tv Conservative Political Action Conference - Panel on National Security CSPAN March 23, 2018 9:38pm-10:05pm EDT
president trump announce former u.s. ambassador to the u.n. john bolton would replace outgoing national security adviser h.r. mcmaster. last month ambassador bolton spoke at the annual cpac conference. this is half an hour. >> ladies and gentlemen thank you so much for having us and a special thank you to our wonderful panelists here. i'm going to try and speak as little as possible because we have so much expertise here. i am grateful for the acu and
all the hard-working staff who made this happen. when matt first asked me to moderate i said how dare you and he said moderate a panel, not moderate your views. i'm not sure i can do that. here we are one of the largest threats to the united states. is that radical islam? it said china? is a rush a? is a rogue states, rogue actors or all of the above? we have such a wonderful panel here with us. ambassador john bolton. [applause] who really is such a personal hero of mine.
the man who i am sure so many of us hope and look forward to hearing a lot more from in policy areas over the next few years. i hope i haven't overstepped in a mark their ambassador but i say it proudly. erielle davidson hoover institute and claremont institute's fellow russia expert and we will start with erielle because i know the media needs their russia fixed so we will get on to that. and dr. zuhdi jasser who is possibly one of the bravest people out there at the moment. [applause] he spends his time fighting the sharia elements that are not just as you heard from our previous speaker digging the tom
wolff all across the world but right here in the united states. believe me it's happening and that her jastner is on the frontline fighting radical islam let me tell you somebody like yourself who was born into a muslim family and decided it wasn't for me to speak to someone like zuhdi jasser who in doors so many threats to himself and his family for doing what he does so dr. zuhdi jasser thank you. thank you for what you do. let's start ladies first with erielle. the media has to have their russia fixed and the question i would have from the start as we have now heard about these indictments. we have heard about the meddling for some time. still no collusion evident. if you find any let us know, there's any collusion evidence
out there to hand off to the press. my question to erielle is number one what is the strategic threat that rush opposes? >> have we become complicit with doing what we know some russian state actors did want to do which was disrupt american democracy? >> thank you for that lovely introduction and to cpac in general for being here. that's a really loaded question that i think what i would like to start with is the post-cold war era that was happening enduring the cold war we really living in a bipolar world in terms of our national security issues through the prism of communism. we are not afforded that specific luxury anymore i would argue. russia under the auspices of putin is trying to recapture what we associated with the
soviet union and we are starting to see that as being the justification in the middle east for increased relations in asia and violating the sovereign integrity of the crane so when we talk about what is russia's mission is really to recapture greatness. putin's mind there's no such thing as russia. in order for russia to say she must be great. that exist in quite a bit of putin's policy. russia's only country with which we have nuclear parity so for that reason russia will always have a special place in our hearts in terms of how we look at her through the prism of national security. i also believe that russia is very i want to say unique situation in which she has never had a history of hearing individual rights so it's been about everything for the sake of russia. that is something that is again is defined quite a bit of
national security policy. going to your question would does this mean for the united states i think we have to approach our relationship with russia very carefully in the sense that she is not our primary-- but it's not that she is a non-actor and in that case everyone needs to be very cognizant of the footprints that rush is trying to expand across the globe and be highly aware of that. in terms of the information warfare that took place with the latest miller papers that is par for the course for russia so you and i talked about this earlier the organization that is this propaganda arm that started in russia basically funds pseudo-ngos across the globe and to quote won over the hearts and minds of people in various countries to accept russia's supremacy which is very bizarre.
