tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN December 3, 2014 3:00pm-5:01pm EST
reconsider the no u.s. combat formations on the ground decision. because you may have to either renege on that or you may have to fall off of our very important mission of destroying isis. i think there's a gap between the two. three, while you're doing that, and that's hard, and i have some sympathy for the administration on that. here's what i don't have sympathy for the administration. if we're going to do this seven-point program and you heard another iteration of this at nato cut off lower funding, cut off, do something about the ideological appeal. cut off people are traveling there, take care of the refugees, air strikes, build up forces, go on the offensive. if you're going to do that, without u.s. ground troops, but rather, we're going to do this from the air with other people's boots on the ground, we better put like we've done in every other conflict i know of, add
vo advisory teams on the ground, joint tactical forward air controllers and other groups. these are small numbers of highly trained professionals. they would make all of the difference going out there with iraqi forces, be they peshmerga, national guard or awakening sunni -- or the iraqi army, the nine brigades forming. there's a huge difference between how these people perform and other conflicts perform when you have american advisers with them and how they perform without them. we don't have the luxury of having them perform in an inaccurate way. that needs to be done right now. and i don't understand why the administration is dragging its heels when it hears from dempsey, hears from others this is something that should be and is being contemplated. that's it. >> a.mbassador ford, your three recommendations for president obama. >> the first would be within the region itself to prioritize.
i think most everyone would agree that syria and iraq are probably the two highest priorities because of the islamic state. but also because of the strain that the conflict is putting on other countries that are friendly to us, such as jordan and turkey. so that would be the first prioritize. second, and jim's laid out a serious of military steps. i would say in addition to military steps, there needs to be a regional, political effort at a higher level. it is very clear that we in the turks are not on the same page about syria. and i don't think we're fully on the same page about iraq. and with all due respect to colleagues in the career diplomatic service who -- with whom i shared a career, that is not something that an american ambassador is going to be able to fix. we're not on the same wave with
the saudis fully, as well. and that is not something that the american ambassador is going to be able to fix. th that's going to require some high-level time, bandwidth is the expression of the day in washington. here working with the leaders in those countries to come to an agreement on not only the islamic state, but a whole broader set of issues related to nation states and stability versus reform. we've already sort of worked it cross purposes in places like egypt. that shouldn't happen again. that should not happen again. and there's got to be prioritization, engagement consistently, and then my third bit of advice to the administration would be don't give up on reform and greater
respect for human rights, but understand that you will have to balance it. you'll have to balance it with security issues. to membership mind, looking at the arab spring, you don't have to have a big bang and create democratic governments in six months. you do need to have gradual, visible improvement so that this aggrieved sunni/arab population i was talking about has a sense that little by little things will get better. whether that be beginning some measures of accountability, even at a low level for police abuse. whether that be allowing some, not all, some ngos a greater freedom of maneuver in these countries. different countries are going to move at a different speed. the tunisians are moving at a
different speed. that's fine. i think it would be a mistake for the americans to ignore human rights in the rush to security policy and the fight against the islamic state because the islamic state in part comes out of grievances, human rights abuses committed widely by the assad regime in syria and by the previous government in iraq. you can't ignore the root causes even as you address very reasonably the counterterrorism policy. the trick is to find a balance and accept gradual improvement on the human rights. doesn't have to be fast. we don't need bahrain tomorrow to become a full parliamentary democracy. we do need to see step by step improvement along with counterterrorism.
>> we're back live at the museum in washington, d.c. an event today hosted by the foreign policy initiative. you just saw a part of the earlier discussion this afternoon on the middle east. still to come this afternoon in just a few moments, senator ted cruz, republican of texas will discuss u.s. foreign policy. and then about an hour from now at 4:00 eastern time, governor bobby jindal of louisiana will be talking about u.s. defense policy as our live coverage continues here on c-span 3.
should get to the heart of the issue for conference today. for american leadership. it's a great pleasure to welcome senator ted cruz for a conversation moderated by bill crystal who, of course, serves on the foreign policy initiative, board of directors. in addition, bill has served previously in the executive branch as a chief of staff to secretary of education william ben nit during the reagan administration and to former vice president dan quayle. he founded a magazine of which he's still the editor. i thank you so much, bill, for joining us again and for moderating this conversation. >> thanks, chris. thanks, senator cruz for joining us. a very busy time on the hill. i'm worried that even in this hour, god knows what his colleagues are doing up there in the lame duck session. we're going to have to end this very promptly so you can go back and keep an eye on the mischief. i don't think ted cruz needs much introduction. of course, elected two years ago, at a very consequential first two years in the senate
before the solicitor general of the state of texas. princeton college, harvard law school, don't hold those against him. and it's real pleasure to have senator cruz with us, and, of course, has been a member and a very active member for the senate armed services committee. and i will say this personally, but i moderated the panel with your soon to be colleague tom cotton and mike pompey from the house earlier and said they to my mind were very impressive. as new members, they grappled with national security issues, thought them through themselves, and the same was very much true of ted cruz. real pleasure to have you here for this discussion. we'll talk for half an hour, 40 minutes, take a few questions and let you get back there to the hill. i think today there was some controversy. i noticed you put out a statement, i think, on the national defense bill which came out of committee and is now supposed to come to the floor, i guess, tomorrow or tuesday or something like that. what's the story with that? >> well, thank you, bill, and thank you to the fbi for having
me and thank you, everyone for coming out. i'll note you were referencing tom and mike, all three of us have the distinction of being harvard lawyers. which, which i think both of them can convey. and it was certainly the truth whenever i was in west texas and people found out i went to harvard, the immediate response had to be, i've got a lot to apologize for. so with respect to the ndaa, the armed services committee and the senate worked hard on the bill. we came up with a good bill, it's not perfect, but it was a strong bill with a lot of good elements. one of the elements of the current draft of the bill that i'm very proud of and that i fought very hard for concerned the victims of the terrorist attack at ft. hood. where nadal hasan murdered 14 people, injured 31, and for a number of years now, the administration has characterized that attack as workplace
violence. instead of acknowledging it for what it was. a terrorist attack, by a soldier in communications with a known terrorist, asking about jihad against american soldiers. the current draft of the ndaa has within it an amendment that i authored and introduced to provide that the victims of that shooting should be eligible for the purple heart. and that's something the administration has resisted. i was very proud to see that amendment adopted. adopted unanimously. we saw support across the aisle come together despite resistance from the administration. senators on both sides of the aisle agree it was more than enough time and we need to recognize that. and so, there are lots of other provisions in the ndaa that are good and worthwhile. but what we've seen happen at the end of the day is a typical example of what frustrates people with washington. which is we took a bill
authorizing our defense budget and it has now been hijacked into a lands bill. and at the last minute, some 70 odd different land provisions have been tacked on, over 500 pages of legislation that was unfolded in the dark of night. doesn't have a darn thing to do with our defense budget, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. it has to do with a combination of, number one, congressional pork projects for different people and, number two, it takes in the aggregate north of 500,000 acres. it restricts their access, either takes it out of public use altogether or restricts the access over 500,000 acres. and one of the things i've done in the two years i've been in the senate is it is my view there is far too much land in this country that is restricted from the public, restricted from the american people using and enjoying. and so i have been pressing quite vigorously that we should
be looking to move more and more of our federal land out of federal ownership and into private hands so that private so people can live on it, people can use it, people can enjoy it. and, yet, because those bills haven't been able to get through on their merits, they're trying to attach it to must-pass legislation and i think it's an abuse of process and it's wrong and i think there are a lot of senators concerned about it. >> and so what do you think will happen? >> it's a good question. unfortunately, listen, there is bipartisan blame for sticking this lands bill on. there are republicans and democrats in both the house and senate that have their particular package or the other particular package, and some of these to be clear, some of these provisions may well be good. but they ought to be debated on and voted on in the merits. some of them, there are provisions in this that are opening up, for example, a copper mine in arizona, other provisions opening them up to development to use that are
beneficial. but as is so common on capitol hill, you see log rolling of some good provisions rolled in with a big mess. so i don't know. i mean, i -- it is my intention to do what i can to block it. i think it is hijacking a bill that shouldn't be hijacked. whether leadership is able to schedule it and force it through, that's going to depend on other moving parts right now. >> and let's talk about the underlying issue there, which you've worked on hard for two years on senate armed services committee, which is the actual defense budget itself, the defense programs. what's your view of where we are? do we need more? do we need different? what's the situation with the defense budget? >> well, i think we certainly need different. and in all likelihood, we need more. you see a consistency when you talk to our commanders, our generals, our admirals. the impact of sequestration is having a serious effect on our
ability to defend our nation. now, it's difficult sometimes to get a square answer to that because no one in this room will be surprised at the proposition that the defense budget is not immune from the world of congressional pork. and there are some projects that have more to do with a particular member's home district than the need to defend the national security interests of this country. there are also provisions. for example, we had a couple of hearings earlier this year. focused on where i took the opportunity, but we had one hearing in particular where secretary hagel, general dempsey were testifying. and i asked them about the alternative fuels budget, about $7 billion altogether. one of the programs i focused on was the algae fuel program. costs about $160 million.
