tv U.S. Senate CSPAN May 13, 2013 8:30am-12:01pm EDT
>> also today the heritage foundation hosts current and former deputy assistant defense secretaries from the obama and george w. bush administrations to talk about guantanamo bay prison in cuba and its detainee policy. president obama recently renewed his push to close the facility which he's described as lingering problem that will worsen if it remains open. his comments came amid a growing hunger strike at guantanamo that's spread in recent weeks to include about 100 of its 166 inmates. you can watch the discussion live over on c-span or listen to it on c-span radio at noon eastern. >> she's the first first lady to earn a college degree, and during the civil war soldiers serving under her husband called her the mother of the regiment. opposing slavery, she influences her husband to switch from the whig party to the anti-slavery republican party. and she hosts the fist annual white house -- first annual white house easter egg roll. meet lucy hayes, wife of
rutherford b. hayes, as we continue our series on first ladies with your questions and comments by phone, facebook and twitter tonight live at 9 eastern on c-span and c-span3. also on c-span radio and c-span.org. >> now, a discussion about the supreme court and the death penalty. a university of florida law school professor talks about the meaning behind cruel and unusual punishment and gives historical perspective on the origins of the 8th amendment that prohibits such punishment. he also takes questions from the audience on torture cases and the execution procedure of lethal injection. this event was hosted by the ave maria law school's federalist society. it's about an hour. [inaudible conversations] >> we're going to do a chapter on -- [inaudible] [inaudible conversations]
>> welcomedyto ave maria school of law chapter of the federalist society where we're very excited to have professor john stinneford with us for his remarks on the death penalty and the 8th amendment. um, briefly before we start just one quick chapter announcement. for those members, please, remember that march 1st and 2ened is the national student symposium. the national chapter, if you're a member, will subsidize half of your travel costs. so if you're interested in that, you need help booking a hotel reservation, please contact a member of our officers, and we will get you the information that you need and help you get set up with that. our meeting today, the agenda, professor stinneford will offer his initial remarks. immediately following that, our very own professor clifford taylor, former chief justice of the michigan supreme court, will offer some commentary, some additional comments. and immediately following that,
professor stinneford will be allowed to make any comments for rebuttal, any other remarks. and be then the remainder of the time will be for a question and answer session which professor stinneford will be in charge of. and at that point we'll just turn the time over to the audience to raise your hands and offer any questions that you have and pass around this mic. um, without further ado, i'd like -- i have the opportunity now to introduce professor stinneford to you. professor john f. stinneford is an assistant professor of law at the university of florida levin college of law. professor stinneford received his batch hour's from the university of -- bachelor's from the university of virginia, a master's degree from harvard and his jd from harvard law school. professor stinneford's area of expertise include criminal law, criminal procedure, the 8th amendment, sentencing law and foil and evidence. professor stinneford's research focuses on constitutional limitations on the governmental power to unflick punishment. more specifically, professor
stinneford's current scholarship focuses on the historical underpinnings of the 8 amendment's cruel and unusual punishment clause as well as the due process clause of the 5th and 14th amendments. prior to joining the university of florida in 2009, professor stinneford practiced criminal law for several years first in private practice in chicago and then as a federal prosecutor. we're very excited to have him here with us today and grateful that he accepted our ini -- invitation to come. please join with me in offering professor stinneford a warm welcome. [applause] >> thank you all very much. it's really nice to be here, and this is just a beautiful and -- beautiful facility and a great crowd. i will try and keep this as brief as i can, although like many of your professors probably i tend to be a little long winded. over the last ten years, the supreme court has limited the death penalty in a number of ways. they have declared that it's
unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded, to execute minors and also to execute anyone for a nonhomicide offense against an individual. my thesis today is going to be that those results are largely defensible as a constitutional matter, although not, unfortunately, for the reasons the court has given. so let's jump right into it, and i want to start by posing a problem that the court has faced really ever since it started thinking about the cruel and unusual punishment clause, and that is how do we determine whether a punishment is imper mismy cruel. be because if you think about it, the very purpose of punishment is to inflict pain on criminal offenders, physical pain and/or psychological pain. so how do we draw the line between pain which is justified and pain which is impermissible?
now, the supreme court has currently, is currently divided as to the two possible ways to answer this question. justice scalia has taken the position that if a given punishment practice was okay in 1790, then it must be okay today, right? and his answer is a simple and clear one. all you have to do is look at what was done at time of the founding, and if what we do today is no worse than what they did then, then it's okay. on the other hand, a majority has taken a very expresslien nonoriginalist -- expressly nonto originalist approach from the evolving standards that mark the process of ahaturing society. put differently, every day and in every way we're getting kinder and gentler, and as we get kinder and gentler, so, too, must the constitution, right if that's the basic idea. now, unfortunately, neither of these approaches is really
workable, and let me explain first why justice scalia's is not. in 1790 punishment such as whipping, bodily mutilation and -- [inaudible] were considered acceptable forms of punishment. justice scalia himself in a speech he gave at the university of cincinnati said that he himself would strike down a legislatively-authorized punishment of hand branding, for example, or mutilation. he said i would have to strike it down. i understand that under my approach to the 8th amendment it should be considered okay, and yet if i were faced with the issue, i would strike it down. so it seems to me that an approach to constitutional interpretation that its very foremost proponent would not enforce be is probably not the best way to go, at least in terms of workability. on the other hand, the majority of evolving standards of decency test presents a host of
problems. first, who decides what current standards of decency require the supreme court says we'll strike down a punishment be we think it violates current societal standards, but how do we determine what current societal standards are? do we look to jury verdicts? legislative authorizations? do we look to justice kennedy's guts? where do we look to figure out what current moral standards require? and this is a real problem if you think about it, because anytime a punishment comes up before the supreme court for review, it was authorized by at least one legislature and imposed by at least one jury. very often it will be authorized by many legislatures and inflicted by many juries. so if the legislatures and juries are authorizing the punishment, how is it that the court can come to say that, nonetheless, society somehow condemns it, right? it's a real conundrum. and by the way, the way the
court has dealt with that is simply by pretending to find societal consensus against various punishments even though the punishments themselves are very popular and authorized by many legislatures. if you read the current opinions, court's claims about current societal standards are becoming increasingly less plausible over time. and that's a bad thing in and of itself, when a court uses a standard and transparently manipulates it in a way that's really not believable, that tends to undermine respect for the judiciary. a second problem with the evolving standards of decency test is that it makes the rights against cruel and unusual punishment didn't on public opinion d dependent on public opinion, right? remember what the court says. it says if society likes a punishment, then it's okay, because it comports with current societal standards. if society doesn't like a punishment, then it's not okay, right? but individual rights and public
opinion don't go together like chocolate and peanut butter, okay? they're not two great tastes that taste great together. the reason we have the bill of rights is that public opinion turns against people sometimes. and the constitution is supposed to be there to protect them when it does. and particularly the cruel and unusual punishment clause is there to protect a very unpopular class of citizens, criminal offenders, right? if we only protect criminal offend beers when society likes them, guess what? we're not going to protect them very often. um, in fact, you know, one of the assumptions underlying the evolving standards of decency test, again, is that societal opinion gets kinder and gentler over time. but i think anyone who's looked at the history of criminal law over the last 40 years would say that public opinion has gone in precisely the opposite direction in various ways because there have been a variety of public panics about different types of crime. in the '80s it was drug crime. in the '90s was juvenile
superpredators. more recently it's been sex offenders right? and whenever there's a public panic, legislators act by ratcheting up the level of punishment. so, for example, one thing a lot of legislatures have done in the last ten years is to authorize chemical castration of is sex offenders. you've got to understand, castration as a form of punishment was eliminated from the english tradition in the 13th centre. so we are literally getting medieval on sex offenders. but, of course, under the evolving standards of decency test, that should be okay, because if you look at any public opinion poll be, everybody hates sex offend beers and thinks there's nothing we can do to them that's too bad. but, again, i think of that as a perhaps not the best way to approach the bill of rights. so as a result of the court's current approach, we get an 8th amendment jurisprudence that's boast narrow and unprincipled.
finish both narrow and unprincipled. it's narrow in the sense that the court actually will not review most cases that come up under the 8th amendment. it'll look at death penalty cases, more recently a look at very long sentences imposed on juvenile offenders. but if you're an adult felon who's not sentenced to death, they will not even reyour sentence. so it's narrow. but it's also unprincipled because when they do review death penalty sentences, they make their decisions in a way that doesn't even comport with the standards that they themselves claim to apply. so it's not a good situation. so what's the solution that i propose? well, my solution is that we actually read the constitution. the 8th amendment does not prohibit cruel punishments, but cruel and unusual punishments. both sides of the debate, both the nonoriginalist majority and also justice scalia, have
ignored the word "unusual" in the constitution, and they treat the constitution as though it's prohibited simply cruel punishments. my argument is going to be that the key to understanding how the 8th amendment should work is to focus once again on the word "unusual." what does it mean? well, in fact, in the context of the 8th amendment the word "unusual" does not mean rare or out of the ordinary, right? that's the way you sort of think, what you would think it would mean. and you probably at some point in your life thought why are we only outlawing rare or uncommon punishments? why does that matter? well, actually, the word in the 8th amendment did not mean rare or out of ordinary, instead, it meant contrary to long usage or new, innovative. that's what it meant in the 17th century when it was first used in the english bill of rights and the 18th century when it was put into the american bill of rights. contrary to long usage. okay, so what does that mean?
what does it mean to say that a punishment is contrary to long usage? well, to understand that you need to understand the normative power of long usage, that is to say the moral power of long usage. this is a quote from edward cooke who many consider the greatest common law thinker in english history in the 17th century judge and thinker. and this is what he had to say about the common law of england. >> now, what does that mean? what it means is this: the common law, many of us today think of the common law in the way that oliver wendell holmes thought of it, which is that judges basically make policy from the bench, and they decide
cases based on their own views as to what's best. that's not how the common law was thought of for most of its history. the actually a kind of customary law, the law of custom and long usage. and the idea is that if a given governmental practice were used over a very long period of time be, this was powerful evidence that it was both reasonable and that it enjoyed the consent of the people. so to say something is usual under the common law is to say that it's probably pretty good, probably reasonable, probably practical, probably enjoys good consent of the people. to say something is unusual, on the other hand, is to say that it's contrary to long usage. contrary to our traditions. not the way we do things, right? that's what unusual means in the context of the 8th amendment. ..
the right to indictment by a grand jury, trial by jury, the right against double jeopardy, the right for taxation only with the consent of parliament. and the right against cruel and unusual punishments were all common all right. all rights that developed through long usage. on the other hand, edward coke had something to say about unusual or innovative practices. what was his view of innovative practices? this is it. the rack, okay?
during the reign of queen elizabeth and several other kings and queens of england, there was an attempt to import the civil law practices of europe into england. in part because it's very hard for the king to manipulate the, because as a kind of customary law. one of the key features of the civil law was the use of torture. you use torture to get a confession from a criminal defendant, and the common lawyers universally from the very beginning said this is illegal because it is unusual. it is outside the common law tradition to torture people. so this is the basic idea that if it is consistent with our traditional practices, then it's usual, it is probably reasonable. if it's new, if it's innovative, particularly in the realm of punishment. and by the way, your all young and naïve, when the government and the date batesnd punishmentt
is usually not to be nicer. so when the government innovates, this is strong evidence that is actually cruel. so that's why cruel and unusual. because the newness of it is evidence of the cruelty of it. that's the basic idea. now, there is direct evidence about the meaning of the word unusual in anguish bill of rights. there's a case, a really interesting case involving a guy named titus oates. titus oates was, by the way i put this is a fun fact that he was a bad guy. in 2000 that he was voted the worst -- the third worst a britain of the past thousand years. so not a nice guy. but here's what he did. he was kind of it is writable
anglican clergyman, down on his luck and these kind of trying to think the way to get fame and fortune and he decides people don't like catholics very much. and so what i'm going to do is make up a story about a bogus plot to kill the king and i'm going to give evidence about and who love me and give me money, et cetera. so he makes up the story about a bogus plot. he advocates 15 people including the queen's position in this blog. by the way commander suspect it was some plausible because they came at the time was charles ii, very friendly to catholics. his brother was a catholic. nonetheless, a plot to kill the king, and he names all these people. there are a bunch of tiles, a big panic, a bunch of trials. 15 people get executed as a result of his perjury. during the 15th trial, the story unravels. everyone realizes that it was all made up, and as you can imagine people are none too
pleased with titus oates. the problem is that under english law at the time the only crime he had committed was the crime of perjury. so he gets tried for perjury, convicted of perjury, and the judge in his case, the famous justice jeffries, one of the hanging judge of english history, system, well, because perjury is a misdemeanor we can't take your life, but we do something special prepared for you. and this is what they have. they find him 2000 marks, which is a large sum of money, they ordered him to be whipped, to be dragged across the city of london while being scorned from one city gate to another. then two days later, to be dragged out across. many people thinking -- many people think that he would die but again less cockroaches
during a nuclear war. he does not die. he was also sentenced -- [inaudible]. he was sentenced to life imprisonment and he was defrocked. could no longer call himself an anglican. this all happened in 1785 or so. sorry for the microphone problems. about five years later, history students may know that the glorious revolution happened. james the second is kicked out of england. william and mary come to england to take over the throne. and as the price for the throne, parliament requires that they accept this new english bill of rights come to the greed of their power limited by the english bill of rights. one of the provisions in the english bill of rights was a pro like -- against cruel and unusual punishment.
in the very year after the english bill of rights was adopted, who shows up in parliament with a petition that titus oates, saying this punishment was inflicted on me was cruel and unusual. and we have a parliamentary debate. you can read them yourself. everyone agreed that the punishment inflicted on titus oates was cruel and unusual. but the house of lords couldn't bring itself to judgment because they hated him so much so they wouldn't suspend judgment. but the debate, make it clear that the punishment, they say in the house of commons we would think specifically about titus of its when we included the cruel and unusual clause in english bill of rights. so how is it that his punishment was cruel and unusual? it could not be better school and a new because involved are back methods of punishment.
