tv Today in Washington CSPAN November 16, 2010 6:00am-9:00am EST
think, that newt gingrich did not want george h. w. bush to get the presidency. no, this was a 91. he didn't want him to win it again in 92 because he saw that in 94 they could be these big gains in the midterm. so, but i actually think, i was glad all party considerations aside, i thought it was bad for anyone party to hold control of the house for four decades with an unbroke ends brach, and that you saw the results and what was happening within the house democratic caucus. there was, you know, there were some practices taking hold a sense of entitlement that was corrupting. so, then you know, when the democrats, right before this by the way, but wasn't just a 92 group that we thought was
delusional. there was a couple of moderate republican political scientist who wrote it look and i think it was 91 called the permanent minority. do you remember that? >> it came out 94 but it had a question mark in a timely way. it was a permanent republican voter. >> along the same lines, two friends of mine actually wrote a book in the mid-decade that we just finished that was about the permanent domination of republicans for years to come, and than that was right before 2006, which make me glad i never get the urge to write it look like that, or at least not one that can be proven false in the next election. so, that the minorities -- so it has been a great experience to see this swing back and forth. in 95 arguably the republicans
over reached just as democrats are having been accused at doing now. i think there was an even bigger argument for the house republicans overreaching in 95, and partly it goes to what bob said about the difference then versus now, which is that there there -- what i saw happen in 95 is that you had house republicans, including the chairman, who had no idea really it seemed how to govern, how to be a majority and a lot of them, or at least some of them, had just about become, they were potted plants in the committee. will give you one example where a committee i watch closely with with the house ways and means and the larger. he had just spent both by the democrats domination and his own inclination just took himself out of any role whatsoever in that committee, so in january of 1995, i remember chasing after him after he had just made an announcement right after they took power that the ways and
means committee was going to cut something on the scale of 245 billion out of medicare in five years. and something i just thought was not possible. and, so it quickly became obvious in the thing with newt gingrich couldn't check them either because newt gingrich had never been much involved in policy. so i think the budget breakdown later that year proved that they were wrong. i remember my colleague, when i was covering congress than for "the wall street journal" and my colleague day in and day out on the hill with david rogers who was arguably the best-known longest-serving congressional reporter ever. he is now at politico. and he and i were always like getting angry because we were getting these divides and directly hearing from the mothership in new york. we just didn't get it, that there was a revolution going on and our stories worth reflecting what was happening. david and i have, just because
we have been around in the nitty-gritty of politics, me since 90 -- 1984 and date since 1989, and we just knew that they couldn't -- you can never be sure but we sure couldn't say how they were going to be able to do what they had promised they could do. so i think it is a good thing now that they are taking over at a time when their memories are so recent as to how to be a majority, but i think in a lot of ways they seem to be taking the message that they have a mandate that i don't see, and my duty on election night was to write the exit polls story. those exit polls more than most were just full of mixed messages, you know and there was, you know, a big four out of 10 voters said they wanted more spending, not deficit reduction or tax cuts. there was a big, about the same percentage.
i should have reviewed the numbers before i came in here. it was a majority, about 52% when you combine the number who said they didn't want any of the bush tax cuts to be extended and those who wanted just a middle-class extended, which leaves the minority to do with the republican majority now wants to do. so i think the other thing is i'm really interested in watching every time is different. what i'm really interested now in watching is how these republicans deal with something -- you know i'm used to watching congress as an institution. is very and were driven. the numbers themselves have external pressures but it is a very -- there are a lot of internalized and institutional factors that come into play, in part because the public isn't playing that close attention. but, i have never seen a situation or an environment where the majority of party in congress is going to be so
watched over by a group and that of course is the tea party and people who are sympathetic to what they stand for. and they have been very blunt in saying you no we are not republicans. we happen to share a lot in common with republicans and if they don't you know, if they don't do what they promised us they will do then there will be trouble. one thing as a reporter i think is another healthy thing, and again it is all policy and partnership aside, is the extent to which when you are in the minority and in particular especially in the house and i think we are just talking about the house here, we in the press don't pay any attention to them, next to none and especially when you have an agenda as an activist as the democrats have had both by necessity and
inclination for the past two years. and i will give you just one example that shows what is really sort of a benefit of having divided government from a journalist standpoint. there has been a lot of things said by republicans over the last two years, that if we have the time and if our editors have the interest we could write and say it is not quite right. you know, this is rhetoric. this is not really fact-based. but like i say, there are just no appetite in no time for it but recently i was going over the list of the proposed cuts to see where republicans, to try to figure out where this promised $100 billion in domestic discretionary cuts would come from. one of the largest cuts on their list is $25 billion by repealing, the 25 billion in savings i repealing a particular welfare program. so i looked at it, and it turns out this welfare program,
$2.5 billion a year, was actually part of the stimulus program, a two-year program, $2.5 billion divided over two years. now, to be fair, the republicans, i mean democrats in the house did try to extended for a year or two because unemployment remains at 10% in this particular welfare program was aimed at long-term jobless families. but they failed. republicans lost it and in any case the program died on september 30. you cannot balance the budget by getting rid of programs that don't exist. now normally i would just laugh and say, oh my god and roll my eyes but now that they are majority and i'm trying to figure out where they are going to cut, i mean that would have would have been one for the -- 100 billion is the amount they are talking for when you are so this is 25 billion. what they did is take 2.5 billion multiply by 10 and that is 25 billion in tenure
savings. so i wrote about it. i would have never written about that for the past two years even though things like that have been out there and i think that is good. i called the republican leadership staffer and asked, can you justify this? why did you propose this as saving that much money? he said just like he said, the democrats did try to extended. and i said, yeah, and they failed so when you are the majority just try getting cbo to score that for you. [laughter] one of the questions don asked us to look at was whether reapportionment, and i thought i would address it since it is coming up, the first time i covered pre-apportionment was 1981 in the texas legislature when it was still a one-party democratic state and the republicans were just starting to make and roads but then in 1982 they would lose every statewide seat. but that was the last time, that
was the last straw for democrats in texas. but, the question is whether it will, whether the talk of the importance of computer manipulated district lines to advantage of one party over the other is overblown and i would say absolutely not with the caveat that a wave election can undo the best, most precise computer redistricting and gerrymandering as we saw in 1994 and 2006 and now in 2010. but the fact is, the combination of redistricting, which has segregated the wings of both party and to so many districts except your apps for you know two or three dozen, together with the realignment, political realignment in our country since the civil rights era, has made i think the prospect of more of these turnover elections for the house more common, for better and worse. you have you know, the house
republicans are the most conservative of conservatives. just as the democrats, except when they have it take influx of moderates on the wave election, the combination of 2006 in 2008. a lot of members said even they were saying didn't really deserve -- wouldn't have a long hold in the seat, that they were just two republican leaning. so you get the situation where you have you have the wings of each party in these districts. they are virtually one-party district and then the activists are looking closely at what they do and they have high expectations. and when the party that is the majority doesn't meet those expectations, isn't liberal enough for us and conservative enough they get depressed. midterm election comes along with no presidential candidates at the top to bring voters out and the activists, who are for the majority, who have disappointed them, they stay home, and lot of them.
and conversely that minority voters get energized and they come out. we saw that happen in 94. it disadvantaged the democrats and now in 2010 once again to the disadvantage of democrats. so i think we are in you know very much the opposite of what i first expected when i started my career where i would never see a republican majority. i think i'm seeing a republican majority now for the second time and i think i will see them in the minority again before my career is over, specially since i'm going to be working long past 65 since i won't be able to afford -- [laughter] i would just close with one thing. and i have to say when i first got to know bob walker, when he was in the house and e. newt gingrich were in the conservative opportunity society, i really didn't like what i thought they represented
because i thought there should be some more accommodation. but, i have, if little bit closer to where he is just as a citizen, because another thing that is very much changed and i'm sort of ripping here so i apologize and then i will sit down so you can answer questions. but when i first started my career, a truism was there is not a dimes worth of difference. there is no daylight between the two parties. think about that. nobody would say that now. i don't think they would. well, some of the people in the french parties. so, so i think it is good but i think we are in danger or we have party taken it too far and i'm going to go out on a limb at the risk of sounded like i i am it's expressing an opinion. if there's one time i think people should accommodate each other it is in times of national crisis. i think that period from late 2008 to early 2009 was just such a period.
and i just want to give four examples to where i think the republicans did not accommodate or at least try -- and we can all stipulate that the democrats didn't go far enough, that barack obama despite some initial outreach seemed an part encouraged by his party, decide there was nothing in it and he might as well just like clinton decided, in his first year, that he would just go it alone. but think about the things that have been issued in this election. stimulus. the stimulus bill, the first person to put on the map that we needed a big stimulus was none other than martin feldstein the chairman of ronald reagan's council of economic adviser. on halloween day i remember in the "washington post" he wrote that we needed 300 billion in pure spending, no tax cuts.
nobody on the democratic party had said anything approaching that, and so by the time, and the economy is getting worse by the weeks go by the time democrats came and they were looking at something on the scale of a trillion dollars but they made one third of the tax cuts in part because barack obama i think many people have argued to me made the mistake of negotiating with himself, thinking that aside, instead of letting republicans with the tax cuts and the stimulus he put the men and then didn't want to go much further. they threw in the amt release for chuck grassley and a lot of good that did them. the health care bill, people talk about government takeover and how this was a liberal pill. just as the liberals how liberal it was. i cover the 94 health care debate. that will that past is so similar. if you don't have to take my word for it. they will tell you. republicans in the senate, bob dole, john chaffee and 21 other
senate republicans cosponsored a bill that is practically within individual mandate. that was their alternative to the democrats employer mandate. the fiscal commission. you have the mcconnell staff and where mitch mcconnell and seven other republicans in the senate who had once cosponsored the idea of a fiscal commission in voted against the plan the idea that democrats and financial regulation. again and arguably moderate hill, just as the liberal democrat and one that i think there was some work in the senate, could have been more involving republicans. but i know from two republican senators that on the banking committee that when they thought they had a deal they were called into mitch mcconnell's office in reined in. so i just think this has been, this period this sort of worries me for the future when i see the kind of decisions that the fiscal commission as illustrated by its package. we are going to have to be
making in the next few years, and i just came from a briefing at the residence of the ambassador of the european union and he was talking, because there is going to be this summit in lisbon this weekend, and he was saying that europeans are very very worried about the prospect for a dysfunctional american government. and, and i think they should be and i think we should be, and it is just very difficult though to know you know when do you accommodate and when do you not? i look forward to your questions. [applause] >> before i open it up to the floor i want to give our other earlier analysts a chance to make comments on anything that has been said after them. congressman walker? >> let's go to questions. >> to you have any follow-up comments on anything that was set before? >> i just wanted to make a
comment on the dilatory tactics that we have seen from the grass up there. it is increasingly the minority school to make the majority inoperable, unable to function, not pass the appropriation bills, not just in time but even during the year in which the fiscal year has begun. and i think this is a trend that is bipartisan, and is terribly destructive. it isn't that people are offering amendments to make a shift in priorities within an appropriations bill. it is amendments which amount to a filibuster. countless, almost repetitive amendments that caused my geordie to say we don't have the time to spend a week on the energy and water appropriations bill and therefore it gets rolled into an omnibus.
there is no conference for the senate any more. all of the things that used to make of this kind of legislating i think an important success for the congress has been sort of put it out of the realm of reason and largely because i think minorities conclude that the most important thing they can do is make sure that the majority fails, capital f broadly and that is becoming more important than whether or not they actually accommodate the minority in any concept of amendments or changes to law, and i think this is really sort of escalation of what we used to see. and i think it is reminiscent of an era that we are and, where polarization is so deep in the country, and so much a part of our media, cable and the blogosphere that it is really what the two-party basis jackie was talking about, the computer driven redistricting.