if we had used conventional fuel, it would have cost about $40 million. so it's $120 million, in my view, wasted to see how much we can run ships based on algae. the air force had a wind farm that they built up in alaska. unfortunately, they built it in an area where the wind doesn't blow. and so i raise these examples and said, look, in a time of austerity, in a time where, and this was you had secretary hagel and general dempsey talking about the burdens on our nation coming from limited resources. i said, well, what about these programs? why are we spending money on these programs? very interesting, secretary hagel explicitly agreed those programs were, quote, luxuries. and that led to the obvious follow-up. well, if they are luxuries and money is so scarce and you are saying we are right now endangering the national
security of this country, have you considered eliminating those luxuries before you start forcibly retiring soldiers and sailors and airmen and marines? and i'm sorry to say the answer wasn't, no, we hadn't considered that. it was a sad admission of the political process of washington in the senate armed services committee. i introduced an amendment to say that $7 billion alternative fuel budget should be available if needed to provide for the men provide for our national security needs. unfortunately, it was voted down on a straight party line. and so the democratic majority voted that down. we need to have a serious examination of how money is being allocated. we need to be allocating far more money to actually defending this country rather than to bureaucratic overhead, rather than to congressional pork. and we need to look, also, i think there's a very good case to be made. the sequestration has begun to
cut into the bone. and that we should not be holding military spending hostage to efforts by the administration to jack up nondefense spending. >> republicans will control the committee next year, senator mccain will presumably be chairman, you'll be in the majority. >> i keep trying to encourage senator mccain to come out of his shell and express his views. >> yeah. i'm sure he appreciates that. and he needs that a lot, actually. you travel with him, right, to h halifax for the conference. >> it was a couple of weeks ago, a bipartisan delegation that went up, about 60 nations were in halifax for defense contracts. defense ministers, heads of state. it was a terrific conference. and -- >> any particular take away? >> you know, what was striking was the unanimity of perspectives among our allies. i mean, we did a number of bilateral meetings in the margins as is typical at these conferences, and one after the other, our allies would just
look at us in astonishment and say where is america? what has happened? whatever the challenge was, whether it was standing up to isis, whether it was standing up to iran, whether it was standing up to russia and putin's aggressiveness. one after the other of the allies would say, listen, if america doesn't lead, the world is a heck of a lot more dangerous. and it was striking. you could almost hit play, and the same message would come from one ally after another, after another, we need american leadership back in the world. >> this was one of the first issues that will come up before senate armed services committee and the new congress will be the confirmation of, i guess, i don't know if it's official yet, but everyone expects it to be the nomination of ash carter to be defense secretary. do you have a view on, a, him personally, and b, the defense department over the last few
years? >> well, it is not encouraging that in six years now we're now on to our fourth secretary of defense. particularly at a time where the world has gotten more and more dangerous. the fact that this administration has been unable to keep steady leadership at the helm of the defense department is, is not good, and it -- it's even markedly worse. the last two secretaries of defense took the rather remarkable step of both writing books, detailing the political fecklessness. and both describes defense policy being driven by political operatives out of the white house and not having a serious focus on the national security interests of this country. and to see two defense secretaries write that book, and
i don't think anyone would be surprised if in another year a third defense secretary joins that, writing what i would suspect a similar looking book. that starts to be a pretty consistent pattern. mr. carter, i don't know, i look forward to getting to know him. he has a good reputation. and it was disquieting in the process to see several prominent candidates publicly take their name out of contention. it is not a good thing when serious people are saying, heck, no, i don't want to be secretary of defense. it starts to suggest the way the administration is treating the defense department is not a pattern of behavior that implicates strong, serious leaders focused on defending this nation. and now, we need exactly that. it is my hope that mr. carter demonstrates a seriousness of
resolve and a willingness to speak the truth even if that truth may be inconvenient to political operatives in the white house. >> i'm curious, what was your sense of how we did and how much ability you had to really shape policy as opposed to as one gathers overridden what to do by various white house aides. >> well, look, in the process where he's stepping down, i don't know there's a lot of value to join in piling on. and it's not necessarily easy to parse responsibility by any means this administration's
foreign policy has manifest disaster. it has been if you look across the globe, it is difficult to find a region of the world that is not materially worse than the last six years. i mean, you know, it seems the whole world is on fire right now. and there's a reason. the strategy of leading from behind doesn't work. that is a euphemism for not leading, for running away, for withdrawing. and when america recedes from leadership and the world, that creates a vacuum and into that vacuum we've seen nations step, like iran, like russia, like china, and that makes the world much, much more dangerous. secretary hagel was certainly part of that team. but at the end of the day, the buck stops here.
at the end of the day, it is the president who is the commander in chief the president who is responsible for laying out foreign policy, the president who is responsible for leading the efforts to defend this country. in my view, our foreign policy should focus like a laser on protecting the national security of the united states. that is the most consistent failing of the obama/clinton foreign policy. it doesn't key off as its touch stone our national security interest. instead, it seems to be focused on photo ops and press releases.
>> i suppose you're considering the nomination, the senate will be considering the question of iran sanctions. two defense policy issues front and center early on. they've announced the extension, what should be done, what can or should congress do? do you think congress can actually do something? >> i do think congress can and should lead on iran sanctions. and i hope that is very high on our agenda in a new congress. in my view, the threat of iran acquiring nuclear capabilities is the single gravest threat to u.s. national security across the globe. and the policy direction is full hearted and catastrophically reckless. in my view, we are repeating the
mistakes of the clinton administration with respect to north korea in the 1990s. the 1990s, the united states led the world relaxing sanctions against north korea. billions of dollars floated to north korea, and they used that money to develop nuclear weapons. we are repeating that same mistake right down to the rather astonishing fact that the obama administration has recruited the very same person wendy sherman who led the failed north korea negotiations under the clinton administration to come in and be the lead negotiator with iran to repeat the same mistakes. and with respect to iran, i think we can expect the same outcome if we continue on this path. but we can also the stakes are qualitatively higher. with north korea, kim jong-il, kim jong-un, they're radical, they're extreme, but they're
fundamentally narcissists, both father and son. which means, some degree of rational deterrence is possible. both father and son understood if they ever actually used a nuclear weapon, that day their regime would end. the danger with iran, is when you have leaders that are animated by religious extremism, by an embrace of a fanaticism that welcomes death and glorifies suicide, the ordinary cost benefit analysis of deterrence doesn't play out the same way. and in my view, the odds are unacceptably high. if iran ever acquired a nuclear weapon, that it would use that nuclear weapon either in the skies of tel aviv or new york or los angeles. and if iran were to use a nuclear weapon over tel aviv, it would murder vast numbers of palestinians.
and the danger is that the iranians would find those perfectly acceptable collateral consequences to further their stated objective of annihilating the nation of israel. and look, nobody here knows the exact odds of that. you can't place a precise figure on it. it's unacceptably high in any measure. but if that doesn't happen, the alternative if iran acquires nuclear weapons capability is we see a nuclear arms race throughout the middle east. we see the other countries in the middle east immediately going to get the same capability to counteract it. we see proliferation throughout a region that has never been characterized by stability. we see iran strengthened in the region, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism using its nuclear power to increase that role, and that bill is the thank god snare joe. scenario.
