tv Today in Washington CSPAN November 9, 2010 6:00am-9:00am EST
what are we going to do? i mean, if this process of the negotiations fail, what are you going to do? and i think this is being debated right now within the palestinians to say within the palestinian leadership in court nation with the arab countries because for the last 17 years, this process did not produce but half a million settlers and more settlements in the west bank and israeli facts on the ground that are aimed at making the realization of an independent palestinian state impossible, then what is the census continuing in the strike? this is a question we are being faced right now. and we have tried in the past to get answers. we want to give a chance. we want to continue. but today i think we are at a juncture that we really need to contemplate in explorer other
values of course short of violent to try to deal with this issue and you know, this debate is ongoing. it's a serious debate and it will be important to determine the next step on the part of the palestinian and arabs in general. i just want to allude to an issue that the speakers here mentioned, which is donor support, economic conditions, funding the palestinian authority, i think a lot of people are mixing or deliberately trying to portray the government's plan of prime minister by odd as an alternative to divorce and the congress to the israelis and palestinians. the plan of the palestinian government, which is the government of president mahmoud abbas is to work in parallel with the political tribes to put
an end to the israel occupation at the same time that we are building our institutions and increasing capacities. it was never meant to be an alternative to the political solution. so yes, we are grateful for the support of the international community. we are grateful for the support of all of her friends. but i think we should not be dead from the real issue that the israeli military occupation is because of more -- i'm not going to say all, most of the economic robbins said the palestinians a thing. once an occupation is over, we will be able to be dependent on ourselves and we will not need to port from any other donor countries. the areas you alluded that are controlled by israelis is actually 61% of the one trans-west bank is totally
controlled by israelis as particular you seat from which the palestinians have no access to it. and a 10% is area and a and the total palette and in control. in area b. consists of 21% if security and civilian policy control, which actually makes almost 83% of the west bank today under total israeli control. thank you very much. [applause] >> because we have six speakers on this panel and a session issue. and the next one we have three. i hope the three and the next one will beg indulgence that we would receive the gift that we hope that you will present a 10 minutes from your time to lengthen the time for answering questions on this one. secondly, one of the questions
that i'm surprised or disappointed at the lack of foresight and ability on the part of the national council not to have a more balanced set of speakers. while one can say there's an absence of foresight and ability on the part of the individual who asked the question as to the effort made to have a number of alternate or additional speakers on this panel and the number who turned us down. were not in the hostagetaking business of forcing people to come for the sake of balance. secondly, balances in the eye of the beholder. and in this particular case, of course none of us are brought to blemish. no one is to port its effect. no one is free of flaws. and in this case, there is the degree balance of another kind. care to, to christians, to
muslims amongst the six presenters here. and this reflects the reality of the holy hand beam at the center of prayer and pilgrimage of faith and spiritual devotion to fully affect humanity. and there's balance of another kind in a sense that we have three government representatives and three nongovernmental representatives. so we have a balance of a different kind they are. what we're going to do is mr. corcoran will read a number of the direction and the speakers can answer whichever ones they want. those that don't get answered, we will post them to the speakers and have them answer them subsequently and will post the errors on the national council's website. and if we have the e-mails of everyone here, we'll provide you with the first of all. mr. corcoran.
[applause] >> my apologies to some of you if we don't reach her exact question, but there are several of the issues that overlap, so was somehow combine them. this would be open to anyone who's. what are the implications of the movement to formally declared israel a jewish state? will this increase or decrease the likelihood of trying to reach a peace agreement in the palestinian authority and the government of israel? >> let me read a few others please. what are the possibilities the palestinian authority made simple issue a unilateral declaration of independence creating a palestinian state first and then fleshing out the details and expanding the area of control? what elements are necessary to create a peace settlement that can be sold to the people of israel and the
palestinian people of thoughts and hamas? is the rough outcrossing in egypt still closed? if yes, why? entered the egyptians willing to reconsider this considering their affinity to the palestinian people.? and also, if someone could comment on how do you see the israeli embargo on gaza strip changing, especially related to the economy? what will be the results short-term and long-term of destroying the gods and economy? why don't we start with those questions. and please, if some of the speakers or commentators the bike to respond. >> well if you allow me, maybe i'll just address the issue of rossa because it's a clear-cut
one. the direct answer to the question, no it's not closed. it hasn't been closed for several months. and in no time was fully closed. the crossing has been hoping to address the humanitarian needs of the population in the gaza of the religious consideration of the dire circumstance the people of gaza are in and a few very long and strong relations that bind this to us and they particularly are immediately adjacent two egyptian terrorism. the crossing times been regulated to guarantee the flow of humanitarian assistance, to guarantee the security and safety for both gaza and the egyptian territory and also not to give any false pretext to the israeli government, but it can discount the responsibility of
international law for the world unite the population under occupation in gaza. on all those counts, the egyptian government has acted with a considerable amount of understanding and at the same time, political expediency to preserve the right to the palestinian people do at the same time, contend with their humanitarian needs. there has been also the issue of the illicit trades into gaza, which is also complicated somewhat the issue of the border crossing and it should be noted that the border crossing of trough is regulated by an agreement with the palestinian authority, the israeli government of the european union and its operation is purely for the transfer of human beings and not a commercial crossing. it wasn't established and was not equipped to be a commercial crossing and has been used tons
and tons of humanitarian assistance with the logistic respect to. but there are the seven other crossings, which should be the majority of the influx of assistance and trade into gaza. thank you. >> in order to have the adrenaline of the other speakers pumping a bit more here, but may just throw out additional ones so they can be thinking of them. there's long been complained about action on the pro-israeli lobby on their ability to have pro-israeli americans petitioning their government through their rights and the first amendment, et cetera. final pro-palestinian americans take this blueprint into the sound? another one, if the two state solution as dead as one must conclude from the speakers remarks, than the one state solution is the default answer. yet for obvious reasons, vacillation is not viable. if so, what is the solution?
what is the alternative to the various solutions have been proposed? and no one in terms of the bleak nature of your views on the prospects for any improvement in the lives of the palestinians in the foreseeable future refers to the possibility of renewed violence. why is that? given the economic status of gaza, why cannot while s-sierra countries believe the way to besting? why does it have to be the west? there was an opportunity not taken yes, no. and could ambassador shoukry give some regards to hamas and thought? >> okay, can't. >> i'd like to address the very first question a while ago i what are the implications of the israeli move to ask the palestinians to recognize israel and i guess the rest of the
world, too. israel as a specifically jewish state. i think in actuality, this puts a fine point on what kind of them is all about and has been from the beginning. zionism is the political class of fee that holds israel as a jewish state, a state for the jewish people. this is why the palestinians were dispossessed in 1948 and again pursley 1947. because i nsm and the move to create a jewish state basically has no room in it for non-jews. implications for the palestinians in this current move to make this an explicit demand is asking the palestinians to legitimize their disposition, to legitimize the discrimination against palestinians to israel, to
legitimize the exile status of palestinians who lived in palestine so 48 and were dispossessed until 47 and were dispossessed. and i think it's just an impossible demand. it's like demanding the united states be recognized as a white christian nation. it's just -- it's just outrageous. >> and can i just add, if it's on this particular question, i think we look at it as a political move or by minister netanyahu. once again, the ministers are negotiated themselves, they're not negotiate with us in the international community. he is trying to appeal to the extreme right-wing elements in his government and his society. the issue of the jewishness of the state of israel wasn't brought up many of the previous agreements with egypt. first, the palestinians we have
recognized the state of israel in 1993, when we exchanged letters of recognized and -- mutual recognition. we recognize israel. we even touch a step further in 1998, when we convene the palestine national council and the presence of president clinton to revoke all of the causes to be the palestinian chart that referred to political destruction. we feel like we have done -- done enough in this regard. it is a palestinian state that needs to be recognized by the state of israel and not the opposite. thank you. >> i will just briefly addressed the question of how the distraction of gaza's economy contributed -- will contribute or not contribute to a resolution of this conflict. perhaps one way to start is to
just give you some facts and figures. gaza's economy has been very consciously and very deliberately attacked and dismembered. and it's important to remember that prior to the ch and certainly prior to israel's 2008 tags, there has been a long-standing policy of deliberately undermining and weakening the economic structure of gaza and the west bank in order to preclude the emergence of a viable economic and structure, which could then be the basis of a political state. this has been imperative, the goal, the object is from the beginning of the occupation. this is something that's been articulated to me many, many
times. sometimes very bluntly, directly and sometimes not so bluntly a range of palestinian officials. now, before the attack in 2008, for example, between 2005 and 2008, two to israeli restrictions, closures, blockades, the numbers -- this is one of any statistics, but it's a telling one. a number of operating factories -- and this is the world bank figure. a number of operating fact is in gaza declines in that three-year -- two and a half year. from 3900 to 23. between 100,120,000 people in the private sector lost their jobs. this is prior to the attack as a result of the ch. the ch has basically destroyed any kind of normal trade between gaza and israel and its
traditional trading partners. you have come in israel, a per capita gdp of dirty $5000. and the west bank community per capita gdp of $1600. it's also declined from tony 200 years ago. and in gaza you have a per capita gdp of $800, a figure that i believe general allen referred to as one of the lowest in the region in his talk. you have in gaza a very, very young population. approximately 74% of the population is 30 years of age and younger and almost 51% of the population -- over 50% is 18 years of age and younger. you have an unemployment rate now, which is approached on average 40% for gaza. and if you break it down by region, its higher -- much higher in certain regions.
however, her young rosin males between 20 and 24, the unemployment rate is 67%. people are absolutely trapped. there is no freedom of movement could reporters are sealed except or individuals who can lead under constrained circumstances. you have a private sector that has been virtually destroyed and you have the once productive people of gaza reduced to dependency on humanitarian assistance and public sector salaries, with no hope and no future. now, what is the implication of this and many other stats but i'm not going to give you because of time? of course, this feels all kind of positions, politically within society, young people have no hope, no possibility, nothing to do. so the field radicalization,
fuels violence. you have various divisions within society along political and economic lines. with growing divisions between the refugee community and the non-refugee community, between economic classes i'm aware the asymmetries and wealth, because of other issues have grown quite dramatic. so you have the theory rich and the very poor. you have political divisions, not only between thoughts and hamas, but within hamas splinter groups. the growing -- there is a growing role of the very extremist zealot is groups in gaza. there still a minority but they're gaining. and they are gaining inheritance because children have nothing else to look forward to. and also, remember that gaza is cut off from the west bank and the west bank horse from gaza. not only demographically but economically and politically. and this is a very serious problem in my view.
