tv Washington Journal Michael Breen and James Jay Carafano Discuss President... CSPAN January 17, 2017 8:02am-9:04am EST
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policy in the obama administration with two guests joining us. we are joined by jim michael breen of the truman national security project, who serves as the president and ceo. and james garretifano. both of you, welcome. what's the big picture when it comes to foreign policy? is there an obama doctrine -- a way of thinking when it comes to approaching these kinds of matters? guest: to evaluate his legacy, we have to put it into context. since 1945, every american president, republican or democrat, has tried to carry forward the central theory of the world. future try to prevent great power conflict and create a world based on institutions like nato, the united nations, and an unprecedented network of american alliances to try to strengthen the liberal order and prevent that kind of darkness that engulfed the world from happening again.
when we evaluate the legacy of an american president, we have to put it in that lens. what you can say about the obama has beenis that it primarily about that matter what the u.s. does in the world, we do it with allies and with friends, and we try to put forward others with regional solutions to regional problems. you can see the contrast between the obama doctrine and what came before. iraq is a good example. it is not a good shape and was not a good shape for much of the bush of ministration. of the differences you have a strategy that says, the united states will unilaterally solve the problem with tens of thousands of armed troops and national partners, or work patiently but with great results, taking search of ourselves. what we have seen is there has to have fighting, there has to iraqis, by an army of muslim iraqis trying to liberate a predominantly muslim city of mosul.
it is being done with the backing and support from the united states, providing what only we can provide in terms of intelligence and training, and with national partners. i think we both agree that there is an obama doctrine, but we disagree on what it was. i think we both agree there's an obama legacy and disagree on what it is. i think we both agree that there is an obamai think 't important thing, that legacy is about context. we have views on the obama legacy, but we have to understand it doesn't matter because people's view about that will change over time. when they look at the legacy, they put it in the context of the present date and ask how we got there. a good example is harry truman. harry truman could have ran for president, but he didn't because he knew he wouldn't get elected. he was wildly unpopular, people were very upset about the korean war, and for years when people rated great presidents, he ranked at the bottom.
that started to change in the 1980's, and it changed because of ronald reagan, because people perceived we were getting back into the cold war, turning the corner and truman was look backed on as the architect of containment. his stock started to rise, increasing in the 1990's with the democratic president. harry truman truman is fairly well revered by republicans and democrats. a look at how that has changed. we think things about obama today, but that doesn't mean it is fixed forever. i can guarantee you one thing, that the way we think about obama today will be consistent over time. host: let me introduce you folks, if you want to ask questions of our guests. one of the pieces i read this morning, i know the legacy will change over time, but once you was the word -- one view was the word restraint, how he managed
that. would you agree? guest: i do think that the obama strategy is fundamentally about getting the world to balance. the way to do that was you have power set the united states was in conflict with -- iran, russia, china. satisfy their needs and to get to some balance, and then put the world and balance, and that will allow the united states to withdraw its influence and hello friends and allies to pick up the burden. but almost all of these things by themselves are never a foreign policy. restraint, unilateralism, aggression, defense isolationism, -- it is all relative. relative to the people you are competing against, relative to the interests you are trying to defend. there is no cookbook answer, and that is why even when you have a doctrine, which i believe obama did, you can't always necessarily stick to your doctrine, because the enemy gets a vote, and sometimes they don't want to collaborate.
guest: i think he's right. what you say matters a lot, and as you said, we have seen russia as a great example. two success of american administrations come into office thinking they were going to find some way to rebalance with russia, reset with russia, and neither case worked out very well. the interest with the trumpet ministration comes in, a lot of discussion about how they will calibrate on russia. how does that go? i think the russians have consistently decided they will do what they want to do, and that they are going to take advantage of whatever just ordering system, whatever unbalance, lack of balance exists. they have been good at exploiting that. say, aup against, as you lot of people around the world who are just as smart as we are and who have their own priorities. some of them are legitimate, and i think american foreign policy should take those into account. the question is, are we
attempting to reach a better stasis, a better situation with adversaries, people who don't share our worldview? we stepping into their shoes and adopting their values too much? i think that is where the line needs to be drawn. guest: that's an important point. i was with madeleine albright -- i'm not name dropping -- she said something important. no president starts with a blank page. part of your legacy is defined by what you inherit from the previous president, and there are no do overs in history, no blank pages. you pick up where the other car left off, and often times we do disservice, in some ways, when we start to talk about the legacy of a particular president. in many ways there's a continuity of challenges that transcend individual presidencies. i think that only partially true for this president as well. historians a decade from now will be talking about the bush-obama.
