tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 6, 2013 5:00am-7:00am EST
at least in this case, i believe that it was something that what -- that was in both of our interests. i disagree with my friend. the notion that somehow that the russians were the big winners at the expense of the united states in this deal is absurd. the president possible, with respect to the threat of force, was a very specific. he wanted to get rid of the chemical weapons. a lot of people who were upset that we did not end up using military force had a different goal in mind with restore -- with respect to military force.
they wanted to use it to change the power situation on the ground. the president did not indicate that was the purpose of force in this instance. , theu look towards iran president's distinction between using force for the purpose of getting red of -- getting rid of weapons of mass of -- mass since an important met -- sends an important message. have divergent syriasts with respect to and to the assad regime. we want to make sure that whatever happens in syria that we do not have an al qaeda like situation.
you have an influx of foreign so you have a toxic of theseria now extreme elements. >> are you hopeful for the geneva process in syria? do see the russian collaboration as a step in the right direction in trying to bring the parties together to end of the war? >> i think most people recognize the only solution to the challenge in syria is through some kind of negotiated settlement. to the extent that we are trying to get people around the table to negotiate a settlement, that would be an important step. people recognize the challenges are huge in being able to bring people together and reach a settlement. believe this is another
-u.s.le where russian cooperation could bear for. ars on one common interest. to see a transition away from a regime that does not create a vacuum that brings in what is an even worst-case scenario, which is allowing syria to become a base of operations for some of these extremist groups that are exploiting the situation. for a me turn to iran moment. chairman rogers but we got a bad deal in iran. there has been some talk about passage of a resolution or some type of resin -- legislation in
the house. the senate whoin may consider a further sanctions bill. the white house does not want that to happen and is weighing in truong lee with congress. strongly with congress. you cosponsored the angle bill, the iran nuclear prevention act. you have been a good friend and supporter of israel. is now the time for more sanctions and legislations on iran? >> i have been a big supporter of economic sanctions on iran. to bring iran to the negotiating table so that we could do everything possible to try to negotiate a diplomatic solution a prevent iran from obtaining
nuclear weapons -- those were the purpose of the sanctions. bringre pressure we can to accomplish that goal, the better. i supported the sanctions in the house earlier this summer that went over to the united states senate. the purpose ofas the sanctions? the purpose was to have a serious negotiation. i disagree with mike's characterization of this six- month interim agreement. to suggest that it is somehow it is somewhate, naïve. you have to compare this agreement to what the alternative is. what does this agreement do?
ians havehat the iran to neutralize their stockpile of highly enriched uranium. theirave to freeze nuclear enrichment plant in other areas. the reactor, a freeze. place,ctions that are in they remain in place. all of the sanctions on oil, the financial sector, they are all in place. in the next six months, iran will lose between $25 billion and $35 billion. they will have very little
relief in some other areas. the sanctions regime remains in ande during this period everyone has said -- you mentioned the race to break out -- it adds time to the clock before you can have a uranium breakout. it is hard to argue that the situation is more dangerous. especially when you consider the fact that this is reversible. violation, the 8.8 billion dollars worth of relief can go back into place, the president has the authority to increase sanctions, and the united states congress would be to first to move quickly impose additional sanctions. point in time, i would -- youou have to move would have to tread very carefully in this area with
respect to new sanctions. the sanctions were successful was because they are international sanctions. the united states did not have a close economic relationship with iran. they're successful because we have european partners, the indians, chinese, turks, russians and others to participate. to the extent that our allies do not think that we are serious about pursuing a diplomatic solution first, we have a real risk that they will no longer participate in the sanctions. then you end up with the worst of two worlds -- no sanctions, so no more bite, and then the iranians can move forward without penalty of a nuclear program. is not a question of trusting the iranians. it is a question of testing the
iranians. we will be verifying every move. i cannot read the mind of the a rainy and's. ians.e iran rouhani whosident was elected on a platform to try to relieve the sanctions because of a terrible economic situation. you also have lots of folks in revolutionary guard and others, who would like to see this whole thing unravel. give theteps that revolutionary guard ammunition to try to undermine the effort than it seems to me that we harm ourselves. we are not going into this thinking that being iran --
thinking that the iranian regime will change its --. reasons to doonal that. we should test of that. ultimately, if this does not work, the only remaining option is the one of the president has said has been on the table. the use of force. opponents of this effort need to explain why they would want to skip over the diplomatic testing effort which would lead to iran continuing with its nuclear program. the only alternative is the one- way i have on the table but would like to avoid, which is the use of force. there is a big burden on the opponents of this agreement to hat isople know that t their final position. >> what about the concerns of
our allies? how should we manage that at this point? there are concerns, obviously. i would point out that if you look at the statements that came out from a lot of the gulf states, including the salaries after they read the final saudis afterthe they read the final agreement, if you look at the statements, i would not characterize them the way mike has. if you look at the situation within israel, you have lots of these folks in the military and security establishments who said yes, this is something that is an important step. former head of military intelligence, a lot of the leaders of political parties. i understand the prime
minister's position. congress lays an important role in this debate -- plays an important role in this debate as the bad cop. a goodme minister is negotiator. i think he has turned his focus on what we should all be focused on -- the comprehensive agreement. what are the parameters? how can we design that to achieve our objectives here and find out whether or not the iran ians are serious? the best way to reassure our allies is to try to keep them well informed. they share the goal of making does not have a
nuclear weapon. they recognize that doing allows iran to proceed on its way. there are some that would say that they should proceed on its way in the united states should use force. remains on thet table as an option, but it is not the preferred way to address this challenge. >> let me ask you about egypt. the difficult transition that has continued since the to hear tahir square -- we still have violence in the streets. the u.s. policy be towards egypt and should in givinge involved
assistance to egypt at this time? tough case, as we know right now. i think the administration has difficultd job under circumstances. that has left our policy kind of murky. is because of the situation in egypt -- it is murky. we are trying to balance interest. we have made both sides angry. downlternative is to come the currentinst government or to send a signal that the elections do not matter and we do not care about a free and open process.
what we need to do is calibrate our response to say that we want egypt to move in the direction that we have all hoped they would move in. towards a more open process, rule of law, send a signal that we are worried about some of the recent measures that clamps down on the ability of people to gather and protest. hrir square.ta totally outlawed, the gathering of a couple of people. we support the law and the right of people to put tension -- petition their government. we do not want to totally the government. a calibrated think
response that you have seen from the administration, which is we withhold some military support and we want to continue to work with the government as a transition back towards the original aspirations of the arab spring there. that is the way to go. there is no easy answer. egypt, it has been particularly challenging. iraq. me ask you about been as badere has as it has ever been. going back to the worst years during the u.s. occupation there. iraq at thisein point and what should the u.s. be doing there?
