tv Future of Syria CSPAN March 20, 2018 8:58am-10:01am EDT
why? because it doesn't have the over arching, strong living identity strong enough to hold the country together which was can construction but we do. this is what makes us special. >> to a sunday night at eight eastern on c-span. >> next, former u.s. government officials are part of a forum on syria's ongoing civil war. they talk about the future of syria and why the u.s. and other countries must state engaged and address the security challenges in syria. the u.s. institute of peace hosted this event moderated by mp ours joshua johnson. >> shall we? >> i think so. we are good. >> hello, everybody. welcome to foreign policy and fragile states, an american abroad town hall discussion at
the u.s. institute of peace in washington. on joshua johnson, the host of 1a from wamu which is owed on npr where this conversation will be heard soon and we welcome those of you were falling us on c-span and watch and various networks around the globe. let me introduce the panel today before we dive in. we will get to some big questions in a bit but first joining us on the panel debate is nancy lindborg, the president of u.s. institute of peace which is hosting us today. i probably been president, that you spent most of her career working in fragile and conflict and regions. prior to joining the institute she served as the assistant administrator for the bureau for democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance at usaid. nancy, welcome. >> good to be here. >> let's hear it for nancy. [applause] >> to your right from nancy is ilan goldenberg, senior fellow and director of the middle east security program at the center for a new american security. previously worked in the state
department and the senate foreign relations committee for john kerry on issues like the israeli-palestinian negotiations. welcome. [applause] >> and to my left is kimberly kagan, the founder and president of the institute for the study of war. she's a military historian who has taught at yale, georgetown and west point. sees author of numerous books and essays on foreign-policy and is coproducer of the surge, the whole story, an hour-long oral history and documentary film of the campaign in iraq from 2007-2008. welcome, kimberly, and to all our panelists. [applause] >> we will have time to get to some of your question in a little bit. i to start with a few minutes of questions from our guests. a little over half the out and then we'll get to you. it is just after four past the hour by my clock which gives us about 56 minutes. i work work in we do. i can do a lot. nancy, what is a fragile state?
>> so a fragile state is a state that either lacks the capacity to take care of its citizens, is unable to provide basic security, services and/or they n also be a state that is not considered legitimate by its own citizens. often it is repressive, often is part of the problem. an estate that is fragile is less able to manage the inevitable shocks that,, , eithr a natural disaster or conflict that can't be managed. so it spirals into violent conflict. this is the heart of what we are seeing with a lot of the increased unrest and crisis around the world, fragile states that can't manage the shocks of disaster and conflict. >> we are going to talk more about syria specifically but broadly speaking what are some of the main ways that states become fragile? are there certain last straws
that tend to recur over and over in fragile states? >> i would say continuous characteristic fragile states is governments that are not inclusive of all parts of their citizenry. so whole groups are excluded from economic, political, security opportunities because of their ethnicity, religion, race, et cetera. that's probably the number one characteristic of a fragile state. >> ilan goldenberg, how did you become a fragile state? would you say that it's what nancy described, certain kinds of inclusion, certain groups within the series has fired over their factor? >> a lot of what nancy talked about set the conditions under did need to be a sport. in the case of syria the particular spark that then took us over the edge started really what you might call the so-called i guess the title was optimistically called the air spring. now the cult the era of people are basically these protests across the middle east that lead
not just to state collapse in place like sherry but also yemen, iraq which actually had are even having struggling since american invasion in 2003. libya, even egypt to some extent and what you saw happened there was a few things. one is you saw this collapse of state authority because institutions were so fragile and you saw the conflict exacerbated primarily because of external actors come into making the situation worse. one of the things that happens when you have a fragile state is you create security sackings and everybody else is around them is worried about losing influence or sees an opportunity. so the iranians have a close syrian ally that look like they're teetering and want to protect the situation and so they start investing in various militias and groups on the ground and dumping weapons and money. the saudis are trying to counter the iranians so there dumping money and weapons. the turks are worried. you taken a fragile state that
was already on fire and then dump a bunch of gasoline on it. >> the proxy aspect causally comes up. we have clips to play some some people are very close to the conflict and one of them has to do with the proxy aspect of that. kimberly kagan, let me bring you in. the trump administration has been advocating more hard power than say soft power can things like aid, assistance, diplomacy. it has advocated for sharp cuts to the state department and cuts to usaid. step back from syria for just a second. how similar or different is this what america typically does? in a fragile state how does america usually deal with the balance between using hard power and soft power? >> hard power and soft power are both necessary in many
circumstances. in order to help a fragile state recover itself and in order to set conditions whereby governments and civil society can return. and, unfortunately, the solutions that one might hope to see in syria can neither be exclusively military or exclusively soft power lead. each has its role and it is vitally important that the united states have a robust budget for its institutions like the state department, like foreign aid, which are critical components for us to achieve our mission of helping keep the people in the world secure and free.
