, the severance of the organic bond that links the state to the population. particularly in the aftermath of the june 2009 elections, but some of this was even obvious before that. it is today -- and i think it can be said for the first time in the history of the islamic republic -- where the large and substantial sell-off of the population along a look at politics and participation in
political affairs as the useful means of changing the system. that was not the case as early as 2009. in 2009, i think it can be credibly reported that some 80% or 85% of the population participated in the election. that in and of itself is an affirmation of the system's legitimacy. a large number of people participated in the political processes deficiencies they recognize, but they nevertheless perceive it as an effective means of engineering their voices in the deliberations of the government. that is unlikely to happen ever again, given how that particular election work and given the resistance of the system to reform or essentially broaden its contours. so there is an impasse taking place between the government that is resistant to the popular will and a popular will that as
increasingly expressing itself. that is the domestic impasse. there is an international impasse and a wide variety of motivations over the years to ask why, to iran's nuclear program. deterrent and power protection -- i realize there is a connection between the two. increasingly, it is my belief that iran's nuclear program is driven by domestic political factors. not necessarily the domestic political factors that people tend to allude to. bailey, as the program moves forward, it is an indication of scientific achievement and therefore stimulates the surge of nationalism. i do not believe that is true, actually. i believe that in some sense, the islamic republic and no longer an anchor its legitimacy on popular perceptions or nationalism. this is a system that since its inception in 1979 consciously
defined itself in contrast to iran's history of nationalism. the centuries of marquee or centuries of corruption and the village and so forth. essentially, the islamic republic is a transnational phenomenon still. i do not necessarily believe that the program is used to reconnect with the population if you accept that those organic bonds have been irreparably severed. therefore, what is the domestic motivation for the program? i think a few members of the islamic public security apparatus or political leadership -- the program ironically enough offers you a pathway -- paradoxically enough -- halfway back to the global society and global economy. you are likely to negotiate your way back to be gaining economic
contracts, commercial contracts, and your place in the international system as you had known it, but if you look at other cases of proliferation, whether it is india and pakistan and so forth, after a time of international denunciation and international condemnation, the argument becomes that this country is too dangerous to be left alone to nurture its grievances and therefore, the best way of dealing with the new reality is to reintegrate iran into the regional security system and international economy and international community as a means of imposing limits and restraints and incentives for proper behavior. increasingly, i think if you look at it, the program makes sense -- not to discount other factors -- deterrence and projection of power or perhaps even attempt to reconnect with the larger members of the disaffected body politic, but it makes particular sense, as it
half way back to international legitimacy. that is a precarious, quite risky activity, but nevertheless, it is one path open to the regime. if that is true, then in order for the regime to get itself into that position, it must be prepared to do three things -- one, and/or a pronounced hardship with the escalating sanctions and so forth. two, if you require having a bond to become part of the nuclear club and a four back to the international club, and that essentially means that this program they in a very real way beyond diplomatic mediation underpinned by economic portion -- the good news is that this is a weapon designed to extract tributes from the international concession as opposed to strictly weapons designed to engage in the neighborhood.
i will stop there since my time has elapsed, but i think it is important to see the program novel in its domestic prisons, but a changing domestic prism -- not only in its domestic prisms. >> i want to dig a little deeper into each of these different issues, and then we will open it up to the floor for questions, but there is just so much here that we need to talk about. a question i want to put to you is where you ended up with militarization. the iaea report has now put what position on the table, but what they said is a little bit confusing -- has now put withinization on the table -- a weapon -- has now put weapon ization on the table. kevin, for you, that was terrific, and it is always wonderful to get some on the ground experience of what is going on. while charles answers my first
question to him, if you could ponder an answer the question of what might have an impact in iran. we are now going to have new sanctions on iran. ministration has announced some. there is an expectation that the eu will have new sanctions. will the threat of sanctions have an impact? how to the oil sanctions play out in iran? is there something out there that you think could have the kind of impact on iran, on iranian society that might change the calculus that ray has laid out? finally, ray, for you, and you got to the ultimate aims of what foreign policy is and a think that is extremely important, but i would love to see how you feel in the middle ground. we have seen a lot from iranians in recent days and weeks. there is this purported plot to kill jiber. if it were true, and to its is something about iranian thinking. the arrests of these various american spy rings is
noteworthy. how they have been handling the iaea, the negotiation. how should we understand iranian-born policy at this point in time and put that in a little bit of a context, especially in light of longer- term thinking that you have already laid out? >> first, let's remind ourselves -- what are the three pillars of a nuclear weapons program? rate touched on this with the end of his remarks about whether iran really wants to get a ay kable nuclear bomb -- r been touched on this. what does a state need? obviously, they need that fissile material. it could either be in two forms -- either the highly enriched uranium, preferably weapons- grade enriched up to 90% or more, or plutonium, preferably weapons grade, although reactor- grade plutonium is still weapons
usable, but not weapons desirable. that is not enough. a state also needs a warhead design. something that if you send a signal to compress the fissile material into a super critical state, it will go ka-boom. we know that iran has done some work in that area and has received some documents that could help it strive to develop those kinds of designs and, quickly, the third element of a weapons program is a delivery vehicle. preferably from airtran standpoint, probably ballistic missiles. because that is a very symbolic weapon. i think what ray is getting at is even if iran gets a nuclear bomb and gets something that is a real weapon, it probably will not use it.
it will use it for other political purposes. i would argue that ballistic missiles are the ideal weapon. i remember in the mid-1980s, the book was published with the title "missile and the -- "missile envy." the title kind of says it all. noranda has been doing a lot of work with ballistic missiles, and that stimulates the united states and its allies to move ahead deploying missile defense, but iran is still apparently some ways away from developing the long-range intercontinental ballistic missile capability so it can strike the united states with such a weapon. it has the shorter range and medium-range ballistic missiles that could threaten states in the greater middle eastern region for sure. the big question then is -- does it have that workable weapon
design? the iaea was asked to make that assessment. it is interesting -- you have this debate going on now back -- does the iaea had a mandate to investigate this types of activities? the professor wrote a very interesting, provocative piece recently arguing know. there are those that say yes. i am not a lawyer. i will not pretend to be. i am trained as a physicist and nuclear engineer. i read the second article and try to look at it from a plain text one of you and not some kind of orwellian doublespeak, and i see that the last phrase of article two says that a non- nuclear weapon state shall not seek or receive assistance in nuclear-weapons manufacture or the manufacture of nuclear weapons explosive device.
we know that iran has received such assistance. it received a 15-page document showing how to make these uranium metal hemispheres. you put them together, you get a solid sphere. that is an implosion device. the core of a nuclear weapon. we know that it has been doing some investigations in terms of electronic electronic bireme mechanisms. it has gotten some assistance from a certain russian scientists. he is denying he has any knowledge of nuclear weapon design. he is just investigating these nano-technologies. can it trigger a nuclear weapon? there is the issue of, is there anything really new in the and next of the new ia report. you go through its and you have
to say, not really. there's not a lot of new stuff in there. everything that we know well happened prior to 2004. that is consistent with the national intelligence assessment from 2007 sang there are strong indications that iran would form its nuclear weapon program by 2003 and wrap up going into 2004. there may be additional activities going on after 2004. there is not clear evidence of such. but i will leave it there and we can circle back later. >> it sounds like a list of known on nome's. unknows.