to see the rise in terrorism as a link to syria and other problems that we are seeing? i think it has been exacerbated. it is interesting to hear some folks now who suggest this six- month interim agreement with --n is strengthening me iran whengthening the iranians the most that strengthened iran was the war in iraq. you have iraq allowing iranian claims to overfly iraq on the way to syria. moreng strengthened iran
than the iraq war. did resulted in iraq in unleashing these latent tensions between the sunni and shiite. northve the kurds in the who have been an island of stability, but you already had these tensions. they have been greatly by the situation in syria. what you have now is an influx of foreign fighters into syria. . lot of the al qaeda and iraq now playing in syria and they are playing back into iraq. you just saw terrible brutality recently. against the violence
and thene -- the shia the violence against the sunni tribal leaders who quatrain with this. the short answer to your -- foucault whopper rated with us. us.ho cooperated with you are seeing a similar spillover effect in lebanon. there is no doubt that these schisms also reinforced by the proxy war with iran and and theh and assad others is making a difficult situation. that gets back to your other question on geneva. what is the alternative? we have got to find a negotiated
ive settlement to these issues. we need to do everything we can with our own resources to -- to monitor on the counterterrorism front. deep schisms that are already there in iraq and they are inflamed by everything else that is happening in the region. >> i will open it for questions. be concise in your question and state your name and affiliation when called upon. >> mark, george mason university. thank you for an interesting presentation. i know your dad. he's a great guy. i am a little bit older. my question is as follows.
i remember that the soviet the early 1970's were able to succeed because we were able to agree on the nuclear issue. it found her because of differences with regards to regional conflicts and soviet support for their allies which we did not appreciate. even if we make progress with issue, is --uclear possible if iran continues to support syria and hezbollah. disagree witho this? does this need to be part of our conversation with the iranians. during the cold war, the
international competition between the united states and the soviet union was a sum game. we were on the losing end. that is the way it was. the only exception was not in the area of international competition, but an agreement that we could enter into some arms control agreements that were in our interest. in terms of the national arena, it was a zero sum game. limited cases,e like equal operation on the chemical weapons program in syria, there has been some opportunity where we have been able to work together, hopefully with respect to the iranian nuclear program, that will be another. you are right. there are all of these other issues swirling around. been -- has not been
a helpful player in syria overall. helpful in a been lot of other areas. believe the discussions should be broadened. i do not think we should put too in terms of the negotiations on the nuclear program, i think we have to focus on that specific issue. that does not mean we cannot also be addressing other issues, but we have to avoid any somestion that there are how with respect to an agreement withlicy issues in syria respect to the negotiation over the nuclear program.
the nuclear program, we have clear objectives. we want to make sure there is no -- that iran can develop doesn't have a nuclear infrastructure that would allow any kind of short, medium path toward a nuclear weapon. they are not going to unlearn the technology they have learned. our goal has to be focused on that. that does not mean it couldn't largery grow into a discussion. i would welcome that. we have to test this at every point. my concern is that people put high expectations on this discussion that they think in addition to trying to deal with the nuclear issue, if we do not change iran's spots on all of these other issues, we cannot go
forward the nuclear question. important to test possibility on these other fronts, but not at the expense of moving forward with -- the next six months and beyond -- there arebe huge opportunities, but there are big risks. got such aend, iran good deal because the people are happy about it, but what that tells me is that expectations are thatot of iranians they're going to have a greater opening with the west. forward ono move their economy.
that sense, there are pressures to try to make sure they relieved the full sanctions. we have to make sure we do not relieve the full sanctions until we get what we want in terms of narrowing the scope of their program and at the same time, tehrane a whole group in that would like to see this process fail. is going to be a very tense time. lots of hope, but a huge amount of things that can go wrong. i would argue that the danger of hereg anyone take action that might send a signal that the united states did not want to fully test this during the unwind thewould unity we have achieved in the if thiss, and then,
does not work out and you have to look at the other alternatives that the president has kept on the table, you still oft to have some kind international support for any follow-up action. if the perception is that the united states did not give this people testing -- give the full testing, that would be harmful for our interests. for full sanctions relief to , one of then iran noditions is that iran is longer a state sponsor of terrorism. all of their missile programs are accounted for, they are no longer a threat to u.s. therests and allies in region. the conversation about hezbollah and other issues has to be had.
it has to be a conversation i will go through congress or the president will have to certify that thoseress issues have been satisfied. as we have talked about several , that couldmonitor pose the way for the opening of conversations that need to be had. >> if you look at the language of the sanctions, they do have requirements that the president makes certain certifications. that are also provisions allow the president to make waivers on national interests. there is some amount of of whaty to the degree the executive branch could do to waive sanctions on different findings.
the political reality is that have to takell place. we should be pushing the a rainy and at every juncture -- the iranians at every juncture. don't get a more infrastructure in exchange for that cooperation. we are not going to say you can keep your nuclear infrastructure because you are cooperating. that we will not do. it is fine to talk about these other issues, and it would be useful. hi.
congressman, for your interesting presentation. when i have the chance to meet iranians, they raise the question about double standards. pakistan has nuclear power and all of the facilities that will be needed in order to arm missiles, while, as we know, they offer safe haven to bin laden. that the future of pakistan does not look much better than the future of iran. there's no reason to trust the iranians more than the pakistani.
