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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 28, 2015 6:00am-7:01am EDT

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campaign-oriented approach to how to deal with geopolitics. let's get a win. let's get something out there that we can show for it without putting it into any kind of broader context. the final thing that i would like to say and this, again, may confirm your suspicions that i'm a democrat, is that i don't think it's been all bad. during the first term of the obama administration when they were getting some good advice from hillary clinton, leon panetta, bob gates, they were pretty good at imposing tough sanctions on iran. they were squeezing iran. they were gaining benefit from iran from those sanctions. they were getting themselves in a position to negotiate a good deal. but what's happened since then? not only have those people left, but i have talked to people inside the negotiating process who will say they reach an impasse and then there are more
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people more senior come into the conversation and they say things like, well, how do we solve this problem and they capitulate and they soften the deal. i spoke to a former senior national security official democrat, who said to me just two days ago, at this point in the negotiation, from the school of negotiation in which i was raised, i would be ordering everybody down into the lobby with their luggage and saying we're leaving because only in showing that you don't need the deal do you actually have the leverage you need to achieve the deal that you want. and that right now our body language, and the iranians know it and our allies know it and grandmas in toledo, ohio, know it, is that we want the deal more than the iranians want the deal. that is extremely dangerous and that is what gets you into a
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less than adequate deal and that is particularly dangerous when it exists outside the context of a coherent strategy for dealing with iran or the region. >> that was david rothkopf, we will now have a response briefly from dov zakheim. dov zakheim: a couple of things. one area they haven't focused on is missiles. you can't destroy too many countries unless the bombs are carried in a suitcase, which no one has really tried yet. what you have to do is mate them to missiles. the iranians are moving right ahead and not saying anything about it. we have a problem that you can't resolve even with a halfway decent agreement and that is that nobody trusts us. if you're the saudis, for example, and your ambassador who was beloved by the previous king and highly trusted by the current king was the subject of
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an assassination attempt in washington by the iranians, you have a lot of trouble accepting that all of a sudden the iranians are good guys. it's just not going to happen. the problem is we haven't been trusted for years. yes, it's true this administration accepted and i use the word accepted advisedly sanctions. those sanctions were pushed by the hill and every single time the administration tried to fight them until they couldn't fight them anymore and everybody knows that. what is most important is that the people in the region know that. let me be more blunt than david about this negotiation. why do we have an end of march deadline anyway? it's an artificial deadline. we chose to have an end of march deadline. we chose to have an end of june deadline. so we're fighting against ourselves the whole time anyway. and one other point, and this isn't widely understood, but
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you know, most of the arabs, virtually all of them see us as israel's closest ally. and watch how we treat the israelis. if we treat the israelis badly we're not going to treat them any better. if we are undermining the israelis, they notice that. i was just at the munich conference last month and the iranian negotiator said in front of everybody -- and i double checked with somebody that was there so i wasn't hearing things -- that the israelis are responsible for the burning of the jordanian pilot and the killing of the two japanese. he said it with a straight face because he does things with a straight face. nobody in this administration said a word about that. and so you have got a fundamental problem of trust here. the israelis we know don't trust them. the arabs don't trust them.
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you're not going to turn around and cut some kind of deal on an artificial deadline that, as you just heard, even democrats are worried about and then turn around and say, trust me, it will all work out. moderator: our first question will come from the head of the center for the national interests. >> i think that your indictment both of the obama administration, i certainly would agree with both of you 100%. the best i can say to the administration is that it's supposed to come to an end. the question is not, however how fundamentally flawed this policy is and the way we have handled it as david as suggested. we perhaps would cover for a better deal.
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we are where we are. so my question to both of you, in particular to you, dov, because you acknowledged that perhaps the apocolyptic threat two years ago coming from iran is somewhat overstated. my question to you is, what is the alternative you would articulate now in the current circumstances, would you reject the deal and suggest that we leave more or less start but perhaps like david has suggested, making the new strategic approach? or would you contemplate an attack on iran? and you would be in favor of that or at least you think we can live with that, what do you think would happen to the price of oil? what do you think would happen to fortunes. would they use this opportunity
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to create further mischief in ukraine, far beyond eastern ukraine and russian forces are allegedly are now and where the chinese will be. the question is simple, are we better off rejecting the agreement at this point? dov zakheim: most of these questions were directed to me so i'll start. let me first say that i have written and i have spoken over and over again that i think not only would an israeli attack on iran be useless, but i think our attack on iran would be useless. there are too many targets, it will take far too long. it's not a one shot deal. we don't have as great battle damage assessment as we say we do. the u.n. will tell us to stop in a few days. the job will not be done within a few days. let's assume that we or the israelis or some combination could take every iranian target out.