,as opposed to the obama perio. host: with that thought in mind, the previous president, now we have isis -- talk about meeting those challenges and changes as you describe them. guest: i will pick up on iraq, and i think that's a fair criticism. when president obama came into office, u.s. troops were playing nintendo. iraq was essentially a piece. granted, the president had no way of knowing that arab spring would break out, that there would be a civil war in syria. the one of the consequences of that, because we went through our troops, the war had ended.
the united states forces were literally there to reinsurer the iraqi people. because those forces were gone when the civil war broke out, that bubbled over intothe unitee literally there iraq, and that became a major challenge. al qaeda's back. most analysts agree they have a bigger footprint, more capability. they take more selfies than they did when he came to office. isis was a real threat. the president said in his remarks that there hasn't been a terrorist attack, foreign terrorist attack, on american soil since he took office, and that is true. actually, there hasn't been one since 9/11. masks the nature of the problem. the nature of the problem has changed. isis is global. in the united states, it is mainly about isis getting people to attack for them. then we saw dramatic increase, in the numbers have dramatically -- the number of islamic related terrorist attacks have dramatically increased the last eight years. the number of people who have
been killed by islamic related terrorist attacks in the united states, if you exclude 9/11, is actually higher under obama than it was under bush. guest: i'd gently push back on what i think is an important point, and that is the question of withdrawal of u.s.of withdras leading to the issa situation. i think it matters not in a point scoring way, but because it speaks to the nature of the problem. the surge was effectively a high-intensity u.s. engagement in iraq that led to that period of relative nonviolence that you are speaking of. it was a military strategy intended to buy political time, intended to create the space for the iraqi civilian government to heal the wounds that existed between the shia and sunni populations. is withdrawal of u.s. troops part of a story that is mostly about the maliaki's governments failure they made to
sunni leaders and the incredibly wrubel, personal violence. despite the existential fear of the shia, they put their faith in their government, and what they got was minority repression, secret prisons, economic marginalization, and they saw their military commanders cut out of the command structure. they were totally marginalized. isis was able to come in and make the case that we extremists are your only defenders in the face of this government. guest: that is a political crisis that leads to isis and leads to the situation. i don't know-- what difference 10,000 american troops in residual forces made, but i know it wouldn't have forced all that political disintegration in iraq. we talk about terrorism, i think we have to ignore that. that is the core of what a lot of these organizations to exist -- they are parasites. isis is a parasite on the lack of stable government and the
lack of democracy and freedom in the middle east. we do have the power to change it on our own and we are going to continue to play whack a mole. guest: i don't disagree with the way you described it. i think that is fair. the point is that 10,000 troops would have been very helpful in he iraqi army. if the united states had stayed engaged in the rack, we would have had more -- in iraq, we would have had more influence. but we know where we are, and being honest, when all is said and done and mosul is taken down, the thing that is holding iraq together is because of them malaki legacy, and the fact that everyone is fighting isis. but i worry about is once they stop they will start fighting each other, because we haven't had political progress. if the united states doesn't want iraq to go back to the method was when isis rolled in,
i think the next president is going to find, as president obama did, at the united states is going to have to be engaged. war,ugh it is an iraqi let's not kid ourselves. if america was not deeply engaged, iraq when not the recovering, and the question is, do we then walk away like we did last time? when the black light came down in mosul? my guess is if you don't want iraq to go back to being a challenge, no. guest: i agree. host: let's take some calls -- john in miami, florida. good morning. caller: good morning. i like to ask your guests concerning latin america. onsident obama early outreach to venezuela, cuba,gua, in the case of we've seen human rights in all
those countries deteriorate greatly. we have seen the case of nicaragua and venezuela, distancing themselves from democratic practices. we had opposition leaders murdered in cuba. fleed to thes united states and we have closed the door on them. russia back in the region. nicaragua purchasing 50 tanks for $80 million. host: you got a lot of things out there. let's start with cuba because that is more in the news. go-ahead. guest: sure. these are all fair points. the question is, on cuba, does a decade after decade after decade u.s. policy of isolating the island, pretty and effectively -- the island had connectivity with the entire world except the united states -- has that done much?
i think the answer, pretty fairly, is no. i think people would say decades of an effective u.s. embargo against cuba didn't really work, didn't hurt castro, didn't improve the human rights situation. opening up ties with the world's most vibrant democracy, does that help or her cuba? i think it's too early to tell. we are in a period that's pretty uncomfortable. it will be adjusting to see what the new it ministration chooses to do. will they lock it back down or continue to open? that's the question. that remains to be seen wally better, but i think it is -- what will be better, but i think it is fair to say that isolating them didn't improve their situation. guest: in cuba, i would say the evidence so far is pretty clear that it has empowered the regime. human rights has not improved. if anything it has deteriorated. it's a great economic benefit and the regime is only stronger.