the other is the linkage between the peace processes in the middle east. time, it was admitted there was a linkage. negotiations with it will beus one, if satisfactory, it will help us .ove on the palestinian track the israeli nist go share says a linkage goes the other way around. negotiatoreli says the linkage goes the other way around. which one do you agree on? there is a saying in politics
-- some of my friends really one positiongly in and some of my friends agree strongly in a different position. i am going to side with my friends. is, i think we should -- i applaud secretary kerry the president for trying to reengage on the israeli-palestinian negotiations. i think it is a very important -- i think it is very important and the clock is ticking on the possibility for a settlement there. there are a lot of people who think that the clock has run out. get into -- ito think you can imagine different the in which success in
israeli-palestinian discussions can have a positive influence in the negotiations with iran. the time tables, while we set the six-month deadline, there is some overlap in the time tables. happens, wef what need to move ahead on the israeli-palestinian negotiations for a whole set of reasons. be -- therecould are a number of different interactions. i do not think one is a justification for moving or not moving ahead on the other. that is all i'm going to say. with respect to what the iran ians say about the power -- that kistani, you the pa
have a special dynamic. you have the pakistan's and the indians. you have countries that never signed the n.p.t. --t means that you have to countries that signed it, means you have to abide by the terms .p.t.e n they were clearly in violation of the agreement that they sign. that is why the international so suspiciousbeen and why they have every right to pass the resolutions that the passed.ations we need to hold them to it. they say it is not fair, we n.p.t. and they did
not, but they did sign the n.p. t. you also have the fact about their international behavior and contact in -- conduct in iran. iran's conduct has made people fearful of what would happen. for all of those reasons, i think we are right to be as focused as we are on the iranian nuclear program. platt. i am teaching here now. in response to the question that congress' t out role -- my question concerns
budget and funding. you are the ranking democrat on the house budget committee and we may have an agreement next week. ,o you see your colleagues particularly the republican caucus, supporting the funding levels for the defense and intelligence communities that would seem to be indicated by the kinds of policies congressman rogers would like to see the united states follow? the middle of budget negotiations. it would be great if we can get an agreement by next week. right now, it is up in the air. question, i think when it comes to providing the resources necessary for the defense and intelligence community, there is a bipartisan
support for that part of the budget. with respect to other very important parts of our national security budget, we have had less success in convincing our republican colleagues. the other parts of what i think are important to a robust policy which includes other forms of ofistence, development -- assistance, development and economic assistance. other tools of former -- foreign policy. the state department budget is puny in comparison to the defense budget. you get an awful lot of benefit from some of those investments that the state department, in terms of assistance, economic assistance and it is that part of the category of the budget where we have had a lot less
success in getting bipartisan support. moree senate, we have bipartisan support for that. lindsey graham, john mccain, they have been big supporters of a robust state department budget. house, some of our colleagues on the republican -- broadlyially defined as the tea party folks, it has been difficult trying to convince them of the important national security arguments in favor of that form of assistance. this is a constant back-and- forth. if you look at the house republican budget over the ten- year period, it would cut the category of the budget for those
kind of state department operations. we going to have to work together to try and prevent it. if you want to do the kinds of things that mike rogers wants to do and i agree with most of what , it was a afghanistan big mistake for the united states to disengage at the end of the -- when the soviets withdrew from afghanistan. we created a vacuum that led to exploit being able to that vacuum. it is important that we maintain a presence there. if we're going to maintain a presence there, we need to provide the resources necessary for our folks. >> did you have a question? thank you. is -- i am a fellow
at the foreign policy institute here at sais. you mentioned one common interest the united states has with russia and syria is to present -- prevents syria from becoming a base of operations for al qaeda. once we start changing the border regime in that part of the world, we are in for changes that will have many repercussions. -- dostion is as follows you foresee in the medium-term, a scenario where we see assad staying in power as being in the -- that we share with the russians. >> i think the american
position, which i support, has syria, atyou had, in the beginning of the arab spring, a movement that represented the aspirations of the majority of the syrian people across the secretary and ands for more openness change. regime is a brutal regime that suppresses the rights of the people. we need to change the regime in syria. -- fromlenge has been
our perspective we think be syrian the people deserve a government, one that represents their aspirations. we need to make sure that as we transition, which is the goal of any political negotiation, toward a different government, a negotiated alternative. to be a negotiated agreement because otherwise, if you do not negotiate, the risk is that you have these other extreme al qaeda related elements taking advantage of the situation. we know that they are militarily strong. they are stronger than the other opposition elements. that, in some cases, is the worst-case. where --ailed states
failed state where al qaeda is allowed to opt for a -- operate. we are quite rating and trying to get the negotiations going. to thellenge negotiations as they perceive themselves to be in a different position power wise as they go into this negotiation that willingnesseople's to work towards the goal to transition to a negotiated government that better reflects the aspirations of the american people, the syrian people. saw is evidenced by what we during the early days of the arab spring, at the end of that very hopeful.
-- that very hopeful period. >> we have time for one more question. thank you for your remarks. if we look at -- it is understandable the emphasis on .nron iran -- --iran five countries have decided that they have rights to have these weapons and others don't. in that time, they were able to deliver, to guarantee that this treaty will be respected. now, it is completely different. severala severing -- countries that have abstained. is it still possible to stop any country am having -- from
denying rights and having this weapon now since only by force -- a legitimate base is nonexisting. >> i would make a couple of points. agree thatt people russia and the united states agree that a world where more countries have nuclear weapons is a more dangerous world. proliferationthe makes it a more dangerous world. it is more likely you will see nuclear weapons used or transferred. in which more bad actors can get access to nuclear material that is not adequately safeguarded. those countries put
in place the n.p.t. not give you a "right" to enrich, but it does provide a vehicle for countries for the peaceful use of nuclear power under certain conditions. thing,right to enrich which has been part of this discussion over the six-month interim agreement, the language in the agreement is a mutually agreeable program. i have said to some of my colleagues, if somebody said you have the right to free speech, but i have a say over which you ,re going to be allowed to say
what the form of your speech would be, would you tell me that is a right to speech -- to free speech or that i am intruding on your right to free speech? we have to have a mutually agreeable program. the reasons for that code back to the fact that iran was in violation of the n.p.t. i still think the architecture provides an international architecture that makes the world a little less dangerous place. enforcing it is an ongoing challenge and there are many countries that do have a civilian only nuclear power program. you have japan, lots of other countries. russia has an important role in
these iran talks, you have the bush year -- power plant. that is connected to the grid. one of the issues with the iran ian nuclear program is the amount of material they have enriched, the quantities are much larger than are justified by any civilian use. the number of centrifuges they have are much more. that is why people ask the question -- if what you say is true, that you want an exclusively peaceful the billion nuclear program, why do you have this large infrastructure -- exclusively peaceful civilian
nuclear program, why do you have this large infrastructure? that is going to be part of the negotiation. >> thank you for coming out today. intense talks.in the house budget committee, i know you're amendment to leadership on that right now. you're trying to get the best deal possible for the country. tricky issues on so many levels, but you are hard at it and we are hopeful of a deal. i appreciate you taking the time -- >> it is great to be able to talk about something other than the budget right now. very important issues for the country and the international community. thank you. [applause]
>> i am a combat vet. i served in the navy for seven years before i was medically retired. i contracted a terminal lung disease in iraq and crushed parts of both of my hands. i am 100% disabled. i can no longer work. down toexpectancy is less than two years. my husband is my primary caregiver. i do not need anything from the v.a. any longer. my claim took four years to adjudicate. not once did i ever present one single piece of new evidence. ,he entire claim was submitted fully developed in its entirety, before i was discharged from the navy. i am here, not to represent my
claim or my issues. we are here to make sure that this panel and that everyone that will listen to us will understand that cases like my like mrs.nfortunately mcnutt are not isolated. veterans, spouses, and their children are dealing with complex claims that are being denied over and over again or are being lowballed. a house of veteran's affair subcommittee is discussing the backlog in processing disability claims. tv, taking stock of the grand old party. late saturday night, just past midnight at 12:15 a.m. on c-span 3, it is american
history tv. a nation grieved for a lost president and lbj stepped into the white house from the oval office. >> more from this event on iran and syria. this panel is margaret -- moderated by margaret. it is just over an hour. >> if you would take your seats please. seats we would like to begin the panel. there are some seats up front. i would like to introduce the moderator for our next panel on russia in the middle
east. margaret warner. i am pleased to say that our monitor and newshour have agreed a show code per -- a show hosted by margaret warner. >> we have some fabulous participants. i know you know them all. i will give introductions in a minute. we are seeing growing russian engagement in the middle east. after quite a few decades of non-engagement. 'som the critical --assad program --elping deal and theemical
nuclear agreement. we are seeing, for the first time, russian officials being welcomed in capitals that have been considered in the u.s. sphere of influence, most notably, egypt. is russia back in the middle east? if so, to what end? what is their objective? we are going to explore that brzezinski.bigniew is an author of a myriad of books. lukyanov. he is the columnist for al-
monitor. and fiona hill. she is head of the center on the u.s. and europe at brookings and co-author of a book. the review said it was not just utin biography, but a psychological portrait. we only have an hour. we want to save 20 minutes or so for questions. is russia back? what are they up to in the middle east? >> they never left the middle east. the middle east is right next to russia's soft underbelly. they have a defensive interest.