because every method of punishment used against him except the defrocking was a traditional form of punishment under the common law. so would not be rejected on the grounds it was barbaric. justice scalia has taken a position on the barbaric methods of punishment are covered by the cruel and unusual punishment clause. he was not subjected to a barbaric methods of punishment during the day. you can also say a cute effect of the punishment were somehow elevated to the level of barbarity because there were punishments that were cumulative leave much worse. for example, the kind of -- very gruesome and i won't go into detail but if you're interested in gruesome things you can look it up. so if it was cruel and unusual it was only cruel and unusual because it was disproportionate to the crime of perjury. that's the idea, that if he had been convicted of a different time may be the punishment would've been okay. but because he is only convicted of a misdemeanor, crime of
perjury, this was too much to do to an english citizen. and the debates and make it very clear that the source of standard is prior practice. that is, we have never done this sort of thing before. it's unprecedented. it's contrary to law and agent practice. and if we permit it been that sets a bad precedent for the future. the standard we see in the oates case is the very what i'm arguing. what happened to oates was contrary to long usage and, therefore, unusually cool. that's what it meant in english bill of rights. the question arises, that's what the english thought, di do the americans think the same thing a century later when they wrote the u.s. constitution? justice scalia has taken the position that they did not. although if you read his opinion you will notice the complete lack of historical reference in that part of his opinion to keep basically simply says it
wouldn't have made sense for the americans to contribute the same way, and, therefore, i don't think they did and let's go with my preferred method. by the way justice scalia, he is one of my favorite justices, but he's not really an originalist. i think he's a rules guy. he likes bright line rules. one of the original meaning, he's uncomfortable and i think sometimes we see a replacement of original meaning with a world. what we get from him here. so what's the evidence that americans thought that the cruel and unusual clause meant the same thing the english did? there's a lot. i can go to all of it here. but first of all it's worth remembering that the entire american revolution was premised on the idea that parliament lacks the power to violate common law rights. common law rights were, if anything more important to americans than to the english.
government has to be limited by the common law which is to say long usage. so that's another one. these are some quotes come again i've been a couple of articles on this so you can get more detail on. i don't want to take you much time now, but they cared a lot about it, i thought about it same way that edward coke did. number two, what's the evidence that interpreted the word unusual to mean the same thing that the english did? if you look at our store a record of the framers used the term unusual in of right of contexts, when debating the constitution, windows being adopted and ratified. when they do they always use it to mean at least in the context they always use it to mean contrary to long usage. to take one example, patrick henry when the federal government was created, complained that the holcomb was nothing but a series of new and unusual experiments. what did he mean by that? he met the federal government
was constrained by the common law. that was the key complaint of the anti-federalist, actually after the countries were adopted and during the ratification debate was that it wouldn't be the, law and that's why we need the bill of rights. it was at least approximate to weigh the common law constrain the power. and when they debated it to use the word unusual in precisely this sense, contrary to the common law, contrary to the long usage. and so my argument, that was meant to serve as a check on congress' ability to deviate from the common law. you have to look at higher practice, long-standing high practice to judge. finally, what effect would adopting my reading of the word unusual have on current jurisdiction -- jurisprudence? it was the evolving standards
analysis that we di get today to give you think about, when you talk about evolving standard of decency what you're saying is we're going to judge this old punishment based on our current standards, right? is this still good given today's standards? the real meaning of the eighth amendment is precisely the opposite of that. the question the courts should be asking is, how does this new punishment compared to our prior practice, given our traditional standards, what do we think of this new practice? it reverses the approach completely. and by the way, this is where we need judges to enforce rights. we don't need judges to sort of finish of old practices that are already dying out to the democratic process. what we need is judges who stand as a guardian when legislatures get out of control, respond to public and by enacting new cruel punishment, right? but under the current standards that's exactly what judges
disappear. when we all decided castroneves sex offenders, that's when the judges can't do anything because society loves it. -- castrate the sex offenders. >> the justice scalia standard, remember justice scalia said, if it was okay and 79 it must be okaytoday. but actually there's a very old common-law principle, and to paraphrase edward coke, when custom loses its meaning when -- what does that mean? remember i said that the reason long usage as a strong normative power is because we think of something survives the test of times, then it is reasonable, just. on the other hand, if something falls out of usage, then it's unreasonable in that one time we might've thought it was unreasonable. the analogy coca draws is your refinement of gold in a fire.
overtime as refined gold, it falls away and the cold remains, right? so the idea would be, well yes, we mutilated people in the 1790s but that practice fell out of usage two centuries ago. if the legislature wants to bring it back, it's going to be treated like a new punishment, right? it is the drop, not the goal. it's only traditional punishment that have continued to survive up to today, the source of our standard or point of reference. okay, so obviously one point of this is the court does have the power to determine whether a punishment is unconstitutional because its disproportionate to the events. justice great has taken the position of the courts lack the power. i think he mainly does that because he is concerned there's no objective standard to guide judges and determine whether something is disproportionate. but in fact if you use long usage as your guide, a judge is
capable of comparing a new punishment to the practices that preexisted it and determining whether it is so harsh and a person to the greek system practices that we have to consider it unusual. what about the death penalty? as i said a lot of the court's current death penalty cases can be justified based on the principle, although i'm not going to say that they are necessarily correct. simply that they are more plausible. to take one example, in kennedy versus louisiana, the supreme court said is unconstitutional to execute anyone for a non-homicide defense against an individual. at the time the case was decided that it not been an execution for a non-homicide defense in the united states for half a century. it had fallen out of usage in the early '60s. so you can make the argument that really what was happening was an attempt to bring back a practice that had fallen out of
our tradition. i'm not saying that's necessarily sold at the years is not usually a long period of time especially in an age of legislation. so i am not certain about the right result but at least they are defensible, plausible results. certainly more plausible than to claim that current societal standards condemned the execution of, for example, child rapist like the defend in kennedy v. louisiana. if we took a public opinion poll i'm sure you'd find a majority of citizens support execution of such people. one final point and then i will hand over the mic. there's a federalism application to this as well. and that is this. that usage may their jurisdiction to jurisdiction. one thing about the, law it is jurisdiction specific. so if you're going to decide a case about cruel and unusual punishment under state constitution as opposed to the federal constitution, you might find a give and punishment is cruel and unusual within a state
even though it's not cruel and unusual on the federal level. let me give you an example. and the 1970s, the supreme court found that the death penalty for rape was cruel and unusual because every state but georgia had eliminated it as a punishment. now again, because it was a continuous practice that had survived in georgia up to that time, kind of hard to justify that based on the original meaning of the clause. a gap since the last execution of rape at the time zone 10 or 15 years. it wasn't 50 years the wit was by the time it got unity versus louisiana tech on the event of the legislature and another statewide tour revived the destined fo for a red come what could they can document it is unusual in our state. it fell out of practice interstate some period of time ago. so there is room for and justice brennan famously called for state judges to force state constitution in a manner that is more protective than the federal
constitution. this is an example where that would be perfectly appropriate based on the original meaning of the clause. finally, justice taylor is about to talk and a duty to address michigan for one second because michigan is a special case. the michigan constitution, it's my understanding the current michigan constitution was adopted in the '70s, is that correct? 53. but it was adopted after the case of trope versus dulles in the '50s, i think 1958. where the court adopted the evolving standard of decency act. so you could make an argument under the original meaning of the michigan cruel and unusual clause the evolving sense of decency is the standard the court should apply because presumably the michigan legislature was unaware of that standard at the time that adopted the new michigan constitution and one could argue that commit to incorporate that standard into the michigan constitution. michigan is the only state any
union where the current standard is the appropriate standard. all right, i think i'm done. [applause] >> well, thank you, john. i was a wonderful presentation. the founders of society should be commended for bringing in speakers like this. it's wonderful at this law school free speech is so alive and well. i suspect many places in the united states, anybody even attempting to talk about the death penalty would get a hostile response. so that was really a great talk. what more can you say, if only learned about titus oates. [laughter] or had this won't be considered small by all of us catholics to say that we for very long time have been advising people to pay no attention to anglican clergyman. [laughter] we can't be held entirely responsible for titus.
i think it's a really interesting and intriguing advance of thinking on cruel and unusual. let me digress and talk about -- i ended my. on the court and she just the michigan was the first place in english speaking world to eliminate the death penalty, in 1850. it did so following a very and just hanging that had inflamed the people. and so in the constitution of 1850 they abolished the death penalty. so we've had a long period of that for which i think most people in michigan are immensely grateful. i know we on the supreme court were because states that have the death penalty, there are slip supreme court's did nothing but death penalty cases. that, of course, did not affect us. one modest question that i have
for the professor is this. public the most famous champion of evolving standards of decency i think you'd agree is probably justice william brennan, and i wonder if he and justice breyer, currently serving, would indeed agree with you that we look to public opinion to determine what are the evolving standards of decency? that is sort of a man on the street public opinion, or do we look to come what his specific -- sophisticated people think? by that, law professors. and i wonder, if that is, in fact, the case that that refinement is defensible, does that change the workability of the approach you're suggesting? and second, on matters abroad -- broadly speaking, the supreme court and essays is but, of course, non-originals
perspectives, the non-originalist, the purpose of this i do think, are very enthusiastically committed to the evolving standards of decency rule in all law, not just cruel and unusual. do you think it would be a problem even if your ideas are sound to get those non-originalists to come to such a position because of the capitalize a fact in their advocacy of evolving standard of decency and other areas of the law? but again, thank you. [applause] >> thanks so much. those are both excellent questions. let me address them in order. first of all, as i mentioned earlier on, when you talk about evolving standards of decency or
current societal consensus, one of the key question is, is how do we measure current standards of decency. the truth of the matter is that the court has never answered this question. everyone agrees that legislatures and juries are very important component because they represent the will of the people in a fairly directly. the legislatures because they're elected by the people, juries because there across example of the people themselves. but then the question is do we restrict it to legislatures and juries? if so, how do we count or do we look to other sources as well? there is a number of them proposed. so for example, the court will look at international opinion as reflected in the laws of various countries. it will sometimes look to opinions expressed by professional associations like the american bar association. it will sometimes look at public opinion polls, sometimes not. justice brennan and avoid
justice marshall have adopted a kind of hypothetical public opinion approach with it if the public only knew what we knew, they would agree with our position. so it's a kind of abstract hypothetical public opinion. but it's a problem. so there's this definitional problem that the court has grappled with our failed to grapple with over the years. but i really think it second day because the deeper problem with the test is tha getting done the case actually comes before the court, the strongest indicators, legislators and juries, are likely to provide at least some measure of support or the punishment practice. so actually what we've seen over the last 10 years has been kind of a emphasis of the evolving standards, where the court will say yes can we think there is societal consensus against it and they will do gymnastics to
reach that conclusion. they found societal consensus against the punishment that a been improved in 37 states and was being regulate opposed by jeers. but again that's become less plausible. as that is happened the court has the indecisive and said by the way, we also look to our own judges, our own independent judgment to determine whether a punishment is cruel and unusual. the problem with that is that there are no binding standards to govern courts into congestion. so the question arises, well, why doe does the court to be fro use its judgment without any standards, without any standards other than those the court chooses to adopt in any given case. so there's a rule of law problem with the independent judgment prong to the court's current approach. and i think that's why, actually justice kennedy, in ewing versus california said yes, i'm going to go along with this approach
to the cruel and unusual clause but we're going to respect it to these cases involving juvenile offenders. if it's a case that falls outside of that scope, then we are going, we're not going to look at it at all. a case against mission were a man was sentenced to life in prison and the mandatory sense of life in prison under the life or longer if you were found with more than 650 grams of cocaine you got a mandatory sentence of life in prison at the again note prior record. anand by the way, i think michin has now gotten rid of that but it was the law for about 20 years. the court said, kennedy's concurrence said we are not even going to really look at proportionality when the question is presents and to we're going to play very deferential standard, also let legislation so which punishment was too. will use a rational basis to
look at these punishments. so the court won't even look at this. the death penalty is almost anti-deferential approach to the cause. sony with its a long winded way of answering your question. the second one was what's the likely the court will ever adopt this approach given the commitment to a progressive wing of the constitution in other areas? that's a good question. i don't know whether they will but i kind of like my paper makes enemies on both sides. i start by bashing justice league is my natural for and in this area because i'm arguing about original meaning, but i do think one way to think about this is this, is that original meaning is not necessarily as inflexible and unbending as it often has been portrayed. think about the cruel and unusual punishment clause where this notion of what is unusual
is built into the standard itself, and that is something that falls completely of usage we can say yes, it's no longer part of our tradition. the constitution has changed. and i think there's some room for that approach to the constitution. now, there's a secondary question which is the appropriate mechanism for change. this involved separation of powers. the way change would work i think under the original meaning of the eighth amendment would be that it's up to legislatures and juries to past practice of out of usage. they are the ones, the legislature can either strike down the law that authorized the punishment or juries can refused to impose it. if that's the case it may fall out of usage. it's not up to judges to pass things out of usage, right. and when the democratic process do that, when a change the traditions, and then judges may be empowered to some sort of, to
recognize that change. and we d.c., law concepts built into the constitution and throughout the constitution really of the due process law. if the processes that are considered acceptable by the american people, change over time, and we certainly have, then that make him the court may be allowed to recognize those changes under the original meaning of the constitution, without itself doing violence to the original many pics i think is at least some chance that as a proper understanding of the common law gets better developed, that people who are worried that going back to original meaning will make the constitution to inflexible to be useful, might possibly be persuaded. but again, who knows? i don't know. other questions for either myself or justice taylor?
