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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 7, 2016 2:32am-7:01am EDT

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announcer: a newly released cnn national poll shows the presidential race is essentially dead even within the margin of error. a new washington post 50-state survey indicates donald trump is facing critical weaknesses in trying to get 270 like rural -- 270 electoral votes. scott clementi is the polling director for the washington post. thank you for being with us. >> good to be here. >> explain this 50-state survey, and what you're looking for and what you found. scott: we were trying to piece together the results from national surveys we have done, but also a handful of state surveys done by all kinds of firms.
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we joined with surveymonkey to do a large survey. over 74,000 registered voters across the country which gave us the ability to look at the vote in every state and also how subgroups are voting. then, women, white, nonwhite, to help us piece together the dynamics of the election. -- election. we found a number of surprises. what of the big themes of this share has been a deep division of whites with college-educated whites being held by trump. we see that throughout the data that it is integrally notable in places like the midwest. >> as you look at some of these states and for example, arizona, georgia, texas. in the past there been republican states. with nine weeks to go before election day, these are areas donald trump needs to win if he has any home to getting to 270. but he is struggling. scott: that is exactly right. we have had close races and all
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of those states. -- in all of those states. those were big surprises. it goes without saying that trump is performing in a number of republican strongholds, notably utah. he leads by only 11 points there. in arizona, we found clinton plus one. in texas we also found clinton plus one. those are contests uphill battles for clinton. they are not friendly states to democrats. they might tilt back to drop. it signals the overall enthusiasm issue for trump about republicans. he has struggled to align the candidacy behind the party. and it is starting to show. >> let's talk about florida, a state in which the democrats and republicans put attention. hillary is ahead but only slightly.
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state that donald trump says he can win. co. -- scott: it is a must win for trump. it is a tossup. clinton is up by only two. it is a big state. if clinton wins and blocks off a viable path to the nomination. florida is one of the states we divisionsemographic between white, latinos, african-americans, as well as between those with college degrees and without. one of the big think this poll -- big things this poll does not answer but provides some further questions going forward, is how the turnout will fare about these groups. the survey found that it would focus more on voters to figure out which groups are likely to
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turn out at higher rates. it is not simple calculus this year, because both clinton and travel are relied on relatively low turnout groups as their base. >> has donald trump consolidated the republican vote? scott: he has not. across all the states where we have conducted surveys, clinton had over 90% of the vote for a majority of them while only about a dozen did trump have 90% or more of the republican vote. so we were seeing national polls across the country where he struggled to unite. the vast majority of republicans are still supportive of him but the challenge is getting to that 90% standard that has really become consistent in recent presidential elections. two high profile
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third-party candidates, jill stein for the green party end gary johnson for the libertarian party, either one of them breaking through? scott: in some states they are. gary johnson is running a really fascinating campaign that is doing very well in states where he served as governor. new mexico, 23% supported that state ent is only a few points off where donald trump is in that state, clinton holds a small lead. overall, he gets at least 15% support in 15 states. that is the threshold that the presidential debate is put on whether he can participate. they are focused on national surveys, but he clearly is gaining significant support across a number of these states. he does less well in the deep south that he does in the upper wanted states. -- upper mountain states. i should mention jill stein,
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also she does a bit worse than johnson -- in the single digits in nearly every state. the one where she does very well is vermont. 10% support there. that of course is the hope to -- is the home to senator bernie sanders. could at least cause a little bit of nervousness or supporters of hillary clinton that she is still a favorite to win that state. >> finally, a potential bright spot for donald trump it is cap and in the upper west, notably wisconsin and michigan. what did you find there? scott: he can run the table of the upper midwest or at least kickoff some of the democratic every states. clinton leads by four points but that is slimmer than what we see another public surveys. in michigan, clinton leads by two, wisconsin by two, in ohio trump leads by three. a narrow margin. in iowa, trump leads by four.
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those are good if you are a trip -- are a trump supporter, that they signaled these states are in play. some surveys are showing clinton with smaller leads in ohio in iowa they had elsewhere but the bulk of the states have gone democratic for the last five or six elections, and that signals how important these have been to democrats. this fairly narrow victory there. the railway for trump to pull off some of the electoral vote seems to be through those states. >> as you put it, it is a long road to the white house and so the washington post pulling all 50 states to find out what each candidate needs to do to get there. the research and reporting of scott clement available online and in today's newspaper. thank you very much for being with us. scott: thank you. >> a bomb blast hit kabul afghanistan killing 35 people.
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a look at the political situation in afghanistan. after that, the author talks about his new book, the long game, how obama defined washington. >> for campaign 2016, c-span continues on the road to the white house. >> i will be a president for democrats, republicans and independents. >> we are to win with education, the second amendment, we are going to win. >> live coverage of the presidential and vice presidential debates on c-span, the c-span radio app and monday, september 26 is the first presidential debate live from new york. on tuesday, october 4, vice president of candidates, mike pence and tim kaine debate at longwood university in virginia.
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on sunday, october 9, washington university in st. louis hosts the second presidential debate leading up to the third and final debate between hillary clinton and donald trump, taking place at the university of nevada las vegas, october 19. live coverage of the debates on c-span, listen live on the free c-span radio app, or watch live on demand at >> ruth bader ginsburg will talk to first-year students at georgetown law school tomorrow and is expected to take questions. watch live coverage at 5:00 p.m. eastern on c-span three. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning, veterans affairs secretary robert mcdonald on current
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issues facing veterans including v.a. reforms, commission on care reports. veterans affair committee member phil roe will talk about wednesday's hearing on the care that v.a. provides. the possible subpoena either v.a. commission regarding documents. us the contributing editor for the national review. the story on the impact of automation. watch c-span's washington journal getting at 7:00 eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. ♪ >> now retired marine corps general is a part of a discussion on the political and security situation in afghanistan. posted by the brookings institution, this is an hour and 40 minutes.
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michael: good morning, everyone. welcome to brookings, i'm mike o'hanion here 25eud to discuss afghanistan. in one sense it's still a hopeful time of the year. the redskins haven't lost a name anti-nationals are still in first place. so we're all hopeful. on the other hand, 15 years into the afghanistan mission and 15 years after 9/11 we know that there is an ongoing, very difficult struggle throughout the broader middle east and certainly not least within afghanistan itself. and we're glad you came to join us in this discussion. i know there are a couple of words of introduction i want to say before introducing the panelists. by the way the basic approach we'll take here is to have a broad question framed by me to each of them and then get a few basic ideas on the table. we'll talk amid ourselves for a bit and halfway through we'll go to you. first i know we all not just on the panel but in the room want
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to commemorate and mourn the victims of 9/11, the families, the soldiers, airmen, marines, and sailors, and everyone else in the intelligence community, elsewhere who have worked so hard, often at great sacrifice, sometimes being hurt along wait, -- along the way, their families, communities, just day and moment to reflect and honor them since we're again approaching 9/11 and i know this is on all our minds. second in the same vain of commemorating a big event, i want to thank my colleague who has been our communications director in the foreign policy program for almost a decade is leaving brookings after today. we collected a few of the little statistics that give some small indication to the extent you can ever use metrics whether in counter insurgency or think tankdom to address progress. in her time at brookings on her watch, the monthly web hits for the foreign policy program have more than tripled.
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she has organized -- helped organize some 1,500 events like this one. and she has supervised and orchestrated some 5,000 television or radio spots by her various scholars over that period of time. and she's going off to work on the important issue of refugees in the future. we greatly respect her commitment to public policy and to her fellow human being and what she's done for all of us. i want to thank her and her team that have worked with her closely over the years. a big day for us at brookings. thank you for giving me a chance to mention that. [applause] michael: as you know we have outstanding panel. i want to say a brief word about each of my colleagues. it's a treat to not only honor gail but recognize who we have got up here. one of the most diligent and intrepid and brilliant field
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researchers that i have ever met. and been going to afghanistan for i think over a decade now , going back to her dissertation days wrote a book called "shooting up" which talked about afghanistan and one of her main case studies, the nexus between counter insurgency and counter narcotic strategies which remains a big issue there. continues to travel often to afghanistan and wrote one of the best books on the subject, aspiration and the ambivalence, which i recommend to anyone who hasn't yet read it. gets at a lot of the difficult period of the last 15 years in the u.s.-led mission there. and speaking of that mission, next to her is general john allen, who, as you know, is a
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brookings senior fellow. he was the commander of the international security assistance force in afghanistan from the summer of 2011 until the winter of 2013. a 19-month stretch which was crucial. before i say a few words about that tenure, i want to let you know this is a lifelong marine who did a lot of other things in the marine corps beginning with helping create the fabled infantry officer corps at quantico, which is the signature event for training officers in infantry in the u.s. marine corps which did not exist in the current form prior to his role in that as major back in the 1990's. and then we know the marines trusted him. the real impressive thing is the navy entrusted him and gave him, admittedly he was a graduate of annapolis himself, but they gave him the job of commandant of the midshipman at the u.s. naval academy. the first time a marine was asked to be responsible for sailors in that institution and that capacity. that tells you something about how much the navy like all of us had high regard for general
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allen. he then spent his one star appoint or period of time working on east asia issues at the pentagon in the early 2000s before deploying with the marines to anbar province and being one of our two or three key marines in the surge. from that point many other jobs in the central command theater, including being david petraeus' deputy at central command. being active commander there. and ultimately stepping down from government last fall in the civilian role as the coordinator for the president and secretary kerry in the campaign against isis. so in afghanistan as many of you know, let me say one word to situate in the debate, in afghanistan he was there during the initial downsizing. he commented once or twice to his friend by comparison petraeus had it easy because he was there when the forces came up, as soon as they peaked, he left and general allen was asked to start implementing the drawdown. but the good news for today's discussion for all of us is that that meant that general allen was involved in transferring responsibility to the afghan security forces, which of course is in many ways the main issue for security today because
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that's the main fighting force at a time when the united states has downsized by 90% and we're down to roughly 10,000 u.s. -- u.s. military personnel in country. bruce riedel was asked by president obama to coordinate the initial 2009 policy review on afghanistan-pakistan. a role he played along with richard holbrooke and michelle floor now and they produced the initial obama thinking on what to do about the entire region. and that was after a number of years he had spent already at brookings where he is also a senior fellow today. he was a 30-year veteran of the c.i.a. also comment numerous times on the national security council where he played a key role in things such as defusing indo pakistani crises in the late 1990's among other roles. also very involved in the middle east process which allen was as well. and bruce in his time here has written at least two very well
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received books related to the pakistan question. one of them called deadly embrace and the other avoiding armageddon. that sets him up extremely well to help us understand pakistan's role in the ongoing afghanistan theater. thank you for your indulgence. i wanted to do proper justice to framing the issue to thanking colleagues and setting the stage. so now i'm finally going to pose a question. we start with general allen and go to vanda and bruce. what i want to ask general allen is for his overall take on the security situation before i give him the baton, also let you know in a minute here i'm going to ask our newly arrived army colonel -- we have very good fortune of having military intelligence coast guard fellows here each year, active duty officers who -- analysts who are going back to their agency but are spending a year with us. colonel j.b. was the senior american mentoring and advising the afghan 201st and 203rd corps in the eastern part of the country until last fall and he
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stayed in close touch with those corps headquarters since that time. he can give us an update. and i'll call on him to share his thoughts. first we'll get started. general allen, again, thank you for your service and what you did in afghanistan. i wondered now looking back three years later, but i know you're tracking it carefully on a day when there had been numerous acts of violence and explosions in afghanistan, just today, how you see the situation, the good and bad and ugly. how do you feel about the prognostication of the past going forward as well? general allen: it's great to be back on the panel here with you, mike. this is a very important subject, obviously, coming up on the 15th anniversary. i was the deputy commandant of the naval academy. then became the commandant the day we were attacked on 9/11 so i remember it well.
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i remember being with those midshipmen that day as they were trying to figure out where life was going to take them. i knew where it was going to take them, and i knew where it was going to take me, 10 years later i would be commanding the war effort in afghanistan. i have said before if you can the part afghanistan, but you can never leave it. from that moment where i took command in july of 2011 to today, it's been a very special place to me. as we come up on the 15th anniversary here in a couple days, i'll take a moment and recall all of our troops and allied troops and importantly to recall the sacrifices of the afghan forces. enormous sacrifices of the afghan forces and sacrifice of the afghan civilians as well in this conflict. we said before on this stage and many other places that the success, the long-term success of afghanistan, whether it's a political success or economic success or whether conjoined
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incredible ways the community of nations is going to be a function of the security environment and the capacity of the afghan national security forces to provide that security over a long time. we can go back and do the forensics and postmortem, etc., on all the recommendation that -- recommendations that has been made on numbers and how those numbers ultimately were implemented and where they are. i will finish my remarks about where we're today with the numbers because numbers don't really tell the story. but we have in the aftermath of the departure of isaf and closing down of that mission and establishment of the resolute support, we have had about 13,000 nato forces in theater, 9500 or so have been u.s. at this point for some period of time. of that number about 2,800 or so are special operators anti-rest
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-- a special operators and the rest are trainers and advisers. situation on the ground in afghanistan has changed from time to time. and today there are a lot of debates about how you would articulate the situation on the ground. i would definitely use the term challenging. the situation has, in fact, become more challenging. perhaps even worrisome. in the last several months over the last year. it's not something which i think will be beyond the capacity of the afghan forces to hold over time. and to deal with over time. very close to those forces for the better part of a year and a half. having seen afghan troops in combat, having seen many of their leaders lead their troops credibly, not just at the small unit level but increasingly at the larger unit level, brigade brigade size operations -- regular brigade size operations,
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i do and i still have confidence that the afghan national security forces can pull this out over time. that said, we have seen the taliban resurgence be problematic in the last year or so. the taliban in the north have become a challenge. we had that brief moment near humiliation for the national security forces, but ultimately they were able to take it back but not insignificant human price. we had the disaster of the friendly fire on the hospital there for which we all still are -- regret those casualties. we have also seen a resurgence in afghan taliban activity in the helmund province as well. a loss of a number of the districts which has forced both the american commander in conjunction with the afghan leadership to put additional american forces on the ground in the helmund province to at least hold the district capital.
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i do believe we'll see that negative trend reversed. largely because, in fact, the leadership in the 215th corps, the corps that sits upon that particular area, helmund, just west of kandahar, had been replaced and i think we're going to see some improvement in relatively near future. the previous commander was largely incompetent. i think the challenge we face going ahead will be the stabilizing of our numbers for the long period of time to continue to affect the kind of relationship we need to have with the afghans not just in a training role but in an advisory role to include now providing additional air support to the afghan national security forces, in particular the afghan army, in ways we were unable to do before. that i think is going to be of a lot of assistance to us to secure the environment, maintain control of the population centers, not to give up any more
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of the districts. at this point the number of districts have gone into the hands of the taliban more than we would certainly want. but i do believe that over time they'll be able to take them back. let me talk briefly about the u.s. decisionmaking. the numbers that we had originally recommended and ultimately were put on the ground buried by -- to some extent, as i said it's history, we went in with 9,500 or so, and another 3,000 or so non-u.s. nato troops, that number was both probably too small and too short a period of time in terms of the initial obligation to those forces. as late as june of this year, all of the former afghan -- former american commanders in afghanistan and all the former american ambassadors to afghanistan wrote an open letter to the president asking that we cease all drawdown of american
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forces in afghanistan until such time as the new president after this election can have the time to study the situation to determine whether additional drawdown requirements should be met. whether we should stabilize for some period of time. whether we should even go up in numbers. my conversations which continue with our allied partners, many our allied partners still on the ground, about 40 u.s. and other partners on the ground today in resolute support, whether we need to go up in numbers over time. the bottom line for us was in june of this year we asked that we stop the drawdown to permit the next president, whoever that's going to be, who will own
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the outcome in afghanistan, the opportunity to thoroughly study the relationship between the security environment, the political environment, and the economic environment. because they are all linked. study the relationship between the three of those to determine whether the nato commitment is satisfactory both in numbers and in capabilities and in timeline to support the continued training and operational capabilities of the afghan national security forces over an extended period. we'll see papers coming out of brookings that continue to be a result of the combined efforts of the generals and the ambassadors and scholars who are attentive to this. so the security environment is essential as a platform. we're going forward both politically and economically. that security platform is definitely challenged today. i don't believe the afghan national security forces are losing, but i do believe that a resurgent taliban believing that we were going down to a number which could permit them to effect a tipping point with the afghans i believe that we have foiled that plan. by staying at the number we're today, which would be somewhere around 8,400. even with the president
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conceivably going up in the number or changing our capabilities or increasing our firepower in support of the afghan security forces i believe we'll hold what we got, change the momentum, and i'm as i always am, i am pragmatic. if we get our decision-making right in the afghans are sufficiently discriminating in who may permit to leave the various core and 200 first and 230 core are pretty strong. they are in the east and north east where the pretty big bite is. that is a pretty big outfits. the kandahar region has typically had a very strong outfits. the helman area is the heart and soul of the taliban. that has always been a tough fight. they have fired more than 70
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general officers from the afghan security forces and police. that is a good start, but we have a lot more to do. until leadership in command in afghanistan is truly determined on patriotic. it is not uncommon for that part of the world to have the challenge. we recognize this by stabilizing our numbers, ensuring capabilities are the best suited for the needs of the act and national security forces, and i think we will be ok. thank you. mike: thank you general allen. because of the security situation that is so paramount and on our mind today with the recent attacks, i want to give your comment -- time to comment on what you are seeing as well. i wanted to ask you to add your perspective. >> good morning.
