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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 12, 2014 6:30am-7:01am EDT

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people, i think it is important to remember that virtually none of our wars have ever been popular. world war ii was pretty popular until the middle of 1944 when people started getting pretty tired. the mexican war, the spanish-american war, world war i, korea, vietnam, the american people do not like wars. the truth is, the best advice i have seen in terms of war in
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this country was given by the most important general probably no one has ever heard of. a two-star named fox connor whose protéges were george marshall and dwight eisenhower. fox connor had three axioms in talking about war. never go to war if you do not have to, never fight alone, and never fight for long. the way we have overcome this in the past, americans generally are not interested in what goes on in the rest of the world, foreign aid has always been about as unpopular as something terrible. and so it is always fallen to our leadership to persuade and educate the american people why these things are necessary. why these tools are necessary, why our engagement is necessary. people forget in the summer of 1941, selective service was continued by one vote. so what is missing, it seems to me, is the kind of persuasive
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leadership, not just from the president, but from the leaders of both parties and in particular in congress. that in this kind of -- our leadership is still needed in the world. and that without that leadership, we are going to face far worse circumstances one day in the future. it is that leadership that has always made the difference for us. [applause] >> thanks to bob and condi and madeleine. we have not talked about china or africa. glancing reference to india and brazil. we have about 20 minutes for your questions. you will have microphones in both aisles. please step forward into the aisle. let us know your name and make sure what you say ends in a question mark, which is a very important in part of this
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exercise. it is not a hearing. >> thank you. i am judy allen from houston, texas. just come out of this three-day symposium on the ukraine. i know just enough to be dangerous. there was much discussion in our seminar on the 1994 memorandum of understanding between the united states, the ukraine, and russia that allowed the ukraine to give up their nuclear forces, they were the third largest nuclear power in the world at that time, we were told. the united states signed and russia signed and ukraine signed it. do we not have a moral obligation to defend the ukraine because we promised in that memorandum that if they gave up
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their nukes, we would support the ukraine economically if there was aggression against them and militarily? >> thank you very much. that is a very good question. i would like to state a couple of facts and ask madeleine to address it. we were with president clinton in budapest in 1994. the clinton administration believed the presence of nuclear weapons in kazakhstan and belarus was fundamentally destabilizing. we worked with them to give up their weapons and their return to the russian federation and i still think it was a very good deal for the united states. it has been supported by president bush and president obama. we gave the ukrainians a document that is public, you can read it online, assurances.
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we said very clearly to them if you are sovereignty is threatened, we will try to help you but we do not give them what a diplomatic parlance is called a guarantee. we did not say we are giving you a security guarantee we will be there with military force to protect. the president of ukraine clearly understood that. >> that is the record. there is a misunderstanding, it was a memorandum of understanding, not a treaty. and it was the russians who broke memorandum of understanding. i think people understood what it was about at the time. >> thank you very much. over here. no question over there. oh, there is. please. >> i am charlotte buchanan. i would like to know why it was alright for the united states to recognize the overthrow of the
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ukrainian government and elected yanukovych as president and within a few days acknowledging as legitimate the self-proclaimed leaders at the same time, we said the ukraine which had been part of russia until it was given back but gave it to russia in the 1950's that they had a government and referendum that was closer to democracy which we support. why was one ok and not the other? >> let me start, and maybe madeleine would like to -- she was there for the elections. yanukovych lost to the people. we were very careful to say we
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needed elections for a properly elected president of ukraine or -- who the united states would recognize as legitimate leader of ukraine. madeline was there for those elections. that is that side of the equation. when it comes to crimea, it is true that crimea was given to ukraine in 1954 when nikita, recognizing by the way that since it was all the soviet union, it did not matter, in a gesture of friendship, gave crimea to ukraine. but whatever the circumstances, when borders are fixed internationally, it is generally the belief that those borders are then fixed. a referendum that took place under questionable circumstances in crimea under the threat of russian power does not stand the test of a democratic referendum for the future of crimea.
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and so, that would be my answer. >> i feel that the pictures and everything out of kiev and ukraine were clear about the will of the people. one of the things you left out is yanukovych disappeared. he basically abandon his country, and there was a real question as to what government would come into existence. and i believe it was a government that came out of parliament and chosen in a way, the best possible way at that particular time. and i was in kiev just a month ago.
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the square there, which is in memory of all the people that were there for months, calling for elections and freedom and a government that responded to their wishes. i think the crimean issue is very complicated. all of us have been steeped in the history of ukraine, crimea, russia, and crimea has played a huge role in russian history. i happen to believe that had there been a completely free and referendum without any use of -- in a democratic and legal way. the thing that was so outrageous was the stooges of the russian army. it was something that had not been done.