it is the single most single problem confronting palestinians in confronting a sustainable solution to the conflict. an attempt to port and to preclude any kind of attempt of unification between fatah and to mosque, which our government has pursued as well as others i think is absolutely dangerous and will confine, ultimately will confine both palestinians and israelis to continue conflict. in the outcome of the are many, but economic devastation can never possibly lead to any kind of positive long-term workable solution. nobody in this room would want their children to have to confront the lack of options and the daily violence that occurs in gaza, not only at hands of
internal forces, but external forces that slope. the number of people in gaza who are dependent upon aid just to survive, to meet their basic needs are minimally 72%. and i've seen some sources go as high as 85%. this is a population where poverty was below 10% 20 years ago. >> obviously, the level of interest here is high. at an interest of time, were going to have to limit ourselves to one more comment. so please, andrew, very short. >> i went to very briefly at a little antidote to what sir had to say. because one, i agree fully with your analysis and to stick. i want to try and counter the impression that this may be the case. that is a territory that perfectly capable of standing on its own feet. as a successful, thriving this community which left themselves
as able to be able to provide employment, to be able to integrate with the region. and prior to the year 2000, gaza was a prospering middle income developing country that was moving rapidly. in the past 10 years has been reduced to the states least developed country to chat or niche. the comparison, the dissent rather thoughts by artificial reasons, by man-made reasons, nothing to do with capability for people to be able to provide employment for themselves, their territories. catholics naturally towards israel and the west bank here at it doesn't look naturally towards egypt, which is its competitor for most of the thing it provides. and so, that is to be the future ought to be orientated in the past 90% of gaza's imports went to israel, through israel or involves israel one from another. israel is taking deliberate decisions to close those doors progressively over the past 10 years. starting with the ending of
angel weber, going into gaza, which is previously the largest source of income for gaza. it is clearly taken a long-term policy decision to be able to close that door and i doubt there will ever be restored again in the near term. certainly, if that economic integrity of the palestinian territories going to be resumed, but we must be looking to the west bank. we must be looking to forms of investment to allow the businessman to reestablish those businesses. there's still some money left in gaza, but most of the businessman are produced a stick at the moment. >> thank you are a match. the speakers come you've been extremely candid. your comments have been excellent and i'm sure informed a number of your latest insights. last week i had a conversation with some of tony blair's quartet staff and asked them what they foresee and they were talking about a long-term strategy. i think a number of israelis and
palestinians are both saying, for what is the short-term? let's continue to think of those things. also, one final note, both sir and kathy have their most recent books available. there are real in the back. and if you're at all intrigued by some of the things they were saying, i'm sure the books that inspire you also. thank you. [applause] >> yesterday, many of the speakers made note of the imbalance between knowledge and understanding between many policymakers and the american people as a whole. here you have 280 years of empirical exposure, educational experience on the ground of these issues of people trying to distinguish truth and fiction, fax from falsehood. [applause]
promote time he is him around the world. the chinese are not burdened by ideas. their foreign policies are driven by the need to acquire hydrocarbons. oil, natural gas as well as strategic minimalist and strategic metals and noted to let the standard living dramatically, to bring hundreds of millions of chinese into the middle class, enormous stores of the natural resources are necessary. that's why what china is doing is fighting on all fronts. is building well and natural gas pipelines from the caspian sea across turkmenistan, through its pakistan, through western china come across kazakhstan into western china. it's building a deepwater board, through burma where the major natural gas fields, with the
construction of a pipeline across burma directly into western china. china is prospecting for copper in war-torn afghanistan. if the united states stabilizes or partially stabilizes afghanistan, and brings better government to pakistan, china will be the beneficiary. it will enable china to completely build this pipeline network throughout central asia and the greater middle east bringing energy directly into western china. that if you look at a map of this emerging nexus of roads and pipelines come it is equivalent to the chinese map during the eighth century. wind chime extended and its influence extended all the way in northeastern iran. on the subject of iran, there is a chinese iranian access developing predicated on energy.
china needs iran huge stores of natural gas that is less polluted, that china can either bring overland or through persian gulf or ship across the indian ocean through the strait of malacca. in china's quest for energy, it faces what hu jintao have to poorly call it a lock of dilemma. too much of china's energy has to be negotiate through the narrow shoulder written for carries strait of malacca on oil, major oil tankers coming across the indian ocean. that's why the chinese wanted to diversify, why they were building pipelines in central asia and why they want to direct pipeline link from the bay of bengal across burma. and one day, decades in, the chinese have just built a big part in pakistan.
you know, perhaps in the future to bring energy from the middle east across all through pakistan into western china. in other words, the real energy nexus of the world between the hydrocarbon of the arabian peninsula and the iranian plateau and the burgeoning burden class, china, south korea, japan. india also will be a major, and major gobbler up of energy. it is increased buying increasing amounts of coal from mozambique in southern africa which is shipping by tanker ship to india. india is also building a port off versus coast near these natural gas deals. where china's pipelines want to go up north and northeast across
burma, india's pipelines want to go west through bangladesh into india. india and china are fighting over burma. think of burma as a belgium before world war i. squeezed between france and germany. think of it squeezed between india and china. burma is not only one of the most united authoritarian military regimes of the world, it is also incredibly rich in natural gas, timber, in hydropower, uranium, and gold. it's an energy storehouse. and so as china turns burma into a satellite to the building of roads and rail links precisely to get energy and other natural resources, democratic pro-western india cannot stand aside. it cannot issue moralistic pronouncements from the sidelines half a world away about the need for democracy in
burma. it has to engage burma. so in he has extensive military links with the burmese security forces, extensive political links, et cetera. a lot of this is driven by energy. what we are going to see in the 21st century is a global energy interstate around the whole navigable southern eurasian plan, extending from the middle east in horn of africa all the way through the strait of malacca and up north through the western pacific to coastal china, south korea and japan. and where energy goes, military activity will go. because world navies our navy for one reason, is to protect the sea lines of communication and to keep them open. globalization happens because we havhave relatively safe sea lins of communication, with piracy as a nuisance that makes an
interesting story for the media, but has not yet reached, at least not yet, reach strategic proportion. so in this future we're going to see the growth of navies in india, china. with the relevant distance between those and u.s. navy slowly starting to close in order to protect these energy routes. thank you very much. [applause] >> let me just pose the question before i opened up to the floor, and i guess we have microphones here for people to move to as you see fit. let me just say, my sense is that in the latter half of the 20th century, up until a few years ago, the united states was essentially the hegemon when it came to oil and energy. yes, you had the saudis, yesterday other energy players. but the bottom line was we call the shots.
and when you're calling the shots globally, you can actually get away without having, everyone depends on you. you're basically king of the hill. i don't get the sense today, when i listen to bob kaplan, and i also listen to you, karen, i hear two things. china has a strategy. if you look at our discoveries in the world today their all or and energy companies and their all national companies. with all due respect to chevron and exxon, et cetera, the largest firms in the world, russia, saudi arabia, or others, and these are really the newest features of a state capitalism that has taken a. what's behind state capitalism? state strategy, energy strategy, hydrocarbon strategy. i'm wondering whether the character and composition of the way we have these discussions needs to change. that the dna of our companies
need to change, that we have an inability actually to address what's happening with china and russia and other players, because we basically are still -- we think we are the hegemonic player but we are not. let's get a response from folks and then i appreciate opening up the floor. >> my strategy is is the art and science of allocating scarce and valuable resources. and in the case of the united states, we have not done that wisely because we have not valued energy to the way that we must do going forward in the future. china's case, i want to go back to the early 1990s when the cold war had ended, the wall came down. the countries of the former warsaw pact want to have a world-class telecommunications capability. i could have gone out and done it the way we did in western europe and in the united states, cut down a bunch of trees and created telephone poles, and
they could have gotten futures on copper and strong wire, but they didn't. why? because they didn't have to. they didn't have to because wireless. they have a world-class telecommunications capability with all the benefits of their economies and quality of life. my point is this, as we look not just at united states but nations like china and india, we've got to recognize that they don't have to achieve this quality of life and economic vitality the same way that we did. in fact, they can't. it is not sustainable for them to do it that way. therefore, a great a tremendous opportunity for us diplomatically, militarily and economically to engage with these countries to bring the best of innovation, the best of technology from the united states to show them what we can do with energy efficiency, what we can do with clean energy,
what we can do using the scarce and viable resources that our fossil fuel reserves represent across the border, going after the silver buckshot approach, and do it in a way that really enhances the leadership of value of the united states or ourselves as well as for other nations around the world. if we think we're going to do it in the 21st century in the way we did it in the 20th century, we are headed for and sustainable pretty ugly world. >> a quick retort. when barack obama, we will do this, but he gets on america and goes through all those crowded field in seoul, south korea, and he pulls out the blackberry he likes to use, he will find an unbelievable infrastructure there that he doesn't even have walking around new york city. we need to be careful on what we think we have to do. another picture of this, we have invested in our infrastructure
while china is just boring again. >> the market upon which we rely for so long has masked the fact that about energy policy. goes out in a mobile marketpla marketplace. it's a much different as the supply center starts looking for new demand centers. so look at coal for example. we don't really have any sense approaches a new coal-fired generation being built in this country and to look at the coal companies, and they said we will decide to regulation we don't want to build new coal plants are, that doesn't stop the production of coal. it just changes who i'm going to sell to because i get so everyday also my production to china and india and several other countries. we have pretty good quality cold beer compared to what china has. if we don't want it here i'm still going to sell it. it will still be an issue of climate change and it will be burned in countries that don't
have a fireman regulations like we do. we have to start thinking of what are we looking at. are we developing the technolo technology? i was just we don't want to export all of our technologies because now we don't really produce anything here anymore. we service off what happened on the global side of things, now we don't produce any of that anymore. we have to be careful that we see this much more strategic and use the resources, technology and innovation which is the foundation of our competitiveness much more to our advantage. >> where this is going to come to geographical head, we threaten america without a strategy and china with a strategy. because the chinese have a thought out strategy that combines state of companies and government, and workers, you know, to get the hydrocarbons from the western coast of