the politics of the situation right now in this country is going to be ramping up. unilateral or multilateral sanctions with europe on board. -- onboard. it will make it increasingly difficult for the central bank to require foreign exchange. this is something they have been preparing for quite a while. if you follow the business press, they discussed this a bit. it has caused a few runs already. you get the bad news in the american press. they respond by recreating the tiered foreign exchange system they had for 20 years.
from direct currency to the kind we needed the most. this reminds me of the early 19th century napoleonic blockade. napoleon had convinced most of --ope to block the europe- to block the uk. bit by bit, countries peeled off. that probably will happen unless the united states can sustain a diplomatic effort with china and japan. they have all given signs that they are unwilling to go as far as the united states wants. china and india already have
been tense bilateral trade agreements with iran. they are getting a good deal from iran. what is the logic of granting of sanctions and increasing -- ramping up sanctions? mark kirk says he wants to put the nuclear option on central banks. is it the collapse of the economy? i do not think it is going to happen. iran is not iraq and the world was different in the 1990's were you could get a full global effort to block a country. iran is embedded in particular networks that the sanctions have only increased. this is where i might disagree
with ray. most revolutionary states and up lasting a long time. china, algeria, cuba. it seems like the legitimacy has eroded. what causes these kind of states to go here. in most of the world, factionalism is normal. even the chinese communist party has sanctions -- has actions. elites to work together? is here. -- it is fear. if you threaten countries, they
find a real big incentive to start working together. if you want mahmoud ahmadinejad and the others to get along -- we have already seen this. the piece of perceived external threat and the discourse of unity rises as factionalism dies down. point leads to the next obvious question. if the goal of the program is international legitimacy, an alternative policy would be to provide a different path to international legitimacy for iran. they do not perceive this as open. we spent a lot of resources on sanctions. we will be spending a lot more resources on sanctions in the next year.
we need to ask ourselves what is the cost-benefit of that the and spending resources on diplomatic options. >> born policy may be belligerent in intent. -- foreign policy might be belligerent in intent. it might play itself out. for iranian leadership, time is a temple oral -- temple oral -- temporal commodity. in the initial compulsions of the revolutionary time, iran's terrorist aspirations were global. tist movements in
europe. the portfolio has contracted, but has become more intense in that geography. iranians had supported militias and violent groups. the level of assistance went on because of some of the confrontations with israel. they emerged as more an autonomous palestinian actor. it was an interest indication -- it was an intensification. if this incident is true -- i am not challenging the credibility -- it suggests two things. the previous red lines have been revisited and in some cases it raised. one was that iran would not target americans. the other was that iran would
not target americans in the united states. the second one is that iran would meet pressure with pressure. if the united states tried to mobilize pressure against it, it has resources. one of the pieces of the pressure policy is that it would yield iranian compliance and concessions. this indicates they are willing to get into some sort of ask dilatory dynamic. the-escalating dynamic -- escalating dynamic. if these allegations are true and iran attempted to assassinate a foreign dilatory -- foreign dignitary, we are in an escalating terrain.
it would suggest that this is a foreign-policy that is becoming more acutely aggressive in terms of its retaliatory denunciations'. in terms of in -- its retaliatory denunciations. international focus has switched to taking place in egypt and what is taking place in syria and tunisia. if they succeed in establishing a more accountable government, iran cannot remain an oasis of autocratic stability. >> thank you. that is a great start. before we take questions, for those of you in the back
standing, there are a number of seats in the front and metal. hopefully, it will be more comfortable than standing in the back. if you have questions, put your hands up. i would like to take several questions and put them to the panel and give them a chance to respond so that we can have a free flow and some conversation. sir, let me start with you. there should be a microphone coming up. please identify yourself even if i call on you by name. >> thank you for an interesting panel thus far. during the negotiation and the attempts by the international community to deal diplomatically with iran's nuclear program -- i hate to use the typical borrower and the analogy -- it seems that we have been bargaining up rather -- i hate to use the typical bargaining analogy.
it seems that we have been bargaining up rather than bargaining down. is there any other way to deal with this problem? rather than lower the temperature and say there is a reason for what you are doing, but you will not get what you want? >> i write the mitchell report. i want to ask a question in the two parts. if one could say that the united states' level of anxiety and concern about iran and israel is a can or a 12th -- israel is a 10 or 812, what is the panel's what is the12,
panel's assessment of the genuine fear in other major countries? are there just two of us who lose sleep at night? are we trying to get some sense of whether the level of anxiety and time spent in the public policy arena here in the united states is typical american over- reaction to the new hitler of the year or the decade or whether the rest of the major countries are sleeping? ray, coming to your point about
their intent and that they have crossed a red line and maybe they really might be worse than we think, what is their endgame? what to do they gain if they knocked off a diplomat one block or 1 mile from the white house and across other red lines? what are they seeking and why would they risk more than aprobrium? i would like to get a sense of the reality picture. >> i am with congressional quarterly. kevan, you mentioned the
sanctions on the central bank and that it could collapse the central bank of iran and we need to do a cost-benefit analysis. can you engage that cost-benefit analysis when it comes to targeting the central bank specifically? it looks like the bill could actually pass. what would be the impact of sanctions that would target financial institutions doing business with the central bank of iran? >> i will add to that. when i hear the words collapse another country's economy, i experience with iraq is back, do we want to cause the collapse of the iranian economy? would that be positive for what we are trying to achieve? a different case. thedon't we turn it over to panel. you can and so with the best answer whatever parts you wish.
-- you can answer whatever parts you wish. >> it is the issue of the 20 cent -- 20% in management activity. -- 20% enrichment activity. we go back to 2009 when we had barack obama and sarkozy. the point was that we appear to have a serious offer that we would do some kind up swap. the west would provide nuclear fuel to the 20% in wrenched -- 20% enriched level.
we had been working with argentina to get that 20% in rich level. this is not any kind up aspect of a weapons program. this is a device that is used for medical treatments. we are trying to create this bargain that we would only provide that material if iran would take out the equivalent amount of low enriched uranium. it seemed like a pretty good deal. they had not stockpiled that much low enriched uranium. the point was to get out the materials from iran to further delay the further enrichment. it was complicated.
turkey got involved with iran in 2010. that muddied the waters and there were mixed messages sent back and forth. washington was not pleased with what brazil was trying to do. then the deal fell apart. that gave iran be apparent green light. the west is not serious about this deal. we will forge ahead with the 20% level. the couple of months ago mahmoud ahmadinejad and other iranian leaders said, we are serious. we need that material. otherwise, we will try to go ahead on our own and make the nuclear fuel for that reactor. they might be able to do it. they do have a fuel manufacturing plant. the point is that, we have
another opportunity to create a positive opening in my view. we wrote a piece saying, let's take mahmoud ahmadinejad at his word. we do not have much to lose here. we will offer this 20% material with no conditions. this is a humanitarian gesture on the part the united states and the west. just like the united states helped iran in 2003 when there was an earthquake nearby. we did not question whether iran was up to no good. people were in need. they were hurting and injured. we provided assistance. it is a similar situation with this reactor. it is about an opportunity to have to engagement, to have that open hand. what we have been hearing is finding ways for more and more sanctions. i do not see ways for the u.s.