that's the good outcome. and, yet, the administration seems hell bent on pursuing a full hearted deal for the sake of a deal. and it is my hope and belief that the new senate being sworn in, you will see real leadership from the senate to prevent a bad deal with iran. >> and i suppose the question then is how many democrats might join in such an effort. and i mean, you have reputation, well deserved. a strong conservative, willing to fight your own party as well as obviously the obama administration and the democrats, but actually you've worked on several issues. on an issue of an iranian ambassador, and gillibrand on military questions. do you think democrats might break -- the obama administration's indicated they want nothing, right? >> yeah. >> and so, just curious as, you know, what do you expect over the next two, three, four months
in terms of your democratic colleagues? >> i am hopeful and optimistic on that front. i think foreign policy is one area that has particularly ripe opportunities for bipartisan cooperation. you know, in the last two years, as you mentioned, i've been involved in a number of different pieces of legislation with democrats. and we've enjoyed significant success, actually, i've had more legislation pass the senate as a freshman senator than most of the other senators. and that's as a freshman senator in the minority party. so as you noted, some months ago, when iran named as their ambassador to the u.n., who was a known terrorist, participated in holding americans hostage in 1979 and 1980. that was intended to be, it was, in fact, a slap in the face to america. and folks in this town were wringing their hands saying, what can we do? to stop it, there's nothing we
can do. well, we introduced legislation to prohibit known terrorists from receiving visas to come into this country and barring him from coming in. and earned support on the floor from senators as varied as chuck schumer, lindsey graham. you know, when schumer was praising it on the senate floor, i went up to him and i said, chuck, you better be careful, lightning's going to strike you. it passed the house 100-0. the senate 100-0, passed the house, 435-0. and president obama signed it into law. and, in fact, couple weeks later, he was at one of these black tie dinners in washington where politicians try to be funny. and the president stood up and said, you know, couple of weeks ago ted cruz introduced legislation. and i just signed it into law. here's a picture of the signing ceremony. put up a picture of him, me, and
the devil and hell freezing over. there are other examples, for example. senator bob menendez and i together introduce legislation providing for a $5 million reward from the state department for information leading to the capture of the terrorist who kidnapped and murdered one of the three israeli teenagers who was kidnapped and murdered. that passed the senate unanimously. when it comes to iran, you know, for about a year now, we've had a bipartisan super majority -- i'm an original co-sponsor of kirk menendez. i think he would've passed many, many months ago, except for one thing. harry reid would not allow it to come up for a vote. we had the votes to pass it. and, in fact, the votes to beat a filibuster. if only it would be allowed to come up for a vote. and the reason it didn't pass is
because harry reid wouldn't let it happen. i am confident with a republican majority we'll see a vote on either kirk menendez or other legislation focused on iran sanctions. now, in my view, kirk menendez doesn't go nearly far enough. i mean, i joined as an original co-sponsor. i think there's value to having a bipartisan repudiation of the full hearardy path the administration's on. it would have a lot more stick and a lot less carrot. kirk menendez lays out circumstances in the future in which sanctions would be reimposed. the legislation i introduced on my own would immediately reimpose sanctions. would ratchet them up to make them markedly more punitive. and then lays out a clear path that iran would follow to lift the sanctions, and that path would require iran to
disassemble every one of the 19,000 centrifuges. to hand over all of the enriched uranium. to shut down their icbm program, with which doesn't exist to put satellites in orbit. it exists to deliver weapons of mass destruction and murder americans or our allies. and cease being the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. and i think that's actually what a foreign policy vis a vis iran focused on national security would be directed to. and i would note with falling oil prices, iran is all the more vulnerable to sanctions right now. and so i don't know what the new senate will do, but i do think there's real potential, i think a lot of democrats in the senate are uneasy about the path the administration is on with iran and, i think there's real possibility for bipartisan cooperation. >> and i think some democrats expressed unease about the path the administration's on or the
lack of path with respect to putin inussia. isn't that the case? >> very much so. and i'll tell you, it is striking. you look at -- i don't think putin is a complicated man. he is a kgb thug. and he's been quite transparent. he has said candidly in his view, the greatest geopolitical disaster of modern times is the dissolution of the soviet union. and in my view, putin is trying to do everything he can to reassemble as much as the old soviet union as possible. and, if there's one principle for time and memorial, it's that bullies and tyrants don't respect weakness and don't respect appeasement. appeasement doesn't work. now, you look at ukraine, for example. you know, ukraine when putin
invaded crimea, president obama said publicly, well, it seems to me his lawyers are telling him something different from what my lawyers are telling me. that is utterly incoherent. this was not a debate between lawyers and a law school faculty lounge. >> not that you have anything against lawyers. >> oh, i have quite a bit against lawyers to be fair. but, look, it's fundamentally misunderstanding the problem. this wasn't a question of international law. and let's be clear, america undertook a treaty obligation to stand with ukraine. ukraine not long ago had the world's third largest nuclear arsenal and it willingly handed it over. gave it up and we said, all right, in exchange for handing over your nukes, we will help defend the territorial integrity of ukraine. now, i guarantee you anyone else with nukes across the world, they looked at that and they're saying, i ain't giving up mine. that didn't work out because
suddenly when putin came into ukraine, europe and america were -- made a little noise but didn't do much of anything. and i'll tell you in terms of democrats. you know, it's interesting some of the closed hearings the senate armed services. open hearing, you have the reporters, in the closed hearings, you're talking about ukraine and the administration sends witnesses, it is striking how there is virtually not a single senator on the entire committee who is supportive of what the administration is doing. those hearings basically consist of 20-something odd senators saying one after the other, what on earth are you people doing? i mean, look, the ukrainians back in may, i visited ukraine, visited with the president poroshenko. when he came and addressed a joint session of congress, gave
an incredible speech. must have gotten 20 or 30 standing ovations from virtually every member of congress, republicans and democrats, house and senate. i think the most powerful line he said is you cannot fight a war with blankets alone. we appreciate the blankets. but the ukrainians are defending themselves with hunting rifles against russian tanks. and this doesn't make any sense. the people of ukraine, they want to be with the west, they want to be with europe, they want to be with america. they are fighting to defend their own nation, they're not asking us to put americans in harm's way. but in a very minimum, we ought to honor our treaty obligations and help provide them with the military aid so they can defend themselves. and the administration's response to this is incoherent. >> i'll ask about one more place and we can take a few questions.
another country not asking for american boots on the ground, obviously is israel. you've been critical of the stance towards israel. talk a little about that, but also, can congress do some things in the next year? or is it going to be simply urging the president to change his mind? >> look, i think there's a great deal congress can and should do with regard to israel, with regard to all of our allies. what i think we're going to see the next few years, is a far more assertive congress. the failures of this foreign policy are profoundly dangerous. and, you know, when it comes to israel, i'm sorry to say this is the most hostile, and it is manifested over and over and over again. i remember some months back when israel was facing rocket fire from hamas.
i went publicly and raised a few questions. i asked, has this administration just launched an economic boycott against the nation of israel. and i pointed out that the faa does not ban flights into pakistan, into yemen, into afghanistan. it doesn't ban flights into ukraine. even though ukraine, you'll recall had just a couple of months earlier separatists had used a missile to shoot down a commercial airliner. and yet, much of ukraine flights are allowed. and yet, because one rocket had fallen harmlessly about a mile away from the airport, one of the safest airports in the wo d world, the faa had shut down
every american flight into israel, and it had done so at the exact same time that john kerry arrived in the middle east with $47 million for gaza that would end up in the hands of hamas. while the administration was pressuring the israeli government to stop acting to take out the rockets and to take out the terror tunnels that were being used against them. now, there is power, i think, to shining light, to asking questions. because within a few minutes of those questions being raised, the state department found themselves being asked those same questions repeatedly by members of the press. and shortly thereafter, former new york mayor michael bloomberg got on a international airliner and flew to tel aviv. flying through europe, which is very beneficial. and the combination of the light and attention made the flight ban indefensible.