but it is also actually incredibly important to recognize that in conditions on the ground such as those that we see in syria, the underlying violence and oppression of human beings is not part and parcel of a stable regime and, therefore, there is a degree of human security that we must attain before we actually begin, trying to stabilize syria. >> just to make sure i follow where you are going, it sounds like you're saying there is a place for both, maybe that the trump administration's tolerance tends to be harder than the past but there is ample for harpo and soft power if you're in the right balance? >> i think there's a role for hard and soft power but it was a the top administration is pursuing a hard power strategy in syria. in fact, if we look at the trump administration's policy institute we see exploiter continuity. with president obama's policy in syria. namely, an effort to expel isis
from its territorial control in rocket and eastern syria, a backing -- raqqa -- a backing of the syrian kurdish groups that a fought with us against isis. an effort in international diplomacy that was actually begun under president obama. and so, in fact, i see an extraordinary amount of continuity between president trump and president obama. and to think neither had a robust humanitarian or civil society or military approach. >> nancy lindborg, the balance between hard power and soft power today under the top administration compared to what we can to see and how america deals with fragile states. how do you see it? >> i think the most important answer to that was a lot of a
military personnel, and as you hear from retired four stars, what happens after the fight is as important what happens during the fight. and we need to be sure that the balance remains such that we can continue to have the development and diplomacy tools folder available, especially take serious neighbor, iraq, and we concluded just yet another campaign. the temptation will be now we should leave but now is when some of the really, really important hard work happens for which you need the so-called soft tools. i would say there's nothing soft about it in terms of the importance of rebuilding not just the physical infrastructure, but human infrastructure. as kim said, the ways in which societies need to heal so they don't fall back into violence. unfortunately we just end up fighting these were in cycles
otherwise. >> we have a number of clips would like to add to the conversation including this one from i syrian refugee from aleppo now living in istanbul. let's listen. >> i know would look like we are not organized and little have an organized leadership, but in the end we have a very educated majority of people who are ready to come back and help the community. but we are being pushed away but all these malicious. basically any side you can think of. we need organize side to actually give us the help that we need. we don't need them to just support one group and throw out the others. maybe a group that it can unify all the groups. this is what we need. >> that was a syrian refugee from aleppo now living in istanbul. ilan goldenberg, he wants peace in syria, says there is an entire class and educated majority as he puts it said
ready to come back. you earlier mentioned the proxy aspect of this work turkey has its peace and russia at a rent and all the competing views of what they want to see emerge from this war. talk about the way this comes together, this large class of syrians say stop all this, and all these proxies who would stop at under different terms. how does that work? >> this point where we are, the way i would describe it, and i might have advocated for something different three or four years ago but at this point where we are is serious essential divide into four or five different regions. they are held by different actors. you have in the southwest from the jordanian israeli border some militia groups of the assessable for a long time. if this is the part of the country where the majority of population resources are held by assad along with support from russia and iran. you have what i call an al-qaeda safe haven in the northwest in idlib province and then you have a turkish area
also in the north where the turks basic hold territory on the board and then you have this whole large swath that is really supported or controlled by american supported kurdish groups. all the fighting, not all the fighting but a lot of the fighting at this point is happening where these different tectonic plates meet. like where there are scenes, places where there's different on these borders. if you try to get to a piece at this point i'm not for splitting syria apart. i don't think anybody wants to redraw maps because that comes with its own set of violence and problems but at least coming to short-term, actually long-term political arrangements to stop the fighting at these scenes, then try to see if you can get some kind of a national arrangement is sort of how you would have to go about this at this point. it's going to take years and i'm not sure if we were up for it, if anybody is up for it but it's