africa, particularly the gulf of guinea, to mine for iron ore and cobalt and building railroad lines and everything. >> we've had a haphazard approach. our companies are not in line with the government, and we're having problems with africa. after, as it is known. we can't get enough state departments into the mix with the military. look at how dynamic the chinese art in africa and how less so we have been. >> let me just add. it is even more pervasive than energy. and bob discusses all of it. the chinese plant have been working since the '80s to develop their we're earth mineral sector because they understood the role of the rummages and resources and manufacturing that they're trying to push. they're doing the same thing now with fertilizer, trying to invest in canadian companies because they understand the
coming pressures on the food system. they proceed and they're planning for it. is a very, very stark contrast but we are seeing what we're seeing because of very deliberate plan. we can replicate that. a little tidbit for contrast to go rare earth minerals our own country congress about a year ago require the department of defense to look at how we is rare earth minerals in all of our weapons systems. it took them many months to compile this because we didn't know. so not only do we not have a grand strategy looking all of these issues in a holistic manner and figure out where we need to go, but oftentimes the details we need to know are buried in the private sector where we don't have relationships to give the poll that adequate information to solve the problem. [inaudible] >> i think after the last, the next year the whole operation was shut down in the government
in a downsizing of government that happen. so we actually put ourselves out of business. but there used to be that knowledge in the 1990s. karen? >> you touched on come were look at exchanging one dependency for another. we don't want to use, we want to reduce our defense of fossil fuels, we will move to plug-in hybrids. we would not be dependent on believe and afghan for lithium. are going to be looking at uranium. there are trade-offs. look at the trade off. that's why i think this knee-jerk, there are some magic solution policy. wrapped up in much more adult conversations about the unintended consequences because they are not well understood and not well thought through. >> we need to be very careful to avoid this temptation to believe that china has a right strategic would and we have it wrong. there's some tremendous downside
to the chinese strategy. why did they shut down and die down international activity for about a month's time about the time they hosted the olympics? and all of the disasters you hear about in terms of mineral extraction, polluted rivers, polluted land and polluted air. they do not have it right, and impact the expert ocean in the gulf of guinea or other parts of africa, really, really caused some tremendous stability problems and security problems. >> to reinforce what the admiral said, there were three days of those three months where i didn't wake up, walked outside into a white cotton candy like cost that you would create. it was really the most -- this is beijing, most horrible pollution. i clear think they have done it. we will start here. >> i'm a member of the d.c. world affairs council. i have a geographical question from a different part of the were. i just got back from three years
living and working in the united arab emirates. and i haven't heard -- the iranians are threatening to put minds in where the uae, build a pipeline to get around the straight and get it all out. divide trying to build a channel through the mountains to sell to the size to get their oil. one of the dynamics of the older part of the world? >> vulnerability, our over reliance on fossil fuel exploded by those who wish do us harm. as they increased the pressure of sanctions on iran, what a stupid thing, who who can guarantee us that we will not see the radical wing of the iranian republic guards close down the street from his through which about 25 or 30% of the world's oil flows every single day. the united states and our allies will kick their butts but it won't happen overnight.
it would take probably months to clear mines come to make sure the submarine threat was not there, high speed boats come and all that time, imagine reverberation struck global economy especially in the united states being denied 25 to 30% of the oil for the lifeblood of the world economy. >> let me just add that iran has an incredibly complex shattered posted line, all along the persian gulf, twice the length of coastline of the next longest coastline, which is the united arab emirates. and in those coast and inland you don't have the iranian navy. you have the iranian revolutionary guard for a navy which is a whole different beast in and of itself. we watch a small speedboat training and swarming operations. and in this intense global media environment that we live in, imagine just a need of a shoulder fired missile on a
warship, on a warship of one of these other nations. you know, that would be a great media story, and they could do a lot worse. >> if we are facing a potential catastrophe in that part of the world, then why are we doing more at home to actually spend production here with saudi arabia natural gas, and we have a lot of heights and we have a lot of oil in this country yet we are seeing off limits for exploration. we understand this, we're willing to do nothing about it. [inaudible] >> recognized that the carelessness that often, the recklessness that i see happens when it comes to talk about war and peace in washington. when you think about iran or something, iran, russia, china et cetera are automatic beneficiary of the spike in oil prices. the u.s. system is not. i would say we the price of gas was over $4 a gallon, i had a
buddy who works on the highway safety administration and said you know what, steve, no one is dying on the highways. i said what you mean? he said people have stopped driving. we see behavior change. there's no social driving going on in the country. it's one of those reflection point where you sell a change in behavior anyone who knows those politics knows that i don't often hang out with jim woolsey, charles, not my crowd. we got together and we talked about how could we keep the price or attacks on oil and energy in this country because we saw changes of behavior, not just the way people were driving, but what would be the opportunity in industry. you have a very, very subsidized price of oil and gas in the united states, just part of our strategy. you actually but for the american public from the thoughts of questions about what's going on in iran, et cetera. so i think it is complex, and there is no larger discussion.
>> all of you have talked about the fact that china has a strategy, maybe right, wrong, and the united states doesn't. it's easy to see how china can develop their strategy because they're not a democracy that they just have to get a few people alone in a room and say this is what it is. in the united states, even looking at tuesday in the election, how do everything to agreement competitive ever get to a strategy, whatever that might be? >> i think that's an oversimplification of china. china has many moving pieces. it's a mistake to think that decision-making in china, which i think is, has been getting a lot right and some wrong, nonetheless has become more and more specific, it's not a democracy. on the united states side, i think the question is not passionate it's a question of how you bring together and whether you believe as content i want to bring the environmental community, the energy community,
the 17 different parts of the energy picture together any serious discussion about costs and benefits of a variety of approaches. and i would put that to you. i think it is vital but i can type in the senate, we didn't want to have that. we wanted to talk about fax. solar for this come or nuclear. and it could be anyone of these. it's not that anyone of these is a silver bullet. in fact, there is no silver bullet. >> that has not done energy sector any good. we didn't have that adult conversation. i think it is one that has recognize again what i said at the beginning that we have a fundamental energy reality. we may want to look different, want to look like would have went all over the place within the next five years to the reality is that's not going to happen. we have the opportunity to have a comprehensive energy policy. there's a lot of agreement. the american people, 62% of americans still favor drilling.
there's 72% in favor of nuclear. everyone is in favor of nuclear energy. what we have chosen to debate in policy circles is everything that is not in agreement with an unfortunate that is climate change. the climate proposal that will raise the price of energy, loudly and proudly rejected by the american people because of our economic picture. we need to be focusing on putting for those solutions that will keep energy affordable, not change the quality of life, a. i can remember when people had to cancel their summer vacation and they were downright mad. the kids don't let them forget it. we want to be able to make a solution cheaper. we need the technology, we need to invest, we need all options. but to only say we will only have this or that, it's just ill-informed. will need it all and have to recognize that.
>> you would not have had these if we hadn't had a massive change in the way spectrum is allocated in the united states. there's no more interesting comparison or metaphor that i can think of the and that will for of what we need to do in energy. in the spectrum very in which had the department of defense sitting on way too much of the sector, you at him, broadcast that had spectrum given to them that they were poorly using. you have been issued to market that could get in. and we had a discussion debate in this country in which we finally got out of this bad approach and the, we nonetheless bought all the stakeholders together and finally had a serious discussion about changing the game of winners and losers and creating a dynamic that opened up special policy to many more innovators out there and create a much more rational approach. this often isn't discussed but it's a lot like the energy picture picture talk about oil
shows, talking about not having addressed level projects, offshore et cetera. so i would just put that that may be a useful metaphor to look at. >> my question really is to the issue, that you brought up are you about the high pollution, especially in these new emerging areas. with our engineering capability and our intellectual capital here in our country, why are we exporting more of our services for pollution control and, you know, that kind of thing, to china you know, to help them with their air and water pollution, et cetera? >> there are high tariffs. that is something that will succeed or get that if we wanted to do something about energy and
changing environment globally we would lead an effort to completely eliminate that. it would create jobs here, investment year, exports and reduce our trade deficit to china but we are not willing to do that. that is something that free. it doesn't add to the deficit. so there's things that we could do immediately to address that. >> again, i don't want to be the myth buster on john. chinese doing everything that anyone that goes to china and seize, they'll see natural gas plants go after to see clean oil efforts. you see solar subsidized. you will see wind. china is growing so fast that they are doing everything, and we are, in fact, exporting services. china is changing the way global gravity works by its plan to organize 300 million more people in 15 years that it's going to be the biggest economic change in history in a very short
period of time, and we are there. maybe not at the level we should be but don't think they're not doing anything. it's just that everything bad in everything good is happening at the same time. so yes, scott? >> i want to ask the panel, to invite the band go further out. the thrust of all this is yes, china and 80 are going to be out there getting resources and looking for energy and that means we will bump into them maybe in some not nice ways. let further out ultimately it seems to me china and india are becoming more vulnerable to others. and we, even when working of the hill and had all the cards, found ourselves uncomfortably vulnerable to some of our own clients. so i'm wondering about china's long-term affordability, and india's themselves, they may be large economies but on a per capita basis they are still very poor countries. >> bob in any of the comment?
bobcat with? >> india is more vulnerable to each other because as each extend its influence, those influences overlap. china and india outside of a border war in 1962 throughout history never had much to do with each other because, now you have air bases in tibet where the operations of chinese fighter jets includes any. and get indian warships in the south china sea. secondly, china is starting to make a lot of enemies in places like africa. you know, because of the way it does things, the way, you know, china has this idea you build these big mining operations and hydrocarbon extraction facility can you build roads and boats to them, what hasn't quite figured out is when you do all that you become invested in that countries politics.