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fine, the iranians now say we're on our own and they get the bomb within a couple years anyway. so i don't think a military strike is the answer. what i do think is the answer is essentially to turn around to the iranians and say, look, this isn't good enough, we have to keep talking. netanyahu said a year ago that the interim deal was a disaster. it's turned out not to be a disaster. in that respect, the administration, it worked. the iranians haven't moved anywhere as far as they otherwise would have moved and there is still a bunch of sanctions squeezing them. i would just continue talking until there is a new president. i don't trust this president. i think he will grab the first opportunity to cut a deal. but if i had my druthers, we would keep on talking. keep the sanctions that currently exist and do nothing more at this stage.
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moderator: david? david rothkopf: well, first of all, i agree. i don't think there is any benefit to us from attacking iran and i think in the current situation, the middle east, it would be calamatous. building off of my prior point my sense is that we're going to end up with an interim deal that will turn into a final deal.
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that final deal will reduce the threat from iran somewhat and provide for inspection and other kinds of oversight that can ensure that the risks from iran are somewhat less. on the nuclear front. the primary threats posed by iran are not nuclear. the primary threats posed by iran are regional. in terms of instability, the actions of hezbollah, the actions of hamas, the actions associated with their support of the houthis, their meddling in iraq, their support for asaad which runs into the tens of billions of dollars. unless you realize and treat those things as the primary threat, you're missing the point. and therefore take the deal, enforce the deal and then do two things. repair the alliance with the gulf states, with the jordanians, with the egyptians recognize that they have the responsibility for stabilizing
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in the region first, that we need to support them, that we need to work with them for movements that can be stabilizing in western iraq. we need to work with them to find a solution that will work in syria. we need to work with them to ultimately get a negotiated settlement that's the best settlement you can get with yemen and primarily that we need to work with them to counter act the two pernicious forces in the region, one of which is sunni extremism which manifests itself in everything from isis to the brotherhood and the other is iran. one of the big mistakes one can make is cut a deal with iran say everything is fine and move into the mode as if this solved the problem when it only deals with a fraction as dov said, raising the point of missiles properly with a fraction of a fraction of problem. so use it. have your eyes wide open and don't think that this is
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producing a strategic re-alignment in this region because it's not, our allies don't want it to and it's not going to help, it's going to put us as greater risk. >> our next question is from ambassador bremer. ambassador: i want to first agree with david. the problem that iran poses is strategic and geopolitical. effectively what he is talking about with the administration explicitly and hillary clinton explicitly rejected was a policy of containment of iran. that may be where we wind up but there are some very important lessons from the containment of the soviet union. first of all, it was a policy that was carried out by 10 presidents of both political parties for a half a century. during that half century, we spent an average of 6% of g.d.p.
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on defense. we forward deployed hundreds of thousands of troops around the ring of the soviet union, our allies, although they never spent up to 6%, spent 3% of gdp. we had tactical nuclear weapons up against the soviet border. containment is not cheap and it's not easy. and it was bipartisan. i don't see how this administration which has got itself into a very partisan situation on this particular issue of the nuclear agreement is going to have the ability to produce a strong bipartisan support for containing iran, which is basically what david is calling for. he may be right, that's where we end up, but nobody should be under any illusions that that is going to be easy. it's going to be expensive. we have to put american troops on the ground in the middle east, we're going to have to
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probably put nuclear weapons on the ground in the middle east. we're certainly going to have put nuclear weapons there if we want the host countries not to get their own nuclear weapons. >> david. david rothkopf: first of all i'm not explicitly calling for containment, i'm calling for counterbalances. if the iranians make real progress, adhere to this agreement, stop doing the other things that they're doing behave in a more constructive way that they could, you know, grow in international standing in ways that wouldn't be bad provided we were counterbalancing them. so i use counterbalance rather than contain, but it's all conditional on them actually doing those things. they have shown no inclination to do those things thus far. a i think we need to be very beady eyed and very results and
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evidence-oriented in this regard and you're right, it's become political. having said that, i can't help i but point out that to a large degree, the political problems that we're having -- well, the political problems we're having in washington cannot be blamed on one party or the other. both parties have played a role in creating the most politsized foreign policy atmosphere that we have seen in a long, long time. that's not helpful and regardless of who is elected in 2016, one can only hope that as a centerpiece of their foreign policy will be a willingness to commit the effort at home to rebuild the kind of across the aisle alliances that are essential to have credibility overseas. the current experience with netanyahu illustrates it as well. if we are seen as dysfunctionally polarized, we are not seen as a reliable power in the world.