>> does anybody want to ask any questions? >> professor, thank you for being here. i had a question, i saw an interview with justice scalia where he spoke about torture. and if you think his focus on the cause in that instance is hard-core punishment, i was wondering, we looked at the pictures of the stretching rack, i was wondering what you thought about torture, whether that falls under punishment, or was it something else that the constitution doesn't address? >> that's a really excellent question. i did not see the interview but imagine justice scalia was referring to the fact that the supreme court, one of the ways it's limited cruel and unusual clause is is it only applies to
punishments that are given as a result of criminal conviction. so the question arises, what about -- torture in english system, actually the civil law was not really a close position punishment. it was a mode of trial where you torture someone until they confessed. with the eighth amendment, that? i haven't given it a lot of thought although there's one tantalizing bit of a struggle evidence which is at george mason who actually was the person consciously know, historically cruel and unusual clause was first in english bill of rights. if they went into the virginia declaration of rights. and from there was adopted into the u.s. constitution. george mason drafted the virginia declaration of rights, including the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. during the u.s. constitution ratification debate, this question about pretrial torture came up. george mason said, well, if you look at prohibition against
compelled self-incrimination, income and age with a prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, it's clear pretrial torture is not permitted. so he's reading of the cruel and unusual punishment clause was a little more substantial than the current court. that's only one piece of evidence, but he's a fairly authoritative figure in our history. and so i think should, let's hope it never happens, but should congress or legislatures ever decide to offer something like pretrial torture as with any evidence, the fifth amendment itself would prohibit it, but the eighth amendment is at least available as a possible secondary source. >> other questions? oh, come on. >> professor, i wanted to ask a little bit more about them if you could elaborate more about
legislature and the role of the judge's. basically from what i hear from what you're saying is part of the prince burrell of the legislation and a democratic republic is too tight and women into law at least in part a popular public opinion for what the people want as representatives of the people. so i was one of you could elaborate more on -- [inaudible] do with punishment. so essentially what you're saying is that you're arguing that is the prop what to do, how to judges need to be a gatekeeper and constitution guardians to make sure everyone's constitutional rights are preserved. could you elaborate a little bit more on that? >> i'm making a point that is perhaps more limited than it, but it gets back to this idea of long usage. by the way, one interesting point, we have a custom today,
we have this custom but we don't have this custom, back in the 17th and 18th centuries and when you say we use this custom our we don't use this custom. that's what unusual means contrary to custom or usage. the question would be how do we know whether something is constant or contrary? we know because we looked at whether it is being used or not. this is being used or not. there are two ways that the traditional practice can fall out of usage and stop being used. one would be at the legislature itsellegislatures of explicitlys we shall not use this anymore. they eliminate the punishment. the other would be if it is simply stop getting imposed even though it is on the books. something falls out. and my argument would be that if something like, for example, mutilation as a form of punishment is to fall out of
usage, it's going to fall out if you because the legislatures for good or because juries stop imposing it. is actually a case i've found, sort of entertaining case from the early 19th century in pennsylvania where a woman was convicted of being a -- believe it or not. the punishment was castration. today we don't people out there since the. it was a form of punishment at one point. you don't someone as a part of publishing. she argued this was cruel and unusual. when it got to the pennsylvania supreme court they said some very interesting things. they said look, we have a punish anyone for being a common troll in more than a century. in fact, we don't things ever done in pennsylvania. it was done in england at a time we should try people for being witches. but it fell out of usage in england. we don't think it was ever part of usage in pennsylvania. and by the way, the pennsylvania legislature has enacted laws
governing punishment that make it clear that this is not a crime under pennsylvania law. and so the court said very explicitly yes, this is one part of our tradition. it fell out of usage and window that because in part the legislature seems a forbidden it. and also in part because juries have never imposed it. and so that's the idea. judges don't determine whether something is being used or not. it's up to those who are in charge of making laws are executing laws that actually use the practice. judges can look at what others have done and say yes, this isn't used anymore, therefore, it is no longer part of our tradition. but they don't play an active role in bringing something out in the way court to do today. yes?
>> [inaudible] how do something become a new punishment? with where you are today with the technological era -- [inaudible] how would that be incorporated? >> clockwork orange type of thing? yes, that's a situation where you have to use kind of common law and logical reasoning. that is to say, you know, punishment practices to change of time. one example that happened right around 1790 is there was a movement away from public shaming towards the use of imprisonment as a mode of punishment. so prison was a new kind of punishment early in the republic. but the thought at the time was it was actually less cruel than
public shaming. i'm not sure that's really -- ask a typical criminal would you rather be publicly flogged or would you rather be pu ahold fo. but nontheless, the thinking was it was less cruel so even though it was new, it was okay. we got the term kind of an injury, you put someone alone with the bible and they will repent. a good workouts will. you put someone in a room all alone they tend to go crazy. but nontheless, the ideas when you have something new, you have to kind of measure it against what you're aiming for and try to make a decision about whether it is cruel or not. i can't imagine answer that with mathematical decision. you can survey think, it's certainly not hard to think about, for example, it is a punishment that involves some kind of mind control, but that might be more
punishment that doesn't. chemical castration as a mode of punishment. one of the reasons it's been done that is it's thought to eliminate testosterone from a person system. they will actually lose the very capacity to satisfy sexual. so you are changing the thought process. it covers people not only pedophiles who have sexual disorders, but anyone who commits a sex offense of a certain variety in jurisdictions that permit this. and so my gut reaction would be, if we are going, there's a famous -- as long as my mind is free, i'm free. my gut instinct is it's probably worse to imprison someone's mind and body. but, of course, i can't tell you that a court would come out that we. you have to really, it's a very, it's a topic of all things under the standard i'm proposing.
>> professor, first of all, thanks for coming. [inaudible] it came roaring back with gary gilmore with a firing squad in delaware i believe they have hangings. most of the states are now going to lethal injection as an alternative. that is what that person chooses. we are having problems where we're seeing that, a case with the chemicals may have been flawed, maybe they wouldn't kill him within five seconds but in 10 seconds that would've been cool. so my question is where do you see this in 10 years? >> in terms of methods of execution? >> yes. d.c. any loopholes? i guess my question is do you
see where the entire country but to come to some sort of -- [inaudible] will there be a point where the entire country will be forced to choose one form of capital punishment, or will we do away with the? >> i think acacia might be referring to, with the court was asked to consider whether lethal injection was a cruel and unusual method of punishment and the court found it was not because the chance of pain was too small. although i should point out there's a serious problem and the points to a broader problem in our criminal justice system which i would like to talk about for a minute. lethal injection in many case involved a three-drug cocktail, right? and one of those drugs is the one the many kills you is a barbiturate. but there's another drug, i think -- those of you -- it
paralyzes you. and then the third drug is a numbing agent. the reason you need it is because the other is excruciatingly painful and less you know someone first. everyone -- if one agrees you can just use the barbiturate and kill someone and therouno pain. barbiturate chip ins. but the problem is, grades this excruciating pain and, of course, it's impossible to tell whether the person being executed experiences that pain because it's a paralytic agent. so you can't move it all. you could be suffering to the, no one would know. you're paralyzed. the question is right, why do we use it? why are we paralyzing people before we kill them? one answer to that is that if
you don't use the bromide, guess what happens when a person dies? they go through the death throes. they shake. it's not a very fun thing to look out. and so my feeling about it is that the reason we do the three-drug cocktail is because we're trying to hide from ourselves what we are doing. it doesn't look like death when using three-drug cocktail. it looks like you're going to sleep your we are willing to run the risk of excruciating pain for those we execute so we ourselves don't have to see the death throes. and i think of this as kind of an analogy, back in the day all the shaming commence at a was very, can i going to say, but that i necessary think it's better than imprisonment, i don't know, i don't want to go down that road, but it is true when you imprison someone one effect of that if you one effect of that if you don't see what they go through. they are behind a wall.
and if you can hide from yourself the effect of which are doing, then you may not feel morally responsible for what you are doing. you may not think it's as carefully by the limit that you impose on yourself when you do it. so do think that's a troubling aspect of lethal injection as an execution protocol. now the expiration issue is a little bit different. some of these drugs are not manufactured in the u.s. there bought from abroad from disrupted old sources. to our questions about efficacy. although, i mean, that plays into the question of whether, in fact, there is a greater risk of the court. that was a factual fundamental with the court to there's not much chance of excruciating death and that's what the supreme court upheld the message. if it were a more robust fact-finding at the district
court level that explore this further we might get a different result if the question is what do you do if the three-drug cocktail can produce, welcome you could just go to barbiturate, use a bigger dosage of barbiturate and would have to watch the death throes, but that may not be a bad thing. one other point by the way, i do think that if the death penalty does ultimately fall out of usage if it is ultimately rejected by the american people it won't be for that reason but it will be simple because it is an inescapable risk of executing innocent people. with all of these innocent projects around we're going more and more everyday about, and i used to be -- it's impossible to avoid even the most care, the risk of convicting innocent people even in capital case. that may turn public opinion against the death penalty. then he would be the democratic process putting it out of usage. >> are right, sadly we are
finally coming to a close. professor, we just want to express our greatest gratitude for giving you. it's been our pleasure to host you. thank you very much. [applause] >> we would like to get a photo. so those of you who can stick around for a couple of minutes and we would like to get a group picture. >> just ahead, historical look at the issues that led to the break in diplomatic relations between u.s. and iran by an iranian american author and journalist. and let him live coverage of the senate when it returns at 2 p.m. eastern for morning business. no roll call votes are expected.
>> also today, president obama's nominee to the white house deputy budget director testifies at his confirmation in on capitol hill. he will appear before the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee. a longtime economic adviser in the obama administration, he is currently the deputy director of the white house national economic council. you can watch his hearing live at 3 p.m. eastern over on c-span. >> a brand-new startup company with one mission. and that's to -- what we have here is our first generation product and especially it is very summer to a breathalyzer. so in order to start the vehicle docked and locked in a system in order to start the car. >> what we have here is our campaign to draw education inagt
taxing and driver. we're trying to bring the message home in a very safe environment about a difficult and dangerous it is to text and drive. >> see the technology that shapes public policy. tonight on "the communicators" at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> now an examination of u.s. relations with iran from the perspective of an iranian american author and journalist. hooman majd looks at the history between the two nations and issues contribute to the break in diplomatic relations more than 30 years ago. he discusses the u.s. support for the shaw, 1979 revolution and hostage crisis. iran's nuclear program and what he calls the cultural misunderstand between the two countries. hooman majd is a contributing writer for several magazines including time, salon and "the new yorker." is the author of the new york times bestseller "the ayatollah
begs to differ." this form was hosted by williams college in williamstown, massachusetts. it runs about an hour and 20 minutes. >> thank you very much. this mic i guess. that introduction was lovely, and, but i have to say i'm not a professor nor an expert of any kind. on anything, let alone iran. there are actually no iranian experts come in case you were wondering. because there's no such thing as expertise on event. iraivan is just way, way too unpredictable and difficult for anybody to claim that they are an expert, that they know what iran is, what iran is going to do, with a going to build back up with her not to go to build banned -- bob peck everything experts claim to know the actually don't. the proof of that is that in 2009 when there was an election,
there wasn't a single expert, myself included, as a nonexpert who predicted what was going to happen in the aftermath of that election. so now we have a whole new election have been an event and there's all sorts of new expertise about expert opinion about what could happen with the election iraq is going to affect a nuclear program, how it's going to affect relations with the united states and iran. and again, i would argue that no one really knows. and i will talk a little bit about what we do know about iran. rather than what we think we know. iran is, as i said earlier, at a dinner, i had the fortune or misfortune, however you look at it, of being bicultural. what i know of iran is through the culture of my parents and my family. at the time i spent in iran, which isn't as much as i'd like to it have been.
my contacts with iran is all kind of the rings, politicians, dave mentioned that i've met and translated and even advised iranian presidents. i've had the fortune of being able to look at issues to iranian eyes. my own eyes which are partly iranian, but also through the eyes of iranians that i've gotten close to. and i think that's the primary problem that we have in america with foreign relations is that we have a very difficult time looking at issues through the eyes of someone else, through the eyes of another culture. particularly a culture which seems to be at conflict with us. and iran has seemed to have been in conflict with those for now over 30 years. the question is, is there any way for us as americans, americans don't have the experience or the bicultural background to be able to understand what iran is coming from, or the iranian government
is coming from, or where there many people are coming from? and is there a way for us to accommodate what their concerns are and what they want to be in this so-called family of nations that exists right now? we hopefully, at peace with each other. that's a good question. i can't answer that question because, because i'm bicultural israel difficult for me to answer that question. i think i know, but i can't look at iran purely through american eyes. what i'm going to do, tonight is trying to explain a little bit about iran from the perspective of iranians, not from the perspective of an american. when you look at iran, i think, and it's in the news all the time, the scary country, 80 million people who seem to be religious fanatics, which we don't like and america generally speaking, who are bent on the destruction of israel, one of our closest allies, if not our closest ally, who are bent on
reducing our influence and power in the world, and challenging the u.s. in almost every instance where our interests intersect, such as in afghanistan, iraq, syria, lebanon, with hamas, with hezbol that is what we see of iran, and what we see in the media of iran is also very alarmist. we have a crazy president and iran who talks about there being no homosexuals in iran, to wanting to wipe israel off the map, to talking about the evil of zionism, and talking about how iran is a superpower it is going to challenge america and is actually going to be victorious in this battle between east and west. so this is what we get from the media to a large piece, what we see all the time. but it of course as intelligent
people, we know that can't possibly be the truth. and it is an. it the truth. it is true that president ahmadinejad is a little wacko. it is true that he comes across as very wacko. it is true that his rhetoric sounds to our heirs completely insane, but it is also true that his rhetoric doesn't sound insane to a large population inside a van and doesn't sound insane to larg a large populatin the developing world, not just iran. it's also true that he doesn't represent the iranian people fully. it's true that the iranians we see on tv sometimes, although it back to the hostage crisis jumping up and down and shouting death to america, seeing scenes of tehran on television, people walking on the american flag, we also know that that, we action know that most of intelligent people know that that doesn't represent 8 million people. but it is also true at the same time that the iranian government
is at odds with the u.s. government in many instances, and in many places in the world, particularly in the middle east. the question is why is that? why should we be at odds with iran? what is there about iran, or this government in particular, this regime in particular that makes it impossible for us to have figured out how to be on good terms go or at least on speaking terms with them over the last 30 years? the first answer to that is, the hostage crisis. we tried, we had an embassy there, they took our hostages, they did something evil. it was against international law, so we stopped speaking to them to we cut off diplomatic relations, that was that. now they are our enemy, they are against us and we'll do everything to undermine them, which included supporting saddam hussein when he went to war with iran. supporting him militarily, intelligence wise, and supporting the country that
supported him financially. that's the easy answer. the more complicated answer is that the our grievances on both sides. the main grievance that the united states has starts with the hostage crisis, but then goes on to iran's support for actors that we don't approve of such as hezbollah in lebanon and the palestinian resistance in israel. and the occupied territories. the grievance on the iranian side is the side we tend to miss, and we tend not to talk about. and the grievances on the ring inside go back all the way to world war ii. after world war ii, during world war ii, the allied powers had the shah's father removed from power because he was an active sympathizer and installed the sun. seven or eight years later,
there was a democratic and he was a very weak ruler. there was a constitutional monarchy, there was an elected prime minister, and the elected prime minister in 1953 was a nationalist who believed in iran's national interest and didn't believe in being allies to either east or west and didn't believe in taking orders from the indices or anyone else in the particularly great britain at that time. at the time iran's oil, iran's income from its oil was less than the taxes they were paying to the british government for the sale of that oil. so he nationalized the oil industry, and the british and the americans, to make a very long story short, for those of you know, the british and american governments decided to remove the democratically elected prime minister and return the shah to power who fled iran in fear that he would be arrested.
that coup, the 1953 coup, is something that every iranian knows about them every iranian has known about forever, has been taught in schools since 1979, and every iranian knows that was instigated, that coup was instigated by the united states. and great britain, but mainly it wouldn't have happened without the united states. so as far as iranians are concerned, and particularly the revolutionary who took over power in 79, and two are now in control of the country, for them the u.s. is a country that took away their democratic aspirations. it's true, it was more than 50 years ago, but it still of recent memory for many of those people, and that since then, certainly since 1979, has tried to undermine iran's movement towards an independent democratic or somewhat democratic state.
so the antagonism goes back to 1953, but it's not just 1953. a lot of people will write books or write articles about how the iranians have a grievance against the united states because of the 1953 coup. it's not just that. since 1979, and the hostage crisis, the iranians feel that the u.s. has tried to to undermine iran in many ways. and i'll just point out a few of them -- a few of the more recent things that the rains will point out and say it shows american bad faith towards iran. aske..