to open up avenues of engagement. that is one way to do its bank. -- to do it. >> we know that iraq is full of sunni and shia. we are ignorant of the fact that iran has turks. we all know about these things in the catastrophe. i can tell you this. the iranians have been there before. they never will be as isolated as they were in the 1980's. the price of oil was quite low by the middle of the 1980's. they were able to survive, but it was extremely constraining.
they created a series of mechanism to get by. the country was forced. it had consequences, but it came as a result of the economy. compared to other economies in the developing world, it does have a high level of at the internal economy. nowhere near it was in the 1980's. these assumptions that targeting the central bank -- the kind of sanctions that have an impact on iraq are only possible after a war is won against them. you have to remember what came before those sanctions. the kind of sanctions that lead to collapse often have something
going on before that. where is the war. is there a blurring between military and civil actions. >> regarding whether other members of the international community view this with the same urgency. i think that is the first part of it. going back to 2005 is the way the europeans have gradually accepted the argument of the united states. the european policy in the 1990's was something called critical dialogue. they would be critical of the united states and have a dialogue with iran. [laughter] they viewed economic engagement as a way up tempering iranian
motivations. i do not see that as being the policy of the iranian state. the european union announced several sanctions, which were quite aggressive and robust. there is a disagreement in europe about the utility of the use of force, but not in terms of international isolation of iran and economic coercion of it. i cannot speak about the russian and chinese foreign policy. there are people here who are far more qualified than i am. it seems to me that those states have to consider their relationship with iran in the larger context of their relationship to the united states and their place in the international system. they try to have it both ways.
keep their ties to iran economically while at the same time renegotiating the international revolutions as a way of putting some blame on iran while prefer -- while preserving their commercial activities. it is unsustainable. you have to make a decision. syria chose to veto that resolution. >> i cannot decipher the saudi arabian assassination plot. it defies the limitations of my faculty and my imagination. the only explanation i can offer is that perhaps the iranians were trying to reestablish the plausibility of their deterrents beyond the region and offered that argument.
i cannot unpacke that. it goes to a level of mental acuity that bill so not capable of. [laughter] >> at least not after your second cup of coffee. let's take more questions. we will start down here. >> i am a documentary filmmaker. it seems to me that sanctions are not going to work. if they work, they will be limited. u.s. political leadership is painting themselves into a corner. we will not permit and iranian bomb. we are headed toward what option. if sanctions do not work, there has to be something else, i.e.,
a war. the question is, do iran is understand this and are they preparing for it. >> private citizen. the status quo in the middle east is that israel has probably 200 fission bombs. they have deployed some on submarines. the u.s. has powerful thermonuclear weapons based in eastern turkey. if those weapons are taken out of the mix, we have a nuclear- free middle east and our pressure on iran would be perceived as an attempt to preserve the nuclear-free status quo. right now, our pressure is perceived by the rest of the world as an effort to preserve the nuclear weapons monopoly of
the u.s. and israel. why don't we ever hear in discussions like this any talk about the u.s. and israeli nuclear weapons in the middle east? seems like that is a factor that should be considered. >> thank you. csis. in the mpt review conference last year, the iranians agreed reluctantly to the final document, which included the holding of a conference to prepare for a middle east wmd free zones. the discussion is going on in vienna today. there is a meeting about wmd- free zones.
the u.s. decided not to participate. what can it mean for the 2012 conference on the subject? if not, i will ask the next panel. >> hi. ken brill. we have heard some interesting comments about how challenging it is to affect policy in iran. can you give us some ideas? where are the opportunities to influence the society that is not monolithic. where is the opportunity for the united states and others to make some impact their? -- impact there? >> i will talk to howard and jennifer's points, which were related in terms of the larger region and how to deal with nuclear weapons in certain states and the weapons of mass destruction including chemical and biological weapons in the
region. the revolution coming out of the mpt conference. is there anything real theire? i think we should take it seriously. how were raised an important point. we do not really talk about israel or u.s. weapons in the region? it is a great opportunity for us. one thing i am king of developing in my thinktank is getting experts together and assess the options. how can you deal with the challenging issues of the security concerns of various states and not to make excuses for why israel got the bomb?
it was not kept a secret in the region. they felt the need that when they developed that program, they were under existential dread. are they still under existential threat. those bonds will provide a capability they still need. nuclear weapon possession is still rather limited in terms of what a state can achieve. look at what israel did in terms of going into lebanon in 2006. the possession of nuclear weapons did not prevent israel from suffering a defeat in that conflict. nuclear weapons does not help resolve the palestinian issue or that ongoing crisis. the state possessed nuclear weapons like libya. gaddafi did not and he gave up the nation's program he was
developing in 2003. if libya possess nuclear weapons, it would not have stopped the nuclear -- stopped the uprising and the nuclear -- and the arab spring. there are limitations to what nuclear weapons can do. >> the first thing in united states policy makers should do is listen to the opinions coming from those people involved in the democratic opposition movements and the consensus among the majority of them. the consensus is that sanctions would be harmful to the state and society in the country. it is a black box. there have been a lot of changes inside iran and there will continue to be changes. i am part of this new generation. i am at the tail end.
i will not say my age. this generation has had an impact. it is not monolithic. if you hang out with them, they are quite educated. the country will not be the same in 15 or 20 years. let's think again about the logic of the economic squeeze. if the elite is not going to change, can we expect the iranian people to rise up as we have imagined? i was reading a book from a princeton professor about the breakdown of the soviet union. an uncivil society. it happened because in 1982, all of the opposition in the soviet union was here in the u.s.
there was no opposition inside the soviet union. there was a modicum of space that opened up. the eternal -- the internal dynamics fought it out and was able to counter the conservatives in the soviet state. that allowed for the dissolution of the soviet state. it does not mean we can push a billiard ball from here and expect the geometry of international relations to work out. >> i am familiar with that book. if you accept his pieces, you have to accept the entire range of post-hill thinking. he discounts that and i think incorrectly. let me just say to the question
that was post regarding the hypocrisy of the american stance on the american -- the iranian nuclear issue. it is an important argument. i hear it from iranians and others. iranian nuclear infractions have to be recognized as infractions. iran is a signatory to the mpt. it embraces certain obligations. if it is in violation of those obligations, as iaea suggests, there needs to be penalties. those penalties cannot be mitigated or disregarded because of the undeclared israeli capability or because the united states has certain nuclear programs. the united states would be better if it moves to the zero option and whatever reduces its
nuclear weapons. it will give a greater degree of credibility to the american case. the fact that these things are not happening at the pace one would like to see does not necessarily mean iranian in fractions are not real and significant. >> let's take some more questions. the gentleman in the center. >> good morning. i am and in turn. my question is, what have we learned from the economic sanctions we put on north korean at? why haven't we apply that knowledge to iran? you never answered the question and about the sanctions being a prelude to war with iran? >> there is a question toward
the back. >> thank you. i am from the state department. i want to go back to what ken brill asked. how do you influence the internal dynamics in iran to make them tuesday that the legitimacy to responding positively to what the iaea wants them to do as opposed to the past of legitimacy that takes them to the bomb? its seems inconceivable after 15 years of iran protested that the program is only peaceful for them to think that going to the bomb is the way to get international legitimacy. >> there's a question down here. we will take that next.