they may see some changes. california has the commission now for congress. florida has passed a constitutional amendment that might change this by requiring districts to have a little bit more integrity based on population in cities and counties. but the bottom line here is the polarization that we now see in the congress has led us to a point where this is the norm. make sure the majority fails. it is not so important as to what you have to offer as much is that they don't succeed. i think that is a very troubling change that i have seen in the last 10 years. >> if i might though,, the antidote to that though is to allow free and open debate in the congress. i think where the mistake has been made by both parties as one nation down free and open debate, loud germane amendments to come to the floor. i would say to jackie on the health care bill, financial
bailout was all written in backrooms. the republicans had no input to them whatsoever, none. and so then they bring them to the floor and the absolutely close process and expect people expect the republicans to say okay, fine. the country needs it. what you need to do is bring these bills to the floor and allow them to be debated, allow people to bring them in. that is what forces the minority to come up with alternatives at that point. if they don't have to come up with alternatives in all u.s. them to do is to vote up or down on the bill, but if you put a bill out there they have to come up with solutions. they have to allow for amendments that put them on the line for what they stand for, and i think when the republicans shut down the process on the democrats and the democrats over the last two years with only one bill permitted on the floor under a modified open rule, one
bill was brought to the floor in the last two years, and it was a fairly minor science committee bill. now, that just is not legislating and it is certainly not the way in which you assure an adequate policy process. >> let me just follow up on what was said though. the appropriations process was really shut down completely. there were only two bills that got to the floor and were adopted and those were under restrictive rules, which was done to i think prevent you know the type of filibuster by amendment you are worried about that there is the fear, i understand, that once you put these out there they are so filled with earmarks and there were people that want to get a vote on every one of those and that could go on and on and on. the majority does have the ability to restrict those and they have done that in the past, but now we are not even willing to do that. is that what what you saw unfolding? >> well i think what i've seen as a brake down of the committee
leadership working across the aisle with the ranking republican in this case. i think we have seen the end of the ability of the majority and minority on each subcommittee to work together to get their bill. and we have seen the end of the kind of discussions that routinely took place between the leaders of the speaker, the leader of the minority. they would in effect orchestrate what was needed to get comedy on the floor. ..
>> they are written in leadership offices. the only people that participate is maybe some of the majority members. but certainly nobody from the minority there that's permitted to have a say in what the legislation looks like. and that is going to lead to a revolt immediately by the minority. we didn't have any input, why should we be for anything that's in the bill. and my suggestion is the way that you get around some of the intense partnership is to allow everybody to have their say, and allow a real policymaking to take place. and if it takes two or three weeks on the floor, it takes two or three weeks. sometimes you might have to keep the house in session for 18 hours a day in order to do this and tire the members out. you have have a better product if the chance bets to work it's will. >> i don't agree with that.
the task force approach to writing laws was part of the newt gingrich genius. breaking down the committee. making sure the chairman no longer helps. the two or three day week was hard to change when everybody was worried about going washington. live at home, make sure you don't spend any time there getting to know the other guy. >> that was a west coast thing. on the east coast, we've had the tuesday/thursday club for as long as i've been around. >> well, in that case, let's open it up to the audience. please wait for the microphone. give your name and affiliation. let's start up here. he gave away your name already. >> thanks, don. two-part question. congressman fazio, based on your comments is the word
bipartisanship merely a pipe dream? >> i think it's going to be in this period of economic distress in our country, a very important thing that i hope will prevail on some occasions. i think it's going to be a very rare occasion. but maybe essential. i'm afraid that we have come a long way from bipartisan relationships, let alone ability to work together and accomplish things together. >> and for congressman walker, mr. boehner has said, congressman boehner has said that he's going to return the power to the chairman. the committees are now going to have the power. so does this mean that someone is going to be the adult as we are going to go back to -- mr. boehner going back to picking up what you just spoke about. you are going to go back to the committees. you are going to do the laws there. >> well, you certainly said that. you certainly said he's going to open up the processes on the floor.
i hope he means it. he's a former committee chairman himself. he has seen that process work. for john boehner and george miller to actually work together on legislation is somewhat of an example of the fact that bipartisanship can work. >> kennedy too. >> yeah. >> even in very, very philosophical bases and with very activist members. the committees are a place to hammer out some of this intensely partisan debate. and then maybe come up with some compromise bills. so i think john means that absolutely. i think the congress will be better for it. >> make an announcement. i'll just add that i believe this mr. boehner when he becomes speaker will be the first speaker of the house since the 1970s to serves both in the
majority and the minority in the house twice. perhaps this will further reinforce majority today is minority tomorrow. it's best to be fairer to the minority for that reason. >> i do think john is a much more institutional leader that we've seen in recent republican leaders. he has been part of bipartisan compromise. i had will, however, it's usually when he had a republican president. now will be the time to see if he can, as bipartisan as when he's a democratic. >> okay. other questions. let's bring the microphone over here. >> hi, monte tripp with wexler and wolfer. when you have a majority, the republican house minority was left out of all negotiations. they were nonexistent. do we anticipate the same kind
of triangulation under the democratic president with a democratic senate and a republican house majority. >> you mean will obama stiff nancy pelosi? is that what you are asking? y guesstimates? >> there will be some tough times. and i think if you really knew the relationship that rahm emanuel and nancy had developed and the fact that they had some tough times in the first two years, i think you can only imagine how difficult it will be when their political interests may differ. i think i've always assumed that the party in power needs to govern to be reconfirmed in power. and need to be able to show accomplishment. that's certainly in obama's interest. everybody knows with his volatility, he could be re-elected after two years. on the other hand, it's not
always in the interest of the certainly minority democrats in the house to buy into every compromise that he wants to engage in. in some cases, they would be better off politically drawing the bright line just as john boehner has in the last two years. >> i think that's true. and the question will be whether or not given the circumstances that they have, whether or not they really want to be spear carriers. they don't have the votes to accomplish it. the question will be weren't that's not -- will be whether or not that's the role they want to play or play the role of defines himselfs to be against that which the republicans are trying to do. and leave it up to the administration for the things they can't accomplish in the house. >> he needs to get back the independence. that's job one. but at the same time, he cannot -- he has to do something to get
back the excitement of the base. now i think one thing the white house is counting on, i know they are counting on it, it's not a bad bet, the republicans will governor in a house in a way that excites the base for them to get, you know, -- there's nothing. what's the saying in politics? there's nothing that motivates voters like anger and fear. both of those things, you know, could be emotions that come into play as they watch house republicans depending on how they govern. >> okay. other questions in the back? but for a moment if they look at the senate since senate dole's
name came up. many things he was famous for was being able to sit down on the table that he'd rather leave with half a loaf than no loaf. now you get the sense if we talk about the republican's not having too much input in the house bill in health care, you certainly could not say that about the senate bill. and yet compromise at this point in time seems to be making concessions, but not getting any support. is that when compromise is headed, we were still going to preserve the issue at the extense of legislation? >> if i could jump in quickly. because that gives me an opportunity to say to bob when he took issue with what i said about the comment. he was speaking to the house. i probably got too far, i was talking about the senate. those were -- i was thinking about the activities and months and months of it to get republican votes in the senate.
i think it's -- i don't know how -- whether it's house republicans or senate republicans are going to want to compromise. i think a lot of the people that were elected, they don't have that inclination. they don't see grounds for compromise. those republicans whom i know want to do, you know, cut deals are -- they are looking at -- you say two words to them. bob bennett. and who lost his seat in the republican convention in utah, yet for two cents, one was voting for t.a.r.p.. the other was simply so co-sponsoring with ron white and rob oregon. you can see what was said about mike castle, lisa murkowski, she'll be back. look what it took. anyway, i think it's simply
enough. i've talked to so many tea party members. they don't want to see compromise. granted, they are not totally in challenge. i think they are oversized influence over the republican party right now. >> let's remember when we were talking about the work that was known senate, basically the democrats tried to pick off two or three republicans. you know, they worked with them and tried to bring them in. there was not much of an effort made to try to work with the totally where the philosophical issues come to mind. they picked out three or four republicans that they thought shared closest to their philosophical base and tried to work with them. that's not the kind of compromise that ends up being true bipartisanship. all you've done then is made those people praias in their own party for having gone with the democrats. the real bipartisanship that has
to be demonstrated here is a bipartisanship that understands that the republicans come from a philosophical base and begin to work with them on the basis of the reality of their positions. and not simply trying to pick off one or two so as to get enough votes over 60. >> the great irony is the process actually helped the republicans, because it prolonged the period, it made the process ugly, it gaves months and months of opportunity to go on national television saying they are cutting your medicare. which frankly, created the atmosphere in which the democrats couldn't succeed. >> i agree with that. i agree with that. >> yeah. >> it was a very bad strategy for the administration to have pursued it that way. again, i come back to the right strategy is to allow real bipartisan activity to take place. that's what happens most often in the committee structure rather than in a general kind of
leadership led effort. >> okay. other questions. yes, over here. >> hi, i'm paula felt with the dispute resolution service at berk. >> we need you, paula. [laughter] >> i was wondering about the use of mediation in the committee process. if you had neutrals come in and had them work with both parties and you, you know, looked beyond position and look to interest and what could really help the national scene, the national, you know, come up with really concrete national policies. it would be a collaborative effort as opposed to the democrats say this, the republicans say that. what would be so bad about that? actually having the new freshman come in have conflict resolution training. you can have people from pepperdime, georgetown, would
love to come and teach the skills. it's their nature to be confrontational in their campaigns. they have just come off of the campaigns trails. why not try to give them these skills to move forward and get something done instead of having the gridlock? >> congressman walker is from the science committee. he has looked at things similar top do they work in congress. as far as mediators to resolve disputes? >> not very well. the constitution system was designed as an adversarial system. three separate branches, all of whom are adversarial, the congress and senate that hate each other. institutional, but they hate each other because they operate on very different planes, and so upon of so you have that
adversarial. you throw in the differences that truly do exist in politics, then you put a lay your of partisan differences and it's hard to say that you are going to have, you know, conflict management in that kind of situation. you know, it seems to me again that the way in which you cool it off is to allow everybody to have their say. most people get the most frustrated if they don't have a chance to have their say. you know, because i used to operate. i lost a lot. you know, i offer a lot of amendments. i lost all the time. and so on. i figured i had a chance to make my point. maybe somebody else would recognize the wisdom. didn't happen very ann. at least i had my shot. the way in which you were going to get congress back to a tradition that actually makes sense is when you get to a
situation where you can, in fact, have a good debate on the floor, fazio and i can debate on the floor. have lunch. i can say you got to admit i really got you on the last point. i really did. >> i'm not your dad. >> but that's the way that the process ultimately should work if you really do have a sense of true debate. >> part of the problem is if you look at the polls coming out of the election, overwhelming majority of republicans want their member to stand firm and not compromise. democrats, wishy washy. on the other hand, would like to see everyone come together and find common ground. that's not likely to produce the kind of accommodative environment when dispute resolution could work. in part of the people that come to congress probably even more dispose to stand firm on both
sides of the aisle than the people who elected them. i think the people who have come back as part of the incoming republican class, bob and i were talking about this earlier. heavily inexperienced in government of any sort. they know why they were nominated. they know why they were elected. and they are coming to town to accomplish something. whether or not they can do that may a lot to do with whether they come back. certainly that's their mo right now. they are not about to compromise with people who they really don't like very much. >> remember, the other thing to remember, you are dealing with 535 egomaniacs. it takes a huge ego to get up and decide that 700,000 people are prepared to represent you in congress. it's one the great frustrations of leadership is dealing with that reality. it also plays a role in all of this. >> didn't the moderates at one
point when they existed in congress play the dispute resolution role at mediating role finding some common ground. that's not there that the parties do stand so much apart and different from each other. >> it happens within party caucuses. i know the democrats, for example, knew that abortion would be a terribly difficult issue to handle on the health care reform bill. and people were asked -- and people of goodwill on both sides of the issue, both in the party, were tasked with dealing with this problem to the resolution over a year and a half. and couldn't get there. in this case, the pro-life community. it became a very significant issue in the elections or the decision to retire on the part of a number of pro-life democrats who voted for this bill. who would have expected jim oberstar tour -- to be defeated.