and within 36 hours, the administration lifted it. you know, listen, we saw just a few weeks ago, jeffrey goldberg wrote a piece with some rather stunning revelations from the administration where you'll recall the most titillating was an unnamed senior white house adviser referring to prime minister netanyahu. now, that got a lot of noise. you know, in many ways, i actually found that particular news unsurprising because the treatment of the israeli government had long demonstrated that was the view of the administration to the israeli government. they simply said it out loud. the most damning part of that article was not the profane insult. the most damning part of that article was another quote by the same senior adviser saying that they considered it a great
victory that they had delayed israel from acting vis a vis iran so long they could no longer prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons arsenal. now, that is a quote from a senior administration official in the white house who thinks it's a good thing that israel didn't act to stop iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons arsenal. that is extraordinarily dangerous. and i'll mention one final thing on this. the misguided iran deal, not only is dangerous to the national security of this country, but it also has resulted in the administration being almost o liblivious to ot national security threats. so it was about a year ago that the administration completely failed to perceive the threat, number one, of putin invading
ukraine, caught him completely by surprise. and likewise completely failed to perceive the threat of isis, indeed the president famously derided them as the junior varsity. and, you know, part of the reason, it's very interesting. in january of 2014, ben rhodes, the deputy national security adviser told a group of activists that a nuclear deal with iran was going to be the, quote, obamacare of the second term. this was going to be their singular accomplishment, a nuclear deal with iran, and they would be presumably feeded in the faculty lounges across the globe. and that is a focus on political objectives, political objectives, frankly, driven by
naivety. but it also resulted in this administration not paying attention to the other threats and being caught completely unawares. >> i'm still shuddering at the images of faculty lounges across the globe. but why don't we take a couple of questions and maybe i could ask people who haven't had a chance to ask, been called on before to be -- i will try to call on you now. over here, couple of people have questions. microphone coming. >> thank you. >> from the center of study of islam and democracy. senator, would you -- what's your take on what's happening in tunisia in terms of the arab spring and the recent elections and the success of writing constitution. and would you support more, maybe aggressive or more support to tunisia in this endeavor as long as it stays in this course instead of just rhetoric that's
coming in tunisia doing great. but nothing in terms of real support, especially economically. >> look, i think we need to be focused on standing by governments and leadership. that will be allies to america, that will stand with america. you know, in the course of the arab spring, one of the things the so-called arab spring, one of the things that was dismaying was seeing the administration eager to stand with, for example, the muslim brotherhood in egypt. toppling mubarak who needlessly to say was a flawed leader. and yet, had been a pretty consistent ally of america. and by any measure of the muslim brotherhood was not. in contrast, when you saw the potential for revolutionary change in iran, the
administration stayed all by silent. when there was an opportunity for the people there to topple a regime that has the greatest anti-american animus perhaps of any regime on the face of the planet. the focus, i think, should be standing with our allies and preventing radical jihadists from seizing power. and i think that should dictate american foreign policy with regard to nations across the globe. >> you have a question? yes, sir, over here. >> i'm author of "dark forces: the truth about what happened in benghazi." a quick question about the iran negotiations. there's been a lot of concern that the secretary of state will not submit that agreement to the senate. how do you propose to force him to do that? and have you looked into the
case law, senator case of 1972, which does, in fact, require the secretary of state submit all documentation on all agreements, not just treaties to the united states senate. >> look, it is a very good question. there was a meeting of congressional leadership with the president shortly after the election where the topic of iran came up. and the president was asked will you submit it to the senate? and he said, well, we'll brief you on it. but their attitude is, it's sort of an informational briefing rather than respecting the constitutional authority of the senate to ratify treaties. and in my view -- and this is actually an area where i hope there will be a potential for bipartisan agreement. i think there are both republicans and democrats who believe any deal with iran needs to go through the senate. needs to be subject to scrutiny and oversight. and there are a number of conversations ongoing right now about precisely the best
mechanism to ensure that happens. i intend to do everything possible to prevent a bad deal with iran and one of the key ways of doing so is forcing the administration to seek senate approval. >> didn't secretary kerry say -- was that before senate foreign relations maybe? i can't remember. probably foreign relations, i suppose. of course congress will have a say on this. >> well, and you know, the secretary of state would never be for something before he was against it. >> good point. >> sorry, that was -- >> no. right here, this young lady. yeah. >> hi, i'm with george mason chapter of the alexander hamilton society. and i just had a question about america playing a leading role in unmanned aircraft. using drones. do you think that -- what is
your take on the increasing usage of unmanned aircraft and the influence this might have on other nations building up their drone programs? and then kind of a second part to that question, do you think the u.s. should take the lead and push for international policy regarding the use of drones before other nations develop programs similar to ours? >> look, it's a great question, it's one of the realities of changing warfare, is drones have changed how, how combat is conducted. it's changed our capacity. there are advantages to that and there are risks to that. drones it seems to me are a tool. they're a tool that clearly can have beneficial impacts, in particular allowing us to project force without risking u.s. soldiers. but there are dangers as well. i am concerned a, domestically, about the use of drones here at
home. and in particular, we had fairly lively disagreements with the administration a year ago, asking the very simple question about whether a drone can use force against a u.s. citizen who doesn't pose an imminent threat here at home. and the administration repeatedly and to my mind, inexplicably refused to acknowledge that the constitution prevents the federal government from using a drone against a u.s. citizen at home, if he or she doesn't pose an imminent threat. i think that's a real concern. there are civil liberties concerns to american citizens here at home and privacy concerns that trouble pea. there are also concerns from the perspective of national security. there's a no administration has used drones as aggressively as
has the obama administration. and i'm worried about what i would call video game warfare. that, that it, and part of it seems to derive from a, an ideological and somewhat irrational animus to guantanamo and detaining foreign terrorists and interrogating them. i find it a curious chain of reasoning that the administration has expressed civil liberty concerns. i don't understand the reasoning that says we respect the civil rights of a foreign terrorist so much that we're going to drop a bomb on you from the sky and blow you up instead of
apprehending you and interrogating you. i just -- look, i got to say if i were that person, i would much rather you respect my civil liberties a little less and not bomb me. and yet it's cleaner and more antiseptic, i worry from national security perspective, how much intelligence we're losing if someone is in fact a serious terrorist, a terrorist leader, they're a significant benefit if it is possible to apprehending that individual and interrogating them, finding out who else they're working with, what plans are in place, who their contacts are. and if we're mistaken and the intelligence can be mistaken, if someone not a terrorist, then there's real benefit to apprehending them and discovering that. when you send a drone out, and just push a button, both of those benefits are lost. and so yes, i think we need to have a lot more thinking about the problem use of drones as a
tool in warfare. look, think if you've got a terrorist in a distant location where you can't get soldiers in easily to capture them and you've got strong intelligence that they're a serious national security threat to the united states, yes, we should use drones to take them out. but i have real concerns about it being seen as so easy that it -- it prevents us from doing the harder work of apprehending the bad guys and preventing future terrorist attacks. >> let pea ask a final question, if we want to stay on time, it's been a very unusual conference. moved along on schedule and we have governor bobby jindal. we want to hear from him at 4:00. drones reminds me of the debate last year over the nsa and a all the related programs. mike pompeii earlier on. defended the current programs you've been more skeptical of them. how do you think give as you little bit of an argument on that how do you think that works out i guess as a mid-summer
deadline for reauthorization of the legislation, and where do you think that ends up? >> i think it's possible for congress to walk and chew gum at the same time. i think it's possible for to us respect and protect more than one value. we have a responsibility to protect the national security interests. of this country. we also have a responsibility to protect the civil liberties of our citizens. and i believe both are possible. you know one of the consistent failings of this administration, i think, is they repeatedly have failed to distinguish bad guys from good guys. so to give a couple of examples, you know when it comes to surveillance, they are sweeping in cell phone metta data. they have been sweeping in email information for law-abiding citizens all across the country.
and yet -- when you have real-live terrorist threats like take for example nadal hasan, a major in the army, communicating over email with a known terrorist, anwar al alaki, we had information back and forth inquiring about theed a missibility of jihad. somehow they failed to connect the dots and stop hasan from carrying out that act of terrorism. likewise the tsarnev brothers, apparently when the elder brother posted on youtube i think it was, a video calling for jihad, we weren't focused on that. and we didn't prevent that bombing. and one of the problems with an
administration's approach that is sweeping in every law-abiding citizen. there's so much information, there's too much to distinguish good guys from bad guys. and i think we can maintain tools to protect the national security, to monitor and surveil foreign terrorists abroad. the expansion of big brother is always justified as it will protect your security. and it is a perfectly normal american reaction to say -- we need to limit government power when it comes to u.s. citizens. that's what the bill of rights was all about. and i think we can protect both. and unfortunately, this debate is often framed in black and white terms. you know, you either monitor and surveil everything, or you do
nothing and remain blind and can't stop terrorism. and i think that i'm the ranking member of the constitution subcommittee and we put out a series of reports on the lawlessness of this administration. two reports have focused on cases before the u.s. supreme court. where the obama administration has argued for expanded federal power. and boy, this administration likes expanded federal power. 22 cases where it's argued for expanded government power, where the u.s. supreme court has unanimously rejected it. not 5-4, not closely divided, but 9-0, including justice sotomayor and justice kagan. president obama's appointees, one was the case out of maryland. this goes to the privatescy point, where the obama administration went before the supreme court and argued that
law enforcement could place a gps on any american's car with no probable cause, no suspicion and the fourth amendment said nothing about it. that's an astonishing proposition. that ought to scare the heck out of any american citizen that right now if you parked out on the street the government could put a gps on your car for no reason other than they don't like the color of your tie. and yet, the obama justice department stood before the supreme court and argued that. now thankfully the supreme court unanimously 9-0 said that is not consistent with our bill of rights. the government doesn't have the power to monitor citizens. i think we can do both, protect both values and i think we have to do both. >> i think we've got the headline from this panel, ted cruz praises congress can chew and what is it walk and chew gum at the same time. right, that would be impressive. thank you very much for