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i would underscore general allen's comments that the security is challenging, very challenging. probably the most challenging since any time since 2002. certainly challenging from the perspective of afghan people and also from international civilian. it will very much enable or assist for economic growth. afghanistan has become a difficult environment with few people who live in kabul being able to travel outside of kabul. it is not just international. just traveling is a major risk. going up north has essentially become an permissible for afghanistan's. what we see today is a government that is cut off from large parts of the country. the level of civilian casualties is the greatest it has ever been. none of this means it cannot be
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reversed. but nonetheless, the security situation deeply intend to and at this point undermines many elements of the economic elements and economic elements and creates very much a stage of found insecurity in the country. i have been communicating intensely over the past 24 hours. it has been quite disturbing to see the reactions from the series of attacks. just the level of going about every day issues has been at the core of challenges and problems. it is becoming a major issue for
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people. and of course there are different situations. it is not just about the taliban. it is also very much about criminality and politics. indeed, a very significant elements of the security hampering daily life, and something the taliban can exploit is the number of kidnapping going on in the country. those target international, but also afghanistan businessman.
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what we are seeing is something that at one point happens and the height of the crisis when the number of people targeted for kidnapping, the type of people targeted for kidnapping was going down from very rich businessmen to white middle-class people would be quite vulnerable. probably imperative the government takes on the kidnapping, the pervasive criminality. this debilitate every day life. this is all linked to politics and is interesting and challenging situation in afghanistan. the initial configuration of the government was the last two years.
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then there was to be consideration of the arrangement at various points and consolidation. president abdou got m believe there would be a longer-term resolution of the relationship. that has not happened. a look tour of reform has been stark for over a year. now they are saying the government should come to an end, that there is no longer a
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space. it was believed by now he would be appointed prime minister and the system would be changed to a parliamentary system. that was not something he ever bought into. there was a misunderstanding. they are now being compounded by the many voices inside the government. president karzai has been called for the government. that it would be unconstitutional and many fear would not be helpful to the political process. so we are in the state of watching for the next few weeks how this agreement will be resolved and whether the government will stay in this constellation or whether there
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will be changes. certainly there will not be elections for at least half a year, likely more than that. meanwhile, there are other politics in kabul and outside kabul. president connithey have tried to fire but have not been able to accomplish that. some of this gameplay friday to actual firefight between supporters of the president and a northern group. i think that because it although it has no lasting impact of the government or how security works in afghanistan, but at the same
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time, the firefight again stimulated a sense that this may be a preview for disintegration. this raised recent memories of the 1990's. i believe there is an opportunity in these difficult elements for the afghanistan government and afghan politicians and people. for too long, there was a sense among afghanistan politicians that they can work the ship of state as much as possible to milk greater political appointments and other forms of payouts and politics can be constant brinksmanship and crisis making.
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afghanistan cannot afford that anymore. it has to be about governance. for a very long time afghan politicians would say it could never disintegrate to the 1990's, it can never go back to the civil war or maybe the firefight is a wake-up call that politics needs to fundamentally change and want the government gets out of the current crisis, whether it is later this month or even later, and there is a new government and the new government has an opportunity to work with other political power brokers and politicians to deliver in a more robust and less corrupt way that has not been the case so far. >> i think the state of afghanistan politics is or -- is better or worse than ours. i believe that one.
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i will get bruce engaged as well. i will ask your take on the pakistani angle. anything that you want to talk about. i know that when you did your policy review, you had a certain understanding of pakistan. a certain history. i would be curious if things have gone more or less as you expected. if not, how much is the pakistani role this central determinants duck go much is it more of a secondary factor? >> thank you for organizing this. a pleasure to be here with all of you. let me start with a piece of
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good news. when president obama announced his strategy in march 2009, it was very clear about what the top goals and priorities of american policy and party was. that was to disrupt, dismantle, and effete al qaeda and afghanistan and practice and. in 2009 that meant primarily in pakistan. this essentially moved al qaeda from one side of the line to the other side. by 2000 and eight and 2009 al qaeda core -- by 2008 and 2009, the al qaeda core was robust and fully recovered and engaged in a global terrorist operation. in 2003 we had the madrid attack , the deadliest terror attack in western europe since the beginning of the nine/11 era. the london attack in 2005. we foiled an attack in 2006 to simultaneously blowup jumbo
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planes over the atlantic. we now know in 2009 al qaeda was planning a massive attack on the u.s. -- new york city subway system, which was foiled. al qaeda was the proper goal of the united states in 2009. 7.5 years later al qaeda in pakistan does -- has not been destroyed but substantially degraded and put on the back foot. it -- a requires continued monitoring and surveillance, but the situation is much improved from what it was in 2008 and 2009. i think there are significant lessons to be learned. one of them is the united states
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has to be offense of as well as defense of in how it thinks of the problems. i would characterize the situation as largely defensive. we have been trying to shore up afghan government to shore up the afghan national security forces. that is difficult to do when you basically secede they will have permanent sanctuary in a -- in pakistan. the afghan taliban for at least 14 of the past 15 years have been able to operate out with impunity but patron ship of the pakistani army. this goes beyond simply providing a sanctuary and safe haven for the taliban and their families but active patronage and support. we know the pakistani army and intelligence service actively engaged in training, helping them fund the operations and
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planning the attacks, including those inside kabul. i think we have to learn some lessons about this when the next president thinks about going forward. in may of this share president obama has authorized a drone operation as head of the afghanistan taliban. that's mission is very controversial. you would hear people say it killed the peace process and others say there was no peace process to kill. i think it should become a model . i think the next president should consider this and look
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back on how we develop this for how we progressed against the afghan taliban. we do not need to have the tempo of operations that we had against al qaeda. we are not going to destroy the taliban through drone operations, nor should we try to . we should try to disrupt the sanctuary safe haven. in essence, we should take the safety out of the safe haven. this provides a good starting point for talking about this. there was a pakistani passport provided to him by the pakistani
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army. it was under a false name. inside, it shows he is making -- have made 18 trips to defy over the past five years and several other trips to bahrain and probably other gulf states. what was the purpose of 18 trips to defy? to fund raise. he was going after 254 repeated moves for fundraising. sympathetic audiences in the gulf state. i think we need to target that as well. i think we need an aggressive move by the department of treasury working with gulf state heart nurse to prevent that kind of fundraising from happening in the future. we're not going to destroy the afghan tele-band -- taliban through that but we should bring a situation where fundraising is as difficult to do as al qaeda fundraising is as difficult to do.
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we have had significant progress over the past 15 years. getting out of the business of letting private individual support al qaeda. we need to do the same thing with the afghan taliban. we of course have other objectives and goals as well. one of the most important is to support the entrenchment of pakistani democracy. also, i would say there is good news 15 years after september 11. pakistan today has a thriving free press. not always responsible but thriving free press. i am reminded of your question about whether their free press is as responsible about our free press. we have also seen the transition from one democratically elected government to another democratic
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elected government. that is a milestone in the history of pakistan's democracy. it should not be overlooked. we have seen them address their own pakistan and go after it in a way which we have never seen the or. pakistan today is a unique country. a country that is a victim of terrorism. there is a her rent this act of terrorism being carried out almost every day. unfortunately, the pakistani army continues to be a victim of terrorism and other parts of the world. that calculation was going to be difficult to do, but i think that is one of the priorities the next president will have to focus on when he or she thinks about what to do with that in a fan of pakistan situation. -- afghan and pakistan situation. mike: thank you. for those of you that do not study this thing full-time, let me remind you of the different numbers we are talking about.
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basically the afghan army is organized into six main core. these each have a geographic zone. if you can imagine doing a clock wise circle in your head and starting off in the northeast. in the northeast border. 201st core. then we come down south to the 200th or over to kandahar in 205. hellman was added as a separate court later. it got its own number as 215. there is 207 and 209 coming back around. the lead u.s. mentor in 700 americans deploying. he will codirect whenever i get wrong in just a second.
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these were the largest formations the u.s. still had in the field. most of the others were counterterrorism that were available on demand or central training teams or intelligence for another kind of institution building mentor in the city. he was essentially in the most forward units the united states still had. that is what makes up the 10,000 strong force general allen was mentioning. so with that, i want to see if he would like to add to the discussion with his sense of the security situation in the east and the progress of afghanistan army. >> i am an infantry officer. from some of the early days to the surge to where i left the
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country in october of last year, all different missions. that formed the perspective that i would call rationally optimistic about the afghan national security forces and the government in afghanistan, much to what general allen already alluded to. this is my first day working as a federal executive fellow with my peers. so i hope i am not graded too harshly. afghanistan is hard, and it is hard all the time. for all the things the panel has mentioned, the physical geography, issues of cold change, endemic corruption, illicit trade, etc., etc.. it seems to be more than just a graveyard of empires. things that change have to
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happen over very long amounts of time. so evolutionary changes my perspective for the past 12 years. when i was an infantry task force commander and then my brigade experience last year, different expense -- experience. we were there to partner with afghan security forces in a counterinsurgency to help the government reach and makes when the reach to its people as a district level. and also, to help provide sufficient and effective fighting forces in the field with our efforts as a model on missions and operations throughout the country. lots of experiences during the search. people contacted the government, took a lot of effort. it is not three cups of tea in that country, it is three
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gallons. that discussion and dialogue was very important. i learned a couple of lessons that year. one, there is no better instrument for counterinsurgency in that country than their own afghan security forces. in the meeting with governors, military officials the afghan security forces could leave the discussion, participate that discussion in a supportive role to the elected government. that was impressive. a lot of the problem-solving happens between security forces and their government without coalition intervention. that was pretty good.
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however, i noticed the particularly troubling problem belt without coalition involvement, coalition partnership, afghan national security forces were very troubled. very hard to get into the field and fight. so i left that combat with kind of you cannot want it more than they do. they have to have the leadership , systems, support, but there will be a requirement for security forces to plan, prepare and ss operations and transition to the next campaign. i left thinking that would never happen. we spent a long time in western europe and the world -- and middle east after world war ii. we were not on that path in a can a stand. in january i deployed with about a third of my brigade. to the east again. i had been at bagram and our brigade commander in the east. we did not think they would be able to fix this on their own with just us advising and offices. we stayed at the court level. -- core level. that is about on par with the
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height of the surge forces the coalition had in the country in the first place. so now they owned the problem. then hellman happened. the district centers start getting overrun. there is a resurgent taliban effort. what we saw, which was a good thing because now the taliban is competing in warfare village to village with the same population. the people who picked up on that request for the afghan national
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security forces. the comment from the g2 is this is the best thing that can happen to us. we can sit back and watch them fight. so these forces had a problem holding checkpoint and problem holding district centers without a coalition effort. after the setbacks and significant national support from the government and reorganization of the national security apparatus, they were able to re-siege the objectives and places that were taken with difficulty. i looked around in the east where we were in manga hard, and all the other provinces in the east where the terrain is contentious and population has been compliant and the border sanctuary, very contentious area. why weren't the checkpoints being overrun? why wasn't large swaths of terrain being taken by the taliban and held in perpetuity? i got to talk to a brigade commander in the summer of last year.
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after pleading for assets for the coalition to get airpower, which they are still trying to generate that capability, he said we can do it without you. we're too much ownership, this is our country, and regardless, we are not going to leave. between 2011 when general allen came on board in 2015 all of the national afghanistan security forces op -- occupied all of the outposts. in our particular case, they doubled down on that. they made more. for example, the tesh river valley in kuhn aar, very contentious place. when the afghan security forces took ownership of the problem, they saw a different strategy and light, and they built more
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roads, more combat outposts to connect the provinces together so the government would start having some security where it never had it before. they wanted that. we told him not to do that from our experiences. they had the initiative and wanted that to happen. lastly, in the east, course get paid, and -- cores get paid to protect key terrain and population. the population center in towns and villages and the people from having absolute chaos going on. they were afforded an opportunity to plan campaigns throughout the country starting with hellman, and then afghani looked at this on a vtc, and said what would you like to do echo his answer was i want to clear terrain and make sure it
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is safe from the taliban coming up from the southwest, because jalalabad has had several car bombs and -- pressures on the population. the united states did not plan this. the coalition did not plan this. there -- this was their effort. we advise them a little bit but this was their effort. the corps commander and a small staff set up a base and had three per grade -- three brigades maneuver into that space that was contested by isis and the taliban. the first operation, clearing 167 ied's by themselves with no fatalities. >> the spring or summer of 2015 go >> the spring of last year. the perspective in leaving of may 2011 when they needed us to go with them on every mission and operation just about to afghan security forces leading a combined tactical effort in the field without much coalition assistance. there were using their own d30' howitzers and clearing terrain in concert to succeed the terrain objectives away from the
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enemy and holding that with additional checkpoints, with police to follow on the end and governance of the district level to reach out to the people. that is counterinsurgency their way. so i left october of last year with we have gotten a lot further along than i would have thought possible. to echo this comment, i would term it rationally optimistic. it would take international support, commitment to keep the effort going. i think we will all be surprised with the outcome. >> it will take president khani and abdullah. so let me now do a final quick round and then go to you. i want to ask one question to each of our panelists, following up on what you said about going
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after the safe areas, as we all know, they are not just north and south and the remote, record -- rugged terrain. this is where people think now taliban leadership is located as well. is there any way to go after them there? any way to go after them there? >> there is. it is difficult. not easy by any means. the may operation demonstrated you can operate in beluga stand. this was good fiction put out by the obama administration to make it easier for the government of pakistan to respond.
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we were actually quite deep. drone operations will not be a feasible alternative in a major urban area like karachi. the good news from the standpoint of thinking about how the safe havens and sanctuaries work, you cannot run them efficiently with the top leadership all the time hiding in a safe house. so not only do they have to go out in the field, they have to go out and visit commanders and see their troops, and that is when there is full the ability. we do not need the temple of operations for the cia drones we are using against al qaeda in 2009 and 2010 and 2011. that would be an unnecessary effort. what we need is periodic, maybe once a quarter or three or four times a year, operations against senior afghanistan leadership operating in the safe havens and sanctuaries to make it more difficult for them to do business as usual. if we let them operate and do business as usual as they have for the past 14 or 15 years, i do not see how this operation
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will ever tilt in the direction we want it to tilt. general allen mentioned the peace process and the afghan taliban assessment for peace process. i think he got it absolutely right. the process has been why should we engage in a peace process echo the enemy is leaving. sooner or later the americans will be gone, and when they are all gone, time will be on our side.
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we have to change that copulation. i think the president's decision to leave the troops and was the right decision. i think now showing them the safe havens and sanctuaries are not as a as they have been also tips the calculation. it also helps to tip the balance of power within the pakistani system. pakistan is an unusual country and a lot of ways. it has a civil military balance that is not imbalanced. the military runs the afghanistan war. elected officials do not run the war. we saw that in the peace process. it is pretty clear the chief of army staff was not a supporter of that. and in the end, his vote matters in the -- matters more than the prime minister. if we save the sanctuary i think we will in the long run help the prime minister and civilian government for making the case we cannot go on this way and we will not secure victory, we need to look for a military process. >> excellent. i was wanting you to take up on the pakistan angle, and let us know your assessment as to whether we can be successful in the absence of a very big shift in pakistani behavior or our ability to reach out and influence the events through greater use of drone or nato
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forces, and secondly, because you worked with dr. connie and abdul, i would be question whether they are likely to make this thing work. we have seen the discussion of the difficulties in their relationships, the long-standing challenge of the government structure created to overtake the differences, do you think the gentlemen are likely to make it work, or do you said it is starting to fall apart? both of those questions if you are willing. general allen: the frontier between pakistan and pakistan is very complex. when i was commander, i thought i had a pretty good relationship who was chief of the army staff. i remember well the day i spent alone with him in his office
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looking at the border with the intent that while i still had tens of thousands of maneuver troops to include the great italian commander at the time in kuhn arear we had options to run operations along the border to achieve an effect that had been achieved in previous opportunities. i woke up the next morning, roughly the 25th or so of november 2011, and one of my special operations unit has basically devastated to pakistani border post. that did two things. it shut down the relationship of pakistan for the spec commander. it also shut down the ground line of communications, over which 80% of my support came. we never during the time i commanded have the opportunity to achieve the potential energy of combined operations along the border that could have made the difference that we had hope to. the difference with the pakistan
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taliban and assisting pakistanis to deal with their own taliban problem in north and south. so we did not have that opportunity. we did have something we have not addressed yet this morning, and i think more needs to be done. we did have something called the trilateral commission. periodically i and until pakistan went silent and then came back up later on my command, where i and chief of staff of the afghan national security forces and chief of the army forces would meet for a day periodically, and our subordinate leaders at key locations and ranks would all meet together. the intent was -- my hope is, and the colonel said it very well a moment -- that it very well a moment ago, my great ambition is that some link there will only be two chairs at this table.
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in other words, we can create the cooperation of relationships between pakistan where eventually as we will do what will happen, which is to go to a very small number or zero balance. the relationship is sufficiently a bust -- robust so they can sustain the security of the frontier. that was not allowed to happen during my command for a variety of recent, and i wish we had, because i had the maneuver forces i think to do that.