he'd been a pro-life democrat his whole life. this became a devicive issue. even when the parties try to resolve the issues, it's very hard to get a handle on it. >> can i add? to think about in terms of tradeoffs. for all of the commit -- criticisms, we had several decades ago folks like moderates, don wolfensberger mentioned the party leaders who was goal was to prevent that sort of thing. often the criticism was the parties don't stand for anything. the democrat activist and republican activist, what's going on. you are republican. you are voting with democrats. i want to know what party you stand for. where are you going? now we have the alternatives, almost like a parliamentary system. you have choices. you don't have that problem. now there's a concern about lack of comedy, lack of agreement. it maybe impossible to achieve
all of the things that we want. to remember if we want to go back to a system in which there was more cross. -- more cross-party agreement. you may lose something in the process. >> yes, back to thomas barack -- thomas bracket reed. he did not care for the minority very much even when he was in the minority. he saw it as obstructing everything. he thought the minority should be able to work his will. he used a line that was often quoted when i worked for jerry solomon, and joe was the democratic chairman. he loved to dig up reed quotes. reed had high regard for the minority. well, according to your former speaker, thomas reed, the only right of the minority is to draw the pay. the only duty is to make a quorum. of course, solomon would get riled at that. that was sort of the at constitute towards the minority
back when you have another era of party governance in the congress. other questions? tom before you, did you have your hand up? >> no. >> okay. >> hi, dave riverwood, i was wonder if any of you could comment on the tea party? republicans, or another minority party? >> where's the tea party movement going as far as let's start with the influence in congress? then maybe you could speculate as to it's broader influence around that. >> look, if my opinion, the tea party has been wonder. back in nixon, they were called the silent majority. the reagan democrats. then the perot, then the republican revolution, then the people who voted for obama. there are a lot of independents who have had a similar feeling about the debt and deficit of
the country over a long, long period of time. they have expressed in a variety of ways. they haven't organizationed themselves into a separate party. the interesting thing about the tea party, it maybe def in definitional. they are organizationed virtually through the internet. and it allowed them to communication, allowed them to act in common to the. they really are not organizationed under a particular leadership. in order for them to move into the party status at some point in the future, they would have to unite around some kind of a leadership model. i don't know that they are prepared to do that. now it could be if the republicans totally fail in doing what they have said that they are going to do in the congress, that they -- that there will be leadership develop that will try to take the tea
party in the direction of a third party movement. but i think we have to wait and see what the performance of the republicans is. and the republicans recognize that they the tea party has given them kind of a second chance. but it's not just a second chance, it's perhaps their only chance. >> they were not very happy with george w. bush, they didn't like t.a.r.p., certainly. they certainly weren't happy about republican congresses increases earmarks and spending. they certainly, probably didn't like paying for the drug benefit off of the books or paying for the wars in afghanistan and iraq off of the books. but they weren't energized until the economy came along and knocked their housing values down, made their employment uncertain, cut their 401(k)s. those were threatening things. they needed it get off of the bench and get into the game on behalf of someone who spoke
about debt and deficit avenue -- deficit after all of the debt and deficit that was balanced. who's going to pick up for president? i think their members will fight some very visual battles in congress to try to reaffirm the support that they've had from this group. who will be their presidential candidate? if they get someone who they are not enamored with, they could support the third party. >> perot had a third party. >> mr. walker's point is taken. i'd go back as far as the liberty league on the fdr. folks who opposed the new deal. the differences between then and now are severalfold. one was the liberty league was top down. where as you noted, the tea party is bottom up. which has given them flexibility. also the second thing, fdr and
democrats were much more skillful and aggressive in trying to neutralize the liberty league which made them less effective. and also the economic crisis was far, far greater. there was a republican senator after the 1934 midterms when the democrats won seats which was unusual. the senate said we all thought about the constitution. people can't eat the constitution. those kinds of differences make the tea party more influential. i think it's importance to think about what their influence is. as jackie mentioned, their influence is all over the map. it's not clear they turned out in great numbers and that led to their election. the influence is in who they nominated. and those candidates who have said they need to align themselves or claim their alignment. if that respect, the influence could be greater. these members feel personally they are connected with the
movement. and their behavior will be watched by those groups. and so in that respect, they could have some influence. but yeah it's probably a little early to say exactly what's going to happen in the coming months. >> jackie, do you have anything to add? >> no, but i was -- as several people commented on. i thought in terms of the polarization, as i journalist here, i'm -- i am feeling lately the extent to which the changes in journalism as it practiced have reinforced the polarization and to the extent that you have, you know, when you have this almost quasi parliamentary form, and each side is dedicated to seeing the other side fail. they get set on sides that are more rhetoric than reality. yet you have the media outlets that more and more people are going to, they are like
boutiques where the media outlets that most says to them what they -- you know, that reinforced your own biases. i think that's dangerous. meanwhile, all over the country newspapers are in financial straights and haven't figured out how to make money off of the internet advertising yet. and they are losing subscribers. because people just are not interested in -- and don't trust and disagree with my premise of the balanced reporting. so it's -- they are all started out. >> the jefferson had their own newspapers. the gentleman back here had a question. yeah. >> can you drop some parallels
between the election and what happened in the '70s when you a problematic liberals come in and essentially split the democratic party? who are the prospects of that on the gop side. do you see the tea party pulling boehner, well, not the folks behind him. canter would go that direction. do you see splitting the democratic party and giving rise to more moderates or on the republican side? >> well, i mean i think in the initial phases here, the republican leadership is doing a pretty good job of pulling together the majority. i mean they've got 84 new members to work with. a lot of whom came out of activist movements. and part of their genius of this will be sitting down and trying to figure out what the agenda looks like. and not to over analyze what
your mandate is. to some extent, in 1994, what happened to us is a little bit of hubris set in on what our agenda was and meant. you know, for example, i think the health care bill for many, many people out there was, in fact, a proxy for debt and deficit. there's no doubt that this particular majority has a mandate on government spending. how they interpret that is how they are able to hold together the caucus. allowing a lot of these people to work through the issues as part of the committee assignments. that also will tend to come together. so far it appears they are off
to a good start. >> here. >> larry oman at the wilson center. to what extent to the lobbyist play in terms for the members of senate and congress not having time to talk to each other and have lunch with each other because they have to spend so much time soliciting funds and getting re-elected. is there a large factor from the lobbyist that exaggerates what might have happened in past years? >> that's a very good question. two people here from the other side now. >> the dark side. [laughter] >> not the dark side. >> first of all, i'd say as a lobbyist, you don't see a lot of members these days. members are busy calling you for member a lot with a lot of other people that aren't lobbyist. you don't have a lot of time
when you are only in town a couple of days to sit down with lobbyist. they talk to your staff if they are fortunate enough to come in the door. money is a huge factor. it comes from the left perspective. but it would allow for matching funds, small donations, that can be parlayed into larger funds. you would therefore have to show support in the community, district, state, to get into the game. so it's not a free ride for fringe candidates. but it is a long way from enactment. and it may not even be something that this court would accept. so i don't see practically any alternative but to keep going down this road which is to say that members of congress spend far more now than ever before. a embryoing amount of town. simply raising funds for the
next, you know, wave election. >> yeah, i mean i agree with that. i think the fund raising has become obscene. and i would reject your idea that you force it off of the lobbying community and so on. i think all of us are concerned about the way in which money has tended to take the real intellectual ferment out of the process. i mean most of us would like to be talking about issues on the basis of the merits of the issue, and not on the basis of the fund raising. and, you know, a lot of the contacts that people have in this town with members of congress are at fundraising events. i regret that. i think that's bad. if i could have my way, i would ban lobbyist from giving money
to candidates, therefore, assure the lobbying was done on the basis of putting the subject matter before them and rather than having the money. i would also -- my reform of the type that vick talks about, my reform would be to not allow any candidate to have a fundraising committee. anybody running for office. have the political parties raise all of the money and portion the money out to their candidates and keep the fundraising one step removed from the policymaking progress. there are some things you could look at doing that seems to me would make some sense. >> if i could add very quickly, if your concern is about members who don't have enough time to interact and work together, spending time and fundraising would be a problem. that goes back before the rise of political action and massive amounts of money and campaigns. it goes back to the at least the
early, mid '70s. if you have new members who weren't as interested in interacting with others and they needed to focus on the district. as congressman walker mentioned, the tuesday/thursday club spreading outward and things like the house eliminating the quorum call. where it used to be members ask for the quorum. members come to the floor. there was no vote. there was an opportunity to meet and talk with other people on the floor. there were some substitutes to that. you don't see the floor as the place for the members to sit and interact and talk with each others as it used to be. that's a loss for members to get to know each other across the aisle. >> i would want to make one additional comment relating to spouses. certainly as it relates to lobbying reforms, our spouses are even more for the reform. >> the other factor on spouses, people don't think about the realitying of pulling out of keokuk, iowa, and moving to washington.
it isn't just taking johnnie out of high school, the spouse is employed. that's the reality of modern housing. two worker families. you just don't pull someone out of a career and move them to washington. that doesn't work very well. there are lots of cultural factors, jet aircraft, blackberries, cell phones, everything is sped up. people are just constantly connecting and the not dealing with each other as human beings in washington. which is what i think is at the route of the a lot of the inability to work together. >> let me follow that up, if you -- we agree that lobbyist don't like to have to be asked for money. members don't like to raise it. members do like to go back to the districts though. but it boehner's idea of spending more legislating in committees, is that realistic? are members going to push back saying i've got to spend more time back home, i still have to raise the money for my campaign? is it realistic that members
want to be legislators again? >> that's going to be a very heavy lift. i've been in the leadership rooms where we sat and listened to people who told us that, you know, unless you have real legislation to schedule on the floor, i don't want to be in town. let me get home to my district. you know, that will be a very, very heavy lift for the leadership to keep members in town long enough for them to actually participate in real substantive committee activity. and that's an open question. >> why did the democrats heavy down? they wanted space down. they knew it might be in the heal. it may have worked in some cases, certainly not in many. but the point is more and more, members with they are getting a hot blast from the district, if they are good and understand how they can mid gait that, --
mitigate that, they want to be there. monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday. >> this is going to be the test that we will see unfold in the next congress. before i ask y'all to join us for a reception to thank our panelist, i am going to inflict my poem. my ode to jefferson manual. thomas jefferson has the senate president foresaw conflict. he studied hard the british pres -- precedents, and filed a motion. with that, please join me in thanking our panel. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> british prime minister david cameron talks about combat operations in afghanistan.
>> british prime minister david cameron talked about the british economy and foreign policy issues at the annual lord mayor's dinner lord mayor's dinner with in london. the event is hosted by the new lord mayor of london, and held in honor of his predecessor. it's about 40 minutes. ♪ ♪ >> the queen. ♪ a
♪ce for the >> pray silence for the right honorable lord mayor. [applause]my lat >> my late lord mayor, your minter, grace, my lord chancellor, mr. speaker, your excellencies, my lords, alderman, sheriffs, chief commissioner, ladies andn, gentlemen.lf on behalf of our to sheriffs, we welcome you all to the guildha guildhall. prime minister, it is a particular pleasure to welcome you and mrs. cameron. thank you for joining us for your first time as primeor minister.