the best option i see. >> nancy, i saw you perk up. >> that underscores one critical point, is that ultimately peace needs to happen to locally led action, and what we heard very powerfully there is the desire, the motivation and the ability as he noted for the syrian people to do that with the right kind of hell. they will ultimately be necessarily leaving the future of their own country -- kind of help. >> this is from a gentleman who was from damascus who works at a cell phone store in istanbul and he talks about that very thing, everybody is looking for help from another nation. listen. >> i am from damascus. we want our country to be cleaned of all foreign agents and kick them out of syria. my only requested to get our country back regardless of who's in power. wide with all these foreign powers inside syria? the people of syria can solve
their problems by themselves. >> he was speaking through a translator and he is from damascus and works in a cell phone store from istanbul. clearly he wants the rest of the world to kind of leave syria alone. i wonder if that's even doable, and if it is, what that would look like? is there a path to getting all of these proxies at a syria and let it solve its issues of fragility by the will of the syrian people alone? >> the quotation from him and istanbul really illustrates how, what it then a democratic revolution at the beginning of the conflict, had evolved into a great power and a small power conflict inside of syria. one of the key objectives that we the united states and international community writ large should have is to ensure
that she is, over time, disassociated from the extraordinary global and regional conflict in which it finds itself, or perhaps i should say syria has become a black hole into which regional and global powers fall. so it is absolutely essential to disconnect syria from those conflicts but realistically that's not going to happen anytime soon. we have watched that revolution which had those civilian democratic aims replacing the assad regime and bringing reform, change into a violent and existential conflict. we have to work with the fact that we have such a conflict underway inside of syria. the what do we do? the first thing that we need to recognize is that different
great powers have different objectives, and we the united states tend to want to find a common objective among all of the different powers, and we strike on something that we would think would be common, like fight isis. but we all put that in a different point in our prioritization list. it is more important to the united states that it is to turkey. it is more important to turkey than it is to the assad regime. the assad regime is not fighting isis. the assad regime has every incentive actually to make sure that extremist groups perpetuate themselves inside of syria so that outside powers can't come in and strengthen the opposition and make it a legitimate and democratic. therefore, i we really have to be eyes wide open as different actors objectives, and we also to recognize that we can't just like isis alone. we actually need to start working now on creating
conditions of stability and different areas of syria just like ilan said, so that over time there is hope for stabilization, a generation, not a year. >> you're listening to kimber taken, , the founder present for the institute for the study of war. nancy linford, the president of the united states institute of peace and ilan goldenberg, senior fellow from the center for a new american security. this is america broad brought n foreign-policy and fragile states at the u.s. institute of peace. on joshua johnson from 1a on npr. nancy, let me come back to you. let's play one more clip from istanbul. this is a two men both from damascus, addressing what's on the minds right now, hundreds of thousands of lives lost. most recent in a place called eastern ghouta which is located just east of damascus.
>> you know, nowadays we have -- [inaudible] in ghouta hundreds of people die, and hundreds of children have died. and nothing has been done. >> we are asking people to take care of the ghouta victims. it's been reported that eight is been delivered but it's not true because the roads are blocked and no one can get in or out from the area. please feel mercy and take care of them. >> they were both speaking through a translator, both of whom are from damascus. both of them spoke to us in istanbul. nancy, what's the moral obligation of the use to help in a fragile state? the united nations is basically throw its hands up and said, apparently you all don't care about east included because nothing we've said has made a cease-fire stick.