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that aspect is absent today in the relationship. yes, we go through the motion of afghanistan attempting to have a relationship with pakistan, chief of staff of the afghanistan army attempting to have a conversation with sharif, but it is not where would have been had we been able to conduct -- cultivate it from 2012 and 2013 and on. we wally provide for the security as we need to in the we wally provide for the security as we need to in the eastern sections of afghanistan and federally administered tribal areas, it will only occur if we are able to create a viable relationship between the afghan national security forces and their counterparts across the border. i do agree entirely with bruce, as we begin the process of continuing to first stabilize our presence to increase support , conceivably with the new president doing even more to improve nato forces with nato secretary-general, having a relationship with the pakistani military and being able to strike those taliban leadership and the afghan pakistan to be able to strike on both sides of the border with precision will help us i think a great deal.
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with respect to the current configuration and afghanistan, i think we are stumbling along. i just don't see over the long time under presidential system that we can have a relationship between the president and chief executive officer. it was a band-aid to keep the outcome of the election. we may now be seeing the beginning of the cracks in the process that will either if we do not pay close attention and do something to try to reinforce the current real cassation or shifted from the current system it is today, we are liable to see the cracks widen and could see open conflict. i do not think we are there yet, but i think there are indicators that would point to the fact that we will have to see a fall in political revolution. this was never intended to be a permanent solution. this kind of interim solution
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under constant pressure and increasing pressure from the taliban naked difficult to govern the country, difficult to get the economy on its feet and certainly difficult to command and control and afghan national security force, which is still being trained and brought up to full time. it's a very difficult situation and was not intended to be permanent. we need to look to getting to a permanent outcome. >> last question i have would be your view of the state of the
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economy, which is obviously not great, but the production of opium, which is not a great situation either. is there anything useful besides dealing with these broader security questions to help the afghans mitigate the economics and drug reduction realms? >> let me start by saying this moment, afghanistan and the opportunity with the u.s. elections and a new president is a time to perhaps asking ken what extent the effort in afghanistan is not a military effort to break and defeat an enemy and to what extent is it about a political process and political evolution in the country?
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i believe it is the latter and even any conceivable increase in u.s. military engagement in afghanistan in the next year will not be sufficient to operate on the basis that this war can be simply about wiping out the taliban. it requires very hard or take nation of how u.s. forces are engaged. but engaging in afghanistan through the prism of politics and government. the afghans themselves need to come to the understanding and embrace it so when afghan security forces say it is ok if the taliban and isis are killing each other and we just sit back and watch, that has profound political implications. it discredited already very contestable government in jalalabad and the government was not able to stay. we just watched the fighting
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take place. a key problem for the afghan government has in for it the decade and a half, governments and local aids. for many afghans, it is a brutal and thuggish entity, but they provide more stable and predictable governance than governance that is constantly contestable, governance that is weak and handed over to the alc, or governance that is outright discriminatory. for a decade and a half, it was
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one of the most politically problematic, vicious places in afghanistan and it has not been difficult and the city has been taken from the taliban. the issue of pakistan is very important, but it is almost used as an excuse to not improve politics and government that they need to improve themselves. the convenient distraction on both sides for perpetuating policies that -- targeting needs to become a political. while it makes perfectly good sense to try to take away the central safety from the telnet and pakistan, we need to be asking about the political implications of that.
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ask about if we kill this taliban commander, whether on the afghan side or pakistani side, what are the repercussions within the movement? is it going to give rise to a more vicious element within the taliban? i wrote a piece raising some of these questions. my bottom line is although security in pinches and overlaps everything, security is political. our thinking about the strategy in afghanistan needs to be about politics and governance. finally, to come back to your question on the economy, the economy is in good shape. it was bound to be and is. it is vastly inadequate for a country on the level of development and poverty that afghanistan faces.
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it might be what japan and other countries would like to have, but it is not sufficient with massive economic shrinkage and contraction, there's no way out of it. sadly, that is one of the reason s that there continue to be retention losses. this is some good news, namely that the finance ministry managed to raise tax revenues, very important economically and politically, sending some signal that not everything can simply be stolen and hopefully the trend continues. there is no easy way to break from the job shortage we are seeing. and some of the refugees go to
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europe and those who have been fighting under iran sponsorship in syria, this is the level of options that people take. equally, there are limited options that are very bad and disastrous options, mainly to try to wrap -- to ramp up the poppy crops. yes, the taliban and makes money on poppies, but so do very many others, and it is not surprising. this is the economic lifeline of the country. inevitably, if anyone wants minimal political support, they
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need to at minimum sponsor or deeply engage with the opium poppy economy. there are two options available in the current context of security. one is to think politically about interdiction targeting and think about who are the dangerous actors that have access to the poppy economy. it is about who should have access or who absolutely shouldn't have access and who is less dangerous in having access. this is not just the stakeholders and a telegram. there are a variety of political actors that might become problematic. interdiction should really be about enforcing the stability of a government rather than operating under the illusion that it can alter flows and
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financing. the other crucial element is to start seriously boosting treatment options for afghans. the vast link is in afghanistan and the treatment center is very inadequate and there are simple steps that can be done on prevention and more robust treatment options. >> thank you very much. we don't have too much time and we have a lot of you and a lot
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of expertise in the room. i want to ask my colleagues to take notes and choose one question to answer from each lounge -- from each round. let's start with the woman in the second row and then the woman in the fourth row. >> i'm a correspondent from afghanistan. thank you for your hard job in afghanistan, the time you have been in afghanistan was very sensitive. the pakistan policy never gets changed toward afghanistan and there are high expectations from the u.s. authority. what policy is the united states supposed to take to get policy toward afghanistan? and what are your expectations from the upcoming brussels conference? >> thank you for a very thoughtful discussion.
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as people do not remember, we have been engaged in afghanistan since 1980 when jimmy carter issued a finding. i would like to ask the question david petraeus famously asked -- tell me how this ends? president donald trump, listening to one of his key military advisers -- i use that phrase loosely. he says he's getting out of afghanistan if elected. hillary clinton said she is going to double down and put more forces into afghanistan. tell me what is right and what is wrong with both positions. >> good morning. i go to american university. i also work for an afghan nonprofit.
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i have a question regarding opium. the 2015 opium survey reports poppy cultivation is down by 19%, the first client since 2009 and potential production is down by 48%. what do you think caused such a decline in what factors threaten the progress of limiting afghan -- afghanistan's opium-based economy? >> there is no short-term frame in which the opium poppy economy could end. if our goal or baseline is when we will end it, you will be bitterly disappointed as we have been many times over the past decade. there are several countries that successfully ended opium poppy cultivation. one of them is thailand.
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in all the other countries, we succeeded in eliminating opium poppy cultivation only to be shifted to another country. as long as this conflict is on, there will be opium poppies. opium production down by 19% does not mean very much. it has been fluctuating up and down and is driven by factors like overproduction, disease and is oversupplied by the level of production. those numbers, we can discuss the way you are measured without the problem. that is what really matters in the economic spillover issues. there are places opium poppy doesn't have to be, but there are other viable alternatives.
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others have returned to opium poppies because they are trying to generate assets that sell quickly. the fundamental question is how does it end? at the risk of sounding funny, it will have to answer to political process. it can't just simply eliminate or wipe out the taliban.
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they are treating a lot of their soldiers as cannon fodder. fast numbers of those soldiers do not come back, so there are real limits to the policy. one slow and, a very, very slow and is one where we hold long enough in the afghan government holds long enough until they suffer from their own mistake. hoping that your enemy will make
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enough mistakes is a risky proposition. i don't mean simply negotiations and we're going to come online, but it is about politics in afghanistan. it is about ending constant brinksmanship once and for all before and all falls down. no matter what we do with pakistan or what we do with the taliban, as long as government continues to be pernicious, the conflict will not end. >> thank you. >> pakistan is a very complex place. policy towards afghanistan has
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multiple layers in the individual actors involved in pakistan's policies toward afghanistan have complicated layers. i want to complement harlan -- i've been looking for months to find out what mr. trump's posture is on afghanistan. he has not indicated the u.s. is going to all out. i thought his policy was to make afghanistan great again by building a large wall on its southern border. now i have found out that is not indeed the case. politics is how this ends. politics inside afghanistan, politics between afghanistan and pakistan, regional politics more broadly. one of the flaws of the so-called strategy back in 2009 was that it was not a south asian strategy. we did not try to incorporate
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the views of india or iran, we did not try to incorporate the views of central asia in any serious way. the new american strategy needs to do all of those things. i laid out some of the specifics i think we need to do about pakistan. i think we need to be willing to engage in more drawn operations, not many of them, but some. we need to be much more decisive in trying to go after afghan funding, and a lot of that goes to pakistan at the end of the day. at the same time, we have to to robustly engage the pakistanis, and that includes political and military leadership. i would hope the next president of the united states will early to visit andrif the next president of pakistan will travel on his or her watch and engage with the pakistanis
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there. hillary clinton went to pakistan on numerous occasions. she was very blunt in what she had to say. she repeatedly said that in her opinion, someone in the pakistani establishment knew exactly where osama bin laden was living, and i think in retrospect, she turns out to have been very precient on that. we also have to realize that the next administration is not going to have some of the options the obama administration had. in the first two weeks of president obama's administration, he sent somewhere in excess of 20,000 troops into afghanistan. i think that is almost inconceivable that the next president will be able to do that. trump haseat because proven to be unpredictable and in so many ways, who knows? he might be able to pull off something like that. i think it would be hard to pull off something like that. the press in this country would not be willing to go along.
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that option i think is pretty much off the table. i think you could make changes in the composition in american forces, you can change mission requirements, you can increase 1000 or 2000, but you will not be able to send for 2000, let alone have a third that the magnitude of president obama had a messy situation deteriorates. nothing else the president is going to be able to do, and that is substantial economic and military assistance. we saw a substantial increase. president bush and president obama over the course of the last 15 years have provided pakistan with a nexus of $25 billion in military and economic assistance, but you cannot get that to the hill.
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the mood on the hill about pakistan as changed dramatically in the last two years and changed against providing assistance. that option may be off the table. maybe some increases in economic build, but i do think it will be done it in the significant way. i think it will be hard to persuade this congress to provide substantial military assistance, sales or anything that quarter. i think it will be a complicated action. i think we need to be willing to be on offense and engage hard with the pakistani leadership. that will be a difficult and confiscated conversation. >> i am following behind both comments. i cannot agree more with bruce and vanda that it is a political were there or not
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the native foresight intended to what about the taliban, our hope had been to give the afghan national security forces the police the ability to control the taliban and render their operational threat and potential existential threat to the country, 200 not to level that it could be handled over a long period of time over the afghan forces, and i believe, as the kernel saw personally, that with the right configuration of allied capabilities, nato capabilities and for the right period of time and the right resources to security forces, i believe security platform can be sustained, upon which then, as vanda pointed out, the political stability can move forward. the security platform is irrelevant, except that it wheres the environment
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political progress and stability can move forward and were economic progress can take hold. the other two legs of that stool can only flourish if we have a security stability economic be sustained, i believe, by a long-term nato presence in that country, long-term, will be on sustainability of security forces and i think many of us did not get to the point of the armed forces of the republic of korea or the japanese or taiwan forces or the type forces or the philippine or the colombian forces were able to achieve a level of stability or capability that they could have for being there for three years for numbers that were in the relevant -- were irrelevant. the only way to be there are with capabilities that are irrelevant to give us the
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capacity to trust them up by the forder on capacity political stability and economic progress. i do not know at that number is. i gave a number of two years ago and my suggestion would be the next president, as i said before, takes the time to do the analysis necessary and to look at the situation within the government, economy and security platform, so all of them are looked at holistically. either to change the combination of forces ultimately achieve the stability. the caddell that would come through delegation headquarters in kabul, and it seemed to me
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in very lovely after they would get the brief for me, they would move into the normal american reflects with respect to pakistan. i reject that, and i always advise against it because we needed to engage in pakistan in in a punitive relationship, and there is so far we can push them before they lose control and i don't know that the pakistanis or how far that could go. there have been helpful political developments in progress. we have seen the peaceful change of one civilian government to another, but we have not seen the kind of military capability brought to bear that are necessary, but to be fair, the pakistani military maintains a large component of strength in the east and lesser and expeditionary component in the west, and that portion of strength in the west is
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generally not well resourced and they live in difficult circumstancew, -- circumstancess fight in different -- circumstances, fight in difficult circumstances. so it is a really difficult situation as bruce implies. where we can make the greatest theribution is to try, with international community, to facilitate dialogue to move us to an effective peace process to get going. michael: thank you, we will take two quick questions, the quick responses and we will be done. maybe three questions. the two gentlemen next to each other in the seventh or sixth row and the woman over here in the fifth row. then we will wrap up. tom: tom olson. a question about the funding from the dual eastern countries
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from the gulf countries. how significant is it? who is doing it? you know who is doing it and what is their motivation? >> thank you very much. i am with the pakistan american leak. afghanistan,in corruption and governance is a flaw, and they try to blame anything that goes on there on pakistan. ofave this question "indication lines and 2011 and [indiscernible] and proofs mentioned that they finance the taliban in afghanistan. could you tell us what is the incentive of pakistan to finance
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the taliban? michael: that is it. sorry. >> i think there should be original approach in all the stakeholders should be in that negotiation. michael: thank you. we will hear the last question, please. >> i am founding board member of women for afghan women, and i have been running the business. my question is, there seems to be an agreement that this political solution needs to happen. there is a large dissatisfaction with the national unity government and talks of possibly new elections. this is mostly what i have heard from afghan colleagues. they said that that they may scrap the energy entirely copper your lecture and i wanted to see what you thought on that. assuming that it is not working, or other solutions might work
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politically? it whether the afghan say the u.s. leaves us alone, we will create a new government, but at the u.s. insists on an energy type government, then that will continue, and i just want to get your thoughts on that. michael: thank you. vanda, did you want to start? vanda: sure. one of the mistakes repeated in afghanistan is that the national onty government was wasted cash was wasted on a by the united states. ofember that months prior afghan inability to resolve highly contentious presidential elections, and then by the time the united states was engaging with officials and how to end the crisis, the country might
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have been on the verge of ethnic , mobilizing around couple , and there was also talk about a military coup. so far, one of the government that afghanistan has had over pakistan, which is equally characterized by the government, corruption, problematic politicians, is also that in pakistan, there are military coups, but in afghanistan, we have not had one. should we come to that in afghanistan, there is a high chance the military will fall apart while trying and effectively ending our ability to maintain the current level of insurgency. -- up toto the f ends the afghans and that just the variety of keya
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other powerbrokers, who resolve what to do about the national unity government. cost for early elections are infeasible. there's no progress for that. electoral issues that have prevented the elections were being held will not be magically erased for new presidential election, so calls for that field political tension but not -- but are not realistic. so there has to be some negotiations between the key access. -- can panels be constitutionally held because of elections, that will be seen in some of the delegates and will not have taken place. [indiscernible]
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world lack credibility, who alleviate stuck with and with the kind of agenda? there is nothing inevitable that the government needs to stay in the current configuration, and there is nothing inevitable that it needs to be negotiated. for is crucial is needed afghanistan to reorganize and the precarious state the country is, and in seven engaging and fighting, agreed to support a government whose purpose will be to deliver better governance and increase security. they can be with the constant one or another. they may be also do not want the u.s. to be involved in that. and, yes, all the time, many politicians and throughout the -- tend to negotiate negotiate among the sandbox fights and that is a difficult position. in my view, the u.s. should be
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less engaged in holding the afghans by hand. at the same time, i say it's theng previously called most crucial and difficult element is precisely managing the political processes and the many pernicious political processes. i also want to end on although i pakistanask end uses uses afghanistan as an excuse, and the countries equally troubled by poor governance and external politics that sponsored the taliban. michael: thank you. general john? general john: brief comments, vanda hit this couple times in a meant to comment. when i came back from afghanistan and i did my final briefs around washington, i talked about what i believe to be the future. i said that i believed with the of sustainedtion
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support by nato, they could be able to take care of themselves. ofdeal with the threat taliban, and i believed it then and i believe it now and i think the next president has the opportunity to perhaps improve on that. theso said i believe with continued sustainment of the afghan national security forces that we could handle the safe havens in pakistan. they would be a challenge. they would always be a means by which the taliban could replenish themselves and recovers capabilities. with the right kind of nato presence, they deal with the taliban in the country, particularly in the east, 201 area, with the depth we are putting in place, and afghans
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could handle the security situation and deal with the safe havens in pakistan. i then said ellis clear about this, i believe the existential isect to afghanistan corruption. until afghans are willing da said, to as van shed their sup interest, unable we -- and so able to deal with the criminal capture of institutions, both at the morenal level and importantly, at the subnational level, until we are able to deal with the pernicious nature of corruption, which is both corrosive of democracy, but also an impediment to building real capabilities and capacity within the institutions of government, pakistan will be stuck where it is today, which i think is still on the property -- poverty scale
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of one of the worst countries in the world, may be the third or fourth at this point, but also in terms of corruption, it ranks slightly above somalia and north korea. if we are ever to see real it has got to be at the point with institutes of afghanistan can be rescued from the criminal capture of organized crime, and the unwillingness tends to do the right thing for each other and their country. finally, on the issue of middle east funding, i spent a lot of time with our intelligence services and bruce may have a similar or different view and try to pinpoint the exact origins of funding for the taliban. it is difficult to do. large amounts of money come out of the gulf. i cannot believe it is state-sponsored. i did not believe it when i was commander and since i had the opportunity to spend in a couple different places where i had to
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deal with it and i do not believe it is state-sponsored. i do believe there are key individuals providing funding, and in order to solve that, it is about getting after the financial system that makes it difficult for that to occur, but also cooperating with the national governance in the gulf, the monarchy and to put pressure on the individuals that might be doing it. i watch with great interest in the summer of 2012 as syria exploded, as the civil war, and i watched the funding be diverted from the gulf into syria, and the funding levels for taliban plummeted and became difficult in the summer of 2012 for the taliban took the of the kinds of ied's, rpg's, etc., and it changed the operational balance, so it is not insignificant, the funding going into the gulf. with regard to the border incident, i'll not to talk to separately. i have strong views. it was an unfortunate incident and we expressed our regret.
