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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  May 14, 2012 8:00pm-1:00am EDT

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>> saturdays this month, c-span radio with more from the nixon tapes, secretly recorded phone conversations from 1971-1973. this saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern, conversations between president nixon and chuck colson, who passed away last month, as they talk about the democratic presidential nominee, george mcgovern. [unintelligible] >> we are streaming at c-span radio.org. >> next, a forum between representatives of the u.s., britain, france, russia, china,
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and germany. this group last met in april to discuss their nuclear program. this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> we would like to welcome you this morning to the bipartisan politics center. i appreciate all of the fighting through traffic to be here today. i welcome you to an informative and timely discussion about our n.forts as a natio an one of the core ideas encouraged senators to create this center five years ago is the idea we need to have forums in this country where we can have bridge discussions about the consequential and
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controversial issues facing the nation. nowhere has our work and more valuable or challenging than the ongoing effort led by chuck robb to promote a strategy to address the iranian nuclear ambitions. the u.s. and our allies are meeting in baghdad on may 23, and is some hope in some capitals and apprehension in others about what might be accomplished. encouragingly, congress has been advancing legislation that has broad support to increase pressure in a focused way on iran, and we are encouraged to see many suggestions we have made in our reports are appearing in those pieces of legislation. i will offer the forum to dr. mike mikulski to set the stage.
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thank you very much for your help. mike? >> thanks very much an adjacent area as jason indicated, we at the bipartisan policy center at considered preventing a nuclear iran to be the most pressing u.s. national security challenge. as the president said, preventing a nuclear iran is in the interest of the united states. we have issued reports, and the most recent one was issued on and.ary 1 and it includes a distinguished panel of four democratic members of congress, admirals' and
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generals and also experts to area our last report supported the view that the best approached to this challenge is a simultaneous pursuit of a triple track policy, which is of diplomacy, tough sanctions, and a credible and invisible military threat. we also issued a white paper on each of those tracks. i want to highlight one recommendation on each of those tracks, and then i will change it over to mort zuckerman. and the military threat we believe the united states should boost the credibility of its military to air around us
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nuclear facilities, and we have spelled out how to do so. one element has been selling bunker busters' to israel. we do not advocate an israeli strike, but this will send a strong signal to tehran to negotiate in good faith, encourage other states that the alternative to supporting u.s. sanctions could be military conflict and a cutoff of oil from the persian gulf. we are glad legislation is progressing that shares these proposals. on diplomacy we laid out white paper the principles which we believe are important in negotiating with iran. extend an open hand. we should approach peace talks as a series of defeats to resolve this challenge, and also to test their ronnie and
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interest in -- iranian interest in negotiating this crisis. to negotiate from a position of strength, and that relates to boosting the credibility of the military threat. 3, set and force deadlines. we threw out the idea on july 1 when european sanctions are supposed to go into the effect as the deadline, after which if talks are going well, then we could hold off adding more sanctions, or if they are not going well, we should start ratcheting up the pressure through sanctions. number four, the fourth and final principle, is up holding u.n. security council resolutions. there have been five that have addressed iranian enrichment,
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inspections of facilities, and weapon as a nation. i should say that they spell out and call for a suspension of enrichment. we believe these principles maximize the chance of reaching a solid deal while protecting our interests and those of our close allies who are not at the table in baghdad, and may make effect immediately by the talks. those are our views on what the principles should be. we believe on iran we should have a healthy public debate. i would say is an excellent panel that we have put together. i will introduce them. moderating will be mort zuckerman, ceo of boston
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properties treat he is also the chief of "u.s. news and world report." he also is an active member of the iran task force. sitting to his left is ambassador dennis roth. he is counselor right now at the washington institute for near east policy. he served as special assistant to president obama. also comply dennis wasn't wall -- also, dennis was involved in our first iran task force several years ago. on his left, a principal at the protest that group. he served as assistance secretary of state from two
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dozen to until 2006. -- 2002 until two dozen six. he has been an active member of our task force for four and a half years. to his left is ambassador nate burns. he is currently a professor at the harvard kennedy school. he is a foreign service officer for 27 years, culminating in his position as undersecretary of state for political affairs, 2005 to 2008. to his left is elliott abrams. elliott served as deputy assistant to the president to the administration of president george buddlea bush, where he supervised policy in the middle east for the white house. thank you very much, and now i would turn that over to mort.
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>> i will ask the first couple questions of dennis, all based on the fantasy that they are now the national security to the president, and i will ask a couple questions. how do you assess the iranian threat and how you assess the quality of intelligence in evaluating the iranian threat? >> one has to look at the totality of the iranian threat, not only in terms of what it represents a from the nuclear standpoint, but also what it has embodied in the region. this is a country that has actively sought to extend its reach. it has used different kinds of processes, whether hezbollah in iraq. is a country that seeks a
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gemini in the region. -- a gemi hegemony in the regio. if you are assessing american interests and looking at the region, you have to look at what they're run's behavior is over time. i can say this, back in 1990's when i was a negotiator, we were contending with iranian- inspired effort to subvert these processes. there is a history here of being hostile toward american interests. we have seen different iranian leadership's, at least in the form of the president, who have
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adopted postures, which talked about a dialogue for civilization and there was the possibility of trying to find ways to build bridges between the two sides. he was not able to deliver very much, if anything at all. we have to look at their run to the lens of hostility and threat. we have to look at iran in terms of their behavior from tons to dime being subjected -- adjusted tactically, when it faces an array of pressures. is a potential to affect their behavior, and we have had an interest in doing so. the logic of building an approach where the iranians feel pressure and the need to reduce the pressure and you create a kind of ability to give them a way out is the proper approach. >> eliot?
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>> i agree. the conclusion one has to drop his descriptions of iranian behavior cannot be permitted to have a nuclear weapon, which is the formal position of the united states and the iaea. it may turn to the second half of your question, which is how confident can we be that we know what the situation is in iran? i would say not very confident. we did not have a great record over the years in predicting that russian, chinese, indian, pakistani nuclear weapons. when the disclosures came about, they did not have it on the day it began. it came years later, so that
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activity has been under way for quite a time before we and our allies figured it out. i do not see why we should be able to feel confident that we have nearly perfect knowledge of the iranian nuclear weapons program. >> we now are just a short period away from the may 23 talks, and i would like to address this both to make and steve. how would you define a successful outcome from those talks? what the you think we need to prove it is the only way we can to imagine a successful outcome is if there is incredible threat of a military response to iran? >> thank you , and i wanted to follow up, that i coordinated
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iran policy at the state department. i went around the world talking to governments about what they thought the iranians were doing. i very much agree with dennis and elliott. there is no question in my mind that iran is seeking a capability to be a nuclear weapons power. russians, chinese, all the europeans come up all the arab states, and our country does as well. we do not have an insight into their leadership because we did not have an embassy there. there is no argument about what iran is trying to do. these talks will be quite critical. it was interesting to me to see what the iranians said after the first round of talks in istanbul positively about a beginning. we have not seen them talking about discussions in a positive way since 2006 when this process
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started. elliott and steve and i were involved to try to get the iranians to the table, and they refused. the fact that they are at the table and willing to go back to a second meeting is positive. both president obama and president bush have been correct in assessing that our abilities to negotiate successfully will be a function of our ability to make the military credible. why are they at the table? first, prime minister netanyahu has made the threat credible, and they're very consistent public statements, and that has been very helpful. some of those countries might not acknowledge that. i think americans should. the more we can narrow in the gap between israel and the united states we should do that. that is one reason. the second is that the e.u. has taken a big decision to go beyond financial sanctions,
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toward an oil embargo, which will be phased in starting next month, and the united states with the help of congress and the administration is going forward toward central bank sanctions. these are the toughest sanctions that have ever been put on iran. this is all positive. that is why they are at the table. what would be a success? to keep the talks going, and here i want to draw point that some people may disagree with. there is a high integration between the president obama and the president bush and what they have been trying to do. if i look back, i do not see differences in what both presidents have been trying to do. president obama deserves some time. we have not had a serious conversation in 32 years.
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if there is going to be diplomatic solution, and i would say there is a high probability of that, we cannot give it one meeting or two meetings. the president will need many months of trying to find some arrangement to help of others where the iranians will stop short of a nuclear weapons capacity cannot limit themselves -- capacity, a minute then sells to civil nuclear- powered. there is no way this is going to be worked out by may 23. i would not be in favor by saying by june or july that diplomacy as failed if there is no agreement. he will know he has got to stay at the table long enough to test the proposition of whether diplomacy will work. he cannot stay too long especially if there is the freezing of iranian centrifuge
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production. that will be the difficulty up diplomacy. the goal is to have a series of meetings and at some point i would hope we will see the u.s. and iran break off to have bilateral discussions, much in the way president bush did with north korea. i would hope for sustained diplomacy for 2012. >> analysts have commented this moment appears more ripe for a deal than any time in recent years. make touched on reasons for that. obama is under significant economic pressures. the united states is pursuing legislation pass last year to target transactions with the central bank of iran. the israeli military threat has been deployed in a credible manner, and discuss has focused
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the attention of the iranians. it has also had effects on the other paris -- party's ticket i do not think the chinese would want to admit it, but they have serious energy concerns. they do not want to see a military conflict in the persian gulf. one of my concerns -- the obama administration has serious economic concerns with the pending presidential election. for the administration the threat of a military attack by israel right now is deeply troubling. one of my worries is -- i am happy for the iranians to come to the table, motivated to reach a deal. i do not want the united states to be to motivated to reach a deal because that could lead to compromises that would not serve our interests. what would be an acceptable
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outcome? we need to keep our focus on erin's uranium enrichment program which has always been the crown-rule of their nuclear weapons program. any deal that permits them to continue enrichment i think is a bad deal for the united states. what they have done over the last three years is just as president obama ratcheted up pressure by trying to apply tougher sanctions, starting in about 2010, the iranians started to ratchet up pressure on the international committee by stepping up their enrichment program to a higher level, getting themselves closer to a nuclear weapons capability. it is a race between what you see between the united states and iran between-the economic sanctions and heightened and britain -- and richard sanctions on the ever. -- and heightened enrichment
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sanctions on the other. you hear voices saying that 20% program has to be our focus. let's stop paying attention to the 3.5% enrichment program. that kind of advice is dangerous. >> are differences between the united states and israel. one is united states implies the achievement of a nuclear weapon, and israel is talking about nuclear capability. how important you think those kinds of differences play a role in the effectiveness of what ever we might be dealing with iran? >> i am skeptical that there is such a difference between deptte two. the prime minister was here, he used nuclear-weapons. the critical issue is what is the threshold that is not acceptable? the idea that the iranians would
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develop a a weapons capability is what should be a source of concern to us. if the iranians -- we will not assemble a weapon of we will worth of0 bombs' enriched uranium and we will keep doing this and get to the point where we will find a breakthrough on the next generation of centrifuges, they could positioned themselves where they could confront the world and nobody could do anything about it. the only measure cannot be nuclear weapons, because they can threaten the world with a reality that you could not and do. that is something that is appreciated by the administration. the key area where it there is a difference between the administration and the israelis is a function of the different realities that we deal with. we have much more capability to be able to militarily take out
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or at least to delay and set back the iranian nuclear capacities. the iranians -- the res is -- the israelis have capability as well. because they have less capability, the juncture where they reached the point where dealing with the program is so deep, is in a sense so profound that it can be reconstituted very quickly even if israel struck it's the israelis much more than us. that is an objective facts. the challenge from israel's standpoint is not allow a policy to cope so long that they lose their military option. i would say the gap between the two sides may be less than meets the eye. when the prime minister left, he said the time for action is not measured in days or weeks, or in years. between days and weeks and years you have a space for diplomacy,
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and that is what nick was getting at. the gap between united states and israel is not as great as might meet the eye. i do not think this notion of weapons versus capability is such a gap between the two sides, and the time for diplomacy exists. we may feel we have more time for that, but we also have an interest in having the iranians understand this cannot be a phony process. this cannot be a rope-a-dope. we will know the difference. if there is not, we have an interest in having enough time -- demonstrating to everyone,
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the public and the world, this was a good faith approach to negotiations, even to the point where we might publicize what we put on the table and demonstrates allows the iranians they can have what they claim, which is a civil nuclear capacity, and they turned down that opportunity. we need to be able to demonstrate that diplomacy was tried and did not work, because the iranians did not want it to work. >> would you comment on that, and take into account there is a new coalition that is just formed and how does that affect the credibility of what israel is about? >> you have to governments worth mentioning. you have a new president of friends creek and the last couple of years, the country that has had the most concise and alice and toughest questions on iran is french ance.
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it is possible that the french policy will weaken under the new president, and that is something that will have an impact on the e.u. approach. it is not clear what the impact of the joining of the netanyahu government is. at times in the past he has sounded tough on iran sounded conciliatory trips in the most recent interview, his explanation was when you are in the opposition, you oppose. i criticized netanyahu because that was my job. now it is not going to be my job. it may be the gap between the two factions does not exist, which would mean a tougher israeli stance because you now
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have a broader coalition supporting it. i do worry a great deal about the solidity of the position. because of hollande replacing sarkozy. i agree with nick about number 3. the talks were not authorized by the president when christopher hill started then. they went nowhere. when three presidents of both parties -- and list talks with north korea. endless talks with north korea. i do not know if the model of north korea is reassuring that the person who let those talks in the clinton administration is leading the american delegation
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in these erin tock script we have never seen a real explanation of what i think went wrong from wendy sherman. as i look at the north korean example and under clinton, bush, obama, it is a catalogue about talks can be used to continue the program, year after year after year. >> please go ahead. >> thank you. first, president bush and secretary rice authorized ambassador christopher hill on several occasions when the sherman met with him when she was with the clinton administration. if there is a reasonable prospect that the united states or israel might go to war with iran and if the united states
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has not had a serious conversation in three decades, it is in our interests to seek out bilateral talks with the iranians. we have got to get a very clear sense if there is a bottom-line where they can make a deal with us and the other countries that would stop them well short of a nuclear weapons capability. you this is more about the u.s. in iran ban that asian countries greater than asian countries. if anyone knows sherman, they would know she is very smart, and i think she is the perfect person to leave these negotiations. i think the p5 is a problem.
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there is doubt that hollande can be as tough as nicholas sarcozy. china may be appealing to the letter of the law, but they are subverting sanctions. the key country maybe russia. russia did not want to see iran go nuclear. good russia has influence, and i would hope president obama would work with president putin to see if he can be a partner in trying to convince them they need to turn to an agreement or else, so i think these and be very important. >> is there any significance attached to the fact of who did
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change his mind about visiting the united states? >> it is hard to figure out his motivations, but i worked with him on sanctions against iran. they are very tough and very frustrating, and i think the russians have a more sophisticated view than the chinese on this issue, so if we can convince the russians to be constructive, that would help. >> if i could comment on how patient and we can be, 15 months ago was the last time the sides met, and iran came to the meeting and said, and endure sanctions on us and we will be prepared to talk about -- end sanctions and we will be
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prepared to talk about it. 15 months later we want to have negotiations. what has changed? they are under additional pressure, and that has changed calculations. they want relief. maybe the way they want to get relief is by negotiating a deal, but they may want to use the process of negotiating to break the momentum and and the developments that have led them to reassess their approach -- and end the developments that have led them to reassess their approach. >> i think there is no doubt the iranian strategy is to try to split 5 +1. i have no doubt they want to put
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something on the table that is designed to be attractive to +1. russia is key, and while it is hard to know exactly what they want, they clearly want to establish independence from us, but right now the russians are seen as protecting the syrians. this is not doing their interest much good. they put themselves in a position where they threaten long-term interest us for some time to come. this is something we should be playing upon. is it something we can count on? no, how do we reconcile conflicting realities?
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we have to give it enough time to be credible, and in the end, it turns out if diplomacy has to it has to be seen as the iranians brought this upon themselves. the use of force can set the iranian program back. we need to put them in a position where it is hard to reconstitutes because they are contained afterwards. the cost is very high, because that gives some chance of succeeding over time, so you do have to reconcile competing realities if you want to achieve the basic objective we are after. good >> what mistakes should be
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avoided if we are trying to get an agreement with iran, and what can we do, because you have a shorter fuse in the is really a public policy than the american policy. >> we should not discount the north korean example. it should be a lesson to us. if they look at north korea was being an example for themselves, and we need to be mindful this could be what they are looking at. there is a certain value to being able to convey the idea
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there is a time limit here. i have a suspicion in makes it harder to us with other members, but in private, i think we should do it, including with iranians. they need to understand it is for real, so a combination of learning the lesson from the north korean experience and also learning from and where we are. 15 months ago they were not going to talk about their nuclear program unless they recognize their right to enrich. we did not recognize if they're right to enrich. -- and we did not recognize the right to enrich.
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>> i think we need to keep our eye on the enrichment program. we need to get a handle on the program, and we need to insist on security council resolutions, the other 3.5%. >> how do we enforce that? >> you are asking what should we do. that should be the baseline. how do we and for stocks -- how do we enforce? if you think about it, whatever the negotiations, iran is going to keep enriching as fast as they possibly care of, and they are going to be moving full speed ahead because they know that increases pressure on us.