the other thing they also like to do which will answer the last part of your question is they like to convince people that their current government is incompetent and if you look at the state of our media right now there is an element in which the constant criticism and critique, criticism is healthy but at what point does a start to become our reestablishing an idea that the u.s. government is incompetent and that to me is a very dangerous notion. there's a point at which criticism becomes unhealthy. when russia nationals engaged in the troll farm's and the dissemination of propaganda they really did-- their hope is to subvert and create chaos. the mission of this propaganda arm for the last 10 years and decades before that. russians are expert in that. >> i thought you were talking
about "cnn." >> ambassador bolton i hope you can expand into russia and the middle east and dr. jesser feel free to just ignore me. if you guys want to jump in feel free to jump in. >> i think the mueller indictment last friday is a potentially very important opportunity for the top administration in dealing with russia in its various threats. i think the president is rightly concerned politically that they endless drumbeat of the media that the russian information campaign which supported trump for president, that there was so much of it that people would come logically and incorrectly to the conclusion that the trump campaign must be colluded-- colluding with russia pretty good and have that campaign
without knowing trump's campaign was involved in the mueller indictment while it's far from the last word but there's still a lot we don't know but in this 100 paragraphs of explanation eliminates at least as far as we know both of those elements. there is no allocation of collusion by the trump campaign or anybody else. and it's clear from the indictment that the russian effort is an attack on the constitution. it corrodes the public's faith in our electoral process and it is a means to that end not the end in itself. i would hope that the president would give political leeway that the indictment gives contrary to what the media is saying but in reality can now say in a very forthcoming way about russia's interference in our policy what he has started to do about
russian-- russian interference in eastern europe. the president is saying no foreign power, no foreign power. nobody around the world challenges the american constitution. i will tell you this i think we are going to retaliate for the russian cyber attacks on our election process. i think the retaliation should not be proportionate. i think it should be decided as disproportionate. i think this creates structures of deterrence so the russians nor anybody else think about trying it again. i think that's the right policy and the right politics for the president. in any debate between conservatives and liberals over who will defend the the
constitution the best, who do you think will win that debate? [applause] >> i think one of the things we miss is looking at the choices we had. the pot stewing in all of this is radical islam. you have the threat domestically in europe and the terror attacks with the bangladeshi native server country with a muslim majority population is going to this battle between two people fascism. one of the secular military dictatorship is fascism and the other is-- both are not our allies. finally now we have a president in the white house. we have a party in controlling congress that is no longer wasting all of our time in figuring out what the diagnosis is. we know is that diagnosis is via credit islam.
islamism is the problem so why do we get out of the business of fixing the problem and looking for a solution. [applause] i am the son of syrian immigrants who are patriotic americans because we embraced american freedom, the ability to-- than any so-called muslim country but also they were american patriots because they rejected imperialism and syria in their early to mid-20th century rejected fascism and islamism and embraced american liberties. what's happening is we are not taking sides with syria. we are not taking sides in iran. the great protection for american threats coming from iran's nuclear program would be an aversion and yet where is american policy taking sides of people in the streets? after the revolution started a month ago we had people tweeting out support for for people on the street something president obama never did. we need to follow through with
that and convene a whole government strategy where the greatest threat of the 21st century is political islam, theocratic islam. we need to convene a mission on radical islamism that will begin to have a whole of government strategy to the state department to the pentagon to homeland security were all of a sudden we look at immigration through the lens of not letting islam is come here but i'm looking at an approach to russia. they are going to support shia islamist and hezbollah and genocide in syria that certainly not our analyzing. the saudi royal family might hear short-term threat but long-term where the founding fathers ideology. we have to be careful and if we don't come together as a nation and especially as the conservative movement and realize what ideas we stand for not only against terrorism and communism and islamism but what are we for? we have to have the ability to
do that if we convene a commission and shift the axis of discussion from-- and everyone of you i hope we'll go back to your congressmen or women and tell them we need to shift from cbe to cbi. [applause] >> there was once upon a time a white ford in the white house which had lost a point on it in one of those points was the prescription of the muslim brotherhood as a terrorist organization. when the members of the administration will be watching this and reflecting upon what is being said what do we have to say is a panel about the fact that there is no description of the muslim brotherhood's? i think that is a pretty simple thing to get done and something
that as far as i'm concerned in the area of radical islam-- >> i would have put the brotherhood on the foreign terrorist organization on january 20, 2017. i don't think there's any question about this. too often our diplomats fall prey to the idea that whether it's the irish republican army or any kind of terrorist group as well there's a humanitarian wing of hezbollah and then there's the political wing of hezbollah. likewise with the muslim brotherhood. one organization motivated by one of ideology and to me that's the fundamental issue to understand what the obama administration did not but i think president trump does. what we are fighting here is not a concept like violence. we are fighting a radical ideology that grows out of islam , political islam call it what you were--
call it what you will. we didn't create the ideology. we may not like having it but if we don't acknowledge it we are never going to prevent a. >> let me go to dock or jesser. we discussed the new wants earlier. >> i'm not sure how much the ambassador and i agree. if you declare the muslim brotherhood they terror organization what about al-jazeera does that become a satellite terror network? may be but the bottom line is you have the egyptian brotherhood which i think the egyptian muslim brotherhood was the home base the central nuclear cancer cell of the muslim brotherhood. hamas and offshoot to the terrorist organization should be labeled as such but ideologues
in london had muslim brotherhood has an office there. the muslim brotherhood never put an office down but yet there's a lot of believers and islamism. as an arab-american the muslim brotherhood is an ideology. they don't carry cards even in the middle east. their many supporters of the brotherhood that don't carry cards in enough they are brothers because of the islamic ideology. just like when we are fighting the cold war we understood the communist party was not our ally but we didn't shut them down. we allow them the freedom to speak out to monitor them and be realized they were precursors to significant threats that we didn't necessarily shut them down. similarly the muslim brotherhood has organizations in the west as long as they are not advocating terrorist violence is easier to monitor them when they are above ground and when you put them underground.