i think it would be unfair to blame president obama for the situation in venezuela. venezuela is the closest thing we have to a failed state. conditions are the worst of world war ii germany -- that's not his fault. either decisions made by a government which have been completely disastrous for the venezuelan people. i'd say i wish we had spent more time in the last couple years dealing with that, preparing countries around it for the shock of the potential collapsing state. i think there's a lot more we could have done in latin america, because there is this war between the nicaraguans, cubans, and venezuelans, and countries like colombia and panama, which have been trying to pull latin america and the different direction, a stronger civil society, free-market, human rights. i think we could've helped more. but i think venezuela --
venezuela may not be a legacy for president obama, but it could be a legacy for mr. trump. that is a state that could be dramatic in the coming months. host: baltimore, maryland. democrat. go ahead. caller: good morning. obamagest criticism of relates to american integrity. i think that the red line comment and actions in syria were certainly disappointing, but more importantly, in ukraine, where my understanding -- maybe your experts can comment on -- the deal was ukraine would give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for america's guaranty and russia's guarantee of its territory, and clearly we walked away from that. what does that mean for the trust that governments have in us, and also for nuclear nonproliferation? sure. i think it's a mistake to think that ukraine has been free for russia.
certainly we can go back and forth and say, should we have done more or less? i certainly have my own opinions about that. in a situation like that, first of all, it's worth recognizing some of the politically difficult things that the europeans have done under american leadership recently with respect to russia. sanctions were not easy, they are very politically difficult. they are dependent on russia, and these were tough moves. of thede them out faith that the united states and europe would continue, that was something existentially important. -- havemoves in ukraine they been as effective as it would have hoped? the reality of the situation that the next a ministration will inherit is that you have one of the world's largest land armies on the border of the ukraine, fighting in ukraine, and the question is, does the united states directly
counterbalance that with military force? we can escalate that. we can inject more weapons and more troops into that situation by proxy or by ourselves. the question is -- it's like a game of cards. every time we pony up the russians ante up more. the answer is probably. it is hard to imagine what an escalation is in which the russians don't have the final raise. that's a reality we have to grapple with. we are talking about two countries that have massive nuclear arsenals. ukraine,o be firm in but we also can't lose sight of the context. this is not an easy question. the syria redline -- i do think that's a challenge for the administration's legacy. embassieso a lot of around the world, and there was a sense that it was a moment in which the administration --
secretary kerry talked at length at the institution about the red line, how it wasn't really a redline. nobody believes that, and history certainly doesn't see it. be a ministration had a redline, and i think secretary kerry was the chief architect of that, and the president went along largely because he thought he would never have to enforce it. assad would never use chemical weapons. and then he did. and then he was caught in the situation of having to use it. didn't wantt that so he asked for permission. then congress didn't do that and the russian said, let's cut a deal. i know how we got out of that, but that was an there of statecraft. to try to rewrite history and suggest anything about that -- it would be -- i'm not worthy of the administration -- guest: to be clear, this is one
major area where i have been publicly in disagreement with the ministration. there's a lot to say about syria, but i wouldn't want to lose the larger context of the conversation either, which is crucially important for going forward. in a situation like syria, i have my differences with the administration's choices. had those differences in the context of, what else should we have done? at the tough question. it's a big mistake to pretend that there's an easier, linear answer, or that the application of military force in syria would have produced a printable result. guest: i don't disagree. assad won't stay as long as the russians and iranians wanting to. if we want to kick him out, that would mean going to war with the russians and iranians. it's not in our vital interest. we do have humanitarian concerns, but there are countries around syria that we aren't concerned about. iraq, jordan, israel. and i agree, there are things we can do, important things that we
should do, and ukraine is the same way. the last caller asked about -- do we have an obligation in ukraine? no, it was not a nato ally. we have clear obligations to defend nato, and it is in our vital interest to do so. ukraine, we don't have an obligation to defend ukraine. on the other hand, peace and ukraine does affect peace and stability of western europe, so we do have an interest there. we have made obligations under the minsk ukraine does affect peace and stability of western agreement, that i hope with the next administration we would press for the russians to honor. host: baltimore, maryland. democrat. hi. caller: i get a second shot? [laughter] host: oh, sorry! james in stafford, virginia. go ahead. agreement,caller: i just wantek toward iraq, and i wanted to that, itt the things