the world seems to be content with letting these people die and preventing anything from being done. just on humanitarian level. the u.s. has the resources to make anything happen but what should the u.s. be doing with a fragile state like syria, especially in a clear humectant is actually eastern ghouta were all people need is a little aid? what should the u.s. be doing? >> what the u.s. has been doing is providing ever escalating packages of humanity assistance, including efforts to get it across the border. unfortunately and tragically, was going on in eastern ghouta now is similar to what is has n going on for the past several years over and over again. the issue is less about the matter of humanity assistance but rather what are the mechanisms for stopping the source of the need? we are actually much better responding to crises and providing assistance after a crises has hit then we are at
either preventing it or in the case of syria the ability to stop it. and it speaks both to the set out that options that are available for stopping it, but also to the weakness of the financial system. the usual tools and levers that we have to the u.n. to really enforce whatever but he agreed on at the u.n. security council, but has been flagrantly and repeatedly ignored. >> i wonder also, ilan, just for the average american we say in terms of our responsibility to do more in fragile states. secretary of state rex tillerson has said at of syria that he doesn't want to engage in nationbuilding but he thinks the u.s. should be creating conditions for stability. the trump administration has taken a much more isolationist policy when it comes to 48. that's the sentiment at heart of
america first. i wonder where you see the human conversation and a developed nation like the u.s. when looking at a fragile state like syria, and figure out what the populist believe is the right way to help? >> this is i think the problem. one thing i think we can do as the united states is lead. the world a license was more than anybody else because we are the most powerful country in the world, still. so that means if you're going to encourage others to rebuild you have to be at the forefront. you will ask others to throw mt the problem, you have to throw money at the problem. this is one of the problems we've had with the current administration is this general desire to fall back on funding for all kinds of programs like this across the board. it's not just we pull back and others will chip in. we will just get a goal states to do a lot more which is often what we do in the middle east. we assume they are made out of oil and they can pay for everything. they watch what we do and they will invest a somewhat we
invest. they care about as much as we care about helping people in a place like syria. they care a lot about wielding influence in the united states and they can see what our priorities are and they will have to mirror those in that happens in nationally. when we pull back into little, others will do the same. more broadly, i do think there's this challenge with a question like syria in terms of her own population which is what we done and this isn't just the trump administration, this is also the obama administration, we feel terrible about what is going on but we don't want to get really deeply engaged because we're afraid of a repeat of the iraq war or the and getting bogged down. if we do just enough to make the situation worse with the doing enough to make it better. if we had an option of just let assad win and make this quick quick as possible, or very aggressively push them out, if we're done, chosen one of those two path was early on i think we would've been in a better position than doing just enough to support opposition with that doing enough to really have it
when which it just ends up perpetually and makes us another one of the parties to the conflict that is dumping money and weapons and support in trying to reshape the situation. that's a really tough spot for any president to be in because american president wants to up into the right thing but also knows his or her population does not want to get stuck in a major conflict. >> kimberly, you wanted to jump in. >> first, in the case of syria we had the opportunity to make a moral-based case and an interest-based case, and they align. the cases that there are extraordinary human beings within syria who are the victims of a brutal, violent campaign of oppression perpetrated iv assad regime, abetted by iran and abetted i russia, what we're
seeing in eastern ghouta is indeed something we've seen elsewhere during the war of a deliberate targeting of civilians in order to achieve wargames. -- war aims. that's with the russians are doing. that's what is assad is doing. that is what iran is doing. therefore, we're watching those regimes commit war crimes, break international laws, the law of armed conflict. and they are doing so in a way that they have populations that are displaced through the middle east, through the globe. and we have syria that is transformed itself into a fertile ground for recruitment for sunni violent extremists and shia violent extremists all around the world, from the united states although it out to east asia.
what we need to do is recognize that the reason why the recruitment of the foreign fighters is so effective is not because we have a narrative problem, but because we have a reality problem. namely, there is no one that is actually protecting the population of syria and, therefore, the rallying cries that extremist organizations are launching to try to get people to mobilize for justice are falling on years that are, unfortunately, made receptive by the abandonment of the international community. >> i do want to shift gears slightly but ilan what would you talk about in terms of properly diagnosing the problem, that reflects something that one of the united states institute of peace generation change fellowes told us earlier from south
sudan, here is what he had to say. [inaudible] the international committee has failed to diagnose what the issues are, but in the process it is also failed to come up with the right policy tools. and so if you want to engage constructively, i think it is important for them to understand what the real root causes are. otherwise, you will have a situation of a protracted conflict. >> he is a usip generation change fell from south sudan. we are at about half time in a conversation. we do what you get the questions in a moment. is there anyone who thinks they might have a good question percolating? is one. one smart man with one good question. anyone else? before we get to questions,