you just our, become vulnerable to those countries politics, and you become, just like america became, just like big burger king style military bases and the united states and japan and germany and turkey, became kind of focal point of local media is in all those countries in negative ways. the same is starting to happen for a lot of chinese facilities in africa and in other places, and a little less in west central asia and burma. india less though because india is not at this care with china. in terms of power. india is to a great regional power more than it is a great power. [inaudible] >> be careful what you wish for. we really, really strategic and the long range way, beyond the
next generation to see what they're likely unintended consequences are. that applies certainly to our own posture. the less vulnerable we can become, the more secure and economically prosperous we will be. >> with a broadening i appreciate that. our project if we had the same conversation, hopefully better conversation, but if we are still talk about these issues in the same light in five or 10 years and will talk about the arctic as much as we talk about china and india. there are regions where these issues are starting to get on questions of not just territory, but sovereignty and with that's going to be over the next century, that have real strong creations for international relations and/or u.s. security in the world. i just project that in terms of thinking long-term. >> a reordering of the world order as well and we have to decide what we're going to do to maintain fast as a first tier.
and energy really becomes right to the forefront of that. and we have to decide to become more self-reliant and do the right things at home because the landscape, a battlefield is so much more complicated that we don't know who's the enemy right now. right now i would say the enemy is us. >> we've been having this discussion and we might very well have had it any world affairs council. the stakes were lower. america's place in the world was more secure. china was seen as if it was yet passionate it was going -- my worry is that america has enough capacity around were but so does general motors. and i worried about the states being somewhat of a well branded but underperforming corporate asset around the world needs to figure out how to rewire its own. it's that what china has today, it's what people expect what other countries expect china will look like in 20 or 30 years. you've got to reinvent america's leverage on all these issues. and in my view the status quo
basically make sure that we are not able to shape the international order in ways that i think are beneficial, not only for us but for many others. let me thank all of our panelists. thank all of you or your time. and you have a great day lined up, and all best to c-span viewers in washington. >> a tag is job. thank you so much. that really made our morning. and i wanted to remind you that bob kaplan's book, monsoon, is on sale outside that you can probably catch him to sign it. we are going to -- i want to take a moment and thank c-span2 are coming is that they'll be going to covering us to hold it. it's really afford us the opportunity to share this wonderful content, both in terms of our speakers in terms of the quality of the questioning from our leadership from around the country and the world affairs councils of america. so thank you to c-span, and thank you to all of you for your
>> now a discussion on strategy and policy toward iran. analysts examine the country's relations with the u.s. and its mideast neighbors. posted by the atlantic council, this is 90 minutes. >> thank you and welcome to the limit council. i'm fred kempe, president and ceo. and i'd like to particularly acknowledge and thank our esteemed colleagues and co-chairs of this task force, senator chuck hagel, chairman of the atlantic council, ambassador
stuart eizenstat. the south asia center was launched last year of the council under director shuja nawaz's, now almost one on two years, two years now, and we launched it because we saw a focus of u.s. european relations would be dealing, not just with afghanistan and pakistan, which people usually connect with south asia in this town, but also iran. and this has become a central for of and point of contact for policy members, members of congress as well as european and regional leaders. without a long, long string of european officials dealing with these issues coming to a meeting with us as well. and we do focus on the wider south asia, which does mean that the geographic -- the
geographigeographical subcontinent as well as afghanistan, central asia and iran. and we see this as a whole. you can't just look at the iran issue without looking at pakistan. you can't look at pakistan without looking at central asia. and user we can't look at it all without looking at iran. so iran is of special importance to the senate and the council because of the u.s. role with its government, the difficulties that we all know about. but we are also very interested not just look at how the u.s. is looking at iran, but also how iran is looking at the u.s. and how iran is looking at its south, and looking at his will in the region. very often we get so caught up in our own conversation your that we are not putting enough into the shoes of others. so we been asking for the task force on the u.s. and u.s. sanctions against iran working? are there any other negotiating options left for the united states? is a reform regime is in power in iran would it make any
difference to the u.s.-iran relationship? and more important, i suppose how does iran see itself in this world? who is iran? and ahmadinejad? and did ayatollah khamenei? is that the revolutionary guards? so mark and kind of have done a excellent job of bringing experts together to have frank discussions in this room on the current situation and the way forward. and so the issue brief that was released today to you all and prepared by our friend barbara slavin, one of the great experts on iran in this town is a culmination of all this means that i hope you will think it is a good read. and will be the first of several breeds that were right on these subjects, you know, looking into different pieces of this brief and more detailed and other parts. we want to thank the plowshares fund for making this project possible through their support. and before i pass the event to
shuja, i just want to invite senator hagel and ambassador eisenstadt to say a few words as well. senator hagel? >> fred, thank you and thank you each for getting a sometime today. on behalf of the atlantic council and our board and our members, want to thank fred, as well as our leaders of this effort. in particular, my much is deemed cochairmen, we all know him, public servant, ambassador eizenstat, a man who is at almost every job in government. stu, thank you very, very much for your personal involvement and commitment, the time you have given this effort that as you will hear today, from particular shuja and barbara,
the essence of this first report, which will culminate in a larger task force product, but we think these kinds of greece are important for many reasons. but it takes people through, we hope, and informed and educated analysis as to not only the complications of this issue, which there are many as you all understand, but there are very serious consequences for whatever is the outcome on this particular issue, and this issue being the u.s.-iranian relationship. as fred had noted, i think this is in particularly important, and i think is one of the most valuable result of this first report, and i anticipate of our task force final report. is the emphasis on wives and
comprehensive focus by the united states and its allies on this issue of iran. when i say comprehensive, i refer to not only addressing the iranian nuclear issue, but all the other dimensions of this relationship. that would include of courseware for just talking about, who is iran, who is in charge of iran? we know those who occasion will take some time to study a little history and culture, that iran is part of a great product of the middle east, that is, the persian heritage, and the history that that heritage has brought forth. that is not to be minimized, diminished, or dismissed as any of these historical factors are
what we're trying to analyze, policy and how we approach countries and people. and i see people in particular, because governments don't always represent people. there are policies of government, and then there are the citizens of that country. and we reflect on that point when i used the term wise. we need to be wise. and judicious. particularly judicious in how we use all our instruments of power. military is but one instrument of power. and sometimes it is not the most effective. and using all of the nation's instance of power in coordination and in combination of a purpose is worthy of that nations efforts is a we tried to get at in the study. i also want to note the great
work that mark brzezinski has done, as fred has mentioned. mark i think is in europe. [inaudible] >> china. he went a little further than europe. that's important to note, marks contributions, but he will continue to play a significant role. so thank you again, and to thank once again the shuja and barbara, and all the participants that help form and write this brief. we had many, very, very informed and experienced experts in this area who took the time to come before this group and give us the benefit of their background and experience and expertise. so we thank them as well. now, let me introduce my cochairmen, ambassador eizenstat. >> thank you, senator. the center and i have developed a very close relationship during the clinton administration, and without him to be one of the most knowledgeable and wise
people in the country on foreign and defense policy and it's been a privilege to work with him on this project. this project is another example of how fred kempe has infuse a sense of energy and direction to the atlantic councils as he is taken over. fret, i congratulate you on setting this task force summit on mark brzezinski's and shuja is work, and, of course, barbara's. i just try to, i want to leave time for the actual presentation. why we decided to get into this area. i mean, had and everything about iran already been explored, wasn't everybody in town and elsewhere posted these -- focusing on iran? we think this task force has an something that was unique and will continue to be unique. we start from the proposition that we believe this will lead to defining foreign policy challenge of the obama administration, and for the united states in the years
ahead. but we also started from the proposition that loving had looked at iran from different perspectives, no one had actually look at their domestic reality, what was happening internally, how that affects their view of what the united states and others are doing, how it affects their policy and, therefore, what we can learn in terms of addressing are pulled -- own policy to the reality, trying to mold it in ways that are acceptablacceptable to the united states, but only take into account the domestic reality. i think that is what is new and that's what barbara has a superb job in her study of doing, first, initial rollout or task force. we appreciate it, and i think without any further ado i would like to turn to her and again, thank shuja and barbara for the work. fred, for initiatives and the center for leading it. >> thank you, ambassador eizenstat. let me just give you a quick background on what the task
force has done in the first nine months since we started. our first meeting took place in may, and had a presentation, that look at the interested in the views of concerned, which included other states and the european union, china, russia, israel, turkey, india and pakistan. and he tried to crystallize for each of these countries and villages iran's role and the owner real interest in iran. and then rate the care of the foreign relations, provide a briefing on what kind regional role the present iranian leadership is seeking for itself and for the country. and talked about the strategic and geopolitical aspirations of iran's current leadership. ted koppel, the producer of the discovery channel's special iran most dangerous nation, so does discuss them and provide
observations an and by the quesn and answer session. then in july we had another session of the task force which will focus on foreign policy, looking on the opposition movement in iran. its similarities and contrasts with the current regime on nuclear issues, its use, the views of allies and enemies, and on iranian foreign policy. this is a presentation by doctor gary of columbia university. and we had a presentation on prospects for nuclear diplomacy by andrew, executive director at the international institute for strategic study. and that exchange was moderated by barbara slavin. than last month we look at nuclear capability and its strategic goals. we were very lucky to get deputy secretary of energy dan, who was at the time when he met them at the end of 2009, when he met the iranian government, he was the most senior u.s. senior
officials to have met them face-to-face. we're also lucky to have the former head of the safeguard of the department of the iaea. and in today's issue brief, we have very useful summation of where we stand on the nuclear issue by ali who is a friend and former colleague of the iaea. and the senator said we will continue our work on iran, making it as unique as possible and as comprehensive as possible. and we will be periodically be issuing these greece, and they will come up with final policy come a set of policy recommendations in due course. the first brief is being released today, and it talks about russlynn, a well-known journalist and editor. she's also the author of a great book on iran called bitter friends, bosom enemies.
before i give the floor to barbara, to talk about the brief, i just want to remind everyone that after she finishes, and if you wish to speak or have a question, if you wouldn't mind putting your name on its sites i can recognize you, then wait for the microphone to be brought to you so that you can announce who you are, that it can be captured for our audiences. so thank you for coming, and over to barbara. >> thank you all for coming. this is my maiden effort for the atlantic council, and i want to thank senator hagel and ambassador eizenstat, fred kempe, shuja nawaz, mark brzezinski in china, and also our lives on the staff at the of unaccounted we did this rather quickly. i think you can all perhaps understand why iran has been much in the news of late, and a lot of people have been giving their opinions about what u.s.