[applause]gater we gather here tonight in this remarkable symbol of the city,, guildhall, a hall of history, a place of commerce and cooperation. next year we will celebrate the 600th anniversary of the present building, the 30 stand on thisd summit. guildhall august the cities men and women, people of alland wme, backgrounds and classes, who have dared in dreams, worked and d, struggled to help provide for their families, and to build a greati nation.it it is a sight of living historyn and one of the most powerful symbols of our country.s of or we gather here as part of thepat passage of responsibility from one lord mayor until the next, k 118cess that extends back to 1189, and9. the 683rd time that
the articles of this great ins f ancient office have beenbeen oxchanged. h tonight's dinner is in honor of the late lord mayor. he has left a legacy of contributions, especially espe through his actions to increasec commerce and trade between there city and other countries.ountrs. he has also been a champion off philanthropy, helping numerous organizations, especially through his picture-perfectect initiative. his wife claire has been a model lady, supporting the lord mayor in so many worthwhile causes in her own right. [applause] [applause] >> this is my happy duty to remind the gathering of the late lord mayor's achievements. one of which was running the new
york city marathon. that is an achievement that lord mayor will not be repeating. [applause] >> on behalf of my wife barbara and myself, on behalf of the civic and business, and behalf of the citizens and london, many thanks to the late lord mayor for a lovely job done. [applause] [applause] >> the late lord mayor often spoke of preparing for the future. one year ago in his speech before you, he asked that we undertake a long-term vision for the city. mindful that our task is to get the right balance between looking at the problems of the past and finding a way to solve those that we face in the future. i agree. the city must settle for nothing less than a great and
>> the world will see london as never before. created, organized, welcoming, and tolerant. the world will see a multicultural nation with one the most diverse capitals. they must see a model of progress, decency, social justice, and political decorum. they must see a city of financial stability for exciting future open for investment. and a city that meets it's obligations to those in need. frankly, in the financial markets, the world is already watching. looking to the city of london for leadership and stability, reassurance, and responsibility, transparency in the highest levels of provety. we have just survived a
shattering shock of a worldwide recession. it has been turbulent and difficult. during the turbulence, that has been some who have predicted a slow agonizing death for the city. claiming that we have been over taken by events and our competitors. these are premature and they are also wrong. this is a city that has a strong and steady heartbeat. our workers are amongst the best in the world, reliability, productive, and well trained. we have visionary and dynamic leadership throughout the city. this is a city that's energetic and hard at work 24 hours a day. we know the city continues to provide national and international leadership. it contributes 60 billion pounds each year. 60 billion pounds that pays for schools, hospitals, roads, and much more. even in the difficult year, of
2009, net exports of the uk financial services were the second highest, covering 50% of the cost of imported goods from abroad. 41 billion pounds. and exports will be vital to our continued recovery. a recovery that will depend on trade and investment. these are the city that is will fund the trade in investment. the city can do all of this and more. we had the right products to our meet our present challenges. we lead the world in insurance, sustainable finance, public/private partnerships, foreign exchange and more. and private, you see our great strength in guildhall tonight, the men and women who are the city who give the city it's life, it's verdict, and it's resilience.
together we can influence the history of our future. places of history that can make history again by providing opportunities, jobs, and hope. the market was one silent and direct. now is a vibrant place where people gather, people make a living, children play, voices carry, we have made a neighborhood and a community. this can happen anywhere in london. we must dream large and cast aside skepticism. and one way we can do this is through renewed and better infrastructure. we must do more to maintain and improve our city's infrastructure. that is a perennial challenge. commerce flows into the city and out. through our roads, railways,
bridges, and air force. they are depended on and determined by infrastructure. we must member that infrastructure pays for itself. one pound spent on construction brings two pounds 84 back into the economy. 92% of which is spent in the united kingdom. infrastructure is more than investment. it's a powerful engine of economic and social change. prime minister, that's why we are delighted that the government's decision to go ahead with the cross rail and to continue the upgrade the two. [applause] [applause] and the city can also lead the world in environmental responsibility. our economic growth if responsible and ecofriendly requesting a -- ecofriendly can
be a model for the world. we will be conscious and environmentally aware. if we do this, we will create jobs, good jobs. in doing so, we will help to save our planet. london must be a leader in green technology and environmental friendly practices. this is our chance to be creators and innovators. and maybe we can be a bit old fashioned too. i hope that some of you rode a bike here tonight. [laughter] >> they are more than transformation, they are a message for our care for the environment. we have much to do. we face demanding challenges inn the rapidly changing world. we must create the right conditions for startups and new enterprises. we must convince more businesses
to locate here and final the balance in achieving intelligence and regulation. we need to find the right mix of predictability and taxation. we have to build a sound, prudent, and working relationship with brussels and the g20. ensuring our partners honor their commitment as the country is doing. otherwise, we risk losing as an competitive edge. we must build solid and lasts bridges to the world. and if immigration is to be capped, we must find a way for the city's international firms to bring in the talent that they need. we must not reach a tipping point where the uk's well established businesses find the perceived or actual risks, drive them out. that would be a tragedy for the uk. and for the world. we also have to be aware of those who have been left behind
in our society. a stronger economy, will provide more opportunity to people living on the margins. and i applaud you prime minister and the coalition government for your vision of the big society. this is in tune with the thoughts of our countries which still touch the lives of millions every year, providing help and support for the young, the old, the disabled, a superb armed forces, reserves, and cadets. the city corporation also played it's part in creating sustainable communities and supporting those in need, for example, through it's charitable arm, the city bridge trust and by establishing and supporting academies in isington, and hackley. my challenge to city is ask what
more we can do. the private sector has an increasingly role to play. especially at this time. one way to help is through charitable appeals, like one called bear necessities. [applause] [applause] >> building better lives. yes, i think i rather like the name. you probably saw the large bear in the lord mayor's show. this will principally support two charities supporting youngsters and people effected by natural disasters around the world. it is one way to help. for me charity appeals are a vital part of my work as lord mayor, as with the late lord mayor. it is work for us all.
this is a time of choice. and a time for choosing. choices about our city, our economy, and our environment, enormous challenges. let us make a powerful, positive, profound difference in the coming year together. thank you. [applause] [applause] [applause] [applause] >> and now it gives me great pleasure to invite everybody to rise and drink a toast to her majesty's judges. ministers. tell you what, majesty's ministers, i have too many judges in front of me. the toast is to her majesty's
daddy. what will tonight there be light and i said i don't know,nw darling. i haven't been to one of theseda before. but i have seen the plan.seati and i can tell you that you'llil be sitting next to someone and a it even more glamorous outfit than you mr own. [laughter] >> sheer tights, immaculate ti wade.week. i i think she was expecting debby campbell.campbell but instead she got kenneth. [laughter] gloc [applause] [applause] you are something of a new arrival.
i just hope your arrival into office was slightly smoother than mine. [laughter] in fact my abiding memory of those five days in may was the very last day, when there was something of a rush to get to buckingham palace and as i left buckingham palace, having seen her majesty on my way to number 10 downing street, i was desperately trying to remember the words i wanted to say on the steps of number 10 downing street. but just at that moment, my phone rang and an aging relative on the other line said, i've been watching the television darling and died knew you would be free to have a chat. [laughter] now i have just come back from visiting two of the fastest growing economies the world. china, with average growth of nearly 10% a year for the last
three decades and korea, which in 1960 had a gdp of only twice that of zambia, but which today has a gdp 40 times higher. in seoul i was at the g20, bringing together not only the united states and china but also brazil, south africa, india, russia. beijing and seoul replied advantage points to reflect on the huge changes sweeping our world. the rise of new great powers, the shifting balance of economic power and the tensions of globalization. this interconnected world, the world of restless markets so well represented here in this room tonight, is creating huge new opportunities for the countries that are able to seize
them. but this very same interconnectedness is creating new and more diverse threats to our security. that defies that was found on a plane at the east midlands airport, which we now know was a viable and dangerous bomb, rich in native in the yemen and was carried to the uae, to germany on to britain en en route to america. today, threats originating in one part of the world becomes threats in all parts of the world. as you are only too aware in the city comes to threats from cyberattacks has increased exponentially over the last decade. with last year alone accounting for more than half of all malicious software threats that have ever been identified. all of the shows how fast our world is changing, how much britain's interest depends on the interest of others and why
we need to maintain a global foreign-policy because our national interests are affected more than ever by events well beyond our own shores. now our national interest is easily defined. it is to ensure our future prosperity and to keep our country safe in the years ahead. the key question -- quest is how do we best advances national and just when the threats on the opportunities are evolving so fast before our eyes? now there are some who say that britain has embarked on an inevitable path of decline, that the rise of new economic powers is the end of reagan's influence on the world, that we are on some of fast zero-sum game in which we are bound to lose out. i want to take that argument head-on. britain remains a great economic power. show me a city in the world with stronger credentials than the city of london.
show me another gathering with the same lineup of financial, legal, counting, communications and other professional expertise. you know even better than me that written is a great trading force in the world. whereever i meet foreign leaders, they do not see it written shuffling apologetically off the world stage. on the contrary. they respect our determination to get our economic house in order so that we can remain masters of our nation's destiny. they can see the immense advantages of doing business with britain. we are already ranked first in europe for the ease of doing business and we intend to become the first in the world. we are cutting our corporation tax to 24%, the lowest in the g7, we are creating one of the most competitive corporate tax regimes in the g20, cutting the time it takes to set up a new business and scrapping the
needless red tape and excessive regulation that has held us back for too long. there is no reason why the rise of new economic powers should lead to a loss of british influence in the world. and neither is there any reason why our military power should be diminished. we have the fourth-largest defense budget in the world and remain one of only a handful of countries with the military technological and logistical means to deploy serious military force around the world. and on the day after remembrance sunday, i know everyone in this room will want to pay tribute to all those who have served and continue to serve our country. [applause] in terms of our role in the world, the truth is that many other countries would end the the cards that we hold.
not only the hard power of our military but our unique inventory about their assets all of which contribute to our political weight in the world. our global language, the intercontinental reach of our timezone, our world-class universities, the cultural impact around the world of the bbc, the british council and their great museums. the civil service and diplomatic service which are admired the world over for their professionalism and their impartiality. one in 10 of our citizens live permanently overseas, reflecting our long tradition of an outward facing nation with a history of deep engagement around the world, whose instinct to be self-confident and active well beyond our shores is in our dna. we said at the heart of the world's most powerful institutions, from the g8 to the g20, the nato, the commonwealth of the u.n. security council. we have a deep and close relationship with americans.
we are strong and active members of the european union, the gateway to the world's largest single market. few countries on earth have this powerful combination of assets and even fewer have the ability to make the best use of them. what i have seen in my first six months as prime minister is it written at the center of all the big discussions so i reject this thesis of decline. i firmly believe that this open networked world place to britain's strength that these vast changes in the world to me that we do constantly have to adapt. let me turn to -- we need to sort out the economy if we are to carry the weight of the world. economic weakness at home translates into political weakness abroad. economic strength will restore our respect in the world and our national self-confidence. so the faster we can get our domestic house in order the more substantial and credible our
international impact is going to be. but we also have to be more strategic and hardheaded about how we go about advancing our national interest. in recent years, we have made too many commitments without the resources to back them up, and we have failed to think properly across government about what we were getting ourselves into and how we would see it through to success. so in iraq, there was no plan for winning the peace. in afghanistan we fail to think through properly the implications of the decision to deploy into home on province in the summer of 2006. as a new government we should learn the lessons and make changes. i am not suggesting that we turn the country's entire foreign policy on its head. as leader of of the opposition i've always made clear to foreign leaders that there was a great deal of common ground between the policies of the government and the opposition.
we want an active foreign-policy that is staunch in its support for democracy and human rights as we have been for example in arguing for the release of the rights of the burmese people and was made a fantastic site on our television screens over the weekend to see. [applause] we want to foreign-policy that his vigorous in its efforts to address climate change which poses such a threat to humanity and which can only be dealt with by nations coming together. we will continue to build our special relationships with america. it is not just special, it is crucial because it is based on solid and practical foundations such as our cooperation on defense, counterterrorism and intelligence. but in other areas where we believe that britain's interest require a change of course, we
should lose no time at all in adjusting the national tiller accordingly. i want to highlight three areas this evening. first, we must link our economy up with the fastest growing parts of the world, placing our commercial interests at the heart of our foreign-policy. second, we must take a more strategic, and more hardheaded approach to our national security and apply that to our mission in afghanistan. third, we must focus more of our budget on to building security and preventing conflict. let me take each in turn. first a more commercial foreign-policy. this is not just about making britain an attractive place to invest. it is about selling britain to the world's too. some people think it is somehow grow brief to mix money and diplomacy. i say what it is harder than ever for our country to earn a living way to mobilize all the resources we can.
