tv Reagan National Defense Forum - Global Conflicts Alliances CSPAN December 20, 2018 6:51am-7:39am EST
pleased to see that and those are the tangible steps we have to see taken to deal with these threats. another area of focus to develop new partnerships and extenders alliance relationships. indonesia is a high priority for secretary mattis, that is the maritime full crumb of the pacific, $5 trillion in trade flow through annually indonesia's waters, with half the world's global trade, a push to increase relationships with countries like vietnam and to reinforce relationships and renew for long-standing allies with japan, the are okay and australia and working success in administrations put underway with india to create a new relationship with that country and noteworthy achievements. i could go around the middle east and this hemisphere and speak of other examples and
from my perspective, the focus undersecretary mattis's leadership, and to burnish those relationships leading to growth and meet shared challenges together. >> can i say it is a privilege to be here. >> i prefer to call you an army of one. >> so may i say from the uk perspective, condolences about the sad passing of president bush. he was a man who eat the demise to someone who believed in the strength of alliances and what they could bring not just to the world but importantly and able to articulate what they could bring to the united states. he was often referred to as the
only texan in the royal court at buckingham palace. obviously it is a sad thing to see him go but alliances have been vital for the united states over numerous decades. when you see the united states step away from the world stage, when you see the united states be isolationist in its approach it has been able to sustain that for a short period of time but invariably it has to deal with realities of what is happening around the world and we have seen the last 20, 25 years, truly extraordinary events which has meant the united states has been the sole superpower on the world stage and that chapter has come to a close. so how does the united states magnify its strength?
it has to be through those alliances. that is not surprising coming from the uk defense secretary but it puts responsibility on allies themselves because the point of a nation paying their way contributing, stepping up to the mark on defense was absolutely right. it shouldn't just be the united states, britain and a few other countries suspending a minimum of 2% and we should see 2% as a minimum. it is not a ceiling. but actually it is not just about what you spend. we have to have a complete change in attitude and approach, we have been seeing the united states taking the lead in so many different parts around the world, whether that is in afghanistan, or interact,
or the asia pacific region as well. for an alliance to work, we have to look at other nations, the united kingdom, germany, france, or italy, or australia, taking a lead in different parts of the globe. the united states cannot lead in every part, on every continent and every conflict and to really prove the worth of alliances other nations have to be the ones that say we will lead. the last 20 years you have seen the uk and other nations contribute to missions the united states has led. we need to switch that around. what unites us is common values of democracy, justice, freedom. and what we have got to be
doing is where in the world can britain lead and the united states come in behind us and support, delivering values and shared and common aims in these countries and what we are going to do for coming decades, threats are not getting less. you cannot expect the united states to deal with every single one of those threats. when we do that more and more it sends a powerful message not just to the people of the united states but also the people of great britain and across europe, across the western world, the alliances that bring benefit to all. >> thanks so much, thank you. i want to jump in on china first in preparing for this panel, a friend reminded me of
a foreign affairs article written by two former obama administration officials who wrote washington faces its most dynamic and formidable competitor in modern history in china. meeting this challenge, and hopeful thinking that characterized us policy toward china. i am wondering from each of you if you could share with us if you share that view particularly for the congressman. is there a bipartisan approach to countering china and how do you see that happening? how do you bring allies along? >> it can mean a lot of things. i didn't read the article. secretary mattis said what is it? we will compete with china. that will happen.
they are an economic power and in one way or another we will compete with them but what are the redlines? what do we want to prevent china from doing? what are the truly bad things? i honestly believe there is plenty of room in this world for a rising china and a continuingly powerful united states. how do we do that? several steps we can look at. the biggest thing we once china to not do is not be, hegemony nation, to not start land grabs as they try in the south china sea and not to impose themselves on the sovereignty of nations around them and that gives us a natural outreach point to work with other countries because they don't want that either. we want to prevent that and the second is what they are doing in terms of stealing intellectual property and i want to think putting tariffs on steel to miss the point, the biggest problem with china is
the way they are stealing technologies and not competing in a fair way. what are we trying to stop china from doing? people freak out because china is providing foreign aid in africa in a way that isn't necessarily outstanding but that doesn't concern me as much. if we have other great economic powers we will start to try to build economic power in part of the world that have been struggling. that's not a bad thing. we have to be focused on what we want to stop china from doing and look for places to partner with them. secretary mattis has done great outreach. the environment, china for all their progress, 800 million people taken out of poverty, they are going to get the point they have trouble breathing. that is a bit of a problem. global warming, the reliance on fossil fuels, we can work together on that. they face threats from violent
extremist terrorist groups as well. we need to look for places to work together. this is where to make things more interesting, there's room for criticism of the way the trump administration approaches it. dod is doing it. i don't know how many ambassador -- they don't pay attention to the state department. lord knows what rex to listen was doing but didn't work out too and has gotten better? i don't know but i do know there are a ton of ambassadorships, there's a disdain for diplomacy outside everywhere but the pentagon. you are trying to build partnerships but the state department seems to be thumbing its nose at anybody and i am a great admirer of george hw bush as well, he and his son had a way of building coalitions that were a little different. when interact was invaded, i know it is true enough, i read it in a book, george hw's first home call was the
secretary-general the un to say we have a problem. how do we work together to solve this? and inclusive approach. we all know that the current president has a different tactic in terms of how he talks to people. i've got to believe that is a problem. people as a general rule do not like to start off conversations by being insulted. where does that lead us? when example. america first, we should flat-out stop saying that because if you are trying to build these alliances that are crucial to everything we are doing, you're very patient gentleman and you get along well with us and you can take the occasional barb and see interest and work with us but as a general you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. what america says to the rest of the world is screw you, we are in it for us. if you get something that will help us we will do it. if you don't, get away.