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if this negotiation process is going to become attenuated at all, we need to keep resting up. history says that is unlikely. it would be disastrous for negotiations for us to do anything provocative, so let stand down on an additional sanction measures. we cannot allow that to happen. if iran is going to continue enriching, we have to ratchet up sanctions. >> i think the problem is we have not believe in sanctions and not -- enough to give it a
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try. we have had one or two meetings, and that is it, so here is the problem for us. we have to have more patience and longer-term strategic reviews and commit ourselves to diplomacy. diplomats are not soft. i would agree we have to retain sanctions. at some point we have to call it quits. at some point we have to set a time limit and say this is as much time as we have got, but i would be reluctant to give the vice -- advice on what that
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should be, so i would say pressure but you have to believe in diplomacy and of to give us a chance -- enough to give us a chance. >> we cannot appear to the iranians desperate or even overly eager for a deal. we have to convince them in an effort to figure out what they can get, and if they believe we really want a deal, we will do anything to get a deal, if we are chasing them to get a deal in their perception, that is going to be close to getting a diplomatic outcome we like, so this is where we did to the disagreement on a one-on-one meeting.
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if they believe we are so desperate to get a one-on-one meeting, they will misperceives the strength of the american position, and our str is strong and there's this week. good >> since it is not likely to come from the united states, does it make sense for the united states to buy and what a bipartisan solution has recommended, namely the higher level of capacity but might extend the term during which there is negotiation but also the israelisility will respond. >> i would be in favor of eighth
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it. many of us know did it is hard to believe he would have the on sanctions if they did not believe the israelis have reason to wait and see if diplomacy can work. the more it is clear the option israel, the more it gives a chance to proceed. it concerns the other members -- convinces the other members they have to succeed, so i suspect when you think about the meaning of diplomacy, this is the logic of it. if we want the policy who
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succeed they have to think force is a likely alternative if this does not work out. >> i was part of the task force but made the recommendation. i was very pleased to see them endorsing the legislation. >> i certainly believe without diplomacy and the threat of force we cannot be successful it is more important to me that the united states is a credible military threat. if diplomacy should fail it should be the united states that takes the lead and not israel. good for reasons explained earlier, the united states has greater military capacity, and the united states can exercise
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and the threat of force more skillfully than anyone of us, so i do not know if that is the right moves. of we are sending lots of singles. and we need to intimidate a the russians and chinese. talk china will try to do that. i think an early military strike would be otherwise. if the diplomacy fails, i would rather see the united states lead. >> i agree. making the transfers helps more, but there is no particular reason this responsibility should fall on israel, and the military outcome would be better
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if the united states undertook this. >> there is a general sense the united states is not about to engage in a military effort to contain iran, so the question statesw does the united attacked the power to a sense of will and decisiveness within the appropriate framework, because there has to be some degree of confidence on the israeli part. otherwise, they will lose their ability to do that because of the zone of immunity. >> if it is done, it sends a message but by doing this, not only are we fundamentally committed to israeli security,
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but we are saying when it comes to the use of force, we are prepared to support it in the right circumstances. we have done a lot to build up our capabilities endure region -- in the region. we have a significant air presence in the region. we have done an enormous amount for the warning capability, maritime security and -- all of these things are visible to the iranians, so the israelis know there is a commitment. they know we are serious when it comes to the nature of the threat and how to approach it. there are certain exercises would send a message to the
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iranians this is not just stoct. how you integrate has always been the essence of diplomacy, and when we look at a lot of israelis set the table, i would say in addition to the pressures they filled from sanctions, they are acutely aware of the shifting balance of power in the region. they are acutely aware of isolation, and i think more of their capabilities and to threaten their neighbors has been blunted. i think that is part of conveying an image we are quite serious about objectives. >> i think it is all well and good to say israel should not attack and the united states should, but i believe the
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iranians believe there is zero chance of the between now and an election, so that message is the military pressure is off for the near term because the americans will not let the israelis do it, and the americans will not do it either. good >> it is likely 2013. attempted serious diplomacy is going to take us into autumn. president obama to containment off the table -- took containment off the table. a little bit surprising d. he re-entered policy. he close the gap, which was very important, and to say he does not believe in containment means that if diplomacy fails,
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then our state is to deny military weapons capacity, that does leave us with use of force. that is useful. i think it was the right steps for the president to take, because you do not want to see egypt and turkey and saudi arabia this side they are going to become nuclear powers if they stand by and -- the side -- decide they are going to become nuclear powers if they stand by and see a round. this has to be an american strategy, and american strategy has to dictate the united states should be willing to use force if diplomacy fails. we have to reinforce it. about was the genesis of my remarks. >> i think there's a way of reinforcing the american position by rhetoric from the
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president. it was a step forward to say my policy was not containment, but we are in the realm of, my policy is this. there is the vagueness that should be eliminated. i would like the president to say something similar to what the vice president said, which is they are not going to get a nuclear weapon. we will use force if we need to. one or two short steps. the president was not willing to take steps that when the vice- president said it. the vice president got ahead of and the president, did not feel the pressure, change his position, and get a new one. it is a mistake, because it
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leaves the iranians wondering. it ought to be clear it is not just containment. but i will prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. we will use military force if necessary. good >> i just disagree. we did not hear this kind of clear statement from president obama until march of this year. i heard it and read it in debt apex fiche -- in the apec speech. he has got israel caused by. -- israel's back. he said he is willing to use force should diplomacy failed. >> i think he should be as clear as a vice president was. >> i suspect the vice
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president's statement was a statement of policy and the administration's policy. >> i wonder if there is someone in the audience who might want to ask a question. >> it is a question for the whole panel. when you said the iranians might put something that is attractive, to speculate, what might that be whe? what would they have to put on the table for you to say, they are really interested this time? >> i would say two things. i could envision them offering something on 20% but others would look at and say, here is a
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concrete step they are taking. this demonstrates this is for real. not onlyrace that, and should we embrace thought. we should reward them, because if we do not get a reward, we are not going to see more of its. i could easily envision a thought process, and steve made an interesting point earlier that if you ratchet something up and you are doing something you should not do in the first place, getting rewarded for doing something you should not have done in the first place is not something you do to change the situation. >> it works with my daughter. >> that does not surprise me. >> when people ask how did you learn to negotiate, i say i have three kids. i think there is an important
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measure for us, and it gets back to the zone of immunity. for the israelis, if you want to put them in a position where diplomacy is not a device that is going to be used, where they lose their capacity to exercise a military option, you have to stop the clock, so something convince me wetally are in a new situation is stopping the clock. stopping the clock really does mean a significant thinship out and with the kinds of transparency measures that put you in a position where you begin to have a level of confidence where you really are building fire walls, and they are now prepared to excepaccept.
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if what they want is a nuclear power, you have several administrations and willing to offer that. if that is what they want, there is a way to get that, and that is key to having diplomacy work. >> iran resumed construction on nuclear power in 1995, and for the next 10 years it was a policy of the united states the civil nuclear program in around was not susceptible -- in iran was not acceptable, and then our attention shifted to the enrichment facility, and in 2005 we reached the judgment of the plant was almost done and that it was too late, so we backed down. it is exclusively on the
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enrichment activity, and since 2002, that has been our focus. we demanded a suspend enrichment triggered the iranians have one objective -- we demanded they suspend in richmond. the iranians have one objective, and they believe time is on their side. 10 years has now gone by on and richmond, and they are expecting us to back down on enrichment your goot. i think a trade would be a huge victory for the iranians. i think that is what they are shooting for, and i am troubled when i hear that is as good of the deal as it is getting. we will see how negotiations
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play out, but the zone of immunity is clearly a motivator. a deal on the 20% that addresses concerns about his own of communities but allows 3.5% enrichment to continue unimpeded, i am sure it will not be presented as a final deal. it will be an interim stretch, but for all the reasons, i do not know what would change, and at every step, if we let it breakdown, they are going to go back into the zone of immunity, so we have to keep this process alive, and i think that transfers to the interim deal
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becoming a permanent deal, and that leads through international acceptance of their nuclear program. >> i would look at three factors. that would move the timeline to the right. it would not resolve the problem we're trying to resolve. will iran agreed to suspend enrichment during the course of negotiations? that was the position publicly expressed in june of 2006 when we made our first negotiating offer. i thought that offer was logical. we would suspend sanctions the course of negotiations. iran would suspend enrichment. that would be a strong indication iran was series. i doubt they would agree to that. steve is right to be concerned.
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where is the potential deal between zero and 3.5? will iran be willing to agree to interest of 24/7 inspections? they have not been. inspectors have not been in that plant. iran has been playing fast and loose on this. i think the administration will press on all three counts. how much they will get is uncertain. >> i think inspection point is important. it looks as if the iranians will give up on keeping the iaea out. there are indications they are cleaning the place up. additional inspections are key signs iran is actually stopping. >> one reason you pursue and accept an interim step is
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because the iranians will not get the kind of sanctions release they want and need. it seems when you are looking at this, you have to look at it from both sides. an interim step could make sense. it does not mean we give up our leverage. >> in theory that is true. we have to see what a deal would look like. i suspect the iranians will want substantial relief before agreeing to transport materials. >> i agree. the essence of joe's question was what would illustrate a degree of seriousness. >> i have a theory you do not go to a doctor whose plants have died. we have tried a lot of things that have not worked. we're in a worse position than before. let's go to another question.
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>> to follow in the same vein, he asked a good question about what we need to sea on may 23 that is enough to validate this process and keep it going. nick burns came closest to a specific answer and said something that sounded a little bit like, suspension of iranians enrichment potentially and the freeze for freeze idea. the rest of you listed the menu of desires. what would be a sufficient iranians showing on may 23 to keep the process going? >> i think i am where nick is. i do not have an expectation you have a breakthrough on may 23.
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i do not think we should set ourselves up for that being the standard. what i would view as being another indication this is a process that could lead somewhere would be the following. on the substance of the issues, the issue of transparency in a meaningful way is on the table. it is not as partial access. it is additional protocol. it is the iranians prepared to say we're prepared to pursue. there is a definition of what it means in practice. additional protocol sounds great in theory. you have to talk about what it
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would mean in practice. some of the other specific elements of confidence builders, 20% ship out and 3.5%. this is not a serious process if it meets once a month. there should be a sense of urgency. there should be an ongoing set of discussions in the aftermath. it is not that we meet once a month and a preparatory stuff in between. i think there should be an ongoing set of discussions based on an agenda that comes out of this and tied specifically to issues put on the table. whether it is the additional protocol or ship out, these are things that would tell me this is a serious process and give me a higher level of confidence we will be able to determine whether or not it will be able to produce an outcome. >> i think it would be unfair to judge the administration on concrete specific progress on may 23. i do not think it is going to happen. what would normally happen in a
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negotiation like this is you draw a picture in the first meeting and the second meeting. you say here is where we want the negotiations to end. are you willing to commit to a process to get there? an early indication might be if the iranians quit the talks because they're not willing to go that route. i would not want to be party to a process to see the president has got to produce x, y, or z in a second meeting. we cannot stay there forever. we have to be conscious of not letting the iranians run out the clock on us. i would think we would want to go at this on a permanent basis from a daily and weekly throughout the summer. i would not want to see meetings scheduled once a month.
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>> the real question is whether the iranians are serious about negotiating a deal or making a play for time. the first negotiation was in istanbul. they wanted five weeks until the next meeting. they said it had to be in baghdad of all places. the next may be in damascus or kandahar. why five weeks? a more condensed negotiating schedule would be suggested of their willingness to work out a deal. iranians have a history of receiving a negotiating proposal from our side and saying they need to study it and will get back to us. three months go by and we get a one-page reaction.
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i would be on the lookout for that. if it does get serious, we will present a piece of paper. can they respond quickly and seriously? does it become a pretext for months of delay? >> the may 23 talks were initially scheduled to be earlier in may. there were delayed partly because of lady ashton's schedule. that cannot happen. if you go five weeks from may 23, you are getting into june, july, august. we will not take the position there can be negotiations in august because everyone in europe is on vacation. this should be tested the iranians. there should be in meetings at the least every other week. >> next question. >> i am not a journalist.
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i am a private lawyer. >> like it or not, we are in the middle of this during the middle of what will prove to be nasty and very close presidential election in this country. the timing could not be better/worse. what do you think the impact of this presidential campaign will be? assuming a change in administration with the election in november, what impact do you see on the longer- term negotiation and threat of military if necessary? >> let me make one comment. when you get a new administration, it does not matter who is coming to power. it can even be the vice- president of the previous administration.
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you may get your secretary of state and defense confirmed on day two or three. but you will not have your assistant secretaries of state or defense. a lot of people on the white house staff will be arriving later. you do not have a full government for months. if we have a new president, that will delay the decision making. it usually does. the other is the political question. i think it is clear the president would rather not deal with this between now and election day. i cannot see under any circumstances where he would deal with it, even with a breakdown in the talks. >> i was a career foreign service officer for a long time, now retired. i do not see any reason why
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there should be a partisan difference. i do not want to presume there will be a transfer of power in the autumn. let's talk about this year, this president. i appreciate governor romney's stance on iran. i have read it on his website. i have listened to senior republican voices. i do not see a lot of difference between president obama and governor romney. the worst thing that could happen from my perspective as a career diplomat is that this issue gets hijacked by politics. it is too important. everybody knows there will be partisan differences. not on this one. this is a question a potential war and peace for the united states. i would hope the republican leadership would give the president of time and space he needs, and that they would need if they were in the same position, to get this right. there is careful calibration of the threat of force that will go beyond may 23. >> there are two dueling critiques of mitt romney's iran policy. one is that it has been hijacked by republicans and the other is that there is no difference between him and obama. both cannot be correct.
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[laughter] bear that in mind the next time you read an article like the one in yesterday's "new york times." i do not know for sure the effect of the election. i think it diminishes the likelihood president obama will be tempted to adopt a bad deal because there will be justifiable negative fallout. if is a good deal, he will benefit politically from that as he deserves to. >> these kinds of issues are never made it easy in the hothouse of highly contested politics. maybe one way i can square the circle between the two of view
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is that when it comes to the nature of the objective, the objective is the same. there is no difference between the parties on the question of, do we prevent iran from having this capability? this is about preventing. the objective is the same. negotiating in this context is not simple. the reality is since the objective is clear and because we would have to be a will to live with sanctions as well, the agreement will have to pass muster on the hill. it will have to meet a certain standard. the negotiators know that. those are the realities you deal with. the other point is 100% right. there is no way to think if you have a change in the administration that you do not put yourself in a position where a lot of time goes by.
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i would say as an objective fact, the israelis would obviously be noting that as well. >> we have come to an end. all of us are fortunate to have had an opportunity to share the wisdom and experience of the panel. i will leave you with one thought. you cannot build your credibility but always saying what you are going to do. at some point, you have to do something. thank you all. [applause] >> i want to thank you. i will pick up quickly on the last couple of comments the panelists made about this being an election. one of the roles of the bipartisan policy center is not just during elections but every day of the year. we try to bring people from both sides of the aisle together to forge a bipartisan consensus. we believe we have done that in our own report. i think this panel had more convergent views than one might have expected before. i think you have heard an
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excellent discussion on this. i thank each and every one of them for joining us. i want to pick up on something dennis ross said when he said we have to stop the clock. that was a nice little plug on our last report on iran. it is outside. the bpc folder includes the white papers and other writings. i want to thank marissa, larissa, our communications group for putting this together. thank you all for attending on this rainy day. hope to see you at future events. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> in a few moments, senator john mccain on u.s. policy in asia. yet an hour, president obama's commencement speech.
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after that, we will hear the forum on iran's nuclear program. ahead several live events to tell you about tomorrow on c- span 3. the senate health subcommittee will look at ways to reduce the cost of hiv/aids drugs. at 1:00 p.m. eastern, you will see a hearing on chinese human rights when the house foreign affairs subcommittee here's an update on the status of chinese dissident. >> reading has become, over the last 200 years, the ultimate democratic act of the ultimate democratic country. it makes it possible for many to teach themselves what the few once held close. the president. the president can quote huck finn.
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it requires a lot more self and cleverness. with careful reading of books and newspapers and the material on the internet -- it wasn't for nothing that the nazis made bonfires of books. >> anna quinlan won the pulitzer prize, and you can talk to the best selling author on sunday, june 3. what some of her other comments over the years that the c-span video library. all archived and searchable at c-span.org/videolibrary. >> john mccain is urging the obama administration to pursue free trade agreement in asia. in his speech on u.s. engagement at asia for the center for strategic and international
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studies, the ranking member of the armed services committee said that with the right decision and diplomatically, economically, and militarily, the u.s. can secure national interests across the pacific. this is about an hour. >> good morning, everybody. welcome to css, and a special welcome to senator john mccain.