three, four, i think we will have a mic moving around somewhere. before we get to questions i do have one more question for you, nancy. my one rule for q&a whenever i do anything is to be generous with our time. you are all far smarter than me on issues on syria and i would like to learn as much as possible in the more generosity we can show with one another time the more we can learn from each other. so please i i would urge you te concise and thoughtfully concise as you phrase the question so we and her audience can learn as much amused possible. cool? excellent. nancy come in a report you co-authored on fragility you wrote the following, quote, the temptation to hunker down and wait for this moment of disorder to pass is understandable that shortsighted if we simply do not have that luxury. there is too much at stake for american interest, for the interest of our allies and
partners and for global peace and security, unquote. that's from a report you co-authored for the u.s. institute of peace. when what you mean by that, particularly indictable as discussing with ilan that a lot of americans have said it's nice that we've been known as a world policeman, but what about us? and also in light of the fact that nature abhors a a vacuum dyson if we don't step up someone else will, but a lot of americans are just tired. we been playing world police for generations and there's some americans are living pretty third world as it is. can you just deemed this out for me, what hunkering down would mean practically speaking? >> sure. a couple of issues are blended together there. we don't live in the kind of world where we can just get in bed and pull the sheets that that will solve the issues. way too interconnected, too many
threats that come up from places that we are not watching, think ebola come from west africa. clearly isis as it emerged. so from a security interest we can't afford to hunker down. it's also not who we are as a people. i think the american people are very engaged and to give about what happens, but they want the burden to be shared. the other point though is, we are very reactive and so we are responding to crises activity, far more complicated and so much more suffering, and we have actually been escalating our humanity and peacekeeping assistance over the last years at a very great rate. nobody has cracked the code on how to prevent conflict from the coming so violent, but we can certainly do a better job of it. the last four administrations have identified state fragility as the key security threat, and yet we haven't invested and we haven't organized in a way to do
that kind of work more effectively. what you see is when states become very, very fragile, as ilan said earlier, they become far more vulnerable to regional and international powers getting involved in messing it up. and so we are going to see a greater disorder the more that we don't pay attention to that, and american leadership is key. >> do you think we haven't been paying enough attention because we don't have the resources, we don't have the intelligence what information, or would just don't care? >> i think it's a combination haven't organized ourselves effectively to really crack the code of how to do this better. >> does america as the government come as a body politic actually care enough as a citizenry, as a nation, as the government to do that? we have the knowledge but do we care enough? >> i think we do care enough. we care enough the to we puttia lot of funding into treating the crisis, the humanitarian crisis.
but, you know, it's much harder to convince people to take action before something happens. it's the dog that didn't bark, right? but that's what we need to turn our attention and our investment. human nature is to be preoccupied with the thing that blew up but we need to think more about getting upstream of those problems, and it's an organization and a funding challenge. ..
you can directly tied to things like brexit. you can tie to the election of right-wingers across europe, sort of days populist movements and quite frankly the election of donald trump here at all of these things are weakening more things for basic american security that has been the basis of how we govern the world order since 1945 minutes kept the world stable, kept us from the world wars in major conflicts. all of this to some extent can be tied back to what is happening in syria for the last six or seven years. it is having a very direct effect on how we are governing ourselves on a daily basis. draw the line very directly to donald trump's immigration policy. >> let's go to audience questions. when you ask a question come and tell us your name, where you are from, an organization or a student at the university. and then someone over here have a question?
we will get to you, sir. >> thank you very much paradigm connor clark, counterterrorism scholar at the university of maryland and we have seen over the decade debates on the ethical, practical and strategic implications of the appropriate scale and nature of u.s. support for what i will simplify nonstate powerful proxies. these of course ranged from the measuring effect of mesa but the metrics should be, what are the results of the appearance or reality of imposing our standards on other countries. and of course, this is also in the context is taking the alternative would be worse than i think it fits well into the earlier point of nature is a vacuum. frankly, a lot of in u.s. foreign policy seem to miss the brutal dictatorship the u.s. has ever supported with quite arguably stalin during world war
ii. so how is this paradigm of this decision-making on the public discourse any of the debates in washington shifted for a more recent turning point such as the end of the cold war, 9/11, arab spring and so on. what trends are you seeing now that may be changing how policymakers see these decisions? dilemmas. >> would you want to direct that question to? >> perhaps ilan specifically, but perhaps everyone. >> ilan, go ahead. for the benefit of our listeners i want to make sure i understand so i didn't go to the university of maryland and you are way smarter than me. it sounds like you are asking about the way we think through global threats about which ones are the biggest, which ones are worth our time, which ones like nancy said we'll deal with it when it becomes a forest fire and how that changed over time.