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i am still in prayer over the lives of the lost pakistani military troops, but the shooting did not start on our side. i will tell you that and get that out since you chose to make your comments, as well. it did not start on our side of the copy on the boat, sadly. had better trust, been bred organized in our joint coordination centers, we probably could have solved it before the heavy shooting started and we would have prevented the outcome that we ultimately had, which for all intensive purposes, lost is nine months of operation with pakistan, it's good of an viable to the progress of the war and we regret those losses of the pakistani military. michael: thank you. bruce, final point. bruce: i will make two points. the united states inherited the longest war in american history, and these upcoming debates with the presidential and vice presidential, incumbent on these people because of what they
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would do about the war. we need something serious, a real debates on what the united states will do in afghanistan and pakistan. areissue remains serious many reasons that you already heard and i will add one more. al qaeda has been disrupted and dismantled significantly in pakistan in the last seven years. the one fact way about al qaeda is it is resilience. as we take off the pressure on al qaeda and afghanistan and in pakistan, we will see the resiliency once again. second point is about funding. the general address that issue carefully and correctly. it is a murky area, but a substantial amount of taliban funding comes from rich, private donors and the goats states. there is the accident about the 18 tips to the bar because it is one of the least governs spaces and local gulf states. united arab emirates is supposed and anyone who
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has visitedseven countries and dubai is in difficult relations in many ways. we need to put considerable efforts talking with the government of the gulf states and others to persuade them to take the kind of aggressive actions against funding for the afghan taliban to have already taken for funding for al qaeda. michael: thank you. in addition to what you have heard today, we are producing this paper that general alan andrred to us to s wraps that -- to ask the s wraps. let me just thank all of you for being here. please join me in thanking our panel. [applause] >> the house veterans affair
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committee will get an update on v.a. update benefits and hear caut a recent report on the help system. live coverage starts this morning at 10:15 eastern on c-span3. later on c-span3, the voyage to sedan and set sedan -- sudan and sudan, with live coverage from the house foreign affairs subcommittee. lot coverage begins at 2:00 p.m. eastern. >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, veterans affairs secretary robert mcdonald on current issues facing veterans, including the a reform, care report and access to help you for veterans. and then veterans member, phil roe, we'll talk about today's feather committee hearing on the care that the v.a. provides
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great criticism of the v.a. secretary and a possible subpoena by the ea commission documents of art purchases by the v.a. nationwide in 2010. also joining us, andrew, contributing editor for the national review, and will discuss the story on the impact of optimization on elites -- the impact of optimization of elites . join the discussion. a newly released cnn national poll shows the presidential race is dead even. donald trump slightly ahead of hillary clinton but within the margin of error. a new 50 state survey indicates that donald trump faces critical weaknesses in tried to get to 270 electoral votes. scott plummet is polling manager and joins us on the phone. thank you for being with us. >> good to be here. >> explained the survey, what
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you are looking for and what you found? scott: we are trying to piece together the national results from what we had done, but also one that has been dealt with doc types of firm. we have conducted one of the largest survey we have ever done, over 74,000 registered voters across the country, which gave us the ability to look at the vote in every state, but also how some are voting in different states, so men, women, whites and nonwhites, and it helps to piece out the dynamics in the election across the country. we found a number of surprises. one of the big themes this year has been the deep division among whites with college educated withs, particularly college degrees being more supportive. we definitely see that throughout the data, but in the upper midwest, they agree with
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term support. states,u look at some let's take arizona, georgia and texas, in the past him and have been solid republican states. based on your findings, with nymex before election day, these are areas donald trump needs to win if there is hope to getting to 270 but is at the moment struggling. scott: god's rights. we have had close races in all that is right. we have had close races and all those states. trump is underperforming and isong republican's, which led by only 11 points in utah, and in arizona, we found clinton plus one and in texas, we found clinton plus one, and is a contest that it probably still battles, they are not unfriendly
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, and they may tilt back to trump. it is the overall enthusiasm issue per trump among republicans. thetruggles to unite candidacy and it is starting to show and some republican states. talk about florida, a state that democrats and republicans put a lot of time in. ahead butinton is slightly. the state that donald trump says he can win. scott: it is a must win for trump. that is one that comes out of this survey, where he leads by four points or more in 20 states, but the only amount to 126 votes. voters [indiscernible] it is a big state and if clinton wins, it blocks up a lot of half to the nomination. florida is a state where you see divisionsraphic between whites, latinas, african-americans and even in
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between the whites, those with college degrees and those without. when of the big things this whole does not answer but provides for the questions going forward is how turnout welfare among these groups. the survey was conducted among registered voters but we will be focusing more on other voters in the coming weeks on trying to figure out which groups are likely to turnout at higher rates. it is not [indiscernible] because clinton and trump are relying on load turnout groups and this is the base. >> has donald trump consolidated the republican vote? >> it really has not. across all the states, we and clintonrveys had over 90% of the votes and were trumpone dozen had 90% of more of the republican votes, so we are seeing a similar dynamic to
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national polls across the country, where he struggled to unite -- i mean, the vast majority of republicans are supportive of him, but the challenge is getting to that 90% and that has really become consistent in the recent presidential election. >> jill stein, the nominee for the green party, and gary johnson, the libertarian party nominee, is either candidate breaking through? >> in some states, they definitely are. a reallyson is running fascinating campaign that is faring well in one of his states where he served as governor. in new mexico, he gets 20 percent support in that statement only a few points off where donald trump is in that state. button holds a small lead, overall, he gets at least 15%
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support in 15 states. i mentioned the percentage because that is the threshold that the presidential debate has put on whether he can participate in debates and their focused on national surveys, but he clearly is gaining significant support across a number of these states. he does less well in the deep south that he does in the upper wanted states. i should mention jill stein, also she does a bit worse than johnson in single digits in nearly every states. the one where she does very well is vermont. 10% support there. that of course is the hope to senator bernie sanders -- is the home to senator bernie sanders. could at least cause a little but of trouble for hillary clinton supporters. >> finally, a potential bright spot for donald trump it is cap and in the upper west, notably wisconsin and michigan. what did you find there?
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scott: he can run the table of the upper midwest or at least take off some of the democratic every states. clinton leads by four points but that is slimmer than what we see another public surveys. in michigan, clinton leads by two, wisconsin by two, in ohio trump leads by three. bulk of the states have goneic sieltis d atigls how importt these have been democrats. ts ir nrori pry thrawafotrp pl f mef e ecravote
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'm m ldyer ofhechl ofntnaon svi, d 'm delit wco y a tohis diuswi dek olt o t aho of "t lg mehooba th we'll open it o questions from you for the second half hour. and we have the mic over here this time. so when it comes time for q&a, if you can line up at the mic to ask your question, that would be great. and it's always great for the first -- the first student has to be the bravest student to get up at the mic. so just steel yourself and be brave. because otherwise we won't have anybody standing at the mic. and it's a great pleasure to welcome derek here. derek is currently at the german marshall fund in the united states and served in a number of capacities in the obama administration, most recently as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. prior to that, he was special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning at the white house. and before that was deputy
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director of the policy planning staff at the state department. so a lot to talk about. welcome. >> thanks. it's great to be here. >> we're thrilled to have you. so i wanted to start by breaking down the title here. so we'll start with the title. and then we'll work our way to the subtitle. and that is "the long game," what you mean by the long game, and how to think about the long game as something other than just, you know, wait for 10 or 20 years and you'll see how brilliant this was. anouw, i nn efflfrny challenges from the present. >> well, great opening question. and thanks all of you for being here. and i really want to thank my friend jim goldgeier who has been my friend for over a quarter century. we've written many books together and had many adventures together.
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so it's really a thrill to have this conversation with you. i'm glad we're starting with the title "the long game" because the title has a double meaning. first i contend in this book that president obama in the execution of his foreign policy has tried to play a long game. and what i mean by that, not but to try have what academics call a grand strategy and set the united states on a course that over time can succeed. what try to do is tell the story of how president obama became president and the situation the united states was in eight years ago when by almost every measure we were losing the long game in terms of our role in the world and our act to project power and influence in the world, as well as the situation here at home. and one of the central struggles of obama's presidency, which we'll get to when you ask about
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the subtitle is the resistance, the debate here in washington has to playing a long game. and so often as you've seen in the last few days as president obama has been in asia where he is trying to implement part of what he sees as a major strategic move to the asia-pacific that is going to play out over time. but yet in the course of doing that, has been buffeted by news of the day, whether it's syria or whether or not the chinese have given him the right welcome when he arrived. this gets to the second part of the book, which is the title, "the long game," which i contend in history's long game, president obama's foreign policy will be remembered as one that is quite consequential for the better. and it is often hard to see that now where there is so much turmoil in the world there is so much uncertainty.
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but i do believe, and i contend in this book that president obama has put the united states in a position to preserve its power, project its power into the future. so in that sense the book is not just a defense of the obama foreign policy. of course i served in this administration for six-plus years. so it's not just my effort to justify what's happened. but it's also an attempt to explain his foreign policy. and in many ways try to go to the pain in this book. i talk about the toughest issues that this president has faced in office whether it be libya or syria or egypt or iran or israel or ukraine and russia, and to tell the story of how he tried to approach those problems while also still trying to play a long game in terms of what he was doing with american strategy in the world and the difficult trade-offs that he had to make as president. those of us who were responsible
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for helping formulate and implement that policy had to deal with as well in trying to struggle through these very challenging issues in which the united states has a lot of influence and the ability to shape outcomes, but many of the swrieshs struggled with for the past seven and a half years and we're going to struggle with moving forward are the outcomes we can't control on our own. and that's something else we've had to grapple with. >> ok. let's move to the subtitle then. so when we say how obama defied washington and redefined america's role in the world, talk to us a little bit about what you mean by washington. are we talking about members of congress on capitol hill? are we talking about the think tank elites? are we talking about journalists? and in terms of redefining america's role in the world, as you know, there has been a lot of criticism of the president for not talking enough about american exceptionalism.
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and when we got bogged down in that debate at various points, and now that debate has reemerged as hillary clinton has been trying to emphasize american exceptionalism. and there are people who are saying ah, look, she is emphasizing it because president obama didn't. so break this down for us. >> sure. so first on the defying washington. one of the central themes of obama's presidency, and in fact if you go back to when he started to run for president in 2007, one of the central themes of his candidacy was to try to buck the conventional wisdom of washington. one of the most important moments in his political rise was his speech in 2002 against the war in iraq. and that was something that, of course, in 2004 when he ran for senate, but then as a candidate for president in 2007 and '08
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was a distinguishing feature of his candidacy. and certainly i experienced in the years that i served in the administration a sense of trying to resist what the washington wisdom was saying the u.s. should be doing or student shouldn't be doing in the moment. first start with this disclaimer. i'm part of the washington establishment. i've worked in and out of government, worked in and out of think tank. and for 28 years. so i'm not writing this as an outsider looking in decrying all of what's happening in washington. there is plenty of books that do that. this book is trying to look at this from the inside and be a little self-critical of the way that the washington wisdom has said things should be done over the years. and president obama, you see this time and again in interviews that he gives throughout his presidency, not just recently, but from the day he took office, there was a sense of pride that he is willing to stand up to what editorial pages says he should be doing or what washington wise people say he should be doing. and i think there is a couple reasons for that.
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part of it is his background where he has come, how he emerged as a political figure. this is definitely part of his political character. but i also think it goes -- there is a deeper reason there. and this gets back to the title, "the long game." you think of what the president has been trying to do in design a strategy and execute it over time. a strategy that both takes into account what america is trying to do in the world and our ability to influence outcomes around the world as well as the health of the united states here at home. which oftentimes in a foreign policy debate gets treated as sort of a zero sum set of issues. whether you're concentrating too much on foreign policy, your domestic situation is bad or vice versa. when in fact you have to look at it holistically. most presidents do, most successful presidents do. certainly that's the way president obama did. and so when he is trying to execute a long game, he's willing to be subjected to criticism in the moment and a
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sense of many doubters out there. but with the confidence that over time this is going to pay off. and the incentives in the washington debate are varied. particularly today. it's been this way for many years. but particularly given the new media environment, the more splintered and partisan media environment, you're rewarded for sort of the short-term time horizon. so the analogy i use is president obama has been trying to be like warren buffett, the financier who of course made a pile of money thinking about long-term investments. making big transactions, by the way. so it's not as though he is trying to put all his money under the mattress. he is willing to take risks, but these are in the service of long-term payoffs. and the foreign policy debate tends to be more kind of day
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trading, which is reacting to every blip on the market, seeing what will get the most retweets in the moment. now i'm not trying to pass moral judgment on one or the other. both are trying to make money. it's just totally different ways about going about doing it. i think the way washington tends to look at things, when i say washington, i mean the press. i mean politicians. i mean folks in think tanks. i mean folks in congress is it's what's happening. is there an instant answer. the president is very willing to set us on a long-term course. then the sec piece of this which is redefining america's role in the world. obama in many ways has redefinition tapped into traditions of previous presidents. although they're traditions that might be surprising to some of you. if you think of -- i do at this the end of the book where i'm trying to puzzle about how we should think about obama historically, how he would compare with other presidents.
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if you look at or read how obama compares himself, it's to other presidents, it's interestingly not to the bright stars in the democratic presidential firmament. he usually doesn't talk about fdr or truman. he talks about george w. bush and dwight eisenhower. and the approach -- their approach to america and the world. he points to two republicans. it's an interesting statement, by the way, as an aside on our current political debate that the only person, political leader who would stand up and compare them george h.w. bush and dwight eisenhower is barack obama. even george h.w. bush's son talked more about his brother than his father when it came to american foreign policy. and that's very telling. but it gets to this issue of exceptionalism.
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obama of course has been criticized since his first year in office of being an apologist for america, talking the united states down. i'm sure we'll hear another round of this in the next few days as folks read the news of the speech he gave earlier today in laos where he talked about the intensive bombing campaign the united states conducted against laos in the early 1970s, dropping more bombs on the small southeast asian country than we did in tonnage over germany and japan during world war ii. and as a way to talk about the hardship of that country, but really to talk about our role and responsibility today in trying to help that country. and many of his critics will say this is just another example of him apologizing for the united states. and this idea that some have tried to suggest that he doesn't believe america's exceptional. i think it's actually the very opposite. he believes truly in american exceptionalism. i talk about this in the book. in fact, he would argue that the very fact that he is president is a testament to the
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exceptional nature of our country, and that the united states remains the indispensable nation. it is the country that others look to help solve problems, to come up with the answers, to organize the world to come around common solution to common problems. and his argument would be by acting in a certain way in previous years, particularly during the 2000s, we were actually losing what made us exceptional. we were losing the credibility in the eyes of the world. well were losing our moral stature. we were losing our ability to convince other countries to come by our side and try to come up with common solutions. so he believes in exceptionalism with every fiber of his being. and he has given, in my view, some of his most eloquent speeches one can challenge on american exceptionalism. in some cases they are not about foreign policy directly, but they're everything about america
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and the world. one of the speeches i talk about in this book is a speech he gave in selma several years ago on the anniversary of the selma march. it's not exactly about american foreign policy, but if you go back and read it, it's all about what makes us unique in the world. and it's the reason why for so many around the world the united states remains a beacon of hope. >> so let's move into some substantive foreign policy issues and one that is getting a lot of attention because it just seems to continue to defy a solution, and has just been so horrific to see unfold is syria. you take on the issue that emerged several years ago with the red line and the decision not to use force against syria, and then the very remarkable agreement to get rid of syria's chemical weapons, which seemed to come out of nowhere.
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so i'll give you the opportunity to say a few words about that. but then also, what -- where, where do you see this going? the meeting that the president had with president putin didn't seem to yield anything. secretary kerry continues to meet with secretary lavrov. the violence continues. and it's just so horrific. and we don't seem -- and i realize not every problem in the world has an answer. but just this one, you know, the international community has let syria down. and just wonder where you see that going and how you think what has unfolded in syria will affect how obama's presidency or the foreign policy part of its presidency is viewed in the long run. >> yeah. syria is clearly the crucible of obama's foreign policy.