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i said, sir, when you get 200 people to come on time, you have to reward them. we are still waiting for others to come and the weather is a bit of an impediment, but we don't want to delay any further to hear from senator mccain. it is a real source of pleasure, an honor for me to be able to welcome senator john mccain back to css. he has been such a long-term and steady support to what we do. more important today than ever, when i look at the landscape of political washington, who is bringing a strategic frame of reference to evaluate the most complicated problems? this americans understanding asia. nobody has worked harder at this
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then john mccain. he has had transcending moral authority to be able to do that. where is that next generation coming from? i am very grateful for his response when he says he will help mentor the next generation by giving them exposure to asia. and god knows that we needed. they are not really exposing themselves to this very dynamic landscape. the towering figure in the united states senate, it is hard for me not to get emotional. he continues to do that every day and i am very grateful to share his perspective on this issue. thanks to our friends that have made it possible for us to hold this hearing. it was another trans-pacific
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partnership series. google, hewlett-packard, ibm, procter and gamble, i want to say thank you to them because they are willing to bring the public debate to the american people and make it available. we are lucky to have someone like senator john mccain leading this debate in this dialogue in washington. it does not get better than that. without further delay, please welcome senator john mccain. [applause] >> thank you, john. thank you, john for that kind introduction. i was reflecting as you were speaking and i think our relationship and friendship goes back over 20 years. maybe closer to 30, but anyway. we are getting to the point where we hide our own easter eggs. i am very happy to let me thank ernie and everyone here at csis
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to let me speak this morning. csis , in my view, is one of the finest institutions in the city. and from the wise counsel of my old friend john henry, let me say how much i appreciate all of you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to be here. i am grateful that you still care what a member of congress has to say. most americans no longer do. last time i checked, the approval rating is now 11%, and i have yet to meet anyone in that category. we are down to blood relatives and paid staffers. [laughter] i am not so sure anymore about the blood relatives. i joke about this a lot and it is always good for a laugh, but the truth is that it is sad.
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it is sad how little faith americans have in their government and it is not just americans. last week, with a business delegation, one of them said, when we look at america these days, you seem totally dysfunctional. your political system seems incapable of making the basic decisions to fix your fiscal problems and project result of the world. and by the way, some in asia are citing these failings to undermine the confidence that your friends still have in you. i could not disagree with him. this is an enormous problem. it raises doubts about our commitment to the asia-pacific reason -- region. the idea that we must rebalance u.s. foreign policy with an increasing emphasis on the asia-pacific region, that is undoubtedly correct.
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the challenge we face is how to make this balancing effort meaningful. amid all of our political and fiscal problems, we run the risk of over-promising and under- delivering on the renewed commitment across the pacific. it is difficult to overstate the gravity of the choices before us. we face decisions that will determine the vector of american power in the asia-pacific region diplomatically, economically, and militarily for decades to come. we have to get our bearings right. if we fail, we will drift off course and fall behind. if we get decisions right, we can your conditions to expand the supply of american power, strength and american leadership and secure america's national leadership across the pacific. while the context in asia in jihad -- is changing, will seek
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the same objectives we have always had. the ability to prevent, deter, and prevail in a conflict. the extension of free trade, free markets, free navigation, and free commons space, and above all, the balance of power that fosters the peaceful expansion of human rights, democracy, rule of law, and other values that we share with increasing numbers of asian citizens. none of these are directed against any other country, including china. the peaceful development of china is in our interest. we reject the notion that america wants to contain china or that we seek a new cold war where countries are forced to choose between the united states and china.
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in short, the question we must answer is, can we, in america, make decisions right now that will position us for long-term success in asia? one of these decisions pertains to trade. it is often said that the business of asia is business, but when it comes to trade, the united states has been sitting on the sidelines. asia is sprinting forward without us. after four years, this administration still has not concluded or ratified a single free trade agreement of its own making. it took them until last year just to pass the fta's with korea, columbia, and panama that the bush administration had concluded. since 2003, china has secured nine in asia and latin america alone. it is negotiating five more and it has for others under
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consideration. it is not just china. anti-japanese prime minister announced that he wants japan to began -- had the japanese prime minister announced that he wants japan to begin negotiations with south korea and china. and yet we will not even conclude a narrow were bilateral investment treaty with india, let alone a full fta as we should. as of last year, one report found that asian countries that were negotiating nearly 300 trade agreements, and none of which included the united states of america. a lot of the trans-pacific partnership is frightened of it, but the deal might be years off if it happens at all. instead, we should be moving forward with a bilateral trade agenda starting with india and
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taiwan. we should also move more aggressively on a multi-lateral tract. we either need to bring all of the sian -- asian countries into the partnership or push for a free-trade agreement. the bottom line is that the long-term strategic and economic success requires an ambitious trade strategy in asia. csis for leadership on this issue. we share the same goals. in maintaining our strategic commitment in the asia-pacific region through a robust position of deployed military forces. like many of you, some of us on which had services -- to
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become totally on affordable. the cost alone had doubled in seven years to more than $20 billion. this crisis presents an opportunity. some asian countries are showing an interest in a greater rotational presence of u.s. forces in the region. the agreement to rotate 2500 u.s. marines through australia could serve as a model for similar activities elsewhere such as the philippines. ultimately, these developments offer an opportunity to think creatively and comprehensively about a new regional force posture which should conclude a fresh approach to realignment on okinawa and goguam.
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the national defense authorization act for an independent assessment of these forced-posture questions. i am pleased that the csis is conducting this important study. it remains unclear how the joint statement of the u.s.-japan consultation committee will fit into this requirement for a broader assessment of our regional force posture. at this time, the statement raises more questions than it answers. among them, questions about cost estimates, logistical requirements, force sustainment, master plans, and how the proposal relates to a broader concept of regional operations. we begin these important decisions right. -- need to get theese important decisions right. congress will not make funding decisions until we get an
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independent assessment on asia- pacific force posture that is required by law. a similar and far larger decision we must also get right is defense spending. the asia-pacific region is primarily a maritime theater. our ability to project military power depends mostly on the u.s. navy. the navy is still short of its own goal of 313 ships. the administration now proposes to retire seven cruisers earlier than planned to phase out ships needed by the marine corps and one virgina class attack submarine, two literal combat ships, and navy vessels. we are retiring ships faster than we are replacing them.
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without a plan to compensate for them only put our goals in the asia-pacific region at greater risk. all of this is before the potential impact of sequestration. the cuts to defense budget required under sequestration require nothing less than a unilateral act of disarmament that would insure the real decline of u.s. military power. a number of us in congress have offered proposals to avoid sequestration, but we do not have a monopoly on good ideas. we want to sit down and work on a bipartisan deal, but the president refuses to engage. he has no proposal to prevent what his own secretary of defense called "catastrophic cuts to the national defense." unless the president gets engaged on this issue, he will preside over the most hollowing out in our military.
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we must sustain our means of engaging diplomatically in asia. thanks to our secretary of state who is making u.s. diplomacy more present and impact full than ever in the region, we face major test that will signal what role america will play in asia and how relevant we will be to asia's challenges. one test is the south china sea. the united states has no claims in this dispute and we should not take positions on the claims of others. nonetheless, this dispute cuts the heart of american interests in asia. not just because $1.20 trillion of u.s. trade passes through the south china sea every year, and not just because the philippines is a u.s. ally, but because of this crucial for a rise in asia to avoid the dark side of
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politics. where strong states do as they please and smaller states suffer. ultimately, this dispute is not about china and the united states, it is about china's relations with its neighbors. we must support our partners as they request it so they can realize their own goals and peacefully resolve their differences multilaterally. another major test for u.s. diplomacy is burma. i have travelled to burma twice over the last year and they have a long way to go, especially stopping the violence and pursuing genuine reconciliation with the country's ethnic minorities. but his allies in the government, i believe, are sincere about reform. they are making real progress. the past year, i have said that
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concrete actions toward democratic and economic reform should be met with the reciprocal actions by the united states that can strengthen these reforms, benefit ordinary burmese, and improve our relationship. following the election that brought the national league for democracy into the parliament, i think now is the time to suspend u.s. sanctions, except for the arms embargo and targeted measures we maintain against individuals in burma that undermine democracy violate human rights, and combinations resources. plunder theand nation's resources. it will depend on continued progress and reform in burma. we also must established a principle of responsibility for
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u.s. activities in burma. they have made the distinction between the right and wrong kinds of investment. the right kind of investment would strengthen burma's private sector, that if its citizens, and ultimately loosen the military control over the economy and the civilian government. the wrong investment will do the opposite. entrenching a new oligarchy and setting burma back for decades. for this reason, i am not convinced that american companies should be permitted to do business at this time with state-owned firms in burma that are still dominated by the military. u.s. business will never win a race to the bottom of some of their asian or european competitors and they should not try. they should ally themselves with the burmese people who want to the kinds of responsible
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investment, high labor and environmental standards, and support for human rights and national sovereignty that the fine america -- defines america at its best. a standard we can use to pressure others to follow our lead. that can become the basis for new burmese laws. these are undoubtedly huge challenges and will require us to set aside political bickering to advance some of the vital national security interests. i am confident that we can come together and do this. i am confident that the profits of american decline can be proved wrong. even as you work to sustain the supply of american power, the demand for american power in asia has never been greater.
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i will give you one example. in my last visit to burma, i met with the president. after the meeting, i walked over to shake their hands. fort leavenworth, 1982. another one said fort benning, 1987. i realize many of these guys were former military officers that were part of the military exchange programs prior to us discovering relations with the burmese military. even after all this time, all of our troubled history, they remember america fondly and they want to get closer to america once again. take another example. why are dissidents in china running to the american embassy when they fear for their safety? they are not going to the russian embassy or the south african embassy, or even
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european embassies. why is that? is it because we are powerful? shirley, but other nations have great power. is it because we are a democracy that stands for the rights of all people? certainly. but these values are not ours alone. why is it? in short, because we marry our great power and our democratic values together. because among the community of nations, america still remains unique, exceptional, democratic great power to the events its own home interests and to further a set of transcendent values. this is why so many countries are drawn to us. because we put our power into the service of our principles. that is why, during my repeated
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travels through asia, i mean person after person, leader after leader, who want america to be their partner of choice. they don't want less of america, they want more. more of our trade, more diplomatic support, and more of our military assistance and cooperation. at a time when most americans are losing faith in our government, we should remember there are millions of people in the world, especially in the asia-pacific region that still believe in america and still believe in a world shaped by american power. american values, and american leadership. there are some many people counting on us, and by no means, counting us out. the best we can do is be worthy of the high hopes that if they endeavor for us. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you, senator mccain, for the great speech. i would like to open the floor. this session is on the record. when you have a question, introduce yourself, and let us know what organization you are with. senator, i might need your help on hands there. >> i like your hat. >> thank you, sir. thank you very much. [inaudible]
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[inaudible] wouldn't this be a good time for any administration to lift the environmental export of lethal weapons to vietnam? our security relationship is evolving to the point this makes sense. >> one of the few things i have done in my life and i am very proud of is the establishment of a normalization of relations between the united states and vietnam.
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i think it went along way to healing a lot of the wounds that needed closing. i have to be candid with you. i'm concerned, i remain concerned about the vietnamese treatment of buddhists, christians, minorities, and the corruption that exists at very high levels. the scandal of the shipyard was the most visible example of this. -- of it. i have grown more and more reliant on human rights organizations. they are important in our considerations and i have found over the years that in many instances, they are right. human rights organizations tell me that the persecution of buddhists, christians, minorities, and others continues.
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and there is no reason for it. i've visited vietnam fairly often and i say to their leaders, what is the point? what is the point here? i don't know if it is old habits or if it is a fear that there might be some of rising -- uprising for some reason. obviously, the state department has certain standards that are set that could be met, and we can have much closer relations with them. let me finally say that the vietnamese are nervous about china. they have a long history, they are very familiar with it. it shows the fact that about a year ago, asia and named after my father and grandfather paid a port visit to the port of de
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nang. if you live long enough, anything can happen in this world. i love the vietnamese people and i love vietnam. i look at the way that our country has been enriched by those that fled to come here. it is not anything that has to do with personal -- when i hear the persecution that still goes on, it seems to me that the vietnamese have more maturation to accomplish before we provide them with offensive weapons. >> [inaudible] >> could you wait for the microphone, please? >> from south asia, general. on the fighting american interests in asia, i noticed that you did not mention iran,
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pakistan, or afghanistan, which i believe have very important roles. >> if i bring up iran or pakistan, that as a whole other speech. there is now a new set of negotiations going on with iranians over nuclear weapons, and i am not as optimistic as some because i have seen this movie before. i am not opposed to any time sitting out as long as it is not a process of the leg -- delay. afghanistan, i was very pleased with the strategic partnership agreement that was included. it is like any other agreement, we want to see the details. there are two major problems
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that we have had in afghanistan. one is corruption and the other is the presence of sanctuary in pakistan. i am sure you are aware, there is the widespread feeling that the united states was leaving. the famous and make t aboutaliban -- anecdote about the taliban prisoner that says you have the watches, we have the time. the reggie, correctly implemented, it would change the mindset that the united states doesn't intend to abandon like iraq. in the words of general keene, we won the war and are losing the peace. there was the failure of our ability to train even their police forces.
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believe me, things are going to get a lot worse in iraq before this unfortunate saga is over with the tragic loss of 1474 young americans. next time i am invited to csis, invite you, and we'll talk about it. thank you. >> the gentleman here in the blue tie. >> thank you, senator mccain. i'm a former senator from pakistan. pakistan is a key ally to the united states. next week is the chicago summit. what do you see the role of pakistan being? >> pakistan is vital to the united states national security interests of for a broad variety of reasons, including nuclear
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inventory that pakistan has. including the fact that pakistan's role in the region is vital, not to mention relations with india. we have to operate within our relations with pakistan, the realization the i.s.i has relations with the network and carrying out activities that kill americans. that is an assessment that cannot be refuted by the fact. -- the facts. one of the gravest mistakes in history was the amendments that cut off the military to military relations. we are still paying a heavy price for it. there are some that argue that pakistan is a failed state.
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i don't argue that. i do argue, plausibly, that the politics in pakistan are very unsettled, to say the least. it is in our interest to have good relations with pakistan. it is in our interest to aid pakistan and assist them to a better democracy and a lessening of corruption and a severing of relations between the isi and the icani network. if there is a lesson we should learn over again, we can't force people to change their ways. unless they want to. it is so disheartening sometimes to see the lack of progress towards a meaningful democracy and rule of law, all of the
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things that we hope the pakistanis might achieve. whether we are successful or not, pakistan will remain a country that is vital to united states national security interests. i don't have to draw for you the various scenarios and the break out of their government. i hope that we will continue to work with pakistan in every possible way we can. we must take a totally realistic approach with our relations to pakistan. >> meredith? >> meredith broadbent, csis. are you comfortable with the trans-pacific partnerships? and what about the other allies that want to join? >> i am not satisfied with the pace of negotiations. i pointed out how it is saddening that china is
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concluding all of these free trade agreements and the united states of america, in the last more than three years, we have concluded a three that have been negotiated by a previous administration. that is a shameful record. every country in the world, practically, is recognizing the benefits of free trade agreements. we saw the special interests of the car companies and the trade unions which imposed restrictions. when we abandon the fast track methodology, it makes it even worse. when i travel at your expense, i hear them. [laughter] they want a free trade agreement. they say, why don't you do it?
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this partnership is magnificent. it could be one of the greatest breakthrough that we have had in recent history if we could just move forward with it. i am not here to beat up on the administration, that would be easy enough for me to do. but it requires presidential leadership and it requires setting priorities. president clinton said the free- trade agreement between the united states and canada as a priority. congress reacted. the president ought to give a speech, come here and say, we are going to conclude this partnership agreement. i just came from chicago where we had some of our neighbors there, and it is the best thing america could do. and keep jobs at home.
