tv Washington Journal Stephen Flanagan - NATO 70th Anniversary CSPAN April 3, 2019 10:09am-10:49am EDT
hear from nato secretary-general jens stoltenberg during a joint meeting of congress coming up at 11:00 a.m. eastern. our live coverage will start at about 10:45 here on c-span. while we wait a. recent discussion on the 70th anniversary of the north atlantic treaty organization. yoe freeseas and radio app. we welcome stephen flanagan. they want to focus on nato, but first some background. founded 70 years ago with 29 member countries. the headquarters is brussel. the process based on unanimous consent and military decisions implemented by oversight in the north atlantic council. as it met expectations.
-- has it met expectations? guest: it has shown that it has stood up against aggressiveness. in the 1990's it could adapt. the only time with the collective defense provisions of the north atlantic treaty have been invoked were in response to the attack on the united states. across the middle east its engaged in many areas to defend nuclear interest.
i preface this by saying that the european union is a trade alliance, but as we watch the developments as it continues the brexit process, are there any lessons with regards to nato? host: nato is a -- -- guest: nato is a political and military alliance. consultation for the united states with many key european partners who participate in aspects of nato deliberations. we don't have a seat at the table at the european union and nato remains an important venue for us to discuss obviously not , but keyissues strategic issues it's an important forum for us. is going to have an impact on the european union. it's not clear the impact it will have on the alliance. there are some that think it will free up certain european assets to support nato missions
more robustly. i don't actually think that's the case. the u.k. remains a stalwart ally . it has many challenges in maintaining its current defense capabilities, but is committed to continuing being a strong contributor to the alliance and it doesn't have -- it's not involved in that many european union missions that are going -- going to then be free if brexit doesn't happen as envisioned. with regards that the amount that nato allies pay into the fund, are they paying their fair share, notably? this has been a key point since the beginning of nato. when president truman announced he would make a commitment to the security of those countries he said he wanted to wait over time to see how they were doing in providing for their own defense, but in any event over the last decade after the end of
the cold war there was a 20 year sort of decline in european defense spending that hardly reflected the fact that the threat was greatly diminished. there was no threat from russia or any other major country. there was a concern about terrorism that the europeans and u.s. had, not always with military intelligence and other kinds of police work. , sincee last four years the invasion of the russian seizure of crimea and the invasion of eastern ukraine, allied spending has come up in response to both the perception that the threat is growing and they need to step up their game, but also in response to political admonition going back really to the george w. bush administration and the obama administration. secretary gates twice was remembered for very robust speeches he gave urging the allies to do more. trump has certainly
made this a focal point. it's not a country club. it's not a dues paying organization. the united states provides about 25% of the collective cost. the united states spends 25%. the united states has global commitments. some of those commitments benefit of the europeans. but in terms of what is spent in defense of europe, it's something less than 5% or 6% according to independent estimates. let me share what the audience is saying with you, they set about brussels last year with regards to the north atlantic treaty organization. [video clip] >> i told people i would be unhappy if they did not up their
commitments. the u.s. has been paying a tremendous amount, probably 90% of the cost of nato and now people are going to start, countries are going to start upping their commitments. i was surprised you didn't pick it up, it took till today, but yesterday i let them know i was extremely unhappy with what was happening. and they have substantially upped their commitment, yeah. we we are very happy and have a very powerful, very strong nato. much stronger than it was two days ago. host: explain the reaction among nato leaders in europe. >> they have committed to stepping up their game. germany not quite as much as the u.k.. germany currently spends about 1.5 percent of gdp but they have the largest gdp in europe and in the world. has committed to
moving towards an increase in defense, but not quite at that same level. there is a real concern, though, that the 2% is a measure of input. it isn't an effective -- it's a measure of seriousness of commitment, but not a measure of effectiveness and capabilities. there are other measures that were put forward including making 20% of your defense budget available for innovation to improve your capabilities. one of the things that has been a problem over the last two decades is that the united states has continued to advance and develop sophisticated really -- military technologies where allies have lagged behind and these with us. yes, it's important for allies to keep meeting that goal. germany is probably unlikely to meet that goal, but if it did meet the goal, for example, it would be spending about as much as russia on defense to give you an idea of magnitude and there not sense of whether or
they could spend that money wisely. nevertheless i think that angela merkel is committed to doing it in that direction. host: stephen flanagan is with us, he's with the rand corporation. let's listen to what angela merkel said in a recent interview. "i experienced a part of germany controlled by the soviet union and i am happy today that we are united in freedom as the federal republic of germany. we decide our own policies and make our own decisions, which is very good." the contention is that nato is dictating their military policies, not germany. host: that was just in -- guest: that was just an effort to suggest that it can't be a demand. the north atlantic treaty itself recognizes that notion, that these are sovereign decisions and states have to make the decision about what they can
provide, but there is the expectation that they will take measures to provide for their own defense and contribute to the common defense and germany has certainly done that. afghanistan, the cold war, they had a very robust establishment. it took a real spending pause after the cold war, but they remain an important contributor to the alliance. i hope they will move forward in that direction, but i understand what she was suggesting, implying somehow that the united states should dictate what germany spends on its own defense. our phone lines are open, (202) 748-8000 is the line for democrats, (202) 748-8001 four republicans. if you are an independent, (202) 748-8002. is there any sense at all that this administration would push to get out of nato? i hope not.