is that what you're getting at? >> exactly. >> i'm personally more curious about the elite level, but also the popular discourse as well. >> thank you. >> part of the problem is we have this jekyll and hyde at the elite level where i'm the one hand we say yes you have to support these countries who we've always supported, even if they are dictatorships. at the elite level, policymaking level, it even comes down to just the history of relationships. you work with these people for years and years, with hosni mubarak for 30 years on negotiating their palestinian peace efforts and democracy comes or protest comes than what we do about the situation? it's incredibly difficult. our instinct of americans is also to intervene positively on the size side of democracy and
encouragement democracy and encourage when an opportunity presents itself. that is a really hard dilemma for policymakers. the best thing we can do is make up our minds and have some clarity of thought. it's really, really hard to do, but we found this a lot during the arab spring in particular where it was just really hard in the events are moving so quickly and you sit there trying to make a bad well if i come out against this dictator, am i going to be dealing with them for the 10 years or is he going to be gone tomorrow and i should come out because i need to look good. this is a challenging sort of problem set for leaders. we came out and called for transcendence removal in 2011 and realized it's not going to happen and now are we going to follow through militarily to do this? no we are not. where do you find yourself? it's a challenging question i don't think there's any great answers to it.
>> kimberly, your response to this. >> work, civilization, which is part of this panel discussion is in part about establishing physical security. it is in part about coming to establish governance and legitimacy. i think that we are at risk right now in syria of thinking that backing assad as a dictator is to add and the violence is somehow going to be better and more stable than thinking about what we actually need to do over the long term to establish conditions for a six-year stable governance to return to syria and that governance needs to be legitimate in the eyes of the
people in syria. it is not about us. it's about time. the reason i bring that up is that i think we are at a moment where we are at risk of embracing dictatorship in favor of order. when the order that a dictator like assad will create will be very temporary and therefore not actually be back by institutions that are accepted by the syrian people. and they will be enforced by coercion in no way that continues the rise of extremist insurgency against the regime. we actually have to take the long view rather than prioritizing stability just doesn't imagine itself. it is not civilization.
>> is a really great discussion. johns hopkins size of the national council on u.s. libya relations. i want to be as concise as i can, but i don't speak as fast as you. i was just wondering if i could take the panels view across from syria to libya appeared joshua used a very important phrase. he'd mentioned moral obligation. didn't see coming you made a very strong point about the importance of planning for the aftermath of conflict. given the u.s. role in removing bull market off the end compared to syria, libya is less violent. it is less displays. you don't have the country displaced as you do in libya and you have fewer actors. there are some, but you don't have that same kind of proxy
factory that you do in syria. does the panel believe that there is a place, and again moral obligation as well, for greater u.s. engagement in libya is not leadership. currently we basically subcontracted it all for the u.n. a lot of criticism about whether it would hold elections and so forth. very interested in hearing the panels response. >> a role for u.s. engagement. the mac is not leadership. >> morro entered the fact that compared to syria this is not destroyed and perhaps hopelessly country. >> thank you for your question. when we get the microphone to whoever's got the next question. i'm curious to take a poll. show of hands. what about in the audience?
libya appeared to beg your pardon can see us. no? okay. not sure? thank you for being honest. when it should go ahead geared >> i think it goes well beyond the moral obligation. there is a security rationale for play in a more prominent role or to be more engaged in trying to bring libya to greater peace and stability. the melt down libya has had profound impact across the salad places like tunisia that share a very long border of illicit goods in tariffs through that territory. so there are many good reasons. at the same time but also underscores the importance is a partnership and alliances. i do think we can and should be engaged, but i do think we can and should do so with strong partners who share our views, our values and our vision for
what the pathway might look like for libya. >> i would love to jump in and recommend a study that i had the privilege of taking place in. one of my colleagues, emily estelle of the project at the american enterprise institute actually did a very substantial study of planning for libya. and i highly commend her work on this project. it is very nuanced and you can find it at critical press.org. >> we are speaking to kimberly kagan come upon a president at the institute for war. ilan goldberg for new america security and nancy lindborg, president of the united states institute of peace. this is america brought discussion on joshua johnson from "1a" on npr. let's continue to audience questions. >> loco my work at the washington and understood magic
idea. i feel like we haven't spent enough time talking about states that have come from the brink of failed statehood that i want to get your opinion on what lessons we learned from our intervention in colombia. >> nancy, why don't you take it. we got a question about columbia. i'm glad you asked to appear will follow at this question after he gators answered. lessons learned in colombia. >> i think we've learned some very important lessons. the first is the resolution of these kinds of conflicts take a long time. columbia had a fit year civil war that was just recently drawn partly to a close with the peace accord of last year in a peace accord was very, very inclusive. we know that when you have more than just the guys at the guns at the table that you actually have victims of the conflict. women, people who were displaced, and that you have a better chance of a deal that will be more enduring. we also learned that the u.s.