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and is an issue in government, in my time at the pentagon dealt with syria as an issue than any other issue by far. in my book try to disentangle two issues in our debate that get enjoyed. the issue is what to do about syria's chemical weapons, and the issue what to do with assad and the nature of the syrian civil war. the first chapter of the book is entitled "the red line" because i want to go right directly at this argument if only president obama had used force in 2013, we would have a totally different set of outcomes in syria. and we would have gained leverage to solve the syrian civil war. sort of that's the -- the president himself has said that's the inverted point of the pyramid for most of the critique of his foreign policy. in my experience serving in the pentagon as one of the folks who was trying to plan and prepare
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for the strikes that we were advocating for at the time, the administration was advocating for at the time to the congress and also someone who spent the better part of the previous year prior to that worried about the disposition of syria's chemical weapon, what we ended up achieving not by design, but by improvisation and opportunism, creativity was something that none of us imagined possible. was that that the peaceful removal and destruction of 1300 tons of syrian chemical weapons. the puzzles about the debate overall, i struggle about it, i talk about it in the book is in iraq, we used force against a country that did not have wmd, it turned out.
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and the strategic consequences are ones we are still dealing with today. and in syria, we did not use force and ended up with dealing with a wmd threat that did exist and in fact was ten times worse than the cia wrongly estimated iraqi chemical weapons to be. and yet that seems a strategic disaster. how do try to get at that puzzle? so that's what the first chapter is about, unpacking the red line both in terms of the history of it and how we got into the situation, and then trying to figure out why it is that snag has arguably made us all safer, which was 1300 tons of syrian chemical weapons removed -- believe me, if we had the chemical weapons still in syria today and we would be worried about isis getting them, it would be something all of us would be very worried about. so i start with why is it that the red line is seen as such a disaster, particularly given the counter factual, if we had gone ahead and used forced, decided not to take this opportunity that presented to us, to remove the chemical weapons peacefully, and we had gone ahead and used
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force, which would not have taken out the entire chemical arsenal. it would have taken out 25% of it at most, which is one of the reason why's there were so many concerns being expressed about why we wanted to use force against syria in the first place. but if we had done that in 2013, and then god forbid, some of those remaining weapons had gotten on the loose and had been used in europe or against israel or here in the united states, barack obama would have been held responsible for that. many people rightly would have said why did you give up this opportunity to try to solve the problem peacefully to uphold your honor and go barrel forward and use force. so that's one side of the argument. the second side, which is something that we struggled with mightily in the administration. clearly the administration is still struggling with today, and president obama's successor will struggle with is what to do about assad and the underlying dynamics of the syrian civil conflict. and here again, we have a policy that assad should go.
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the question is less is that a goal, but how are we going to try to achieve that goal. and the united states has tried over the past few years to go about that process diplomatically. the view was that we needed to have -- i describe it in the book -- a managed transition in syria. and the fundamental debate that we had in the government and the debate that we have collectively about syria lies within the tension, the fundamental tension between the two words "managed" and "transition." because we can bring about a transition in syria. the u.s. military has shown repeatedly over the last decade plus that it can bring about transitions. the challenge for us has been those don't look very managed. now what the administration has been trying to do is bring about a transition that is managed, something that is through diplomacy and which the government doesn't collapse and which you've got an opposition that is trod come in and take charge. and the basic institutions of society stay intact. but you put too much emphasis on that side of the equation, and
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the transition takes a long time, if it comes at all. and so that's where the tension lies. and i think that there is no doubt -- we know there is no doubt that there have been very difficult trade-offs in syria. and i talk in the book how in retrospect, looking back, are there things that we could have done differently. and some of these are arguments i made at the time. some of these are arguments i argued against when i was in the government, but upon reflection maybe we could have been more creative earlier. although i have to say even when i go back and look, repeat in my mind the history as it played out while i was living at -- unfortunately, i don't see the outcome changing dramatically. the fact is we've been using force in syria every day for two years. now it doesn't make the news anymore that we bomb targets in syria every single day, and we've been doing it since september of 2014. those are isis targets. they're not targets against the assad regime. but as we've seen in the news
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recently, as some of the forces we've been training on the ground have been getting more successful, some of those questions are before policymakers again of what the target set should be of what we're bombing. we have been militarily engaged in syria for quite some time. the challenge for us is just how we calibrate that engagement in a way that we can try to affect the outcome without getting us into the morass that we ended up in iraq, or repeating the mistakes that we ended up making in libya, which again we're still dealing with today. and i think that's where i say the book is trying to explain things. it's trying to show that this is a really complicated picture. it's not to excuse a particular outcome. it's just to suggest to those of you who are interested in this and trying to follow and in your own minds piece together what you think makes the most sense for the u.s. and the world how we went about doing it and ended up where we are.
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>> you mention iraq and what i want to ask you about is something that stems from something we wrote about when we wrote our book "america between the wars." we talked about how iraq has been a big central issue in american foreign policy since the summer of 1990, august of 1990 when saddam hussein invaded kuwait, and then the following year the united states led a coalition in the gulf war. and we talk in the book about how there was the handoff of the iraq problem from george h.w. bush to bill clinton, who maintained no-fly zones and handed off the problem of iraq to george w. bush, who went to war in iraq in 2003 and handed iraq off to barack obama. at the time the book came out in 2008 we didn't know who would be the next president, but we did express the hope that it would be the last handoff, which it's not. barack obama will be handing off this problem to his successor.
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do you -- does it surprise you that there is yet another handoff? and of course e of the criticisms of president obama is that by not maintaining more of a force earlier, by withdrawing too quickly, he led, you know, an opportunity for isis to emerge in iraq and then syria. so what is your response to that? and also, just what's your thought on how long iraq is going to be such a feature of american foreign policy, as it's been now since 1990. >> well, first, you're quite right. we are approaching the fourth iraq handoff. and i think it's portant for the students in the room to have that perspective, that iraq is a country that the united states has been militarily entangled with for over a quarter century,
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from the first gulf war to the no-fly zones we had over iraq in the 1990s to the invasion in 2003 to the effort today to help train, advise, and assist the iraqi security forces. and i think, though, that one of the points try to stress in the book is when i unpack what obama's -- what are the loss. president obama's foreign policy. most presidents resist doctrine because they see the world as too complicated to have a one size fits all answer for everything. but there are elements of what i call a foreign policy checklist for president obama. just like checklis are kind of interesting ways to organize your thinking. not just a to-do list or a how-to list, but a set of broad concepts that one would follow in trying to implement in a complex environment. one of the key elements of his check list sustainability. and i think one of the
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differences -- certainly, wi the situation in iraq today versus iraq that he inherited in 2008 is today the united states has a position that is sustainable. that what everyone thinks of the surge in iraq in 2007 and 2008 and the reasons behind the success that we were seeing militarily in iraq during that time, that was not a sustainable posture for the united states to be in. we couldn't resource it. it was a surge, which by definition would recede. this actually gets to the second part of your question, which was the decision in 2011 to withdraw the remaining u.s. forces from iraq. that decision actually had been made by george w. bush at the end of his administration in an agreement that he had made with the iraqi government on the timeline for withdrawal for american troops.
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most folks may remember president bush gave a speech in baghdad november of 2008. but the only thing they remember is when he had a shoe thrown at him. but that press conference with prime minister maliki of iraq was to announce this new agreement with the iraqi government on a timeline for withdrawal of the u.s. troops, which was going to end the end of 2011. president obama stuck to that timeline. and i talk about this in the book there was an attempt to convince the iraqi government to allow some u.s. troops the stay behind. for whatever reasons we weren't able to come to an agreement to leave roughly 5,000 troops behind. and history will forever debate whether having those 5,000 troops there would have made a difference in stemming the collapse this we saw in iraq two years later when isis took over mosul and started to flood south to baghdad. i personally have my doubts whether the 5,000 troops alone would have stopped that. because a lot of what we saw happening in anbar province, for example, were things were the dynamics underlying the downfall or iraq's problems in 2005-2006. certainly at least we would have had better intelligence. well would have had better
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awareness of the deterioration in iraq. but that's r history to debate. have i my view expressed in the book on that. it's critical that president obama is handing over not just in iraq, but also in ire cyria -- in syria in terms of the u.s. posture and the u.s. operation are stage. they're sustainable in how we can resource them. we're not breaking the back of the military in these deployments. we can resource them through our budget, through the regular budget. the american people support the mission. this is something that continues to maintain public support, which is very, very important. and the iraqi government supports this mission. this is something that the iraqi government wants us there. that's a big difference than 2011 when the iraqi government was happy to see us go. so yes, iraq is a chronic problem. and this is something that try to talk about in the book as well as how in foreign policy,
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we often don't want to think of problems as chronic. we like to think of them as problems that lend themselves to solutions that can be -- we can turn the page and be done with them. and i really do see iraq and syria more akin to the way a doctor would look at a chronic disease, which we have a lot of tools that we can bring to try to shape an outcome, to try to mitigate some of the more negative consequences, to try to buy time for something better to emerge. but it's hard to see a set of tools we have that can solve the problem outright while still trying to play the long game. it's the other part of this. i could give you plenty of things we could do in syria to bring about change in syria quickly and decisively.
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i have a hard time telling you how we can do that while also executing the other parts of our foreign policy that matter so much to us for future, and arguably could matter for news the future. because if we end up occupying syria, and i know no one is advocating that. but if you're thinking of overflowing a government and the consequences that would flow from that, it's going to be very difficult to have the resources to rebalance to asia. it's going to be even harder to have the resources to help reassure and secure europe amongst a rising russia. the u.s. has fewer limits than any other country in the world by far. but we still have some limits. i think that's another controversial part of president obama's approach to foreign policy is he is willing to talk about limits. even though we all intuitively understand that the united states, like any country has limits. we have fewer than any other country, but yet we still can't do it all. and one of the challenges of strategy is making those trade-offs. more of everything is not a strategy. you have to make choes. that's what governance is about is making those choices. you can get criticized for those choices. you can make the wrong choices. but i think president obama has
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been determined to make these choices, to be honest about the trade-offs that we face, and to pursue a course that ultimately whatever problem we're trying to solve is sustainable over time. that's maybe the key difference with today's iraq and certainly as it was in 2001. i'm going to ask one more question. if you have a question, please come up to the mic, and i will turn to whoever is there after this last question. and that is on russia, we saw a very successful first term, a reset that i know a lot of people talk about the reset as a failure. we ended up with a new s.t.a.r.t. treaty. we had russian support for increased signings iran. that helped to lead to the nuclear deal in which iran gave up at least, you know, for the next 10 to 15 years ambitions for a nuclear weapons program in which president obama outlined
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in the atrium a year ago august. which we were very honored to have him here. and then also opening the corridor into afghanistan that russia agreed to that gave us a second way in addition from the corridor from pakistan into afghanistan which was critical for being able to do the mission against osama bin laden, which would have been, i think, unlikely if the only way into afghanistan had been through pakistan. so ihink it's little noticed how much the reset did in the first term. but of course things have really fallen apart. in the second term, the relationship with russia -- it's bad. >> totally a fun house mirrorish. >> yes. yes. the politics of this campaign on russia is bizarre for those of us who have watched u.s.russia relations for a long time. but the policy really -- the relationship is as bad as it has been since probably the early '80s. and the relationship between the
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two leaders is -- i mean, you'd have to go back even further to see this tense relationship to the leaders. maybe sort of khrushchev and eisenhower in 1960 after the shoot-down of the gary powers u-2. >> that's another book. >> all i was saying, the relationship is terrible. what is going get us in a different direction with russia? >> well, i think it's more about russia than us. and you're quite right on the reset. and one of the interesting puzzles that analysts of russia have struggled with is why did the reset work? the reset, we got a lot out of it, the united states did. it was a transactional approach to russia, the view that president obama and his team took when they came into office was there was a lot of common interests we had with russia that for variety of reasons, we
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were unable to work out a deal with them. and whether it's on afghanistan or iran or on nuclear disarmament, those were areas where we gain from what we got out of the reset. different leadership in russia at the time. you had medvedev in power. putin was then behind the scenes as the prime minister. i think not one of the mistakes, but this retrospect, what many in the administration, myself incle missed is we just assumed putin as prime minister during the medvedev years was fully on board with everything that had happened in the u.s.russian relationship and didn't i think fully appreciate the degree of angst that was building up th putin about the loss of prtige or face that russia was going through in those years. but, you know, i think that russia is the way obama looks at russia is rsia doesn't have
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a discernible long game. it's a country that certainly has influence. it's a big country. it's got resources. its resource ain't what they used to be with energy prices plummeting. putin certainly has a set of goals. but as you measure many of those goals, he is not succeeding. i mean, his goal is to divide the u.s. in europe. his goal is to have nato be a paper tiger.
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his goal is to increase leg supplant the united states in support of global leadership. his goal is to have a sphere of influence in the countries on his border. again, some of those you could argue he is somewhat succeeding in. but in others, he is failing massively, right. i don't see russia gaining influence or friends in the international system right now. so that said, russia can play a spoiler role. clearly in syria, they have shown -- by the way, syria the only country in the region where they have any friends anyway. if you set aside iran. they're showing that they're willing to do what it takes to protect their one friend in the region. and russia has, you know -- russia's influence has been a factor in syria from the very beginning. the chemical weapons out of syria was only possible because of russia cooperation. and that's why secretary kerry is working so hard now to try to get something going with the russians to find some kind of managed transition that we can agree to with assad. i think clearly the next president and secretary clinton, if he is the next president is someone who understands putin as well as anyone understands russia, as well as any political leader and was at president obama's side for the first four years as we were working on these tough issues with the russians and getting a lot out of it. will approach this pragmatically, but also with determination that we're going to keep our alliances strong. we're going to sort of push back wherever russia is trying to
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engage in nefarious behavior. but also ultimately show the russian people and those russian leaders who are willing to listen that is there a different path. that we're not by definition against russia. we're against putinism. we're against russia's behavior, but we believe that russia has a place and responsible leadership in the world if it's willing to take that place. but also to be very clear with them that if they keep up some of the behavior they've been pursuing in the last few years in particular, it's going to be a rocky road, no question. >> all right. oh, my gosh. we're going to do -- we're going to do -- >> lightning round. >> we're going to do two at a time. introduce yourself when you ask your question, please.
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>> hello, i'm ashley. i'm a student in international peace and conflict resolution. obviously the big upcoming event on everyone's mind is the upcoming election. and your book is very much focused on obama's pacific, focused on the long-term goal. how do you see our foreign policy decisions and our foreign policy changing as a result of this next election? do you feel that the long game is going to continue or it's going to turn into a very short-term game? >> interesting. ok. and the second question? >> my name is ben walters. i'm a student in the school of internatiol service. and i was wondering because the crux of your book is moving from a reactionary to a forward thinking foreign policy how cybersecurity and the norms and strategies that the defense department has, how that factors into the long-term security strategy and obama's influence on that strategy.
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>> great questions, both of you. i'll start with the second first. but it feeds into the first question. clearly cyber has been a big focus of this administration. everyone reads a newspaper every day understands that this is -- or maybe not reads the newspaper. goes on your iphone every day and understands the urgency of this issue and also how it's rapidly evolving in terms of the threat to the united states and whether it's our economy or increasingly, our hard security. and this admistration has done a lot to try to up our game on cyberissues. and certainly this is something that president obama cease as an issue of the future. he was just asked about it in the last 24 hours at a press conference related to these reports about possible russian influence on our elections through cybermeans. he has taken some concrete steps, creating a cybercommand with the department of defense. dod has released a couple public cyberstrategies. this is kind of an interesting thing for obama too. and the critique about obama is that oftentimes he's portrayed as someone who is uncomfortable with the military, doesn't like to use force, uncertain of
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leadership, what have you. but yet as i noted earlier, has used the traditional military often. he has used new instruments of power, drones, often. and he has innovated these of cyberas an instrument of defense policy. and, you know, so clearly i think this is an issue for the future. and it's something that he spent a lot of time working on. this gets to kind of the -- your question about what's to come. and i finished this book before we knew who the republican nominee was going to be. but in many ways, i wouldn't change a word that i'd written. one of the many point is make in this book, president obama, the ecosystem he has been operating in as president, foreign policy particularly, but also true in domestic policy is one that in increasingly has had a loose relationship with facts.
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it's one in which kind of the what i would consider the textbook putin style leadership. bluster, you know, quick reaction, a sense of toughness that is entwined with this machismo and you're tough and all that. obama's almost the exact opposite of that in terms of his style. and what we've seen emerge on the other side on the republican candidate is someone who kind of perfectly embodies that perspective and that style. so clearly, what comes next is very much going to come from who the next president.