there was real concern in europe and the president refused to confirm explicitly that he was committed to the collective defense provision of the north atlantic treaty. he subsequently made a statement with -- in a meeting that he made the commitment. nonetheless there have been reports that there has been a serious discussion within the white house about possibly withdrawing from the alliance if the allies do not increase their , or the senseng that this is too much of a bargain for the europeans, which i think is mistaken. that has caused a problem in the alliance and the sense that a leading ally, the notion that for the first time, american president is questioning the united states commitment to the defense of our european allies, that caused a crisis in the alliance. it is not over yet and i hope this meeting, the nato foreign
ministers will be having this week and the commemoration will put that concern to rest. host: including a hearing, the house foreign affairs committee taking up the 70th anniversary of nato. you can check out our schedule at c-span.org. let's go back to article five of the treaty that says an attack against one nato member shall be considered an attack against all of them. it was first used after 9/11 and has yet to be invoked again. guest: that reflects the success of the alliance. the alliance has successfully deterred a number of actions and disruptive terrorist attacks over the last 20 years. there is no question that the alliance retains an impressive overall military capability despite the shortcomings of some of our european allies and the -- it dwarfsrt is
russia's overall capacity in almost all measures. the alliance has shown it has an effective deterrent. potentialerred any aggression that russia would , that they might try another attack to undermine the security of the baltic states. there were other concerns of some of the kind of confrontation that might take that itt nato has shown has an effective capacity to deter a broad range of action. host: signed in 1949, the original nato members included belgium, canada, denmark, france, iceland, italy, luxembourg, the netherlands, or trickle, the u.k. and united states -- portugal, the u.k., and the united states. guest: there was a recent
invitation that was a long time coming, north macedonia, one of the provinces of former eunice: loss -- former yugoslavia. they agreed after long political negotiations, some of which were facilitated by the united states. macedonia, assuming that the negotiations are finalized and all the member states ratify an amendment to the treaty, then north macedonia would become the 30th member of the alliance. host: what is the job of the nato secretary-general? guest: he is an international civil servant. he works for all the member countries. he is the convene are of a number of meetings. -- he is the senior
international civil servant. he is akin to the secretary-general of the united nations. the member nations are of the deciders but he has an important role in leading the alliance and beginning to play the role that always been envisioned that he is the public face of nato, someone who is empowered to reflect the collective will of the alliance. many countries outside of nato want to go to brussels and meet with nato and often times that meeting is not with all of the member representatives but with the secretary-general. nato's chieft ambassador for a number of foreign governors -- governments. been has an american
secretary-general because it seems to come from similar countries. tradition has been that the supreme military commander is american and the secretary-general is european. with lisa from las vegas stephen flanagan of the rand corporation. that trumpconcern is will pull out of nato. he keeps threatening it and he likes to blow things up. i am concerned because he aligns himself with authoritarian regimes and then we are going to give nuclear technology to the saudi's. i am horrified. i share your concern and i do hope the president does not move in that direction. there have been signals to the contrary and many people in the whatistration say focus on the actions are, not what the
president's tweets are and if you look at the actions, this administration has quadrupled our spending on defense in europe since it came to office. it has not removed but has in fact augmented our military presence in europe. it has continued some of the initiatives begun by the obama administration in 2014 after the seizure of crimea. this includes other exercises, a number of naval vessels in spain and increased engagement with european allies in being ready to deal with a full range of threats from limited kinds of aggression that might test the alliance's resolve. host: our guest is a former staffer for the national security council and the u.s. senate select committee on intelligence.