stayed engaged in colombia across three administrations with significant investment across development, diplomacy and defense, which going back to what we need to do differently question about the u.s. government, that is kind of work we need to do differently. where there is a clear goal aligned across the various functions of our government with people, the military diplomats in developing people having a shared goal of where it is we are heading. we had the greater impact. finally we have a partner. we had a partner in the government of colombia across two of their administrations. >> before we get to the next question on the side of the room, and nancy i stick with you. we had a question sent into us by david salas, president of so most, an organization in colombia working to enrich local communities by increasing access to education follow enough that
this young lady's question, here is what david went to know. [inaudible] -- cooperation between the united states and colombia that considers assistance, cochair -- [inaudible] >> that was an organization in colombia asking about creating a structural peace and how they can help colombia do so. i was particularly taken by his use of the word coexisting that promotes aspects of coexistence. what could the u.s. be doing in that regard? >> one of the important aspects is continuing our engagement because what we know is conclusion of a peace agreement often means that a lot of work still has to follow.
in colombia, we now need to implement was agreed upon and that includes the land reform, disarming of the armed rebels and enabling them to integrate into communities to coexist. and so, this is a time for the u.s. to continue to stay involved and not only think about the security threat narrowly in terms of cocoa production, but rather understanding will be better served with our security to fully reach a more inclusive peace. >> let's get the next question. >> my name is wes knows, i'm a meridian international center. there's a question about orders and then they talk about legitimacy of the government itself. i wonder what about the legitimacy, looking back after world war i in france and how
much of what we are seeing today area or iraq and so on and so forth is a result of the fact there is really terrible decisions in the early 20th century. >> who did you want to put that question to? >> everyone has something to say. >> kimberley first and then we will get to ilan. >> i will start by saying first and were most it is important to recognize that our international order is based on the understanding that they should not be revised by force, but rather by instruments of the international community. and so, whatever they are, the united states and the international community actually have an interest, a very firm interest in making sure that the borders are not moved by force
and we can go back to isis early days operating across border in iraq and syria and remember them trying to plow up the remnants of the sandy border and recognize that however important it was to them symbolically, it runs nevertheless i recognized border in two states that we have an interest in preserving it. we want to make sure we recognize we actually have a serious regime and the syrian opposition that the iraqi state is trying to reestablish the map as it was, not as they would like it to be. i have always been struck with this when i spent time on the ground in iraq and afghanistan, and that we can think that states like iraq or afghanistan are fictional notions of
communities and people today have a very defined notion of what their state is and it is linked to the physical borders they've seen on their flag. >> we're slowly running out of time. before we get to ilan, let's get the mic to her and then jump in. >> just to say i totally agree with ken and i think he asked, at the borders were drawn differently, you could look at the different middle east. this is the middle east. not only is it the serious than iraqis trying to redraw borders, none of the outside that are so trying to redraw borders. part of the reason nobody wants to redraw borders of the violent process often times, so it's everything once we force the turks and the kurds that define exactly where the line is, they will fight over it militarily for example. the way to try to address this in nancy brought this up earlier
is any peace agreement is going to have to include a very weak. stay with a lot of different local actors playing a role in negotiating the outcome because the local actors control what is going on in the ground, whether it is the people at the guns are the local governing councils and those actors have to be reflective of the views of the population in those areas. that is how you put humpty dumpty back together again is there a federal isis then to decentralization while keeping the actual map of syria basically the same. >> let's see if they can squeeze in a few more questions before the time is that. we will come to you, sir. >> first off, thank you for putting on this great panel. i'm a research consultant for the university of denver. my question is we have the benefit of hindsight in the regime trends over the last several decades. so we've seen anna craddick and autocratic regimes benefit from
this pan arab nationalist movement and now we've also seen the movement come to the schismatic collapse of the people under these leaders. my question tie him into the clip and ilan is following comment on this separated region of c-reactive czar we see again the indicators of a common ground of development that hides any of these combative groups together to the point where we can see in a generation of fully unified move meant. >> how about nancy. can you take that question? >> absolutely unified movement across the groups? >> it sounds like you are asking in the states whose fertility has called these fractures. have we ever seen circumstances where they have mended somehow or shared interests, common bonds help bring people back