joining us, senator cruz. and thank you for your leadership on the committees. >> thank you so much again, bill will be joined by governor jindal and senator talent in just a moment in the meantime i would like to take out a quick second and point out some members of our audience today that are part of an organization called the leadership network. current participants or recent graduates from our future leaders program. it's a program we run here in d.c. and up in new york. for rising foreign and defense policy professionals. and we're really grateful that so many of them have joined us here today. we'll be celebrating a kickoff for the leadership network. and also a good number traveled down from new york to be with us. they're a great group of folks, you'll see them around. they'll have the little black badges on their nametags, please
ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to our final session of the 2014 fbi forum. a world in crisis, the need for american leadership. it's a real honor to be joined by governor bobby jindal of the great state of louisiana and senator jim talent for the final conversation. which is focused on a recent report that the governor and the senator co-wrote talking about rebuilding an american consensus. earlier this morning, senator talent we had pair of your colleagues from the national defense panel, ambassador eric adelman and congressman jim marshall speak. one of the topics they focused on was in addition to the requirements for the department of defense was thinking about how do you build a political consensus to restoring some of those requirements for the department of defense. senator talent of course is well known to those in this room. he represented missouri both in the house of representatives and the united states senate where he was a member of the senate
armed services committee. he is now a senior fellow at the american enterprise institute where he's heading the national security 2020 project. senator it's a great pleasure to have you on today and to have you on with governor jindal. >> it's my honor as the moderator, and i'll try just to moderate, not to talk too much, governor. to introduce a good friend, and a great american, i'm not going to embarrass you too much. but a man who is already built a great record in public service. governor bobby jindal has served as the governor of louisiana since 2008. prior to his election to that office he served in the united states congress representing the first district of louisiana. in congress he was elected president of his freshman class, he served on the house committee on homeland security. the committee on education and the workforce and the committee
on resources and served as assistant majority whip. president president bush president bush had appointed him to serve as the assistant secretary for the u.s. department of health and human services and he was before that executive director of the national bipartisan commission of the future of medicare and secretary of the louisiana department of health and hospitals. welcome. >> thank you, jim, great to be with you. >> great to be here with all of you and thanks to the fbi. we had fun writing that paper, didn't we? >> i want to thank you, i want to thank, i should thank the fbi for having us and i want to praise the senator for just a minute here as well. i want to pay back those compliments, this is so important. he's been a very thoughtful voice cutting across party lines, i'm proud that he's republican, but cutting across party lines, talking about the need to rebuild america's hard tools, about reinvesting in our military, not because he wants us to go to war or deploy our
troops, but as a way to avoid having to deploy our troops. he's been thoughtful, a consistent advocate, he's written extensively about this, back to his days in elected office and after leaving the senate as well, i want to thank him and again working across party lines to help try to rebuild, i think you described this very well. there was a post world war ii consensus, when you think about democrats and republicans, that allowed us to win the cold war. there were serious debates. i don't want to pretend that everybody agreed on everything in every situation. but unfortunately that consensus has broken down. in the post cold war environment i would argue we face a serious threat from islamist fundamental terrorism and unfortunately the consensus has broken down. i want to thank you for your leadership in trying to rebuild the bipartisan consensus. >> we call the paper rebuilding the american consensus. most disagreements have been over how we're going to, whether and when and how we're going to use the power, whether we ought
to have the power. especially since as you said, if you're strong, you're less likely to have to use it. and of course we talked about one great american who understood that better than anyone else. >> one of my favorite quotes from ronald reagan, he talked about the four wars in his lifetime. it was never a vice for america to be strong. no war was ever started because america was too strong. ironically enough, preparing for war is the best way to avoid it. one of the things we highlighted that is very concerning is we're in the process of hollowing out our military. can you look at it across the navy. we're in the process of having fewer ships, you look at the air force, we're in the process of having older planes and in the army, we're in the process of having fewer troops and it's got practical consequences. just pick two examples, of the recent headlines, there's a lot of concern about the soviet, russia and the crimea and eastern ukraine and former satellites of the soviet union being very worried about what it
means for them next. one of the most effective ways to deter russian aggression would be if we had the ability through nato to have some brig aids stationed in some of our eastern european allallies, countries hungry for democratic leadership. it's not clear we'll have the resources to do that. a second example, you look at the turmoil in asia, think the administration, we're often very critical of this administration. i think that president obama actually, had the show of a good policy with his asian pivot. when he announced that america was going to orient its attention and resources to the asia-pacific region. unfortunately we haven't seen enough follow-through to the rhetoric, part of that challenge, we don't have the resources, you look at the traditional u.s. allies like taiwan, south korea, hungry for american leadership, as a result of a resurgent china. but you've got other countries like india and vietnam and
others hungry for american leadership. it is hard for us to project that leadership when we're not investing in the navy. we're not investing in the resources, enough resources into our military, it's another argument. i don't think either jim or i are ready to deploy boots on the ground. when you strengthen the military, invest in your military, you're less likely to deploy that our 40th president ronald reagan deployed troops less frequently than his predecessors and successors. there's something to be learned. peace through strength is not just a slogan. it can be a foreign policy strategy. we're doing the opposite. the result is our friends doest trust us and our enemies don't fear us. in the middle east we have not stood unequivocally with israel in their fight against hamas. sometimes we speak as if there are moral equivalents when there shouldn't be. the reset with russia started back this failed reset was
announced by secretary clinton back in the first year of this administration. it included withdrawing the missile interceptors from poland, the czech republic, not allowing georgia to join nato as they wanted to quickly. putin didn't just wake up one day and think he could go into the crimea without consequences, he learned by watching the united states. you look at isis, we allowed the threat to gather strength because we prematurely withdrew our forces. here's my greatest concern. my greatest concern is what lesson are the iranians taking from this chaos. we cannot allow there to be a nuclear-armed iran. not only for the sake of israel and our allies, make no mistake, they get nuclear capabilities, the saudis and certainly the egyptians and maybe even turkey would be the next countries and it will be virtually impossible if the united states fails to stop iran from becoming a nuclear power. they will not, we will not be
able to stop those countries as well. and there's some that believe the saudis already have an implicit agreement with pakistan and option on the technology from pakistan if irans did become a nuclear armed power. this poses a huge threat to stability in the middle east and a huge threat to our interest. my worry is what are iranians learning from america's unpredictability in the world and refusal to stand with our allies and our worry that this delay and extension in terms of negotiations may result in a deal that may be worse than no deal. that would be a deal that would allow the iranians to quickly constitute a nuclear weapon. to allow them to continue to accumulate centrifuges. right now we have an ability to destroy their infrastructure. it gets harder the more time they're allowed to progress down this path. i think one of the greatest challenges we faces the question of iran and my concern is what they learn from our failed red line in syria and our failure to
act in other parts of the world as well. >> you talk before about there's certain we do in the pain, there's a fundamental sense defense policy is foreign policy. because of the message that you're sendingth and certainly we're in agreement we think that the administration has had a policy of when it's acted weak around the world. it's magnified by the fact that we are getting weaker. you mentioned some of our alliances we talk in the paper about the various operating principles of a pillars of an integrated foreign policy. a strong defense, alliances. but also leadership. reaching out and managing risk before it gets to the level where it's difficult, it's truly difficult, you have fewer options in dealing with it you want to discuss that in terms of our policy a little bit? >> i know it's very tempting to want to think that america can hide behind our oceans and pretend that the world is going to become magically a safer place.
i don't think anybody is arguing, that the america needs to try to become the world's policeman or intervene in every single hot spot or send troops at the drop of a hat. absolutely not. having said that, we face asymmetrical threats. the threats to our country's security are no longer just rogue nations, but they also include transnational, subnational groups, terrorist groups, cyberattacks, they include biological attacks. they include chemical attacks, other types of terrorist attacks. hopefully they don't include, they could one day include the potential for nuclear attacks, from either a rogue group or a rogue nation. >> we do face asymmetrical threats. we argue in the paper that for example the last time we had a thoughtful approach to the military's needs, secretary gates did an actual assessment. said he needed these resources
to modernize while still achieving efficiencies. we're now $1 trillion below that thanks to the president unilaterally throwing out his own secretary of defense's analysis and then sequestration cuts on top of that where we're a trillion dollars below and we're not arguing we say in the paper, we need to get back to approximately and this is a guidepost, 4% of gdp to invest in military. that's roughly $80 billion. we're not suggesting that needs to happen overnight. we don't think the pentagon could spend the money well if given all the money overnight. we need to work back up to that goal. we do argue and i won't gheet all the details in terms of procurement reforms and other acquisition reforms, we need to be more efficient and responsible with those dollars. you're right, the defense is one component of this strategy. secondly we need to be willing to lead. we can't simply lead from behind. that is not leading at all. the reality is, the world, our enemies need america to be a
stronger, more predictable force for good. that leads to less chaos, fewer instances of conflict and more predictabili predictability. and even though our allies may not acknowledge that publicy. no other country can play that role. six years ago the president inherited the special relationship with britain, we've seemingly done everything we could to alienate our neighbors across the pond. our neighbors next door. is called the frustrater in chief in regard to the keystone pipeline. we seem to be doing everything do irk the canadian neighbors. we talk about our unpredictability israel. we're doing everything we can to avoid leadership. unfortunately, this administration seems to believe in multilateralism as a goal instead of merely a tactic. we can't outsource our foreign policy to the world capitals.