policy toward iran should be. so we thought that it was important to begin to express our ideas and also give some context for the discussion that i have tried to do for basic things in the report. first, look at iranian domestic politics and the divisions that have deepened with the lead since the 2009 presidential elections. second, i look at the impact of those divisions on the nuclear issue and u.s.-iran relations. third, i look at sanctions and the impact that they're having on the iranian economy and on iran's foreign policy. and lastly, i make a few very modest suggestions that these are just very preliminary. shuja mentioned there will be much more fleshed out and detailed recommendations at the end of this process. doubled of the report is about the reigning domestic scene.
and hear the word is fractional as a nation and factionalism it has any student of iran knows, the islamic republic of iran has never been unified. not before, during or after the revolution of 1979. when it comes to politics, economics, views on society. and those who called a to countering state really don't know the country at all. this is not a country with the lead are all forces belong to one political party, as in china or the old soviet union. and whenever one faction appears to have completely vanquished its opponents as seen to have occurred last summer after the elections, and that faction immediately splinters. we have seen serving in the last few months that president ahmadinejad has a lot of problems, a lot of clashes with the parliament of the country,
with other branches of government, and even on occasion supreme leader. he has alienated traditional conservatives, members of the old islamic coalition party known as passionate this is a very significant group that still controls the bazaars and has a hold over a lot very important islamic charity, many of its members were very prominent in the islamic revolution in a very important members of the government afterwards. ahmadinejad is on poor terms with the former nuclear negotiator and is the speaker of the parliament. i believe he was just reconfirmed as speaker of the parliament. he as a member of an old clerical family, and his brother is head of the judiciary, was appointed by the supreme leader. ahmadinejad has also irritated dominate, and ultraconservative clerics by promoting a kind of focus shiite islam, full of
superstition you can by giving wide powers to a member of his family, and in law who has made a number of controversial comments about israelis, about iranian nationalism, and that so-called iranian islam. and it even indications now some friction with members of the islamic revolutionary guard corps which is of course is the institution of on which the survival of the regime rests. there was an article in irgc publication that criticized ahmadinejad for contending that the parliament was not the most important institution in government, and he said that this contradicted the views of the leader of the revolution, ayatollah khomeini, who passed away in 1989. now, i'm not suggesting that khamenei, the successor is about to jettison ahmadinejad. i don't think that's possible. he called his reelection a
defined as has been, and he is really stuck with him i think for the time being. but there's a lot of tension and i think the outlook is for more of this factionalism, especially as iran now is facing out consumer subsidies in the economy. and it is also approaching yet more elections. it will have parliamentary elections in 2012 and new presidential elections in 2013. the factionalism is intensifying in part because of the economic situation, which is quite poor. this is partly due to sanctions which have tightened considerably this year, but they're also partly due to ahmadinejad's mismanagement of the economy. he squandered oil revenues when the price of oil was high. he handed money out to the poor, to numerous people, but without any kind of real plan. as a result, no jobs, or very
few jobs have resulted from this. and inflation was quite high for a number of years. now revenues are much reduced and the imf estimates that the iranian economy grew by only a little over 2% last year and that growth in the current iranian fiscal year, which ends march 31, would be between 1.5, and 2%. and that simply is not enough to provide the sorts of jobs that iran's youthful population nee needs. the employment rate among iranians under 30 is estimated to be about 30%. and 70% of the population is under 30. sanctions are having an impact. they are making it more difficult for iran to both sell and buy petroleum products. and they're also fighting a way investment in the oil and gas sector, and i contrast this actually, and ambassador
eizenstat remembers this will in the '90s when the clinton administration approved a so-called secondary sanctions which were meant to penalize oil companies that invested $20 million in energy sector of iran or the iran libya sanctions act that all these sanctions were weight because at that time, or sure they're after, iran got a reformist president and the europeans were very interested in engagement with iran at the time that they didn't want to confront the country. now the situation is very different, and this is because of what happened in 2009. it's because of the elections, because of the crackdown. the europeans are you are exercise of human rights it seems sometimes been united states is that the europeans have gotten on board, and so have the japanese. no more international which is a unit of the japanese brokerage firm, estimates that because of japanese withdrawal from the iranian oil sector, iran's oil production will drop 15% by 2015
years and exports will decline from about 2 million barrels a day currently, due 1.5 million barrels, which is really a significant drop. now, how does all this factor into the nuclear negotiations? we are likely to have some talks in the next few weeks. iranians announced over the weekend that they would like to meet in turkey, but they're dancing around each other. i think eventually we will have some kind of discussions. i think the problem is that the political divisions within iran are such that it's going to make it difficult for the government to reach a deal that will stick. we also what happened a year ago, there was a proposal for iran to send out two-thirds of its low enriched uranium.
ahmadinejad brought this deal back to tehran, and he was immediately attacked by every faction, from reformist to ultraconservative. johnny who had suffered a great deal when he was nuclear negotiator of iran, was the one to cast the first stone and and others followed them as supreme leader did not in the and back it up. the deal fell apart. now, since then as i mentioned we had more sanction. and the obama administration, there's a sense that they get from talking to u.s. officials that for the first time since 2003, when u.s. military was feeling most successful in the middle east, for the first time since 2003 the obama administration, the united states feels that it has some
leverage over iran because of sanctions, because of the economic situation. another factor is that the nuclear clock, so-called, while it is still ticking, is taking a little bit more slowly than a lot of people have a. and here i direct you to the excellent summary of the status of the reigning nuclear program. he writes, although iran has managed to reduce about three tons of low enriched uranium, through readily enough for a bomb or maybe two bombs, the iaea would be able to detect any diversion of this material very quickly. and also iran is having a lot of difficulty in producing more advanced centrifuges. these centrifuges that it uses our antiquated model that pakistan provided it in the late 1980s. and iran is having design problems, and also having difficulty because of sanctions
in procuring the steel and carbon fiber that it needs to make these more advanced centrifuges. so this suggests that there is time for diplomacy to work, time for sanctions and engagement to work without having to resort to any other sorts of measures. now, it's hard to be optimistic about engagement, about diplomacy, given the history of u.s.-iran relations, which john and many others here know painfully well. the pattern has been that when one side was ready for engagement, the other was not, and vice versa. the 2009 elections have complicated diplomacy for both sides here for europe and also for the united states, the vicious crackdown on peaceful protesters that followed the elections last year have made human rights a priority. i know that president bush talked about the freedom agenda, but for the first time there is
a freedom movement to support in a rented this is no longer, and for iran, the united states once again looms large as a scapegoat for internal unrest. they can accuse the united states of promoting the but overthrows, soft revolution, software, whatever you want to call it. . . >> one of the things that the administration is doing, by
understanding from conversations with u.s. officials, the u.s. and its allies are updating the offer that was made last year concerning the research reactor to take into account the fact that iran has increased its stockpile of lau over the past year. we don't have all the details, there have been some accounts in the press. i think it's still a bit preliminary and we won't know, obviously, until there is a time and place fixed for another meeting of either the vienna group and iran or the p5 +1 and iran. at the same time the u.s. is updating this offer, i think it would be wise to update a very comprehensive offer that was made in 2008. this was presented to the iranians in geneva in the summer of 2008, and it looked at possible areas of economic cooperation, easing of sanctions and so on. this offer needs to be looked at again, i think it needs to be
refreshed particularly in light of what's happened o -- to iran's oil sector over the last couple of years. the u.s. shouldn't publicize it or present it, but if iranians do show up and look serious, this is something the u.s. and its allies should have ready. at the same time, the u.s. needs to intensify its outreach to the iranian people, senator hagel mentioned this. this is very important. just because we have a fight with the iranian government doesn't mean we should not be promoting educational exchanges, trying to get as many iranian students as possible to study in the united states and offering help to iran in be areas such as earthquake prediction and treatment of drug diction and hiv aids -- addiction and hiv/aids where the united states and its ngos have something to offer. now, i don't know if the iranian will accept it, in the past they have, but this is a possible
area for discussion. another area which i highlight in the report and i think is very important is afghanistan. this is, perhaps, the one area where u.s. and iran are largely on the same page, and certainly they should be talking to each other. i don't know if iranians will help the u.s. they certainly haven't always been of assistance although they were after 9/11 in getting rid of the taliban at that time. they have a common interest with the united states in table in afghanistan -- stability in afghanistan, drug interdiction and preventing the total return to power of the taliban. there was a recent meeting in rome where an iranian official participated, and he got a briefing from general petraeus, and he was very impressed. i understand from my iranian sources. i think this sort of meeting certainly should be repeated x the iranians should be made to feel that we understand that they have a huge stake in what happens in afghanistan. after all, they've had the largest number of afghan refugees in their country for
many years, and they suffer from the drug problem. finally, the area of human rights. this is something that the obama administration got a bit of a slow start on, but i think they're moving on a bit more. u.s. advocacy here is is very important. senior officials from president obama on down should continue to condemn iranian human rights abuses, and they should urge iran to release some 500 political prisoners who are being held in that country. these include students, journalists, women's rights advocates and lawyers who were jailed for defending these people. iran is not living up to its international commitments, let alone it own laws on human rights, this should be pointed out, and there's been the suggestion also that the secretary general of the u.n. could name a special representative on iranian human rights. i think that would be a very good idea. there needs to be pressure put on iran. we've noticed that iran does
respond to pressure. the incident of the woman who was sentenced to stoning for adultery, it was a huge cry and she has not been stoned. she's not been executed. so iran does react when pressure is put on this issue. and finally, the u.s. should continue its efforts to help the iranians access the internet and satellite television so they can get unbiased news and they can communicate more easily with each other. ultimately, i believe that history, demography and the educational level of iranians means this country will have a more democratic and less onerous form of government in the future, but this is up to iranians to lead this movement. we can't do it for them. iran has been struggling to achieve a representative government for more than a century, and it's, frankly, i think, better equipped even now with all the repression that has
occurred since last year's elections, it's better equipped to have this sort of government than countries that the united? states has promoted regime change in. i think that in the interim while this process goes forward in the iran washington needs to exercise strategic patience. this is in the title of my report, and we need to do nothing that is going to get in the way of this political evolution. ultimately, iran is going to resume it rightful place as a major regional power that contributes to the peace and prosperity of it citizens and the wider world. and leave it there. >> thank you, barbara. i'm going to let you take a little breather and ask the fist question -- first question, if i may, but i'm going to pose it to our co-chairs. >> okay. >> senator and ambassador eisenstadt, as opposed to strategic patience, there appears to have been within the last week or so some signs of
strategic impatience within the corridors of power in washington. a column in "the washington post" by david broder appeared to suggest that ramping up for war if not actually going to war might be a good thing for president obama to undertake in order to help the economy. and then senator graham has been talking, also, about the need to perhaps punish iran in a military maneuver. what would do you think are the chances of something like this becoming viable, and is it even advisable at this stage to be throwing out these ideas? >> and let me put a question on top of that because i think it's related, and that is those who argue against strategic patience would argue that what you're saying is give iran the time and
space it needs to fully develop it nuclear weapons capability. so, so is that a potential outcome from strategic patience, and is it an outcome we can live with? this. >> let me answer in a couple of ways. the first is i think that so long as we can demonstrate that the sanctions are really biting, and here the e.u.'s efforts to really engage in significant sanctions beyond that which most thought they would on the financial sector are having a really significant impact. it's much more costly to ship goods, to import oil. this is an area where we need to do a lot of work with china and see that china doesn't fill that gap. but i think that china -- iran is not north korea.