seems to me the american people have forgotten that at the time we pulled obama out of iraq, th, that is what the american people were screaming for. they wanted that. they wanted us to pull out, they didn't want troops there. they felt that this isn't a place we belong, why are we policing the rest of the world? it was that kind of atmosphere. and now all of a sudden, everybody seems to have forgotten that's what everyone was screaming about. that it's what everybody wanted. so they are saying, we pulled out, that created isis -- i'm not going to say if it did or didn't, but i think we need to remember what happened. and having said all that, i really do believe that obama tried to do peacefully some of the things around the world that i guess everybody must've done, but as much as i liked obama, i still believe that in the united states, if we don't operate from a position of
strength, then the enemies around the world, those people who don't care, are owing to take that as a weakness and they are going to lash out. when we had the ship in the middle of the ocean and the russian planes bombed both shifts and we basically did nothing about it -- all that did was embolden the russians. i think that is the kind of thing we need to look at. host: thanks, james. guest: interesting question. to get back to the question of iraq, i think that's good context. public opinion turned against the iraq war theory quickly. -- very quickly. i remember experiencing that firsthand. i was one of the guys in iraq in 2003 and 2004 in the u.s. army uniform. i remember what it was like when public opinion started to change so dramatically, as the war went from what was supposed to be a couple months and a quick regime change operation to what ended up being a decade of
counterinsurgency, which is no picnic by any stretch of the imagination. i think there is a deeper question here. with the american people prefer -- all rhetoric aside -- with the american people prefer that the fighting in iraq right now be done by an army of iraqis, supported by a bunch of brave americans, special operators, contractors, who are supporting them? when we prefer that the iraqis, as imperfect and slow as they are, fight against isis, that they do the fighting? or would we rather that our own 19 to 21-year-olds do it? it is one thing to talk about an american position of strength and another thing to back it up with our own treasure and blood. when errors a statecraft occur, it's when the united states draws lines are make security commitments and talks tough and is not prepared to back it up through action.
i think they will see that clearly around the world, and i think mistakes of most of ministrations, including this one, have come from that basic disconnect. it happens between rhetoric and what you are prepared to do, walk and talk. that is a mistake that i don't think the incoming administration can afford to make, but it is difficult to avoid. americans want to hear their leaders talk tough. we seem to believe that signal something around the world, unless it is backed by an ironclad commitment, everyone else in the game knows it is meaningless. guest: i think the legacy of harry truman really has relevance. harry truman was getting into the korean war and looking at the prospect of running for president again, but americans freaked out in the korean war broke out. for the first time, they might end up in world war iii. these are people who lived through world war ii, the incredible devastation. the last thing they wanted in their life was to be the world's policeman. they looked at harry truman and they were really angry. there are lots of decisions truman could have made that
would have been politically expedient, which might have served as politics better and might have set them up for reelection, but they weren't the decisions which would have been best for american foreign-policy and not just liberating south korea but finding a way to keep the conflict from extending. he made the tough call, which is why we now look back and admire him, because he made a tough call even when it went against political interest. bottom line, americans like things they don't like. they feel wildly popular about the iraq war until the art. foreign policy is not a popular the contest. presidents only faced popularity contests once every four years, and only twice. of internet, they are paid -- other than that, they are paid to look after the american people. sometimes they aren't happy with it, but their job is to balance the politics and the interests and put the interests first. there's a difference between popular will in popularity.
popularity is, due i like wheaties? popularity is, am i willing to be governed? americans have a norma's popular will, but we believe in democracy, and sometimes we pay our presidents and boycott the inauguration, but we still believe the president has a responsibility to govern and will accept things. sometimes you will do things that are unpopular, but if you believe in the vital interest of the united states you will do them anyway. look at vietnam. americans turned against the war in 1968, that may be true, but we did not leave vietnam until 1973 and we did not cut the vietnamese off until 1975. than americans are completely unwilling to fight. the carried on for a really long time, the reality of heart policy. host: democrat line.
caller: [indiscernible] thank you for giving me the opportunity. i am a soldier and a wanted to know, [indiscernible] withouto know how long pulling out? [indiscernible] i want to know from the guest. people keep saying the pulldown and all these other people, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] they want every single american out of the country. what does he have to say about that? guest: first of all, if they are part of the world at peace and are treatingorces that piece of stability, we can stay forever. look at nato.