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the if it's trump, kind of all bets are off, to be honest. i served in the obama administration, i worked two years with secretary clinton. my bias sought in the open. but that's objective. that's a fact. that, you know, if trump win, all bets are off. if secretary clinton wins, sure, things will be different. i mean, secretary clinton, president obama are different people. but they served extremely well together as close partners wn she was secretary of state and he was president. and in many ways she was the coarchitect of many of his important policy moves whether it was on climate change or the rebalanced asia or the new approach to iran and the nuclear negotiations. so will there be differences? absolutely. but clearly in the sort of broad perspective and world view about america's role in the world, about the elements of american leadership, about the balance that is necessary between defense and diplomacy and development, those are things that clinton as secretary of state i'm sure she will continue to champion as president. >> thank you. next two. >> hi. my name is benjamin brummer. i'm a graduate student here at international peace and conflict
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resolution. so during your talk, you discussed that obama's policy and his intellectualism is tied with his patience in developing the long game. but it feels like some of that has been contradicted by other parts of his policy. namely, his silence on the conflict within bahrain. the relative acceptance of the reversion of power back to the military in egypt. his drone policy seems very short sighted in just killing terrorists. while there may be some collateral and civilian deaths, the benefits outweigh the risk. all this seems to not go along with the same kind of patient obama that you seem to paint today.
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>> good. good question. >> and then the second one. >> i am frank albert. i'm an alum. i'd like to ask about the pivot or the rebalancing back to asia. the president's given a lot of attention to asia, of course, with raising our relationship with asean to a strategic partnership last year, and now attending two u.s. asean summit, as well as the east asian summit in laos that you mentioned earlier. the justification kind of overall that i've gotten from reading about it is our goal is a rules-based order in southeast asia. but then certainly there have been gains. we've seen a number of relationships evolve. the vietnamese and the filipinos and so forth that would not have happened probably had we not made this change. but at the same time, the one, the most dratic kind of issue that came up recently was
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china's leaning on laos and cambodia to prevent asean from you showing a statement on the permanent court of arbitration's decision in the hague on the south china sea. so i just wanted to ask you about how you see the future of that relationship and also when you throw in the debate here about the transpacific partnership and the increasi unlikelihood that that will be passed before the president leaves office. what do you see happening out in the future? >> sure. great question. so i'll start with the question about bahrain, egypt, drones, this kind of short-term-long-term tension. and there is tension, clearly. when you're in government, you know, you can't just talk about what is going to happen 20 years from now. you have to react to what is going on today. that's the balancing act you
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have to play. which is how do you do things today that set you up well for tomorrow. and certainly on the struggle we've had in the middle east in the wake of the arab spring in bahrain and egypt and almost every country in that region where we've seen many things happen that the united states hasn't liked. this administration hasn't liked particularly as it comes to human rights and the difficult trade-offs this we face. i was most involved in the egypt policy. i talk than in the book. our defense relationship with egypt is a truly one in the amount of assistance the united states has given egypt for a number of decades and our level of defense. and there are many in washington who wanted to cut all that assistance off in the wake of the events in 2013 when there was a -- an undemocratic change of power in cairo. and we decided to withhold some of the assistance as a way to
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try to influence nowresident al sisi's regime and some of the decisions he made. i was personally on over 40 phone call with then secretary of defense hagel with president al sisi to try to convince him to make different decisions at the time and to use our influence as best we could to get him to do that. i can't say it worked as well as we had hoped. but we have an enduring relationship with egypt that is in our interest to try to make modern for the future. and also to try to preserve some semblance of order and democratic growth there. it's very, very difficult. an issue where if you look at the other tools of power that we have to try to influence outcomes, we don't bring enough of that. it's because of economic assistance. it's over sorts of assistance on the military tied. we just don't have the resources that others who are playing in
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the egypt game like saudi arabia or uae or qatar are outspending us by an order of magnitude on the ground in a country like egypt. so it makes us very hard to have the influence. sometimes we don't get -- it can't be exactly, you know, clean. we have to make these trade-offs in the home in the service of what we're trying to do over the long-term. it doesn't mean that the united states should give up on the hope of long-term change in a country like egypt or bahrain. but we have to also preserve influence and maintain that influence for the future. and itets to the drones issue, which i ink the president has innovated the use of what the air force lls remotely piloted aircraft, because everyone has to remember there is a pilot behind the operation of each of those -- each of those pieces of equipment. he has innovated the use of that. he has vastly expanded the use of that. it's a tool that's technology, precision.
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what president obama has tried to do in the very interests of ensuring that this tool is used in the right way over time and we can sustain the support and the legitimacy that's behind it is to try to bring this out more into the open. he has given released statistics on the use of this instrument to try to bring this out into the debate. now, many believe there's still not enough, but i can tell you that the motive behind it is in view that in order to sustain the use of this tooloving forward we need to have an open debate about it here at home and he has worked very hard to bring that into the open. i'm convinced the next president, whoever he or she is, will continue to use this instrument, power. on the rebalance, very quickly, clearly one of the narratives that president obama had coming into office was for a variety of reasons the u.s. found i was at
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the end of 2008 out of position in the asia pacific. if you believed, as he does, as i do, that the most important arena of strategic change in the world in the 21st century is going to be in the asia pacific, the u.s. wasn't as present as it needed to be. whether that's a military posture or diplomatic influence as well as our economic efforts in the region, so one of the big strategic moves of his presidency was the rebalance. there's a difference between rebalance and pivot, and even though my good friend curt campbell has his own book out called "the pivot" he is the first e to agree that the ub intended consequences of the phrase "the pivot" is those that were seen as being pivoted away from, had unintentionally raised a lot of anxieties about whether the united states was going to be there for them in the future. that's y the term of art that we use as the rebalance.
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it's not meant to say that the u.s. is going to abandon the middle east, but that we need to have greater balance in the way we deployed our power, and the most recent instance we pointed out in the question about china pushing back on some of the responses to this haag ruling is the perfect reason why the u.s. needs to be present. i was with secretary clinton actually in 2010 in hano wi at an asean meeting where the united states successfully worked with some of our southeast asian partners to push back on the chinese regarding some of their efforts in the south china sea. of course, our position would be stronger, by the way, if we were members and that's another issue.
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clearly the u.s. role in the region, the fact that president obama has just completed his tenth trip to the region as president. the investment that we have made there that secretaries of state and secretaries of defense have made there. the fact that we have more military hardware there than we did eight years ago. the fact we're part of these regional institutions, and the fact we're trying to get this big trade deal done, which i agree is doubtful for the moment. i'm still one of those that holds out hope in a lame-duck that we'll be able to get there. that's all in service of what is a long-term strategic move. one of the challenges that president obama is facing, again, we've seen it again on this trip is it's hard to get credit for that in the moment. by something going on here at home. he had to cancel a trip because of the government shutdown. it's a perfect illustration of how hard it is to set a strategy and stick to it in this current environment environment. >> my name is -- i'm from belaruse sis.
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i'm coming back to -- i will be critical. i'm sorry. you talked about sustainable, that obama expected to build sustainable policy with many countries, but unfortunately, as i see obama didn't find -- had a lack of understanding of this post soviet regime in the reasonable. in 2009, in 2010 he appeased dictatorships in belaruse and -- they failed. in 2010 on the square in minsk ash of that he tried to appease the regime together with the european politicians, they were trying to attract to western projects.
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what we got as a result, the war in southeastern ukraine. the problem, as i see -- don't you think it was to -- like sphere of russia, because he was negotiated, and he was talng about eastern european policy only with putin, with kremlin people, but he stopped many democratic projects towards civil society in smaller countries. russian neighbors. for me it was quite disappointing when they started to cooperate with dictator. i was in prison at that time in 2010, and we were just ignored. we were forgotten. it was verdisappointing, and it helped putin toevive this post-imperialisticf what's happening now.
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>> in regards to the middle east and north africa, how do you figure that president obama has set the u.s. on a benevolent tragedyjectory pass when libya and egypt have experienced hardship and traversy, in part, because of the arab spring? >> this will be the last one. >> thank you. i am bobby. i'm also a student here. mr. secretary, you touched on how president obama has handled iraq in comparison with the previous three presidents. why when there are 200 some countries has iraq been such a problem for u.s. foreign policy for three decades? >> good. easy questions. softballs at the end here.
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on the first question obama's approach to central eastern europe, i don't agree with what's happened there and the continue ing continuing challenges as a result of obama appeasement or wider european appeasement. however, i do think it's fair to say that up until the ukraine crisis in 2014 there was a sense not justn the obama administration, but certainly in the larger strategic community here in washington, and i would actually argue in the larger strategic community globally, that that part of the world was problematic, but more or less back burner set of issues.
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certainly the ukraine isis for the united states and fothe washington community writ large brought back the problems of this region front and center. the problems of this region front and center, and the question i think is, what do we do about it. if you look at a situation like ukraine where most of the washington -- gets wraps around the axle of whether or not the u.s. is giving lethal assistance setting aside the issue that president obama has given ukrainian military $600 million in nonlethal assistance compared to $8 million a year prior to that. that gets lost in the debate because everyone wants to talk about the shiny object. more importantly, on the nonmilitary aspects of what we are doing in ukraine certainly , our relationship with the ukrainian government, as problematic as that is, is f closer and more intense today as
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then it was under yanakovich. our level of engagement from here in washington, the role that our ambassador plays, and there's greater appreciation. in this administration, in the broader washington community, and i would argue depending who the next president is, if it's hillary clinton in the next administration, that there is still unfinished business in that part of the world. this gets back to the fun house mirror aspect of our debate, of course, because that's not really the debate we're having right now in the presidential campaign trail where, you know, you have one of the other candidate for president who would probably be articulating more match the critique that you articulated in terms of how you would handle that part of the world, visa vi vladimir putin. i think that -- i work in an organization now, the german marshall fund, that still does a lot of very important programming in that part of the world.
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and has believed for many years that we cannot forget. i think the one hope that i can take out of recent history we've been through. on this question of the turmoil we've been seeing in the middle east, at the arab spring and just sort of personal angle on this, my first week at the white house when i moved from the state department to the white house was the week mubarak fell in egypt. we still saw at that moment arab spring, which we thoug was going to be something more akin to what we had seen in central and eastern europe. and how distant that all seems to us today. it is going through a once in a century convulsion. that's fundamentally not been about the united states.
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it's about demographics. it's about the poor leadership in the region. it's about broad swaths of folks in that region feeling disenfranchised. we talk about in the book that we cannot solve the problem. that is something obama struggled with. we talk about in the book that obama had high hopes when he became president before the arab spring about the way we would reset our relations with the muslim world and that we would try to kind of reframe the way the u.s. projected its influence in the middle east by getting out of iraq and trying to build up communities.
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that was very very hard. we did not have the resources to do it. we were unable to find sustainable policies. the bottom dropped out of us with the arab spring. i think the challenge for says is as we're watching what's going no the middle east, we have to understand that the other two regions that matter most in the united states in terms of our future, europe and asia, we're also seeing historic changes occur. if you go to each region, the answer that all of our partners in each region are asking for is more of the united states. that gets back to my point i made earlier, which is more of everything is not a strategy. you have to continue to be engaged in all three of those regions, and we have close partners and treaty allies in those regions. we can't meet all of their
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wishes equally, and that triage is something that we struggled with in government and the next administration will struggle with as well. the last question was on iraq, and why is it that this parcel of land has been such a chal ek challenge for the united states for 26 years? it's a great question. obviously in part, this is the , colin powell line from the debates in the early 2000s. the the pottery barn rule. you break it, you own it. because of decisions made, i think the correct decisions made in august of 1990 by the first bush administration to come to the defense of a partner of ours to ensure that saddam hussein did not take over saudi arabia, but also to get saddam hussein out of another partner ours, kuwait, for a variety of reasons. that began the military entanglement that we still struggle with today, and this gets back to the sustainability issue. president obama's view --
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my view is not that iraq doesn't matter. iraq matters. it's important because of its strategic position in the region, because of the capabilies it has, because of the influence it has, because of the mosaic of ethnicities and religions that are on its soil. what we have to be careful of and what we have to sort of calibrate constantly is how we can use our influence in a way that brings about the kind of change we want to seon the ground but does not envelope us in something that goes far beyond what our interest there actually are. this is not a game of science. this is more of an art. it's something that's very, very hard, and there will always be thoughtful critics to say whether we're getting it right or not, but this is what the next president will have to confront as they are the fourth american president to have to deal with this very difficult challenging, but important country in the middle east. >> well, on that note, congratulations, again, on the book. >> thank you very much. >> thank you for being here.
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[applause] there are books for sale there. derek will sign any book that you buy. if you do, enjoy, it's an excellent read, and we're really getting you up to speed on where we are in this country with respect to our foreign policy. thank you again. >> the house veterans affairs committee will get an update on v.a. health care benefits and hear about a recent report on the v.a. hlth system. live coverage starts this morning at 10:15 a.m. eastern on c-span3. later today also on c-span3, the u.s. special envoyo sudan and south sudan testifies about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in south sudan. live coverage from the house of foreign affairs subcommittee on africa begins at 2:00 have eastern. >> the c-span radio act makes it
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easy to continue to follow the 2016 election wherever you are. it is free to download. the audio coverage and up-to-the-minute schedule information for c-span radio and c-span television, plus podcast times for our popular public affairs, but, in history -- book , and hiss reprograms. app means you always have c-span on the go. >> next, religious leaders talk about faith and morality in politics. breach repairs of the posted the seventh -- hosted this event. >> let me welcome all of you the announcement of the national higher ground declaration day of action on september the 12th and i will be
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talking more about that in just a moment. before we say anything, i want to ask the reverend, a good friend and brother at the united church of christ if he would come and open us today with the word of prayer, would you? >> good morning. i want to thank everybody for being here. dr. blackman and dr. barr and dr. forbes and everybody else, clergy that are gathered here today as we do from our tradition where we draw upon our powers, let us join in a moment of prayer. we want to thank you first of all, thank you for jusbeing god and watching over us and filling us with the spirit to do right, the spirit to go forward and bring forth your justi and your hope, to lift up mighty cause so that people are united and blessed in the process of being united because we stand
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here today for justice and we stand here today for hope and we stand here today so that the nation can change its way and do what is righteous and right so to protect those on the margins, to care for the poor so that there's a spirit of justice that becomes pervasive in this land, that wtruly live toward the creed that we are called to live towards that all people may find the place of joy and happiness that each and every one may be secured and each and every one might exist in a state of justice and hope. now bless us in all of the endeavors particularly as we go forward september 12th. allow us to feel your sacred and wonderful spirit and allow us to be on fire with the light of justice and spirit that brings about peace.
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in all these things we pray, amen. >> amen. at this time we are ing to open with a special promo video that's connected to the revival times revolution of values and specifically talks about the higher ground moral declaration day of action. ♪ there are over 2,000 scriptures in the holy text that talk about
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how nations should lift up the poor, children, immigrant, strangers, women, the sick and any who have been made to feel unacceptable. these things aret the center of the moral consideration and we call on a resistance to divide and conquer strategy of extremism. >> we are we are here to promote moral values in our nation. our silence has contributed to the place that we are in right now. our refusal to speak out across party lines, across racial lines, across gender lines, against what we know to be wrong, the faith community has been complicit in this cover-up. >> where is our moral voice? where is our willingness to
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stand up and say, enou? >> leaders to continue the movement but that's only after this kind of public execution, the public crucifixion at the hands of the oppressor. >> the way to change what's happening in our societies is by letting our hearts be broken open by the anguish and the truth. in having it broken, there's room to recover. >> america just might make it through the struggle. >> we must shock this nation with the power of love. we must shock this nation with the power of mercy. we must shock this nation and fight for justice for all.
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we can't give up on the heart of our democracy. not now, not ever. [applause] >> together, organize together, fight for the heart of this nation. >> thank you so much. [applause] >> this promo is being released today, and let me just welcome all of you in the grace of god and the spirit of love. i first want to say how humbled i am to be walking with all these clergy who represent thousands around the country. i see my friends who fight for
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15 and others who have been a part of this work particularly all around the september the 12th action. the higher ground moral declaration that i'm going to talk about has been signed by 2,585 clergy across this country representing christians, muslims, jews, and other faith. we've also had persons who are not necessarily of faith but , believe in a moral universe and nearly 11,000 citizens and , activists have signed on with with representation of all 50 states. it's been privilege to travel across the country for those who may not know, my name is reverend william barber the second and president of senior pastor of the church and third reconstruction fusion politics
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and the rise of a new justice movement that is part of the story of the movement where tens of thousands literally have joined together in one southern states and other southern states, particularly north carolina and over a thousand people have engaged in civil disobedience in january, february of 2014 over 80,000 people showed up. and the largest civil right justice and equality in the south march since selma. but be all that as it may and even my work with the north carolina naacp as president, it's been my life's privilege and i've learned so much traveling with reverend who is dr. james forbes junior who is , here today, the senior minister of the riverside church in the city of new york. he served as senior minister for
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more than 18 years. he is a nationally and internationally known speaker, preacher, teacher and is the name as one of the 12 most effective interest in the english speaking world by "newsweek" magazine and is the president and founder of healing, healing of the nations and also the drum major institute. it's been such a privilege to travel with him. i would make one announcement but he told me not to do it, but today is a special day, amen. i've been privileged to talk travel with the reverend tracy blackman who is the acting executive director minister of ucc justice and witness ministry. she was appointed to the position by a unanimous vote of the ucc board in october 2015. she's also the 18th installed and first woman pastor, of the 156-year-old christ the king united church of christ in ferguson, missouri.