there is an explosion in the middle east that will spread. it may say -- it may mean saying goodbye to the so she olympics -- the sochi olympics for a little while. several decades ago, it was much larger. i think russia wants to keep up. like tothey would minimize american influence, but is not prepared to engage in some sort of dramatic f-4 -- dramatic effort to expel united states from the middle east. we have russia playing a game in which some motives are defensive and there is a trade up between in aa's participation sense that engages russia and the top level of the negotiating process. >> how do you see it? is there greater russian -- than
a decade ago? >> i see greater russian engagement than even a year ago. if we look at a number of visitors from the region in moscow, just in the recent three minister ofs, prime turkey, israel. the chief of saudi intelligence, russian foreign and defense is aners -- that incredible increase in contact. yes, i think the russian presence in the middle east is much bigger now than before. ago.o talk about 10 years the paradox is it was not the aim by mass -- by moscow. it wasn't about syria.
it wasn't even about the middle east. it was about some principles and a willingness to stop interventions. to become normal in settling original problems. as it happened in libya before, that was a key driving force for russian position. no strategic interest in the middle east. we see the consistency in russian position, many people disliked it, but it was consistent. deeper into get syria. let me get fiona hill's view. is the engagement greater in the last year? whatever comparison you want to use. what you think is driving at?
russia never left. this is a re-engagement. rush is reaching out to countries that it has had long relationships with. in the case of egypt, moscow was perturbed by the u.s. decision to --. they have their own ties with the military that they are capitalizing on. there is a great deal of concern what the shift in russians see as a balance of power in the middle east with the arab spring. the shifts towards a more religiously inspired government. russians were keen on the secularit authoritarian government. in --e see as an install
an interesting constellation. this is not the cold war anymore. we mentioned the focus on but is also an effort to reach out to natural alliances in israel. theor mentioned relationship with israel. russia, like the u.s., has partners in the middle east. israel. it is not have the same relationship as we do with the gulf arab state, but iran is a major partner for russia, and then also egypt and the assad regime in syria. these are not sunni muslim powers. all secular at least in their profile. russia is really aiming at is trying to restore
the bonds of power that is all shifting because of the concerns about the domestic politics and the problems that is served, putin and others are facing medicine the olympics with some of the blowback, not just the regime change aspects. it is a pretty complex picture for russia, and russia is trying to grapple with the way the picture has changed in the middle east. you thinkezinski, do there is an overarching theme in the way russia is engaging in the middle east? is it opportunistic or trying to put out fires? >> i look at it differently. there was a time when russia was one of the better principal players in the middle east, potentially a dominant player. and today brescia is not. and russia knows that. today russia is not and russia knows that. the united states'
predominance in the region is declining, and they know that. there are some unfortunate episode in the recent past which have contributed to the decline of american preeminence in the region. gradually,ving in quietly, but establishing its rhythm. china has never been a player in the middle east since probably the 14th century. now it is becoming a player, and it is becoming a player from a geopolitical vantage point that to the russians is not very reassuring because chinese influence is also spreading and central asia. now independent and finding a very useful that chinese -- that china is interested in them and investing in them and building up a political presence in them. they are diminishing russian influence. russia is trying to play for time, recoup some of its presence, hoping that our influence will continue to decline, and realizing that to some influence -- top -- to some
extent that we need russia, we china, we need them more than we need to some extent britain or france. it has become a game, one of which no one will be preeminent, all are likely to suffer if things blow up, and therefore all of us have at least a without theerest expectation that accommodation will make one of us or more than one dominant of in the region as a whole. that is furry different from the game that was being played in -- that is very different from the game as being played in the 1960's pretty 1980's. >> so not a cold war rivalry, much more cop could -- >> a much more complicated game for which there is not a zero- sum outcome. each one could benefit from the others presents what they same time knowing that the other noty's presence is motivated by good intentions toward us, but marginal gains is
what each is seeking. >> have you think, fyodor, -- how do you think, fyodor, the russian government sees its overarching objective in the middle east and vis-à-vis's the united states as well in that region? >> the general perception of american policy -- i would not pay strategy that strategy is not the right word in today's international relations -- but the general view is very confused because we frankly lost understanding what our are objectives-- of u.s. policy in the middle east. as for he -- as for russia, the reason russia is relatively successful now in the region is not that russia initially had an russiave, but because -- to certain principles what should be done and what
should not be done. ofsee that to have any kind , even if this idea might be challenged by many, it is better not to have anything, any ideas. i absolutely agree with dr. brzezinski that the parts of russia's success is due to failure of the rest. the u.s. is confused. as for europe, the europe is not existing in the middle east, which is very strange. >> you mean you think that the consistency of russia's thetion, which is to oppose undermining or the externally driven overthrow of sovereign states and leaders is appealing throughout the middle east or to
certain actors in the gulf states at this point who themselves are fearing perhaps that prospect? appealing is any consistency, and those regimes in the gulf region, they want to understand. in the american cave, they do not understand. idea, i think it is basically the approach, the assumption that regime change is not a solution. this is what russia is trying to say to americans. >> fiona hill, go back to your study of vladimir putin. do you feel that plays into the russian perspective here and russian actions here, and if so in what way yo? couple of things that one has to bear in mind about putin himself. one of which is that his goal
from taking the presidency in 1999-2000 was to restore russia as a state internally but also some of russia's power standing, not in a cold war since i think we have made it very we're here on the panel that is not a russian objective or a putin objective, but to basically make russia back of a player. he said he went to make sure there was a geopolitical demand for russia as well they geo- economical demand. that is something that russia and putin himself have affected, and as we are talking about here, there is certainly a demand for russia to play some kind of role in the middle east, even on our part of the u.s. we see russia as an important player. -- i have to than the europeans here. the europeans have played a very important role in the negotiations of iran, even if they're not playing more broadly