we have been there for a really long time and there hasn't been a major landlord europe and the longest time of europe's modern history. u.s. troops in the middle east might have been fine because it is a lot easier to have troops there and have nothing happened didn't actually have to go to a place [indiscernible] guest: first, thank you for your service and your continuing service. yes, u.s. troops deployed around the world under peaceful conditions with a concert for the people religion the place with the troops are and is a good thing. it is a lot easier to be there than to get there when something is wrong. that is with the u.s. like a senior continues to be. that said, none of this is risk-free and i think to your earlier points about popular and foreign policy, we cannot forget
that one of the big pieces of foreign policy is the choice of president gets to make present americans to kill and die in places where they were not born and never would have gone otherwise and probably never heard of 10 minutes before the parachute opened. that is a massive responsibility and as we have come to rely on a military, which has had eight dividends, the most professionalized military force in the best one in the history of the world, that said, i'm concerned it is pretty isolated with the question of what the american people are willing to buy into and sustain versus what presidents want to do. long wars are tough for a country like united states. it is really tough for an american family that has there's another daughter deployed abroad at risk for years at a time. we had sustain this foreign policy on the backs of one of the smallest militaries.
i have got many friends in college, when uniforms, who had eight or nine tours in the middle east and the have not been nintendo tours. the is, can continue to sustain that? sustain that by further isolating our military from the democracy? it is a dangerous game to play. popular decisions are courageous and certainly, iran in organization named after harry truman for a lot of reasons, some of which you mentioned, but we cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that this is a democracy and that means, especially, when we put our people in harm's way, there is a sacred compact between those we freely elect to make the decision and those who pay the price. guest: this is something that think we agree on. neither one of us think -- and i think this is something that has been to the last eight years, that the united states's should be the world policeman. it is a dumb,
idea, even if you thought you wanted to do that, nobody thinks that is the right thing. when the united states uses force and put them in a women in harm's way, should do so when there is a title u.s. interest at stake and that is the best way to protect and defend them. i think the american people get that. if you are doing this for the right reason, we are with you. the men and women who volunteer to do that, they get that. at eight tours, but there is a reason why they keep going back. they love this country, they love defending this country and they never apologize for that. i agree with you, their lives are being thrown a light if they are on a mission that is there for politics or someone else. us, thatnot defending would be frustrating and angry, and they know they are. when i feel like they're out there, they're fighting for us. they do not have problems doing that. you want every president to do perry do want
every president is that that desk and the first and the is,nt -- out of your mouth are we doing a thing that is acceptable, the right thing to do? everyone to make that the forefront of their decision. host: james jay carafano, the foreign affairs study's vice president, and also, the president and ceo of the harry -- the truman national security project, michael breen. glenda joins us. good morning. caller: those arguments you made were fantastic. we backed into be it non-but we walked into iraq. the sunni and shia have always been with us, been there, when saddam got mad at somebody because they were shooting our soldiers in the back, he would take the village that was shooting at them and he would line them up and he would assassinate them.
when the communists invaded a country, when somebody gave them trouble, they gave big trouble back. our young men and women were trying to create a new society and they have this unlimited fighters, disaffected young muslim men with no jobs, families, no hope, please. i just do not understand. we had some really smart people who invaded iraq and the status of forces, people in okinawa have the status of forces, and they want us out of there so bad the kids, they get drunk, the end and get drunk, they do all kinds of things. okinawansledge -- the say to get out there. i will leave us alone and they're not even sunni and shia. i don't know how we could think we could have invaded iraq -- host: i cut you off too soon,
apologies. about i agree with you the decision to invade iraq. it is old history at this point but still with us. i think you have to be very careful when you decide that you are going to apply a bunch of military force to a shaky political order and try to get some political order that is better because what you're doing is creating more disorder and chatting the disorder that exist. 2003 in iraq was no picnic in this was a terrible country for the people that live there. however, if you ask the iraqis, they would rather live in iraq in 2008 2002, they would universally say 2002. they ended up with the civil war consumed the entire society. i want to make a point about the sunni and shia thing. this is one of the stories we tell ourselves, the sunni-shia
split happened thousands of years ago. most of the time since that split, sunni and shia have lived in peace in cities in the middle east and created some of the great gifts to humanity in art and culture and science that all of us benefit from. i spent time in prewar syria before collapsed again, the country under a dictator, but a country that had a vibrant hospitality -- vibrant cosmopolitan culture. 35%, they used to joke and called their kids sushi, and no a part of iraqi society. the idea that these two don't actions have been in a violent war for thousands of years, this is a social order in the middle east that has recently been shattered. not entirely bypass, i am not taking responsibility for that for the united states. in has been exploited by extremists in the region who have forced and brutalized people in iraq and syria and
across the region into conflict with one another, destroying holy sites, death squads, designed to force people to seek shelter in extremist groups. in some is, it may have been the starting gun, but i think it is a mistake to look at the middle east today and think it has always been that way and will always be that way. this people are somehow different from us. guest: i think the wonderful thing about the question is it gets to the essence of the whole segment of how do you greater legacy? and how do grade presidential leadership? is are the metric really you protecting and defending the vital interest of the united states? what makes the challenge american is in the manner of america is a force for good in the world. that is part of what i think does make us an exceptional
nation. other countries can go forward with their interest with no regard to the human rights and consequences to anybody else. the people have the ability to roll themselves and their ability to act as a citizen in their natural rights and in their god-given rights to exercise their freedom and liberty. it would be wrong for us to try to go forth in the world and take that away from anybody else, right? in the pursuit and defense of our own interests. there is this tension and my job is to protect americans, but america wants to be a force for good and i have an obligation with the american people to represent them on doing that. that is how we should grade every president. guest: i think that is right. if you think about legacy, the present spoke of this at the farewell address.