whenever they push their brotherhood underground they come back five brotherhood underground a comeback fiber 10 years later to really wreak havoc. >> we haven't yet touched on china and i hope you can give us a little bit of insight into china when president xi gives his 300 hour-long speeches he's not talking about here's how a plan to defeat america or here is that we plan to dominate the world. he's declaring we have already done it. when we have this conversation about the greatest threat to america the chinese think they have already one. >> i actually will combine the answer to your question. i think their biggest threat is for right now the islamic ideology as opposed to the nation-state primarily because an ideology has several different iterations and when you think or you suppose that my fifth been quelled or stomped out in one region of the world
became re-grow itself. it can spread and transcend borders and it doesn't require funding. if you think about the way in which ideology spreads on social media you can use all sorts of platforms that don't require any real monetary backing behind it. it makes message is very acceptable. for instance one of the greatest issues, the window between isis in europe for quite a bit of time in 2016 was russia and quite a bit of ice's videos and recruitment videos were being done in russia-- russian. alarming and one of the ways in which ideology doesn't need to belong to nation-state. you can attract followers from around the globe and that's what makes it a tremendous danger. in terms of china china is an interesting position right now relative to the united states or
russia. as a better relationship with the u.s. and russia than the united states or russia have with each other. russia's power is waning and we are starting to see a greater eurasian alliance is supposed to russia trying to turn itself with europe in the primary temps that putin had made in the ukrainian crisis. ambassador bolton will probably have more to say about that but i do think that china is trying its best to walk a fine line between maintaining an economic powerhouse which may be a democrat-- demographic crisis in the future so we will see what the result of that will be but i do believe china is in a unique position. i'm curious to see where it goes forward from here. it's the largest country population wise in the world. >> the chinese are declaring victory and what they perceive as is a long war here but the north koreans, i don't think the
media has recognized president trump really and a lot of ways has managed to shut down little rock that manner at least bring little rocket man to the table. and you have the chinese-- would he think is lacking in terms of recognition? >> i think on the china question we have suffered as a country for several decades by operating under the assumption that it prevails in the business community and prevails in the u.s. government, prevails in academia than trying to engage in peaceful way and it simply seeks to take its place, it's rightful place in the community of nations and we simply have to accept this. that is one possible scenario for china but it's not the only scenario and the idea idea that
it's going to be, responsible stakeholder another buzz phrase in the international system is only one possible outcome. i think the real pattern of chinese behavior is an incredibly aggressive and assertive. they are building raises on rocks and reefs in the south china sea that on the good day or only 3 inches above water. they are today mapping the sea bend of the indian ocean and they are not doing it to find fish. they want to know where they can put their sufferings when they develop in undersea fleet. this is a very aggressive development. there's a panel on china tomorrow we will talk more about it but what it requires is a strategy. the president has raised issues of chinese violations of their obligations under the international trade agreement in their piracy on collection will privacy and their discrimination against foreign investors.
that's an important aspect but we need a political military strategy as well. we need what we had in the cold war. all of these issues are together in and if china wants to know how we will treat them it depends on how they behave across-the-board. i think president trump now has convinced north korea and china that barack obama is no longer president which is the single most important thing that he can do. but make no mistake as the ci director mike pompeo said recently north korea within a handful of months, his phrase to having the capability of dropping thermonuclear weapons on any american city they want so the trump administration has a very hard decision to make in the very near future. if china believes what they have set for 25 years which is they don't want north korea to have nuclear weapons now is the time for them to act and if they
don't act and act as positively it will tell us a lot about china. >> i think a really important point is a lot of the different responses that dictators would have to america comes on the heels of how they perceive us. as president trump has begun to do secretary mattis has done with the almost complete decimation of ice as they realize that america has to be reckoned with. [applause] and that reckoning means, how many of you think with ice is almost gone that radical islamic threat will go way? and nobody so the reason is you have erdogan radicalizing his population for the caliphate movement. you have the saudis still pushing wahhabism and maybe they are marginalizing brotherhood ideology. you have a egyptian islamism but all over the world islamist and is still thriving and we are not on the offense. we need to start realizing that
we are never going to win this militarily. we can do the whack-a-mole thing militarily but until we could take liberty and freedom on the offense and just like the russians have promised to send their ideas here we have to take the idea of liberty and arabic and farsi in every language to begin to have an offense for countering violent islamism, not just extremism. [applause] >> i wish we had more time. iran and venezuela north korea we could touch on some the things that i want to thank our panelists for laying out the national security threats for the united states. thank you all of you guys for being here. thank you john bolton, erielle davidson and zuhdi jasser. [applause] ♪