>> to foment revolution in iran. under president bush, there was. and i'm not sure where it stands now, the budget for, um, covert and overt activity against the iranian regime. so the iranian people and the iranian regime, and the iranian regime is very good at propaganda and telling its people what's going on in the world and what's going on with america and iran. the view there is that america cannot abide by iran's independence, by iran wanting to make its own decisions and being an independent actor in the middle east and wants to impose its will on iran, wants to impose a form of government on iran, wants to impose a form -- wants to ideals and
its ideology on iran, and iran is resisting that. and another example for the iranians is the assassination of nuclear scientists which is blamed on israel and the united states, and although the united states claims that it's not involved in the assassination of iranian nuclear scientists, that's not very much -- that's not very well believed in iran by even ordinary iranians who dislike the regime. then you have the stuxnet worm, the virus that was introduced to the iranian computer system that was running the nuclear program which caused a lot of damage. so that's another example of covert activity to undermine iranian interests. the iranian people have two major concerns in life. they have one concern which is economic which we all have. everybody wants to have a good economic life, have a stable life, have a stable country and
a stable economy and to do well. financially. their second concern, a secondary concern is a social political concern. so they want a government that represents them. those two are their own primary concerns for the iranian people, and the iranian government knows that those two are the primary concerns. they know that the economic concern is more important. but for the iranians there's also a third concern, something that we don't generally have to think about in america, and that is what their nation stands for. the iranian people are a proud people who have had 25 years, 2500 years of history, at least they think they've had 2500 years of history as a nation-state and a nation-state that was created at a time when there were very few nation-states. there were mostly city-states at that time. and iran forged together this great nation out of different
tribes, different ethnicities and created this country called iran. it was called persian by the greeks and by the british. so there's a sense of nationalism and what iran stands for. iranian kids who go to school even during the shah's time were always taught iranian history the same way we're taught american history. they were taught about this grand, great empire that did a lot of great things, that was very powerful, that was independent, that was influential where the language was influential, the culture, the poetry, literature was influential across the world. and they've seen the decline. and they blame part of that decline on the weakness of iran, the weakness of its rulers and the strength of the west. and what the '79 revolution was supposed to do and why it was so popular for many iranians was that it claimed that it was going to make iran another great country that was going to be independent. not necessarily to compete militarily, not necessarily to compete in terms of power on the world stage, but to be
competitive as an independent nation-state that was not going to take orders or dictate from any other country. that was a very popular sentiment, and that's still a sentiment that is very much a part of the iranian experience inside iran and even among iranians outside of iran. even among iranian-americans who live here who might despise the regime and despise what it does in terms of human rights and civil rights, but still believe that iran should be an independent nation, should not be a country that is allied necessarily to one country to another greater power or not. so for iranians that third concern is actually quite important x. that's the concern -- and that's the concern that the regime has been able to play op for -- play on r the last 30 years and particularly in the last ten years when it's been about the nuclear issue, this concern that we want to be an independent nation. we don't want to be dictated to by the west, we don't want to be dictated by anybody, let alone
the west. in the foreign ministry in iran right after the revolution they carved into the walls neither east, nor west; islamic republic. to not be allied to what was then the communist east or the capitalist west. and that sentiments still plays a very strong role in the iranian culture. so i'm going to move to whether this government or this regime is an actor that is possible to do business with for the united states given the fact that they have, as we know post-2009, divide a lot of discontent economically and sociopolitically. the first two concerns that most iranians have. they don't have a lot of discontent when it comes to their stance on independence. and the nuclear issue is what is driving that stance right now for iranians and why the nuclear
issue is still a very popular issue. nuclear program is still a very popularrish shy for most -- popular issue for most iranians inside iran. although the polls can be not very accurate in countries like iran where people tend not to answer truthfully because they're afraid their answers might become public, and, you know, in regimes that is autocratic people generally tend not to want to answer questions by someone anonymously on the phone. but there have been numerous polls done internally and by external polling, u.s.-based polling companies that have shown that even though the nuclear program has diminished somewhat in its popularity, it's still popular in iran's stance on the nuclear program is popular by an overwhelming majority inside iran. still an overwhelming majority. and that's what i was talking about, that third issue.
now we can talk about what this regime is. and whether what we, how we relate to them, whether it's even possible for us to relate to them. talking about ahmadinejad first. ahmadinejad has been blown way out of proportion in the west. and by our media. and you kind of can't blame our media. our media likes to look for stuff that is interesting, exciting, um, sensationalist. and ahmadinejad, you know, he fits that bill. if he was reasonable, he wouldn't get a lot of air time. he's much more interesting as an unreasonable person. and as a whacko. we like whackos. look what's happening with north korea. half the media is concerned about him being a little whacko instead of him actually being a threat n. ahmadinejad's case, it was both. this obsession we have with him being a threat as well as being whacko.
but ahmadinejad in iran is not as important as we made him out to be here. it was much more convenient for the media to make him out to be the leader of iran. in fact, that's the word they've used often, the leader of iran. when he is, in fact, not the leader of iran. iran has a very, very complicated political structure, and it might bore people to death for me to go into it, but i'll just go it into very, very briefly. it is somewhat democratic. not democratic in the way that we imagine it in that there is a supreme leader. and a lot of these words i'm going to use, these terms are very orwellian. iran has a supreme leader who's, indeed, supreme. that's why they call him supreme. he is the ultimate authority in iran. the way it's structured is the supreme leader is chosen by a body of clerics called the assembly of experts. the assembly of experts, however, is voted on by the people. every six years. but i have yet to come across an
iranian that i know who has ever voted in that election. so you have to assume that people who actually go out and vote for the assembly of experts are people who are really regime supporters, and they tend to vote for relatively conservative ayatollahs. and the assembly of experts is all clerics. it's kind of like a college of cardinals. and that assembly of experts has the power to appoint a supreme leader, and during the the term of the supreme leader is supposed to monitor his performance and can actually impeach him. like the college of cardinals can depose a pope under certain circumstances, and there has to be proof of all kinds of things. same thing in iran. this is where they claim their legitimacy. the supreme leader says, well, i'm actually elected by the people through the assembly of experts. then you have all these other governmental bodies that are all ultimately answerable to the supreme leader. the guardian council is another
group of six clerics and six jurists who are to mediate between -- this is -- sorry. between parliament and the executive branch when there's a disagreement. because there are, actually, three branches of goth in iran, and -- of government in iran, and they're elected. there's the legislative branch which is the parliament, like our congress, there's the judiciary which is independent, and then there's the presidency. and if anybody's been following iran in the last few months or the last year, you know that inside iran there's a huge battle going on between those three branches of government. that said, so there's a somewhat democratic system in place, and the constitution is somewhat democratic. but that said, there is still the supreme leader who has the final say in everything, and people defer to him. be so the supreme leader was always the person who has been dealing with the nuclear issue. he's always the person who ultimately will make the decision on whether to talk to america, whether to make a deal with america. he's always the person who has
military capability. he is the perp, if iran ever builds a nuclear weapon, if it were to do that, he is the person who's going to have his finger on the button, not someone like ahmadinejad who is the president of iran. whoever the next president of iran is. in fact, in the system in iran, the government system in iran, the president t isn't even the commander in chief. the commander in chief is the supreme leader. so he doesn't have control over the military. so even if ahmadinejad really wanted to wipe israel off the map, he wouldn't have the ability to do so. he doesn't have his finger on any button, let alone a nuclear button. he doesn't have the ability to make a decision on the nuclear issue. that's handled by the supreme national security council which is answerable only to the supreme leader. and it's he who appoints the people to the supreme national security council, but in the constitution the president is automatically on that council, but he's just one voice of many. so the iranian government seems
opaque, seems very complicated. you do have these three branches of government. they're constantly fighting each other quite openly, and the media in iran is actually, you know, quite open in being able to criticize one branch of government or another branch. there are many red lines. there isn't freedom of press in iran. i'm not suggesting there is. but there's more freedom of press in iran than there is in some of our allied countries such as saudi arabia or bahrain or even in qatar and places like that. there is more freedom for the press to criticize the government. and there are certain red lines that cannot be crossed by the media. but you have this system of government that seems very complicated, and i think president obama recognized early on that it wasn't ahmadinejad that he's going to have to talk to, it's going to be the supreme leader, ultimately, who's going to make the decision. >> now, the supreme leader being supreme generally doesn't talk to anybody. and he has left iran since
he became president in 1989. since he became supreme leader, sorry. he was president before -- one time he was president. since 1989 he has not left iran. he thinks being the supreme leader and being kind of a shiite pope that people have to come to him. and there's, actually, a book out right now by a couple of ex-u.s. intelligence people who are suggesting that's exactly what obama should do is actually go to tehran. they titled the book "going to tehran." so he doesn't ordinarily meet with people. he doesn't meet with foreign politicians. he does occasionally meet with heads of state from muslim countries or from african countries, developing countries who come to tehran. he will have a brief meeting with them. but he doesn't negotiate. so it's a are complicated -- it's a very complicated structure. but prident obama did send a
letter to the supreme letter and sent it to ahmadinejad. now, as far as the iranians were concerned, this actually caused -- as far as many iranians were concerned, this actually caused more problems than it solved. president obama recognized president ahmadinejad's not the guy he needs to discuss things with, so let's send a letter to the supreme liter. ahmadinejad, however, had been the first be president to congratulate an american president in writing on their election. so ahmadinejad had sent a letter to president obama congratulating him on being elected in 2008. he didn't get a response. he was very offended, ahmadinejad was very offended that he didn't get a response from president obama. so he started causing problems inside iran in terms of dealing with the american administration. and with president obama. and many times he mentioned that the americans don't really, aren't interested in speaking to
us, or they're not really interested in engaging us. it's all nonsense, they just pretend that they want to. they won't even respond to a congratulatory letter that i've sent them. so that became part of a bit of a problem inside the regime in iran, well, how do you respond? the supreme leader actually did respond, sent a letter back. and the reason i know this. it's never been made public, the reason i know is because a friend of mine helped compose that letter, somebody who was in the iranian government at the time. so, um, the problem keeps compounding itself because of this misunderstanding, cultural misunderstanding between the u.s. and iran on both sides. the iranians think the american side isn't genuine, the american side isn't really after engagement but be is actually trying to undermine them all time.
the american side doesn't understand the iranian side, doesn't understand the importance of responding to a congratulatory letter, and the u.s. side thinks that iran is impossible because every time we try to do anything, we don't get a response that we want. anytime we try to reach out, or as president obama says m reaching out a hand and it's met with a fist, from the american perspective we can see that. we can see that the iranians aren't reacting well to our outreach. but from the iranian side, again, whether it's the people of iran or whether it's the government, the outreach is actually very weakment it's like, yes, we would like to talk to you guys about your nuclear program be and a few other things, afghanistan, syria, rack. but mainly the nuclear program right now. and right now we would like you to do this. we're telling you we want you to
do this. so they've already got -- the u.s -- the iranians say the americans already have what they want us to do which is to stop enriching uranium, to not be able to do what every other country is allowed to do. so tear picking on us. at the same time, the same time they're doing this, they're also saying and while we're asking you to do this, we are going to leave all options on the table which means potentially we could if, if you don't do what we want you to do, we're going to bomb you. and we're going to force you to do what we want you to do. and before we bomb you, we're going to try a few other things. so we're going to really cripple your economy. we're going to sanction the hell out of you. we're going to do something that is going to make it impossible for you to sell your oil, impossible for you to feed your people, impossible for you to balance your budgets and really just squeeze you so much that it becomes painful not just for you, but also for your citizens. and we'll keep doing that until you agree to do what we want you to do.and all the while, at thee
time, by the way, if you don't do it, we can bomb you. the iranians say, well, you know, that doesn't really work. if you threaten us, then you're not really trying to engage us. if you're putting this pressure on us by sanctioning every single thing -- our oil, foreign exchange -- you're cutting us you off from the international banking system, you're trying, what you're actually trying to do is destroy us. so what's the engagement? there is no engagement. there is no negotiation. we're not really talking. you're not really talking to us. you're telling us -- you're dictating to us in the same way that you've dictated to other countries as a superpower, in the same way you dictated to iran under the shah, in the same way you dictate, you continue to dictate to some of your other allied, weaker countries. and that's not acceptable. and for the iranian people, by and large i would say they would agree with this government no
matter how much they dislike the government, no matter how much they feel the government's not representative of them in many other ways. and no matter how much they feel that the human rights situation, the civil rights situation in iran, the democratic process, all of those situations, all those issues are of importance and are not in the situation where the iranian people want them to be. despite that, they are still going to support the nation when it comes to its rights. because once you give up some of your rights because you're told to, once you accept being dictated to, then you really don't have independence anymore. and that is really, really important for the iranian people. and it's something that i think our politicians have to understand not just with iran, but with every country that we deal with. we're used to being able to tell other countries what to do. we're used to being able to throw our weight around.