america must be willing to lead, we are the indispensable nation. when we retreat from the world stage, nobody else can fill that void. and bad things happen when american leaves. that's why isis gathered strength. here's my concern, if we retreat when the inevitable day of reckoning comes and it will come. our enemies are using the time and space to gather material, gather people, gather strength, gather resources, gather allies. when the day comes it will be more expensive in terms of treasure and american blood. that day of reckoning won't go away. it will be harder, more difficult for us to achieve victory. we argue you have to invest in the military, not just so you can win or draw any type of conflict. but so you can dominate our enemies will be deterred from challenging, our interests, our allies. it includes a use of soft tools as well. encouraging movements towards freedom and peace and encouraging allies as well. one of my other concerns with the administration's policies, in aed to their embracing
multilateralism as a goal is their naive belief that simply giving a speech that makes everything okay. if giving a speech was the equivalent to having a policy we'd have the best foreign policy in a generation. we've got one of the most gifted speakers in the white house, who loves to give great speeches, loves to talk. sometimes we need to take action and our rhetoric becomes more forceful and backed up by the credible threat of action, that's what's missing. one thing we haven't talked a lot about and i hope it was discussed today was the use of energy and the development of energy as a component of our foreign policy. you look at the falling oil prices and what has happened with the shale revolution. if this administration would encourage more development on federal lands instead of decreasing production there, this administration would make it clear that the epa is not going to be shutting down fracking. acknowledges it can be done safely and at the same time protecting the environment. if the administration would stott trying to discourage energy development at home and
driving the manufacturing jobs overseas, think about the pressures we could continue to place on iran, on venezuela and on russia. we're seeing some of that with falling oil prices. building the keystone pipeline creates all kinds of opportunities. especially in texas it allows canada to sell their resources. it puts them in a pipeline instead of by rail or other alternative means of transportation. one of the things that doesn't get discussed as much is it has a direct and heavy impact on venezuela it would absolutely displace much of the oil now coming from venezuela, the heavier oil coming from venezuela that's being refined along the gulf coast. talk about a great win-win. helps an ally, helps an economy and weakens a country that's been working against america's interests. so energy policy can absolutely and should be a component on what we're doing to advance our interests and to cause those in russia, those in iran, those in venezuela to rethink some of their actions and some of their
iran making a nuclear power or trying to export their ideology to neighboring states or whether it's russia threatening their eastern european neighbors. >> it's an integrated approach to the world. so that people see the united states understanding its interests, we'll get to that in just a second. confident and rational support. and that creates a sense of predictability, confidence and security. and you're right, i mean even prospective adversaries want to know that we know what our abilities are and act in accordance with that you mentioned briefly iraq and i want you to discuss what i think was the biggest mistake the administration has made. and that's saying something, we both believe there have been a fair number of mistakes. not leaving a footprint of 15 to 20,000 american troops in iraq, in a noncombat role. you mentioned the fact if you
don't deal with risks at at the lower level, they tend to grow. this is the classic this is what historians will write is the textbook example. talk in detail how doing that might have prevented the chain of events that's now involved us in a fight against an islamic caliphate. >> you see it hopefully the administration is learning from history. it's not clear that they are. at least you saw the status of forces agreement recently, signed with afghanistan and hopefully they've learned the biggest mess take they made in iraq was to obey a political schedule and timeline as opposed to listening to the military commanders, the advisers on the ground who continue to caution them, about this withdrawal. the reality is by creating a void. by insisting that we were pulling out all of these troops by this date certain, and i get it, i get the domestic political pressures, i get why it's popular to want to bring every man and woman in uniform home. but without leaving a residual
force, without leaving some kind of force that could respond. we created a vacuum. we lost the ability to pressure, we diminished our greatly our ability to pressure the ma leal maliki government. the shia/sunni divide in the iraq. we lost our ability. you think how different this might have been if we had maintained our influence, if we maintained a residual force. nobody is talking about keeping troops at the height of their deployment in terms of the surge. at least we kept receisidual fo. think about our pressure we could have filled the void, so certainly isis would not have metastasized into a international threat. it could have still become an act nrt region. but you wouldn't see this threat now crossing, at the very least, would have been able to seal the border with syria you wouldn't
have had the group going across borders, causing the refugees, potentially destabilizing neighboring countries, sending all of these refugees into jordan and elsewhere. think about how different it would have been, if instead of listening to a political timeline, we had done what our commanders, folks were advising on the ground. this was an administration so eager to announce that al qaeda was defeated. we were done. and again, i get it as a bumper sticker, it's very attractive to say we're only going to do nation-building at home. we're going to retreat from the rest of the world. i don't want to see american troops deployed unnecessarily. i don't want us to be in the middle of every hot spot. this is case where our interests were suggested a different course of action. and required is a different course of action, especially when you think about the treasure and blood spilled to get to the point where it was. just this week, the government of iraq seems from outward appearances they're reconciling with the kurds. they've gotten an agreement on
oil. on revenues theext gotten an agreement on the export of oil you're seeing them work to at least begin to address some of those decision dwigss allowed to fester, with the absence of our pressure. think again it's a great example, unfortunately a tragic example, but a great example of what happens when america unilaterally withdraws and creates a void, bad things happen. we saw it in iraq. hopefully they've learned the lesson in afghanistan. hopefully we don't just go after al qaeda and isis and you're hearing the military advisers again tell the administration, we need troops on the ground in afghanistan, to counter the isis threat and also to go after the taliban, not just al qaeda. hopefully won't repeat the mistakes we made in iraq. i do think the status of forces agreement was a good sign. i hope the administration will jettison the ideas of artificial political deadlines. even if we don't think an action makes sense in our interests, i get that. i'm not sure why we need to announce that to the enemy, to
the rest of the world, by the way, we will leave at that date certain. we're taking armed forces off the table. that's fine if internally. we made that decision, but there's no reason to tell an enemy what we will or will not do. >> i've always said the same. the president might have a timeline in his own mind, fair enough. might even communicate it to the allied government to let them know we need you to be doing more. why announce it to the world? it gives an incentive to the enemy. and makes your friends insecure about your commitment to staying in the longer term. it doesn't make any sense. it's possible that whole chain of events. had we stayed in iraq, had a footprint, the whole syrian thing goes down differently. i'm not sure iran and russia dare intervene. that's a good example. >> two things, you're exactly right. if we had the residual troops in iraq and if when we said that
crossing the red line meant something if it actually had meant something i think we'd in a very different place today in regard to ices and the chaos we now see in syria that threatens the neighboring countries as well. >> careful about drawing red lines. it's better particularly when you're talking about weapons of mass destruction, it's better to keep it -- because if you draw a red line. it temperatures people to go up to the red line for one thing, right? what about things you don't mention, if you're going to draw it, you have to keep it i want to go back briefly. you talked about the 4%, which we discussed in the paper as a guideline for the defense. to be fair, not just in the last three years, defense tends to be cyclical. so talk just a little bit more about how having rules of thumb like that, having more consistent funding actually can save money. we can give examples of that, too. >> you're exactly right. the feast or famine. unfortunately encourages when we do need to spend the money, it
becomes less efficient to do so. we decimate our industrial base, one of the things we talked about was procurement reform. we shortened the product development cycle to five to seven years, you've got multiple suppliers, cometive bids, you hold management to be accountable, ontime, on budget. we talk about how you stream line that part of the challenge of the feast or famine approach there is no predictability. we end up developing expensive weapon systems that we don't buy. we have to develop new ones to replace them. when it comes to the 4%, it needs to be based on a strategic assessment of our real needs this doesn't mean give the pentagon a blank check, what's so disturbing about our budget today is the last time there was a credible review, bottom-up review process was when then-secretary gates came forward and said this is what we
need for modernization, training and he himself suggested efficiencies. he himself suggested programs that could be consolidated or canceled. instead of countering that with a different analysis, the president picked a number out of thin air. there was no defense for it said we're going to cut hundreds of woin billions of dollars from his own secretary of defense's budget. on top of that congress exacerbated the situation. we're asking them to give up some of their power, because part of what we cannot allow this to become is simply an excuse. it's not a jobs program. it isn't simply we're going to give the pentagon money so they can spend it in every district on politically connected or favored groups. this needs to be driven bay strategic assessment of you've seen explosion in civilian contractors at the pentagon. there's opportunities to do more with less. so i, this is not an excuse for wastor inefficiency. but it is a base, a guideline to