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that's a threat to us. we need to find a way around that threat. dov zakheim: let me jump in i briefly. if you want to contain iran, you have to spend money. this administration does not want to spend money on defense. what they have done just now a shows that to you, they came in with a request for more defense spending than the sequester and the budget control will act will allow. the congress turned around and said we're not going to bust the sequester, you know the administration know you don't will want to bust the sequester. what we're going to do is take a the additional money and put it contingency account. in the administration is opposed to it. so it shows you where they're really coming from. they don't want to spend any more money on defense. containment is a nonstarter for these folks. there is another fundamental problem.
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the way david puts it is essentially tell our allies in the region, we'll cut a deal with the iranians and then we'll fix it with you. that's exactly putting the cart i before the horse. if you want support for a deal that's questionable, the first thing you have to do is shore up your allies. in you have got to convince them a that you are reliable, that you have a certain understanding of their concerns and that you're going to act on them because not only after a deal is cut, but before a deal is cut. so when you have a spat with israel that goes well beyond just mr. netanyahu's behavior when you have friction with the saudis, that has nothing to do with the israelis. when you have a cutoff of support for the bahrainies which we have done. we have cut off any kind of military support for them and
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the bahrainies, of course, are kind of younger brothers to the saudis. they're just across the causeway for those of you who know the region. if you operate in that way, you are certainly not giving them the comfort factor that they would need prior to a deal being signed. we're doing it exactly the opposite way. david rothkopf: let me say one thing in response to that. i agree that the right way to have done this would be to maintain and then build credibility, listen to our allies, understand where they need assurance, not undercut our credibility with them at every turn, not offer the iranians a and deal on enrichment we wouldn't offer them, not do the things that we have done. i we are where we are. my view on that is if you want to make the best of the situation you're in now, you
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are you have to look at those relationships and restore them by actions, not words. and, by the way, you can't restore relationships in a region like this unless you empower your state department to go out and do the work. if everything is done by the white house, you cannot do the day-to-day blocking and tackling of diplomatic relationships that this required. so there are operational issues involved here that are serious problems. the final point i want to make is we didn't address part of dmitri's question. he raised the point of mr. putin. there are broader geopolitical ramifications of this. when vladmir putin sees our behaving fecklessly or being distracted by situations like this, every single time he takes advantage of it.
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it is no accident, also, that when he takes advantage of it, people in the region see him as a little bit stronger. and the israelis have turned to the russians more closely and they have better relations with the russians. others in the region have done the same. as i was saying to jerry we got here, there is an ironic twist going on. you may recall a discussion of pivot to asia. well, we didn't really follow through on the pivot to asia. you know who is pivoting to asia, everybody in the middle east, the people we were supposed to be pivoting away from, the saudis, the israelis the gulf states, the iranians, they're looking to china as a consumer of last resort. they're looking to india as a big buyer of their energy products. they are looking in a different direction for major power
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involvement in the region because they don't trust that they can count on u.s. major power involvement in the region and i might add, that is compounded by the fact that the notion of e.u. foreign policy is a fantasy because the e.u. hasn't gotten its act together yet to actually have a foreign policy. the atlantic alliance and the deterioration that has taken place in context of that alliance, has contributed to this weakening in the middle east and the weakening in the face of putin. and that need to be addressed in f you are going to address this pivot and the issues in this region as well. dov zakheim: the reason i said we should continue talking is precisely so we can do the kinds of things david talked about shore up the alliances, restore some credibility. there is no reason for us to say as we have been saying if we can't get something done by the
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end of march, we're going to walk away. that's exactly the wrong thing to say. the right thing to say is, if we can't get something done by the end of march, we'll just keep on talking. the longer we talk, the more time we have to restore our relationships with the saudis, with the israelis, the rest of them to prevent the pivot to asia that david just talked about, to have some kind of credibility with our adversaries as well and our potential adversaries. it's not just putin who sees us as weak. it's the chinese who see us as weak, everybody sees us as weak. it many trouble seeing where he was the same refrain. we need time to restore that. you do not cut a deal and then try to restore it at all you're going to do then is further undermine yourself.