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if i sound frustrated did is because i am. the rest of the world is understanding the value of their own countries while we discuss a very nice concept. >> for the record, the president is invited to csis if he wants to come. >> it won't help if i recommend it. [laughter] nice to see you agian. -- again. >> in a couple weeks, the talks between the united states and iran -- i wanted to ask your thoughts about reciprocity. the administration has talked about the principle of reciprocity and whether you think the goal of the sanctions that congress and the ministry
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and is enforcing should be a deal to end their nuclear program or change? >> first of all, i'm not optimistic about the possible results of these "talks." the first talks were greeted with enthusiasm because they agreed to talk again. i have seen that movie before and we have seen it not only as far as iran is concerned, but north korea. so, again, i'm for talks. obviously, issn't, foolish. for us not to take a realistic approach to these conversations, i think, is also, flies in the face of history. i don't think there is any doubt
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that the sanctions are hurting iran, seriously hurting their economy. i don't think there is any doubt about that. you can look at a number of indicators about the iranian economy to show that the sanctions have hurt significantly. i have heard an erosion on the part of the popular support of this iranian government for development of nuclear weapons, and i have yet to see any real meaningful concessions made by the iranians. i have yet to see any change in towardsh they're on development of nuclear weapons. what really should happen, instead of sending your national security adviser and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to israel and tell the israelis not to attack iran and leak it to the press, which
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weakens the israelis, with this edition of the new government of israel, we should sit down and establish redlines. those can be four or five provisions, state of enrichment, others for further development. we can write them down on the back of an envelope that say to the israelis, these are the red lines. we are telling the iranians that these are the red lines. as the president has said, it is unacceptable for the iranians to develop nuclear weapons and we can be in close alliance with the israelis. as you know, there is a new government. i think that gives you more latitude on talks with palestinians. i also think it gives him a broader range of support if the israeli government, and i
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emphasize if the government works militarily. an attack by israel on an iranian nuclear facility, my friends behind closed doors, there would be celebration in arab countries all over the world. have no doubt about that. when they do not want -- the arab world does not want iran to have nuclear weapons. it triggers proliferation throughout the region and rivalry is what is taking place in places like bahrain and others. all ic a can say is that it wasa little disappointing to hear that our first meeting was so great and wonderful, there was frank conversations, they agreed
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to meeting again. now i hear that they are already planning another place to me after that. -- meet after that. we've seen the movie before. >> joe? right here. >> joe bosco with the defense department and the program here. thank you for another great speech. you just mentioned north korea. two weeks ago, secretary panetta said china has been providing technical assistance to north korea's missile program, missiles that are targeted to the united states. what is your view of the administration's position to lift export controls to china? >> you know, one of the -- it is
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conventional wisdom, but it is very wrong. the conventional wisdom is a china that looks hundreds of years in the future, they have thousands of years of history. china knows, they are thinking three moves ahead of us on the chessboard. if that's true, why do they continue to prop up a north korean regime? why would you want to prop up a regime that has 150,000 or 200,000 people starving to death? why support a regime that continues its only cache in the world as nuclear weapons? -- is nuclear weapons? the new chinese leader is here in town. why do you continue to prop up this regime?
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it is a blot on the reputation of your government. and his answer was -- and i'm not making this up. senator mccain is well known in china for his candor. that was his answer. that is not a serious answer. i am a serious person. that is not a serious answer. but it was this kind of charm toward that he was on in the united states. i worry about irrational behavior on the part of north koreans. i worry about a young man -- i guess, general custer was a general at age 23. we've got a guy in north korea general ata four-star age 27. great. the point is, there is instability there, and it is a very unstable situation.
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we need to worry about it. while china and russia continue to veto sanctions on syria, why the chinese continue to prop up this regime and they are the only ones that can really influence this regime, as you know, is something that i do not understand. and with all of these recent events and the murder of the british citizen, i wonder about the real permanency of a regime that is now running china and whether with things like a blackberry and a tweet and all of those things, whether there may not be some real dissent in china as a result of some of the things that we are finding out.
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i do not see how a group of men wear 1.2 billion people in china do not even know their names can continue to run the country from a seaside resort without something having to change either sooner or later. i do not predict any cataclysmic events in china. please, do not get me wrong. sayess what i'm trying to in summary is,, when i was president -- present as a naval officer, there was a group of us seeking to normalise relations with china. and on shopping -- everyone was having to drink that kerosene. [laughter] and i'm sure he was drinking water. we had high hopes for china.
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we thought there would be a significant amount of progress and in a number of areas i do not think we have seen -- in a number of those areas i do not think those expectations have been fulfilled. i do not envision a conflict between the u.s. and china. it is not in the chinese interest or the united states interests. but i do think there will be some internal problems that the chinese will have to grapple with. >> the young woman in the back in the black. >> thank you. i am with the voice of america. a follow-up to joe's question, the united states and china concluded the strategic depth -- strategic economic dialogue not long ago. i remember years ago you voted
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yes to normal trade relations to china. do you think the trade between the united states and china is on the right track? and will you please elaborate on what you just said, that you support a free trade agreement between the united states and taiwan. >> i do support a free trade agreement between the united states and taiwan. and i support free trade agreements -- actually, you know, the proposed specific overall trade agreements. the first part of the question -- >> [inaudible] >> i think that the trade, we obviously know how serious is the trade deficit with china. i think we could make
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significant improvements there. we are becoming more competitive. if there is any bright spot in this terrible recession that we have been through is that the productivity of the american worker has dramatically increased and made us far more competitive throughout the world, at great cost. but the looming issue between the united states and china is cyber security. we are grappling with that issue in the congress as far as legislation. we created a seiberg command. we are trying to address -- we created a seiberg command. we are trying to address this issue not only militarily, but as importantly, as an intellectual property issue. we know for a fact that the chinese have hacked into and gotten a lot of our technology. they have been able to acquire it through the "cyber
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activities." i'm not saying cyber warfare, but sater activities. they even hacked into my campaign. that shows you the depths of the plan it. it must have been a boring day in beijing. [laughter] i think the situation can show significant improvement. but the issue of cyber security between the united states and china, and the united states and other countries -- not just china -- but china as the greatest violator is going to be a serious issue between our two countries. >> i am with cnn. to build on your response to the question of china the only influence over north korea, is that to say [inaudible]
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>> i think the united states should do everything it can. unfortunately, the sanctions were lifted by the bush administration, including their bank accounts in macau and other activities. i think it is one of the great mistakes the bush administration made. i think we should continue to make every effort to modify their behavior. we could do that through closer relations with south korea, maintaining our military presence. there are a number of areas that we continue to be active in. but the only country that can't really force change in north korea, obviously, is china. they could shut down their economy in a week or two. that may be an exaggeration, but they can certainly have a significant effect on north korean behavior.
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i keep hearing from -- maybe it is not the apologists. the certainly, those who have a different view from what i do. they're saying, china has unified korea. if they became unified, the thing china had problems absorbing what was then east germany into their economy? this was since 1945 a country that had no principles of capitalism, free enterprise, of democracy. the challenge would be -- and to integrate north and south korea, it would take years and years. it would not be a threat to china. how does a unified career really pose a threat to a world superpower? it is foolishness. all countries develop reputations in the world.
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i want us to have the closest and most progressive relations with china possible. but when they veto sanctions, join russia in vetoing sanctions on syria, and and this resent. -- this recent activities such as mr. chen having to come to the embassy, the murder of a british citizen, they have to understand that as a world superpower, there's a certain level of conduct that the world expects them to maintain. i think a lot of people would make the judgment that they are not measuring up to those standards that a major contributor to peace and progress in the world should be making. >> two more. >> thank you, senator.
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i am vietnamese american. i thank you for all of the tonya of served in vietnam, and now as well. regarding the united nations convention on the law of the sea, you had promised us that he would vote for the ratification of that, but you did not. and coming to the second part, regarding the unfair posture that china had exerted in the south china sea, two days from now on may 16, they are about to ban fishing in the whole area. 80% of the south china sea from may until august. that will affect millions of people living around the area officially.
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and i would like to come back to one statement, just to thank you for your focus in asia. and i would like to connect that to the focus that president obama has somehow initiated to pivot to asia. u.n. he somehow share the same interests -- you and he somehow share the same interest in asia. the level playing field requirement that he put out, i feel that is very much important to keep putting forward. we need to observe that. thank you. >> i am all in favor, as i said, of a partnership agreements i want us to move forward with it as quickly as possible and place it as a high priority. i do not think the word.
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is the right word to use, concerning our real emphasis -- emphasis on relations in asia. a lot of things are happening in that part of the world, too. and we do not want our european friends to think that it means that we are leaving one part of the world. -- means that pivot means that we are leaving one part of the world. and to secretary clinton's credit, she has not use that word. you covered a lot of ground. >> [inaudible] >> again, i have not heard the president of utter one word that he wants to see this treaty ratified. pardon me? >> [inaudible] >> yes, but it has to do with presidential leadership. it has to do with the president saying he wants the treaty passed by congress. there has not been one word that
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i have heard. second, now it is probably going to be up to the second obama administration or the brahney administration as to whether the treaty is move or not. and that will be the decision -- the leaders of congress follow the leadership of the president of the united states. we will see whether the incoming romney administration or the continuation of the obama administration replaces the law of the sea treaty as a priority. as you know, it has been languishing for some four years or so. my dear friend john warner continues to come see me and advocate for it. >> thank you very much. senator, i would like to introduce myself.
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i am mohammad with h our communications. -- h.i. communications. why are we so focused on iran if they are so far away from us? >> i think we're worried about them developing missiles so that they can reach us. the iranians -- well, they not only are developing nuclear weapons. we all know that. there is great debate as to how far along they are and what their real intentions are, but they have enriched uranium and have taken other steps to further the development of nuclear weapons. but the iranians are also being badly throughout the world, including here in the united states of america. they have a plot to assassinate
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the saudi ambassador here in washington. it is too expensive for my taste, but i can see why the saudi arabian ambassador can afford to pick up the tab. it is a very fine restaurant. [laughter] look, only part of their activities are the effort to develop nuclear weapons. and this is my criticism. we need to look at iranian activities in their entirety. right now, there are iranians on the ground in damascus showing the assad regime how to kill people, and there are a iranian weapons coming into syria as well. unspeakable. this is the government that when a young woman named nedda was bleeding to death in the streets
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in iran and 1.5 million people were demonstrating saying, "obama, obama, are you with us?" and this administration refused to stand with them, which was a mistake in my opinion, -- i want and iran that iran thatn't want an is dedicated to an extreme islamic agenda. >> what is wrong with that? >> there is some that may find that to be an idle threat. i do not when it dedicates itself to wiping a neighbor off the map. i guess, you and i have a very different view of the threat that iran poses to peace and stability in the world. i respect your obvious views and i hope you will respect mine on that issue. can i say that i thank csis
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again for not only been -- having the opportunity to talk, but to have an exchange with some of the smartest people i know. thanks again, and remember the words of chairman mao, who once said it is always darkest before it is totally black. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> republican representative ron paul announced monday that he is suspending his presidential campaign. you can learn more about what the -- what author brian dorthy calls "ron paul revolution." he is a senior editor.
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and you will hear from kentucky senator rand paul. in a few moments, president obama as a commencement speech at barnard college in new york city. after that, the iran nuclear program. and then we will be airs senator john mccain on u.s. policy in asia. >> on "washington journal" tomorrow morning we will look at a lawsuit by the group common cause challenging the constitutionality of the filibuster rules in the senate. our guest is bob edgar. and then we will discuss bank and finance regulation. and we will be joined by the author of the book "buying america back," about how individuals can affect trade.
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"washington journal" is live every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> saturdays this month, c-span radio is airing more from the nixon tapes, secretly recorded phone conversations from 1971- 73. this saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern, here conversations between president nixon and white house special counsel and key adviser chuck colson, who passed away last month as they talk about the democratic presidential nominee george mcgovern. >> [unintelligible] >> in washington d.c., listen to 90.1 fm. nationwide on channel 119 and streaming c-span.org. >> president obama told college
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graduates on monday to never underestimate themselves. his speech was about 40 minutes. [cheers and applause] >> president obama, it is an honor and privilege to have you with us today. before represent your citation, i want to share two special guest that barnard presented to you just a short while ago. the first is written to their class of 2012 from sasha and melia obama. [cheers and applause] the seniors, who are so happy to have you as their commencement speaker, have written messages of inspiration to your daughters. we want them to know that they
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are welcome at barnard any time. [cheers and applause] the second gift for you and the furs later -- first lady is a little light summer reading. barnard prides itself on its short -- it's extraordinary writers. and we want to give you a collection of books written by barnard alumni and inscribed by the authors. we hope you will enjoy. [cheers and applause] and now i have the great honor of presenting the citation for the president of the united states, barack obama. [cheers and applause] barack obama, 44th president of the united states of america. in this exuberant presentation of the college of highest honor,
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we pay tribute to your leadership of our nation and your place in our world. from 1961 in honolulu, hawaii, to today, the chronicle of your life has enthralled us. the early years in indonesia that spark your independence and open your eyes to the breath of humanity. college, first paulick -- first occidental and then here in new york city, were you burn your bachelor's degree from the great columbia university. [cheers and applause] to chicago to work with communities in need and then on to harvard law school, becoming the first african-american president of the harvard law review and graduating magna cum laude in 1991. returning in chicago -- to
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chicago, you deep in your commitment to public service because you understood that grass roots were the way. as your mentor put it, if you are not trying to change things out there, you might as well forget it. then in 1992, in one of your all-time best slam dunks, you have the good fortune to mary nichelle. [cheers and applause -- to marry michelle. [cheers and applause) with her by your side, you served as a u.s. senator, gave a speech at the 2004 democratic national convention that was as brilliant as it was decisive. [applause] when you said that we stand on the crossroads of history, perhaps you had no idea that the
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country and the world would forever know your name. on january 20, 2009, standing smack on those historical cross through -- crossroads, you were sworn in as the president of the united states. [cheers and applause] since then in three years and 115 days in office, you have led the way on preventing a crimes and providing affordable health care. [cheers and applause) on reforming student loan cu programs and cutting credit-card debt and financial regulation, you have reinvigorated the auto industry, raising fuel efficiency, and overturned restrictions on stem cell research. [cheers and applause]
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you have ended the war in iraq, turned the tide in afghanistan, and made certain that regardless of sexual orientation, those serving our country have the freedom both to ask and to tell. [cheers and applause] and just days ago you affirm your belief that the right to marriage belongs to us all. of an wreckage cheers and applause] for women in particular -- [cheers and applause) for women in particular, you have helped that we get -- helped us get equal pay. you have removed barriers to women in the military, improved access to health services, and repeatedly supported our right
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to choose. [cheers and applause) . and time and again, you have put your trust in the long list of gifted and remarkable women leaders, supreme court justices sonia sotomayor and elena kagan, secretary of state hillary clinton [cheers and applause] senior advisor valerie chad, janet nepalitano, susan rice, lisa jackson, kathleen sebelius, women running everything from home lan security -- [cheers and applause] -- to the eta. your wisdom in these selections comes as no surprise because after all, it is these
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extraordinary women in your life that shaikh did most profoundly. the strength that you learned -- that shaped it most profoundly. the strength that you learn from your grandmother as well as for constancy and capacity for wonder. the special bond with your terrific sister and barred alumna -- barnard alumni, miami. and your devoted partnership with michelle and sasha and melia, who give us hope. clearly, mr. president, you know something that the graduates seated before you are well on their way to discovering, that there is no opportunity that they cannot embrace, no dream that they cannot make real. you have demonstrated that you have stayed true to your own amazing story, your own compelling example, your own
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irrepressible spirit. it is a profound honor for us to come together on this historic day not only to prevent you president barack obama with the 2012 barnard medal of distinction, but to give you our unwavering promised to go forth, like you, in pursuit of a sounder, freer, and a lot smarter world. [cheers and applause) >> thank you so much. thank you. thank you so much. thank you very much. thank you. thank you so much. [applause] thank you. thank you, everybody. please, have a seat. thank you. thank you, president sparr,
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president bolinger and fellow class of 2012. [applause] -- hello class of 2012. congratulations on reaching this day. thank you for the honor of being able to be part of it. there are some many people who are proud of you -- your parents, family, faculty, friends, all of whom share in this achievement so please give them a round of applause. [applause] to all the moms here today, you could not ask for a better mother's day gift ban to see all of these folks graduate. [applause]
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i have to say that whenever i come to these things, i start thinking about melia and such a graduating and the start of tearing up - [laughter] it is terrible. i know how you hold it together. -- i don't know how you hold it together. i will begin by telling you a hard truth. i am a columbia [laughter] college graduate] [applause] i know there can be a little bit of a sibling rivalry here. [laughter] but i am honored nevertheless to be your commencement speaker today although i've got to say that you set a pretty high bar given the past three years. [applause] hillary clinton, meryl streep, cheryl sandberg, these are not easy act to follow. i will point out that hillary
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is doing an extraordinary job and is one of the finest secretary of state's america has ever had. [applause] we gave meryl the presidential medal of arts and humanities. [applause] cheryl is not just a good friend, she is also one of our economic advisers so it is like the old saying -- keep your fans clothes and your barnard commencement speakers even closer. [applause] there is wisdom in that. [laughter] now, the year i graduated, this area looks familiar -- the year i graduated was 1983, the first year women were admitted to columbia. [applause] sally ride was the first american woman in space. music was all about michael and
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the moon walk. we had the walkman. [applause] no more walking today. no one walking today. -- no moon walking today. [laughter] we had the walkman, not ipod. some of the streets around here were not quite so inviting. times square was not a family destination. [laughter] i know this is all ancient history. nothing worse than commencement speakers and droning on about bygone days. but for all the differences, the class of 1983 actually had a lot in common with all of you.