today, we trade more than with brazil, india and turkey combined. we are not made the nearly enough of the opportunities. that is why one of the first visits i made as prime minister was to india. the second fastest growing major economy in the world. i have also been to turkey which is growing at 11% this year and just last week i took one of the biggest and most high-powered delegations in our countries history to china. next year i plan to visit her cell and russia. we are also rebuilding our relationships with the countries in the gulf. they feel strong links with britain but have felt somewhat sidelined in recent years. i'm delighted her majesty the queen will visit the uae in armonk next week and i will be make in my own visit early next year. this is in just about what the monarch ministers arrived to. is about what our ambassadors, diplomats are hard-working staff at you kpi.
is what all of them do day in and day out in every country in the world. i have told them every time anyone representing britain needs a foreign counterpart forever how short a time i want them walking into that room armed with a list of things they are there to deliver for our country. others do this. we should too. when it comes to the european union we have shown in recent months how we are constructive and firm partners using our membership at the e.u. to defend and advance you can trust. and i can promise you this. we will stand up at each and every turn for our financial services industry and the city of london. london is europe's preeminent financial center and with this government i am determined it will remain so. [applause]
next, bring a more strategic approach to defending our national security. we set out for the first time a national security council which met on the first day of the government and hazmat we ever since. foreign foreign-policy, defense policy, domestic wolesi, development policy, all the decision-makers are pursuing disparate missions in different parts but sitting around a table together asking what is best for britain and working out how we can gear up the government machine to deliver for our national security. our first priority was to set a clear direction for military and civilian mission in afghanistan. the fact remains that we are still the second-largest second largest contributor to the nato-led force of 10,000 troops there, most of them in the most difficult part of the country. we are not there to build a perfect democracy, still a model
society. we are there to help afghans take control of their security and ensure that al qaeda can never again pose a threat to us from afghan soil. a hardheaded time-limited approach based squarely on the national interest. in august we transferred british forces out of sangin to enable them to concentrate in greater numbers in the central helmand where the bulk of the population lives and to share the burden more sensibly with u.s. forces across the province as a whole. i said our combat forces will be out of afghanistan by 2015. [applause] a truly strategic review of all aspects of security and defense. this was long overdue. it has been 12 years and for war since the last one. we started with a detailed orders of our national security. we took a clear view of the risks we face then we set
priorities, including a new focus on meeting on conventional threats from terrorism and cyberattack. we then take a detailed look at the capabilities we will need to deal with tomorrow's tragedies. yes we made some tough choices. we had to too given the budgetary mess we have inherited that we have ensured that our magnificent armed forces will always have the kick they need for the threats they face weather today in afghanistan or in the world of 2020. we will be one of the few countries able to deploy a fully equipped brigade sized force anywhere in the world. with the joint strike fighter in typhoon the raw air force will have the most capable combat aircraft money can buy backed by a new fleet of tankers and transport aircraft. the navy will have a new operational aircraft carrier, new type 45 destroyers and seven new nuclear-powered hunter killer submarines, the most advanced in the world. and we will renew trident our
ultimate insurance policy in an age of uncertainty. my determination is that britain will have some of us modern and flexible armed forces in the world, but our security does not depend on our military forces alone. that is why we have also given party to investment in our counterterrorism capacity and new programs to improve our resilience against cyberattacks and ensuring that our world leading intelligence agencies are able to maintain their brilliant work in disrupting threads and in keeping our country safe. and there is one more area where despite the economic pressures we face, this new government has been determined to hold firm our commitment to spend 7% of our gdp on a bike 2013. we will meet that target and for good reason. our aid program, like the activities of the myriad of
charitable aid organizations, literally save thousands of lives. it helps prevent conflict which is why we doubled the amount of our age budget spent on security programs in countries like pakistan and somalia. and for millions of people, our aid program is the most visible example of redden's global reach. it is a powerful instrument of our foreign-policy and profoundly in our national interest. that means pursuit of our national interest has been at the heart of everything i have said this evening. our foreign policy is one of hardheaded internationalism. enabling britain turn its way in the world, more strategic in its focus on meeting the new and emerging threats to our national security and firmly committed to upholding our values, depending britain's moral authority even in the most difficult of circumstances. above all, our foreign policy is
more hardheaded in this respect. it will focus like a laser on defending and advancing britain's national interest. that concept of national interest is of course as old as our nation itself, and i am conscious of the many prime ministers who have stood here before me and set out britain's national interest as they sought. many of them would have confronted circumstances even more perilous than those which face britain today but few perhaps one of dough or their world that is changing so fast. from beijing to seoul, from washing to two san paulo leaders must work out what it all means to their country and where the national insurance lies. when some people look at the world today, they are quick to prophesy dark times ahead, difficulties for britain. our foreign policy runs counter to that pessimism. we have the resources, commercial and cultural, to remain a major player in the
world. we have the relationships with with the most established powers and the fastest-growing nations that can better fit our economy, and we have the values, national values that swept slavery from the seas, that stood up to fascism and communism, that helped spread human rights around the planet that will drive us to do good around the world. with these drinks in our armory we can drive prosperity. we can increase our security. we can maintain our integrity. we are choosing ambitiously. far from shrinking back, britain is reaching out and far from looking back starry-eyed on a glorious past, this country can look forward clear-eyed
>> thank you. [applause] [applause] >> british foreign secretary william hague testified before the house of commons foreign affairs committee. about british strategy in afghanistan and pakistan. there are approximately 9000 british troops in afghanistan. this hearing is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> let's get going. and i welcome members of the public for this foreign committee inquiring into the uk's foreign policy towards afghanistan, pakistan. foreign secretary william hague and karen who is the director of south asia and afghanistan. foreign secretary, there are things, would you like to start? know, i know we're --
>> first of i want to thank you and your officials. >> very well since the people of the extra mile. it is much appreciated.p lord secretary, can ic- distinguish between what is often put to us with the al qaeda and taliban are beingre grouped together when, as youhe' will know, that they're very different, different beings. and the government justifies it intervention in afghanistan, al without them al qaeda would return to afghanistan anwd posea threat to national security. se. but a number of our witnesses have disagreed with this premise. what evidence have you got to suggest al qaeda, not taliban, al qaeda will return to afghanistan? >> it's impossible to have direct evidence of something that would happen in a
situation. but we do have the experience of what happened before, before 2001, when most of afghanistan was an up and -- ungoverned state or taliban governed state. we know al qaeda were able to set up their training camps and bases there. now based on that experience, it must be a reasonable suspicion that the same thing what happened again, particularly where al qaeda felt pressure in other areas. and so it would be a rash of service who said he knew this would not happen. and it is fair to set any conditions that president karzai has set out for political settlement in afghanistan, that taliban and others associated with them should renounce al qaeda and renounce violence. so i think that is the line of reasoning.
>> he said he didn't think they would return. >> well, under conditions he said, and he said that condition for a good reason. >> could you answer the question regards to military situation, the question that was posed on wednesday last week, and that is successful counterinsurgency operations in the past, have suggested that not one of the preconditions, control of the borders, high density levels, credible government, support the majority of the population exist in afghanistan. so why do you think the military in particular is so optimistic they can achieve a successful outcome? doesn't beg for more assessment? >> it remains in any realistic
assessment phenomenally difficult task. the task we're engaged in in afghanistan. some of the fact is you quite rightly described, nevertheless, all of those factors are being addressed at one way or another. the build up of the afghan national security forces is very substantial, as you know, and as you will have seen on your visit to afghanistan. the afghan national army is not 144,000, 10,000 ahead of where they were meant to be at the time. the afghan national police is stronger than was anticipated now. the attrition rate in terms of people leaving these sources is diminishing. the legitimacy of government and operation of government and a province like helmand seems more widely accepted that it was a year ago, or two years ago. so progress is being made in many of these parameters. even cooperation of the
countries, the afghanistan-pakistan transit trade agreement working with regional neighbors is an area of greater strength of the afghan government than before. so they all remained very difficult, every parameter remains very difficult. but i think it's fair to argue that there in case, progress is being made in all of these ways. so success remains very difficult. in afghanistan, but it is by no means impossible. >> one of the things that has played our presence in afghanistan is the over optimistic assessments since our progress there. we are all please obviously the more realistic situation there now, although some of us need to be more realistic. but does this suggest in the path of the military, the driving strategy, as opposed to
politicians? >> well, to take several parts of that, because i agree, sometimes it hasn't been an overoptimistic effect before we are trying to avoid that, learning the lessons was happened in the past. i go to the first of our quarterly review. it was in the week where your committee was visiting afghanistan, and i apologize for that, because of the pending review of the previous week and my visit in the middle east the following week. i will try to capture in the caching next time, the course of the review. but i hope, i think it was regarded by the house, a frank assessment of where we are and not so stating what is being achieved by showing the progress as we made in several areas, and much more needed to be done, for instance, in the area of corruption and governance. and we'll carry on in that vein with our assessment. not encouraging false optimism,
but not being blind to good news either. because there are those, there are often more successes to talk about than featured daily in our media. so i think it's important, hopefully we are getting that right, getting realistic in our assessment. what were the military driving -- you may need to wreck that -- you have directed it to one of the officials who served in the last government, but to members of the last government more than to the current government, it's very important on an issue like this that military and political leaders work well together. that political decisions are well informed by military assessments, otherwise of course politicians can make rash decisions without sufficient military awareness. but i think now the way in the u.k., we have our own national security council, the chief of defense staff, heads of
intelligence agencies sitting together on this and other subjects, on a very regular basis. that we have the correct balance and have decisions are made. >> can we just explore very briefly the extent to which perhaps counterinsurgency operations are undermining our political goals? will happen is half some military, politicians must provide -- a negotiated settlement i think, and here the military seem to be targeting taliban leaders as the decapitation policy in place. do you think that is constructive for a negotiation settlement? and what extent can the u.k. actually influenced the u.s. in its approach to the taliban in the sense that these publicly
they have been reluctant to negotiate? >> so the u.k. can in the passionate influence the u.s. the prime minister goes to great deal. i'm heading to the united states where today. this is top of the list of my topics to discuss with secretary clinton. and we have a multitude of contacts at official level and between our intelligence agencies, and so on. but i do very much agree that it is important to keep the taliban under maximum military pressure, and, indeed, to intensify the pressure in the coming months if we are to come to a negotiated political settlement, ultimately. so i would, in fact, set the premise of a policy of your question, that conducting combat operations against the taliban reduce, reduces the chances of a political settlement. i think military success and
intensified military pressure is an important component of bringing about a settlement. the taliban should expect intensified military pressure, and even greater pressure on them in the coming months in the out of a political settlement. >> and finally, do you accept that when a negotiated settlement takes part and takes hold, it will have to obviously reflect reality on the ground, on negotiations with taliban, negotiations with regional warlords, et cetera, but is it not possible to have a negotiated settlement and still retain the ability to take on al qaeda perhaps using special forces, should they ever returned? what i'm trying to get to hear is, splitting time between the taliban and al qaeda. there's no doubt that reconciliation, negotiated
settle as he take place with the taliban. that doesn't mean we have to make peace with al qaeda. and kelly not engineer, not be on the demand, where but at the end of the day we retain the military capacity to take on al qaeda, should they ever returned, while progressing the negotiation settlement with the taliban and order to engineer some sort of success? >> well, yes, i would hope that is possible. it's highly unlikely, it's possible in the foreseeable future to negotiate peace with al qaeda. that would be fundamentally against the believes of al qaeda. it may be possible to do so with taliban, or with the parts of the taliban. we don't know whether that is possible. but it is certainly desirable under the right conditions. and now one of the conditions i refer to are your that president karzai has set alongside
respecting a constitutional framework and renouncing violence, is cutting ties with al qaeda. so yes, such a settlement would require a distinction to be made between those who are reconciled and those who are committed to al qaeda. >> fonseca, if i may. i think one factor when looking at the prospects that you gave is the level of pipe support for the taliban which is around 10%. so it varies. in different parts of the country. i think the other thing we need to consider is that parts of the insurgency have active links with al qaeda now, not necessarily inside afghanistan, but certainly links emanating from pakistan. and if one looks at president karzai's conditions about renouncing links with al qaeda, i think what also would love to see security council resolutions and suffice of 9/11 that you'll find the taliban getting up al
qaeda, a step the taliban didn't take. so that the real questions about to what extent what is taliban assurances that would be capable of being carried out? >> thank you. >> the nature of this insurgency, we understood from what we were were talking, there are three different insurgencies in the haqqani network, and there is the pakistani-based palestinian. maybe there are more. perhaps. is it your strategy to get all three of those components into a political process, or are you trying to split them and get some of them on the basis of that, and at least reduce the clash of the conflicts going on? >> well, we're trying to create the conditions for a -- the military campaign is a very important part of that for a reason i was referring to
earlier. if not within our control who wants to enter into a settlement. whether all of those groups and for the groups or any of those groups who wish to do so. that is up to them to decide whether they wish to be part of that settlement. so we might wish for however many groups to be enrolled, but, so we will see how the circumstances develop. >> finally, in your earlier answer, he referred to the growing training of the support of the afghan national security forces, either virtually none sovereign posturings in those agencies and that the only pashtuns are from the eastern and north of the countryspeak with a remains the case that the southern pashtuns are way underrepresented in the national security forces. a few percentage i think of afghan army, 3%, although more
than 40% of the army would be pashtuns of other origins. so when you say the only other pashtuns are from other areas, you talk about -- yes, that remains a weakness. it's an important one to address over time, and, but it has to be seen against the context of the very rapid buildup of the afghan national security force is, and a huge in improvement in the training of officers that we've seen over the last year. >> secretary, do we have a contingency plan if we get through to 2015, we -- how we going to contain and manage the situation in 2015 if the counterinsurgency strategy doesn't work? >> well, of course we're working
very hard to make sure it does work, and remember that a key component of this is the forces that we're talking about. that the afghan national security force is will be over 300,000 strong by the end of next year. nevermind by 2014. the training of officers in the afghan national army is up to 700% over the last year. now, this is a very important consideration. this is an army becoming much larger than ours. that i think is crucial, that buildup is crucial to the afghanistan, whatever happens, so that afghans can lead and then take thei afghans can lead take control of their own security operations in 2014 irrespective of a political settlement.