joe is next from new jersey, republican line. caller: good morning to both of you. stephen i have three questions for you. mentioned that president trump was upset about the commitment of other nations and their defense budgets but realistically, weren't they more --cerned that by making nato that a conflict could happen and that is why the united states went too deep into eastern europe with nato members and --t is the real reason, guest: i don't actually accept the senior believe military planners and the secretary of defense are fully committed to the defense of our european allies and the increase of our commitment. as far as the decisions nato
made to augment the presence in several states in eastern europe that were seen as under the three baltics and poland, the aired states had a small presence and we now have three battalions as part of the so-called enhanced nato forward presence. it is not up to the russia border, and certainly the russians don't like it but it is by no means a presence that could be seen as anything that is going to threaten russia. it is much too small to have offensive capability. question toecond stephen is, i believe last month or this month, the pentagon ran battleter simulation of -- battle, possibly world war iii where china would hit us in the pacific and russia would hit us in europe. is that true? i am not familiar with
that specific game. we at the rand corporation have run a variety of wargames where there has been a challenge, particularly a study published in 2015 which showed that not so much that the united states was incapable of defending the united states but in terms of the defense of the baltics, that it was a difficult military challenge because of the time-distance problem. we don't have that many forces deployed forward as i alluded to , in the baltic states and the russians are very close. there is no doubt that some of the rand gaming suggests we would need more robust presence there to effectively deter a russian aggression against the baltic states. i am not familiar with that specific wargame you mentioned. host: your final question? caller: the missile thing in poland.
is that still going through? guest: yes it is. that is continuing to develop. there is already a site that is operational in romania. with potentiall ballistic missile threats from iran. they are not robust systems despite many claims by the russians that they are somehow the beginning of an effort to try and undermine their deterrent capabilities. they are far from being capable of making any kind of dent if russia wanted to launch a serious missile attack against europe. host: world war i came to an end in 1935 and then four years later, nato was formed, signed by the secretary state and supported by president truman. [video clip] >> for us, war is not
inevitable. we did not believe that there are blind eyes of history which sweep men one way or another. in our own time we have seen brave men overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable. vision canurage and still determine their own destiny. they can choose slavery or freedom, war or peace. i have no doubt which they will choose. the treaty we are signing today is evidence of the path they will follow. if there is anything certain today, if there is anything inevitable in the future, it is the will of the people of the world for freedom and peace. [applause]
host: stephen flanagan, was the creation of nato a difficult sell? guest: it was in fact. president truman, a number of it wascans felt that time for american troops to come home. made a strong speech, a for ao congress in 1949 fairly large military systems program to help europe recover. he did say that eventually he was going to look back and see how the europeans were doing and providing for their own defense. that this should not be a perpetual commitment of america providing for the bulk of defense for europe. today, that is not the case as i have tried to outline. europe does quite a bit in its own defense.
it is a collective effort. each of the european governments provide all of their initial capabilities and are provided with commitment to reinforcements under various nato plans should they confront a question greater than they can deal with with their own defense capabilities. host: we welcome our viewers on the bbc parliament channel which carries this program on sunday. you can shoot -- you can join in 202-748-8003. good morning mike. caller: good morning. our question has to do with battle -- my question has to do with our battleships and aircraft carriers. truman is an aircraft carrier that has to be recharged and trump and putin want to not recharge it.