diplomacy needs to be significantly improved whether we are dealing with china or anyone else. if we are not going to undermine the very things all 3 of us just talked about and the coalition you described, the george hw bush was able to put together, by respecting other people, by respecting their interests and working with them in a way that isn't insulting does matter. >> i will come back to you on something but let me go to john. go ahead. >> with respect to china, that is the greatest long-term challenge we face in the greatest long-term challenge because of the magnitude of that challenge and the potential to affect our way of life but a very complex challenge. it does not resemble exactly those we faced before even during the cold war. what you see china doing is not
only propagating a larger influence in its region but trying to expand that influence globally, really competing for influence across the globe. the chinese leadership led by president for life, is a very ambitious agreement and very self-confident and president vi is not only the most influential chinese leader in history but perhaps in there's sense of grievance at times with what we regard as inaccurate history of what agreed in the period of time. for us in the united states, we are recognizing we are in a
global competition with china. we don't fear the competition as congressman smith said. it is about is it a fair competition? is in a competition that seeks what we see china doing, trying to overturn the global order put in place in the post-world war ii period to allow free movement of people, free movement of ideas, openness of expression, promotion of democracy, respect for individual human rights, individual rights in terms of their relationship with their state. respect for the sovereignty of other states and not seeking to overturn those disputes through use of force. respect for intellectual property, trade, etc.. so there are many reasons we have concern now. the approach we have taken in the defense sphere is to try to baseline ourselves, secretary mattis led the way on this to explain our strategic intentions to china and to begin with a discussion around
the lines that we are the two nations with the greatest potential for good or if we have conflict, for ill. and to change the global landscape. it has been a long time since we had a global conflict between the great powers and we want to avoid that and we wants to avoid being another chapter in many pages in history with emerging powers choosing to militarily confront the established powers. beginning with an explanation where strategic intentions arc explaining the competition in our mexican does not mean we are not destined to be foes, we are not destined to a future of conflict. that future is for us to write but there are certain things we think global system has aided in china's rise, the demise of things like the ability for free movement of people and ideas, and goods, is not in their interest but at the same time, we can't do that and don't wish to do that by ourselves. that is where the role of
friends and allies is so critical. we continue to have a special relationship with her majesty's government. you have to start with those things that your core but in addition to that as i mentioned, the growth of these alliance relationships are very important. i mentioned indonesia. we have done $1.8 billion in foreign military sales with indonesia, trying to cultivate a different relationship with vietnam after the vietnam war. we had for the first time since that conflict the visit of an aircraft carrier. the secretary of defense met with his counterpart four times. we have begun transferring and having a defense trade relationship with indonesia through an access coast guard cutter but agreement on things like trainer aircraft. these aren't easy relationships and we have to deal with the legacy of conflict, one of our project that dod is the cleanup of agent orange or dioxin in vietnam. we have to deal with the legacy
of conflict, clear eyed and complex relationship but the hard work of not only maintaining core relationships and building them and keeping them, new relationships has got to be part of how we manage that relationship and rise in a way we are cooperative with and knowing we have defense capabilities but friends and allies for this to work. >> a lot of folks want to see the national defense strategy. people want to see where the us is going to challenge militarily or otherwise. a lot of the rhetoric is let's
work with china, and the demand signal, we are challenging china in the south china sea right now. sending aircraft carrier, what we send them do. i don't think there's a lot of call to lob a missile at them. same with russia. we are deterring them in a variety of ways. many of the ones you outlines are crucial by making more friends in the region but go ahead. >> acting alone, the attack on ourselves, on the streets, to see the use of a virus in a sleepy english cathedral city
you would have thought it was crazy but the strength of the response is nations coming together speaking in one voice. china presents the globe with so many opportunities and presented with china and the way you best influence behavior is not to do all the running, and other nations to say a common thing, whether it south china sea, it is good the us has rights of passage. but other nations have to be doing the same and british vessels actually transiting to the south china sea for the first time in a number of years. and you have to be willing to not constantly turn the other cheek.