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we, too, were heading out into a world at a moment when our country was still recovering from a particularly severe economic recession. it was a time of change. it was a time of uncertainty. was a time of passionate political debates. you can relate to this because just as you were starting out finding your way around this campus, and economic crisis struck that would claim more than 5 million tons towards the -- 5 million jobs toward the end of your freshman year. since then, some of you have seen parents put off retirement, france struggled to find work -- france struggled to find work in -- friends struggle
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to find work in committee looking toward the future with that same sense of concern that my generation did when we were sitting where you are now. of course, as young women, you are also going to grapple with unique challenges like whether you will be able to earn equal pay for equal work, whether you will be able to balance the demands of your job and your family, whether you will be able to fully control decisions about your own health. while opportunities for women have grown exponentially over the last 30 years, as young people, in many ways, you have a tougher than we did. this recession has been more crucial, the job losses steeper, politics seems nastier, congress more gridlock than ever. some folks in the financial world have not been the model of corporate citizenship. [laughter] no wonder that faith in our institutions has never been
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lower particular when good news does not get the same kind of ratings as bad news anymore. every day you receive a steady stream of sensationalism and scandal and stories with a message that suggests change is not possible. you can't -- you can make a difference and you will not be able to close that gap between life as it is a life as you want to be. my job today is to tell you don't believe it. because as tough as things have been, i am convinced you are tougher. i have seen your passion. i've seen your service. i have seen you engaged and i have seen you turn out in record numbers. i have heard your voice is amplified by creativity and a digital fluency that those of us in the older generations can barely comprehend. i have seen a generation eager, in patients even, to step into the rushing waters of history and change its course.
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and that defiant, can-do spirit is what runs through the veins of american history. it is the lifeblood of all of our progress and it is that spirit which we need your generation to embrace and rekindle right now. the question is not whether things will get better, they always do. the question is not whether we've got the solutions to our challenges, we have had them within our grasp for quite some time. we know for example that his country would be better off if more americans were able to get the kind of education you have received here at barnard [cheers and applause] if more people could get the
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specific skills and training that employers are looking for today, we know that we would all be better off if we invest in science, technology and that sparks new businesses and medical breakthroughs, if we develop more clean energy so we could use less foreign oil and reduce the carbon pollution that is threatening our planet. [applause] we know that we are better off when there are rules that stopped the big banks from making babette's with other people's money -- from making bad bets with other people's money[applause] when insurance companies are not allowed to drop your coverage when you need it most surcharge women differently from men. [cheers and applause] indeed, we know we're better off when women are treated fairly and equally in every aspect of american life, whether it is the salary you earn or the health decisions you make.
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[applause] we know these things to be true. we know that our challenges are eminently solvable. the question is whether together we can muster the will in our own lives, in our common institutions, in our politics to bring about the changes we need. i am convinced your generation possesses that will. i believe that the women of this generation, that all of you will help lead the way. [applause] i recognize that as a cheap applause line when you're giving a commencement at
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barnard. that is the easiest thing to say but it is true. [laughter] in part, it is simple math. today, women are not just half of this country, you're half of the work force. [applause] more and more women are out earning their husbands and you are more than half of our college graduates and master's graduates and ph.d.'s. [applause] you got as outnumbered. [laughter] after decades of slow, steady, extraordinary progress, you are now poised to make this the century where women shape not only their own destiny but the destiny of this nation and this world. how far your leadership takes this country, how far it takes this world, well, that will be up to you. you got to want it. it will not be handed to you.
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as someone who wants that future, that better future for you and for melia and sasha, as somebody who has had the good fortune of being a husband and the father and son of some strong, remarkable women, allow me to offer a few pieces of advice. that is obligatory. [laughter] bear with me. my first piece of advice is this -- don't just get involved. fight for your seat at the table. better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table. [applause] it has been said that the most important role in our democracy is the role of citizen. indeed, it was 225 years ago today that the constitutional convention opened in
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philadelphia and their founders, citizens all, began crafting an extraordinary document. yes, it had its flaws. there were flaws that its bid -- this mission has strived to protect overtime. there are questions of race and gender that were unresolved. no women's signature grace the original document although we can assume that there were founding mothers whispering smarter things in the years of the founding fathers. [applause] that is almost certain. what made this document special was that it provided the possibility for those who had been left out of our charter to fight their way in. it provided people the language to appeal to principles and ideas that broad and democracies reach. it allowed for protest and
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movements and the dissemination of new ideas that would repeatedly, decade after decade, change the world, a constant forward movement that continues to this day. our founders understood that america does not stand still. we are dynamic, not static. we look forward, not back. and now that new doors have been open for you, you've got an obligation to seize those opportunities. you need to do this not just for yourself but for those who don't yet enjoy the choices you have had, the choices you will have. one reason many workplaces still have outdated policies is because women only account for 3% of the ceo's at fortune 500 companies. one reason we are actually re-
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fighting battles over women's rights is because women occupy fewer than one in five seats in congress. i'm not saying the only way to achieve success is by climbing to the top of the corporate ladder or running for office although, let's face it, congress would get a lot more done if you did -- [laughter] [applause] if you decide not to set yourself of the table, at the very least, you have to make sure that you -- you'll have to have a say in who does. it matters. before women like barbara mikulski and olympia snowe and others got to congress, take one example -- much of federally funded research on diseases focused solely on the effect of man. -- on man. it was not until women got to congress and passed title 95 --
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40 years ago this year that we declared women should be allowed to compete and win on the american playing field. [applause] until a woman named lily ledbetter showed up a rock doesn't have the courage to step up and say this is not right, women are not being treated fairly, we lacked the tools needed to hold the basic principle of equal pay for equal work. don't accept somebody else's construction of the way things ought to be. it is up to you to right the wrongs. it is up to you to point out injustice. it is up to you to hold the system accountable. sometimes you need to up and it entirely.
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it is up to you to stand up and be heard, to write and lobby in march and organized to vote. don't be content to sit back and watch. those who oppose change, those who benefit from an unjust status quo, have always bet on the public's cynicism or the public's complacency. throughout american history, they have lost a bad bet. i believe they will this time as well. [applause] ultimately, class of 2012, that will depend on you. don't wait for the person next to you to be the first to speak up for what is right. maybe, just maybe, they are waiting on you. which brings me to my second piece of advice -- never underestimate the power of your example. the very fact that you are graduating, let alone with more women now graduating ben mann, is only possible because of earlier generations of women, or mothers, grandmothers, aunts, shattered the myth that
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you couldn't or shouldn't be where you are. [applause] i think of a friend of mine who is the daughter of immigrants -- when she was in high school, for guidance counselor told her you are just not college material. you should think about becoming a secretary. well, she was discovered such a -- she was stubborn, so she went to college anyway. she got her master's and ran for local office and then ran for state office and she won and she ran for congress and you want and lo and behold, hilda solis did end up becoming a secretary. [laughter] she is america's -- she is america's secretary of labor. [applause] think about what that means to
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a young latina girl when she sees a cabinet secretary that looks like her. think about what it means to a young girl in ottawa which is a -- in iowa when she sees presidential candidate who looks like her. think about what it means to a young girl walking in harlem write down the street when she sees a u.n. ambassador looks like her. do not underestimate the power of your example. this diploma opens up new possibilities. reach back, convinced the young girl to earn one, too. if you earn your degree in an area where we need more women like computer science or engineering, [applause] reach back and persuade another student to study it, too. if you're going into fields where we need more women like construction or computer engineering, reach back, hire someone new. be a mentor. the role model. on tell a girl can imagine --
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until a girl can imagine herself and picture herself as a computer programmer for combat and commander, she will not become one. until there are women who tell her to ignore our pop culture obsession over beauty and fashion and focus instead [applause] on studying and inventing and competing and leading, she will think those are the only things that girls are supposed to care about. michelle will say there's nothing wrong with caring about that a little bit. [laughter] you can be stylish and powerful. [applause] that is machel's advice. [applause] never forget that the most important example a young girl will ever follow is that of a parent. melia and sasha will be outstanding women because of michelle and mary ann roberts --
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and mariann robinson and our outstanding women. my last piece of advice -- this is simple but perhaps most important -- persevere. persevere. nothing worthwhile is easy. no one of achievement has avoided failure. sometimes catastrophic failures. but they keep at it. they learn from mistakes. they don't quit. when i first arrived on this campus, we have little money, fewer options but it was here that i tried to find my place in this world. i knew what to make a difference but it was vague l i would go about it. [laughter]
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i want to do my part, to shape a better world. even as i worked after graduation in a few on fulfilling jobs here n.y., i will not list them all -- [laughter] even as i went from motley apartment to a monthly apartment, i reached out. i started to write letters to community organizations across the country and one day, a small group of churches on the south side of chicago answered offering me work with people in neighborhoods hit hard by steel mills that were shutting down and communities where jobs were dying away. the community had been plagued by gang violence the ones i arrive, one of the first things we try to do is mobilize a meeting with community leaders to deal with gangs. i had worked for weeks on this project and we invited the police and made phone calls and went to churches and we passed out fliers. the night of the meeting we arrange rows of chairs in anticipation of this crowd and
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we waited and waited and finally, a group of older folks walked into all and they sat down and the little old lady raised her hand and asked if this is where the bingo game was. [laughter] it was a disaster. nobody showed up. my first big community meeting, nobody showed up. and later, the volunteers i worked with told me that's it, we are quitting. they have been doing this for two years even before i arrived and had nothing to show for it and i will be honest, i was discouraged as well i did not know what i was doing and i thought about quitting. as we were talking, i looked up and i saw some young boys playing in a vacant lot across the street and they were throwing rocks at a boarded up buildings. they have nothing better to do late at night, just throwing rocks.
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a set of volunteers, before you -- i said to the volunteers, before you quit, after one question. what will happen to those boys if you quit? who will fight for them if we don't? who will give them a fair shot if we leave? one by one, the volunteers decided not to quit and went back to those diprovan we kept -- to those neighborhoods and we kept at it and register new voters and set up after-school programs and we fought for new jobs, helped people live lives with some measure of dignity and we sustained ourselves with those small victories. we did not set the world on fire. some of those communities are still very poor, there are still love gangs out there, but i -- a lot of games out there, but i believe it was those small victories that helped me win the bigger victories of my last 3.5 years as president. i wish i could say this perseverance came from some innate toughness but the truth is, it was learned.
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i got up from watching the people raised me. more specifically, i got it from watching the women who shaped my life. yep, i grew up as the son of a single mom who struggled to put herself through school and make ends meet. she had marriages that fell apart, even when on food stamps at one point, to help us get by and she did not quit. she earned her degree and made sure that through scholarships and hard work, my sister and i earned hours and used to wake me up and we were living overseas and wake me up before dawn to study my english lessons for it when i complained, she would just look in and say this is no picnic for me either, buster. [laughter] my mom ended up dedicating yourself to helping women around -- herself to helping women are around the world access the money they needed to start their own businesses.
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she was an early pioneer in micra finance. that meant she was gone a lot an adder on struggles to figure outbalancing motherhood and career. when she was gone, my grandmother stepped up to take care of me. she only had a high-school education. she got a job at a local bank and hit the glass ceiling and watch man she once trained promoted up the ladder ahead of her but she did not quit. rather than grow harder angry each time to get passed over, she kept doing your job the best she knew how and ultimately ended up being vice- president of the bank. she did not quit. later on, i met a woman who was assigned to advise me on my first summer job at a law firm and she gave me such good advice that i married her. [laughter] michelle and i gave everything we had to balance our careers and a young family but let's face it, no matter how enlightened i must've thought
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myself to be, it often fell more on her shoulders when i was traveling and when i was away. i know that when she was with our girls, she would feel guilty that she was not giving enough time to her work. when she was at work, should feel guilty to is not giving enough time to the girls. both of us wished we had some superpower that lesbian two places at once. -- pat let us be in two places -- that would let us be in two places at once. we made that marriage work. the reason michelle had the strength to juggle everything and put up with me and eventually the public spotlight was because she, too, came from a bunch of folks that did not quit because she saw her dead get up and go to work every day even though he never finished college, even though he had cripplingms. her mother never finished college. she was in that urban school every day making sure michelle and her brother were getting the education they deserve.
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michelle saw how her parents never quit. they never indulged in self pity no matter how stacked the odds were against them. they did not quit. those are the folks who inspire me. those quiet heroes all across this country, some of your parents and grandparents were sitting here, no fanfare, no articles written about them. they just persevered. they just do their jobs. they meet their responsibilities. they don't quit. i'm only here because of. them they may not have set out to change the world but in small and poured ways, they did. -- and important ways, they did. they certainly changed mine.
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whether it is starting a business or running for office or raising amazing families, remember that making a mark on the world is hard. it takes patience. it takes commitment. it comes with plenty of setbacks and it comes with plenty of failure. whenever you fill the creeping cynicism, whenever you hear those voices say you cannot make a difference, whenever somebody tells you to set your sights lower, the trajectory of this country should give you hope. previous generations should give you hope, what young generations have done before should give you hope. young folks who marched and mobilized and stood up and sat in from seneca falls to selma to stonewall did not just do it for themselves, they did it for other people. that is how we achieve it women's rights. [applause] that's how we achieve voting rights. that's how we achieved workers'
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rights. that's how we achieve a gay- rights. that's how we made this union more perfect. [applause] if you are willing to do your part now, if you're willing to reach up and close that gap between what america is and what america should be, i want you to know that i will be right there with you. [applause] if you are ready to fight for that brilliant, but radically simple idea of america that no matter who you are what you look like, no matter who you love or what got you worship, you can still pursue your own happiness. [applause] i will join you every step [of the step [cheers and applause] -- i will join you every step of the way. [cheers and applause] now more than ever, america needs and what you the class of
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2012 have to offer. america needs you to reach high and hope deeply. if you persevere and what you decide to do with your life, i have every faith not only that you will succeed but that through you our nation will continue to be a beacon of light for men and women, boys and girls in every corner of the globe. so thank you and congratulations. so thank you and congratulations. [applause] god bless you, god bless the united states of america. [cheers and applause] thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [applause]
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[cheers and applause] >> republican representative ron
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paul announced monday he is suspending his presidential campaign. you can learn more about what of their brand gordy -- author aboutdougherty termwrites the candidate for president. you'll hear from representative paul's son. in a few minutes, a form on iran's nuclear program. and senator mccain on u.s. policy in asia. we will cabrera the commencement speech at barnard college in new york city. several live events to tell you about tomorrow on our companion networks, c-span3. the house will look at datreducg
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the cost of hiv/aids drugs. >> reading has become over the last 200 years the old met democratic act of the ultimate democratic country, because it makes it possible for many to teach themselves what a few once held close. the president can quote mclain and the postman can understand the reference because he has read huck finn. with careful reading of books and newspapers and now material on the internet, their flaws are revealed to ordinary people like us. it was not for nothing that
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cannot seize made bonfires of books. >> in 1992, anna quinlan won a pulitzer prize for columns. in a few weeks to can tack to the best-selling author sunday, june 3. get a head start by watching her other comments on line at the c- span video library. on her writing, police, and convictions and her life in journalism, all archived and searchable. >> the bipartisan policy forum on next week's meeting in baghdad between iranian officials and representatives of the u.s., britain, france, china, and germany. the so-called p-5 plus one met to discuss the nuclear program. this is one hour, 15 minutes.
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>> we would like to welcome you this morning. there is nothing like a couple of raindrops to make president remarks's -- kennedy appeared. this will be a very timely discussion about continuing efforts of the nation and the world to achieve a peaceful resolution to the ongoing nuclear crisis with iran. one of the core ideas that encouraged the senators in creating the bipartisan policy center is the idea that we need to have forums in this country, in the city where we can have rich and public discussions about the consequential and often most controversial issues facing the nation. nowhere has our work are believed been more valuable for more challenging than the ongoing three-year effort to promote strategy to address the
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iranian nuclear ambitions. the u.s. and our allies are meeting again in baghdad on may 23 and there is some burgeoning hope in some cabral's and some apprehension in others about what can and might be discussed. congress has been out in recent weeks answering legislation that has broad bipartisan support to increase the pressure in a focused and comprehensive way. we are encouraged to see that many of the suggestions are appearing in those pieces of bipartisan legislation. i will offer the forum to dr. mike mccusky. thank you for coming. >> thanks for a much, jason. -- very much, jason. as jason indicated, we at the
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bipartisan policy center have always considered preventing a nuclear iran to be the most pressing u.s. national security challenge. as president, recently said, preventing a nuclear iran is brownley in the security interests of the united states. we have issued four reports and the most recent one was issued on february 1. as jason indicated, it was cochaired by two senators. it includes a distinguished panel and other distinguished foreign policy and energy experts. our last report reinforced the view we have always held. the best approach to this crisis, to this challenge is a simultaneous pursuit of a triple
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track policy which is diplomacy, tufts and shows, and incredible and visible military threat. we also subsequently issued a white paper in the last couple months on each of those tracks. i will highlight what recommendation on each of those tracks and i will turn it over to mark zuckerman. we asked congress to report the progress of iran posing a clear program and the degree to which sanctions are slowing down or seizing military development. we believe the u.s. should boost the current day -- credibility of its own and iran's. we have spelled out to -- how to do so. selling israel bunker busters' and refueling tankers.
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we are only advocating this strike but believes that sales would send a strong signal to tehran to negotiate in good faith, would encourage india and china and other buyers of iranian oil that the eternity of to supporting u.s. sanctions could be military conflict and a cutoff of oil from the persian gulf. as jason indicated, we are glad that legislation is progressing. we laid out a white paper on principles we believe is important to negotiate with iran. extend an open hand. this is a serious opportunity to resolve this challenge and also to test iranian interests in negotiating this crisis. negotiate from a position of strength. the military threat is being prepared through sanctions.