so that is -- you could think of the next line of defense after international forces. >> the next one is afghanistan continue to have counter-operation forces. >> well, we've made a very clear statement perhaps not being involved in combat operations in 2015 although that does not preclude there being there in a training row for innocents, but, yes, i think the long-term outlook if there were to be no political settlement that the afghan national security forces become large enough to be able to hold their own in afghanistan. that does not mean there would be a peaceful afghanistan. that does mean there would be an afghanistan where the government would run widely.
for that government to be able to be resist being overthrown. >> will he westbound able to confirm the british military presents to the council that the numbers to 2013 and 2014 and how are they going to deploy? >> we'll look at all such things in the national security council. of course, that is now the forum in which it's decided so, yes, the military will have the plan for the next few years. it's quite hard to foresee at this point the level of resources in the activities regarding 2013, 2014. of course, it is clear we should have a larger and larger training role and as you know, the defense secretary has announced movement of more than 300 personnel into a training just in the last few months. but, yes, the national security
council will examine the plans for our deployment over time. >> if i may for a second, that is on the agenda, the national security council in the next few months? and the truth will be linked? jy what the 2015 deadline is? what is a? when is it? exactly -- >> the prime minister and i have stated it, by 2015, we will not be engaged in afghanistan in combat operations, or in before 2015, we will not be engaged in afghanistan in combat operations or in like the numbers that we have there today. and as i was saying a to mr. stewart it does not mean we will not be there in other forms in training roles but i don't want anyone to underestimate the
clarity or to confuse the clarity of it and the prime minister said it very clearly and means it. and that is what we will stick to. >> when, 2015? that's 12 months. >> it is 12 months. >> there's a genuine election in may, 2015. that's what you're planning isn't it? january of 2015 or -- >> i don't think it's necessary to say 2015 to try to hone in on the actual day particularly since we're sitting here in november of 2010. it is quite a long way away. in fact, it's further in the future, as you all well know, than our whole operations in helmand are in the past. so it is a long time into the future. but we don't anticipate in the near font sitting on a particular month or week. >> who took the decision? >> the decision is taken by the ministers of the national
security council and the cabinet led by the prime minister. >> it's taken in the national security council? >> taken by the prime minister in consultation with other senior ministers including me. >> who were you consulting? >> before the prime minister made his announcement. [inaudible] >> and i'm sure the defense secretary was consulted but to know when everybody was consulted you'll have to ask the prime minister. >> no, we're there as a coalition force, a very significant part of a coalition force and we have always tried to be good partners. haven't we, as a country in coalition activities and international affairs. no conceivable possibility that that will be changed, let's say, in a nato discussion takes place about the need for change because the deadlines have not been met. american requests because we simply can't get to position
where the afghan national army or afghan national security forces are capable of standing up on their own. no conceivable way that that is going to be thwarted. it's set. it's finished. that's it. it's a deadline. it will not be changed in any circumstances? >> it won't be changed. the prime minister has been very clear about that. it is a change of policy. there have been several changes. we had double of the operational allowance of the troops and redeployed and away from certain areas of helmand to concentrate on other areas. as you know, there have been several changes of policy on afghanistan. and, yes, this is one of them and people can argue advantages and disadvantages to it. mr. baron has done that is well on the floor of the house. but we will make the most of the advantages of this policy. it is clear to all concerned what our intentions are, what we're going to do by 2015 to our allies, to the afghan
government. and we don't want anybody to have any doubt about that. there's other allies in nato who also stated specific timings for the forces. we now would have been in helmand, 50% longer than the entire second world war. and so we feel it right to say that by then we will not be engaged in combat operations. >> this is the change in policy? i mean, we changed in the operations. and we were halfway out of the area before the change of government. this is the change, really. >> it's an important change. and it's a change we will stick to. >> and why announce it in public? why did we think that was helpful? what's been said we did it to put pressure on the karzai government. but didn't it take the pressure off the taliban, off the insurgents? >> i think insurgents were fine
in line with our earlier discussion that they are under intense pressure over the coming months. there is no relaxation in the british or coalition military effort. in fact, since it's only recently as you know that really all the forces that the commanders have wanted have been available in afghanistan. and that pressure will intensify over the coming months and even over the coming years when that's added to the increasing role of the afghan national security forces. and so it would be quite wrong to conclude that anybody can relax. that anybody on the other side of this can relax in any way as we have made an announcement of 2015. but it does mean with absolute clarity for the afghan government that they know that is the length of our combat commitment. it means that our allies know that, too. and there are advantages to that as well as, of course, the arguments against it that others have put. >> i was going to ask -- sorry.
>> i was simply going to say with the nato summit which takes place later this week will endorse the 2014 target date for transition and all of nato's efforts will go in making sure that's happening. >> eventually. there's been known for some time. other nations, we've already lost the dutch, the netherlands are leaving. in response to rori there was some indication that there was going to have to be a plan between now and 2015. how are we going to be effective by the other nations because there are new nations joining but they are relatively small contributors. the dutch and the canadians very, very significant contribution. >> yes. and i certainly hope that some of the countries that will be
able to stay in substantial training lows we, of course, have been discussing that with them. it would be highly desirable given the state of canada's contribution over the last few years if they are able to do that. i think it would be very welcomed. we have been discussing that with the canadian government. there are as you say a growing number of nations at all to give the contributions that they have machine and there are a 48 contributing nations and there are more at this moment than ever have been. a fact that can easily be overlooked. there have been in the cases of the canada and the netherlands, a good deal of advanced notice of their intentions. so from an operational point of view, given the increased number of forces from the united states and from some other countries, the operational gaps will be filled. there is no doubt about that.
>> mr. secretary, you've always talked about the there's a lack of training in afghanistan. it was quite apparent that both the police and the army -- the afghan army -- the quality of training was very poor in the time that the people were actually training was a very small amount of time. first of all, can you explain why that's the case? and secondly, it would seem to us that unless there's a real change between 2014 and '15 and there's not just about the numbers but about the quality of training because when we talk to, for example, the pakistani generals, they said that although the numbers were quite impressive, that actually what we were doing was creating canon fodder and not troops because of the small amount of time that had been given to the training of the troops. and we heard, you know, many of the afghan police who were being detained were -- have no idea of
the job that we intended to do. their pay on stage was so poor that it was below the living wage which encourage theft and, you know, extortion. can you just explain to us about the policy for that? i mean, why despite we spend billions of pounds that we have got just a poor record in training? >> it remains a huge challenge. i think you're quite right to highlight it. and i don't want to say in any way that this is an easy process or that we achieved all the objectives on training. there are certain improvements that have taken place in certain times -- [bell ringing] >> thank you. one of those is that the pay of the afghan national police has
been increased and improved and you're quite right one of the difficulties has been the -- that it has been more attractive for people to do other things so afghan national police salaries have been increased and their training programs have been improved. and recruitment since then has generally exceeded the targets and as i mentioned briefly the attrition rates before. and the average attrition rate has gone down to 1.4% per month in the case of the afghan national police, which is a serious improvement on how it was in past years. there is also increased attention being given to the training of noncommissioned officers and offices which, of course, are absolutely key to the quality and to the leadership that is necessary so that people are not canon fodder in the frays that you were given.
and i mentioned earlier, it's given more in the increase of ncos is up 700% since november last year. in the offices of the 175%. so that will lead over time to quality improvements. the other very important thing that is happening is the partnering of afghan national security forces with british troops. most of the work now of british troops going forward is in partnership with the afghan national security forces. i pointed out in my review statement to the house three weeks ago how some of the operations conducted recently have been led by the afghan forces for the first time in a very significant way. and so i think these are all signs of improvement. is the level of training the same level that you would get in a european or american army? well, no, it isn't because here the emphasis is on driving up the strength as rapidly as possible.
but you can see from the figures that i'm giving the quality of training, the quantity of training and the way in which the troops in the afghan forces then gain experience alongside nato troops all gathering pace and improving. >> if i may add one thing to that. afghan troops are taking the lead in operation hamkari. >> and they have been led by the afghan national forces themselves. >> just to make the point, it's been a couple of weeks since we've been there, that the people responsible for the training of troops in afghanistan were complaining bitterly about the lack of resources even now as we speak. can i just move on to -- we talk about the police in afghanistan about the government itself. one of the important things the afghan people have faith in their own government. we had an awful bad corruption, about malpractices of the afghan government.
what are we doing -- what have we been doing and what can we do in the future that will build on the faith -- the afghan people in their own government? >> this is one of the areas where much more progress needs to be made. and by the way, i wasn't arguing my early answer that everything was fine on trade and the problem was solved. it remains a huge challenge. i take nothing away from -- [bell ringing] >> you're quite right to say that training requires increased international attention. but on governance, on corruption, a greater effort needs to be made. and now some progress has been made. some of the commitments entered into at the time of the kabul conference in july are being met.
we have seen over the last few months some of the afghan ministers declare their assets in public. we have seen a great improvement in transparency -- for instance, in the ministry of minds, more than 100 new contracts were placed openly on the internet for people to been. -- examine. that is the kind of practice which may help combat corruption in the future. so certainly some progress is being made. nevertheless, we've seen in events surrounding the kabul bank and other institutions very depressing news. and so we do call on the government of afghanistan to make greater progress in this area, to continue to try to win the support of domestic and international opinion. >> i heard your statement obviously in the house of commons 'cause i was present.
it was a very full statement and i thought a very frank one. and you touched on good gov nantz -- you mentioned it again now. what precisely do we mean by good governance? how can it be actually seen? how do you feel you've succeeded in getting good governance? i imagine good governance would, for instance, be respect for human rights, respect for women's rights. and i would hope maybe that's one of the topics you might raise with secretary of state clinton if you see her because that's one of the issues she's very concerned about. what does good governance mean to you? >> it has quite a wide philosophical question. but, of course, to begin with in afghanistan, it means certain basic things that we take for granted here. like government being present at all. and here i think we can see some of the progress that has been made.
there are 10 district governors installed in helmand, for instance, compared to only five two years ago. 10 district governors who are able to operate. there are 26 afghan ministries now represented. so government is more present in certainly difficult areas of the country like helmand than it was a year or two ago. so that's the first requirement of governance, that it exists. that it is there at all. i think a second requirement is in the area that we've just been addressing of people being able to have confidence that it is not corrupt. that it works in the interest of the people. there there is much more to do. afghanistan remains down near the bottom of the scale on international and on the index for doing business and for ease of doing business, it has improved to 160th in the world.
but from 168 it has proved in the right direction. it needs to stop moving in the area of corruption is well. so we see a little bit of progress there. and then it means those other things that you are talking about. of, yes, respect for minorities, respect for human rights including women's rights. and as you know, quite a lot of has been done. the united kingdom has encouraged it and in politics. and in answer to one of our questions a couple of weeks ago that i pointed out the improved participation of women such as in the peace jerker in june. there has also been an increased participation by women in the recent parliamentary elections. and i think it's very important that we continue to encourage these things so that they become
part of the accepted fabric of afghan society before and during the time in which a political settlement is created. >> the committee may be aware of the asian foundation poll which measures a number of things every year. one of the things it measures is the confidence of the afghan people in their government. and this has gone up 5% over last year. admittedly only to 47% but the trend is upwards. >> more than many governments in the world. >> can i just -- just returning to the questions that you were asking for, just for clarification. 2015 deadline, that applies to security forces is well. all combat troops? >> we don't have a comment as a former defense secretary knows on the tasks we give to our security forces. >> so it's not clear as to whether we're talking about security forces? >> i'm not giving you a clear answer but i'm not giving you a clear answer deliberately.