it recognizes that it has to be integrated into the world economy, and to the extent that there is a real show and demonstration of global solidarity on sanctions, i think it will bring them back to the table. number one. number two, this is a time when if there ever was a need for it, senator vandenberg's admonition of politics ending at the water is really crucial because this is a time when we've got to make sure that we have a bipartisan effort. there's a lot of polarization that's going to occur, and i think that this is a time when we need to have and show a united front. number three, i don't think that barbara is suggesting, and i
certainly wouldn't, that by strategic impatience we mean indefinite patience. because we recognize that each day even with the centrifuges not operating as efficiently as they can, that more and more enriched uranium's occurring, it's being enriched up to a 20 degree level, there is work going on on weaponizations of miniaturization, of increased missile capacity, and so patience is important, but it's not something that is infinite, and the iranians need to see that. i think we'll be in a much better position to know what path to take when we see how these negotiations which are certain to occur next month or next, are the iranians serious, are they willing to go back to a sort of geneva plus, vienna plus proposal taking into account the
additional amounts of enriched uranium, or is this going to be a long and indefinite stall? the and i guess the last point is in the terms of military options that has to be on the table. the administration has kept it on the table, the israelis have kept it on the table. but it is on the table at this point because it is recognized that there are profound fallouts from that and that the military option can't be done with a single isolated strike as could occur with the syrian reactor or the iraqi reactor 20 years ago that they've defused their system, they put it underground and that it would take considerable effort over a prolonged period of time to do great detriment to it. so that is not to take it off the table. quite the contrary. but it is to suggest that before
one leaps to that, one has to look at all the other ramifications, and i would say to give sanctions a chance to work. they are working. they will continue to bite, and we have to hope that at some point the leadership is defused as it is in barbara's excellent analysis will come together to recognize that the costs of pursuing militarization in a military capacity are greater than the effort is worth. and i guess one last point, and i think this is something that the administration and others haven't quite come to. and that is, what is our goal? is the goal to stop all enrichment? the is the goal to simply stop a military capability? or is the goal to stop total weaponization? those are very different checkpoints, and be i think it's very important that we try to achieve a bipartisan agreement
on what the actual realistic goal is. >> well, as usual the ambassador has framed it exactly right. at least i subscribe to everything stu has noted as he has presented it. i would add only this as to the use of military force whether it's for a political motive or not, i don't think i have to remind the public that the united states of america is is currently in two wars, two of the longest we've ever been in. and before we finally wind our way out of each, they will be the longest wars.
i think it's undermined our interest in the world. you don't need to go much beyond asking any general who's in charge of men and women in the pentagon and their families or any record you want to apply, record suicides, record divorces, record homeless and all the rest as to but one consequence of taking the nation to war. so i think talking about going to war with iran in many fairly specific -- in fairly peck terms should be -- specific term should be carefully reviewed, and that's pretty dangerous talk. it's easy to get a nation into war, not so ease is i to get a nation out of war as we are, as we are finding out. i'm not sure that the american people are ready to go into a third war. second, if you subscribe to what barbara has laid out, at least what our task force has found, in particular the internal
dynamics that are occurring in iran, then why in the world would you -- as barbara has noted -- want to get in the way of that? we do have some rather significant evidence that sanctions are working, and they're working because we, our government, our policies imperfect, flawed, problems, every policy has those. but nonetheless, it has accomplished something even bigger than sanctions, and that is they have brought a consensus together. of most countries. the european union, the chinese are involved, the russians are involved. we have a rather significant consensus on this issue up to a point. and i think all you need to do is reflect on the united nations' vote on this as a pretty good indicator. now, that alone won't change the
dynamics, but as barbara has laid out if you subscribe to what our task force has come up with, then aren't we far wiser to let this play out? aren't we far wiser rather to get ourselves into another very difficult predicament because we do also know that wars have consequences. most of the time and especially in the world we live in today they have unintended consequences. they have uncontrollable consequences. we live in an interconnected, global community, and i think, again, we should factor that in. last point i would make, as to the question of, well, but aren't we just allowing the iranians to buy time? maybe. we have to recognize that the real world is about risks. you calibrate your decisions and your policy making based on that risk analysis.
is it riskier to go to war right now, or is it riskier to pursue the policies that we are pursuing? if policymakers -- policymakers have to decide that. they have to sort their way through that, and then they come to a decision. it's my analysis in answering your question that it is far riskier to talk of war and to go to war. as the ambassador has noted, we are the mightiest military force on earth. the world has never seen such military power. but that military power must always be tempered with a purpose. and the military option is always on the table. of course it is for any sovereign nation. but at the same time we recognize that that option is there, the leaders of our country, the leaders of the
world are not living in an alice in wonderland type of a world. they are living in a real world, and they have to make real decisions based on what they calculate to be the dynamics and the facts as they are today, but probably more importantly what they think they will be. that's leadership. so that's how i would add to the ambassador's comments. thank you. >> let me add two sentences just for the record about the atlantic council. senator hagel, republican, ambassador eisenstadt, democrat. that's not the reason they were picked and not the reason they decided to do it, but it just reflects that we're after a centrist, consistent policy not only on iran, but really on all american foreign policy with our allies. and when we don't do that, when we do get into the partisan bickering over matters of
national interest where it's hard to debate what the national -- it's hard to debate what outcome one would want in the national interest, our enemies take solace, and our friends get frustrated. so this is one area where we're working on this, but the atlantic council works on achieving this across the board. we call it radical sent rich. [laughter] >> thank you, fred, for clarifying that. senator, you mentioned alice in wonderland, and i'm picking up on ambassador eisenstadt's very useful suggestions, particularly the one about defining one's goals. but there's one of my favorite quotes from alice in wonderland that when you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. [laughter] i think we do need to decide which road to take. so my first question to barbara before the audience joins us in
the question is is afghanistan going to offer that first opening, perhaps? because in the end you have to deal directly with the government. you can't negotiate with the people of iran. you have to deal with the government that's in power. so do you see afghanistan as offering that opening? >> well, as i was preparing this i had some conversations with administration officials, and one said, you know, they don't see afghanistan somehow as the silver bullet that solves our problems with iran. but i think they do see it as an area where iran and the united states not only have common interest, but really do need to cooperate. if afghanistan is going to be stabilized, it's going to need all of its neighbors to sign on to whatever, say, coalition government may emerge, whatever peace talks may emerge. so i think it's, it is one area where the u.s. and iran can talk to each other without a lot of baggage, without a lot of
difficult history. although it's a different government, a different president that's in power now in iran than in 2001, if you look back at that period not only was iran supporting the northern alliance which was so pivotal in getting rid of the taliban in 2001, but the u.s. and iran actually had fairly senior diplomatic talks from the fall of 2001 through may of 2003. in europe. this was a period that, now, a number of people like ryan crocker look back on as sort of golden age, jim dobbins, you know, when these were very productive talks. members of al-qaeda were turned over, were extradited, understandings were reached, and it's sort of a pity that that ended with the u.s. invasion of iraq. i don't know if you can get back to that, but certainly you can
include iran in all the various multilateral discussions that are going to be held, and we should do that. >> thank you, barbara. and now we open the floor to questions, so who would like to start? please wait for the microphone and, please, identify yourself for the record. thank you. >> richard -- [inaudible] with the national foreign trade council. you mentioned that afghanistan as one of the two wars -- [inaudible] extending the views relative to -- [inaudible] >> barbara, if i may just repeat the question for our television viewers. what about the war in iraq?