let you know when you're maybe under-investing and also when things have gotten too high. a guideline to say, it's by the way, something we require our nato allies, i say we require. we say it to them and they routinely disregard the gloins, we've asked them to commit 2% of their gdp toward defense spending. with the idea that it makes sense for everybody to have a shared expectation. it does save money. not investing now makes it much more costly when we're going to have to one of the things we did in the paper is differentiated part of what masked the decline in defense spending. this administration is certainly hollowing out our military. but it would be a mistake to say it only started under this president's watch. we've seen a decline investment going back several years and multiple administrations. we're not suggesting to give all the money back overnight. but rather, phasing it in one of the things we have to understand
is when it does come time. when the day of reckoning does happen, it will be more expensive if then we're having to ramp up overnight. it is also unconscionable. if we're asking american troops to defend our freedoms, we owe it to them to give them the best readiness, training, technology and equipment. one of the things you've got to look at is the rise of china. china is not inevitably our enemy in asia. but the way they're going about reasserting their power is certainly antithetical to our allies and the way we have conducted ourselves. part of what we can do to change our calculation is reinvest and rebuild our navy. we're not doing that right now. >> there's certainly a pacing threat a peer competitor of the united states. i think a lot of people are unaware of that i want do emphasize a couple of points when you have defense spending going like this and like this. can you talk about procurement
modernization. you procure these platforms from the private sector, if they don't have predictability, true in any sector of the economy. if they don't have predictability it's difficult for them to be he haefficient a make the kinds of investments you need. if you cut real low and force structure goes down and now the troops, you don't have enough people to do the jobs and then you have to overwork the ones do you have, it's a volunteer service, and you got to pay them if you want to keep the good ones. you got to have good benefits, then your personnel costs start going up. pretty soon, you're spending, it's eating up any savings you thought you were getting. i'm glad you made that point, you're entirely correct. we want to have time for questions, let's go back at the end. we talk about rebuilding the consensus, which means, initially and as a fundamental matter explaining why defense matters. which we did at the beginning of the paper. talk a little bit about that. what are the interests, what are
the packages of interest that together constitute american national security. what do we mean when we're talking? you mentioned one, the defense of the homeland. >> that's the most natural one. the defense of the homeland. we live in a much more connected, global world than ever before. in many ways, that leads to greater productivity and greater integration with other societies, other economies. it makes us more vulnerable to cyber attacks, biological attacks, nuclear attacks, chemical attacks, terrorist and asymmetrical attacks, there was a thought that post cold war we were free of existential threats to our homeland because the soviet union was no longer that threatth and we saw on 9/11 it wasn't true that we were free. the attack in addition to killing so many innocent american lives and other innocent lives, with the twin towers and the other attacks also was meant to be an attack, not only symbolic, but a material attack on our ability to conduct commerce to travel
safely, to live our daily lives. the freedom of trade and travel, which, we, the united states has protected for so long. everybody just takes it for granted. every time that's been interfered with consistently we've ended up in a war. >> going back to the war of 1812. the lead-up to world war i, lead-up to world war ii, it's an essential national interest of the united states. straight of hormuz. there's a reason we keep that open. so that's, it's a good point. i couldn't resist putting that in. >> the sea lanes, how much of our economy and commerce depends on the international movement of people and goods and services. i think there's an important point to make. when you look at america, vis-a-vis other historic great powers, america's interests are relatively benign compared to other great powers, they are completely benign compared to the rest of the world. in the sense that we're not empire builders, we're not seeking preferential treatment.
we're seeking right to be our citizens, our people, our services, our goods to be treated on a fair and equal basis as others and to be protected, whether it's in terms of international commerce or in terms of being here in the homeland. that's an important point. we're not -- in the traditional great power sense, we're not looking to conquer other territories or force or impose our ways on others. i think there is a shared bipartisan consensus, we're looking to live in peace with others that want to live in peace with us, we're not seeking conflict. we don't have these imperial ambitions, we are seeking it, it's not enough to simply say we want to be left alone. the world is not going to leave us alone. we can pretend all we want. that's not an option, we may all wish it were an option. the real option is do we engage those risks at an early point where we can mitigate and reduce those risks? do we wait until they gather force and strength? it's much better for us now to be engaged in asia and reassuring our allies and
rebuilding our navy and protectsing our interest than to wait for china to continue to gather strength and influence, to a point where we may find few willing actors wanting to ally theirselves with us. they see a resurging china and want to ally with us, but that window is only open for so long. before they make the decision that america is not serious about the saysia pivot. asia pivot. >> america is unique for a lot of reasons, we define our national interests, in a defensive and benign way. and we're in ways that we're perfectly willing to have others enjoy the rights that we're seeking in the terms we enjoy them. which is one of the reasons for example in asia, the countries in the regional countries there are comfortable with american presence and primacy in the region. but not so much with china.
because china does not necessarily define its national interests the same way. i thought chris, i thought maybe we could take some questions. i want people to have plenty of time. so let's do that. >> i'll just point. yes, ma'am? >> garcia, research center, thank you for your remarks. >> hi, lisa garcia, foyer research center. thank you for your remarks. it's a little follow-up on senator cruz's remarks, he addressed drone issue and what a national security risk that was. i wish you would address the same topic relating to i-can, the the u.s. deciding to dispose of that property and how it affects our national security. 12k3w4r i'll answer your question, i don't know if i'm repeating what he said. i thought it was a mistake for us to relinquish i can. i know this administration --
fortunately there was bipartisan, it wasn't just republicans that spoke up and said, wait a minute, this is a dangerous precedent. i'm also for similar reasons, very concerned about this proposal for the government to be more -- i know this is slightly, i know we're talking about fbi, about foreign policy. but i'm also have similar conce concerns about the federal government trying to impose itself in terms of -- defining and imposing net neutrality through more regulations throughout fcc. here are my concerns. the internet needs to be a place where there continues to be operated openly with free speech and open access. i worry about the government getting in the business of deciding to pick winners and losers or advantaging one group over another. i'm very much more worried about it being done by the international body as opposed to a body subject to american jurisdiction and laws. my first concern about the american government is that we have seen a series of scandals that to me at least were unimaginable. if you 0 h gone back and ten years and ask me, do i real i
think would the irs go after conservative groups, i would have said no. i don't think the department of justice would spy on an a.p. reporter. we've seen that happen. i think the american people are less trusting of our government because of these accumulation of these scandals and the violation of some of our rights. i'm very worried about first the government trying to pick winners or losers, regulating or interfering with the internet. one of the things that's made it so effective and run of the reasons it's so used and liked issed fact that it is open, it is a level playing field and you do have access. secondly, absolutely i'm worried in general. i think we in the last several years we've gone more and more towards advocating our rights towards these international bodies. whether it's the united nations group. the latest was the, we didn't talk about this, but the president's recent announcement of his deal with china in terms of climate. you look at that. and the carbon emissions.
so now we're making an agreement where we're going to do harm to our economy in the short-term. for an unenforceable promise that in 2030 china will then choose to no longer increase their emissions. doesn't that give china a great incentive to increase emissions in the short-term to get tbase line up? and it's almost like am nesty, it's the way of going around congress, knowing he can't get something approved by congress. hurt our economy and manufacturing base. i worry about the trend towards deferring to the international bodies and giving away american rights and prerogatives to these international -- whether it's the example of i can or other international agreements we've seen. >> with regard to the climate change point.
>> it's in their view a regime stability issue. their ability to deliver a better quality of life to their people is part of the basis by which they are claiming legitimacy in the absence of democratic elections. so to think that they're going do take steps, which slows economic growth, in the name of the priorities of our administration and the dplshl communi international community, i would be very skeptical of that. they have issues with pollution, but not, it's entirely different type of setting in those i think they are going to work on. again, this could be a situation where we have to do something and the country that we've made a deal with doesn't have to do anything. i'm really, i know you are, too, getting tired of that. that was what new start was, in terms of treaty. yes, sir? >> this way the humanity code, it's not only the united states. all planet.