upon the middle east process. the other elements about putin is he wants to make sure that russia can defend itself from threats, and i think we have made clear here that there are threats. russian things he wants to seek to preserve. lots of the things we have seen in syria has been as much of an advertising campaign for the russian army, manufacturing sector. look, we will make sure your helicopters are prepared, you , there is now a movement to try to take advantage of the fact that the u.s. is not exactly the flavor of the month of egyptian military. they are are all -- putting russia back of a player, in a very important region at a time when things are shifting and no one is really sure what the outcome is going to be. that is very much in system with putin's own view of how things
should be done and how do defend and protect russia, which is take advantage of the opportunities you have, try to leverage them. >> fyodor, you have written that the westerly has misunderstood why russia has so consistently supported the assad regime and the security council. and you just said, it was not that the middle east -- it was really about syria. explain what you mean. >> after the cold war, the general spirits international -- spirit of international feeling changed. for example, the very idea of andonsibility to protect so-called humanitarian interventions, and not as a legitimate tool. unfortunately, very quickly they
coincided with a regime change as a means to settle problems. localer words, and conflicts, international community led by u.s. and european, decided which part was right, was progressive, which part was wrong and responsible for everything. the next step then we support, right? and then we settle the conflict. it is completely different from the conflict resolution practice of classical diplomacy. and the libya from russia point of view with lake, nation of this approach. from russian point of view, not only because it is an old- fashioned, classical approach, but also because of the convention -- conviction that it is not the way to settle
anything. russia was extremely embarrassed by what happened in libya. that is another discussion why. became a turning point for russian diplomacy, and i think sergei lavrov, foreign minister, said once publicly that what was at stake in syria, the model -- the modelional how international conflicts will go in the future. what is yournski, view of that? >> i'm not troubled by that perspective because i do not think it is all that decisive. russia's role is limited. russia is not a superpower and putin would like to restore that. it will not be restored in the middle east area it will be restored if russia can -- momentum, andmic the minimizes the negative outcomes of its own policies,
which are making all of its neighbors increasingly hostile with russia. there is an enormous and -- enormous limitation on russia. isdo you think fyodor correct when he says registering to stand against what had been something of a wave of interventions in the affairs of other countries or support for certain actors over other actors in a way that had not been done before yo? >> that is only possible because the u.s. decided -- in my view correctly -- not to intervene here it i think we stumbled in the position, which seems to imply intervention. those who started the whole game, which was never for democracy, it was always a sectarian conflict, but we would give them full backing when the going got rough, and we decided we did not want to go in.
the holding was transformed which is something i could erupt either regionally or be contained on the basis of international accommodation with the countries that have more influence internationally than others is operating, but without considerablyem expecting that a positive outcome of the various assets of the peace process would produce tangible, decisive benefits for one of them. this is the nature of the game are now in the middle east. if we have peace with the iranians, and the next phase is successful. if there is some movement on the syrian negotiations. it will have to be a compromise. if there is an accommodation between the palestinians and the israelis, it will stabilize the region. all that will help us, but will not make us dominant or decisive. it will do much less for the russians, for the chinese it will give them one bit of it -- a continuing and secure source
of oil. for the review, maybe some residual banking, financial interest. that is of secondary importance. so the stakes, the positive enticing orot so decisive. kes areative sta potentially very destructive. we are playing a reinsurance came here. >> and you think the u.s. and russia have common interests now in resolving the syrian conflict? we have heard that from congressman van hollen, that jihadting an extremist -- extremist, all qaeda-late, however you want to describe it is somethingentity that the u.s. and russia are to term and that they can prevent. >> i think that is certainly the case. the question is how is this done?
dr. brzezinski has already laid out that we do not know how we get to that in game -- and fact we are not even sure what that endgame would even look like. will it end up with a partition of syria that make that possible? of what we had back in a day on the balkans? the situation that we are in right now is that russia would like to see some answers to that question, and it knows quite well that we do not have those answers. there is a great deal of confusion in moscow about where the u.s. stance. -- stands. it is very difficult to make some sense out of this and to get some realistic plan underway. , that theen, however u.s. and russia can work on something very concrete, which is the case of chemical weapons. whether we can translate that to the next theater of the geneva process on the civil war is
another matter. in many respects, the chemical weapons issue as difficult was was was different. we both worked on disarmament and dismantlement of nuclear weapons together, chemical weapons. we have a convention, we have a whole framework, we know where needed to be done. russia was very clear even if we are not clear on an agreement on who was using the chemical weapons, we are both very clear that we do not want the next scenario for that to be used again or those falling in the hands of opposition groups. all of that was straightforward. this is more complex. we have the same long-term interests, but we do not have an agreement on how we are going to approach this beyond the geneva agreement. there will be a lot of difficult discussions to be heard. no certainty that we'll end up in an outcome that both of us will be happy with. how do youukyanov, see the prospects for this geneva ii agreement and u.s.-
russia agreement on the chemical weapons issue any kind of agreement on getting the parties to the table? the chairman of the house intelligence committee said this morning -- the u.s. cannot its partners,r allies, or favored ports within syria to the table. russia can. >> that is the key problem, and thes surprised that congressman said in such a blunt way. >> well, he was saying that is why we should still think about record.he >>? my little quick on herschel, but ok. yes.nk this is a key -- >> a little bit controversial, but ok. i think this is a key to the chemical weapons operation, which is surprisingly successful because we remember that in when the idea came up,
dimensionally explain why that is not -- why that is not possible. we see in the case of political will, we have technical capacity on both sides to deliver. that will be completed successfully. i do not see how that will be completed because that is a very nuclear issue. it is right that the influence keyebels on syria is a factor. i had a recent conversation with a very important guy from saudi arabia who said that yes, americans cannot deliver, not at all, but we can. let's make a deal. should be in russia, saudi arabia. there we can agree.