>> sure. i actually didn't go into iraq in this brief, that might be a topic for a second one. iraq is, it's interesting, and everyone's always said, well, of course the iranians got a lot of influence when we got rid of saddam, and that's true, but i think the iranians are tearing their hair out about iraq right now too. i remember getting an e-mail from an acquaintance of mine in tehran predicting that maliki would be confirmed as prime minister right after ramadan. we, of course, still don't have a new iraqi government. this is more ticklish because although there have been reports that iran is giving some support to the taliban now, the reports of iranian involvement in iraq are much more serious, and we know that american servicemen and women have died because of ied technology and special groups and others that have been
supported by iran since 2003. so the u.s. and iran have not really been able to cooperate in any way on iraq. will that change? i don't know. that's why i suggest afghanistan because we have the history of cooperation there. you know, it's ironic, i mentioned these talks that were going on from 2001 to 2003, actually there were iranians offering to help the united states in the iraq as well when it payment clear that the u.s. was -- became clear that the u.s. was going to be invading that country as well. and the bush administration said, no thank you, we can manage this one on our own. so one has to think how history might have been different if we had decided to cooperate with the iranians in 2003 in iraq. >> can you just wait for the microphone, please. >> jim loeb, interpress service. i'd like to get the comments of all three, if possible, but how exactly does saying that all
options are on the table help the u.s. case in iran for human rights or anything else or even with respect to the nuclear program? assuming what senator hagel was saying is correct, that attacking iran will have unforeseeable consequences which i think any kind of rational observer would conclude might involve or very much could involve the necessity for ground troops, how at this point can that be a realistic threat on the part of the united states? is and given the other two wars? so, again, my question is how does repeatedly saying all options are on the table help any of the causes that have been laid out or that are of concern to the task force? >> well, my personal view is
that, you know, the united states has to say it, but it's an option that should not be exercised at this point. i take my cue from, actually, iranians, particularly members of the green movement who say that the one thing that could destroy the chances for democracy in that country for another generation would be a u.s. attack on iran. i think, perhaps, ambassador eisenstadt and senator hagel will be able to respond better as to why you have to say that that option remains on the table. >> and, ambassador and senator, if either of you want to comment on the iraq question as well. >> i guess i would say that if you really don't mean it and they know you don't mean it, it's not significant. but from my standpoint while i agree with everything that's been said and emphasized that we need to give sanks a chance to work, we need to give the increasing isolation that iran is facing a chance to change
their policies, we need to avoid, in effect, driving the opposition into the hands of the more radical elements. we also are to send a very -- send a very clear message, in my opinion, that what is most unacceptable is iran having a nuclear bomb. and if they don't understand that we think that that is, indeed, unacceptable, then they have, perhaps, no incentive to change. so there's always an escalating sense. and, you know, there are things short of bombing. we've seen already news report of worms, you know, in some of the machines that drive the centrifuges. i mean, there are a whole range of actions that can be taken to slow down and even cripple the process short of this imagery of
having 100,000 troops invading and waves and waves of bombers. we have a lot of options. but to me it really is critical to make it clear to iran that we're giving them this extra time, we're going to keep the sanctions' pressure on, we have the strategic patience but that at the end of the day it is not acceptable for iran as it is currently led to have a nuclear bomb, and in my opinion, a nuclear capability. and if we don't send that signal, then i think we're in serious trouble. >> well, i would add this. i'm not so sure it is necessary to continue to say all options are on the table. i believe that the leadership in iran regardless of the five of
power centers that you're referring to whether it's the ayatollah, president, republican guard commissions have some pretty clear understanding of the reality of this issue. and where we are. i think the point that your question really brings out which is a very good one, if you are going to threaten on any kind of a consistent basis whether it's from leadership in the congress or the administration or anyone who generally speaks for this country in any way, then you better be prepared to follow through with that. now, stuart noted putting 100,000 troops in iran, i mean, just as a number as far as we play this thing out. the fact is i would guess that we would all -- i would be the one to start the questioning --
would ask, where are you going to get 100,000 troops? so your point's a very good one, i think. i don't think there's anybody in iran that does not question the seriousness of america, our allies or israel on this for all the reasons we made very clear. and i do think there does become a time when you start to minimize the legitimacy of a threat. when you threaten people or you threaten sovereign nations, you better be very careful, and you better understand that the, again, consequences because you may be required to employ that threat and activate that threat in some, in some way. so i don't mind people always as we have laid out, and i think every president, every administration, anybody of any consequence who's talked about this can say, does say, but i think it's implied that the
military threat is always there. stu made an important point about there are a lot of ways to come at this. but once you begin a military operation and you ask any sergeant and t the sergeants and the guys -- it's the sergeants and the guys at the bottom, not the policymakers, who have the fight the war. they're the ones who have to do all the dying and the fighting and make all the sacrifices, not the policymakers. but my point is once you start that, you better be prepared to find 100,000 troops because it may take that or eventually where you're going, my earlier point, you don't know. and you can't just start out with a concept of, well, we're going to do this, but it'll be marginalized, it'll be limited warfare. i don't think any nation can ever go into it that way. so that would be just what i would add to the rest of the conversation. >> yeah. i would just, again, emphasize,
number one, that we need to give, as barbara is suggesting, sanctions and a potential outreach on a more positive and broader initiative a chance to work. but if it's rejected, we have to consider ramping up sanctions more, but we also, again, have to make it clear -- in my opinion -- that it's not acceptable for iran to have a nuclear weapon. there are a lot of things that go along with that that are sure, and that's my point, not that we put 100,000 troops in but that there are a lot of things short of that that can be taken against iran that can be very disruptive. i hope we don't have to get to that. but i don't think the option is sending 100,000 troops in. that's not the option. we have a whole range of options, and we have a little bit of time more, as barbara's report indicates, than we thought we did six months or so ago. i'm sorry, i forgot to --
>> we're excusing ambassador eisenstadt who had a previous appointment. thanks very much. really appreciate it. >> are thank you, ambassador. >> hi. i am from the brazilian end bass si -- 'em embassy. just a quick question. iran has been under u.s. sanction in the past 30 years, so why do you think it's going to work now? why is it easier to negotiate, why do you think it's easier the negotiate with iran under sanctions? >> yeah, i mean, iran has been under one form or sanction -- one form of sanction or another from the u.s. as i pointed out in the mid '90s when the u.s. had a policy of dual containment, europeans, asians were all blithely going on their way, signing agreements with iran, there was a lot of business. that has changed, and actually the report -- we have seen a
shift, european trade is coming down, china for a time seemed like it was going to fill the gap, but even chinese imports of iranian oil are going down now. and also chinese investment in the iranian oil sector is going down now according to a report that i cite in the issues brief. i think the world is getting the message that this is a government that is not behaving well, and the u.s. has never had this kind of consensus behind this policy. so i think it has a much greater chance of working. unilateral sanctions almost never work, but multilateral sanctions sometimes do. and you see remarks by iranian officials, the former president rafsanjani said recently these sanctions are no joke and ahmadinejad should pay attention to them. there's lots of commentary even in the very controlled iranian press about the impact that sanctions are having. so i think that it is a different situation now, and the
other aspect is the human rights aspect, the revulsion that so many people feel over the human rights abuses that have been committed by the government, and this is really, you know, we all knew before that this regime could, on occasion, be very brutal and that people were executed and assassinated and so on, but we never saw it before the way we have seen it now on youtube and facebook and so on. and it's -- we also have a new crop of iranian emigres, people who were part of the reform movement who have been forced to leave the country since last year, and they are very outspoken, and, you know, they have fresh information and knowledge about the society that perhaps we didn't have before. >> if i may, i'd like to adjust one thing, one point of perspective because it rarely gets brought up for obvious reasons. the whole nuclear issue did not begin with this administration, this being the iranian
administration or previous administrations after the revolution in 973. 1979. the nuclear program started under the shah who was our puppet, essentially. we financed him. we liked him. we set him up. well, like may be too strong a word, but it was clearly in america's interest to have a strong man dictator. when you talk about some revulsions of human rights, history is instructive here. and so i think not to defend anything or anyone or certainly not this current government in iran, but when we're looking at this, and this is why task force are important and taking time to hear from experts. let's open up the aperture here and get the entire vision and understanding of history. that wasn't that long ago, 1979. the people of iran remember
that. not all of them. as barbara has said, they have one of the youngest demographies in the world which is hopeful and good for freedom. but we've got to, also, factor in the frame of reference and the framework of thinking of a lot of the iranians. and the brutality that came as a result of the shah's actions that we supported, that we propped up, and it goes back a few, a few years before 1979. so, again, that doesn't change the dimension of the dynamics or the risks or the threats, but it is instructive to go back a little bit and understand why certain countries think the way they do, certain people think the way they do. it was noted here earlier, and i really do believe this and, in fact, i was with some people last week who are currently leaders in that part of the world, and there were two iranians in the group. and they said one of the things
that would fasten that society back together quicker than anything else would be a military attack. and that would bring the eye -yard -- iranians back together. for cultural reasons, for historic reasons. now, maybe a military option eventually will be the only thing that's left. i don't know that. but again, like we have said we better be careful, and we better think through that and employ every other option before we have to make that decision, if we have to make it. >> thank you, senator. we have a question here. >> hi. i just wanted to make a comment on -- >> identify yourself, please. >> benjamin ross from the heritage foundation. the ambassador said unacceptable, and i had a question. what that exactly means when there's five countries or six countries that keep on saying this, that it's unacceptable and iran keeps on enriching uranium.