>> thank you. i have a question for kevan. you said iran is embedded in areas where sanctions increase. could you speak on that more? > let's start with ray and reverse the order. >> there is a diplomatic path to resolution of these differences between the united states and iran. the i am not sure about a all of i am not sure about all of these diplomatic pats. there are negotiated restraints on iran's nuclear program.
sanctions and sabotages slow down the program. diplomacy in jess a restraint that will cause a change in the regime's orientation -- diplomat s adiplomacy inject restraint that will cause a change in the regime's orientation. there are economic penalties and inflicted on the larger population. it has vulnerabilities isolated in the international community. it has other vulnerabilities. it is a disaffected population. it is an intelligent and educated population. there is an incongruity between the islamic public and the iranian nation.
the iranian populace is quite sophisticated, intelligent, secular in charge of -- in terms of their orientation. internationalist in terms of their habits. they grew by government in terms of none of the above. it is difficult to see how the islamic public can precariously glide over the current of person nationalism, history, and tradition. it has domestic vulnerabilities that can be exploited in terms of assistance to the various opposition groups. one of the theses that has emerged is that we cannot assist the national list because they did not ask for it.
in the 1940's, there was a complement up and dressed. during the cold war, there was something -- in the 1940's, there was a compliment of interest. i do not remember george can and asking for it. you see in the soviet era and the post-helsinki civil society groups. there is a confluence of interests between the united states and the iranian tradition. how do you connect those dots as opposed to shielding one behind the notion of they did not ask for it? >> i will answer your question. inside iran, when the proceeds brett is higher -- when the
perception of the rat is higher, there is some kind of fear -- perception of threat is higher, there is some kind of fear. that does not mean that they believe is on the table. in the population, people sometimes believed it. it is a possibility. they do not think it is likely. i appreciate ray's comment. i want to disagree with them on the fusion of nationalism and islamic republicanism. the use of pre-islamic nationalism as constructed by
the markey -- by the monarchy was used in 1990. they had conferences. the elite changes. i am not saying they believe this. the new right is rather crafty. ray has discussed this previously. they utilize symbols of islamic nationalism like it is juggling. i am not saying anybody is being duped by this. the state adapts. we should be honest about what is happening in the country. society adapts in changes. there is not always the huge gap between them. one of the reasons the green
movement failed to a certain extent was that they did not wins the battle of nationalism. there was one the vision of the nation and the other one. one side had begun. -- had the gun. there is a clash of nationals in iran. it is ongoing and it will continue to go forward. what can be u.n. do to help one and not the other? there is not an easy answer. >> regimes come and go. physics is the eternal. [laughter] we have to go back to the future to 1946 and after the dawn of the nuclear age. after the man hadn't project delivered two types -- after the
manhattan project delivered two types of atomic bombs. some of the founders of my organization were involved in that activity. they tried to advocate for international control of these technologies. if you go back to the report from 1946, it has two political names on it. the league drafter and those who wrote the report -- lead drafter and those who wrote the report realized a system of national ownership and control is open for failure. it is bound to fail. there is only so much we can do to monitor and safeguard such a program. ray is right.
sanctions can buy some time. they will not put a halt to the program. there was a question about sanctions on north korea. north korea has plutonium. they have a uranium enrichment program. it is a small program. they have been able to weather the storm of sanctions. there have been times when sanctions have got in north korea's attention. kim jong il said, my shipment of cognac might be in jeopardy. i will pay attention. there is a role for sanctions. it will not be any kind of cure- all. we need to find a way to have more international controls on these dangerous nuclear
technologies. it is a tough thing to do. it has been deja vu all over again. every five or 10 years there is a new report and study on this. we have some semblance of international control on some enrichment facilities we see here in the united states. there is the building of a plant in new mexico. that is an example of using black box technology. the united states does not get access to that technology. the enrichment is for international ownership. the same thing will be happening in eagle rock. there are examples where we can try to -- this has been mentioned before -- there is great work being done at harvard and other places looking at ways you could have multilateral
ownership and control of facilities in iran and have enrichment and greater confidence in what they are doing. they can be protected if there is a breakdown in weapons building. >> one of the arguments is that sanctions increase smuggling and black market activity. that may or may not be going to military networks. something has been going on for a long time in iran. 90% of the cell phones came from east asia, as here. 90% do not pay customs. iran used to have a textile industry and does not any longer. there is a huge smuggling problem in iran. it is 20% of the gdp. is that the result of sanctions?
it is the result of the borders of the country. it is embedded in the economy. it is embedded in these particular networks of trade. it is difficult for anyone to totally close off. in sanctions, you squeeze the balloon and its bitter somewhere else. somewhere else. >> thank you. i am from bloomberg news. can you address the debate over the time lines we are looking at at this point based on the information in the iaea report. what sort of milestones are coming up in the next two years?
how far are we from areas milestones in iran's nuclear program? can you address the question of, what do you think is the minimum that the united states and its allies may offered iran that iran may find acceptable to pare its nuclear efforts? >> thank you. it also is from george washington university. how sure are we that china will play its nuclear weapons as a card?
president obama just claimed the return of the south to the asian pacific. iran is a threatened country. theoretically speaking, it appears to me that iran is caught in a security dilemma. theoretically speaking, may be the proper way to get it out of the security dilemma is to lead it goal. maybe there is some kind of sabotage to get it out of this security dilemma. what is your comment? thank you. >> we would just take one more from greg down in front. >> i just wondered if we could get a comment on what you think about the effecacy of
assassinating iranian scientists added that will slow down the program? how will that affect the riding in government and the people in terms of increasing their willingness to make a deal to restrain their nuclear program? >> on the issue of china, i am reluctant to offer any sort of the vice. -- sort of advice. the assassinations that have taken place are shortsighted and counterproductive. it assumes that the iranian scientific cabinet has eliminated a number of people.