together. >> in the current situation with each group at this late a varied ideological movement internally and having met to read the differences between them than some other regional goals happen to be identical, are we seeing a development of the new common ground ideology that can essentially become a unified movement that unites or at least a majority to come to a peaceful resolution. >> .share. >> i would love to tell you yes, but i think the answer is no. what you are asking this is very pan era nationalism or other kind of sweeping movement or a sweeping set of ideas or even a grin you'll have an idea that may be a sweeping idea that gets all of these groups together. i have to say i don't see it. and therefore, i think that we
actually need to take each group on its own terms, which makes the requirements for delivering aid, for supporting governance, for delivering humanitarian assistance really, really tailored. but you know what, we are the united states of america and if we apply thought to how we need to tailor our systems to different groups, we can do that. >> of the go back to some of what you said the beginning of what causes states to become fragile, the lack of elusiveness where people fall apart. this seems to weave back in your original point to be at 30,000 feet enough to either figure out a way to articulate that to everybody. or deal with them individually and not force them to walk side by side, but still had to play the chess game in a smarter way, understanding that the divisions are and not force them to come
up with the consensus. >> there's an interesting example next door to syria and iraq through its third military campaign in the last 13, 14 years. i was just there a few weeks ago when in fact what you find the first time probably is that iraqis are feeling a sense that they this time were able to win the battle. but there was an iraqi led fight over isis. and so, after a lot of segmentation and then you've got the kurds, sunnis, shia and a lot of different minority groups, there is a sense that they will move forward within the state confines and they are demanding a more accountable, more inclusive governors. said that as a shared ideology. in particular, it is true for those under the age of 35. what you have in this conflict
countries are disproportionately young populations and what we see as increasingly the young members of these countries who are demanding less corruption, more accountability. if you want to combat an ideology, that is what i see emerging in iraq and i see that as a potential down the road in syria. >> let's see if we can squeeze out one more question. yes, sir. >> finish. >> finish on a relic from george mason university as a graduate student. to take this from a 30,000 feet level down to where the rubber meets the road, what are some of the unique programs usip has been doing on the ground and what are some ways tying it back in the last question how to incorporate more young people to make a positive contribution because younger generations will younger generations will be the end harassment of face today. >> i wonder if by way of wrapping up we can ask all three of you that.
what do we see as ways to engage in innovative programs you see, particularly younger people who will inherit these problems from their parents to help them do so successfully. >> sure, first of all we have a program that engages youth leaders and conflict countries around the world code called generation change, which is fundamentally equipping them with the key tools and skills and knowledge base that allows them to mediate and facilitate conflict in their own communities and states. we believe very strongly here that peace can be, how to build peace can be learned and it is essentially very practical with skills that are often lost, especially in countries that are going through sometimes generations of conflict. you lose all the ways that basic disagreements can be managed before they erupt into violence.
>> kimberly. >> you have the program whereby we trained young scholars here in washington d.c. so that they understand what war is and how the instrument works, how it needs to be support native to a political object is and how to ensure that a very strong civilian control over military. i know compared to what usip does, but we are only 15 people. >> pretty well for 15 people. >> i don't have any specifics. we also have a next have a next generation features later program which generates policymakers on how to be effective as they move forward and is a central part of what we do as an institution. we are mostly about futures, not performers. from a u.s. is, i spend less
time talking about this. it is a lot about the various tools that nancy top about and can talk about and we all talked about doing things on the ground, but there has to be a long-term political willingness in the country to support dealing with these problems and that includes military. if there's one thing we can learn from iraq in particular, 150,000 troops doesn't work against its just not political support for something like that here long-term in my opinion it's not worth the cost in the effort. the american public isn't going to support us. zero seems to put us in some really bad places and so maybe we need to be thinking about long-term a few thousand troops in syria, a few thousand in iraq for the next 20 years to support all these other names is also a big part of the solution. you can't be just, but we are not going to be able to do it without.
we need to remember that, too. >> trade for goldenberg, kimberly kagan, founder president for the answer to the study of work and nancy lindborg, president of the united tape institute of peace. nancy, ilan, kimberly, thank you for talking to us. [applause] >> okay guys, thank you very much. [inaudible] [inaudible conversations]