>> we'll go into private session maybe we can be more privy is there. >> clearly the united states is the most important power in the coalition. but there are lots of reports about internal divisions within the u.s. administration. and we've heard in private, in many places people saying this to us. and we also have it in the record publicly something about witnesses referred to incoherent and contradictory positions within the u.s. administration. how committed is the u.s. to reconciliation as a strategy? >> the united states is committed reconciliation. they are very much also committed as we are, as i pointed out in answer to earlier questions, to intensifying the military pressure on the taliban. but those things are not mutually opposed goals for the reasons i gave earlier. they go together. the chances of reconciliation
are increased by an effective military campaign. and is there often a debate within the u.s. government about this or other foreign policy issues? yes, there is, of course. the united states is the kind of society and governmental system in which any debate of foreign policy often surfaces in public. and you wouldn't expect decisions about matters important as this to have unanimous agreement of advanced of any description. but the united states is in favor of the process of reintegration and reconciliation. >> but is the u.s. in favor of the same approach as the british government which seems to be we should be working on reconciliation now as opposed to a few which seems to be quite strongly held by some in the u.s. that you need to change the balance militarily before you go down that road? >> sometimes this is an academic argument, of course, because it's not possible to command the timing of a political settlement. it will be important for the
military effort to continue and to intensify. i believe to make that settlement possible. nevertheless, i would say in answer to your question is, there is no disagreement here between the leadership of the u.s. and u.k. governments. the prime minister and the president discuss such issues regularly. they are on a strong accord about it. and we do discuss it. we tend to discuss this privately rather through giving speeches direct to that, to each other which i think is the right way for close allies to deal with that. but we are not engaged in an argument about this at the moment. >> would you agree that the u.s. needs to be directly involved in discussions with the taliban in order to get a solution to this situation? >> this has got to be an afghan-led process. there is no doubt about that. an afghan-led process will bring reconciliation in afghanistan.
we facilitate that process -- >> you say we, do you mean the u.k.? >> i mean, the u.k. and also united states also agrees with that policy and is also in the same position. but it has to be -- but it has to be an afghan-led process. >> is the u.s. facilitating is well or just waiting? >> they agree -- they agree with our policy. >> that's not my question. >> nato has said that isaf facilitate president karzai's contacts and provide practical assistance and that includes the u.s. and other isaf members. >> i don't think i'll get a better answer to that. it's finally clear to what that means. >> the answer to your question is yes. >> but in terms of context in what's being done to try to contact elements within the insurgency of the taliban, is it the case that the u.s. is
actively engaged in that process at this time? >> i think the -- i know we're going to have a private session later, mr. chairman. i don't think it is right to go into public about the -- any operational details of these matters. >> foreign secretary, i lead you to the important issue of withining the hearts and minds of the afghan people. and i'm very interested to hear there's only 10% support for the taliban and afghanistan. do you think that graph is stable or increasing or decreasing. would the two sets in evidence so far -- it was said there has been a colossal fear by international coalition to empathize with all the afghans and act accordingly. the society has stated it is one of the most serious of afghanistan that the united
kingdom and its allies are losing the war with afghanistan. is that true? >> i think we ought to be able to do better in the coming months and years in communication, in the strategic communication of what our objectives are, how we are achieving them, how the nations of isaf and indeed the afghan government are working together. i think this has been one of the weak areas in recent years and i think it needs further attention. we are giving attention to that in the national security council from the u.k.'s point of. i recently raised it with the nato secretary-general as something that requires better international coordination is well. so, yes, it is a weak area. and in conflict, communications is a vital consideration. communication with the population, both of our own countries and of the country where that conflict is taking
place. so i think there is room for improvement. now, that's not to say that quite a bit has been achieved. as in so many of these fields, there remains enormous challenges but some progress has been made. particularly, in the creation of a more vibrant media in afghanistan and the access of people in afghanistan it off news outlets and the variety of sources of information that they have at their disposal, all of those things have improved but, yes, i think more attention is needed so you're quite right to raise this question. and i think i neglected the first question. >> and in relation -- we had you said support for the taliban in afghanistan was 10%. i would be interested if you thought that that was increasing decreasing or is a stable 10%. >> i don't know if we have any a
historic figures on that. polling is not an exact science in afghanistan as it is in most countries. >> we don't have a poll that shows us whether it's gone up or down in certain areas. and in some areas it's higher than 10% already and some areas it's -- >> if it's 10, who can you say it's 10%? and what i'm really interested to find out, is it increasing? are we losing the war on hearts on minds. if, for example, the afghans think that we are going to walk out in 2015, are they more liable to look to say, wait a minute, you guys are walking on me. i'm going to look at people who's left and it's the taliban and, therefore, i'm going to start giving support to the taliban? >> i think the -- as karen was saying there isn't a historic date and there haven't been various surveys but if you look at helmand, of course, the area in which we are primarily concerned with where british
troops are concerned, hundreds of people make their way to the district center every day. from a trickle a year previously. and the governor held a shura for over 800 local elders. a few months earlier he thinks that would have been impossible. so these are -- they're not polls but they are indications of how life on the ground can change and winning over people and still an enormous challenge in helmand. but considering that we have 135,000 children enrolled in schools across the province, which is a 250% increase on last year indicates like that gives some indication of how normal life has changed for people on the ground. and that may then give some indication of whether they have confidence in what is happening. >> could i just follow then that it seems to me your office is
saying this is an area that needs attention, international attention. how through diplomatic meetings, how can the diplomats who are in afghanistan in short term for -- a very small period of short time and those who are in afghanistan are obviously very shielded from the ordinary every day afghan people. how can they be expected to win the house and minds over a taliban that's he is sconced in local villages throughout the country? >> well, we work at that at several different levels. our diplomats in kabul are engaged in making sure that media throughout the country understand what we are doing. but, of course, i think it would be wrong to say that diplomats and others are cut off from the people of afghanistan. the people who work, for instance, in our provincial reconstruction team are working
that based in the areas and are working on daily and local and regional problems. are very often dealing with local elders and other people about the -- about every issue concerning local society and the services provided and that is a fundamental part of winning over those hearts and minds. karen do you want to add to the details of that work. >> thank you, foreign secretary. certainly some of our diplomats and their colleagues in stabilization unit go out and facilitate local shuras helping to fight transport, helping getting people together if asked helping people to actually run a meeting. and they are out there every day in places around there. one of the areas that we find if you like the local authority really has to compete with the taliban is in the area of local justice. the taliban have these motorcycle courts. they provide justice very quickly so a lot of our reference of efforts go in to help the local community stand up what you might think of as
traditional justice. so that people can get decisions quickly. it's not so much a hearts and minds issue in that sense as people suffer from intimidation by the taliban. when they ask people what their primary concern is, security comes out as one -- as the major concern. so a lot of what we're engaged in is trying to provide security for local areas so that they can go about their normal business. for example, in kandahar, major general nick carter, his team were involved in building houses and offices for the district governor so that they could do their business protected from intimidation. and as the foreign secretary was saying earlier, we've seen an increase in the number of people coming to the district governor, the provincial governor instead of the local warlords for help. >> because they are only there for a short period of time, they didn't even know the language.
surely that's part of winning the hearts and minds. and they don't know the language because they obviously are not going to be there long enough. >> obviously, in an ideal world everybody would be able to speak the local language. that would require being able to prepare hundreds of diplomats long in advance for this. and, of course, these are difficult postings where people serve usually for a year in kabul with the option of another year or six months and with another six months. they are different hardship postings and so it's necessary to turn over the personnel pretty regularly. it does have the disadvantage new people have to learn local culture and get to know the local leaders. well, it does have that disadvantage but i think you can see that is the only practical way in which we can do this. >> excuse me. we do have a couple of speakers
in each place and we have some very good local staff who are bilingual. >> thank you. >> general caldwell in his presentation, is a three-star general who is commanding the training command points out that he's already close to 250 trainers short. will soon be 500 trainers short. within a year will be 900 trainers short. the united states is screaming for more support and training. at the same time, u.s. marine corps is very comfortable with the two-star command and they would like to take over the prt in helmand. can we not be looking at a political opportunity here to shift more and more of our resources towards training? >> we have what -- we have done so already. the defense secretary i mentioned briefly early that the defense secretary announced that over 320 more u.k. personnel would be devoted entirely to training and it does remain a huge challenge as i said in answer to your questions from mr. watts. this will require a lot more
resources despite the improvements made over the last year. i think it's an important topic for the nato summit that is coming up at the end of this week which the prime minister and the defense secretary will attend. so, yes, it needs more attention. does it mean more of the british forces may be engaged in training? well, there is quite a serious possibility of that. but we have to do that coordinating with our allies and so all that we can announce for the moment is that shift of 320. >> foreign secretary, the public in this country think that we've taken on more than we can chew in afghanistan. do you think that we've been overambitious to think that our ambition should have been more than this? >> i think our ambition is the right provided we understand our ambition is our own national security. and that our objective is to
achieve a situation in afghanistan where afghans can conduct their own affairs without presenting a danger for the rest of the world. that does not mean that we will necessarily arrive at a situation where every is really of afghanistan is entirely peaceful and there's no difficulties in the governance of afghanistan, where it has reached a point where it's not 190th on the corruption league but 10th or 20th. those are very, very long-term objectives. so as long as our objective is realistic, then i think this is -- it's been right to do what we've done since 2001. this was a response to the events of 9/11 when it began. and then from 2006, an effort to stabilize the situation in other areas of the country. so provided we're clear about our objective, it's not overambitious. >> do you think there are lessons to be learned for future
situations where conflicts need to be resolved? where it's engaged in a military sense? >> well, i'm sure there will be many lessons to be learned. some of them will require the wisdom of being able to look back on all of this in the future. to start with the lessons of the highest level, this country feeds to put as much resources as possible into conflict prevention around the world. since we can see how expensive it is, how it costs us dear in human life and of financial terms to engage in long-term substantial conflict. and i'm sure you will have heard what the prime minister and the development second have said about devoting more of the international development budget towards conflict prevention. we're working very hard at the moment in the foreign office on the situation in yemen and sudan. that's why tomorrow i will chair the u.n. security council on sudan.
where conflict prevention is what we are concentrating on. so that must be one of the first lessons. there will no doubt be other lessons about how a military intervention should be handled if it has take place. there will be lessons from iraq which the inquiry is looking at at the moment. i'm sure there will be lessons about helmand is well, about the -- about the initial deployment and about many, many decisions taken since then but it is, i think, really we have to concentrate in the government in finding our way to success in this situation. and that's got to be our prime concern. >> you do have a unit that looks at conflict lessons learned as the foreign secretary was saying and it will look at the iraqi war. >> i want to get back to language skills because i think that's one of the lessons that can be drawn from iraq is well.