and we have the example of north korea, and at that time those same countries said it was unacceptable, and it actually happened. so what does that actually mean? and the other question is what's the word democracy? when you say you want a democratic iran, we've already said that iran is not a totalitarian regime, there's many different centers of power. so i, i guess what you mean is you want a country with more human rights. and how does that exactly serve american interests? it serves the interests of the iranian people, but is that something that we should take risks for as american policymakers? >> barbara? >> well, it was ambassador eisenstadt who said it was unacceptable, i didn't say that. [laughter] you know, my personal view --
and this is just my personal view -- is that the united states could probably contain, deter, live with a nuclear iran as it has a nuclear pakistan, a nuclear india, a nuclear israel, a nuclear north korea. there are a lot of reasons why iran wants this capability. i'm not sure they would ever actually go all the way to a weapon. i think it, frankly, doesn't serve their strategic interests to actually have the weapon. i think it serves their interests to have the world think they might have the weapon, and i'm not sure they would go beyond that. but that's something we can address, certainly, as we work our way through this task force. i think the united states should give a better definition of what it means by nuclear capability, nuclear weapons capability should decide whether it can put up with some limited uranium enrichment or it's oppose today all enrichment. these things still have to be clarified. on the question of democracy,
vis-a-vis human rights, i think what iranians want is is a more representative and less brutal government that will be focused on their national interests. and, frankly, if iran had a different sort of government, i don't think the world would have such a problem with iran having nuclear weapons. t the nature of the regime -- it's the nature of the regime that makes it, quote-unquote, acceptable because as we know iran doesn't act as a constructive player in a number of areas in the middle east, and it treats its own people very poorly. so whether you call it democracy or human rights, i've spent a fair amount of time in the country over the last 14 years, and i think i have a sense of what iranians would like ideally if they could get it. i'm not sure that they would, they want a complete transformation, but they certainly want a more open, a freer system where people will not be thrown in prison for demonstrating peacefully on the streets, certainly won't be shot to death for demonstrating
peacefully on the streets. >> that's what you appear to be suggesting with your various ore measures such -- other measures such as greater access to the internet, greater freedom from inside the country that the u.s. and other countries can help with. >> this yeah. >> we have a question if from ambassador limb berg. >> thank you, john limberg, university professor. barbara, i want to thank you for a very memorable phrase you've used about iranians which i have stolen on numerous occasions which is the iranians consider themselves the rodney dangerfield of the middle east. they just don't get no respect. [laughter] and in so many areas, including the nuclear one, this issue of respect, of being dictated to, it comes up over and over again, and we hear it, we hear it from pram ahmadinejad, we hear it --
president ahmadinejad, we hear it in the context of the nuclear program, we heard it in the context of the tehran research reactor deal. and what is your view and, senator hagel, yours. what is behind this statement and how does one deal with something like this? is this a smoke screen for other things, or is there some way of dealing with it? and how you, how you view this constant refrain in the iranian position. >> well, josh, you're much more than a university professor as everybody knows. john was most recently assistant secretary of state for iran. you changed the language that the u.s. uses toward iran so that it is more respectful. president obama when he refers
to iran always talks about mutual interest, move chul respect, and i think this is key to have an understanding of where they're coming from when we approach any kind of talks with them, any kind of negotiations. you know, that -- we've gotten beyond, you know, the condi rice formulation of you know what you need to do. we don't wag our finger at them quite so much as we used to although every now and then it slips into the state department briefings, a little bit of that. respect is important but so is power, and so, particularly, is is the power to inflict economic pain on iran. and i think that the iranians. have shown when their national interests really are at stake they can make decisions if you're respectful or not. so i would hope our diplomats would use appropriate language. iran has very can skillful
diplomats, even now. and one would hope that they will approach talks in a respectful manner toward the united states. iran doesn't help its case when ahmadinejad comes to the u.n. general assembly and alleges that the u.s. might have been behind 9/11. [laughter] so, you know, respect a two-way street, and i think they understand that. >> senator, you want to add something? >> only this, i think barbara said it very well. i would connect benjamin's question into your question because i think they do present integration here of interests and ultimate outcomes. when you connect what ben my said, what he asked regarding what does this mean when you say these things like unacceptable weapons, what is acceptable
enrichment uranium, what rights do countries have to possess nuclear power and nuclear capability which we have stated that, all neighs do have that right -- nations do have that right. where is that line? and it blurs over, it seems to me, into what you're talking about, and you are as knowledgeable about this, john, as anybody, certainly anybody in this room. and it blurs into your point because if we have any hope of making any progress through the diplomatic channels and all the other influences that we are using and coordinating to influence an outcome, that is all going to be framed and partially part of whatever acceptance there is to what, what will we accept, what will
iran accept. and i go back to this real example. the turkish/brazilian so-called compromise which, essentially, we laid that on the table a year ago, and then we walked away from it. wasn't only our fault, the iranians blew it up too. that's not a new assessment. so my point in the bringing that up, the brazilian/turkish point, is because it goes back into benjamin's point because it starts to get to the issue which we're all going to have to get at and get to at some point. what are you willing to accept? how much and how do you do that? the russians, you remember, put that deal on the table a couple of years ago that we'll enrich it and return it and so on and so on and so on. so this also gets into the technicalities and the depth of this that i don't think you can
pull apart. it is all woven in that same fabric, and this is part of the real complexity as you know especially, john, and many in this room as trying to find some resolution here. and i think what we can, what we need to do as much as anything else -- and it goes back to what stu was talking about, what we all have referred to, barbara, purpose, so on -- is just try to continue to put this issue not unlike the middle east peace process on a continuation of high ground. i don't think you're going to solve the iranian piece, and i don't think it'll be solved in sick months. maybe it will be, but all these questions. like the middle east issue. if we continue to keep moving up on higher ground, higher ground and get it to some point where there is a confluence that will dictate a settlement that will be in the, that will be in the
interests of all countries. last point i'd make, we should not underestimate, again -- and barbara's brought this out, fred talked about it initially -- the regional aspect of this. this is critical, and it's something that i have always thought we made huge mistakes when we went into iraq and afghanistan, the way we did it. that we didn't regionalize the strategic concepts, the geopolitical strategic dynamic of all those, of all those movements and decisions and actions we took. we're now trying to do that, we're going to have to do that, but it seems to me that iran is a clear case of that. >> yeah. just two sentences. let me underscore what senator hagel just said. if you just take a look at the way turkey looks at be -- missile defense verse is us the way poland looks at missile defense, geography makes a
difference. and we will have agreement at the lisbon summit in just a couple of weeks, but it will be a careful agreement that takes into account turkey's sensibilities which i think is important. the other thing just for clarity, you heard one past member say it's unacceptable to have nuclear weapons in this iran, another one say one could contain, deter, live with. the atlantic council itself doesn't take positions, task force does. as you can see, this task force hasn't really decided that point, but i don't think it really has to. i think the, i think the questions that we need to get at is what should we be willing to accept? what levers do we have to actually determine that, and then how do we determine what we should be willing to accept? for example, it's not just could we contain iran, it's what do we do about proliferation in the wider region? this it's not just, you know, are they going to carry through on threats to, you know, push
israel into the sea, it's also what's the impact on hamas, hezbollah, etc., etc. so i think what barbara said about the nature of regime would have been, would have been ambassador eisenstadt's answer almost certainly. >> and also that strategic patience doesn't equal infinite patience. i think that's the message. we have a question from benjamin and then sean. >> thanks. benjamin, thank you for convening this great group of radical centrists. [laughter] my question i'll offer to barbara. now that we're hearing reports that sanctions are beginning to bite from a domestic political standpoint, how do iranians view the enrichment program, and how will this affect iranians as they go to the negotiating table over the next couple weekings? >> well, you know, it's hard, of course, to do proper polls in iran. there have been some and, you
know, this is just really from anecdotal, my own sense of it from having traveled there a long time, and i don't think iranians really -- they care about the notion that iran should have advanced technology. they don't want to be deprived of that, they think it is their right. but if they were able to trade that for a better economy, i think they'd do it in a minute. this is, you know, it's -- there's so many slogans that are tossed around in that country, and people repeat them pro forma because they have to, they're drummed into them ad nauseam. in the book that i wrote about the u.s. and iran, i titled the first chapter death to america and can i have your autograph. going to one of their celebrations of i think it was the 29th anniversary of the revolution and, you know, everybody's chanting death to america, death to america. and there were a group of kids, they all had la cards on them saying nuclear is our natural
right and, you know, all of this stuff. and there were a bunch of young kids who spotted me in the crowd and saw that i was a foreigner and asked where i was from, and i said i was an american, and ahmadinejad is up on the platform, you know, blah, blah, blah about israel and the holocaust and so on, and i swear 50 kids, young girls, all came and asked for my autograph. you know, just because i was from the states. so you figure it. i mean, i think that it's just -- it's an issue that the government uses for nationalism. it's something that they try to build up to unite the people because there isn't much, frankly, to unite iranians anymore. it's islamic republican lost its religious fervor a long time ago, so they portray this as iran's right, but it's, it's certainly not the first priority for most iranians in the my view. >> thank you. we have a question here.
>> my question is for ms. slavin also. >> if you wouldn't mind identifying yourself. >> yes, of course. my question's related to the last two, namely, you know, you cite the current political instability as potentially a good thing because the follow-on regime could be more open, maybe more democratic is a good way to put it. and more respectful of human rights. and then you go on to say and and/or the west. so my question is why? more democratic regime >> uh-huh. >> and i feel, you know, i think theory has about as many
>> and ahmadinejad was elected. a little early, but ultimately it's not clear that he would not have won given big support in the rural areas. >> uh-huh. >> and you yourself cite that a lot of his internal opposition is from hard-line reactionary elements, right? >> that's true. >> even if we assume that you're with more respect for human rights and what not, why would we assume that they would not pursue as aggressive a shiite crescent-extending foreign policy? i mean, i don't know how you'd characterize the influence in lebanon as anything but destabilizing. what evidence do you have from your, your study? >> well, i think the evidence really comes from the policies that were p in effect when mohamed hotny was president. iran was a lot less confrontational.
it sought better relations with saudi arabia and the arab gulf. he went to lebanon, but he gave a speech and didn't go to the border, you know, with israel and make a lot of threats about wiping israel off the map. it was a different tone. the nuclear program, the enrichment program was suspended for two years while the europeans negotiate with the the united states. so we already have an example of what a more constructive iranian administration can look like. i take, i make this statement because of the comments that have been made by hue saw by and the leaders of the green movement who have repeatedly talked about the fact that they would have a different policy toward the united states, toward the west. i take it from my experiences visiting iran over the last 14 years. that they would have a different approach. the economy is very important,
and if you will recall one of the slogans in this one of the demonstrations that took place after the elections last year was, let's see, no to lebanon, no to gaza, my life only to iran. iranians resent the fact that so much of their money is wasted n their view, in supporting hezbollah, hamas and so on. and i think they would take a very different view. i don't think they would devote those kinds of resources to these kinds of radical movements. he also used to say that if palestinians reached an agreement with the israelis, that iran would not stand in the way of that. it was a different perspective. so we have to hope, i think, that a future iranian government would be more nationalistic in the sense of dealing with iranian interests. would it give up its claims to influence in the region? no. the shah was the one who started meddling in lebanon, had the
nuclear program, it was under his government that three small islands were seized from the united arab emirates. so i don't think you would see an end to persian nationalism by any means, but the tactics, i think, would be different, and certainly there would be less of a confrontation, hopefully, with the united states and the west. >> thank you, barbara. i'm going to ask senator hagel and fred if they'd like to say anything before i, i wrap up this discussion with my thanks. >> only to thank you, again, for your good work and, of course, you, barbara, and all who have participated over those last nine months and who will continue. thank you all for joining us, and to fred and his leadership. the job of chairman is is to today out of the way and not screw anything up, so, ladies and gentlemen, the president. [laughter] >> i actually have nothing to add. [laughter] uncharacteristically. >> in that case, it's up to me to thank the audience for coming and to thank the members of our
task force, many of whom will be watching this on television or listening to it on our web site or reading the transcript for their invaluable work in supporting what we are doing. i also want to thank, again, the plowshares fund for having given us the initial grant to get this going, and we hope to carry it forward. picking up on some of the themes that have been raised today, some regional issues that need to be discussed on a broader level because this is the south asia center. we want to look at what india's view is, pakistan, afghanistan, the gulf states are thinking about iran and how they can help this relationship and the engagement between the west and iran. i also want to thank, again, the project directer for the iran task force, mark brzezinski, who had to be in china, unfortunately, and missed this first launch. so we want to thank him and my