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she has gained international and national recognition particularly around her fight for social change when michael brown was shot in ferguson. one of the stalwart phetic voices in the world. it's been a privilege to join with sister simone campbell who serves as the executive director of network since 2004. she's the religious leader, attorney, and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change and lobbies on issues of economic justice, immigration reform, and health care. we've also been privileged, and this this is the four legs to this table, the reverend harris, who is a professor of new testament and also the director of the project that is working
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to continue to work that dr. king began when he talked about the poverty, poor people campaign. today we open up with our good friend reverend dr. hagler. i call him the dc contingency and the revival time for a moral revolution has been coordinated by repairs of the breach healing of the nation's drum institution and cairo center. we also have great support, the unitarian church has been greatly supportive the ucc alsorch, reforms use and -- jews and other jewish bodies, the muslims, the fight for 15 and other bodies throughout the sam proctor conference have all been great supporters, and the list
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continues to grow. why are we here today? on monday, september the 12th at 11:00 a.m. in every time zone , clergy will lead a higher ground moral day of action outside of state capital and city hall in district of colombia. it will be in state capitals and here in the district of colombia, it will be at their city hall because as you know, we are still fighting in the for state rights in the district of colombia which continues one of the great moral challenges in our country, people who have taxation without representation. now, the higher ground moral declaration will make three declarations. one, faith leaders, advocates, activists, and people who have been hurt and impacted by regressive extreme policies and extremism in our political
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system will hold rallies outside of state capitol buildings and city halls to deliver the higher ground moral declaration and it is a moral policy framework to respect the governors, u.s. senators, presidential candidates, and candidates for office and major parties. you can find this higher ground declaration at and i will talk more about that. the goal is to have activists to clergy and impacted persons and activists to march together to these state capitols to symbolically, since that's the center power and accepting the district of colombia, to make the moral declaration by having impacted and talk about extreme policies have hurt them and each clergy will actually read this declaration. it is a nationwide petition calling our government, our
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political systems to higher ground. number two, the second declaration will be communities of faith and deep moral consciousness will be called on to go to the polls this november and beyond and vote candidates that have the highest capacity to advance moral public policy agendas. and then number three the third moral declaration would be the call on religious leaders on two weekends prior to the presidential election and mini many state elections to call on faith leaders to preach and teach in their churches, , andogues, and mosques other places of worship to reach every child gets access to education health care, access , for all criminal justice reform and ensuring that historically marginnized communities have equal protection under the law.
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the higher ground morally of action is being coordinated in over 25 capitol cities, we are working in conjunction as i said with our anchor groups in all of those cities where we are traveling to do the social justice revivals, also with many of the members of the fight for 15, who is one of the strong movements in our country that brings people together across race, class, gender. they will include montgomery, alabama, little rock, arkansas, sacramento, california, denver, colorado, hartford, connecticut. washington, d.c., tallahassee, florida, atlanta, georgia, springfield, illinois, indianapolis, indiana, francfort, kentucky, boston, massachusetts, st. paul, minnesota. excuse me, jefferson city, missouri, concord, new hampshire. santa fe, new mexico. raleigh, north carolina.
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carson city, nevada. albany, new york, columbus, ohio, colombia, south carolina, nashville, tennessee, austin, texas, richmond, virginia and madison, wisconsin. groups of clergy activists and impacted people will be the anchor groups. others may join, but that will be the anchor groups that will go to the state capitols and make the moral declaration, will actually march around or on the area of the state capitol is located in the declaration will be delivered both through hand copies and through e-mail and to senators, candidates for the senate, sitting governors and others. the higher ground moral day of action is a part of the revival, time for a moral revolution of values, which is a national multistate tour to redefine morality in american politics. the reviable challenges leaders of faith and moral courage to be
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more vocal in opposing harmful policies that disproportionately impact vulnerable communities. as i noted earlier, the higher ground moral declaration has already been signed and now by more than 2,000 clergy and more than 10,000 people of faith across this country who understand that we need to advance a moral agenda. that agenda includes democracy and voting rights, poverty and economic justice, workers rights, education, health care , environmental justice, immigrant's rights and xenophobia, criminal justice, lgbtquman rights -- rights, and war amongorring. we are very clear that the time has come to challenge the limited view of morality often put by the so-called religious right or the so-called
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conservative evangelicalism. we understand that any notion of be biblically consistent must begin with critique of system that is create poverty injustice inequality and certain people are less than other people. somebody must stand up and say, it doesn't matter party has in is in power, who has majority once elections are over. there are some things that transcend political majorities and majority politics and the narrow categories of liberal versus conservative and democrat versus republican. there are some things that must be challenged because they are wrong, extreme, and immoral. but before elections are over, people of faith, people who have a deep moral conscious must be engaged. we cannot simply judge candidates by whether they had a photo op here or photo op there. we must look at policy and how
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that policy lines up, when we look at, for instance, in the jewish text, issaia says, those wo unto those who legislate oppression and rob the poor of their rights and make women and children their prey or go, for instance, to the new testimony, testament jesus' first sermon. , he talked about the poor, the sick, the blind, the broken, the hurting, and everybody who has been made to feel different, made to feel strangers, we must declare acceptable year and the closing of his life, he said nations would be judged by how we treat the least of these, the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, those in prison. we believe that we must redefine morality in the public square,
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. we can no longer accept, when we talk about morality where you stand on abortion, homosexuality, second amendment, and where you stand on property rights and tax cuts. we believe from our deepest religious values and our deepest constitutional values, even with the constitution does not begin with the things i just listed. our deepest moral principle is an understanding of question, or mine.imply i and then secondly the establishment of justice, the providing for the common good, the promoting of the general welfare, and ensure domestic tranquility, those are the great moral of our constitution and faith, justice, and love are the great moral of faith. -- moral tenants of faith. so someone must say it is extreme morally indefensible and inconsistent for us to make it
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harder for people to vote. that's immoral. it's extreme and immoral not to address systemic racism and pay workers a living wage and to guaranty labor rights in a country that declared equal protection under the law. it is extreme and immoral, 100 years after teddy roosevelt talked about health care for all and more than 2,000 years after jesus always set up free health clinics wherever he went, never required to pay copay, . it is extremely poor politicians to get elected and get free health care after they get elected but then fight to ensure that all people get health care. it is extreme to raise taxes and fees on the poor and make the working class and make college students pay more interest for loans while we cut taxes for the wealthiest of our society. it is extreme 62 years after brown versus the board of
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education to see resegregated high poverty schools be the major challenge in our country and to underfund public schools on the one hand while we fund private corporations on the other. it is extreme. it is morally indefensible to pledge one nation under god, with justice for all and then fight against liberty and justice for the lgbtq, immigrant in our country and to seek to regardingn place immigrants. put laws inicoans place that if they were in place 100 years ago their own ancestors would not have been
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immigrant in this country. it's extreme to care more about the second amendment and how we can proliferate the people to get assault weapons and guns than we fight to ensure people can get a voter card. it's something extreme when you can get a gun easier than you can get a voter card. it's extreme to claim that the legitimate discontent against brutality of unarmed blacks is antipolice and somehow just a black thing when we see black, white people, latinos, jews, christians, muslims all marching and declaring black lives matter. it's extreme to cash for purposes, extreme not to love the palestinian child and not the jewish child. we believe it's a necessity for this destiny of democracy that we realized that we need a revolution of values. we must raise our moral
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discontent and dissent knowing that whether hurt now or later, history has shown that moreal shall deceive change and justice that eventually block them on the landscape of our democracy. lastly, one year before his assasination, dr. king said it was time to break silence. this was after the civil rights of '64 and '65, he knew that the moral work was far from over. he said then that silence was betrayal, we declared today if silence was betrayal in 67 than a moral revolution of values, a higher ground declaration is a necessity today. lastly, i want to read one other scripture that even come from the quran. you heard me quote the jewish
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even in the quran believers both men and women are in charge and responsible for one another. they all enjoin the doing of what is right and for being the doing of what is wrong. wherever you look, our deepest faith traditions or even in our constitution, there is this call for a higher ground moral declaration. we believe that the conversation we ought to be having right now in this country whether it's presidential, governmential is where the candidates stand on these issues, prolabor, antipoverty, antiracist policies that build up economic democracy through full employment, living wages, adjust transition away from fossil fuel that make sure that the people who have worked there are not thrown aside, labor rights, affordable
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housing, direct cash transfers and social safety net and other support for all families struggling to get by, fair policies for immigrant and critiquing policy around war-mongering. number two, equality in education, that should be a focus. where do you stand if you're running for president or you're running for governor, where do you stand on equality education by ensuring every child receives high-quality, well-funded, constitutional, diverse education and access to community college, university, equitable funding for minority college and universities, where do you stand if you want to people's vote? do you believe health care for all is a moral issue, expanding medicaid, ensuring medicare and social security but then moving towards universal transparent equitable health care for all
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and providing environmental protection. ms.ou, mr. politician or seetician, do you environmental protection as a moral issue, do you see protecting women's health, do you understand that there's a can buythat people lead-free paint but not lead-free water? do you believe that fairness in the criminal justice system by addressing inequalities that operate in that system against black, brown and poor white people, do believe that fighting the proliferation of guns is a moral issue, do you believe voting rights and expanding voting rights and women's rights and lgbtq rights and religious freedom and immigrant rights and protecting and never backing up on the fundamental principle of
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equal production under law, moral issues, if you don't think they're moral issues, then don't debate. but say to us whether you believe whether they are moral or immoral issues. they can't be both ways. we believe that our moral traditions have a firm foundation upon which to stand against the divide and conquer strategists of extremist and it's time that we claim higher ground, higher than left versus right, higher than democrat versus republican, higher than simple partisan debate, but we understand that some things are not about partisan debate, they are about what is right and what is wrong. every politician in this country makes a big deal -- that's all right. that's all right. that happens to the best. we believe in dancing and standing for what's right.
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[laughter] >> and the song was "i'm guilty of doing wrong." if we repent we will be able to rise. this bible is called --, the reason why is that people went through and marked every scripture which has to do with how you treat people. you know what they found? 2000 scriptures? some of the things we often hear you cannotorality,
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even find in scripture and some of them, you only find one or two? end none of those scriptures trump this one. you must love your neighbor as yourself in treat the least of these right. it is time for a moral reset and this country and that's why the revival is calling for a higher ground moral declaration. i want to ask the doctors to come up and then we will take questions from the press. thank you so much. god bless you. [applause] sisters, in ad few days america will be commemorating the horrible and tragic events of september 11, 2001.
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when the twin towers of the world trade center came crashing down from the brutal attack of terrorists. during the mournful days of vulnerability and fear which followed, i recall sinkingthe sinking -- "god bless america." at baseball games, public place, and numerous assemblies. as the song goes and you can remember hearing at the baseball game, as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer, god bless america, land that i love. stand beside her. and guide her through the night with the light from above.
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as we come today, the first day after labor day, to the home stretch of the presidential election campaign, our nation needs to be sinking that song and praying that prayer in earnest out of the sincerity of our troubled hearts. 2016, 15 years after anxiety, and assorted vulnerabilities hang hanging dark gray cloud over new york skyline. what is hanging now all over our country, villages and urban centers.
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and the cloud? terror,e cloud of , threateneddomestic our sense of safety and well-being. the cloud. also, this is a cloud, too, for some people. the man'sgraphic with for equity and justice. those clouds make the future seem fragile and uncertain for many. a makes democracy seem like two-costly risk-laden experiment with and unrealistic utopian economic disparate interests political
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threatened to shred the social termsct, untying the contained in it that made the united states one body. but it is now making it look more like body parts. god bless pray, america, land that we love. stand beside us. right now. and guide us through the night with a light from above. andto pray god's blessings to remain in different or adversarial to moral and spiritual values of justice,
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mutual respect, compassion, and care for the war, the --advantaged and the other to pray and be an different or adversarial reveals what we have been working on -- a serious character defect. degeneracy and spiritual anemia. usre are signs all around that we need a moral revolution of values in our nation. dr. martin luther king suggested that we have become captive to the triple evils of racism, materialism, and militarism. now, anybody with eyes that are opened, we see more clearly than prophetice how truly
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dr. king was in his description of our national malaise. take for an example racism. folks, just to think of the outrageous hysteria occasioned by the presence of a black family in the white house. and it's lasted for the entire two terms. >> that's right, that's right. that's right. >> racism. just think of the zeno phobic passions fueling the current immigration caustic conversation.
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or consider the police community manifestations of brutality and andresulting mistrust mounting video evidence and daily data supported statistic that there is racial a stick --ignancy -- racial a stick racialistic malignancy in every system and aspect of the american way of life. i think we are going to need a moral revolution. materialism. what is it an america that is not for sale? assorted favors. sex. the political process. politicians.
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preachers. football players and their heads. body parts. market share. prisoners. votes. higher -- for for hire. our currency is printed "in god we trust," but is it really true that in general money is god in our nation? more influence in regards to our values, our political affiliation, our social arrangements. thant values mean more morals or our mamas. >> oh lord, my, my, my.
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>> and greed. i used to talk about greed in buying to money elections, gun legislation, money determining attitudes , prisong health care industrial complex, or international alliances. i were in seminary and the roman catholic priest, he quoted a scripture and i had to go home and look it up myself. i know this is a club where you talk politics and stuff, but there may be a moral dimension. there may be a moral dimension. i cannot believe this. i don't think people will believe this. people will think we just concocted this for the revival, but it says right here and matthew five -- in
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-- listen. matthew 5:21-22. it says, you have heard it was said of those in patron times you shall not murder. i'm talking violence now. that is why we are talking about black lives matter, white lives matter, jewish lives matter, old folkses matter, lives matter. i like to think so -- the old folks lives matter. but, whoever murder shall be liable to the judgments, but i say unto you that if you are angry, anger all over the place, every time you turn on the television, radio -- anger. and there are so many people who are glad to express their anger. brotherre anger with a
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or sister, you are liable to judgment. then, the priest said and if you insult a brother or sister you will be liable to the council and if you say, you fool, you will be liable to the hell of a fire. and he ended up saying, you call fowlkes falls and you may go to hell. but anyway. that is enough may be for me to say except there are two other things i want to say and i will be through. we in trouble, fowlkes. -- folks. and the problem is that a whole folks don't know what to do about voting. voting is god's way of telling us how important we are.
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the image and likeness of god and even says god -- even god says, what we name things matters. it is important for us to understand that this is no simply political process. of boatinghe issue comes, we are determining whether we believe the snake on the ground or the odd that made -- or the god that made us, we have to make up our mind and so reverend, i don't know how we get this done. the reason we are going across the country day by day and it looks like through the whole month of september and october is because i discovered that while there is an election november 8, and everyone should vote and if anyone doesn't vote is because they ain't paying attention to god. they would rather follow the guidance of a snake then to pay attention to god. god says, you are my child and i
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put voting power in you and anyone that messes with it ain't nothing but a snake anyhow. every day there is a referendum and that's why we have to go every day i wish i could get a break. can we get a break? but every day we have to go because there is, folks, a referendum. it is a moral referendum and it does not wait until november the the eight. income of the way he vote on november 8, is going to be based on what you do about the moral referendum and that happens every day you get up because every day we get up, we are faced with a decision. said it the universe, was good, it's been arranged for to be held together. there are fowlkes trying to lead a part. every day you get up your having the opportunity to cast your vote in the moral referendum. i ask you this question and then i am sitting you down stop --
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then i am sitting down. we are gods children. if you go through life without thinking or paying attention to god in regards to how we treat when another, in regards to how we spend our money, and regards to how we form our alliances and our associations. you make a vote every day. does it matter more to you what to god thinks about it? god made us as one people. people try to do pseudo-sub specie nation, saying we are one species but some are than others. others have actually taken some human beings and made chattel property out of them or treated people as secondary citizens. you will see signs with folks that are parceling out human beings and putting them in lower
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categories. lower stock. you make a vote every time you see it. finally, god had a dream, it wasn't just dr. king that had a dream. dream of the kind of world that god wants to see and every a you get up and walk out of your house, you can a look on your world and you have got to vote. is this the kind of world you want to be in or is the world the one you are willing to work for. the world the creator dreamed from the dawn of creation. when i leave her today and go to the train station back to new york, every time i am getting a chance i'm going to vote. today. if i can vote right each day between now and november 8, i don't have to worry about it when i get there. >> that's right.
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that is exactly right. [applause] >> see why he's in my prayers? >> good morning. theforbes reminds me that last time i was in the press club i was here with a rabbi who enlightened me by sharing with me that in the hebrew language translates vote. that every time you hear the itd in hebrew sculpture could easily say -- scripture, it could easily say that god is voting. that's when god spoke creation into existence, he was voting that life was good. he was voting that we are all equal.