>> meaning saudi arabia could deliver fighting forces. >> yes. i do not know whether it is true or not, but it is interesting for the first time we hear something like that because they sort of say this -- i think this is a very important issue. to what extent we cannot agree and russiagree, u.s. can agree on syria. i'm not so sure -- dr. brzezinski is absolutely right. essential is they agree. they who fight there. it is not up to us to deliver. >> dr. brzezinski, what do you make of the way this administration has responded to the greater russian engagement? i think the point that it is three engagement and so on, but i mean, do you think it has been the right support -- the right approach? should the u.s. be alarmed by this or see this as an opportunity to at least resolve
some issues? >> i do not think they should be alarmed because i do not think the importance should be overestimated. it is desired, but it is another that will shape the outcome either negatively or positively. i think there is a chance that we can work with the russians regarding some sort of an arrangement for syria in which what russia objected to -- correct me -- in our loud insistence that assad has to us to go can be compromised in an arrangement in which assad does not have to go, but he does not have to stay. there is an opening for that third >> explain that. >> -- there is an opening for that. >> explain that. >> the second term expires next year, which is roughly the term we're talking about. i mention the fact that that gives us an opening, an arrangement whereby he "volunteers," perhaps with some encouragement including from the
russians, that if he does not want a third term. der spiegel had a major interview on his position in general. finally the german journalist asked assad -- your second term expires next year or it are you going to run again? do you know what a thought responded? "i do not know. decided."ified it tnot now we may not get a sunni- , butated power explicitly some formulas found to at least conciliate some significant elements in syrian society. i think that -- we and the russians have some common interest in collaborating, and on the sideline, the chinese prefer it because the overall
regional consequences are what they wish to be -- stable. that would then depend on whether you can formulate some sort of an approach in which in effect something that preserves syria as such is attained. the real risk right now is the so-called revolutionary forces which a year and half ago we were describing as democratic, dangerous,rian, very dangerous to us, dangerous to the russians. they are the same groups that would probably operate any caucuses, already are to some extent. there is a recognition that somehow or other, neither of those groups, none of those , so there has to be some accommodation from within and also from the outside or in -- outside. >> fiona hill, do you want to
chime in on that my how the u.s. and russia should look upon the syrian engagement? >> there are slightly different ways but the same outcomes in which there is certainly a many factorsble -- to consider here. we are all essentially groping in the dark toward a similar outcome in the middle east. what we would like to restore some kind of balance whether that is sectarian, political, we were all like to see some -- therethat retains is no benefit to any player in the region. the business -- the biggest difficulty looking at is have you factor in all of the other players? 1 russia will have to pay particular attention to in the
future is how to in many respects restore its relationship with the goal say. russia is that a long troubled relationship with the gulf states. may people here may have forgotten, but i think the three of us and others will remember 2004, the russian -- not say necessarily the government, but russian operatives assassinated the former acting president of chechnya indo hard -- in dohard. we were actually over there, it was a brookings conference, which is a coincidence. there's a long set of trouble connections between russia and the region, not just for the literary effects with the long- -- russia will want to see
whatever solution that hasn't kind of guarantee of -- that has some kind of guarantee against the blowback from events in the middle east. when the russians raise this as i concerned, this is a real concern. this is not just a perception, this is not just something that they are trying to use as a political bargaining chip. this is something that putin and the people around him are generally concerned about. they have a strategic influence there. to have a really straightforward conversation with them about what we think the middle east and this region is going to look like in the future. >> before we go to audience questions, but do be getting them ready -- iran. what is russia's posture vis-à- vis iran today? when you have them supply weapons and other kinds of events technology to iran --
advanced technology to iran. they certainly voted for sanctions and then participated in this interim agreement. we will start with you, fyodor lukyanov. >> the relationship with iran has been quite complicated, actually. simplisticuite a picture that i sometimes read. what you mentioned that russia actually voted for all sanctions in iran, and russia canceled a .eal after 2010 sanctions previous made several nasty statements about russia. now i think a russian-and rainy iraniana russian- relationship have improved. it is helpful and great.
there are different views and moscow on whether we should increase the -- encourage a u.s.-iranian interest or not. some people do not think it is because ifinterest iran improves relationship with united states, it will immediately turn to the west and forget about everything we did for iran. and that is why we should try to prevent it. but i think it is very shortsighted because my position -- we will -- we should encourage this and we will benefit out of a u.s.-iranian healthy relationship because iran is an extremely important regional player. influence is growing. the u.s. invasion in iraq greeted the opportunity for iran. and for russia, it is very a good workingep
relationship with iran. more opportunities for iran and international affairs. it will be more important for moscow, and i will never become a u.s. ally. iran will be an independent will nevernd iran become a u.s. ally. iran will be an independent force. >> fiona, you were not incurred dding. >> i agree with what fyodor says. here is speaking with some truth. lived in moscow, this is definitely the view. i think one thing just to remind the audience, pushed this is littler further, is there is a real change in russia's relationship with israel, which also means that russia, like the u.s., has to balance off its policies toward iran and to israel. in the cold war, russia seems very much in opposition for a whole variety of reasons. i think that has changed dramatically.
the kind of simplistic view of the analysis, but has an awful lot to do with the influx of russian speakers, soviet jews not just rush itself but from the fallen soviet republics. the israelid foreign minister, who is a russian speaker along with many other languages that he speaks, originally from although via -- from moldova. it really transformed israeli politics, at least for a period of time. as it will become more ,ntegrated and israelis society there are still a russian speaking constituency that putin himself has really reached out to. he frequently talks about "our jews," and you never would've heard a suitably it -- a soviet leader and make that comment. this is how he talks about this. he wants to reestablish the
close ties with a critical population of engineers, great cultural achievement. he sees this as a huge lot to the tablet of russian society, and he has made great effort to establish that. netanyahu, putin himself going to israel, the rumors that putin has built himself a home there. there was a rumor -- that shows you how much the relationship between russia and israel has been transformed. had he balance off the religion with iran in this very important position -- and russia's case -- relationship with israel? it could be very interesting to russiahis about how
balance is off all of these competing demands. will make one brief comment. i think russia and the u.s. have the same interest so far as iran and nuclear weapons are concerned. nuclear powers that have nuclear weapons do not want additional powers to have nuclear weapons. it is as basic as that. i think we share that interest. this is why i think we will work together to see whether we can transform the interim agreement into something more binding. that is a good accommodation to pursue. i am a little less rosy about the overall historical relationship between russia and iran. we elected iran against russia on more than one occasion, and iran and russia have had some real problems, territorial problems throughout the years. imperial problems. so i think those who ignore history or geo-strategy would be too sanguine about the long-
range prospects of that relationship because iran is a potential power, 80 million people, and intelligent, white modern despite our image of them. i think they could be a challenger in the region. >> you think russia is thinking that way? thatthe people you talk to as fyodor said, is very collocated -- if iran changes its relationship with the west and sort of emerges from isolation, that it could be threatening to russia? >> an interesting question which is far beyond the realm of our discussion -- it depends on what russia wants to be, but if russia remains dominated by what i consider to be a really unrealistic nostalgia for imperial status, however remains , eurasian union, and so forth. we see that in the current crisis with the ukraine.