we have 12 of these aircraft carriers. does the u.n. plan to take these over under the u.n. flag as we mothball our destroyer groups? if it is mothballed, it would save three and a half million dollars. they may revisit that. guest: i would be surprised if that happens. i think many in congress will be questioning that. i don't know exactly -- it is true that all of our carriers that are nuclear powered have to go back every number of years reactorcoring of the and it is a very costly process that can take upwards of a couple years. i have not heard of any notion that the u.n. would take over any of these vessels. the u.n. does not have an operational military capability. host: why is brussels the headquarters? guest: it.
was not the original headquarters the original was in paris -- it was not the original headquarters. the original was in paris. when general de gaulle hinted that he may withdraw, though the french military still cooperated very closely with nato allies, they did rejoin the military 1990's,e later, in the but at the time when it looked like france might withdraw, it was decided to move to brussels. there was a hospital being built that was not quite ready and they were able to move in quickly to a bunch of hospital buildings that were repurposed on the outskirts of brussels. now nato has just opened a beautiful new headquarters. it was expensive but a long time coming and the earlier facilities still looked a lot like a hospital that had been
repurposed. host: we will go to steve in ohio. my question is around turkey. what happens when we have a situation like what the kurds and turkey, where we have allies on both sides? question is very much a topic that has been a real area of tension between the united states and turkey and other nato allies. turkey abused the kurdish forces , the so-called -- people's protection unit we have been fighting with as part of the defense forces as an arm of a terrorist group that has been waging an insurgency in turkey over the last four decades. ways totried to find manage this difference with the turks, to show that it is not going to allow, once -- now that
isis is defeated, to create a buffer zone so these forces are not arrayed along turkey's southern border because of the fear that they might launch attacks into turkey. the united states has tried to work, there have been a number of plans implemented by this turkishration to allay concerns and make commitments that were -- and keep commitments that were made during the obama administration that they would not leave a situation where turkey might be threatened by these actors. now negotiations are going on with the turks to see how much the turks could do to provide residual security in northern syria and also help deal with any research and elements of isis. there are many isis fighters while the core of their fighting capability has been destroyed.
it is important that we retain some cap ability -- retain some capability. the united states is working with that. u.s. turkish relations are in a difficult place. there is some hope that in the next few months, particularly after the turkish local elections that there might be the prospect of putting them on a better course but i am not sure whether some of the fundamental tensions out there will remain. host: what about u.s.-german honestns and your assessment of angela merkel and her relationship with president trump on the issue of nato? merkel's relationship with president trump has been strained. of little -- in terms of the relationship between the two governments, i don't think
that strain has caused any erosion of our ability to work together with the german government both in defense and foreign affairs. differencesrtant over the aggregation of walking away from the iran nuclear deal. germany was not happy with that, nor were any of the other countries who were the lead in developing that. i don't think i would say that u.s.-german relations are in a bad state. they are not in as good of a state as they could be. i recall back when i worked in the bush 41 and administration was the relationship enormously close and i think we can hopefully get back to that point because germany remains a vital and key ally and one of allies inapable
helping promote growth and international security. host: our next caller from new jersey on our line for independents. caller: good morning. why doesn't somebody tell nato that -- has been dead and has been for decades. east: some of the central european countries that joined nato at the end of the cold war, they did receive foreign assistance under what was called the support for free european democracy act but that funding ended back in the early 2000's as they began to flourish and make their transition to free-market democracy. host: from your standpoint, do you think the u.s. is getting a financial bargain from nato? are we paying what we should be paying and is it money well spent? guest: we benefit from the overall capacity we have.
we would be in afghanistan by ourselves if we did not have allies. it is not clear who would have committed to stay with us these 19 years in that mission. we would have fewer partners in helping combat international terrorism. fewer partners in dealing with russia's more assertive behavior. our allies provide enormous capacity in augmenting our forces. it is not a gift that we provide to them. even after the end of the cold war when there was no threat, our presence in europe, having two heavy combat brigades, they were frequently deployed to afghanistan and iraq to provide us a jumping off space that was less costly than operating those forces from the united states and the european governments, as do our korean allies and japanese allies, provide offsets to the presence there.