they have invested quite considerably in the scientific apparatus. the scientific apparatus has made significant gains. if you look at it by the metrics of how many ph.d.'s they produce in chemistry and physics. theoretical physics they are quite a best on because it does not require a huge technological apparatus. the number of authored in the internationally recognized scientific journals have gone up. this is a large scientific community. not all scientists are situated in university libraries. we do not know the full scope of industrial applications of the scientific community. charles can speak about how you
make a successful scientific community. scientists getting killed are not going to reverse the number of scientists. in that particular sense, i do not think it is particularly productive. it is of limited, if any, utility. i forget the other question. i will stop here. >> i forget the other question, too. >> that is not a pathway to disarmament or proliferation. >> productive carrots. the new minister of oil in iran is a rather burly fellow. he used to be head of the
revolutionary guard corps of and to reduce -- core of engineers. -- corp of a- engineers. he gave a speech to the engineering society about the need for investment in the country's oil and gas center. it is heavily under invested in its own sector. there are debates among the elite in iran. .his is the obvious carrot as much as the iranians say they detest the west, they really like us. they want our investment. they do not like the chinese investment. they always complain about taking second-rate chinese goods. even though they are using their cell phones all the time. you have to increase the vision
of the future for iran in being able to exploit its resources in a way that is more productive than it is now. >> i will talk about targeting and assassinating iranian scientists. i agree with ray. i will add a little more. it is counterproductive. we should be trying to learn lessons from the early days of the cold war in the 1950's. there was an exchange of views between soviet and american scientists to try to find to some ofesolution t on
these issues. there has been a lot of great work in that area. more needs to be done. i want to get that out in the open. there is a number of things we need to pay attention to in terms of how it is perceived going forward. i have seen an assessment of six months. i have heard a government officials say he is someone who is concerned. iran has stockpiled 4,900 kilos of low enriched iran and -- uranium materials. if they try to convert that, there might be three or four
bombs' worth of material. is that enough? i do not know. we have to do a mind meld to figure out what is the intention. we need to pay attention to the other enrichment activities up to the 20% level. that would be an interesting signal. if they surpass that point, there would be an indication that there is something more going on than getting enough material to fuel that reactor. we have to look at how they are proceeding and manufacturing be fuel for that reactor. if they run into technical road blocks and continue to enrich at
that level, that is a signal to their possible intentions. we also need to look at how they are proceeding with the ballistic missile program. are they making enhancements in terms of continental range ballistic capabilities. that plays into this debate going on in u.s.-nato conversations. that has larger implications in terms of where we go in the next round of nuclear arms. there is a lot at play in terms of the time lines and the technical activities. i do not >> i do not know if we have solved the nuclear program. we have mapped out the maze and complexities that make up the issue from the iranian side. the ambiguity we have left on the table is the perfect starting place for our next
panel, which will begin at 10:45. please take a break. plays to this terrific panel. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] we will move ahead to the keynote address by tom donilon. this is 45 minutes. good afternoon. i am strobe talbott. it is my pleasure not just to welcome you but to welcome tom
donilon. as you know, his responsibilities are global. he has just come back from a nine day, three-country trip to asia during which he conducted numerous bilateral conversations touching on relations between the united states and 23 other countries. his title features the words national security. that means there is particular focus coming from him and his offense on the issue of how to prevent the proliferation of dangerous nuclear technology and how to deal with the iranian threat in particular. . .
after he finishes talking. so i will, without further ado, turn the lecturn over to him and thank him for being with us this afternoon. [applause] >> it is terrific to see so many friends here. i don't get out a lot these days. so for all of you who i haven't called or seen in a while, i apologize. i hope to see you on the way out of here to say hello. i am just back from the president's trip to asia. it was a landmark trip. it is not the topic, but i will take the opportunity anyway. we were engaged in rebalancing of our global policies. we were able to execute on each and every element of it, on the diplomatic, on the economic, and
on the security side. i'd love to talk about that at some point as well. it really was a terrific trip. thank you, strobe, for your introduction, your leadership, and your years of distinguished public service. thank you for inviting me to your event today, steve. before i get into this, i would like to reflect on the role of places like brookings from the perspective of policy making. it is fairly -- it is a fairly decent sized administration. the view i want to express is appreciation. there is an essential relationship between policymakers and those who provide fresh, pragmatic, effective intellectual capitalism. it couldn't couldn't be more
important. it is very important to get on a certain policy task and not have the -- it is important to have fresh thinking. the people around the room on whose work i have relied, who have really had an impact on the thinking of the administration and have had an impact on policy. one of the former policies president obama has pursued has been in the nuclear era. the topic i will address today is pretty core to that, which is really a fundamental affirmative agenda of the obama administration to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of nuclear weapons in the world today. today iran is our topic. it couldn't be more timely. as strobe said, in recent weeks, there has been no shortage of
reminders of the seriousness of the threat posed by the iranian nuclear program. most recently, the i.d.a. report and how the choices have resulted in iran's deep global isolation. that is the topic i would like to address today. i know you have been through a number of technical topics during the course of the discussion. i would like to pull back and say some things that i know folks here don't entirely agree with an litcally -- analytically, but i want to lay out the result of the partnership with iran and the world over the last few years. i want to discuss how the policy of the united states and the international community has succeeded on increasing the pressure on iran for failing to meet its core obstacle gages. i would also like to address how profoundly the iranian regime
has been isolated at home home and abroad. i will get into this during the course of my talk. to begin with, i think it is important to reflect on the reality that we in the obama administration faced in 2009. tehran believed and many in the nation believed that iran was a strength. they did not face a challenge to its legitimacy. that would change during the course of the year of 2009 pretty substantially. regionally iran seemed to expand with iran and its proxy threatening others across the region. indeed, in the conversations we had when we came into office there was a deep sense of the threat of iran in tacking to counterparts around the world as we came into office. in coventraft, the international community was devicing how to deal with iran's nuclear program. diplomacy had stalled. and direct diplomacy had
seemingly been taken off the table. i think that's a fair assessment as well. as i go through this, i think you will find me checking myself on this, because i do want to really go through carefully and test every assertion i make for precision. because i think it is important to speak about this with precision. during that time iran went from having 100 centrifuges from enrepublican riching uranium to over 1,000. more troubling was the fact that many in the world blamed the u.s. for tension over iran's nuclear program and thereby allowing iran to escape responsibility for its intransigence. this was a dangerous dynamic we were determined to alter when we came into office.
president obama has always been clear about the threat of iran and its nuclear program. it is a region characterized by conflict and a degree of high potential for miscalculation. a nuclear armed iran could involve terrorists and would constitute a threat to all in the region including our closest ally in the middle east, israel. iran armed -- my accent gets in the way sometimes. an iran armed with nuclear weapons with long-range missiles would also pose a serious threat to areas outside the region including our nato allies in europe. a nuclear armed iran would pose
an unpress debted threat -- unprecedented threat, and this would raise fundamental questions about the ability of the international community to stop the spread of the world's most deadly weapons and likely lead to a spiral of proliferation. for all these reasons, president obama's respect toward our policies, and i quote, "there should be no doubt the united states and the international community are determined to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons." end quolet. shortly after taking office we presented iran with an unprecedented opportunity for dialogue. this is very important. the united states directly and our p-5 plus one partners presented iran with a clear choice. fulfill your international obligations which will allow you to deepen your connection with the world, allow iran to return
to its rightful place in the community of nation and pursue a worthy future of iran's of proud nations past or tran can continue down the path and face greater threats and isolation. the purpose of the offer had two dimensions to it. first, it was a sincere offer of dialogue. it was a bon identified offer directly -- it was a bonefide offer to a solution to this problem. it has tangible benefits to iran, obviously. it would attempt to seal a deal in a diplomatic fashion. this has been accurately described by a lot of writers. a writer in the "washington quarterly" recently described it. secondly, we knew if the offer was rejected, iran's failure to meet its obligations would be exposed to the world. the burden would shift. the international community would see it was iran not the united states that was responsible for the impasse.