it doesn't work anymore. it can only work be if we really are willing to go to war, and i don't believe any of us believe we are capable of that anymore, of going to war with a bunch of other countries, particularly in the middle east. so the sanctions and the threats on iran aren't accomplishing what they are meant to accomplish. sanctions and threats are mention to accomplish two things. one is to change the behavior of the regime or to force the people to change the behavior of their regime. in other words, to squeeze the people so much that they get so up happy with the regime that they rise up and overthrow the regime, and then there's a regime that's more amenable to doing what we want it to do. well, neither of those things are going to happen in iran. neither of them have happened, and neither of them are going to happen. if anything, sanctions have not
quite decimated yet, but have hurt the middle class to a point where the middle class have virtually no say anymore in civil society in iran. the middle class is getting smaller and weaker, and it's the middle class in countries that tend to be the agents of change. the threats are actually causing the iranians to be more intransigent rather than be cooperative in terms of wanting to try to resolve what is the main issue with iran, which is the nuclear issue. the iranians today look around them and they say, well, north korea actually has nuclear weapons, has tested nuclear weapons, and they're not threatening -- they're under sanction, that's true. they are under sanction by the united states and other countries, but nobody's threatening to go to war with north korea. and yet we don't have nuclear weapons, and they're threatening to come to war with us. this doesn't make any sense. we could resolve this issue if
the united states, particularly the united states because the other countries that are involved it is view, the view in iran is that they are not the the influential parties, if the united states was willing to accept iran as an islamic country, as a legitimate government that has legitimate interests in the region, that so far as far as the iranian people and the iranian government is concerned has not happened. we have not yet accepted that the islamic republic is a country that we should be able to treat in exactly the same way as we treat any other country, as any other independent, powerful country. this is a demand that iran has that is not going away. the iranian regime, and i'll talk a little bit about the regime itself and the presidential elections coming up and the dissatisfaction with the regime. the iranian regime was based on three things. its legitimacy, this islamic
republic was based on three things; religious legitimacy derived derived from shia theology, the second one was its support for the poor, a just society where there was going to be more equality, no corruption, people would have an opportunity to better themselves, and the government would take care in a socialist way take care of the poorest and the weakest in society. that was the second legitimate factor for the islamic relick. and the third was this independence issue i talk about. well, the first two issues have kind of weakened considerably. the religious legitimacy has been somewhat weakened particularly since 2009 since the elections when many of the ayatollahs were seen to be cruel and not caring about any of the things they had talked about in the past, democratic values. but even down to torture and
arrests of human rights activists and protesters and stuff like that. you lose religious legitimacy if you do things that are not very, not very religious or accepted in the religion. and even islam doesn't accept torture of prisoners for no reason. or for in reason actually. so they lost that. they have this one legitimate -- and they lost the legitimacy of being for justice and for being for the poor and for being against corruption and for equality for people partly because there's as much corruption now as there was probably in the latest, last years of the shah's regime if not more. and there's a huge gap in wealth between the haves and the have nots. and there's a lot of resentment inside iran even among people who support the islamic republic as a regime. there's a lot of resentment about the fact that there is a crass of society, people associated with the
revolutionary guards, people associated with the regime who do very, very far, very well economically and live very well and go around throwing their weight around when there's people who are suffering. so that legitimacy is gone, wasn't -- it was there at the beginning of the revolution. the beginning of the revolution anybody who had a mercedes kept it in the garage because they didn't want to be seen to be wealthier than anybody else. today there are due catties in iran and ferraris in iran when people who, you know, can't even feed tear families. so that legitimacy's gone. the only legitimacy they have left in iran really is this legitimacy of an independent state that's going to fight for the iranian nation's rights regardless of what the regime is. now, for the people of iran we are always, as americans, we're always interested in other cultures and what the political systems are and how, whether the
dictatorship is a cruel dictatorship and the people of iran hike the regime, want the regime to be in power, don't want the regime to be in power, and we have sympathy for people who stand up to dictators and autocrats. as far as the united states' foreign policy is concerned, though, the two issues of whether iran has human rights, a horrible human rights record and is an undemocratic country should not be related to the nuclear issue. they are, as far as i'm concerned, unrelated. because if you try to relate those two issues, you'll never get anywhere with the iranian government. you're not going to be able to bring down the iranian government through rhetoric. you're not going to be able to get the iranian people to rise up against this regime through rhetoric. and by telling the iranian regime that we hate you because of your human rights record, by telling the iranian people we stand with against this
horrible dictatorship, you're actually helping the regime. because the regime turns around and tells its people, they're not really worried about the nuclear issue. what they're really trying to do is overthrow us. what they're really trying to do is overthrow the regime that you voted into power 33 years ago. your government, your system of government that you wanted, the americans don't want, that's what they're really concerned about. it's not the nuclear issue. and then at that point anybody who disagrees with the government -- so if there is a civil society, if there is opposition to iran, anybody who disagrees with the government automatically becomes suspect. oh, you actually working for the americans. you're actually doing the job of the americans, because that's what they want. they want to overthrow this government. they want a liberal democracy in iran which they can control. and by criticizing us, you're actually helping the enemy. so it helps the regime when you do that.
um, so in my view those things aren't very related. even among iranians, they're not really related. if you looked at the 2009 protests in iran and you looked at what people were demanding then, it wasn't an end to the nuclear program. it wasn't relations with the united states. people were not walking down the streets of tehran saying after ahmadinejad was elected in a dubious vote count, they weren't saying we want recommendations with america -- relations with america. we want, you know, to open a u.s. embassy. we want americans to come here. no, they were complaining about tear own system, their own lack of civil rights, about the rigging of the vote for those people who believed the vote had been rigged. it had nothing with america and, by the way, had nothing to do with the nuclearer shoe. every single candidate -- issue. every sing candidate in iran the most reform, from the most reformed side, the most liberal, the ones who actually believe there should be democracy in iran to the most hard line have all supported iran's nuclear
program. every single one. mow savvy who was the leading candidate to lost to ahmadinejad in 2009 who's under house arrest and has been for three years now -- two years, two-and-a-half years now, he still to this day says he supports iran's nuclear program and, in fact, wouldn't give in one inch, wouldn't compromise one iota with the united states. so the nuclear issue is really separate from the human rights and the civil rights issue in iran. and i suggest always that it is absolutely okay for us as americans, for independent ngos, even for the u.s. government to express dismay about human rights abuses, to express moral support for iranians who are trying to build a better society in iran. but to make that a primary consideration won't get us anywhere with -- i like that
cell phone ring. my cell phone doesn't work. whoever's it is. it's not going to get us anywhere in terms of trying to come to some sort of agreement on the nuclear issue with iran. oh, it's not a cell phone. someone's actually practicing, i think. [laughter] even better. a musical accompaniment. [laughter] so i'm not going to be tuning because i know -- too long because i know people want to get answers to questions rather than listen to me going on and on about various things that could bore you to tears. but i think the main thing that i'm trying to get across is that iran is not actually that unique in terms of being a difficult state to deal with. it's unique because it's really one of the few times in our history if you set aside few,
a few examples like cuba and the cold war, countries that were allied with the soviet union that comes out and defies us all the time. and we just don't like to be detefied -- defied. we don't like to hear that someone doesn't like something of ours. we think even though us believe that we have a perfect political system in america or that everything is perfect here in terms of democrat, we like to -- democracy, we like to think it's as good as it gets. it's pretty close to being the best thing out there given the alternatives right now. this is the best thing. so why wouldn't other people in other countries want the same things we want? why wouldn't they want to have a system that is similar to ours? why wouldn't they want to have the exact same freedoms that we enjoy here? well, it's complicated, because not everybody believes the way -- not everybody comes from the same culture.
not everybody believes that there are -- there are certain freedoms that we have today that we didn't have, by the way, 50 years ago that we think are just natural freedoms. you should be able to do this, you should be able to say this, you should be able to, you know, date whoever you want. you should be able to be openly homosexual. all those issues, you should be able to marry if you are gay. all those things that have change inside the last 40, 50 years, civil rights in north america, those are things that aren't necessarily in the cultures of a lot of other countries yet. i think they will be there, they will get there. i think things that are moral, things that are good, things that are reasonable will get there, but not every society is willing to be exactly like america. not every society wants their mtv. i think it's good that there are people who do want their mtv in iran, and there are plenty of people who do just based on the number of people whohaand tch m.
but society as a whole hasn't come, gotten there where it wants to be exactly like america. that doesn't mean that people, we shouldn't stand up for women's rights, for example, many iran. doesn't mean we shouldn't decry segregation, we shouldn't decry various aspects of civil rights that are abused. but it also doesn't mean that we should try to impose our way of life and our thinking and our ideology on another people wholesale without taking into consideration that there's a culture there that is, that is proud, that needs to evolve in it own way and in its own time. and whatever changes come to the government, whatever changes in terms of the political system happen have to happen internally. they can't happen because we want them to happen. that's just not going to happen with iran.
it's, you that in iraq. and we were able to bring about the change in iraq, but i think in the long term when we look at it, there are very few people who are going to say that for america -- maybe for the iraqi people 50 years from now they'll say, you know, thank god the americans came and removed saddam hussein because, you know, we got what we wanted inside end. that may be true.but for americk america's going to get what it wants out of iraq or has gotten what it wants out of iraq. and certainly not at the cost -- and i don't mean financial, at the costs in terms of american foreign policy, in terms of american interests and in terms of the number of dead and wounded we had from that conflict -- for america it's never going to have been worth, have been worth it. so i think that when it comes to iran, we have to look at a lot of these things i've touched upon, but i think we can't obsess about one thing or another and have to really think about whether we as a country
want to forget about the hostage crisis, have the iranians forget about 1953 and move forward and say, look, we will recognize your grievances, you recognize our grievances. we will recognize that we will never have complete agreement on everything. but there are areas where we do have agreement, where we do think we can come to some sort of agreement, and those are where -- where whether it's syria, iraq, afghanistan, where we could actually sit down and negotiate with the iranian people. and then once we negotiate and we come to some sort of agreement -- and the nuclear issue is obviously the foremost issue -- after that we can then say, okay, now we have an issue with your human rights record. but at least we've gotten this other issue out of the way, and we can concentrate on building better ties and helping the
iranian democratic movement inside iran that right now we can't help in any way. in fact, if we ever even try to help them, they are tarred with the brush of being foreign agents. and, you know, a country under threat is always going to feel that it needs to be more, to be less willing to give in than a country that's not under threat. so anyway, i'm going to stop talking and start taking questions. pleasure and i believe there's a microphone there. >> the average iranian thinks that they're working to build the bomb, and if so, do they care? and if they were to build it, that they'd use it on israel? >> when that's a very good question. i think there are many different
views in iran. there's a minority view that iran should have a bomb. and, again, it actually goes across political lines. it's not even people who are pro-regime necessarily. they're iranians for the nationalistic reason who say, you know what? pakistan has a bomb, israel has a bomb, more than one, india has a bomb, you know? there was a time when in india the language of the court was farsi because we had such great influence. persian was such a great culture that indians spoke farsi. they have a bomb and we don't? we should have a bomb. it's a purely nationalistic view. that's the minority. according to sears poll -- again, not necessarily reliable, it's around 35, 30 % of people seem to think it's okay for iran to have a bomb. most iranians don't believe that the iranian government is irrational. they might think it's evil. they might hate their government, they might hate their regime, they might hate
the ayatollahs, but very, very few people think it's irrational. very few people buy into this idea that the iranian regime as a whole willing to commit suicide to meet their maker sooner rather than later or to bring about the coming of the messiah, things that we've heard in the media. and nobody in iran that i've ever come across believes -- whether they like the regime or don't like the regime -- believes iran has any intention of starting a war with israel. everybody in iran knows that israel has second strike capability, iran doesn't. that if iran were to develop a bomb even being able to deliver it to israel would be an obstacle they probably won't be able to bridge right now. but -- and if they did, they'd be killing way more palestinians, and they'd be killing israelis. and nobody believes that iran is irrational enough. the leaders of iran are
irrational enough to then invite suicide upon themselves. the one thing that this regime is, whether you like it or hate it, is rational. and the one thing that they are -- their primary concern, like a lot of regimes, is self-preservation. they would like to preserve this regime forever. held rather it not be like the dynasty of a 50-year dynasty. it's been 33 years, they would like it to be 100 years, 200 years for there to be an islamic republic. if they build a bomb, they'll probably still have an islamic republic. if they use it, i think the islamic republic would be over, and i think most people recognize that. >> um, iran's role with hezbollah and hamas, is that viewed in the iranian government as more of a negotiate card -- negotiation card, or is it
purely ideological support or palestinian support rather than -- >> i think it's both. i think it's both. it has been both. in the past i think it's been partly ideological because iran has looked for allies -- well, in the case of hezbollah, hezbollah is a shiite organization in a sea of muslims in the region. shiites are a minority, iran is a majority shiite country, over 90%. iraq is a majority shia country but only 60%. bahrain is a majority shia country, and lebanon is split between -- there's no majority, but there are a lot of shias. iran from the beginning of the revolution made an active decision to go and support shia groups wherever they were. so, obviously, we now know but very few people did know even in our government that the iraq can key shiites were very closely allied to iran. we discovered that after war.
but, so they have a lot of influence in iraq. hezbollah is particularly a, is actually a very i'd lodge call -- ideological kansas there. hamas is less of an ideological connection. but in pote instances -- in both instances i think rapp has looked, as i said, from the very beginning of the revolution to spread its influence among not just shiites, but among places where they could have -- and hamas is not a shiite organization -- where they could have influence, where they could have soft power because they knew they were always going to be under threat by greater powers. they knew that the arab states surrounding them, in particular iraq but also saudi arabia and some of the other gulf states were antagonistic toward the islamic republic and the islamic revolution, and they certainly knew that the west was and the united states primarily. and so if they had this soft power, it would balance that
somewhat. but it's also been vid somewhat as a negotiation possibility because at least the evidence is that in 2003 iran did send a note to the united states government through the swiss ambassador suggesting -- this was under taha tammy -- they even enlisted their support for hezbollah as things to be discussed. that doesn't mean they were willing to just give up on those two organizations, but they were certainly -- because that's always been something the united states has brought up, iran's support for terrorist organizations and the two they name is hezbollah and hamas, that's been something, i think, that's always in the back of the mind of the iranians as something that they could for national interests -- if the national interests deem it that they should loosen their support for those groups or one or the other of the groups, i think that they would certainly consider it. i think the iranian regime -- it
goes back to what i was saying earlier. it's a very rational actor, and it acts in its own self-interests as a regime which is why it stops protests and in terms of national forests as a nation -- interests as a nation looks at national interests as we do. what's important to us? it's not in the national interest for the arab spring to work in bahrain. so to the arab world we look like huge hypocrites, you know? we're supporting democracy and freedom, and the bahraini is killing shiites. it's not in our interests for bahrain to go into a shiite-majority country. and so the iranians are the same way. a lot of things seem hypocritical to us in terms of the way the regime behaves, seems hypocritical to the iranian people even. oh, you're supporting hamas here, but you're not supporting the muslims in china or the chechnyans, why not?
because you don't want to, you know, get the russians angry at us? so we know that there are national interests. and the iranian government's rational in that sense and tries to preserve its interests. syria's another perfect example of where it's trying to preserve its interests, and it's acting on a purely rational basis. it's not because president assad is the best friend forever of the supreme leader. they're not bffs. >> [inaudible] civil society within iran that hope to forge something outside of both the -- [inaudible] that the americans want to impose onto it, but also that may slightly differ from the current regime in iran? so that's the first question. the second question is how might those civil society efforts form strategic ties or allies with the iranian regime in order to combat what they also might
perceive as the imposition of a particularly american conception of democracy? >> yeah. well, the -- that's a good question. the iranians have had a long history with democratic movements going back to 1906, the constitutional movement in iran where they, um, the absolute powers of the shah were challenged, and the constitutional movement was successful. and there was a constitution. and then there was a coup and the shah's father took over, and then he was an absolute dictator, and then his son -- we put his son in power after world war ii, and he was in absolute power, and then he lost some of that power. and then the iranians, again, brought the democratic change about with the parliament which i talked about. so there's a long history of democratic values in iran, the idea of a democracy. the people inside iran, certainly the people that i've come across, and nothing is an absolute because, you know, everybody has a different experience in iran.