and from our point of view, western nations with shared values and china doing something vulnerable, the strength is speaking with one voice and saying what the consequences could potentially be to that. >> earlier this week french president macron said donald trump's recent decisions have been done to the detriment of his allies. the elephant in the room that we alluded to earlier is the mixed signals but come from the us government to allies. i wanted to ask you to expand on that a little bit. how do you bring folks along when you do have mixed signals? donald trump's transactional
approach to allies can make it difficult. to speak as an ally what that feels like and what that feels like and what it means, with donald trump's popularity in europe, how do you -- how does your government bring to the people? >> the value of alliances and the common values between nations. it is easy to focus on divisions, to focus on different styles, different approach, but what is important? to see the common value that all nations have. don't know if you have been to the imperial war rooms where winston churchill executed the second world war. the most powerful image you see is you look at the map of the
globe, where are the greatest number of pinpricks? not in italy or north africa or the far east but the north atlantic. that vital bridge that united two continents, two sets of europeans and americans in a fight against something we all knew was evil and would destroy our sets of values and everything we stood for. we need to talk positively about what they bring to the foundations and if you look at what the united states is doing in nato you are seeing an increase in investment and commitment to what nato does but by his actions, that is the most important thing to do, but again it comes back to my earlier point.
it is about all allies pulling their weight. you cannot outsource european defense and security to the united states. it is simply not right, not a sustainable argument that the american people will buy. what we need to be doing is showing and activism and interest and willingness to be involved across all european nations and britain can play an important leadership role in that. it has always been a useful bridge between the united states and the rest of europe. but actually it is not just about europe. it is right across the globe. sometimes nations like britain and france label to reach into parts of the world which frankly the us sometimes will struggle into doing so. so we have got to show that leadership. let us focus on the values that are common between our nations. let's focus on all the good
things. let us not constantly bicker over the smaller minor things. >> there are plenty of places, the example that leaves to mind is west africa where we have a lawless region with all kinds of international criminals. it is france because history has taken the lead in trying to confront and shore up the problems out of libya. there has been that leadership that started and the other thing, i forgot how to say this, not terribly -- america is about more than donald trump. thank god. sorry. just had to. blame me afterward. the rest of the world may not think donald trump is popular for something he has said and done, when you look at great britain or europe, they can
have problems with our president and still say america is still america. it is still that vital leader of the world, the vital partner on serious levels. just because the president tweets something unbelievably offensive about one of our allies, hopefully what happens is those countries recognize the relationship is about more than that and within the trump administration, there are a lot of people doing the opposite. this is a mixed-signal problem. i don't think there's ever been an administration with this kind of schizophrenia, one tweet one day, actually no, we didn't mean that the next. but at least there is that other. as lease there is that the permit of defense and others trying to mend those faces in trying to show a different face. maybe it is a mad scientist strategy, trump scares them and
everybody else tries to make them feel better. i don't think that is the case and we would be better off if our president occasionally struck a more conciliatory tone towards our allies and potential allies for that matter. it is a problem. america is about more than who happens to be president at the moment. there is a problem but i have talked for too long. there is one other with getting into but that is later. >> i've been in numerous trips where you stopping country xyz and the problem is he sought to reassure allies. how, from where you sit in the pentagon, do you manage this series of mixed signals? >> the best signal is secretary mattis is fond of saying our role is to get it done. look at some of the actions we
take. that is the best way to explain and deal with sending the right kind of message. in europe, one of the things we tried to send with european deterrence initiative is a substantial increase in commitment whether that is during the trump administration, $3.1 million of additional spending for that purpose, the commitment of advanced capabilities to that activity. but it has got to be, as secretary williamson was saying, this is a shared commitment. that is the kind of thing that will make an alliance more moderate. we saw adaptations to the nato command structure to make it fit for our times, able and willing to confront the kind of threats we face, there were adjustments to the command sector arrangement and some of that was willingness from us and the united states also to bury load in that regard. a lot of what i focus on and my colleagues focus on is getting
these practical real things done based on the shell or façade of capability, real capabilities for things like the nato alliance. that is the best way to keep the relationship vibrant, the best way over time, we all live in democracies, france, germany or the uk, this alliance of democracies occasionally has cacophonous sounds that emerge from it but if we are true to our commitments to each other and true to the purpose and willing to take joint steps together, if i spend a lot of days on the defeat isis campaign, 75 nations engage in that, 79 if you include the organizations as part of that activity but they are not coming just with words, there's real money, real capabilities and another is we had a very