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we do not want -- these talks are staged for stalling while the iranian centrifuges continue. we threw out the idea of july 1 when european sanctions are supposedly going to affect us. if talks are going well and gone well, we could hold off any more sanctions or if it is not going well, we should start ratcheting up the pressure through sanctions and other means. the fourth and final principle is upholding u.s. security council resolutions. there have been five that addressed the iranian enrichment, inspections of iranian facilities and weapon is asian. they spell out and give specific resolutions to call from -- for richmond.
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we believe these principles maximize the chance of reaching a solid while protecting our interests and those of our allies who are not at the table and will not be in baghdad remains perhaps the most effective and immediately by the results of the talks. those are our views on what date principle should be for negotiations. on all views, we should have a healthy public debate. i would say is an excellent panel that we put together. i will introduce them quickly. moderating will be mortimer zuckerman. he is chairman and editor-in- chief of u.s. news and world report. he also is equally important perhaps as an active member of an iran task force.
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sitting to his left is dennis ross. dennis is counselor at the institute for near east policy. he served several years as special assistant to president obama and the senior director for central region. dennis was involved in our first task force. on his left, a principal of the group. he served as assistant secretary of state from 2000 through -- 2002 through 2006. he is also an active member of our iran task force for good last 4 1/2 years. to his left is embassador neck
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burns. he is currently a professor of the practice of diplomacy in international politics and is a foreign service officer for 27 years culminating in his position as undersecretary of state for political affairs, 2005 through 2008. and eliott also served as deputy assistant to the adviser to the administration, president tertiary rocks -- george w. bush. thank you very much and i will turn it over to mort. >> good morning. i will ask the first questions of dennis and elliott. it is all based on the hypothetical fantasy that they are that national security adviser to the president and i will ask a couple of questions here. how do you assess the iranian
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threat and how you assess the quality of u.s. intelligence in evaluating the threat? >> i think one has to look at the totality of the iranian threat not only in terms of what represents from in a clear stand point but also what it has embodied in the region through these neighbors. this is a country that has sought out to extend its reach. it has use different kinds of proxy's whether it is has a lot hezbollah.cke it also views the united states through absolute lens of hostility. the supreme leader has built an hour passes of power based upon
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reception of fundamental hostility from their estates and toward the united states. if you are assessing american interests and you're looking at the region, you have to look what iran's behavior has been toward american interests over time. i can say even though you're asking me to assume a different persona, in the 1990's when i was negotiating at the middle east, where were contending with iranian-inspired efforts to subvert the peace process through an act of terror. there is a history here of being hostile toward american interests. we have seen different iranian leadership's at least in the form of their president who has adopted postures in -- there was potentially the possibility of trying to find ways of building bridges between the two sides. he was clearly not able to
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deliver very much if anything at all. we have to look iran through a lens of hostility and threats. we have to look at iran to -- when in fact it faces an array of pressures and it judges to be threatening to its interests. there is a potential to affect iranian behavior and we have had an interest in doing so. i think the logic of building an approach where the iranians feel pressure and a need to reduce the pressure and you create a kind of ability to give them away out is the proper approach. >> i agree with that. the conclusion one has to draw from that prescription is iranian behavior from 1979 to this date cannot be permitted to have a nuclear weapon which is the formal position of the united states and the p-5 plus
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one and the iaea and the un security council per let me turn to the second half of your questions. how confident can we be that we now what the situation is in iran? i would say not very confident. if you look back, we did not have a great record over the years in predicting the threat from the chinese and indian and pakistani program. it was the mek that came up with the initial disclosures. they did not happen on the day was begun. they came years later. that activity has been under wide -- under way for quite a long time. we and our allies figured it out.
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we have nearly perfect knowledge of the iranian nuclear weapons program. >> we now are a short period away from the may 23 talks. how do we define a successful outcome? what do you think we need? is the only way that we can imagine a successful outcome, if there is a threat of a military response to iran. >> when i coordinated iran policy at the state department between 2005 and 2008, i went around the world talking to governments what they thought the iranians were doing. i agree with dennis and elliott. there is no question that every leading government in the world
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that iran is seeking a capability to be in a clear weapons program. all the europeans and the arab states and our country does as well. we do not have a lot of insights into the decisionmaking of a leadership because we have not had an embassy there in 32 years. i think these talks in baghdad will be obviously quite critical. what is interesting to me to see what the iranians said after the first round of talks. they talked positively. about a beginning. we have not seen the iranians talk positively about discussions with the p-5 plus one in germany since 2006 when this process started. steve and i were involved in the bush administration try to get the iranians to that table. the fact there at the table and willing to go back for second medium -- a second meeting as positive.
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they have been correct in assessing that our ability to negotiate successfully will be a function of our ability to make the military threat credible. where the iranians at the table? i think for two reasons. prime minister netanyahu has made that threat credible as heads into barack. in their consistent public statements and that has been helpful to the united states and to the rest of the p-5 plus one. some countries may not acknowledge that. i think americans should. the more that we can narrow the gap, the more we should do that. that is one reason. the second is the u.s. is taking this big decision to go beyond financial sections, toward -- which will be phased in starting next month hit -- next month. these are the toughest sanctions that have been put on
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iran. there is no question, iran is being forced to disengage from the international financial system. from swift and other institutions and this is all positive. that is why there at the table pack in now -- i want to keep the talks going and i want to draw a point that some people may disagree with. there is a high integration between president obama and bush. if i look back to 2006, to two dozen 12, i do not see many differences. president obama -- we have not had a serious, sustained conversation and substantive. if there is a diplomatic solution there is not a high probability of that. we can just give it one or two meetings. the president will need many months of trying to find some
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arrangement with the help of the europeans rushing. perhaps to limit themselves and this is consistent with the last to a ministrations to civil nuclear power. the details will be very important. the way this will be worked out by may 23 in iraq so i would not be in favor of any effort to innocency by june or july or august. there is the president deserves more time and space. he will now he has to stay at the table left to -- he cannot stayed too long especially if there is no freezing. the president will know that -- i would think the goal here is to have a series of meetings and the p5 + 1 contexts. i hope we see the u.s. and iran broke off to have bilateral
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discussion. i would hope for sustained diplomacy in 2012. >> a lot of analysts have commented -- that this seems more right than any other time in recent years. iran is under significant pressure as a result of international sanctions. but the -- this was passed by congress last year to try -- trigger, and has been deployed in a credible manner. this is focusing the attention of the iranians. it also have -- has steered -- i do not think the chinese would want to admit it but they have pretty serious energy concerns.
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they do not want to see an energy conflict in the persian gulf. this is one of my concerns and the obama administration as well has serious economic concerns with the pending presidential election. for the a, an illustration, the threat is deeply troubling. one of my worries is i'm happy for the iranians to come to the table highly motivated to reach a deal. i do not want the u.s. to be too highly motivated because that could leave to-lead to [unintelligible] in answer to the question would be an acceptable outcome, we have to keep our focus on dirham's uranium enrichment program which has always been the crown jewel of their nuclear weapons program. any deal that permits them to continue enrichment is a bad
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deal for the red states. what they have done over the past -- just as he ratcheted up pressuring trying to apply tougher sanctions in 2010. the iranians decided to raise pressure on the international community by stepaniak. getting themselves closer to in a clear orpen's gabelli. it is a race between the u.s. and -- tightened economic sanctions and heightened enrichment activity and who is getting more leverage over the other? i worry that you do hear voices that the enrichment program has to be our focus. let's stop paying attention to the 2.5% program which was always the centerpiece. that kind of advice is dangerous.
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>> there are a couple of differences between the u.s. and israel. the u.s. is implying it is the achievement of a nuclear weapon and israel refers to the achievement of a clear sky deli. how much to those differences play a role in the effectiveness in whatever we might be doing with iran? >> i am skeptical there is such a difference between the two on this point. the prime minister was here, used the word the terrapins in his own speech. what is the threshold is not acceptable. the idea is the iranians would develop nuclear weapons capability is a source of concern. if the iranians decided we're not going to test and a symbol of a weapon, we will create 50 bomb's worth of enriched uranium
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and we will keep doing this and get to the plant where we will find a breakthrough on the next generation of centrifuges. they can confront the world and no one could do anything about it. it cannot be that you only measure a nuclear weapon. they could go across the world with the reality you could not undo. i think that is something appreciated by the illustration. the key area where there is -- a function simply of the different realities we'd still with. we have more capability to militarily, to take out or to -- capacities. the israelis have the capability as well because they have place -- less capability, but which the nature of
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the program is so wide, so deep, is in a sense so profound that it can be reconstituted quickly even if israel struck. that is an objective fact. the challenge from an israeli standpoint -- that they lose their option. here again i would say the gap between the sides may be less than -- [unintelligible] between days and weeks and years you have the stakes for diplomacy. that is what nick is getting at. the president said there is a diplomatic window but it is closing. time is running out. there is a time and space and the gap between the u.s. and the
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israelis at this point is -- i do not think this notion of weapons is such a gap between the two sides. i think the time and space for diplomacy exists. we may feel we have more time for that. i think we also have an interest in having the iranians understand and this is the reason the president -- this cannot be a phony process. we will know the difference. if there is a serious approach, that is something we will be able to see. we have an interest in having enough time, devin string to everyone, our own public and the world, this was a good faith approach to negotiations even to the point where we might publicize we put on the table that would have allowed the iranians to have what they claim they desired which is a
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civil nuclear capacity and they turned down that opportunity. we need to demonstrate that diplomacy was tried and it did not work, it is because the iranians did not want it to work. >> could you comment on that and take into account the fact is a new coalition and how does that affect the current -- credibility? >> you have tenet -- you have the president of france. the country that has had the most incisive analyses and been toughest on the iranian nuclear question has been france. it is possible that some of the officials who continue in office but is possible french policy will weekend under the new -- it will have an impact. certainly on the eu approach and
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maybe the american approach as well. it is not clear what the impact of the general joining the netanyahu government is. he has sounded very tough on iran and other times sounded more conciliatory. in the most recent interview, his explanation really was when you're in the opposition you oppose, i criticized netanyahu on iran because that was my job. it may be the gap between the two does not exist which would mean a tougher israeli stance. now you have a broader coalition supporting it. i do worry a great deal. rolli because of the model. we have had too much agreement.
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i disagree with nick about north korea. we had one-on-one talks with north korea. there were not authorized by the president when mcchrystal started them. they went nowhere. we have had endless talks with north korea. they have flimflam us for decades. they are still. we had a deal that lasted three weeks. i do not know that the model of north korea in breaking away for our one-on-one talks would help north korea and it is not reassuring that the person who with those talks is leading the american delegation in the iran talks. i believe we have never seen our real explanation of what i think when strong. as i look at the north korean example under clinton, bush, and
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obama, it is a catalog of how talks can be used by a country that is developing a nuclear weapons program. to continue the program year after year after year. rather than a model of successful diplomacy for us. >> please go ahead. >> thank you. i wanted to say two things first. president bush and secretary rice authorized ambassador chris hill to me. and wendy sherman met with them. if there is a reasonable prospect that the u.s. or israel might go to war with iran and if the u.s. does not have a serious conversation with the iranians in three decades, it is in our self-interest to seek out bilateral talks with the iranians within the framework of the p-5 plus one talks. we have to get a very clear sense if there is a bottom-line
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where they can make a deal with us and other countries that would stop them short of a nuclear weapons capability. everyone in the ruling will tell you. the russians, the chinese, and the europeans, this is more about the u.s. and iran. i share -- let me say one more thing. she is tough and smart and she's a perfect choice to lead these negotiations. the second point is the p5 is a problem. i share elliot's -- and here is where we agree doubt that --sident francois hollande china might be a major problem. they have become iran's trade
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partner so they are subverting the sanctions. the key can treat my be russia. russia does not want to see iran go nuclear or have a capacity. but they have influence and i would hope that president obama would work with president clinton to see if president couldn't -- president putin to see if he could turn toward an agreement. this will be very important for president obama and with the absence of sarkozy, probably weaker than it was. >> is there any significance attached to the fact that he changed his mind about visiting the united states and stayed at home? >> it is hard to figure out president putin and his motivations but will say, i negotiated with him for three years. they are very tough and sometimes very frustrating.
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at the end of the day, i think the russians have a much more highly strategic and more sophisticated view of this issue than do the chinese. if anyone is going to make a difference on our side, if we can convince the russians to be constructive, that would help. whether we cannot is an open question because putin is a different character than medvedev. >> how patient should we be in the negotiating process with iran? it is important to recall that 15 months ago, iran came to the meeting and said handle your sanctions on us and we will be prepared to talk about our nuclear program. you disarm and perhaps we will talk about what you are concerned about. 15 months later, they want to have a more serious negotiation. what has changed? >> they are under more pressure. additional economic and military pressure. that this change their
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calculation. they want relief from the pressure. maybe the way they want to get relief is by negotiating a deal but it could be they want to use the process of negotiations to break the momentum and slow down and all the developments that have led them to reassess their approach over the last 15 months and that cannot be in our interest to let them succeed in using the diplomatic process to break the momentum and the pressure we have brought to bear against them. >> a couple of points. i think there is no doubt that the iranian strategy is to try to split the p-5 plus one. i have no doubt they would want to put something on the table that is designed to be attractive or they think will be attractive to some of the members of the 5 plus one. this leads me to the second point. russia is the key here and while it is hard to know exactly what they want -- with the will want to do, they want to establish independence from us but i would
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note trend -- one thing. right now the russians are seen as protecting the syrians. this is something that is not doing their interest very much good. if they're seen as protecting the iranians, they put themselves in a position where they threaten their long-term interests in the region. the russian capacity to evaluate, is that something we can count on? i think it does with respect to reconciletno, how do we conflicting realities? we have to give it enough time to be credible, and in the end, it turns out if diplomacy has to be used, it has to be seen as the iranians brought this upon themselves.
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partly because there is no military solution to this. the use of force can set the iranian program back. they have the know-how and engineering capability to reconstitute. we need to put them in a position where it is hard to reconstitutes because they are contained afterwards. they have to see thatthe cost is very high, because that gives some chance of succeeding over time, so you do have to reconcile competing realities if you want to achieve the basic objective we are after. quex on the theory that experience would enable you to recognize a mistake,good >> what mistakes should be avoided if we are trying to get an agreement with iran, and what can we do, because you have a shorter fuse in the is really a public policy than the american policy. >> we should not discount the north korean example.
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it should be a lesson to us. mlb ellison to the iranians. -- it may be a lesson to the iranians. if they look at north korea was being an example for themselves, and we need to be mindful this could be what they are looking at. there is a certain value to being able to convey the idea there is a time limit here. i have a suspicion in makes it harder to us with other members, but in private, i think we should do it, including with iranians.
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they need to understand it is for real, so a combination of learning the lesson from the north korean experience and also learning from and where we are. 15 months ago they were not going to talk about their nuclear program unless they recognize their right to enrich. we did not recognize if they're right to enrich. -- and we did not recognize the right to enrich. this said they would not engage. we need to learn our lessons from where we have movement. >> i think we need to keep our eye on the enrichment program. we need to get a handle on the program, and we need to insist on security council resolutions, the other 3.5%.
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>> how do we enforce that? >> you are asking what should we do. that should be the baseline. how do we and for stocks -- how do we enforce? we keep bringing pressure to bear. this is the additional point i wanted to make about our strategy in the meantime. if you think about it, whatever the negotiations, iran is going to keep enriching as fast as they possibly care of, and they are going to be moving full speed ahead because they know that increases pressure on us. if this negotiation process is going to become attenuated at all, we need to keep resting up. -- ratcheting up. history says that is unlikely. it would be disastrous for negotiations for us to do
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anything provocative, so let stand down on an additional sanction measures. even if the u.s. does not do that, i worry that the europeans will do that and the chinese and russians and others. we cannot allow that to happen. if iran is going to continue enriching, we have to ratchet up sanctions. losingse we're in a scenario. >> i think the problem is we have not believe in sanctions and not -- enough to give it a try. every administration we have had one or two meetings, and that is it, so here is the problem for us. where in an overheated political environment. we're in an election year. some people want to set up at --
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the construct. we have to have more patience and longer-term strategic reviews and commit ourselves to diplomacy. diplomats are not soft. diplomats can negotiate and section at the same time. i agree with stevei would agree we have to retain. sanctions. i would heighten the sanctions and implement the central bank sanctions. at some point we have to call it quits. at some point we have to set a time limit and say this is as much time as we have got, but i would be reluctant to give the vice -- advice on what that should be, so i would say pressure but you have to believe in diplomacy and of to give us a chance -- enough to give us a chance. >> one of the things of which i
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would agree. let me add one thing. >> we cannot appear to the iranians desperate or even overly eager for a deal. we have to convince them in an effort to figure out what they can get, and if they believe we really want a deal, we will do anything to get a deal, if we are chasing them to get a deal in their perception, that is going to be close to getting a diplomatic outcome we like, so this is where we did to the disagreement on a one-on-one meeting. if they believe we are so desperate to get a one-on-one meeting, they will misperceives the strength of the american position, and our position is strong and there's this week. -- theirs is weak.