that in turn would increase the ability of the united states and the international community to mobilize support for holding tehran accountable for its behavior. and over the past three years, that's exactly what has happened. we have gained tremendous moral leverage in terms of our ability to hold iran accountable in terms of -- as a result of its refusal to engage in a bone fide and clear request to have dialogue. the iranian government rejected dialogue. it also rejected political and scientific dialogue. it has forced its nuclear program and ignored its commitment defying the security council resolutions. more over, iran has continued
its seek recessy -- secresy, including its secret uranium facility. if you recall that september of 2009 when the united states, france and britain basically blew the whistle on a covert facility which did not allow iran to have that as an option, frankly. indeed, iran sts only member that has not been able to convince the u.n. security council and the national security generally that its nuclear weapons are for -- nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. they are the only nation that has been completely unable to convince the security council that their program is peaceful. and its deceit, frankly, has continued to raise questions and doubts about this.
this culminated in the i.e. report we talked about earlier. but the united states has done exactly what we said we would do. with the support of the international community, we have increased pressure on iran. our approach has been multidimensional and has included five things that nue mutually reinforce lines of action. one, we have lead the way in organizing an unprecedented array of sanctions that pose a significant price for iran's behavior. two, we have led a concerted effort to isolate ran as never before. third, we have worked with partners to counter iran's efforts to destablize the effort, especially during the arab spring. fourth, we have steadly and substantially deepened our defense department in the region, building a robust
regional security architecture that blunt's iran's ability to coerce and threaten its neighbors. we have increased defense in the area. we have improved maritime security. posed a counterterrorism cooperation. expanded civilian partnership capacity and increased efforts to harden and protect our partner's critical infrastructure. these efforts have reassured our partners in the region. i have been involved in this, and it has been critically important, i think. the steps demonstrate that any attempt to dominate the region will be future i'll. it shows the united states is prepared, even contentiously. our missile defense program is
more effectively geared toward getting our allies over the next decade. it has a lot of advantages. but that's a topic of another seminar or session here. all nato companies have signed on. it can be done in a timely way. the fifth and final element, even as we keep the door open on diplomacy, president obama said we are not taking options off the table. taken together, its multidimensional approach has put us in a position where we can play any option with a full
range of options. now, with respect to the first element, increasing pressure through angsts, we have imposed the strongsest sangses on -- we have imposed the strongest sanctions on iran to date. we have used the authority provided in this act. internationally we have succeeded in building a broad and deep international coalition to hold iran accountable. president obama during the course of the apec conference had lengthy conversations with
president hu jintao and this paved the way for security council which imposed largest sanctions on iran to date. this would be described as a multilayer effort with the unsecurity council as a base. the european union has imposed sanctions against iran's financial base. south korea and japan have taken action to limit commercial activity at financial lengths with iran. other nations, including japan, following the adoption of 1029, rushed the missile defense system to iran. the effect of these sanctions have been clear.
they have slowed iran's nuclear efforts. indeed, in may 20 , the panel of experts concluded sanctions are slowing iran's nuclear program. we are now in 2011 and we are formed that rn has installed ,000 centrifuges. as many studies demonstrated, it would be more effective for iran to purchase fuel on the international market then develop their own fuel production capability.
remarkably, iran continues to make huge developments, even as it cuts back on support and investment in its economy and its people. this ised larger context. we are not surprised by the report because it confirmed everything we had known since the first day the president took office. this report is consistent with the facts and signal siss that shape our report in january 2009. we knew iran had an active program in 003. and activities relevant to a nuclear -- explosive nuclear device may be ongoing. despite decades of iranian denial and deceit, it should be clear for all the world to see, the guys of a purely civilian nuclear program, the government of iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability.
put simply, the iranian regime has not altered its behavior. the international community has the time, space, and means to effect the iran's leaders. they must know they cannot avoid or evade the choices. going forward we will continue to put every pressure we can on the regime. we need to be vigilant and we will be. we will work aggressively to attack any nuclear efforts by iran. we will force exposure and place them on international inspecks thus denying iran the option of using the facility to secretly produce enriched uranium. with the i.e.a. inspectors still on the ground, any iranian effort to sty divert safeguarded nuclear material would likely be detected quickly before rab iran
could use that material to produce significant nuclear capability. for the first time, we're targeting iran's chemical secretaryor prohibiting the production of goods and services against any entity that engages in activity. we're expanding energy sanctions, maging it more difficult for iran to maintain and modernize its oil and gas sector. in for the first time -- for the first time, we designated the entire iranian banking sector as a jurisdiction for money laundering firms detailing deceptive practices, including the central bank of iran, making clear the grave danger for people that continue to do business with iran'sback banks.
and we are -- as we do all this, we are not taking any options off the table. no one should doubt any of that. this leads me to the larger point i wanted to make today. it is something i wanted to discuss publicly for sometime, and that is the extraordinary ice laying iran finds itself in today. even as tehran refuses to stop destablizing behavior, iran is fundamentally weaker, more isolated, more vulnerable, and badly discredited than ever before. compared to when president obama took office, iran has greatly diminished at home and around the world as a result of the choices made by its leadership. i'll discuss first the domestic situation in iran. it is harder for banks to support terrorism and engage in
terrorism. just recently president automatic automatic -- mahmoud ahmadinejad said our banks cannot make international transacks anymore. it has become exceedingly difficult for iran to deal with business. it is nearly impossible for them to deal with a legitimate banking system in the world. we have made it harder for iran to purchase refined petroleum and goods to further develop iran's oil and gas sector. according to the iranian oil sector, the country is facing a shortage of $100 million, a shortage that will affect future revenues. the international business community is shunning iran. other communities, shell, toyota, kia, swiss, and a long list have ended a drastically reduced business with iran, as a
result of the decisions made by the iranian leadership. the impact of decisions is surrounded by rampant corruption . at a time when the iranian people are being squeezed by asia rinking economy, -- by a shrinking economy, there are violent movements in iraq, lebanon, yemen. this only adds to the frustration of the iranian people. as a result, iran's economy is increasingly vulnerable. inflation we estimate is around 20%. unemployment is high. contrary to what's been written on this, despite high oil prices, iran will have negligentible economic growth this year. these are the conditions the iranian leaders have put on their people by flouting its international responsibility.
they have seen their legitimacy suffer. this has come into focus since the elections in 2009. in response to the green movement revealed the hallowness of the government. it claimed to draw legitimacy from its populace and islamic principles. this doesn't offer anything to its young population which employs intimidation and violence to remain in power. the same recipe for uncre rest that fueled spring. they increasingly had great stress. it is dram lick -- dramatic difference. the supreme leader talk about consolidating power. the riegeeem has focused intensely on preserving its reign at all cost.