but i try -- you know, i'm just a writer. as a writer i try to, like, talk to everybody without prejudice, and i don't actually have an agenda, because even if iran were to change tomorrow and become a democratic paradise, i wouldn't move there. i live in brooklyn, and i'm happy there. [laughter] most of the time i'm happy will. i'm happy there. so i don't have an agenda. i'm not looking to go back to iran to reclaim any property or anything like that. or get a position or to run for president of iran. so i have no agenda there. and i try to talk to everybody. as a writer, my observation has been that the people in iran, the activists in iran who are fighting for any kind of democratic change are looking for, in the immediate future, just the constitution to be respected. the iranian constitution. the current islamic republic constitution which does allow for a supreme leader. so they haven't been challenging that aspect, by and large. some would argue that the reason they're not challenging is
because if they do, they end up in prison, which is true. also true. because that is a red line that you can't challenge. however, the constitution for a lot of iranians is actually not that bad in that the separation of the powers is clearly defined, the supreme leader under the constitution isn't supposed to interfere in every little detail. he's supposed to be a guide. in fact, ayatollah khomeini who is the founder of the islamic republic when he first went back to iran as a victorious revolutionary, he said i'm not even going to be involved in politics. he said i'm just going to go meditate. and he did. the day the american embassy was overrun, the hostage crisis in 1979, he was sitting 90 miles away from tehran. wasn't really involved in the government. people in the iranian government were clean shaven, they were wearing ties, they were elected, there was a prime minister be, there was a
the prime minister had to drive to go see khomeini and say people have taken over the american embassy. and his response was who are they? he said, i don't know, they're a bunch of students. they've taken over the embassy. he said, well, kick 'em out. prime minister got really happy. oh, here maney said kick 'em out -- khomeini said kick 'em out. he's a guide. he gets in his car, drives back. before he makes it to tehran to go and say ayatollah khomeini says you've got to leave the embassy, other mullahs, other ayatollahs had gotten to him and said, wait, hold on, this is actually a good thing. and then we know the history. and then the prime minister resigned, actually, and one of the complaints the iranians have about the movie argo was that the government was actually against the hostage taking. it was a faction of the government that was for it. but the point is that the constitution isn't that, isn't
as undemocratic as it appears to us. the country shouldn't be as undemocratic as it appears to us or as it, indeed, is. so most iranian democracy, pro-democracy advocates believe -- the ones i've had experience with -- believe that you've got to work within the system, within the regime, within the country, because it can't be imposed from outside, and it can't be allied to outside forces. and to bring about at least an adherence to the constitution. and through development over time, including someone like the former president, believes the changes will then come naturally if you work within the system. and the constitution there's freedom of assembly. there's freedom of movement. there's freedom of protest. why were protests banned senate in in the why were protests banned? there's freedom of the press. it's in the constitution. why is the press not free? i mean, thesere t issues
that iranians have with the e scream right now. and most iranians and, again, in my experience are not really willing to overflow the regime or have the regime overthrown because the unknown to them is worse than trying to work within the system and make it better. there are for many iranians of my generation who remember the revolution, they feel that the revolution made a lot of promises that were unkept. and they feel the same thing could happen in that kind of revolution where there's this big upheaval, a complete overthrow of the system, and you kind of don't know what's going to happen. who's going to take power? are there going to be all these battles? is there going to be bloodshed? is there going to be a whole long period when we don't know what the constitution is? at least we know what we have now and let's try to move forward from that and see what happens over time. so it's a very long answer to what is a very good and, actually, difficult question to
answer. [laughter] yeah. >> try to figure out why you chose to come to williamstown, of all places. >> sorry? >> i was trying to figure out why you decided to come to will -- >> why i decided to come? >> and then i remembered the last crown prince of iran actually spent a year here at williams. do you know people like him have had influence or made efforts with what you're doing of helping people, has he been active in that area? >> yeah, he has been active. he's not the reason i came to williams college. [laughter] although it's a good reason. no, no. i was invited, and i happily accepted. but, yes, there is a history here in that the palavi prince did, indeed, study here. and williams is well known in iran, has always been well known as an constitution of higher learning and a very highly-respected one. the shah wouldn't have sent his
kid here if it wasn't. so -- because i think he pretty much had the choice of going anywhere he liked. [laughter] i think if you have billions of dollars, you can probably decide where you want to send your kid. but, no be, he has been active. the problem with the shah's son is his political activity and one of the reasons he hasn't been more successful, i think, in even garnering a lot of support either from, actually, the american government which he's tried to garner or european governments or from iranian exiles has been that he's been very absolutist about his position. and he's absolutist in that i'm the crown prince, that's my throne. he actually doesn't say that. he says, you know, he kind of dances around that issue. but he is the crown prince and that he wants this regime overthrown. this regime has to go. and, you know, a lot of people
don't want that. i shouldn't say that they don't want changes. i shouldn't say that they don't -- even the people who don't like, hate the regime who do want it gone don't believe that you can just remove that regime and put the crown prince in place and say, okay, now we've got -- everything's hunky dory. so i think his message hasn't been a message many iranians can relate to. in 1979, and i'm old enough to remember, it was hard to meet an iranian who didn't support the revolution. it seems strange to think of it that way because if you looked at it in 1977 and you asked iranians are today happy, i mean, you -- are they happy, you went to tehran, it seemed like a happening place. people were having fun, it was very western. nobody was complaining. some people were complaining about the secret police or the shah that was trained by the cia and the mossad and how there was some torture, and mike wallace
on "60 minutes" would every now and then interview the shah and say what about torture? he's saying i'm not torturing anybody, what are you talking about? it might happen, but i don't give the orders. so there was some awareness of discontent, but we had no idea of the level of discontent. and when the shah fell or as he was falling and when the revolution was happening, you looked around at iranians, even people who had done very well under the shah, they were kind of happy to see the shah go. they felt like in this oppressive political atmosphere was very socially free, iran. but politically, it was very oppressive. less freedom of the press then than today, less even other political freedoms than today in iran. they felt they were kind of happy. so the current shah, the crown prince, he's not really offering very much to most iranians who were happy that the shah left. and the idea of going back to a
monarchy for a lot of people is, you know, doesn't make sense of a generation. and the young people don't even remember the shah. so, you know, he's not that relevant in that sense. >> among the iranian people today, is there consensus about what the hostage crisis meant, how it is relevant today in any way? >> to most -- that's a good question, yeah. the hostage cry -- crisis for most, well, first of all, it's a very young country. the majority of the population is under 30. they were born after the crisis. so it's actually not a memory for them. but if you ask people if iran and you talk to various people whether young or older who do remember or were kids when it happened, they will agree almost unanimously agree that it was a mistake. or at least something that they should regret. even the hostage takers themselves who have been interviewed in the western media or inside iran by the iranian
media have exped certain regrets. and i know some of of them. i've met some of them and talked to them about it. and they say, yeah, well, we were young, we were revolutionary. we really, really believed that the u.s. was plotting to overthrow the islamic republic, you know, which we had just founded, which we had just fought for, begin blood for. we -- given blood for. we really believed this was the only way to stop them. that's how they did it in 1953, they did it from the embassy. and be we really believed it. and the record thing about -- the weird thing about the hostage crisis that a generation of iranians who were the early revolutionaries some of whom have changed their minds and, in fact, most of them are now reform piss and have been in jail since 2009. it's ironic that the people we think of as the big revolutionaries who took our hostages are people that the regime hates today. it's funny, one of my friends who was a revolutionary said to
me, you know, in '79 it was really strange. a lot of us were educated in american universities, and some of us during the civil rights movement. and the people that we met in colleges, the young people that we met, they were all against the system. they hated the cia, they hated nixon, they hated the war, they hated everything. and when we had our revolution, we kind of thought all our friends, all our college-age friends would be on our side. and even when they took the embassy, we thought they're actually going to say, yeah, that's cool, down with the man, you know? this embassy represents the man. down with the man. of so they were stuck in this kind of 1960s hippie mode, i think, some of these rain neighbor revolutionaries, and they really believed -- they realized very quickly that actually, no, america had changed, and that wasn't -- so there's a certain amount of regret, yes, i would say that. but they try to justify it by saying you have to understand where our emotions were at the time. we really believed that this was
happening. we have, you know, we thought it was, they were trying to overthrow our government, and can so that's why we did it. we never thought it was going to be more than a few days. we never thought the hostage crisis would drag on for all that time. there are people who took advantage of it, obviously, for political reasons. mainly to consolidate the power of the clerical regime because there were a lot of challenges to that power, the mujahideen being a prime example. and one way we do that was to rally everyone around this one issue. >> this gentleman and then the gentleman, and then we'll wrap up. >> however you like. >> you talked about how we should kind of say, yeah, we've done some wrong, you've done some wrong, and you have to kind of recognize this and resolve these problems. how do we in our government go about saying, yes, we did wrong and recognize that, and how do
we convince them that we're not just saying that just to say it? >> that's a really good question because that's what the supreme leader always says, that we're not sincere. how do we convince them we are sincere? i'm not sure we are sincere. i think we first have to be sincere -- [laughter] and then take frit there. take it from there. i think it's really hard to be sincere when you hold a gun to someone's head. or to appear to be sincere. you know, if i say please do this, please do your homework by tomorrow and, you know, i really, i'm being sincere, i will give you a good grade if you do that homework by tomorrow, you say, okay, probably being sincere. but if i put a gun to your head and say do your homework by tomorrow, i promise you i'll give you a good grade, but if you don't do it, i'm going to blow your head off. what is this guy trying to do? what message is he giving me?
now, homework is a bad analogy. [laughter] i'll admit. but that's what we're taling the iranians. we want you to do this, and we want you to do this now. but if you don't do it, we might blow you away. and, but we're sincere. we really don't want to blow you away. well, then if you don't want to blow us away, why do you keep saying you might blow us away? why do we keep saying all options on the table which we know is code for military action? why do we say that if it's not? if president obama has no intention of bombing iran, as some people claim, under any circumstance even if iran tests a nuclear weapon that the united states won't do anything about it, there's been, you know, steven waltz of harvard university has made the argument that we will never bomb iran, and we will go to a deterrent strategy if iran ever tests a nuclear weapon. i mean, it's crazy to say if you think about it. i mean, this is my opinion. again, i'm just a writer.
it's crazy to say for the president of the united states to say we do not believe in containment and deterrence. we believe in prevention. so we will not allow iran to build a nuclear weapon. now, this is what the president has said. again and again and again. and he's just repeated it on his trip to israel. so as steve wald said, what if iran tests a nuclear weapon tomorrow? what if they announce tomorrow that they're withdrawing from the np texas, the treaty -- they can do that legally, give six months' notice. that's what the north koreans did. kicking out the inspectors and announce openly as ahmadinejad said, he said if we ever wanted to build a bomb, we're not shy. we'll tell you we're building a bomb. he said we're not afraid of you. and this is whacko ahmadinejad. but in a way he's right. what are they afraid of? what if iran does that tomorrow? do we mobilize our troops, send 150,000 troops back to the
persian gulf and say, well, we said all options, now we're going to have to do it. >> [inaudible] >> well, i think you have to say, no, all options aren't on the table. the option of war isn't on the table. we're not going to go to war. we're not going to go to war, and we don't expect you to build a nuclear weapon, because you have said that you won't. you have signed a treaty saying that you won't do that. we're going to hold you to that treaty, and we are going to disincentivize you from ever taking that step. if we keep telling them we're not going to let you wild a bomb, doesn't -- build a bomb, doesn't that give them more incentive in a way? if they do build the bomb, we can't blow them away. or we get worried about blowing them away. you can't just, like, attack them. or you could, but it's probably not a good idea. so i think that, you know, the sincerity thing is a very good
question, but i think you can't really come across -- certainly, and i don't think it's even a cultural issue in this particular instance. i think, you know, you should take into consideration iranian culture, or one should take into consideration iranian culture and how they view sincerity and how they view interaction between politicians and states. but the truth of the matter is if you want to be sincere, then you have to be sincere. and i don't think that the united states at this point -- and this is my opinion -- has shown any sincere desire to have better relations with iran outside of resolving this one nuclear issue to america's benefit in a way that does not allow iran even indigenous enrichment of uranium. so that, to the iranians, is not sincere. >> you argue -- [inaudible] >> i -- [inaudible]
>> but if youinat too easy a question -- [laughter] >> that's actually the hardest question of all. >> no, i wonder if you could tell me who the next leader would be. >> who the next supreme leader will be? ooh, that's, that's even harder. [laughter] the elections in iran are impossible to predict. the supreme leadership is impossible to predict too. nobody thought khamenei would become supreme leader after khomeini. they had to actually change the constitution in order for him to be eligible to become. he famously kept saying, no, don't vote for me. imagine the college of cardinals voting for a pope and one of them says -- please, in fact, what happened with francis, apparently -- don't vote for me, i'm not worthy, i'm not worthy. and finally when they're voting for him they say, no, no, you're the man, he says but i'm not even an ayatollah, i'm not qualified. they said we'll take care of that. the next day he was an ayatollah. so that's, it's really hard to
predict. the more important question, in my opinion, is will there be a supreme leader the next time after this supreme leader passes away? after the 2009 elections, there was a movement by a handful of clerics in the assembly of experts to see if they could garner enough votes in the ais assembly to impeach -- in the assembly to impeach, or at least put pressure if not impeach the supreme leader to put enough pressure on him to back off his policy of having ahmadinejad not only be president, but also to stop the protests and everything else. there weren't enough votes. assuming that the supreme leader lives a long life, and ayatollahs tend to live long lives, he -- it's hard to say. if the regime is exact intact as it is today and the assembly of experts is intact, there'll be a
lot of machinations. his own personal view unlike in khomeini's time will be less relevant to who his successor is. but, you know, a lot of the ayatollahs who are in the assembly of expert are thousand in their 80s and 90s, and they probably won't be around when he's gone. so there'll be a younger group. as i said, it's impossible to predict who it would be, but it would probably be somewhere who will be older, maybe in his 60s and, hopefully, at least if the regime continues and if it's intact, hopefully someone who's more democratic and more on the reform side which is entirely possible. it's entirely possible depending on what happens in the next few years in terms of the assembly of experts. the presidential election, that is just absolutely impossible to predict. there are hundreds of candidates who will be registering, and then the guardian council vets the candidates and allows,
probably will allow anywhere between four to eight candidates to run, and there'll be two front runners and probably, in all probability they'll be conservative. but probably far more pragmatic than ahmadinejad, more prague pattists. -- pragmatists. there's a lot of talk of the reformers trying to get that tammy to run again. he has so far refused to say or not. but the supreme leader role, i mean, a lot of people don't think that it could, that it will survive his death, the supreme leadership. because, actually, there doesn't have to be a supreme leader. the assembly of experts could decide upon the death of this leader to have a council of three supreme leaders who, you know, decide on the guidance issues that are important in the
constitution. but anybody who's predicted the demise of the system, the predictions have been premature, and i think it would be -- even though it seems like it's a shaky political system, i think it would be, it would be unwise to predict that that system is not going to survive for the foreseeable future. iran's not in a revolutionary state in a way that they could overthrow the system. he is in his 7 0s and has had cancer. was there one more question, or did we cut it in. >> [inaudible] >> no, it's -- we could take one last one. i don't know if anybody else wanted to ask a question. >> i'm just actually curious as
to what was said between president obama and the supreme leader in their correspondence. >> oh, i wish i knew. >> oh. [laughter] i didn't know if you -- >> it wasn't made public. >> okay. >> it wasn't made public. and i don't want -- i'm not sure. i mean, i assume that president obama, from what i understand from the reports that we have, pause they never publicized, they actually never published the letter on the white house, you know, web site. but, um, have to assume that the relater said what he said in his first inauguration, 2009, saying, you know, i want better relations, i want to resolve this issue, you know, how do we move on, want to talk to you guys, want to have bilateral talks, something that even though john kerry has recently said wanting to talk to -- and joe biden has said in europe a couple months ago, this administration wants to talk to iran. and on the response side, the iranians have never, have never publicized what the supreme
leader said either. in fact, some people have denied in iran that he ever even responded. but i'm sure he did respond, and i'm sure the response was, well, good. you know, show me money. and the reason i say that is because in 2009 when these letters were going back and forth supposedly and some people say there were more than one, in 2010, actually, '9 and '10, i spoke to a number of clerics inside iran who are, you know, in the regime, and in early 2009 when president obama had made the initial engagement part of his, the initial approach and his new year's message to the iranian people, these clerics who were quite influential were saying, yeah, words are all fine. we've heard words many times before. do something to show us you're going back to sincerity.