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seizing land illegally. >> the ukrainian nation has been divided. this is a very important question. kiev is a government in that once local autonomy. isn't that a factor the united states should be aware of? >> i think so. i think one of the things that the new ukrainian government leadership has to talk about is in the context of a unitary a debate aboutng what kind of autonomy, or
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greater autonomy the eastern region in particular might have in terms of assuring the rights of the russians. the language, religion, and so forth. placek it has to take within the framework like we used to talk about iraq. we can talk about baton to me. ofhas to be in the context we will support you, and you isd to have autonomy but it within the framework of a unified iraq. that ought to be the attitude come it seems to me, dealing with ukraine at this point. greater autonomy ought to be on the table, but it ought to be on the table as ukrainian terms. >> mr. secretary, madam secretary, madam secretary, thank you very much for your comments. my name is fletcher. i'm in the nuclear energy business and do all of my work
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in the former soviet union. the question of sanctions. do we run the risk of somehow painting the russians into a corner? particularly given the fact sanctions at this point really have not done much? what has been most damaging to the russians, i think, is the immediate reaction of the credit markets. russians are now absolutely unable to sell any more uranium in the united states, not because of sanctions but because fuel managers simply will not buy russian fuel because of what's happened. my question is, are the sanctions something we should use, or should we instead abandon that approach and, to your point, mr. secretary, focus more on the kinds of political leadership -- and i would actually say engagement in russia, because that in fact is what provides for the most significant penalties they will pay when they behave as they are behaving now? >> i think the trick here is figuring out what the right balance is in terms of trying to increase both the internal and external pressures on putin to change. i want to go back to something condi said.
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don't forget there are other russians out there. condi and i met a couple of times, she more often than i did, with dmitry medvedev. i came away with my sessions with him saying, this guy gets it, he understands why russia needs greater rule of law, why it needs to be more democratic, and why it needs to move more towards the west. i think it's one of the great tragedies of russia, which seems to happen with great regularity in russia, that all of that potential was essentially wiped away by putin's desire to resume the presidency. so sanctions are, in some ways, they can be very narrowly focused, and in others have very
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broad effect. the narrow focus, i think, has been in going after specific individuals around putin and those we think have been involved in these activities in ukraine, the security services and so on. i think the tough issue, and first of all i agree with the sanctions in place one russia at this point, but the key is, going back to condi's comments, how do you bring pressure on putin without breaking russia? dysfunctional russia or a russia that faces grave internal problems for a long time to come is not in the interests of the international community or the united states. so far i think they have the
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balance about right, but it's something i think you have to keep your eye on. but you have to bring both internal and external pressure to bear. >> i think that's the right answer. >> we have time for two more questions. the first is from julio, who is president of aspen italia. >> what about germany? what about germany and the absence of europe? what about the relationship between germany, russia, and china? so, the oldest scheme was the atlantic one. the new scheme could be continental. do you feel a new edition of the
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old book written by kai schmidt? >> i have a great deal of confidence in the unified democratic journey. -- germany. i have a lot of confidence in chancellor merkel's leadership, which i think it's been extraordinary given all that germany has faced since the financial crisis. really, to keep both the euro and the european union from unraveling at times when it looked like the greek crisis and the prolonged crisis might do that. it is not that we have strength -- strains and tensions with germany. we do. it's clear it's not the kind of
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atlantic feel we had with helmut kohl and those are remembered world war ii, remembered the way the united states defended a democratic germany. but things change with generations. what i don't think has changed is the rock-solid shared values with the unified germany. i'm confident about that. germany's role of always bridging to russia has always been something that people worry about in the atlantic relationship. but if you look at what is happening in the last month, at least, if there was a chance that germany was going to move closer to russia, vladimir putin has made sure that is not going to happen. angela merkel is herself an easterner. i have watched her in nato engagements with the east europeans. she had a natural affinity for them. even though they do not support membership action plans for ukraine or georgia, she knew how to talk to the east europeans about their inclusion in nato. so i'm not actually concerned about a german-russian pact. and let me say one thing about a
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russian-china axis as well. the big 30-year gas deal they have been trying to make right. there's something interesting in one day it was not done, the next day it was. one wonders if that was not essentially a political deal, the details to be worked out later. did gazprom get an international rate from china or not? nobody seems to know, and i think the possibility of a china-russia axis can also be overestimated, most importantly because china has extremely hard work to do. they're going to try to make 363 reforms that are not just economic reforms, they are big social reforms, like a social safety net and the like.
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the road for china to successful reform for china to successfully reform does not go through moscow, it goes through the united states and europe. while you may have some of that relationship between russia and china, i'm not worried it becomes a long-term strategic relationship. the piece i am a little worried about is what people are now calling the call to illiberal democratic leadership, and vladimir putin does represent for people like xi jinping, an alternative to western democracy. ist on pure interest terms, see that neither moving towards russia, and russia and china. >> a quick anecdote about russia and china. so i'm in this giving a talk to the russian general staff academy in moscow as secretary, and the colonel stands up in the back and says why are the united states and china plotting to
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take over siberia? [laughter] and i must say, i don't get stumped too often, but i cannot figure out where the hell that came from. [laughter] so i gave some kind of comment we were not interested in siberia. then i asked bill burns, our ambassador, where in the world did that come from? he said, well, a couple of months ago madeleine gave a speech in which she said, how can russia possibly exploit siberia with the depopulation of the country? that is essentially all she said, but it is a measure of the paranoia about both china and the united states that exists in moscow. >> and deep paranoia about madeleine. i'm chairman for the national democratic institute.