just as the regime is increasing isolation at home, iran is increasingly isolated in the region. the regional balance of power is against iran. i know there are those in this room that disagree with that assessment. let me go on to lay it out. iran has failed its effort to shape iran in its own image. in fact, iraqis are moving in a different direction. ken, i went through your writing, and i have some responses to t. just to give you a heads up. but i am reading your testimony. [laughter] iran and iraq have different visions of their future. iraqis are moving in a different
direction than any state that iran may be establishing there. they are building a dreampt sovereign state. one recent poll found 14% of iraq iraqis have a favorable opinion of iran. there is really a national dynamic at work here. even the supporters that had been supportive of iran have unfavor rabble opinions of iran by a margin of 3-1 according to this poll. even as we finish removing our forces from iran, and we will do so by the end of december 201 -- 2011, we remain steadfastly committed to a long-term strategic program with iran to ensure that iran remains a strong player in the world. prime minister malaki is coming to the united states and we will
underscore the relationship the united states is building with iraq with close partners from the diplomatic education to development of oil sector. but really, critically also, robust security cooperation. iran has failed in its efforts to intimidate the gulf states. indeed, i think iranian conduct has actually caused the countries to unify as never before. in their resisting iran. reassured by regional defense, the architecture i described earlier, the gulf preparation council are more organized than ever and more willing to challenge iran, and we have seen that. next, iran has failed in its cynical attempts to take advantage of the arab spring. the arab sfrink string spring has been un-- to put it mildly,
the arab spring has been unkind to arab. tehran claims can only come through violent riseftans, and meanwhile, the iranian regime's hypocrisy has been supported and continued to crush dissent at home. jufert like al-qaeda, and again this has presented a fundamental nare -- the arab spring has presented a fundamental narrative to al-qaeda. iran's denial of hume human rights has been repudiated by a generation that has taken to the middle east across north africa. young people in tunesia are now protesting fob to be more like iran. not surprisingly that data and polling of public opinion shows iran's opinions in the region have plummeted.
iran's favorability and the arab nation is favored at 80% previously it is now down to an average below 20%. this is underscored by the reaction of the 2009 elections, meddling in the region, fomenting sec tearian conflict, and its pursuit of nuclear weapons. these countries are looking toward universal rights and democracy. as they do, president obama has placed the united states firmly on the right side of history, making it clear the policies of the united states is to promote reform across the region and support transition to democracy. today, in the space of a region united, iran is down to just two principle remaining allies. the assad group in syria and hezbollah. like iran, they, too, are
fundamentally at odds with the forces now sweeping the region. the assad group, tehran's most important ally, is now universally condemned. the arab league appalled by the region's brutality has shown remarkable leadership in taking the extraordinary step of suspending syria's mike:. -- syria's mike:. today, the prime minister called for president assad to step down. the handwriting is on the wall. change is inevitibleable. as the president said, mr. assad is ensuring he and his regime will be left in the past and the
people in the streets will determine their future. a strategic blow would further shift the balance of power in the region. tehran which has lost its closest ally in the region having actively funded and assisted in very material way the regime's brutality and the killing of its own people will be discredited in the eyes of syrian people and its own government. iran's isolation in the arab world will deepen and tehran's inability to create change through violence will be fastly diminished. that's our analytical judgment. finally, iran is increasingly isolated from the international community. more nations than ever are opposing and enforcing additional sanctions as iran looks around the world to find fewer business partners. its leaders have taken a great nation and an ancient sinch civilization and turned it into a pariah state.
this is a tragedy. three recent events in particular illustrate how isolated tehran has become. first, in the wake of the i.a. report, which strobe mentioned at the outset, they overwhelmingly voted to take steps to address the concerns raised in the report. 32 nations voted to demand that iran fulfill its obligations. only two countries signed with iran at the board of governors meeting, cuba and ecuador. second iran has been further isolated by the plot to assassinate the saudi ambassador here in washington. i have to confess i was initially instruct by the reaction in some quarters, those who looked at the plot and said, is this really how iran operates? this doesn't sound like iran. this is not the way they operate. well, as those of you in this room know so well, and those of you that have followed history for the last 30 years, this is exactly how iran operates.
this is nothing new. it is iran's support of terrorism from the bombings of the barracks in beirut and the jewish mutual association in argentina and many others. it would take a whole other speech to lay this out, but the people in this room don't need that history lesson. our reports confirm that the overseers of the plot were the terrorist arm of iran headed by major general kasem filamani who is an armed terrorist from iraq to strike the iraqi government and american personnel. we are familiar with this group and deal with it every day. the international community is taking action to hold iran accountable. the treasury department has posed sanctions with filamani. our canadian and european allies
have joined us. they condemned the plot. the u.n. general semireply voted friday overwhelmingly to deplore iran's behavior against the saudi ambassador in washington, d.c. just eight countries voting with iran. most significantly not a single muslim or arab nation voted with iran. not one. for a muslim wretchic that once imagined itself the leader of the arab world, this repudiation could not be much clearer. member states voted overwhelmingly to condemn iran's human rights record. their rights record is subject to human monitoring, shattering the accusations that they have been singled out. this is a tramic shift.
thee years ago the arab world was united and today iran is racked with division. three years ago the international community was divided on how to proceed and today we have forged an unpress -- unprecedented amount of unity. i think that's a fair assessment. three years ago it was unclear if international pressure could be brought to bear. today the regime is subject to the broadest sanctions it has faced contributing to iran's fundamental and economic weakness. i think that is fair as well. iran's leaders and iran's leaders alone are responsible for the predicament iran finds itself in. iran's leaders and iran's leaders alone haved ability to choose a different leader. the onus is on iran. tehran can choose a different
direction. it has to seize the different opportunities before it, compli with u.n. security council resolutions, which require iran to suspend all enrichment reprocessing activities. if iran doesn't change its course, the pressure will grow. working with allies we will continue to increase sanctions with our gulf cooperation partners. we will continue to build a regional defense architecture that presents iran from threatening its neighbors. again, even as the door to diplomacy remains open, we will take no options off the table. pressure is a means, not an end. our policy is firm. we are determined to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. meanwhile, as president obama has said, we stand with the iranian people as they seek universal rights. iran's deserve a government to put ahead their ambitions ahead of their nuclear ambitions. where the iranian people can
benefit from becoming integrated in the global economy. the iranian people deserve a future worthy of their past. it is a great civilization. that will happen faster when iran stops its nuclear prifferings -- prifferings. pp thank you. [applause] ds >> tom, thank you very, very much for that. before bringing the session to a close, i'm going to put a two-part question to you that i suspect is some of the curiosity in the room. you have made. a world of hurt -- what do you
think the chances are of the policy succeeding? the latest point is, what will it take to get the necessary degree of support from the chinese and the russians? you have had some exposure to both of those recently. >> with respect to the chances for success, given the severity of the challenge and the threat, we in the international community owe it to ourselves to pursue every option here, and to pursue, as i laid out, the multi dimensional steps we are taking. what we required is persistence and unity. we have put a high premium on unity. indeed, we believe that is something the iranians need to look out in. we think it has an effect when they see they are thoroughly isolated, more isolated than ever. i think it needs to be multieye dimensional.