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performs to you as dr. said, that our voice is indeed our vote and we vote every time we speak out. we vote everywhere we go on every issue. dr. forbes also talked about 911, which everyone agrees was an act of terrorism. the 1960'schild of from birmingham and there was another act of terrorism that happened in september, for in alittle girls were bomb church on six street. i remember the anxiety and angst that come around that day every year. one of those little girls sisters went to school with me. it is also an act of terrorism that this country should do great penance for, because that act of terrorism, unlike the one on 911, is attached to the
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infected moral attitude at this country. there is a lie being spread around and most of us are drinking the kool-aid. the lie says that all people are not created equal. the lie says that someone has to win and someone has to lose. the lie says that god did not create enough in abundance for all of human creation and all of creation to live in harmony and be taken care of. the lie says we don't have enough resources in this country for everyone to make a living wage and for everyone to have a decent quality of life. the lie says everyone is not due healthcare-- adequate healthcare and adequate housing and adequate food supply. the lie says the indigenous people of this country should be on standing rock fighting for
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land that was taken from them in the first place. the lie says that women should not have control of their own bodies but that people who have nothing to do with our reproductive of system should womb thenabout our they do about food and our stomach. the lie says that lesbian, gay and transgender people are not considered equal in this country and should not have the same rights and the same benefits afforded for marriage to all. the lie says-- the life and well-being of my child is not as important of the life and well-being of someone else's child. the lie says the government is not a service of the people, but the government rules that people . the lie says that god is republican nor democrat when god does not give a hoot about your political convictions. the lie says god is american when god cares about the whole world that god has created and
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our voice is our vote. now the question i posed to you be prophetsll you of resistance or are you going to be priests of an empire? that is the question. some folk are doing what they are supposed to be doing. there is no lie and no hidden agenda in what is coming out in this political election. but my concern is for those of us that have declared that we have been called by a higher power, those of us who are declaring that god in deed leads and direct our and our worth. my concern is that we have become come to sit and in fact dead -- we have become complicit
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i say to you,nd it is not just racism. it is a desire to be god. >> that's right, yeah that's right. core,ca serving the image in which we are created. so my friends, there is more at stake for us the and any political election. there is more at stake for us then who is in the white house. that matters, but that changes every 18 years. for, what ifighting
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am marching or, the reason that as i believe our very soul is on the line. see the godiled to in every created the, then we will have failed god. he -- choose ye this day who you will serve. choose ye whether you will serve the god of capitalism or whether you will serve the god of creation. choose ye this day whether you a god of favor or
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whether you will serve a god of a god ofm for top -- favoritism. choose ye this day. my choice. i pray you have made yours. [applause] >> and if so you clearly hear we will be joined by rabbis, some who could not be here today because we originally planned this on the 29th, i had a very close friend die and we to go back. but you've heard dr. forbes. you've heard dr. blackman. and in a moment other clergy will stand with us as we take questions. look at this map of all the places we will have this and have actions and all the places we are going with the revival. the revival does not end at november 8, because we do believe we need a revolution of
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moral values. it is not a moment, it is a movement. we must shock at the heart of this nation. every age has needed when i coined a few weeks ago moral defibrillators whether it was henry thoreau or frederick douglas, harriet tubman or whether it was walter walsh and bush or others in the turn-of-the-century. mary mcleod, a philip randolph or whether as doctor king or door that day,-- dorothy day, everyone needs have issue of not this false version of left or right. we are concerned about how that has dominated our political discussion. it does not even fit this century, it comes from the 17th century. the french revolution. the monarchy. people are saying you are liberal, you are conservative. what do you mean?
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i am both. i want to hold onto justice because it to conserve means to hold onto that essence up. what does it mean you are an evangelical? what does that really mean? i'm a theological evangelical conservative liberal big assist. who decided we had to talk like this? who decided as my good friend who wrote america's original sam -- sin, jim wallace, said. evangelism as way of talking this country becomes a euphemism for white christians who believe a certain direction. how can we grab the holiest? it's not new. in the 1800s there was a movement called the redemption movement. and sounded very religious but it actually worked to tear down reconstruction in this country. its terror part box and whites. there's another that call themselves southern strategy. sounded good. sounded like they were going to
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lift up south. but the goal was to divide this out because whites think black people and brown people to vote against them. in other words black and brown people are not just people with problems, but our problem people that was the goal of the southern strategy. then you had the moral majority in the goal was to limit the moral discussion, prayer and the school and abortion, homosexuality in where you stand on those issues. ourthat is so contrary to deepest foundation, our deepest religious values. somebody will say, this is just a progressive agenda. how can you believe in christ and read moses and not be progressive? moses was so progressive he wanted to come out of the egypt. christ was so progressive he wanted to feed 5000 and challenge the systems about injustice. moral agenda. there will be some that will say
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the first critic will say, that cost too much. well, i'm glad there's a nobel peace prize lawyer who wrote a book called the price of any ofcalled "the price inequality." how much does it cost us in money and morality because in moral agendas heard people in that extreme. the do not lift everyone up. is constitutionally inconsistently, morally indefensible, and economically insane to not have a living wage. how can you say on the one hand you want people to have jobs but you don't want to give them a living wage? what do you want to do, wait another 400 years? health care is economically sane. it adds jobs, creates health care for people to allow them to work. i mean, the fact of the matter is what are we talking about?
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it is economically insane. aboutr all of this talk violence and some people, you know, they want to point out a city where there's violence, but not talk about all of the violence that we have perpetrated upon those in poor communities that end of creating systems of violence and that's why i love what karen a scott king said when someone asked her what she thought about violence. she said, violence is greater they and when someone gets shot. she said, not having housing is violence. denying people and education is violence. poverty is violence. ising people's culture violence. police brutality is violence. she said, guess, we want a conversation about voting and morality. you want to talk about economics and banking and health care.
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those are moral issues. don't just call us when someone was to talk about prayer in the school. call us when people want to prey on people in public policy. -- p-r-a-y, pray on people in public policy. if you undermine my right to vote you're suggesting i'm not a person. clear and simple. let me add one piece to that. is one of the greatest immoral things happening right now is i come from a state where in the 21st century, in 2016, a governor and the legislature were found guilty of intentional racist discrimination, not disparate treatment, but intentional and it happened in texas. and we have 20-some other states
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where there are cases going on right now. in a democracy. not "we did not know what but intentionally. and it is not just about black people. voting rights is about labor rights, health care. because if you don't expand the electorate, that a certain small group of extremists can federal electorate which is why they try to narrow the electorate because they know they can't win if there's a broad electorate. and we call on every party. but here's something that is a moral tragedy. i hope in this debate season, lastly, they will take questions, there will be one entire debate on voting rights. we've been talking about national security, and we've had a debate on economics. let's have one debate on voting rights. where do you stand if you're running for president, governor? where do you stand on restoring the voter rights act. because how can we go through a whole season asking people to
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vote for us and not deal with this issue of intentional vote and where people stand? and then we need to look at this. strom thurmond only filibustered in 1957 civil rights act for a little bit over 24 hours. that's all, about 24 hours. when i stopped counting, this current congress, since june -- june 25, 2013, has engaged in a filibuster and congressional what dr. king would call him position and altercation for more they and 1135 days. when i stopped counting. 1100 -- that's immoral and -- in a democracy. that the congress that is the 15th amendment to protect voting rights has sat and members of the media, we
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on to be talking about that. as a moral issue. talk about economic justice as a moral issue, health care, education. so we are glad we are moving out on the 12th. you can go to www.moral we've been doing these revivals since april democrats and people -- and the crowds in people are coming out because people understand we need a moral revolution of values. let me ask some of the people fighting for 15 and some of the clergy, if y'all wouldn't mind coming up. we will not be long. just to see if there are any questions from the media. doctor forbes, tracy, if you come i don't decide so we can easily move to the mic if necessary. the others just come up around all of us. these people represent thousands across the country. as we said, more than 2500 -- do you want to come on up, robert?
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ok. 2500 come over 2500 clergy have led thousands of others. -- 2500 -- over 2500 clergy have signed. dozens of others. i'm glad to have robin williams here, one of our great friends. are there any questions from members of the media? >> on the topic of voting rights, some counties in north carolina are still fighting a ballot early voting including on sunday. can you talk a little bit about why this is an important, fight. specifically sunday voting. >> it's not some counties. it's a board if elections. what happened is the courts ruled, the federal courts ruled that north carolina's governor mccrory and legislature had engaged in intentional discrimination in a case filed by the naacp and churches and individuals whose biggest tastes -- case since shelby. the biggest case since the
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voting rights act passed. and when that happened, presidential candidate trump can -- came to our state and said that the courts were not opening up the possibility of fraud. think about that. the court said the state has been engaged in intentional racial discrimination. the presidential candidate, rather than saying, this is wrong. said the court unanimously would now open up fraud. then he went further and said it would allow around people, illegal immigrants, not just the hate you are talking about. after that, the executive director of the republican party sent out a memo. normally we in the civil rights community, we know stuff like this happening but normally we don't actually have evidence. we surmised. he sent out a memo that was supposed to be secret but became public, telling republican members of the board of
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elections to institute voting policies that reflected republican values, not what the courts have said. now, actually they are not reflecting republishing values either. because that is not what abraham lincoln or teddy roosevelt felt. what he was really saying was to implement extremist values and so the boards of elections, many of them have done that and you have tohave a deterrent on the eighth because north carolina in -- you have to have a unanimous vote of all members. but the majority of the board elections are determined by who the government is. many credit members are voted against these plans. wantone of the things they to do is to move all of the voting places off college campuses. the other things they want to do is shut down all of the early voting sites except the early
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voting. the goal of same-day registration is to be able to ensure that were people who cannot get out regular hours will be able to vote. they want to add sunday voting. said, something morally wrong with you. with your thinking, when in a democracy, you work to suppress and undermine the vote. something is wrong with that. we are concerned. we hear people hollering a lot about prayer in school, but where are you when people are praying on people's voting rights? where are you when people are on people's wages?
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>> you said there was a meeting speak was on the eighth in north carolina. specifically the board of election meets a captivating on all these plans that were not voted on unanimously. so our lawyers and others will be there. >> can you explain to folks a don't know why sunday voting is important for the community. all of the rules we talk about sunday voting the same day registration to early voting, we want those movements, we fought for you. we challenge the democrats because they're somebody said, we challenge democrats and we want those things because remember we did not get protect voting rights until 1965, august 6, 1955. -- 1965. north carolina did not have an african-american to return until 1992 the congress. so it was 25 years after the voting rights act that north carolina the southern state once
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again had one african-americans in united states congress to ratify all kinds fight all kinds of opposition that went on from 65. in the '90s with early voting ended 2007 same day registration, early vote in sunday's vote. many african-american congregations, according to statistics, would do sunday voting in honor of bloody sunday. the argument of many black and white congressional congregations would say if we were beat on sunday and bloodied on a sunday, we ought to cast a ballot on this sunday. well it worked, and more than a , million black and brown people showed up at the polls on early voting and same-day registration in 2008. once that happened, once that happened in our state, all of a sudden, folks said, that's fraud. when black and brown people started voting in mass numbers and the black vote in north carolina went to 70%, and black women were higher than any other demographic, and it started happening particularly around the south.
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because if you get 30% of african-americans to registered mode in the south, what you have is no longer solid south, which opens up those 11 southern states, which opens up american democracy. because there's 160 electoral votes in just those 11 states. all of a sudden fraud was claimed, even when there was no fraud. and these legislators, lastly, they requested from the board of election before the vote on this voter suppression law, give us the statistics about black people use different rules. and the roles black and brown people use the most were the very ones they try to remove, which is why the court said it intentional racism. >> i want to speak very directly to your specific question. when you live in a country with
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economic inequity, there are certain ways that that shows up in neighborhoods of marginalized people. and so i believe that as a country, we should be born with the right to vote. we should have to lose it. no one had me register to pay taxes. they figure that out, right? and so every way that we can mobilize people to vote is important. in the last two national i led as in st. louis, voting rights mobilization effort because economic it act of people's ability to have transportation, their ability to be connect it with other people what voting, is all impacted. and so when we a space committee -- and so when we as faith communities begin to mobilize people on sundays, we are able to take our buses and our fans and take people from the pews to the polls. that's why it's important.
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and anyone who's concerned about the democracy in this country should be celebrating that more people have the opportunity to vote than less. if you work in a minimum-wage job, and many other people i know who work the minimum-wage jobs work more than one, because you can't live off of the salary of one of those jobs. it is hard for you to have time to get off and vote, even if the law says they are supposed to right? off, so whatever day you were off, if you can go in and vote on that day, it matters. and if we want everyone's voice to be heard, we should be a country that is about making it easy to get to the polls and not hard to get to be polls. so the question becomes, what are you gaining by not helping people make it to the polls? follow the money. when you follow the money, you will have your answer.
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and as the faith community it is incumbent upon us to mobilize every bus, every fan, every car, and to make it happen. the last presidential election, we drove someone to the polls who it not voted in the last four elections simply because he did not have transportation. we took people who could not read, just because you can't read doesn't mean you can't vote. >> that's right. that's right. >> we took people who couldn't see, registered people who have paid, who have been convicted of crimes, have worked their sentence, have aid their debt. they should be able to vote. that's why it's important. because anytime you find people
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trying to stop something, it is because they know the power of it. >> we hear a lot these days about making america great. i think it's important when we talk about voting to say if you wanted to measure how exceptional a nation is or how great it is, one of the indices of greatness has got to be, what is the percentage of people were citizens of your country who believe that their voice matters ? who have an investment in the outcome of the welfare and well-being of that nation? so i think we've got to recognize, you really want to be great, think about, what is the voting quotient, and a higher the voting quotient, perhaps -- the greater the nation.
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if you suppress the vote, you in interrupting your nation from the greatness you talk about or claimed that u.s. buyer to. >> and you understand why in our moral declaration, it is not just about feel good. it's about policy. and that's one thing we want to drive home because a lot of times what we see in the current arena is of 70 happens to shake hands with the preacher, senator to pray for them, no, no, no. you can say lord, lord, with your mouth. but your heart or the heart of the policy can be far from the moral standards that we know are to be true. the bible clearly says where your treasure is, not where your heart is, where your treasure is, that is where your heart is. so in this declaration what will happen on that day, and impacted person come impacted by voter
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suppression will tell their story and then a clergy will read our higher ground policy moral declaration. and it includes that we should be registered, you register for the draft automatically but we also should be protecting and expanding the voting rights act right now. because today at attorney general lynch, and this is a deep moral issue i think about all the time. we have had to african-american attorney generals. in the history of this country. we had the first female african-american attorney general. we had a black african american male attorney general. after 2013, both of them had less power to enforce the voting rights act the and the internally -- the attorney general had on august 7, 1965. when we talk about the sunday voting, some people could walk to the polls.
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let's walk out. now there are folks trying to take that away and trying to undermine it in suppress the right to vote. and lastly i always make this point. i want to make it on c-span and if there are no questions, will start. we can talk all we want to about this challenge, but if you look at where the voter suppression has gone on and lost since 2013, all you have to do is look at the states that have it had an increase in african-american votes and latino votes. african-americans and latinos, and poor whites, you have to come together. where there's potential for that because that is the coalition that can fundamental shift in american politics. dr. king knew it. so whenever you've seen the potential, so for instance, if you look at the south, files happen in other places but i
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want to explain something here on c-span and then we will stop and then we will stop. if you take north carolina, virginia, south carolina, georgia, mississippi, alabama, florida, tennessee, kentucky, arkansas, texas and louisiana. if you can control those states with a limited moral message, that's called the bible belt, and all that you talk about that you ought to be concerned about either candidate is where they stand on prayer and abortion of what not. if you can get people to accept that, so folks excepted, that's the moral agenda, if you can fool people to think that those people, black and brown people are the ones that are costing you jobs, people getting free stuff which was the goal of the southern strategy and strom thurmond. because they get free entitlements, then that your economic
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sustainability which in fact, you need the same things. and then you can suppress the vote. you control over 160 electoral votes. you control nearly 50% of the united states senate, and over 31% of the united states house of representatives and you haven't even gotten to the other 35 states. that's what this is about. flip that over. if you can get people to understand that morality is more than those three things and understand it's about economics and poverty and living wages and health care in voting rights, and if you can get blacks and whites and poor whites and latinos to understand their commonality. int they are not enemies that if they worked together they can determine how policy is set that will help uplift all communities. and if you can ensure that the voters are not suppressed and you liberate those states, you
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free up this democracy. revivalme for a moral and a revolution of the moral values of this country. thank you. anymore media? they tell us we've got to get out, we have to run. thank you so much for being here today and please feel free to talk to any persons individually. god bless you. see you on september 12. all mics are still live, y'all. [laughter] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> for campaign 2016, c-span continues on the road to the white house. president for democrats, republicans, and independence. >> we're going to win with the second amendment, we are going to win. see it on c-span, the radio, and the first presidential debate will be live from hofstra university in hempstead, new york. andgovernor mike pence senator tim kaine will debate at longwood university in farmville, virginia. and washington university in st. louis on sunday, october 9.
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leading into the third and final debate between hillary clinton and donald trump taking place at the university of las vegas on october 19. debates onge of the c-span. listen live on the free radio app or watch live or anytime on demand at >> washington journal is next. we will look at today's news and take your calls. then 10:00 a.m. morning speeches in the house. a bill that would prohibit the government from using settlement agreements to require defendants to donate money to outside groups. white house coverage here on c-span. >> coming up in a moment, we will talk to veterans affairs robert mcdonald about some of the challenges facing the eva. and we hear from a republican congressman who serves on the veterans affairs committee.
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us, andrew of the national review discussions a recent story of hers on automation in the u.s. new stop you can join the cover station on facebook and twitter. ♪ it is "washington journal ." the house veterans affairs fromttee meeting today offering recommendations for improving the robert mcdonald health care system. go to for more information. program, we will hear from a republican member of that committee, representative bill brooks of tennessee. our first guest of the morning joining us as the secretary of the veterans affairs department, robert mcdonald.


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