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you will approve tell week you are thrown the reasons david gave you. moderator: we are discussing iran and politics in the middle east.
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richard: as the jacob, you just said, the subject is iran and the american politics. the terrible message that i am hearing in this discussion is very fundamental to american politics. the question is, are we capable as a country, a country with presumably the most resources economic, military of any country, are we capable of conducting a meaningful foreign policy. and david, you began with pointing out the various ways that iran has been the beneficiary -- you have to take that back to bush. when we eliminated the iraq, saddam hussein challenge we basically stabilized the balance. was anyone thinking about that issue we went to. i see a fundamental, structural question, it is partially related to a generational change occurring in our politics. the last american president who served in the war was george herbert walker bush. since then, we have had a new generation with a different view of the world and how we should deal with it. we have been cranking through the lack of strategic thinking. the fact that people in the world do not trust us, you used
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the word weak, i would say people do not look at us as weak, but as not knowing what we are about. what are we trying to achieve. that undermines the kind of trust that is reinforced by the kind of domestic, political dysfunction. >> [indiscernible] >> under george schultz, one of the great secretaries of state. my point is, i think the situation calls -- not probably in this room, we have people who devoted their lives to security. but as a country. look at the people coming up as potential presidents for the next cycle. almost none have foreign-policy experience. in a world in chaos, or as henry
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kissinger put it, a period of disorder, i think we have some serious self reflection. >> i don't know if david will agree, i think a point to david made previously, goes to the heart of your concern. our foreign-policy is being run by a small group of people in the white house, most of whom have minimal foreign-policy experience. they've been doing it for six years, but it is as if it has been six days. regardless of who is elected issue is, does the white house run foreign-policy, or do we leave it to the professionals. people like yourself and others who serve in treasury, state commerce, we have a lot of international agencies, and young people are more
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interconnected with the world than any other generation. there is no inherent reason why we should be operating the way we are today. the key is, do we rely on our executive agencies to do what the law tells them to do, to the extent that a new administration, regardless of party will default back to executive agencies, i think you'll see a very different american image around the world. and a lot more credibility. >> there are two groups that make the same points. the roads have become centralized. it makes it impossible to do the job the agencies need to do. it also makes it impossible for the white house to do the strategic planning and implementation for all of it.
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that needs to be fixed and there are a variety of ways to do that, including cutting down the size of the nsc from 400 to 200. henry kissinger's nsc had 30. we are over 10 times that. but you guys were special. [laughter] having said that, that is not the full answer. there are two other issues. one is foreign-policy is made in the executive branch primarily by the president of the united states, at the behest of the president. there is no area in which the old maxim of a single man or woman is true.
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five out of six of the last presidents have had no foreign experience. the american people continue to live under the delusion that foreign-policy is something you could pick up. if that has been demonstrated to not be the case, certainly the past few years have driven that message home, or should have. you have to elect people who understand this, who understand how the agency's work, who understand the issues, who are not going to do on the job training, and are effective leaders. people who are effective of managing big organizations. united states government is the largest, most complicated organization on earth. the skill set least valued is management skill.