i think we can't take any options off the table. over time, the goal of course would be to raise the price and force the choice. that's what we're going to do. now with respect to the russians and the chinese, we have actually have very good coordination and cooperation with the russians and chinese. they have supported us on each of our international sanction efforts. they have enforced those efforts , thankfully. they have been good partners, frankly, as we built out this unified effort to force the choice on the iranian regime. >> tom, thank you very much. by the way, we noticed the brookings folks in the room noticed that you put out two suggestions on issues that you might come back and talk to us about at some point, one is dip -- diplomatic engagement in the world. can i ask everybody to keep your seats while i he is court tom out of the building so he can
get back to the white house. thank you, tom. [applause] >> tonight on c-span, a look back on bill clinton's 1992 run for the white house. is he joined by former presidential strategists. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern. after that, we'll show the cnn presidential debate from earlier this week. eight of the republican candidates gathered in washington, d.c. to talk about national security and the economy. that starts at about 9:20 p.m. eastern here on c-span.
here. let me introduce them, as well as our commentateor for today, dr. jon alterman. currently a vice president for studies in charge of carnegie's middle east work here and in beirut. it is known it all of you, i'm sure, previously, vice president at the world bank and prime minister active in heading the reform agenda in jordan and also previously very much involved in the arab peace initiative and the arab-israeli peace process. to his left, a senior associate at the carnegie youth program, has written widely on political reforms, political change in the arab world. after ca and the balkans and elsewhere.
author of many books and studies. our commentator for today is jon alterman. it is not short for anything. he's the senior fellow at the middle east political sector. he's served at the u.s. department of state and a member of the chief of naval operations executive panel and writes widely on middle eastern affairs. the topic of today i'm sure is on the minds of many of you from when events in the arab world just began. most events seem to be in the arab republic. but it is interesting that the arab republic that got most into trouble were the repics that
were, in a sense, trying to turn into monarchies. trying to give power to their sons and so on. i'll start right away and give the floor. they will each have about 15 minutes. then we will have some comments from jon, and then go to the audience for q and a. >> thank you, paul. the idea that arab monarchies can introduce reform more easily than the public is a very popular idea, particularly here in the west. i think jft identify pliably so. the notion is that arab
monarchies can introduce reform and manage it from above. i would like to characterize maybe in a simplistic way arab governments in two categories, other than monarchies and repics , and those whose time is up. on those who have time, think arab moven a.ies for the -- arab monarchies for the most part fall within countries that do have more time. however, time in most views is a double-edged sword. this can be used by regimes to so that it can be exploited in a serious and sustained reform process that is managed from above and in such a manner goes
through a smooth and ordererly transition and not introducing great shock to the system. or it can be used by the regime that they don't have to do anything. this in my view is the more concerning issue, is that arab governments, whether they have internalized the notion that what is happening in the arab world is profound and they need to use that time wisely if they do not want to seek to get their -- ahead of them in an uncontrolled way. i think that the paper that will come out shortly will show us
that the pro-- potential for reform in the arab world is very high. with the exception of bahrain which seems to be in real trouble and reform is becoming more and more difficult by the day, if the political will exists among arab monarchies, they are capable to do so. so far a sustained comprehensive reform process leads in the end to power sharing and a serious redistribution of power among the three branches of government so far is yet to be complete. and when you look at marocco on
one side and bahrain on the other, there are meaningful reforms that have been introduced or at least promised, but none of them so far amount to sustained process that will in the end result in a serious redistribution of power in those countries. with that i would like to turn my attention to jordan and morocco and some of the other gulf states. in jordan these reforms so far, and in particular as response to the uprising of this year has also been not comprehensive. they have been committed to
national dialogue, and this has been something for reform. and a constitutional amendment that ended -- amending 42. the monarchy in jordan is not under attack. it is seen as a security blanket for all jordanians of all ethnic origins. but having said that, there are serious demands in the country for changes within the regime, rather than demand for regime
change. these changes within the regime are demands which so far have reached the king himself and the powers of the king. i need to point out here, that applies to a moral code as well. in other words no one talks about an end that will result in the king being substituted for a monarch in britain because the king in jordan, you can argue, the king's powers are included in the constitution. so no one is talking about a king that does not have power. i think all the groups in jordan want the king to have power, but they want some changes to the way the system governs.
there is now an increasing confidence against an order of intelligence in the country. a role that has become way too inclusive. they would like to see a new government in place and not the former government. people like to divide the electorate into palestinians and juror daneans and point out that -- jordaians and point out that most of the problems going on are from the east jordanians and not the palestinians. i think that is too simplistic a division. just as you can talk about eastern jordanians and the palestinians you can also talk about the have's and have-not's. they have that as well.
from political demands calling for an end to corruption or a call to rescind all the intelligence services, elective government through parliament and other such through division of power, but there are calls for the more equityable distribution of salaries to increased subsidies, et cetera. one characteristic of jordan is that there is an ongoing debate of who is the ruler of the country. 50 years after independence, the country has not defined fully the jordanians. there is no rationale debate going on. it is time this debate talks about ixtreemly rationale. is major danian identity -- is
jordanian identity more reputation in parliament. they see they are not represented. and as such, any talk about reform in the country which must start in my view with a new electorate faces this big problem of an honest discussion and definition of who is a jordanian. this does not suggest that people are seated in the same way just because they hold jordanian nagsnalt.
an amendment now calls for the independent electorate commission. something tunisians have proven to be helpful. the government now has limits as to issuing temporary laws, as to dissolution of parliament. having said that, there have been limiting of reforms regarding the king's powers. the king's powers in the country have not been subject, to the
most part, to the new amendments. the budget deficit in the country has reached an unsustainable level. more than 11% before grants. and even with substantial grants from saudi arabia and from the west. very high unemployment. the official figure might be higher mple there is high debt which has asurpassed the legal limit of 50% g.d.p. so the country has serious economy problems. and with the uprisings and the tendency to sort of succomb to populous demands of increased salaries and things that this country cannot sustain, the country is going to face, you
know, a serious economic problem dealing with these uprisings. they are promised by the countries to include jordan in the gulf corporation council and there, of course, the promise is going to be more jobs for jordanians. of course, lower unemployment, and more grants. the question today in jordan is this mike: -- is this membership would not have been contended. today the country is questioning
this membership and asking at what price? what is it for? why did it come now? in general, as i said, i think the country still needs a long-term strategy for reform that the constitutional amendments are an important step, but they cannot be the end of the road. as such a long-term strategy needs to be developed and has not been developed by the government. clearly i think jordanians want the king to lead the reform process. there are no depands for the king to step aside. they do want the king to be supportive, but they also want serious measures in order to do that. they remain mixed about whether the amendments so far have gone
far enough in introducing l these reforms. the old habit in jordan of increasing frequent changes to the government are no movement people are starting to criticize the government directly rather than criticize just the government. of course, the king has indicated that in two or three years, he would like to see a government elected from parliament. that has yet to be seen. so far the electoral law, even with the amendments made to it, is not going to result in a political parliament, and it will not do so before sometime in the country. if that is the case, then the king, even if he wants to, is going to find it very difficult to choose a prime minister and a cabinet from parliament if it is