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good >> since it is not likely to come from the united states, does it make sense for the united states to buy and what a bipartisan solution has recommended, namely the higher level of capacity but might extend the term during which there is negotiation but also gives credibility the israelis will respond. >> i would be in favor of it. many of us know did it is hard to believe he would have the eu on sanctions if they did not believe the israelis have reason to wait and see if diplomacy can work. the more it is clear the option israel, the more it gives a
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chance to proceed. it concerns the other members -- convinces the other members they have to succeed, so i suspect when you think about the meaning of diplomacy, this is the logic of it. if we want the policy who succeed they have to think force is a likely alternative if this does not work out. >> i was part of the task force but made the recommendation. i was very pleased to see them endorsing the legislation.
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calling for the transfer of aerial refueling capability and bunker buster munitions to israel. >> i certainly believe without diplomacy and the threat of force we cannot be successful it is more important to me that the united states is a credible military threat. against iran. if diplomacy should fail it should be the united states that takes the lead and not israel. in any use of force in my view. it will be better for israel and their long-term strategic interests. good for reasons explained earlier, the united states has greater military capacity, and the united states can exercise a combination of diplomacy and and the threat of force more skillfully than anyone of us, so i do not know if that is the right moves. of we are sending lots of singles. and we need to intimidate a little bit the russians and
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chinese. to make the threat real. they have to stay with us and not undercut us. there is real talk china will try to do that. i think an early military strike would be otherwise. certainly unwise in the period of diplomacy and if the diplomacy fails, i would rather see the united states lead. >> i agree. making the transfers helps more, but there is no particular reason this responsibility should fall on israel, and the military outcome would be better if the united states undertook this. >> there is a general sense the united states is not about to engage in a military effort to contain iran, so the question is how does the united states
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attacked the power to a sense of will and decisiveness within the appropriate framework, because there has to be some degree of confidence on the israeli part. that the united states will do it. otherwise, they will lose their ability to do that because of the zone of immunity. there is several things that might be done. >> if it is done, it sends a message but by doing this, not only are we fundamentally committed to israeli security, but we are saying when it comes to the use of force, we are prepared to support it in the right circumstances. that in itself says something about the united states. we have done a lot to build up our capabilities endure region -- in the region.
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we have a significant air presence in the region. all the time. we have done an enormous amount for the warning capability, and missile defense capability, maritime security and -- all of these things are visible to the iranians, so the israelis know there is a commitment. -- the iranians know there is a capability out there. they know we are serious when it comes to the nature of the threat and how to approach it. there are certain exercises would send a message to the iranians this is not just talk. how you integrate has always been the essence of diplomacy, course of to policy, -- course diplomacy, and when
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we look at a lot of israelis set the table, i would say in addition to the pressures they filled from sanctions, they are acutely aware of the shifting balance of power in the region. they are acutely aware of isolation, and i think more of their capabilities and to threaten their neighbors has been blunted. you put all that together, i think that is part of conveying an image we are quite serious about objectives. >> i think it is all well and good to say israel should not attack and the united states should, but i believe the iranians believe there is zero chance of the between now and an election, so that message is the military pressure is off for the near term because the americans will not let the israelis do it, and the americans will not do it either. good >> it is likely 2013.
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attempted serious diplomacy is going to take us into autumn. it should. i also think to answer the question you posed to us, president obama to containment off the table -- took containment off the table. a little bit surprising. i thought it was welcome. he re-entered policy. he close the gap, which was very important, and to say he does not believe in containment means that if diplomacy fails, then our state is to deny military weapons capacity, that does leave us with use of force. that is useful. i think it was the right steps for the president to take, because you do not want to see egypt and turkey and saudi
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arabia this side they are going to become nuclear powers if they stand by and -- the side -- decide they are going to become nuclear powers if they stand by and see a round. this has to be an american strategy, and american strategy has to dictate the united states should be willing to use force if diplomacy fails. we have to reinforce it. about was the genesis of my remarks. >> i think there's a way of reinforcing the american position by rhetoric from the president. it was a step forward to say my policy was not containment, but we are in the realm of, my policy is this. there is the vagueness that should be eliminated. i would like the president to say something similar to what the vice president said, which is they are not going to get a
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nuclear weapon. we will use force if we need to. one or two short steps. the president was not willing to take steps that when the vice- president said it. the vice president got ahead of him on iran, and the president did not feel the pressure, change his position, and get a new one. it is a mistake, because it leaves the iranians wondering. it ought to be clear it is not just containment. but i will prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. closer to the language of the carter doctrine of 1979. we will use military force if
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necessary. good >> i just disagree. we did not hear this kind of clear statement from president obama until march of this year. i heard it and read it in debt apex fiche -- in the apec speech. he has got israel caused by. -- israel's back. he said he is willing to use force should diplomacy failed. >> i think he should be as clear as a vice president was. >> i suspect the vice president's statement was a statement of policy and the administration's policy. >> i wonder if there is someone in the audience who might want to ask a question. >> it is a question for the whole panel.
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when you said the iranians might put something that is attractive, to speculate, what might that be? what would they have to put on the table for you to say, they are really interested this time? >> i would say two things. i could envision them offering something on 20% but others would look at and say, here is a concrete step they are taking. this demonstrates this is for real.
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let's embrace that, and not only should we embrace thought. we should reward them, because if we do not get a reward, we are not going to see more of its. i could easily envision a thought process, and steve made an interesting point earlier that if you ratchet something up and you are doing something you should not do in the first place, getting rewarded for doing something you should not have done in the first place is not something you do to change the situation. >> it works with my daughter. >> that does not surprise me. >> when people ask how did you learn to negotiate, i say i have three kids. i think there is an important measure for us, and it gets back to the zone of immunity. for the israelis, if you want to put them in a position where diplomacy is not a device that is going to be used, where they lose their capacity to exercise a military option, you have to
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stop the clock, so something that would really convince me we are in a new situation is stopping the clock. stopping the clock really does mean a significant ship out and with the kinds of transparency measures that put you in a position where you begin to have a level of confidence where you really are building fire walls, and they are now prepared to accept. if what they want is a nuclear power, you have several administrations and willing to offer that. if that is what they want, there is a way to get that, and that is key to having diplomacy work. >> iran resumed construction on nuclear power in 1995, and for
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the next 10 years it was a policy of the united states the civil nuclear program in around was not susceptible -- in iran was not acceptable, and then our attention shifted to the enrichment facility, and in 2005 we reached the judgment of the plant was almost done and that it was too late, so we backed down. into 2005, we were willing to accept a nuclear reactor. our focus was exclusively on enrichment activities. that has been our focus. it has been reflected in security council resolution. we have demanded they suspend enrichment. iranians have had one objective. that is to gain international acceptance of their enrichment program.
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i think they believe time is on their side. they believe after 10 years, we back down on the nuclear reactor. 10 years have now gone by on enrichment. they are expecting us to back down on enrichment. a trade where they back off on the 20% and we accept 3.5% enrichment, that would be a huge victory for the iranians. i think that is what they are shooting for. i have trouble every time i read an expert saying that is as good of the deal as we will get, let's take it. we will see how negotiations play out. the zone of immunity is clearly a motivator. obama administration does not want the israelis to strike a deal on the 20% that addresses
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israeli concerns about the zone of immunity allows 3.5% enrichment to continue, i am sure if that happens it will not be presented to the world as the final deal. it will be presented as laying the groundwork for further diplomatic progress. i do not know what would change in six months or a year. at every step in the process, we would confront the question of them resuming enrichment. we cannot allow that to happen. we have to keep the process alive. in the real world, that translates to the interim deal becoming permanent deal. iran would achieve what it has been seeking since 2002, international acceptance of their uranium enrichment program. >> i would look for three factors.
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will iran be willing to give up its stock of 20% in richest uranium verifiably? that would move the timeline to the right. it would not resolve the problem we're trying to resolve. will iran agreed to suspend enrichment during the course of negotiations? that was the position publicly expressed in june of 2006 when we made our first negotiating offer. i thought that offer was logical. we would suspend sanctions the course of negotiations. iran would suspend enrichment. that would be a strong indication iran was series. i doubt they would agree to that. steve is right to be concerned. where is the potential deal between zero and 3.5? will iran be willing to agree to interest of 24/7 inspections? they have not been. inspectors have not been in that plant.
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iran has been playing fast and loose on this. i think the administration will press on all three counts. how much they will get is uncertain. >> i think inspection point is important. it looks as if the iranians will give up on keeping the iaea out. there are indications they are cleaning the place up. additional inspections are key signs iran is actually stopping. >> one reason you pursue and accept an interim step is because the iranians will not get the kind of sanctions release they want and need. it seems when you are looking at this, you have to look at it from both sides. an interim step could make sense.
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it does not mean we give up our leverage. >> in theory that is true. we have to see what a deal would look like. i suspect the iranians will want substantial relief before agreeing to transport materials. >> i agree. the essence of joe's question was what would illustrate a degree of seriousness. >> i have a theory you do not go to a doctor whose plants have died. we have tried a lot of things that have not worked. we're in a worse position than before. let's go to another question. >> to follow in the same vein, he asked a good question about what we need to sea on may 23 that is enough to validate this process and keep it going.
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nick burns came closest to a specific answer and said something that sounded a little bit like, suspension of iranians enrichment potentially and the freeze for freeze idea. the rest of you listed the menu of desires. what would be a sufficient iranians showing on may 23 to keep the process going? >> i think i am where nick is. i do not have an expectation you have a breakthrough on may 23. i do not think we should set ourselves up for that being the standard. what i would view as being another indication this is a process that could lead
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somewhere would be the following. on the substance of the issues, the issue of transparency in a meaningful way is on the table. it is not as partial access. it is additional protocol. it is the iranians prepared to say we're prepared to pursue. there is a definition of what it means in practice. additional protocol sounds great in theory. you have to talk about what it would mean in practice. some of the other specific elements of confidence builders, 20% ship out and 3.5%. this is not a serious process if it meets once a month. there should be a sense of urgency. there should be an ongoing set of discussions in the aftermath. it is not that we meet once a
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month and a preparatory stuff in between. i think there should be an ongoing set of discussions based on an agenda that comes out of this and tied specifically to issues put on the table. whether it is the additional protocol or ship out, these are things that would tell me this is a serious process and give me a higher level of confidence we will be able to determine whether or not it will be able to produce an outcome. >> i think it would be unfair to judge the administration on concrete specific progress on may 23. i do not think it is going to happen. what would normally happen in a negotiation like this is you draw a picture in the first meeting and the second meeting.
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you say here is where we want the negotiations to end. are you willing to commit to a process to get there? an early indication might be if the iranians quit the talks because they're not willing to go that route. i would not want to be party to a process to see the president has got to produce x, y, or z in a second meeting. we cannot stay there forever. we have to be conscious of not letting the iranians run out the clock on us. i would think we would want to go at this on a permanent basis from a daily and weekly throughout the summer. i would not want to see meetings scheduled once a month.
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>> the real question is whether the iranians are serious about negotiating a deal or making a play for time. the first negotiation was in istanbul. they wanted five weeks until the next meeting. they said it had to be in baghdad of all places. the next may be in damascus or kandahar. why five weeks? a more condensed negotiating schedule would be suggested of their willingness to work out a deal. iranians have a history of receiving a negotiating proposal from our side and saying they need to study it and will get back to us. three months go by and we get a one-page reaction. i would be on the lookout for that. if it does get serious, we will present a piece of paper. can they respond quickly and seriously? does it become a pretext for months of delay? >> the may 23 talks were
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initially scheduled to be earlier in may. there were delayed partly because of lady ashton's schedule. that cannot happen. if you go five weeks from may 23, you are getting into june, july, august. we will not take the position there can be negotiations in august because everyone in europe is on vacation. this should be tested the iranians. there should be in meetings at the least every other week. >> next question. >> i am not a journalist. i am a private lawyer. >> like it or not, we are in the middle of this during the middle of what will prove to be nasty and very close presidential election in this country. the timing could not be better/worse.
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what do you think the impact of this presidential campaign will be? assuming a change in administration with the election in november, what impact do you see on the longer- term negotiation and threat of military if necessary? >> let me make one comment. when you get a new administration, it does not matter who is coming to power. it can even be the vice- president of the previous administration. you may get your secretary of state and defense confirmed on day two or three. but you will not have your assistant secretaries of state or defense. a lot of people on the white house staff will be arriving
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later. you do not have a full government for months. if we have a new president, that will delay the decision making. it usually does. the other is the political question. i think it is clear the president would rather not deal with this between now and election day. i cannot see under any circumstances where he would deal with it, even with a breakdown in the talks. >> i was a career foreign service officer for a long time, now retired. i do not see any reason why there should be a partisan difference. i do not want to presume there will be a transfer of power in the autumn. let's talk about this year, this president. i appreciate governor romney's
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stance on iran. i have read it on his website. i have listened to senior republican voices. i do not see a lot of difference between president obama and governor romney. the worst thing that could happen from my perspective as a career diplomat is that this issue gets hijacked by politics. it is too important. everybody knows there will be partisan differences. not on this one. this is a question a potential war and peace for the united states. i would hope the republican leadership would give the president of time and space he needs, and that they would need if they were in the same position, to get this right. there is careful calibration of the threat of force that will go beyond may 23. >> there are two dueling critiques of mitt romney's iran policy. one is that it has been hijacked by republicans and the other is that there is no difference between him and obama. both cannot be correct. [laughter] bear that in mind the next time
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you read an article like the one in yesterday's "new york times." i do not know for sure the effect of the election. i think it diminishes the likelihood president obama will be tempted to adopt a bad deal because there will be justifiable negative fallout. if is a good deal, he will benefit politically from that as he deserves to. >> these kinds of issues are never made it easy in the hothouse of highly contested politics. maybe one way i can square the circle between the two of view is that when it comes to the nature of the objective, the objective is the same. there is no difference between the parties on the question of, do we prevent iran from having this capability?
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this is about preventing. the objective is the same. negotiating in this context is not simple. the reality is since the objective is clear and because we would have to be a will to live with sanctions as well, the agreement will have to pass muster on the hill. it will have to meet a certain standard. the negotiators know that. those are the realities you deal with. the other point is 100% right. there is no way to think if you have a change in the administration that you do not put yourself in a position where a lot of time goes by. i would say as an objective fact, the israelis would obviously be noting that as well. >> we have come to an end. all of us are fortunate to have had an opportunity to share the wisdom and experience of the panel. i will leave you with one
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thought. you cannot build your credibility but always saying what you are going to do. at some point, you have to do something. thank you all. [applause] >> i want to thank you. i will pick up quickly on the last couple of comments the panelists made about this being an election. one of the roles of the bipartisan policy center is not just during elections but every day of the year. we try to bring people from both sides of the aisle together to forge a bipartisan consensus. we believe we have done that in our own report. i think this panel had more convergent views than one might have expected before. i think you have heard an excellent discussion on this. i thank each and every one of them for joining us. i want to pick up on something dennis ross said when he said we have to stop the clock.
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that was a nice little plug on our last report on iran. it is outside. the bpc folder includes the white papers and other writings. i want to thank marissa, larissa, our communications group for putting this together. thank you all for attending on this rainy day. hope to see you at future events. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> in of the moment, senator john mccain on u.s. policy in
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asia. obama's commencement speech in new york city, and after that first lady michelle obama and joe biden host military spouses, mothers, and children at the white house. a preview of the upcoming nato summit in chicago. >> tomorrow morning we will look at a lawsuit by that group common cause, challenging the constitutionality of the senate filibuster rules. republican representative marsha blackburn will discuss a bank and finance regulations and will be joined by the author of the book "buying america back." "washington journal" is live on c-span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern >> saturdays this month, c-span radio is airing more from
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the nixon tapes. secretly recorded phone conversations for 1971-1973. this saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern, your conversations between president nixon and chuck colson, who passed away last month, as they talk about the democratic presidential nominee, george mcgovern. >> [unintelligible] everything he has done has gone wrong. >> nationwide, we are on xm channel 119. >> senator john mccain is urging the obama administration to pursue -- in a speech on u.s. engagement in asia at the center for strategic and international studies, the ranking member of the armed services committee also said that with the right
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decision, economically and militarily, the u.s. can secure its natural interest across the pacific. this is an hour. >> good morning, everybody. welcome to css, and a special welcome to senator john mccain. i said, sir, when you get 200 people to come on time, you have to reward them. we are still waiting for others to come and the weather is a bit of an impediment, but we don't want to delay any further to hear from senator mccain. it is a real source of pleasure, an honor for me to be able to welcome senator john mccain back to css. he has been such a long-term and steady support to what we do.