and i think the answer is quite obvious -- it is not going to be very accommodating in a relationship with its neighbors. in fact, i think what putin has ise to a remarkable degree to generate within the newly independent states that surround the current rush or part of the former soviet union genuine hostility toward russia. there is hardly any leader in the newly independent states who wants to be part of the eurasian union. some feel they have to be, and are playing lip service, but some are communicating to us, to the europeans into the chinese the things they would like to accomplish in the meantime to of anythis significance such step. i think putin is being totally unrealistic and his and he is elaine what i think is desirable and inevitable. russia as a senior partner, as a significant partner in europe,
as a european state. this is what the issues currently are about, and they involve also the relationship with iran and others. >> into this collocated mist, add your questions. this ise they panel, -- a complicated mist, at your questions are since this is a panel, address your question to the person. say your name, affiliation, and please keep your question brief. >> thank you, george mason university. my question is for fyodor lukyanov. one often hears russian officials, analysts indicate that it is important to keep a inught and power -- assad power because of that as he is, it will be worth without him, and russia will be tracked by the jihadist that arise in syria. they will rebounded to russia itself. but if there any concern that in fact it is russian support for assad that is making russia a
target of the jihadists? is russia in fact unnecessarily causing alienation in the middle east in the long run? in the long run, does russian support for assad actually help russia or does it hurt russia? thank you. >> russia is a target for jihadists anyway. that is a fact of life. as for support for assad, we can argue whether russia supports a thought. -- assad. it is a long discussion in a quite fruitless debate. i think what happened in the recent couple of years demonstrated one simple thing -- attempts to find the right side of history and us to change position don't work. in this particular situation where no one is ok, it is better
to have a clear view and clear commitment, and that produces at least certain degree of respect. jihadists will try to undermine russia even if russia will change side in syria. i would remind you that in libya, actually, qaddafi was killed because of russia. if russia would veto a resolution, who knows what will happen you g? but it was no gratitude from the new power, the new government, and the first thing they said over -- after overthrowing chinese is russian and company is not welcome in this country anymore. >> yes. >> thank you very much.
s, yes. sai >> first of all, thank you very much for the three rich discussion. i wanted to ask in terms of where does oilde fit in. we talk about iran, saudi arabia, even if you thought about the gas field in the eastern mediterranean and the way in which russia might look at europe, central asia, where does this strategic vision that's you outline in a particular way, putin thinks about positioning russia has to do essentially with gas, or how does the energy resolution way into this discussion? >> from my point of you, would you have raised involves the ultimate reputation of the refutation of the
argument that russia can be a self isolated imperial power more or less within the geographical confines of the former soviet union or the former russian empire. era, the post russia group was -- because of its post-monolithic posture on supplied energy. this is now coming to a rapid russia's hope for future economics is as is increasingly dependent on the chinese being willing to buy all the energy that the russians have to offer the chinese. and the chinese do not get by part of it toward the middle east and toward iran. american position is respect. if all of the prognosis turn out to be right, and they are somewhat speculated still, involves great enhancement in
american freedom to maneuver and american projection of its influence by economics and technology. so i think what you have raised is one of the ultimate challenges to the rationality of an effort to create an increasingly nationalistic, increasingly imperialistic russia that alienates all of its would-be members and neighbors. you want to chime in on this? >> i think the portland gas issue has been traditionally overestimated. i fully agree with dr. brzezinski that international markets change not because of the middle east, because of the shale gas revolution, because of many other things. and for russia, it was very important, say, 5, 10 years ago, for example, to prevent iranian gas to come to the european market.
much.ot so first because i do not think it will come. second, europeans do not need the gas. two different reasons. all of those calculations and interesting schemes that gas from qatar to syria -- i think it is extremely exciting, but as for a little to do with reality and the future. as for russia, yes, i agree. i can argue about the russian- chinese-eurasian relationship, it is an interesting topic, but not for this discussion. it is absolutely true that perspective for russian economic development is much more east oriented now. not necessarily china, but eurasia and eastern asia because those markets need russian supply much more than european markets. >> i would like to inject a word of caution into the whole discussion about russia and
energy and be shifting patterns in the middle east as well as the shale gas because we have got ourselves now in the form of a euphoric state just thinking that the u.s. is pretty -- is completely independent of energy so we do not need to be in the middle east anymore on the one hand. to releaseeing able levers. that is not what dr. brzezinski said. that is not the case at all. russia actually sits on the world's largest potential deposits of shale gas. russia does not need to expand the because russia has enormous potential and conventional gas. russia also sits on the other big player, which is actually becoming increasingly important to the u.s. we shifted the game of the gas, but russia is still a major player in gas and oil, even if the u.s. for a certain period of time may outstrip about the russia and saudi arabia and
production of gas and oil sometime in the next 10 years. all this means is the current business model has changed. russians are very good at adapting. they may be slow at adapting because of the huge size of the oil and gas industry being so important to the economy, but we have seen the russians attacke many times before. so they have some catch-up to do. they will not be able to have the big pipelines with 20, 30- year contract that they had before, but they're not finished. it is is going to be again a more difficult, complex state fair with be careful of rushing out and thinking that everything has changed dramatically, and say that we are all in the process of catch-up. what the shale gas revolution reminds us is how quickly things can change, just like in the 1970's the whole game change because of the oil embargo, and in the u.s. and other countries played catch-up in the way that they change their own uses of energy and the whole is -- the whole issue of energy
efficiency. we all had to be very careful of thinking that this changes russia's position even in europe. theman is different, but russians are going to respond to occurred over the next of lawyers, we will have lots of discussions that women using look, how does that happen -- of discussions saying look, russia is back again, how did that happen? >> yes, right here, the woman in red. [inaudible] >> could you speak up a little bit? >> my question is for mr. lukyanov, and this is a very different topic. the energy crisis in syria. there are ethnic minorities of that except and help, but there is one minority, the indigenous people of sochi, the place where the olympic games will be. people in100,000
syria, expelled by rush at some point to the middle east. those people want to come back to russia now, but there is no help from the russian and some are actually deported, whole families deported. go back to the north caucasus. policysee any change of regarding the refugees in syria? >> could usefully to us to this group this? -- is? >> this is a group of from the northern caucasus who left the 19th century mostly during the fighting, or after fighting against russian and they leave across the middle east, and many of
them in syria. you know, i think it is a very public at issue because on the one hand, yes, russia offered different nationalities who want to leave syria. as i read a couple of days ago, several hundred of those came to a territory which russia recognizes as an independent state. they try to live there. in the russian case, you know, it is such a difficult equilibrium between willingness andelp those for refuge those who are former russians of the region. and fear that that will be used by extremists as a way to come. -- the security services
they have to think in these terms, first of all. i think it will be a quite difficult situation. >> a question back there. >> hi. thank you. my name is sean nevin, i am with the voice of russia america. i have a question for dr. brzezinski. i wanted to ask if you could discuss the endgame for the u.s. and iran, especially concerning the fact that -- does it want to end sanctions? and considering the fact that hasn't taken regards the entrance of saudi arabia and israel, and you said in another article that obama backed down from netanyahu considering the settlements before. and also if you could discuss -- >> can we keep it to one question? if that is alright, just because we of other people with their hands up. >> exceeds the, sir, so what is the question? >> what is the endgame in iran?