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we do believe in western values. basically, which is a good way to answer the question, and i think we sometimes forget about the importance of western values and when it has linked the united states and europe for a very long time. i believe it's a good time to kind of reaffirm our vowels. i look at javier solana, secretary-general of nato and the amount of work we did together at the time. there will be a nato meeting in september. i think some of our discussion here today makes very clear the importance of that relationship. i was born in europe. i often say to any european, i'm just like you. i just happen to have been raised in the united states. i think europe needs to pull up its socks. i can say that as a european. and i really do think the reaffirmation of the values, the
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western values that have united us, some of them humanitarian, and condi and i have talked about democracy a lot, understand who we are, what role the united states and our allies can play in the most famous recent statement i have made, which is that the world is a mess and they need us, and a reaffirmation of western values. [applause] >> we have time for one more question. right here. yes, please. >> thank you very much. michael hanna. i'm curious about, clearly we all agree getting inside president putin's head is dangerous, but last september 11, "the new york times" op-ed that president putin released about syria, reading that today is a little confusing and terrifying, given everything that has happened between now and then. what do you think president
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putin was after? >> you can start that. [laughter] >> bob is the one who had a certain professional camaraderie with them, so we will let him start. [laughter] >> in all honesty, i don't remember the op-ed, but i will tie you what i think putin is up to in syria. syria is really the last -- the russian navy base is about the last naval base outside of russia's borders that remains from before the collapse of the soviet union. saddam hussein was one of the soviet union's primary clients. syria has been a primary client for decades. my view is that putin is determined to retain syria as a partner in the middle east, as a place where russia has a presence.
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and because of its presence and influence there, therefore a role in anything that happens dramatically in the region. i think they see their presence and their support for assad as being their entry fee into anything that happens in the region, whether it has to do with security or anything else. and i will tell you my own personal opinion, i think that he was -- whether he is delusional or not, his move on the chemical weapons was tactically extremely clever. because with the anticipation of being able to get the chemical weapons out of syria, the u.s. policy there went in place of a week from assad must go to implicitly assad must stay to
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fulfill the commitment on the chemical weapons. so in my view, we got distracted by a horrible atrocity involving 1400 people, and it led us to neglect the fact that one hundred 50,000 people have been -- 150,000 people have been killed by conventional weapons. i think putin's initiative was clever tactically. it helped assure assad more time in office. but i think syria, i think he sees that as his marker in the middle east. >> i think if you look at syria in the context of what he was saying, there is a lot about how others should not consider themselves exceptional, so on and so forth, which was a direct attack on american exceptionalism.
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i think what you really see is the vladimir putin has decided, perhaps for reasons of reestablishing an identity, which russia really do not know what its identity was after the soviet union collapsed, we have to remember that the soviet union was a rough approximation of the russian empire. so russia has not really existed without the empire for a very long time. when the soviet union broke up, they lost ukraine, they lost central asia. what was russia, what was russia's future? it really got called into question. the great thing about the soviet union, if you were a russian nationalist, even if you do not think if option very well, was it had both identity and it had respect and power in the international sense of great powers don't mind their own business. great powers want to shape the international environment. the soviet union had a view of how international history all to unfold.
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towards communism, toward state control of the economy, and they impose that on a lot of unwitting countries, particularly in eastern europe. in all of that collapses. now vladimir putin is coming back. and i think syria, ukraine, they are all part of a piece, which is to reestablish a russian identity rooted in a great power identity. and it has a view. there is an interesting tome that was written from somebody that i have a lot of respect, who was the russian defense minister at one point, somebody i've dealt with who i felt was one of my best persons in the russian government. it is a wrong piece about how whether russia is neither western or eastern. russia is unique. it says that russia should not
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give way to western values like tolerance and multiculturalism which weaken russia. this is re-creating a view of what russia is, what russian identity is, and how it relates to russia's great power role. and this is russia the third version. and that's why i thought he wrote the op-ed that he did. it was a kind of manifesto for a russian future that he feels. just to close, a good friend of mine, a russian, said, "you americans with your support for democracy and your national endowment for democracy, you won't be satisfied until russia is back among the borders of the dutch." think about that. it means for those particular people, the russian empire, russian expansion, and russian identity are solid.
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created by america's cable companies 13 years ago. -- 30 years ago. your callsments, live on washington journal. willentennial commission be at the international press legislation about for memorials in washington, d.c.. at noon, the cable institute hosts a discussion. trust hosts aable symposium up on it immigrant children.
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in 45 minutes, our guest is bob cusack. at 8:45 eastern, we will be joined by someone from the aids institute to discuss federal funding to ♪ iraq has taken an important step or word, according to president obama. good morning, everyone. it is tuesday, august 12. we will stick with foreign policy this morning and get your thoughts on secretary of state -- former secretary of state's 's opinions.ton


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