show us something. something. something small. you know, like let us buy some boeing airplanes. just that. just lift those sanctions, just that one sanction. and that will show that you really do want engagement, that you really don't want to -- you know, words are great, but so, you know, you're still saying sanctions are in place, you know, you've got to do this, you've got to do this, but i want to engage. so that's been the problem. and, of course, president obama can argue,, well, i tried. you can see it from both sides. but from the iranian side i can tell you it just did not ring true, the engagement. okay. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
>> and on capitol hill today, the senate gavels in at 2:00 eastern time beginning with general speeches. at 5 they'll return to debate on the army corps of engineers' water projects. senators are going through amendments to that bill. we'll have live coverage here on c-span2. and at 3:00 eastern our companion network c-span will be live with the senate confirmation hearing on president obama's pick for deputy director of the white house budget office, brian d.c. he'll respond to questions from the homeland security and governmental affairs committee. >> we're a brand new start-up company with one mission, and that's to prevent distracted driving accidents that are caused by cell phones. what we have here is our first generation product, and essentially, it works very similar to a breathalyzer. so in order to start the
vehicle, the phone literally has to be docked and locked in our system in order to start the be. what we have here is we have our campaign to draw education against the dangers of texting and driving. we have created this online simulator that we actually bring to high schools and to events across the country, and we're trying to bring the message home in a very safe environment of how difficult and dangerous it is to text and drive. >> see the technology that helps shape public policy. we'll visit the annual cea technology fair on capitol hill tonight on "the communicators" at 8 eastern on c-span2. >> she's the first first lady to earn a college degree, and during the civil war soldiers under her husband call her the mother of the regiment. opposing slavery, she influences her husband to switch from the whig party to the anti-slavery republican party. and she hosts the first annual white house easter egg roll. meet lucy hayes, wife of the 19th president, rutherford b.
rasmussen, secretary-general of nato on the future of european defense, a nato perspective. i welcome secretary-general rasmussen to join meeting of our committee and the subcommittee on security and defense. i also welcome colleagues from national parliament in front of me, six countries are represented. and it's almost a year since mr. rasmussen last joined us to brief us of nato chicago some. this change of views is particularly timely, bear in mind the challenges facing nato and eu of afghanistan, but also in the lives of the important discussion on european defense that is expected at december european council. i would underline that these two issues, operational challenges,
which range from somalia, and the need to improve european cooperation are critical issues, especially at the time of economic constraint and political uncertainty. i would remind you the european parliament is consistent in arguing that eu and nato are complementary of innovations for european, your atlanta and global institute interest. this committee confirms the vital role of each organization. i would emphasize that it is important to be on this declaration and provisions and invest in european defense before declining budgets and -- in our capabilities undermine our ability to take care of security, especially in our
neighborhood. i mentioned this fact that the december european council provides an important opportunity to work for further defense cooperation, towards the implementation of permanent structure cooperation for the greater use of coalition of the willing. including -- and, of course, for building lasting partnerships like the one with nato. let me express concern about the escalation and attacks in afghanistan as we enter this fighting season. we saw loss of lives of last week of seven nato soldiers. and that i would ask how you think the security situation will develop as the end grows
closer and our troops are gone. i stop here and i leave you the floor for your presentation. thank you very much, and welcome again. >> thank you very much, chairman provera, for the kind introduction. it's really a great pleasure for me to once again meet members of the two committees, and chairpersons from foreign relations at defense committees of national parliaments. we meet regularly actually. so i'm glad to see many familiar faces. and i'm looking forward to another lively discussion. so let me make just a few points. i'm fully committed to a strong
and open europe. i firmly believe that europe must have a strong security and defense policy. and i'm pleased that the would be a european council dedicated to security and defense next december. it will actually be the first time since the start of the global financial crisis that hits our state and government focus on this vital dimension of a strong and open europe. but let me also be frank. if european nations do not make a firm commitment to invest, to invest in security and defense,
then all talk about a strengthened european defense and european policy will be just hot air. and it won't bring us any closer to the strong and open europe that we all want. so as we look ahead to december, we should all keep three things firmly in mind. first, we europeans must understand that soft power alone is really no power at all. without hot capabilities to back off this diplomacy, europe will lack credibility and influence. it will risk being a global spectator rather than the powerful global actor that it can be and should be.
our shared experience in the western balkans is a case in point. restoring stability there has required a mix, a mix of hard and soft power. we saw this with the conclusion of the recent agreement between belgrade and lisbon. the agreement was broken by the european union, and i commend kathy ashton for her excellent work. but both parties wanted assurance that nato would care key to security to implement the agreement. second, a continuing decline in european defense and european defense budgets will inevitably result in a declining role for
our continent on the global stage. and europe will be unable to participate in crisis manageme management. the only way to avoid this is by holding the line on defense spending, to stop the cut and to start reinvesting in security as soon as our economies have recovered. meanwhile, we need to make better use of what we have. to do more together as europeans within the european union and within nato. to deliver the critical defense get a post that are too expensive for any individual country to deliver alone. finally, having the right
capabilities is important, but it's not enough. we must also have the political will to use them, to deal with security challenges on europe's doorstep to help manage crisis further away that might affect us here at home. and to better share the security burden with our north american ally. for this to happen, european nations need to develop a truly global perspective, a global perspective. we must not become -- by our economic woes. we must look outwards, not in words. and we need europe and north
america to talk more regularly, more openly and more frank. within the unique transatlantic forum that is native. and between nato and the european union. so in conclusion, the european council in december should showcase a europe that is both able to act, and willing to act. and it should encourage the european union and nato to do more together. to consult more. coordinate more. and cooperate more. to get us there will require strong logical resolve, including here in this house, as
well as in national parliaments. i am confident that we can rise to the challenge. because we owe it to our taxpayers, and voters, to give them the best security that money can buy. and with that as an introduction, i look very much forward to a stimulating discussion this afternoon. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much, secretary-general, for your speech and for myself, want to give my regards to you that you're able to come to us again and have this discussion. [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: thank you.
i am to later than two fast. [laughter] [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: thank you. i won't take any questions away from you. i would like to begin by thanking the secretary-general for his regular welcome and useful attendance at our committee meetings. thank you for your extremely clear message on european capabilities and the joint security defense policy. i've taken note of the fact that you'd like to see the policy developed in a vigorous fashion. your speech is very much along the lines of what the u.s.
secretary of defense, robert gates, said two years ago when he was in brussels. he called on europeans to do more, to do better, particularly when it comes to budgets and capabilities. that is indeed a major concern for us all. now, we are all familiar with the institutional difficulties when it comes to relationship between the european union and nato. we know that these political lens of institutional difficulties cannot be resolved in the short term or easily. given that fact, what avenues can we explore to further -- coordination between the two institutions? what do you think are the possible or existing areas where we can work more closely together? and let me finish up with a comment on a recent tripnorthwo.
we visited the hq there, we met with the maritime command, the nato maritime commands for the nato prese in the indiancean. so i am thinking about the post 2014 post-afghanistan period. nato is looking to fresh horizons at any cost. is that a reasonable approach? has that been properly coordinated with other international organizations? is there consensus within nato on this approach? and in what area does nato stand to be more active? thank you.
[speaking in native tongue] >> translator: thank you. i, too, would like to thank the nato secretary-general for his presence. let me begin by saying that we regret that that's not such a date of a number of soldiers deployed to afghanistan. our condolences. secretary-general, let me say that we fully subscribe to your analysis, european union should not just be a military power but rather political and economic force as well. the european union can be effective and credible in the way it tackles the new threats. so it must be responsible in the positions it takes. we do, however, struggle to
mobilize four to 5000 soldiers for operations. now, i have two specific questions. firstly, on syria, in nato what analysis have you drawn of the israeli operation in this area? how might it affect security in a neighboring country such as turkey? what are the options? what are the lessons that can be drawn from the area exclusion zone in syria? and what might the impact be on syria? second question, i would like to pick up on what mr. danjean said. what is the scenario for afghanistan post-2014?
and finally, to what eent is nato working on smart defense, and how is this compatible with the pooling and sharing approach that the european union is applying to his common security and defense policy? thank you. [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: secretary-general, -- a member of the polish senate and defense minister. [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: at first understand the contribution of europe and nato into european
union's. first one is about the necessity of cooperation and not only in operation but also in security of europe. the changes in u.s. strategy may weaken our common commitments to secretary of europe. that's why it's obvious that we should in europe deliver more in the fear of -- the year of capability of the year of operations but and the americans after the changes of priorities of their strategy express at the beginning of last year as well as a shift of priority -- [inaudible] they wait for more contribution from europe. my question is about how do you see, how you see right now the
performance of smart defense? because this is crucial that we deliver during last year, during the summit, and it's one of the capability for the crisis. my second remark is about the nato eu relations. working dialogue between -- established several years ago. it's a working dialogue, working dialogue without special legal regulations, and for everybody i believe it should be maintained for the benefit of european union and for native. this dialogue in your opinion. and the third one, my third remark is about the necessary cooperation between the european defense agency that is crucial not only for both institutions,
but also for capabilities of particular now national states, especially in the year of profit sharing and smart defense. to what extent you can say that these two initiatives are harmonizing right now? because they should be harmonized in the progress of both. thank you very much. [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: thank you for that very interesting speech. you said nato was a unique transatlantic forum. and there's no doubt about that. and what i think is most
encouraging is that nato has concentrate on the new challenges of cybersecurity and the like. and yet there's a general view that nato is last seasons thing. the u.s.a. turning in on itself as to some extent downgraded nato. my question to you is, to what extent is the united states now less interested in europe? and my second question, pooling and sharing and the european enthusiasm for that. my question is, in nato, or in research institutions close to nato, as any research been done into how much taxpayers money is
being used for the upkeep of old buildings, old equipment, defense infrastructure which is now obsolete? in this crisis, i think there might be more enthusiasm for pooling and sharing. but my question is, can you tell me is there any research into this? is it possible to do research into how much public money is wasted in this way? [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: thank you, chair. i would like to thank the nato secretary-general for setting out his position. can you hear me? i would like to thank the secretary-general for his
comments, brief, succinct comments but were very powerful words. he spoke of the need for europe to make a greater investment in its own security. it is true that burden sharing, the two-way street in connection with nato. this is an age old question that predates the fall of the berlin wall. many years later what i know it is that despite it all, nothing major has changed. as things stand, the u.s. is clearly setting its sights, it's strategic sites on the pacific. just come back from indy. i could sum up political sentiment in india on europe by
saying the following, india believes in the u.s., believe in major states but not in the european union. i'm summarizing, simple fine, that is more or less the message. there are threats facing us, surrounding us. they are greater than ever, even if public opinion is not aware of this. look at what is happening in syria. of course, we do not wish to see a military intervention there, but it might be necessary if certain forces lay their hands on chemical weapons. and so it will be interesting to hear your assessment of the situation. now, a head of the eu summit on security, i would like to hear from you on behalf of nato, which you call on europe to develop european defense policy?
military resources and budgets are dwindling. the uk and france have to make a serious, disastrous choices if we continue to operate under national flags only, we will not have a credible defense policy in your. so the time has come to pool our resources, particularly in the light of the dwindling budgets. but this is not a discourse that we here in national parliament when discussing the economic crisis. the fact is though that this is a vital move. will nato, therefore, clearly adopt such a position? that would be a first. nato has always sought for countries to do more, within nato, and i have always supported such an attitude, but
will nato call for integration of the military resources of the eu member states? [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: thank you. mr. duff. >> good afternoon. two points. the first, we all appreciate that impediment to stronger relations between nato and the eu. is always the turkey cyprus problem. do you agree with me that it would be, therefore, prudent to ask the turkish prime minister
erdogan to be at the december meeting of the european council? i think if he is as this will be his first chance to speak to his peers sense 2004, and that's a long time before. secondly, following the trip to northwood that mr. danjean spoke of, could you say something about nato's approach to the future of the atlanta program.
against the somalia and pirates? it seems to us if we withdraw from the operations at the end of next year that the pirates will soon return. and do you think that there are lessons that we can draw from the success of experience in the somalia operation to deploy similar maritime forces over the med or the gulf of guinea?