i think we got to listen to it. the great tragedy for the american -- but it united states, the worst thing we can do is to become another big goes around smaller countries and to begin just another self-interested actor in the world because it continues to be and has the potential to be a necessity to be something much more important to the world. guest: i think where we lost focus is between the bush and this years, we went into biotic, a conversation about is america isolationist, do nothing, or conquer the world? this is a false dichotomy in choice. the president rejected that and rightly so. not just dos something, right? like the opposite of doing nothing and everything, as long it ism doing nothing, bipartisan.
i don't think that is right. america will not be successful in running the planet. we will not be the world's police force and invade every country, but as long as i dissenting in the middle, that is ok. -- as long as i'm doing something in the middle, that is ok. host: mike from ohio. go ahead. caller: good day, sir. how are you? host: you are on with our guests. good morning. caller: yes, sir. it seems to me the white man speaking with a port time here. -- with a forked tongue. can you hear me? host: go ahead. caller: ok, that is what the bush administration well, actually when dick cheney was president after the five-four decision, the summer before 9/11, when they wanted chaos throughout the middle east, well, what they do is send james
baker to the middle east and he said that contracts, law offices, and then that came in we had traces of man no -- of [indiscernible] in the twin towers and it led into the heroin epidemic in this country with their soldiers guarding the heroine fields over there, three times as much production, and we scratcher heads and wonder why. host: thanks, mike. change of topic. [indiscernible] guest: mike is worried about that the middle east is it trouble. that is another thing you can obama andidents on, the next presidents. there are three parts of the world with united states does have a vital interest, or a large scale, regional conflict in that part of the world, would be something of such disruption and the impact this, not directly but certainly would
impact vital interest and could [indiscernible] in those three parts are, europe, the middle east and asia. when they look back at president obama and you see how will he did look forward, what are the things you want to evaluate and are you hoping three peace and stability to europe, middle east and asia question mark data on have to be the land of milk and honey because they have had is andays, but there expectation that everybody in the middle east has to be happy and there cannot be anyone shooting anybody anywhere, but are you reducing the potential for conflicts to spin out of control? that i think is an important task for the united states. guest: a really important point and it kind of goes to the point you made at the beginning of the show up legacy and how it is evaluated in the future. i think that is an interesting question in the context because it is a fair argument to make that we just had probably the first presidential election in
four decades house in some ways a referendum on whether america should continue this project, continue the project that's his real a strong nato, alliances, determined great power conflict, stand by our allies, japan was debated hotly. alliances about mutual benefit, are they could, or the way for the system? -- we will see because you have an incoming administration that will decide the debate the call to question all these things. if you look at the print page of most newspapers this morning, you will see a lot of uncertainty and there is a lot in asia, pretty tough rhetoric between the united states and china. in the policyuces context will stay. inauguration is not with us and we will see. i think the continuity of american foreign-policy is
critical at this moment. , but i think the legacy of the obama administration help will not be that this was the last american administration to hold to the path. it is difficult to tell so far which way it will go. guest: i agree that this election was about foreign policy, and which you think about, normally, americans can get foreign and domestic policy in opposite terms. obamacare, i like obamacare, and foreign policy is normally, i like you and a trusty to come up with a policy that will protect and defend us. tickets to the sense of a mandate and veto and foreign policy. an example is the korean war. foreign policy was front and center and the reason truman did not win and eisenhower got elected come is because they are voting with themselves. 2008 election, americans were
upset over things were in iraq and that was the referendum. guest: what is remarkable to me is that even though foreign policy is really front and center in the election, unless there is a pearl harbor, iraq war or something, essentially, we are still at war with the level of conflict is not on the scale it was years ago. if you look at the polls, foreign policy rated really high. terrorism rated high and it was not something talked about a great deal during the debates between candidates. obviously, look at the numbers, americans are not happy with the direction of foreign-policy. , can we had something different? the answer is, i hope so because americans are not happy and i talk to people all around the world and people are not happy with american foreign-policy and we're not sure cannot maximizing our interest. guest: if you look at the polls,