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this is the one city in the world where people tend to believe if you can articulate, that is the same as being able to get something done. that is not true. we need leaders who are also managers who have clear ideas, and they have to be able to go and do the retail politics of foreign-policy as well as they do the global to -- diplomacy and statesmanship. they have to go to the hill. they cannot maintain campaign mode. they have to engage. they have to have willing partners. it is not a small thing. the congress of the united states is obstructionist. many of the people in congress do not have passports. they do not engage in these issues. they think penalizing be president on foreign-policy, when it weakens us, it happens. they do not believe in the
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principles of collaboration and compromise that are essential to functioning democracy. that has to be fixed as well. you cannot fix it all at once. the place you can start to fix it is in the presidential election. you have to pick the right woman or man to be president in order to be able to be in this process of change. >> if you want someone who is a manager, and my last incarnation in government i was on management side. i saw the price we pay for people who did not know how to manage being in management positions. the managers out there are not
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senators, they are ceos. ceos who are in politics are called governors. sometimes you will get a senator who knows nothing about foreign-policy and is still pretty good. harry truman. you can have a governor who is pretty good, ronald reagan or bill clinton. it is a function of the individual. if the individual can listen has a good staff, recognizes his or her shortcomings, you will be fine. if the individual has a management background, you will be better. if the individual is convinced hey, i am president and you are not. therefore i know it all and you do not. it does not matter what their background is. >> running a large agency like the u.s. state department, i figured that was coming. >> two more questions. one for mike from cbs news hour. mike: politics was in the title of this talk. first of all, an election campaign is usually not the best way to articulate complicated
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issues. you gentlemen have advised presidential candidates. on the democratic side, it seems like the candidate is going to have to distance themselves from the current administration without repudiating it. on the republican side, how to run a effective critique without turning it into a rancid criticism. >> i believe that it is highly likely, regardless who the candidate is in 2016, they will both in some degree run against the foreign-policy records of the last two presidents. both will seek to identify themselves as something different. as far as democratic candidates, i think they will be able to split the difference that you
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described there because they will be able to embrace the lot of the president's domestic policies. they will be able to say there was recoveries, progress made in climate. they will be able to say that there was a variety of gains made. they can embrace that wholeheartedly. i think foreign-policy, they may talk about some of the progress that gets made in climate. they may talk about the progress that might be made. there may be some victories to look at. they will make a mistake if they get too bogged down in the details of defending the obama administration foreign-policy. instead of focusing on the future, i believe that what the
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american people will look for is someone who will say, i have a different vision as to where we are going to go. i can provide a different character leadership. i can demonstrate that i can deliver that character of leadership, and i can give you a few key ideas of how i will restore america to the traditional leadership role expected of the country both here and overseas. my final point, i think whoever is elected, will see as one of their central jobs, restoring america's leadership role in the world. in that respect you will see a lot of similarity in some of the rhetoric that is going to come out of both the democratic and republican candidates. zakheim: the obama administration is going to be a target rich environment both on
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domestic and foreign policy. i agree that will not be enough, there will have to be a positive vision. i think it will be harder for the democratic candidate to fight the bush election again, because it will be 14 years before. it will be difficult. mr. obama has been fighting mr. bush from day one. the reaction gets more and more negative with the passage of time. i think the sense in the country that things are going wrong overseas means that unlike in the 2012 election when generally, mr. romney did not focus much on foreign-policy here you will see national security as a major issue. probably as major as the 1980 election. who knows what will happen in the next 18 months, but i do not think it will be good. that will be a major issue.
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the question will be what do we do. either candidate, republican or democrat will have to come up with a viable answer. i don't think claiming credit for climate change as a security issue, which by the way is a major element of the current national security strategy. climate change and the environment. that will resonate with the american people when you see what is going on in the middle east and elsewhere. it just won't wash. i hope a democrat will oka's on that. >> the next question is from wayne mary. wayne: i am struck with the panel discussion on i run an american politics that there has been no mention of a collective letter from the u.s. senators to the uranian government. there has been only passing reference to the israeli prime minister.