i think it is a bargain. host: what is the native secretary-general's background? guest: he was just renewed for two more years, very highly regarded. he has been a most effective representative in helping to shape the agenda and shepherd it through a difficult period in response to increased russian aggression and the turmoil caused initially by some of president trump's comments about the u.s. commitment to nato. host: his reflections on the 70 year anniversary of nato? [video clip] this year's anniversaries are cause for celebration. at the same time we cannot be complacent. we cannot squander the hard-won gains of those who came before us. they knew that history does not just happen but that it takes courage and conviction to shape our world and defend our values.
in 2019, just as in 1949 adapting to nato is a more complex and unpredictable world. the is what has made us most successful alliance in history, faced with the greatest security challenges in a generation. we are increasing the readiness of forces, investing more in collective defense and modernizing our alliance. we are doing more together with more partners in more places isn ever before and that actually a paradox because what we see now is that questions are raised about the strength of the partnership on both sides of the atlantic. those questions are asked as the same time as we are doing more
together than many years. the u.s. is not decreasing its presence in europe but actually troops,ng, with more more exercises, more funding for the u.s. presence and more investments in infrastructure. we are doing more together in , adapting and strengthening the command structure and exercising more and our european allies are stepping up. the reality is that we are strengthening the transatlantic bond and it comes to security and defense. andre doing more together actions speak louder than words. we see the strength of the we need aust as strong transatlantic bond to respond to a more uncertain world. host: those comments from the former norwegian prime minister, now the nato secretary-general
on this, the 70th anniversary of the formation of the nato. roger from new york city, thank you for waiting. ander: i called in 2013 said we are at war with russia and since then, i feel when russia invaded syria, they were covering their southern flank. have felt that their goal is to take over europe. it would appear to me that the generals seem to be holding our whole -- our positions quite well and that vladimir putin has backed off on his position. guest: i do think you're right. i don't believe russia wants to go to war with europe. i do think they want to try and extend their influence both in europe over the countries that
were formally part of the soviet union. said any times that the loss of those countries was the greatest tragedy in russian history. i don't think we are at war with russia. we are in an ongoing struggle, certainly an intense competition but i don't think russia wants to have war. it is using other means, as we have seen all too starkly. they are doing that in spades in countries in central and eastern europe that are much more vulnerable than we are. ferment trying to unrest. they have been very active in extending their influence and reach by their intervention in syria which gives them an additional foothold in the middle east where they have a base in tarsus. ,ussia is trying to play somewhat above its capacity by
acting very nimbly and quickly with limited force to try and in gainings hand influence in the middle east and continuing to keep europe off balance. host: you can follow the work of stephen flanagan on twitter. bill in maryland, good morning. caller: good morning. i will take my answer off the air but i have a simple question. looking at the list of countries that are part of nato and i see montenegro. i just don't believe it is credible that the united states would go to war to defend montenegro since most of us don't even know exactly where it is on the map. montenegrin is a country that most recently joined the alliance -- montenegro is a country that recently joined the alliance. nato made a commitment at the end of the various wars across kosovo and the baltics that it was important.
those countries did not want to devolve into turmoil. they wanted the sense of security addressed by a collective organization and their economies would become more integrated into the wider european economic space. it was a drool -- a dual track effort to provide for security and that security may provide for economic transformation. to take their politics out of looking at each other and to look more at the collective capacity to provide for their own defense. montenegro is certainly a small country. it does not add much to the overall defense capabilities of the alliance but i do think it is important that the united states holds that and other important commitments. estonia only has a population of 1.1 million but for 50 years, we stood strong in not recognizing the incorporation of estonia and
the other baltic countries into the former soviet union. the notion that we would go to defend them today remains very credible because we see it as a collective interest that we cannot allow russia to advance its interests by use of force or to change the borders of europe, having seen what that leads to in world wars before. host: a quick question from florida with stephen flanagan. caller: i am interested in knowing the funding of the rand corporation which has been around for a long time. i am very impressed with mr. flanagan's responses but i would like to know the funding and purpose of the rand corporation. guest: rand is an independent nonprofit nonpartisan corporation that was founded initially in support of the air
force in the late 1940's. it is also celebrating an anniversary. it's funding comes from a variety of sources. it has funding from government notsors, not only to -- only the department of defense but a number of state and local governments and other parts of the federal government. it receives money from private foundations to conduct studies.nt we have offices in cambridge, england, australia. rand.org website is with more information including the funding.