weapon, military and sophisticated new technology for killing ourself. or it is endless. you have end. what's end? we all die? or we live in paradise among biological, nuclear, chemical weapons. what's the end of all of this? i ask this question because i apply for the post of secretary general of the united nations. i held absolutely different contrary politics. and i believe i agree billions of dollars for nothing now. >> in terms i'll take a first shot in terms of the question about the weapons, i'll quote phil graham, in that you know, i certainly i might get the quote a little off. i think the essence applies here. i do, i do hope the lion and the
lamb will lie peacefully together. but i don't expect it to happen in my lifetime. if it does, i still want the united states to be the lion in that situation. i think the best way to achieve that peace is for america to be stronger. and i think that unilaterally making ourselves weaker has never led to peace or victory. and so i'm, i absolutely share your hopes and prayers for peace, i've got three young children, i hope they will be able to grow newspaper a world without strife and violence and chaos. i fear, however in a world pop lated by human beings, that's not going to happen. i think that what is more likely to happen if we can mitigate the risks. i don't mean to be completely pessimistic. the reality is you look at countries that decades ago were at each other's throats are now
reconciled allies. so you look at germany and japan, integrated into a post world war ii, a peaceful framework. co-existenting peacefully with countries they had been in vicious wars with. so i think we can make progress. but think the best way to prepare for peace is for america to be ironically to prepare for conflict. i think a weaker america invites more violence, more aggression. more instability and more persecution. think a stronger america, stronger and stronger allies actually decreases that chance and leads to more stability. >> gives us a chance to point out another point from the paper we didn't talk about before. it's wrong to view the world for the united states to view the world as full of enemies. most of the countries in the world, we should view, we think, as allies or at least partners, potential partners for certain discreet things, we talked about an agreement with china on pollution. a good agreement with china on pollution, would not be a bad thing. we've worked with russians on
locking down loose nukes. but there are some countries there are some countries that are potential adversaries in the sense that they define their national interest in a way that brings them into conflict with us. right kind of management should prevent those countries from becoming enemies. but there are a few rogue states and transnational movements, and we say it in the paper who are just evil. and their vision of the future is their boot in everybody else's face and the united states needs to defend and be strong in dealing with those groups. let's go over here, yes, sir? >>. >> yes, sir, i'm with the pakistani spectator. the question is about senator mccain's statement. he was here earlier today. he asked this question to pakistani general, that if current status in afghanistan would be sustainable after we leave completely. and he said no. so do you have any plan b in the case if general's prediction
turned out to be true? and the second related question that isis, they are doing recruitment in pakistan and their next target might be india. is there any, preparation for that? thanks. >> i think two things. one, think you're exactly right. i think the general is on the ground have made this point. i hope the administration has learned, i'm not confident they have. i hope they've learned from the lesson, the failure in iraq, they did get a status of forces agreement. the new leadership in afghanistan seems to be working better with our government. my hope is they've learned that lesson and understood we cannot create that vacuum in afghanistan. that now this administration continues to commit itself to these artificial political deadlines. i hope they've learned the importance of at least leaving a residual force that's able to help the afghan government and people protect themselves, counter the taliban, counter isis, counter al qaeda. and you're right -- the generals
have made clear they need more resources. and that america is going to have to fill the gap that some of our allies may be leaving by not living up to their commitments that we're going to have to make sure there's at least a residual force that helps to train and support. i'm not arguing that we do everything for everybody. there's right to ask the afghan government and people to help defend themselves. it's in their own interests to do so we need to be ready to especially when it's in our critical interests to void the growth of isis. you asked about isis and pakistan and potentially the threat to india. i think we need to recognize that isis is absolutely has its ambition, the ability to become this, not just transnational movement in terms of a region in the middle east. but to spread across the globe and to different countries and pose a threat to us here in our homeland. whether it's through affiliates that merely have a loose association with isis or others taking direct marching orders. if may be more of the former. regardless of the form of that relationship.
isis has that ambition, which is why we cannot view it as our goal to contain them or expel them. we've got to eliminate them. we've got to work wherever that is in the world. whether it's the pakistan/india region, whether it's in the middle east or other places, we need to understand what's at stake here. they're motivated by an evil ideology. we have to understand this is a group that has crucified innocent civilians. killed religious minorities, they've beheaded quite graphically and visibly prisoners. they have absolutely crossed every line imaginable in terms of moral lines. and clearly this is a force of evil and this is group that needs to be exterminated. not contained, not expelled, but exterminated. whether in pakistan, the middle east or afghanistan. wherever they might try to recruit followers, wherever they might try to create affiliates or grow, we need to eliminate them and work with others to eliminate them. we need to be willing to lead, but we need to be able to also
draw others into the fight. it's in their interests to do so as well. >> it's important to remember the point of both conflictses with not just do remove a particular regime. but to work with the people of the country iraq and afghanistan, to help create a new government that would become over time, a working partner with the united states on behalf of mutual interests. that was really where the benefits, we would have enjoyed the benefits of the conflict in a sense in iraq. and it's just, it's, we will that opportunity in or grasp. and gave it up. yes, behind the gentleman who just talked? that's you. yes, sir? >> hi, my name is alex with the alexander hamilton society, senior at princeton university. i want to thank both of you for your remarks today. my question is in response to something a little earlier, you talked about how we have a great speaker in the white house. i think this is true. one of the questions i have is,
even if we can come, we can beat the descending curve of defense spending and bring it back up, it will be years before we see measurable results in terms of new capabilities. but one of the concerns today is conventional, states that traditionally used conventional means to deter or coerce are using hybrid or unconventional means. russia being the latest example on the ground and also china in terms of what it could do one day. what can the u.s. do in the meantime in the near-term, in mid term to try to deter this? even if there are other contingencies around the world that will require us to potentially meet unconventional hybrid threats with a conventional force that might not be the right military hard power? >> that's a great question. three things quickly. one, you're right it will take time, but i think the early investments send important signals, even president carter changed course his last year in office started reinvesting in the military after the soviet union went into afghanistan. i would argue it was too little, too late. ronald reagan came in, first two
years, double-digit increases, in spending got the attention of other countries very quickly. even though it took a few years for that to result in more troops and more technology, it signaled to the world that america was serious, it caused a change in behavior and ultimately speed up the fall of the soviet union. those signals are important. that's why even though i'm not, think we need to continue to try to give the president the opportunity to dot right thing. i'm not optimistic he will change his ways, but let's give him the chance. president clinton started signing balanced budgets after the republicans took congress. he signed welfare reform after vetoing it. carter changed directions his last year. there's still time for this president to change direction. secondly when it comes to these, you talk about it gave an example, national actors like russia and china, we need to understand there's other pressure points as well. i think putin took great notice of the fact that germany under merkel has now sent a message to him that his behavior is not
acceptable. think that was a wakeup call. i think he was also, i think his treatment in australia at the g-20 conference was another wakeup call. part of it is economic of it is. part of it is international prestige. he feels like they lost after the break up of the soviet union. there are other ways to change that calculation. but it's a huge pressure on the russian economy in addition to sanctions and so as europe is able to diversify the resourcs s they continued to violate our
safety of travel on the sea lanes. so there are ways to pressure china. part of that is being visibly strengthening our ties and giving them another outlet in addition to china and it's not simply as strengthening our ties. that is strengthening our respect to want to build that relationship. to the third, this is a very, very important question. that was fine and good when responding to national actors. those will become much harder. that's why it's so important to route them out and destroy them where they are and we have got to harden our infrastructure.
we have got to take steps to secure the homeland. there are trade offs and costs involved in doing that. it's not freeze that's all fine and good. i wish he raised this issue of cyber warfare. that's going to be a huge threat to our economy. a lot of it originates in china. and so, i think when it comes to these transnational sub national groups we have got to take the fight to them. unlike national actors it is harder to put the other pressures on them. one of the things we have got to do. it does have a cost in terms of resources and inconvenience. they are friction. that's a balancing act. you can go overboard in that. that can interfere with our very freedom's way of life. there are things we will have to do to harden our own
infrastructure. >> that's you. i earlier asked a question whether restoring an agreement might bring some stability. as a governor, i would like to raise a question. andrew jackson entered the second bank of the u.s. saying that the circulating gold and silver coin money. just conjuring more and more credit into existence. no stage will make anything but cold and silver coin. sit seems that at the level of governor in every state, the states could require the federal government.
>> i think that i want to address the bigger issue you raise. >> we have got a fed through quantitative easing. they are taking action because con fwress and the white house couldn't or wouldn't. i think we need to take a step back and think about it for a second. we have got an unelected body. wouldn't take that action. and you go back to the systemic debts that we're running. that doesn't mean helps coming tomorrow. he's not even saying that he
will balance the budget tomorrow. i am very worried for a lot of reason reasons it's been the reserve currency. the flight to stability during this world economic chaos, there are many reason ys the fed has been able to get away with some of the things they have done. the reality is we cannot simply print our way out of this crisis. we cannot simply borrow and spend and tax our way out of this. this is what happens when government is running at historically high levels of gdp. we were spending more as a share of our economy than we have had in the last 70 years. defense is the only thing in the constitution that the federal
government is told it must do. it's the one power given to the federal government. to your point about this -- >> i am going to jump in. whatever else they are financing, i can assure you it is not an ever expanding industrial complex. maybe 50, 60 million for military housing. i interrupted. >> i do worry that, you know, you really think about it. you look at the structural that we have running up. more worry is hadn't happened
we didn't raise taxes. we didn't have the ability to print money. we can't say that we print a bunch of dollars to pay our bills. i like to see it part time in congress. i would like to pay them differently. i would like to see us pay congress on a per diem basis. i think that's a very important question. i think it's important for republicans to acknowledge that the the deficit is growing, the debt is growing. i'm not for no government, i'm for a limited effective
government and part of that is getting the government out of things it never should have been doing in the first place. that should be defense. it is amazing me. if you had asked, when we can't afford the ones we have got, i never would have thought that that's where we would be talking today. i'm hope. that the people in dc will listen to voters outside of dc and say all right, enough's enough. let's pry ortize what we're doing in this town. if we don't i think we are headed for a day of reckoning that will make this mild in comparison. let's be honest with what we're doing.