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the focus of your criticism has been almost exclusively on one end of pennsylvania avenue which i would be happy to join. if you are talking about alliances, i have rarely seen in my professional life, a set of actions by the congress which have attracted such overt public criticism from senior figures of our allies. i wonder if you would talk a little bit about a positive contribution, a role that you could approve of from the other end of pennsylvania avenue. >> i have been critical in writing, i thought i was critical now. i think congress made a mistake. he could have retreated by the
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way. senators feinstein and durban had offered to speak separately to the democrats. he could have turned around and said i will do that. an olive branch. he has offered no olive branch. i think it is a reflection of frustration. massive frustration. he goes to the point of david made. this president has no relationship with the hill on any issue. he is not a favorite of the democrats either. those who knew him when he was on the hill, knew him as a loner who did not ever become part of the club. if you know the hill, and i know you do, if people like you, you can get away with a lot. people do not like you, they
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will fault you for everything. the classic example of that is ronald reagan and tip o'neill. reagan and o'neill clearly did not see the world the same way. they play golf together, they related, and when things had to get done, they somehow work it out. this president does not know how to do that. maybe he doesn't want to do that. i don't know. you have a degree of frustration. obviously the democrats will be more restrained than republicans. this letter was like a gut that burst. perhaps a different way to handle congress, stroking people, being nice to people giving them the time of day could have resulted in something else. could have resulted in the president calling in cotton and saying, look, this is not the right way to go. if you had a relationship, he could've done that. >> i think i was explicit. i said they were obstructionist,
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i said they were blocking things. they are part of the problem. very few things illustrate this as clearly as cosmic. dov is rationalizing it. i don't think it is rationalizable. i think the letter was ill considered and unconstructive. the kind of thing that ought to be repudiated by both sides. it wasn't. it was embraced by virtually all with a couple of exceptions. in that respect i think it is a symptom of a disease that needs to be cured.
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the way to cure it is not blame it on the president. who is leading on the republican side looking for solutions? who is leading, being constructive? i mean genuinely. who is taking the initiative on the hill to do that. most of the leadership has expressed one way or another they see their job as to stop the president. to obstruct and to undermine. certainly the net and yahoo! -- netanyahu invitation was another grotesque example of the abuse of the traditional role. i couldn't agree more with the sentiment of the question. much has to be done on capitol hill. one hopes in the 2016 cycle, what you will get from some candidates, is a return to the traditional values that leaders in both parties have had
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particularly with foreign-policy. placing national interest first, and placing politics on the back burner. >> [indiscernible] don't you think when you have the president of the united states, and the bipartisan politics, and consistently ignore the republicans. if you look at his medical reform, immigration reform, the
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way he dealt with the russians ignoring the will of the new republican majority of congress. he took a position dealing with congress that everything that is not outright illegal is fair game. don't you think under the circumstances, the republicans are not just entitled to frustration, but they should not continue. if you ignore a branch -- what is wrong with this approach? david: i think it is grotesquely unconstructive.
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we have reduced ourself to be schoolyard, somehow saying two wrongs make a right. is obama embracing other democrats, no. is he good at embracing the rest of his administration, no. is he isolated, is he combative yes. i think he is doing all of those things. you are conflating a bunch of things. health care reform, there was a big battle, people voted, he got his way. that was not forcing it down their throats. that was the legislative process working. there were other cases where he achieved victory. he used executive authority. republican presidents use executive authority. there is always a cry from the other side saying, oh my gosh, imperial presidency. that is how washington works. just as obama has done wrong in
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terms of not reaching out, mitch mcconnell said my job is to stop obama. he did not say, my job is to make america stronger. he did not say my job is to help the american people through more trade. he took the opposite side. he certainly has not been terribly constructive. some of the party has been worse. they talk about idiocy like in -- impeachment. you'll have to get a group. -- grip. the republicans have eight done a lousy job. the obama administration has screwed up a lot of foreign-policy. we can either point fingers for the next 10 years and it can get worse, or we can try to reach out across the aisle, find areas
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agreement, acknowledged its function is not the way to go. i will tell you, i have said this before, dysfunction in washington is a much greater threat to american national security than isis and every terrorist threat. unless we treat it that way, we will not be able to do the things that make the country strong. whether it is producing defense budgets or producing coherent foreign-policy. >> that was a strong statement. zakheim: talk is talk, but i think the first thing mitch mcconnell said as he is not going to close down the government. he said that in the face of a lot of people who want to do that.
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i saw no reciprocation from the white house, none. at the end of the day, look who made the offer to play golf. it was not to o'neill. these things have to come from the president. it is just the way it works. it is exactly the same part of the system you're talking about david, you are not seeing that. the question is, who is supposed to start this process? i do not see that happening. you could argue that mcconnell tried to do that, and got nowhere. i don't see that happening until the next president comes around. i do hope that whoever the next president is, will recognize that you need to work with congress, rather than work against them. david: i'm going to take the
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world last question, because we may not emulate the council on foreign relations in many ways here. we are going to end on time. my question to both of our distinguished speakers is -- i will pull away from domestic all strife, and zoom all the way back to the middle east and goes. ask -- we can talk about netanyahu and obama engaging and that seems like an abstract tool right now. negotiations are inflamed. let's put aside these arms talks. let's talk about right now and get back to be first question, how close are we to an august 1914 moment in the middle east. forget the iran deal, whether they sign it or not, this region
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is in upheaval. how close are we to the big countries, like saudi arabia, we know that these wars get triggered by proxy wars. a you can get dragged into your proxy, how close are we really. what would trigger a wider, war of complete upheaval in the middle east, david? david: first of all, i don't know how it could get wider. egypt, israel, syria, iraq jordan, all of the gulf states iran and afghanistan are all involved in conflict right now. the turks have some role to play in all of that too.