>> it will be either the treaty being designed and approved through the same process that created the current six-month or a breakdown in which case it will be in some phase of acute instability in the context of which i hope we do not lose our sense of rationality regarding our actions and therefore do not get sucked into war because they were in the middle east with an 80 million nation is going to make the expeditions to afghanistan and to iraq look like short-term. only lasting a dozen years or so. it is a very painful choice, but an important choice. what i do regret in the context of the growing public discussion of what might happen, the total absence of recognition of the fact that the u.s. for 30 years managed to prevent a nuclear war by deterrence, by acting in a
way that gave reassurance to have no capacity of resisting the soviet union if push came to shove, but the u.s. was able to convince both of those countries and the soviet vital interests were engaged and we do not want a war. at some point we have to go to war. that preserve their independence. this cannot behy seen as a relevant middle eastern problem is that if there is no solution with the iranians. the israelis have 200 bombs or more. sided leavet one- honorable. if we reinforce that by saying ast we would view any threat a threat to the u.s., which is what we have done with regards to japan and south korea and north korea, i am quite sure we could maintain a stable situation without even a since -- subsequent treaty with iran.
>> if the talks totally broke down and iran resumed full place its program, you think of going to a containment deterrent strategy would be preferable to military action? >> yes. deterrence works. there is no reason to believe it would not work if the u.s. was credibly committed here the proportion of power between the u.s. and the would be iranian nuclear power would be enormous. we have again been swept into kind of simplistic formulations such as the quick dash to nuclear capability that people are talking about. the fact of the matter is if the iranians were to have even a nuclear test, that would be know to the world. westernizing a nuclear test is a difficult process. then once you have completed your weaponization, you have one nuclear bombs. are you going to use it against an enemy that has 200? ityou are not 150% sure that
will go off, you have to have further tests, you have delivery systems, and on top of it, you have to have more nuclear weapons so if you use one against israel and israel begins to retaliate against you, you can counterattack against israel. so we're talking about the process, even in the absence of an agreement. i'm not advocating the absence of agreement, that will take a lot of time before becomes a serious threat. the injection and commitment of the u.s. to react to any act of violence involving nuclear weaponry in the region as an action directed at the u.s. would have the same credibility, validity, and effectiveness i believe as our policy of deterrence during the entire cold war. >> interesting. yes, writer care, sir, and then i will get to you. i was going to give it to this gentleman in the back waving his hand.
>> thank you. the question is about the interview with the "washington post," and of september, with the russian foreign minister. the question was -- which kind of syria do you want? or --swer was -- a sickly a secular syria. , if this is the kind of idea for a common situation, a secular syria or what? secular is a word that is really associated very much with the political systems of the west. we are dealing with the middle there is anh intermission between religious traditions and political power. i think what has been distinctive about syria in not a years, and syria is democracy by any means, and i make no such mistake, is that within syria, there was more
accommodation and toleration of religious diversity than in some of their joining arab states, which were claimed themselves to be engaged in a policy of liberation, but which in effect sectarianlicy of one nation over another in rejecting this complex internal arrangements that had heretofore existed in syria, in which i would think one would wish to preserve even without assad. the'm afraid it has to be last question. >> i would like to add one sentence. interestingly, there is one dimension of the syrian situation which is very much emphasized in russia but almost absent here in debating in the u.s. there is a future of christians in syria because it seems that here, which is strange because the u.s. is a country of
religious freedom, and so it is not an issue. while for different reasons including personal once, putin is for a sincerely concerned about this, and he put this question on time, including a recent talks to the pope in rome. i think it should be discussed. it should be considered, especially since we know what happened in iraq with the christian community. >> fiona? >> i would actually just want to that it actually is discussed here, but he gets back to what dr. brzezinski was a saying about a nonsectarian tone to the debate. the u.s. does not want to take sides in this conflict. as we look about in the balkans, if you think back to the 1990's, various european countries in particular of standing with historic co-religion, the idea that cap like portions of europe were standing with the co-ops
and others, the serbs because of old religious orders. i think we have all learned from that, so that was not completely accurate eight depiction of the 1990's that we have to be extraordinarily careful. we are all skirting around the proper ways or the ways of describing a very complex situation. the u.s. is not want to be seen in the middle of a sectarian conflict. it gets to the whole issue of the sunni-shiite divide, the role of christians, the role of other religious groups in the area, because this is obviously something that is three much focus on in the context of the middle east peace process, and we have to be extraordinarily careful about how we deal with that. this is why we are not say anything -- seeing the same kind of tone of the debate in the u.s. they do not want to have a particular constituency. there are other dimensions of the that we want to mention about the refugee process. we've seen a whole slew of her speeches. obviously turkey is right in the middle of this and addition --
in addition to turkey -- in addition to jordan. in armenians have taken spite of the fact that the armenians of syria are indigenous to the region. bewe have seen -- this will a debate that i think we will see across the board of how do you deal with these massive refugee flows that people are seeking the rights to return or the right to be able to go to lands in which they have an old, historical, cultural, ethnic, or religious affinity? this will have an impact over every country. turkey is grappling with this at the moment. the jordanians are. we are singing spillover into lebanon. this is something that is transforming all of the populations of the joining countries, and something we will have to factor in in the next few years. >> just as was productive. i want to thank our panelists for a fascinating conversation. ,iona hill, zbigniew brzezinski fyodor lukyanov.
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