he will see americans differentiated clearly terrorism and foreign policy. guest: they ranked them both pretty high. guest: they did, but the hillary clinton's foreign policy by about 20 points and donald trump on terrorism by nickel margin, so they separated them. guest: there is also a distinction with independent, republican and democrat. independent was way up there and democrats are up but not as high as 9/11, to see the bipartisan split in how we think about foreign-policy. guest: i agree that it is not a good thing. all of that said, public opinion is where it is right now. i do not know that most americans walked into a voting booth and said, i will pull the lever one way or the other because i'm happier aren't happy with nato or the international alliance system that would build the post 95, [indiscernible]
i do think americans feel a great deal of justification for good reasons that the world has changed an awful lot very quickly and that the community said changed and the economy has changed. the global forces are part of their lives in ways that are a big deal. i grew up in a small town and i go home and things look different. my question is, how to my kids do better than i do? that is a tough question and no clear path. there is a lot of uncertainty and i think people feel, especially in the age of nonstate actors like i, to have great answers from the national security establishment on have to defend them? we can talk about the level of violence and whether it has been up and down, but i think we can agree that as a country and as a profession of arms in a national security profession, we have not
effectively figured out either side, either party, anybody, either administration on how to deal with the distress and american people understand it is important. guest: not trying to be dismissive of clothing on foreign policy, but the front side of that is i do think the american people by large have a good sense of where things are, so you are right. people have different views on how to fix them, but people do not get a sense of we are in a great sense -- that we are in east,shape in the middle are concerned about global terrorism, china and they want a president to fix that and they all disagree on how -- host: a call from tom, hollywood, florida, democrat line. caller: good morning. as far asth you should not have been open-ended sentence on draft, on our young men in the military. i have a son who will be
[indiscernible] if we had to bring back the draft, we have to bring it back, president obama's policy, i think he policy, i ts done a pretty good job. he had to go after after the alienated many countries and do damage control in the beginning, and i think he just need a few missteps. the one we talk about the most is the red line [indiscernible] you cannot drop a line in the sand and not take it up. not that we wanted him to. i think it was a mistake to draw the line in this and and let's face it, the middle east has been a mess for many years and many have tried to fix the mess and it is not an easy thing to do and it will not happen with anyone quick fix. i do not have the answer to that
either, but i know it will not be easy and it is complicated. we only had peace with us in the and shia in iraq because of the iron fist of saddam hussein. he kept things under control and that was the starting gun. host: i appreciate it. one thing the syrians won't do or should not do is differentiate push from obama by they have never elected allies. i think that is the character. likewise, obama did everything with allies, i think it is a bit of a mixed record on that, so no one i think has a clean sheet. the thing we agree on is working with allies is important. i think some of joe madison's comments were spot on -- jim mattis comments were spot on. their allies because they had mutual interest that give you
something to rely and that is a metric. clearly, i think nato -- when trump said nato is obsolete, that was the headline and the next sentence, he says, i think nato is important, but he was talking about nato dealing with terrorism. this is going to be a strong consensus the from bush -- strong consistency from bush, obama and 12, i would say that nato is a big component of what brings peace to western europe comes up every american president mike us in the end will come down on the side of nato. when you look at bush and obama, they could not have been to my different presidents on foreign policy, but in the end, nato kind of like similar to bush. we took [indiscernible] among alliances and working with allies, i think nato will be testifying in that think history
will treat obama ok on that. guest: i broadly agree with the points caller made. i do think president obama's foreign policy legacy is theyally pretty good and go back-and-forth on a couple of things. i particularly like the red line being the one, but in response to syria, i think we have got a situation in syria that has consumed hundreds and thousands of human lives and created the largest refugee crisis since world war ii. at this point, it has been done and in the earlier point, and opposition,estic americans and some in many ways and a number of politicians have the unitedabout states should not play a leadership role. i think a leadership role is strategically and morally indispensable and i believe that strongly. it may not be popular, but the
stability in europe, among other things, depends on us taking leadership in the crisis and i think we must continue to do that. this will be a test of the incoming administration's willingness to make unpopular choices in the interest of american leadership in the world. guest: and the europeans say that to us and they say coming the to do this because it is in your interest to do so. guest: and they're right. guest: i agree. host: vermont's, david, go ahead. caller: good morning. just wanted to throw a couple thoughts of analogies into the thought process and into what hasre talking about and as have tould -- and america should rethink their foreign policy into things like our judeo-christian values and how we should apply them as bars the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and the story of the good samaritan, which is basically our humanitarian side and equated to how we should approach with your talking about n.to and eu and -- and u.