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more important today than ever, when i look at the landscape of political washington, who is bringing a strategic frame of reference to evaluate the most complicated problems? this man is at the very top. one of the concerns i have had is that he has for years, that a champion for americans understanding asia. nobody has worked harder at this then john mccain. he has had transcending moral authority to be able to do that. where is that next generation coming from? i am very grateful for his response when he says he will help mentor the next generation by giving them exposure to asia. and god knows that we needed. they are not really exposing themselves to this very dynamic landscape. the towering figure in the
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united states senate, it is hard for me not to get emotional. he continues to do that every day and i am very grateful to share his perspective on this issue. thanks to our friends that have made it possible for us to hold this hearing. it was another trans-pacific partnership series. google, hewlett-packard, ibm, procter and gamble, i want to say thank you to them because they are willing to bring the public debate to the american people and make it available. we are lucky to have someone like senator john mccain leading this debate in this dialogue in washington. it does not get better than that. without further delay, please welcome senator john mccain. [applause] >> thank you, john. thank you, john for that kind
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introduction. i was reflecting as you were speaking and i think our relationship and friendship goes back over 20 years. maybe closer to 30, but anyway. we are getting to the point where we hide our own easter eggs. i am very happy to let me thank ernie and everyone here at csis to let me speak this morning. csis , in my view, is one of the finest institutions in the city. and from the wise counsel of my old friend john henry, let me say how much i appreciate all of you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to be here. i am grateful that you still care what a member of congress has to say. most americans no longer do.
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last time i checked, the approval rating is now 11%, and i have yet to meet anyone in that category. we are down to blood relatives and paid staffers. [laughter] i am not so sure anymore about the blood relatives. i joke about this a lot and it is always good for a laugh, but the truth is that it is sad. it is sad how little faith americans have in their government and it is not just americans. last week, with a business delegation, one of them said, when we look at america these days, you seem totally dysfunctional. your political system seems incapable of making the basic decisions to fix your fiscal problems and project result of the world. and by the way, some in asia are citing these failings to undermine the confidence that
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your friends still have in you. i could not disagree with him. this is an enormous problem. it raises doubts about our commitment to the asia-pacific reason -- region. the idea that we must rebalance u.s. foreign policy with an increasing emphasis on the asia-pacific region, that is undoubtedly correct. the challenge we face is how to make this balancing effort meaningful. amid all of our political and fiscal problems, we run the risk of over-promising and under-delivering on the renewed commitment across the pacific. it is difficult to overstate the gravity of the choices before us. we face decisions that will determine the vector of american power in the asia- pacific region diplomatically, economically, and militarily for decades to come.
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we have to get our bearings right. if we fail, we will drift off course and fall behind. if we get decisions right, we can your conditions to expand the supply of american power, strength and american leadership and secure america's national leadership across the pacific. while the context in asia in jihad -- is changing, will seek the same objectives we have always had. the ability to prevent, deter, and prevail in a conflict. the extension of free trade, free markets, free navigation, and free commons space, and above all, the balance of power that fosters the peaceful expansion of human rights, democracy, rule of law, and
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other values that we share with increasing numbers of asian citizens. none of these are directed against any other country, including china. the peaceful development of china is in our interest. we reject the notion that america wants to contain china or that we seek a new cold war where countries are forced to choose between the united states and china. in short, the question we must answer is, can we, in america, make decisions right now that will position us for long-term success in asia? one of these decisions pertains to trade. it is often said that the business of asia is business, but when it comes to trade, the united states has been sitting on the sidelines. asia is sprinting forward without us. after four years, this administration still has not
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concluded or ratified a single free trade agreement of its own making. it took them until last year just to pass the fta's with korea, columbia, and panama that the bush administration had concluded. since 2003, china has secured nine in asia and latin america alone. it is negotiating five more and it has for others under consideration. it is not just china. anti-japanese prime minister announced that he wants japan to began -- had the japanese prime minister announced that he wants japan to begin negotiations with south korea and china. and yet we will not even conclude a narrow were bilateral investment treaty with india, let alone a full fta as we should. as of last year, one report found that asian countries that
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were negotiating nearly 300 trade agreements, and none of which included the united states of america. a lot of the trans-pacific partnership is frightened of it, but the deal might be years off if it happens at all. instead, we should be moving forward with a bilateral trade agenda starting with india and taiwan. we should also move more aggressively on a multi-lateral tract. we either need to bring all of the sian -- asian countries into the partnership or push for a free-trade agreement. the bottom line is that the long-term strategic and economic success requires an ambitious trade strategy in asia.
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the second decision is the regional force posture. i want to thank csis for leadership on this issue. we share the same goals. in maintaining our strategic commitment in the asia-pacific region through a robust position of deployed military forces. like many of you, some of us on the armed services -- which had become totally on affordable. the cost alone had doubled in seven years to more than $20 billion. this crisis presents an opportunity. some asian countries are showing an interest in a greater rotational presence of u.s. forces in the region.
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the agreement to rotate 2500 u.s. marines through australia could serve as a model for similar activities elsewhere such as the philippines. ultimately, these developments offer an opportunity to think creatively and comprehensively about a new regional force posture which should conclude a fresh approach to realignment on okinawa and guam. the national defense authorization act for an independent assessment of these forced-posture questions. i am pleased that the csis is conducting this important study. it remains unclear how the joint statement of the u.s.- japan consultation committee will fit into this requirement for a broader assessment of our
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regional force posture. at this time, the statement raises more questions than it answers. among them, questions about cost estimates, logistical requirements, force sustainment, master plans, and how the proposal relates to a broader concept of regional operations. we begin these important decisions right. -- need to get theese important decisions right. congress will not make funding decisions until we get an independent assessment on asia- pacific force posture that is required by law. a similar and far larger decision we must also get right is defense spending. the asia-pacific region is primarily a maritime theater. our ability to project military power depends mostly on the u.s. navy. the navy is still short of its own goal of 313 ships. the administration now proposes
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to retire seven cruisers earlier than planned to phase out ships needed by the marine corps and one virgina class attack submarine, two literal combat ships, and navy vessels. we are retiring ships faster than we are replacing them. without a plan to compensate for them only put our goals in the asia-pacific region at greater risk. all of this is before the potential impact of sequestration. the cuts to defense budget required under sequestration require nothing less than a unilateral act of disarmament that would insure the real decline of u.s. military power. a number of us in congress have offered proposals to avoid
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sequestration, but we do not have a monopoly on good ideas. we want to sit down and work on a bipartisan deal, but the president refuses to engage. he has no proposal to prevent what his own secretary of defense called "catastrophic cuts to the national defense." unless the president gets engaged on this issue, he will preside over the most hollowing out in our military. we must sustain our means of engaging diplomatically in asia. thanks to our secretary of state who is making u.s. diplomacy more present and impact full than ever in the region, we face major test that will signal what role america will play in asia and how relevant we will be to asia's challenges. one test is the south china sea. the united states has no claims
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in this dispute and we should not take positions on the claims of others. nonetheless, this dispute cuts the heart of american interests in asia. not just because $1.20 trillion of u.s. trade passes through the south china sea every year, and not just because the philippines is a u.s. ally, but because of this crucial for a rise in asia to avoid the dark side of politics. where strong states do as they please and smaller states suffer. ultimately, this dispute is not about china and the united states, it is about china's relations with its neighbors. we must support our partners as they request it so they can realize their own goals and peacefully resolve their differences multilaterally. another major test for u.s.
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diplomacy is burma. i have travelled to burma twice over the last year and they have a long way to go, especially stopping the violence and pursuing genuine reconciliation with the country's ethnic minorities. but his allies in the government, i believe, are sincere about reform. they are making real progress. the past year, i have said that concrete actions toward democratic and economic reform should be met with the reciprocal actions by the united states that can strengthen these reforms, benefit ordinary burmese, and improve our relationship. following the election that brought the national league for democracy into the parliament, i think now is the time to suspend u.s. sanctions, except for the arms embargo and targeted measures we maintain against individuals in burma
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that undermine democracy violate human rights, and combinations resources. -- rights and plunder the nation's resources. it will depend on continued progress and reform in burma. we also must established a principle of responsibility for u.s. activities in burma. they have made the distinction between the right and wrong kinds of investment. the right kind of investment would strengthen burma's private sector, that if its citizens, and ultimately loosen the military control over the economy and the civilian government. the wrong investment will do the opposite.
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entrenching a new oligarchy and setting burma back for decades. for this reason, i am not convinced that american companies should be permitted to do business at this time with state-owned firms in burma that are still dominated by the military. u.s. business will never win a race to the bottom of some of their asian or european competitors and they should not try. they should ally themselves with the burmese people who want to the kinds of responsible investment, high labor and environmental standards, and support for human rights and national sovereignty that the fine america -- defines america at its best. a standard we can use to pressure others to follow our lead. that can become the basis for new burmese laws. these are undoubtedly huge challenges and will require us to set aside political bickering to advance some of the vital
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national security interests. i am confident that we can come together and do this. i am confident that the profits of american decline can be proved wrong. even as you work to sustain the supply of american power, the demand for american power in asia has never been greater. i will give you one example. in my last visit to burma, i met with the president. after the meeting, i walked over to shake their hands. fort leavenworth, 1982. another one said fort benning, 1987. i realize many of these guys were former military officers that were part of the military exchange programs prior to us discovering relations with the burmese military. even after all this time, all
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of our troubled history, they remember america fondly and they want to get closer to america once again. take another example. why are dissidents in china running to the american embassy when they fear for their safety? they are not going to the russian embassy or the south african embassy, or even european embassies. why is that? is it because we are powerful? shirley, but other nations have great power. is it because we are a democracy that stands for the rights of all people? certainly. but these values are not ours alone. why is it? in short, because we marry our great power and our democratic values together. because among the community of nations, america still remains
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unique, exceptional, democratic great power to the events its own home interests and to further a set of transcendent values. this is why so many countries are drawn to us. because we put our power into the service of our principles. that is why, during my repeated travels through asia, i mean person after person, leader after leader, who want america to be their partner of choice. they don't want less of america, they want more. more of our trade, more diplomatic support, and more of our military assistance and cooperation. at a time when most americans are losing faith in our government, we should remember there are millions of people in the world, especially in the asia-pacific region that still believe in america and still
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believe in a world shaped by american power. american values, and american leadership. there are some many people counting on us, and by no means, counting us out. the best we can do is be worthy of the high hopes that if they endeavor for us. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, senator mccain, for the great speech. i would like to open the floor. this session is on the record. when you have a question, introduce yourself, and let us know what organization you are with. senator, i might need your help on hands there. >> i like your hat. >> thank you, sir.
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thank you very much. [inaudible] [inaudible] you made the point that we need to stand with our asean friends. wouldn't this be a good time for any administration to lift the environmental export of lethal weapons to vietnam?
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our security relationship is evolving to the point this makes sense. >> one of the few things i have done in my life and i am very proud of is the establishment of a normalization of relations between the united states and vietnam. i think it went along way to healing a lot of the wounds that needed closing. i have to be candid with you. remaincerned, i concerned about the vietnamese treatment of buddhists, christians, minorities, and the corruption that exists at very high levels. the scandal of the shipyard was the most visible example of this. -- of it.
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i have grown more and more reliant on human rights organizations. they are important in our considerations and i have found over the years that in many instances, they are right. human rights organizations tell me that the persecution of buddhists, christians, minorities, and others continues. and there is no reason for it. i've visited vietnam fairly often and i say to their leaders, what is the point? what is the point here? i don't know if it is old habits or if it is a fear that there might be some of rising -- uprising for some reason. obviously, the state department has certain standards that are set that could be met, and we can have much closer relations
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with them. let me finally say that the vietnamese are nervous about china. they have a long history, they are very familiar with it. it shows the fact that about a year ago, asia and named after my father and grandfather paid a port visit to the port of de nang. if you live long enough, anything can happen in this world. i love the vietnamese people and i love vietnam. i look at the way that our country has been enriched by those that fled to come here. it is not anything that has to do with personal -- when i hear the persecution that still goes on, it seems to me that the vietnamese have more maturation to accomplish before we provide them with offensive weapons.
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>> [inaudible] >> could you wait for the microphone, please? >> from south asia, general. on the fighting american interests in asia, i noticed that you did not mention iran, pakistan, or afghanistan, which i believe have very important roles. >> if i bring up iran or pakistan, that as a whole other speech. there is now a new set of negotiations going on with iranians over nuclear weapons, and i am not as optimistic as
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some because i have seen this movie before. i am not opposed to any time sitting out as long as it is not a process of the leg -- delay. afghanistan, i was very pleased with the strategic partnership agreement that was included. it is like any other agreement, we want to see the details. there are two major problems that we have had in afghanistan. one is corruption and the other is the presence of sanctuary in pakistan. i am sure you are aware, there is the widespread feeling that the united states was leaving. the famous and make t aboutaliban -- anecdote about the taliban prisoner that says you have the watches, we have the time. the reggie, correctly
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implemented, it would change the mindset that the united states doesn't intend to abandon like iraq. in the words of general keene, we won the war and are losing the peace. there was the failure of our ability to train even their police forces. believe me, things are going to get a lot worse in iraq before this unfortunate saga is over with the tragic loss of 1474 young americans. next time i am invited to csis, invite you, and we'll talk about it. thank you. >> the gentleman here in the blue tie.
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>> thank you, senator mccain. i'm a former senator from pakistan. pakistan is a key ally to the united states. next week is the chicago summit. what do you see the role of pakistan being? >> pakistan is vital to the united states national security interests of for a broad variety of reasons, including nuclear inventory that pakistan has. including the fact that pakistan's role in the region is vital, not to mention relations with india. we have to operate within our relations with pakistan, the realization the i.s.i has relations with the network and carrying out activities that kill americans. that is an assessment that
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cannot be refuted by the fact. -- the facts. one of the gravest mistakes in history was the amendments that cut off the military to military relations. we are still paying a heavy price for it. there are some that argue that pakistan is a failed state. i don't argue that. i do argue, plausibly, that the politics in pakistan are very unsettled, to say the least. it is in our interest to have good relations with pakistan. it is in our interest to aid pakistan and assist them to a better democracy and a lessening of corruption and a severing of relations between the isi and the icani network. if there is a lesson we should
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learn over again, we can't force people to change their ways. unless they want to. it is so disheartening sometimes to see the lack of progress towards a meaningful democracy and rule of law, all of the things that we hope the pakistanis might achieve. whether we are successful or not, pakistan will remain a country that is vital to united states national security interests. i don't have to draw for you the various scenarios and the break out of their government. i hope that we will continue to
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work with pakistan in every possible way we can. we must take a totally realistic approach with our relations to pakistan. >> meredith? >> meredith broadbent, csis. are you comfortable with the trans-pacific partnerships? and what about the other allies that want to join? >> i am not satisfied with the pace of negotiations. i pointed out how it is saddening that china is concluding all of these free trade agreements and the united states of america, in the last more than three years, we have concluded a three that have been negotiated by a previous administration. that is a shameful record. every country in the world, practically, is recognizing the benefits of free trade agreements. we saw the special interests of the car companies and the trade unions which imposed
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restrictions. when we abandon the fast track methodology, it makes it even worse. when i travel at your expense, i hear them. [laughter] they want a free trade agreement. they say, why don't you do it? this partnership is magnificent. it could be one of the greatest breakthrough that we have had in recent history if we could just move forward with it. i am not here to beat up on the administration, that would be easy enough for me to do. but it requires presidential leadership and it requires setting priorities. president clinton said the free-trade agreement between the united states and canada as a priority. congress reacted.
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the president ought to give a speech, come here and say, we are going to conclude this partnership agreement. i just came from chicago where we had some of our neighbors there, and it is the best thing america could do. and keep jobs at home. if i sound frustrated did is because i am. the rest of the world is understanding the value of their own countries while we discuss a very nice concept. >> for the record, the president is invited to csis if he wants to come. >> it won't help if i recommend it. [laughter] nice to see you agian. -- again.
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>> in a couple weeks, the talks between the united states and iran -- i wanted to ask your thoughts about reciprocity. the administration has talked about the principle of reciprocity and whether you think the goal of the sanctions that congress and the ministry and is enforcing should be a deal to end their nuclear program or change? notirst of all, i'm optimistic about the possible results of these "talks." the first talks were greeted with enthusiasm because they agreed to talk again. i have seen that movie before and we have seen it not only as far as iran is concerned, but
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north korea. so, again, i'm for talks. anybody who isn't, obviously, is foolish. for us not to take a realistic approach to these conversations, i think, is also, flies in the face of history. i don't think there is any doubt that the sanctions are hurting iran, seriously hurting their economy. i don't think there is any doubt about that. you can look at a number of indicators about the iranian economy to show that the sanctions have hurt significantly. i have heard an erosion on the part of the popular support of this iranian government for development of nuclear weapons, and i have yet to see any real meaningful concessions made by the iranians.
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i have yet to see any change in the path they're on towards development of nuclear weapons. what really should happen, instead of sending your national security adviser and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to israel and tell the israelis not to attack iran and leak it to the press, which weakens the israelis, with this edition of the new government of israel, we should sit down and establish redlines. those can be four or five provisions, state of enrichment, others for further development. we can write them down on the back of an envelope that say to the israelis, these are the red lines. we are telling the iranians that these are the red lines. as the president has said, it

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