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it is as wide as it can get. can it get worse and deeper? sure. libya is going to get worse. libya is going to become likely as yemen is right now. the egyptians will leave a force into libya. the reason egyptians signed up for this force was to get the license. that is going to make work. i think those countries are coming to the conclusion that the united states and its reluctance to put any boots on the ground is going to leave it up to them to pick things up. we can breathe a sigh of relief and say, oh that is great. except we lose influence. they may not approach this anyway we think it ought to be approached. they may not approach it in ways that we think it is in the
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region's interests. i think we need to be careful into falling into the temptation of saying, let them handle it. is it 1914? no, it's 2015. in other words, it will not become world war i. could it last for 10 years? could it decimate the region? could it play havoc with world energy. included increased are medically the influence of states who did not have influence there before? great young men and women never be able to rebuild or economy for the next 50 years, and create half a century of unrest for this region?
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condit friend to -- could it spread to africa, and other parts of the world, including pakistan with hundreds of nuclear warheads? yes it could. so i think we need to say first of all we should not comfort ourselves that we are not in a terrible position yet. we are in a terrible position. we also have to say that the situation is likely to deteriorate before it gets better. we need to have a strategy that is a long-term strategy. this is not something that is up with any pointing this description. there is no strategy where the united states can maintain influence where does not have boots on the ground in three situations. the reason that around this game in iraq is because they do and we don't. i am not saying that means another 200,000 troops, i am
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saying advisors and special forces on the kind of things that send a message to others that you're serious. you have a lot of countries that are effectively committee library for games. we're not doing anything serious because they do not the we are doing enough that a seriously leadership requires getting other people to follow, and it requires an example. we're a long way from that. i do not worry about a world war, but i do worry about a protracted time of destabilization in a big chunk of the world that could negatively impact u.s. and allied interests for decades. dov: i am pretty much the same. i do not think we can hope to have any influence unless we have some boots on the ground. i think that the president's reluctance to keep troops in
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afghanistan, now he is saying up to 2015, to the end of the seer aggressively not the way to go. i think the best example and best reason for saying it is not the way to go is if you look at the timeline and rock -- in iraq. mr. maliki becomes a real dictator after we pull out. it is arguable that if you not behave the way he had, the sunnis would not be behaving the way they are. having that presence there, it is not a massive presence, i totally agree it is very important. we are not it 1914, we in 1912 to 1913. the balkan wars, the wars that preceded the big one. you might say this the spanish civil war, where you proxy war -- have a proxy war. it is not going to be a world war, but it will be released
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wide war, and will be something like the 30 years war but longer. the 30 years war was a religious worth the end of the day. and however much you want to dismiss it as between sunni and shia. that is what you hear when you talk to sunnis and she has. he was obligated by the fact that the iranians are not as she is, they are persons who look down on arabs and always have. it is an ethnic thing and a religious thing. those things do not go away quickly. the real issue becomes how do you keep a lid on this? you cannot give a lid on it if you're simply thinking about withdrawing. and if you set redlines not pretty himself by saying that i'm not going to send any boots on the ground. that is unbelievably self-defeating. what is amazing is that we are slowly being sucked in any way. now we are providing air support. what happens when one of our pilots is shot down, god forbid
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that happens. then what? i'm hearing the middle east sucking sound all over again. it was a briarpatch preview get in, you just do not get out. >> i'm grateful to both of our speakers. thank you very much. [applause]
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, wiich is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> here are some of our featured programs this weekend on the c-span networks. on book tv, tonight at 10:00 in eastern peter walton says that government housing policies caused the 2008 financial crisis and could happen again. and at 5:00 p.m., jeffrey sachs on the global policies to combat environmental decay.
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