and that thought process of domestic and social conflict we have know about the child living in his parents basement, whose parents and not give him the tools because they enable some because they loved him to not have the tools to go out and fend for themselves, and the father wants to have the kid grow out -- go out and be personally responsible while the mother wants to make sure he is not hungry all the pieces the world, and how the child sometimes would use emotional extortion and blackmail against the goodness of their parents to allow them to stay home and not be personally responsible and how we have to equate that to the countries that are not the responsible and using emotional extortion and blackmail against us because of our moral values. host: thanks. guest: that i think raises an important point. you have to temper empathy and foreign policy. when you think, go forth and be
it a force for good, we should care about starving children, people of this and every thing wee, and that is true, should because we want to be a force for good, but empathy needs to be tempered with justice. we should do things that are practical and actually have a fact, and to just care is not enough. to just do something and say, i do something, if it does not make something better or server interest, it is not enough. this notion of having a petition patient great -- a participation grade for everyone in foreign policy is not the best. guest: a valid point. in a lot of ways, it is the difference. we used to talk about this in the ground in iraq all the time, the difference between the united states going to handle something quickly imperfectly or are we going to work with partners to get it done more slowly and it will be messy but we do together? i keep coming back to this analogy but especially given
some of the discourse around the middle east, it is worth continuing to point out that while we are talking, there are thousands of mostly young men, some young women, from most of the tribes in iraq, almost all of them muslim, who were in house to house finding to a claim to own city from the islamic state, and if any of you have been in an urban combat situation, that is not a joke, it is not nothing to do up a rifle and go down to city street against an enemy that is committed to killing you and they are doing that. they are giving their lives and they are being hit and they're taking that fight forward and doing it for their own homes, their own country. just as concerned as you are about what happens to iraq after isis is defeated because i think isis will be defeated and they will most a defeated by iraqis, which is how it should be. with the fact that they are standing together and fighting gives us now, i think
a better chance and gets them a better chance of having the country we hope to have when it is over then if we had done it for them. host: a look at the president's term and congressman's on foreign policy with michael breen at the national treatment security project, ceo, and james jay carafano, foreign and defense studies vice president. to both you gentlemen, thanks. coming coming up, candidate rocco bouma -- candidate or barack obama made promises on his way to the white house. did he keep them? we will discuss that when "washington journal" continues. travels toan bus local schools, colleges, and universities and communities across the country and recently, our bus stopped in hampton, virginia, visiting students at hampton high school. here is a video students made
about our visit. >> it is pretty hard to miss the c-span bus outside of hampton high school today. students are receiving an .nformational meeting the bus speaks to high school students, colleges, universities, and political gatherings. let's take an inside look. >> it is really important, and the way they laid it out was awesome. >> we reached out to students through email and through their 11th and 12th grade social studies classes. they applied and rotate one paragraph statement about what this would mean to them, and many responded in terms of career interests, others in terms of an interest in media, and others just about the recent campaign of 2016 and how c-span
was part of that effort. >> is the students have never heard about c-span, we want them to come on the bus and learn all about it. it is a public service to the community. our goal is educational and community outreach. if they come on, they can learn about c-span and ways to use that in the classroom as a resource, opportunities, whether it is internships or the student wantompetition to it we them to get their voices heard and not be afraid to learn more about their government, and how they can make it better. >> they go across the nation with this bus, so we are excited for the interactive experience for the kids. >> my experience having the opportunity to sit in the same seat as in carson, bernie ben carson, bernie sanders, and to learn that i
have another source for political research. >> if i need any political advice or information on issues, i can go to a nonpartisan site that will tell me everything i need to know. 150 studentsely had an opportunity to go on the bus and learn information they can use while in the classroom and at home. until next time, i am egg save your williams. >> on the road with the c-span bus. >> "washington journal" continues. a discussion of campaign promises made by then candidate barack obama with angie holan of polar the fact here at she is their editor. -- of politifact. guest: we publish fact checker reports about whether politics is true or not, and we also do campaign promise tracking. for the past eight