thanks. >> thank you very much indeed for a lot of very relevant questions. first, thank you, mr. danjean, for your kind words. and you ask me how we could possibly better coordinate between nato and european union and bogdan klich asked questions in the same direction. i think we have three areas in which we need very close cooperation and coordination between nato and the european union. first is operations. and we operate together in in ko
mentioned. mentioned smart defense, pooling and sharing. mr. glick also mentioned that. we have to insure that we do not pursue parallel programs, but actually complement each other and insure efficient use of taxpayers' money. no unproductive competition, no duplication of work. and i could mention an excellent example of how we have embarked on what i would call a productive division of labor. at the chicago summit last year, european nato allies committed themselves to develop capacity within air-to-air refueling. overall, we have a lot of capacity within nato when it comes to air-to-air refueling,
but we are dependent on u.s. capabilities. what we need is a european investment in that capability. so european allies made that commitment in chicago x that's an excellent example of how we can divide labor. no reason for nato to embark on that. that's for the be european defense -- for the european defense agency. and thirdly, we need more cooperation and consultation and coordination when it comes to politics. and here we really have an absurd situation, an absurd situation. in formal meetings we are only allowed to discuss one issue, one issue, bosnia. because the e.u. conducts an operation in bosnia within the berlin cross-framework, as it's called. i won't go into all the technical details.
the bottom line is that this is the only issue we are allowed to discuss in formal meetings. and those meetings take place with e.u. at 26, that is without civil participation. and for the same reason, the e.u., of course, is a bit reluctant to have too many of those meetings with only 26 out of 27 members. now, be -- if we suggest to discuss other issues of relevance -- kosovo, for instance -- then we can only do it in informal meetings. and then in exchange the turks are reluctant to accept too many of those meetings. that's where we are. and that leads me to the conclusion that unless we find a solution to the cyprus problem, we will continue to have this absurd situation. so here's really an issue where
we should move forward. i have previously tabled some pragmatic proposals as to how we could move forward, but i have to realize that to find the final political solution, we need the parties in cyprus to find each other, and they should. i mean, they have huge economic challenges. they have metal resources they could exploit once they reunify the island. and here i think the european union could play a role. i think the european union has some leverage to facilitate a solution to that problem. now, i was also asked about nato post-2014. are we really looking for new tasks? do we try to invent new activities just to insure that nato continues to be relevant?
no way. there's no need to invent new things. our hands, we have a full plate. our hands are full. so nato post-2014 will be a nato that is prepared to take action if needed. and one way to do that is to make sure that the ability we have developed to work and operate together in afghanistan, that ability will be maintained and further developed in the coming years. we call it the connected forces initiative because it's about joint exercises training education so that what we learned in afghanistan will be maintained even if we draw down in afghanistan. and believe me, there will be new tasks. we stand ready, we are prepared for the unexpected. if you had asked me when i took
office as secretary general in august 2009 can you imagine nato if libya, i would not only probably, but definitely have answered, no. but nevertheless, it showed up as a task we had to handle, and this is my point. we need to stand ready for the unexpected. and that is nato post-2014. now, i was asked exactly the same question. i was asked a question about syria and recent reports on an israeli strike in syria. i've, of course, seen the press reports. i've also noted that no such activity has taken place in
areas where, of relevance for our deployment of patriot missiles in turkey. but, obviously, the situation in syria remains a matter of concern. we are concerned about the disastrous humanitarian situation. we are concerned about the risk of spillover in the region. we are concerned about the possible use of chemical weapons, so we urge the international be community to find a political solution as soon as possible. that would take agreement among the five permanent members of the u.n. security council. the only way forward is a political solution. but to that end, we need a strong and unified message from the international community. mr. glick asked me whether the so-called u.s. pivot to asia will weaken t transatlantic
relationship. my brief answer is that will very much depend on us, the europeans. i think it's in our interests that the u.s. rebalance its interests and focus a bit more on the asia pacific region taking into account the rising powers in that region. but if we are to insure that the americans still find europe relevant as a partner, the europeans must also invest in that transatlantic relationship politically, economically and militarily. that's my point. i was asked pretty much the same question, would this u.s. pivot to asia downgrade nato?
no, not in itself. but, of course, if the europeans don't invest in the transatlantic relationship, it may, it may weaken that bond. but actually we have seen a strong u.s. commitment to european security. for instance, the u.s. contribution to a nato missile defense system, that's a u.s. commitment to addressing emerging security challenges, the newer threats. so instead of having a lot of stationary forces in -- [inaudible] in europe, the u.s. is now engaged in a modern way, in a way that actually addresses the threats of our time. in many that respect -- in that respect you also canned me about
obsolete infrastructure, do we have any research that indicates how much money is wasted on obsolete infrastructure and old-fashioned structures in general. i'm not aware of such research, but we are very much focused on reforming our military forces in the direction of more deemployability, so less static structures, more ability to deploy where it's actually necessary. that's actually the essence of ongoing reform efforts and transformation efforts within nato. i was asked quite directly would you as nato recommend the european union to develop a european defense policy?
as isaf general of nato, i'm not going to interfere with e.u. policies. but i think you have heard my words today. i do believe that we need a strengthened european defense. and i don't see any contradiction between a strong nato and a strong european defense cooperation. on the contrary, that will strengthen the european pillar within nato. so if european defense policy is about investment in capabilities and not -- now i speak very openly and frankly -- and not new bureaucracies, new institutions, then it could contribute in a valuable way to strengthening our overall security. but otherwise it will just be hot air, as i said.
so in that respect i'm in favor of it, but i don't interfere with it. and just to conclude on that point, very often we're discussing whether -- i know in some political groups you're also discussing whether we should actually have a common european defense. now, to speak, i mean, realistically, i don't think we will see it in my lifetime. because when it comes to -- and i intend to live for a long time -- [laughter] i say this because as secretary general of nato, i have learned how much individual nations protect their integrity and their national sovereignty when it comes to defense and security policy. that's really untouchable.
so i don't think that will materialize. but i do believe that in the coming years we will see nations cooperate much, much more across borders, because they need it. they need it. so you will see multilateral projects. call it smart defense or pooling and be sharing, whatever, but the bottom line will be that nations are not able to acquire advanced expensive military equipment on their own. even the bigger european nations will need to cooperate. so in that respect i think we will see much more collective, collective defense efforts in europe in the coming years. now be, andrew duff asked me whether it would be a good idea to invite prime prime ministerrd wan to participate in the european council in december. i would refrain from interfering
with european positions on who they want to invite to participate in european council meetings. and finally on piracy, it's a success story. it's a success story. and the lesson learned is that through a close international coordination, the e.u., nato and individual players, we can actually achievement and a lot -- achieve a lot. and i won't exclude the possibility that based on these lessons learned, it would be worthwhile deploying maritime assets in other parts of the world to, in an international effort, to insure prix and open sea -- free and open sea lanes. because piracy seemed to be able to emerge also in other parts of the world. >> thank you.
>> thank you very much. i would like to give the floor to someone who wants to comment your remarks on the good relationship between nato and e.u. with the need for that cooperation and division of labor. mr. van orden has the floor. [laughter] >> thank you very much, chairman. and delighted to see you here, secretary general. it's always a great pleasure to have a whiff of reality in this institution. [laughter] could i say, first of all, i mean, you made a remark just now about nato has no need to invent things after 2014. well, of course, um, the european union wants to invent things all the time. it scours the world looking for a role, trying to find opportunities to put its flag down in order to justify european defense policy. and it seems to me that the
question we have to ask is how should we strengthen the capacity of the democracies. how should we strengthen their ability to act in this dangerous world; not how should we try and find and justify a role for the european union. and the fact is, secretary general, you know, you're if a very difficult position -- you're in a very difficult position. you're a sort of diplomat, bit of politician, you know, you're mainly a diplomat. you have to speak in a way that's not going to offend any of your 28 member states. you, um -- the fact is that in this particular place we're having a different conversation. it's not about strengthening defense capabilities. it's about finding a role for the european union to act. and, i mean, don't you think that in this time of scarce defense resources it would make far more sense rather than have the european union creating
parallel structures and institutions if it was to concentrate on the european effort within nato, because that's really where realistically it's going the -- to happen. and, of course, all this duplication of effort is compounded by the fact that we with end up with, basically, the same member states talking to one another in this same city. my concern, i suppose, in the way that things are going at the moment is, first of all, we don't have a very truthful conversation. because the conversation here is all about roles for the european union, whereas i think in reality what you'd like to say is, please, stop playing politics, stop building new institutions and structures and things, create more capability. that's what we need. and you're not going to do it through the european union, because their objective is something entirely different. but aren't you worried about an
eventual bifurcation of the alliance, that we would end up with a binary alliance that on the one hand we have the european union, and on the other hand we have the north americans? and i know that there are people here that would see that, the transatlantaisk, would like to see that. that is the objective they have in mind, and it strikes me that that's a very dangerous direction to go in. so i'd be very interested in your view on that potential. but, secretary general, really what i would ask you to do is encourage the european countries to put their effort into the alliance and to stop all this duplication and stop dressing it up as if somehow rather they're adding capability when exactly they're not. >> i have seen mr. rasmussen in many situations as danish prime minister and an outspoken
president of the european council. but i've never seen him as a diplomat. [laughter] mrs. colbeck. >> thank you. and thank you for for giving this opportunity to have a dialogue with nato. i'd like to focus on russia and the missile defense. you remember in lisbon there was this great friendship between russia and nato, and one would work together on missile defense. and since then there has been lots of problems in missile defense. id like to hear -- i would like to hear your assessment the americans' cancellation of phase four. does it open up new possibilities to work together with russia on the missile defense, and what is the situation in the nato/russia council? i would also like to send additional question -- i am the
chair of the european parliament's iran delegation, and i saw that you mentioned in some news that maybe nato should have a role in iran also. are there any plans on this, and what would you say would be nato's role in this case? thank you. >> [inaudible] [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: chairman, first of all, may i say that mr. rasmussen is constantly appealing to france and ordinary people across europe not as a matter of principle -- >> [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: what's going on
is that new systems are being used, new military technologies such as drones which actually kill people. a lot of people died in afghanistan. clearly, you're plan aring support for this. planning support for this. and then we all understand what you mean when you talk about strengthening the european element of nato. it's quite simple for anyone who looks at the state of the facts. nato wants to be able to decide which crisis it will intervene in. and anywhere where it doesn't see fit to take action, well, leave it to the europeans. we have evidence of that. i would pick up what you said about supplying planes in flight. now, with talk of cooperation,
there's no cooperation because of the clashes of interest amongst nato imperialist powers. and, obviously, the united states will use its leverage in nato. there's nothing that can change in nato unless washington gives the nod. you need only look at the founding charter of nato. and it's also clear that when the united states applies the brakes or if one of the members applies the brakes, france, then the united states will say, oh, we don't want to intervene, let the europeans do kit. it happened in mali. then there's a reference made to the taxpayers' funds. workers and so on. well, 20 years following the war in yugoslavia, kosovo is still
occupied. when is the occupation of kosovo going to come to an end? yes, i will wind up, chairman. let me repeat this point. what about afghanistan? when is all that going to come to an end? we all read about the cna, who's funding it and why. so please be a bit more sincere and explain the very tangible interests influencing nato in europe. thank you. >> would like to propose that maximum speaking time is now two minutes so that everyone has a chance to take the floor. mr. lysek. >> [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: you were very brief, very concise, i'll try to do the same. three specific questions. firstly, colleagues have already touched on this, pooling and sharing and very smart
we heard from a general on the security and defense committee that 300 million euro could be saved by pooling and sharing whereas the cuts being made by member states are 30 billion euro. in other words, a hundred times more. so is anything being done by nato to try to stop these member states' cuts? and now on missile defense, there are enthusiasts, and there are skeptics. regardless of what the politicians say, how do you intend to persuade the people of europe that the disstyle defense is -- the missile defense is in the interests of the people of europe rather than just in the interests of the united states? and now on georgia, i'd like to
thank you for your words of hope regarding georgia. the political parties and people in georgia are very much in favor of nato membership. but what are you going to do? how are you going to persuade major european governments to drop their reus dance to georgia and nato -- resistance to georgia and nato accession? thank you. >> mr.-- [inaudible] >> [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: thank you. thank you, secretary general. there are a lot of unpredictable factors which will have a bearing on our securitiment -- security. but we these to reduce the
number of unforeseeable factors in relation to what we have today. there are too many such factors at present, so that leads me into my question. do you believe that some scope for better coordination between nato and the european union might be, for example, anticipating, bringing forward the processes both the kind of processes that we have expected and those that have been harder to foresee? in unexpected events we've seen that nato has not been terribly successful, or to be blunter about it, it's actually failed. i believe we need to strengthen our cooperation not just by expanding our logistic capacity, but also our ability to apply
some thought to our missions. another issue, what's happening with maas done that and -- macedonia and its position in nato? you'll be well aware why i'm raising this. i'm talking about the ruling from the international court. clearly, this is a region, a country where the image of nato is still extremely significant. thank you. >> thank you. very much. first, van orden, mr. van orden. let me tell you, i am not an institutionalist. i don't care who exactly does what. what i'm caring about, that it's done. and we have identified critical shortfalls when it comes to military capabilities. we have learned lessons from our
operations, notably in afghanistan and libya, by the way. we learned a lot of lessons. and based on that, we have identified critical shortfalls. and by focal point is to fill those gaps. whether that's within a nato framework or an e.u. framework, i don't care. but 21 nations are members of both organizations. and, obviously, we owe it to our taxpayers to make sure that the work we do is done efficiently. we have one set of taxpayers, we have one set of military capabilities. we need more investment in transport capability. we have a lot of soldiers in europe, but we can't move them, to speak briefly about it. we need air-to-air refueling. we learned that from the libya
operation. we need a better capacity when it comes to surveillance, reconnaissance and to speak in very concrete terms about that, that is to invest in drones that can be used to gather or such information -- to gather such information and to divide our military and political decisions. these are critical shortfalls. and as i mentioned, at the nato summit in chicago last year, european nato allies committed themselves to invest in air-to-air refueling capacity. if they want to do that through the european defense agency, why not? i don't care about institutions.
i care about the work to be done. now, this is why i do agree that the most important thing to decide at the european council meeting in december would be to invest a sufficient amount of money in critically-needed military capacities. that would be the most important decision to take at all. now, mrs. cronberg asked me whether nato envisages a role in iran. no. and i've never, never made such a statement. on the contrary, i've said that nato as an alliance is not engaged in the iran question.