the necessity to have people speak local languages. the last foreign affairs committee report in 2009 says the ability to engage with afghans in key local languages is crucial to the u.k.'s efforts in afghanistan. we're concerned that in eight years after intervening in afghanistan, the fco still has no pastun speakers. what is the situation in 2010? >> this is of vital importance for the foreign office. it's a wider subject just from the situation in afghanistan. we are a country noted for our language skills among our diplomats. compared to many other nations of the world. but i was very concerned in opposition by the closure of the foreign office language schooling. i've been looking in recent weeks of the language arrangements in the foreign office. it's quite hard to put a language school back together again and we have all the budget constraints on the government
that we have now. but i'm casting a critical eye over the current arrangements to see how they can be improved. and then coming to the level of the specialisms in this area, you are quite right. the committee has highlighted before the small number of speakers of the relevant languages. karen pointed out in an answer to an earlier question that we do have some people who speak local languages and, of course, we make great use of interpreters. karen can give you any more up-to-date figures to that. but i would point out with the huge number of our diplomats who need to be deployed into a situation like this, and the inevitable human need to rotate quickly, it's unlikely we will arrive in a situation where a large proportion of those diplomats will become versant in the local languages of afghanistan. i think that's only realistic.
karen, can you add -- >> just a quick point and that is the point that's been made by several witnesses of the importance of longer diplomatic postings. that many people working in iraq, for example, for a short time, expertise was lost when people returned to their base and didn't come back. and i certainly saw that as a great deficiency and one that i think the foreign office ought to look at in some detail and the rest of the recreation is, of course, essential and if there's an illness, there's a void and it was very evident to me in my frequent visits to iraq and the same is true in afghanistan. >> i do take the point about that although i would stress that we have some incredibly hard-working people in the foreign office and other government departments in afghanistan. and i am always enormously
impressed as i hope you were in your visit by the utter dedication of a very difficult circumstances. certainly, i think the committee is right to raise the point about the length of deployment. this has often struck me in the past looking at, for instance, the length of service of american military commanders in these situations. who can go on for a very long time. although with substantial breaks back home. they organize it in a different way. but i am not adversed to looking at how we can improve this in the future. >> if i could just add to that, mr. chairman, just on the language speakers, because of the program the foreign secretary has mentioned and his fresh look at this, more people will be trained in afghan languages over the coming years so it's obviously not something we can put right instantly. but proportion of speakers in the embassy -- we would call it a hard line bridge it's roughly equivalent to hard language
speakers in our other postings admittedly afghanistan is more important but it's certainly not disadvantaged because it's a conflict zone. >> are you able to give us a break down of the numbers? >> i can certainly do it but i'm afraid i don't have it in my head. there's an additional advantage of using afghanistan interpreters and that it tends to be reassuring to the local community and the military have found this themselves. it tends to help build trust and confidence so we do rely on local staff quite considerably. on your point on not letting lessons be lost through continuity of postings, absolutely. we are trying it in my directorate to see if we can somehow link postings so that someone would do a range of motion in afghanistan; come back to london and work on the issue and conceivably even share a posting in afghanistan. we're very keen on the life of not just young people who have no family attachments but we do want to try and get more
experienced diplomats there, more experienced diplomats tend to have families so we need to try to get that right is well. but it is something we look at. >> and just a quick -- >> dave? >> foreign secretary, can i take you back to the 2014 and '15 withdrawal, we went into afghanistan because it was a failed state and we thought the terror attacks would come in to our own country and we can take action. what will happen in a situation where that happens again, do you rule out -- or does the coalition rule out putting troops on the ground if the situation went as bad as it was previously? >> well, we're clearly aiming at a completely different situation in afghanistan from anything that prevailed in the recent past. i've given figures earlier for the anticipated strength of the afghanistan national security forces. just by 2011, let alone by 2014.
i've indicated how they are already beginning to be able to conduct the majority of the operations, such as in the operations that karen was talking about earlier. and so our objective is -- and it's internationally agreed objective to create by 2014 a situation where afghan forces can lead and sustain their own operations throughout afghanistan. it's consistent with that and, therefore, for us to say what we said in 2015 and to believe that if we achieve those objectives with regard to the national afghan forces we won't be placed again in the situation of the 9/11. >> but the 2014, '15 deadline is set regardless of the situation that you find, whether afghan army and police are ready to take over. whether they are able to take after. -- take over. so it's possible to say likely but it's possible that the situation may deteriorate, at that point would you rule out
coalition troops being used again? >> this is a clear deadline. i mean, no one should be in doubt about this, whatsoever. let everyone's minds concentrate on this. and the afghan government and our allies is necessary. this is absolutely clear what we said about 2015. the prime minister was here. he would put it in equally trenchant terms. >> how would you stop terrorist attacks coming to the u.k. if we had a failed state again? >> well, i can't anticipate what the situation will be in 2025 or 2035. we're trying to create the conditions here in which we don't have a failed state. in which we have one of the largest armies in the world able to conduct its own affairs. and at least to the extent of not being a danger to the rest of the world, in line with the national security objective, the realistic objective that i set out earlier. i think that is a realistic objective.
>> thank you. >> can i just return to the situation of hearts and minds. the reports we've got, the civilian casualties are going up. and this in many ways makes it easy for the taliban to depict us -- isaf to depict us as a puppet government, et cetera, et cetera and the old system has survived, cuba, north vietnam, north korea, perhaps even china. it fosters a sort of feeling of mistrust which plays into the tans hands. is there anything we can do? >> well, so much of what our military effort has has directed working with the provincial
reconstruction teams is to break into this circle. as you know, the military strategy adopted at the highest level and was redefined to be counterinsurgency involving the protection of the local population. isaf forces go to great lengths to protect local populations. they often take losses to protect local populations. the majority of civilian casualties are caused by the other side and they are caused by the ieds of the taliban and others. and so i think it's very important to remember that. and that we are the forces safeguarding the civilian population wherever possible. and i think karen may have the figures here. but i think it is around 70% civilian casualties that are caused by taliban activity and ieds. >> that's right. 70% of casualties are, of course, by the taliban and the figure has gone up this year. but that's largely due to an increase in taliban attacks.
and the isaf and the amsf, the civilian casualty figures have been falling. i think it's helpful to point out that, of course, any casualty that is caused is accidental. it's regrettable and we said so in the security council. as the foreign secretary said we take all steps possible to minimize the risk that there will be accidental casualties. that the taliban is by contrast actually go out and target civilians. >> foreign secretary, we spent the last 55 minutes looking at afghanistan. for the last 10 minutes before we go into private session, can we have a discussion about pakistan. >> your reaction to the prime minister's statement in india in which he referred to pakistan looking both ways and alleged that they were exporting terror to india, afghanistan and elsewhere in the world. it was certainly interpreted that way by the pakistanis. was he wise to make that remark in india?
>> yes. a good foreign secretary will affirm the prime minister is always wise. [laughter] >> to make these remarks. [laughter] >> and i think they were remarks which were widely supported and respected around the world. and it was said at the time by some commentors that that had damaged relations with pakistan. and i have to say that in recent months relations between the u.k. and pakistan have been excellent. cooperation between our two governments has been excellent. and so if there was disquiet in the pakistani government about that, it has been more than overcome by the work that we have been doing together since then. >> we've heard evidence from a number of sources that say that pakistan doesn't fully cooperate with the u.k. on counterterrorism issues. what's your reaction to that?
>> well, there is a huge amount of cooperation of counterterrorism. issues are very regular and very much an operational basis. and i don't think -- i can't go into the details of that in public. but certainly i would say that the cooperation on counterterrorism with pakistan has substantially improved in recent times. >> would you say, however, it's not yet as unconditional and full as it might be? >> well, those things can be quite difficult to assess. it's often hard to be sure whether a country is giving all the information and cooperation that it could give. but nevertheless, i do stress again that we have -- we have no current reason for complaint about that and the cooperation has improved. >> it was put to us in pakistan that the pakistanis would like
some sophisticated equipment so that they were able to do the jobs themselves much more effectively. do we have concerns that we don't want to give certain equipment to pakistan because we're not quite sure where it might end up? [inaudible] >> president zadari was complaining -- he was saying he might have access to the drone. >> right. well, of course, the sale of technology from this country is very carefully controlled. and we will look at it from a friendly country at all requests. but i'm sure you understand how carefully we control those things. >> the point was made to us, look, you're asking us to do a job out here on the northwest frontier. but you're not giving us the technology we need. is there a case for doing more on the military front? >> well, i think we will always be careful in selling advanced technology to many nations
around the world. and, of course, we will have to be careful in this case. >> in an export regime and some of the other regimes as the foreign secretary was saying, president zardari has been very worried for a while about the degradation of the technology. and that some of it is more basic. the ministry of defense has got a review on of what help they can give to pakistan across-the-board covering a number of areas not just provision of equipment? >> the pakistani state or some of its agencies were involved in setting up the taliban. that came to power in afghanistan. they did so at that time with western support. because they were used against the soviet union. how confident are we now that elements within the pakistani state in particular the isi are
willing and able to tackle those insurgents given their close historical links with them? >> well, i think we have seen a sharply increased willingness in pakistan to tackle insurgency in many different forms. and you're familiar, of course, with many of the military campaigns that they have undertaken. and indeed, the huge losses of the pakistani military have sustained and i think it's very important always to recognize that. and so pakistan, i think, as a state -- the government of pakistan, including its intelligence services, can now see very clearly after some of the terrible terrorist incidents they had themselves experienced the importance of tackling insurgency and instability. >> but that relates to their combats and they've lost lots of people against the pakistani taliban. the question is, are they prepared to act against the
afghan taliban which might be a kind of proxy or an organization of which they could still have some influence in the future? >> well, again i would say that the cooperation between our countries has improved in this area. but i would stress, of course, in a political settlement in afghanistan, which we have been discussing earlier, the support and the active support of afghanistan because of that, because of links that were established over a long time will be very important. >> in the case of willingness or capability on the afghan taliban, the pakistani military has been involved in waziristan is not terribly successful there and yet we've still got baluge stan there and do you think it's a willingness or a lack of capacity or do you think it's a bit of both? >> well, the military capacity
to deal decisively with every threat in that kind of terrain is, of course, quite difficult to come by. so i think that always has to be understood. this is one of the most difficult areas of the world. again, as you very well know as a foremost defense secretary -- one of the most difficult areas of the world to control by military means. nevertheless, we have as i was saying, seen a greatly increased pakistan and to confront insurgency on their own territories and take action on terrorist groups. and so i would like to emphasize that rather than be critical today that we have seen very important steps forward in tackling terrorism by the government of pakistan and, of course, we want those to continue. >> foreign secretary, we had critics from pakistan and our criticism about not taking on
the taliban but they pointed out how many people they got lost in action in taking on the insurgency. they complain about the borders and the lack of border control. and they highlight how many border control people they've got on the border between pakistan and afghanistan. and they highlight the difference between our forces and their own. is there anything we can do to make the border more secure than it is now by putting more emphasis on the need to keep it a tighter boundary than we've got at the moment? >> well, there may be over time. and, of course, there have been discussions about this between afghanistan and pakistan. which we very much encourage. again, it is following up on the point -- i mentioned before. this is one of the most difficult borders in the world to police. in some cases, there would no doubt be arguments where exactly it was. but certainly there have been international initiatives to
improve cooperation on the borders. karen, would you like to comment on that. >> there's a g8 initiative that the canadians started about improving cooperation on the border between afghanistan and pakistan, the international monitoring can help and we're hoping the french can continue that under their g8 process. and there's something called the dubai process which looks at the same issue on a slightly larger basis so these things will continue, we hope. >> while we were in islamabad, the pakistanis wanted to be involved. do you think we can trust them on this broker? >> well, i hope in the region -- i hope all nations in the region, including pakistan, will be able to play a supportive role in a political settlement. ... but i think we should be careful about defining who is a broker in bringing about such