good relationship with our french colleagues in africa and we are playing a supporting role. this is a french lead, european lead activity that we support because we see not only an affinity in the alliance but also shared aims and we have to keep that vibrant also by renewing our focus, as much as there are differences among our states, we have core values that are similar about democracy, promotion of freedom, individual liberties. as secretary mattis said we don't buy our friends in the united states, we are in them through working together on these kinds of activities and for me and my team with that is what we try to do, earn these relationships, earn that capability and that trust and go out and work on those things together. >> we have very few minutes left but through the lens of
nato, you may have heard in the conversation earlier today that they would survey, a majority of americans are favorable toward nato. 59% favorable towards nato, 24% unfavorable and even a majority of those with a favorable view of nato think our allies should do more. thank you. i didn't ask for this. the audience can see them. what is your gut reaction to the survey suggesting numbers need to do more? >> i agree with the survey. that is always the case. you always want your partner to do more. >> you see the uk hoping to
spend on defense above inflation every single year, increasing proportion of gdp we are spending on defense and as was touched on by john earlier, every nation in nato is increasing the amount, whether it is at the pace people want to see, some people argue this isn't speedy but the direction of travel is heading the right way but it is not just about pounds, shillings and pennies. it is how you use and develop those capabilities and how you come together to use those capabilities to deal with a common threat. to present is an important powerful political tool. it is not just about percentages. it is about what you are spending that money on and how you use those capabilities going forward and people expect
us to do more and we have to do more. the threat of increased. >> if you could respond and then i have a brexit question. >> i'm not surprised by the survey results. i'm in the category that i favor nato and think our allies should do more but to secretary gavin williamson's point, the alliance talked about the framework nation approaches to certain capabilities and we have seen some member states lead in those areas. her majesty's government lead in so many areas. we have to be more serious of purpose in that regard and it is not just the level of spending or these are usable capabilities but the degree some of the parts is greater than individual elements, and discipline among our allies. we are favorable towards the idea that some european union states or the european union as a whole would increase its
capabilities but in a way that is complementary, that adds to the capabilities of nato. as the nato secretary-general is fond of pointing out when there are many european union member states that are members of nato, today 82% if you include the uk resides outside the european union. this differentiation of capabilities, recommit to a capability approach where if allies have different capabilities that they bring so that the sum is greater than the parts, that is what we have to take. >> i would add, the partnership is not just about nato where we want our allies to do more and you say how much are you bringing into nato? there are a lot of other ways to help on global health and
great britain is a major leader on confronting global health challenges. george w. bush put together the alliance on combating hiv in africa but that was an alliance that was global. when we as americans, what our partners are doing to help us i don't think we should narrow it down to what we are spending on defense. there are other issues that are important internationally. >> quick brexit question. >> i travel all over the united states. >> i think here is the question. how is brexit affecting european security policy without the voice of one of our more reliable allies at the table and brussels? will eu member states be less likely to take decisive action to counter russia or terrorism? >> i hope not. there are common
misunderstandings with brexit. people look as britain exiting the european union and they think britain is wanting to step away from the world and i say this quite the reverse. britain wants to play a more significant part on the world stage. and exiting the european union gives us the opportunity to be more precise of and more clear about standing up for our values, not just talking about our values but defending them. let's not forget britain has been involved in european security, not just the creation of the european union but it is fair to say we have been interfering in european security growth a few centuries before that. we are going to have no less an interest in making sure our interests and values and friends are properly defended whether they are in the european union or not but i do think for us, for britain the
importance of nato grows even more than it was before, to reach out and talk and there's a challenge of influences in the european union, gallic influences that will have a different vision as the european union without britain there. this is why it is so important to make it clear what nato delivers, not just europe, not just the united states, and canada, across the north atlantic, but what nato can do in terms of a platform. a platform of nations that actually care passionately about the values we all subscribe to and how we use that more and more around the globe and we see that in afghanistan in terms of resident support. afghanistan was never thought
as a country nato would operate in when it was created over 69 years ago, but actually nato delivers a value in so many parts of the world and that is how we expand it more in the future. >> in deference to the allies, we let the ally have the last word. join me in thanking the panel. [applause] [ inaudible conversations] >> homeland security secretary kiersten nielsen heads to capitol hill for an oversight hearing with the house judiciary committee. she will talk about homeland security operations and likely face questions about immigration enforcement after the recent death of a 7-year-old guatemalan girl detained by the us border patrol. the hearing gets underway at
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