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tv   Washington Journal Kenneth Weinstein  CSPAN  April 24, 2018 2:21pm-2:49pm EDT

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opposition. the nomination goes to the full senate. they could take place this week. this morning we looked at the challenges mr. pompeo is facing on washington journal. >> kenneth weinstein, he's the ceo of the hudson institute and joining us to talk to us about mike pompeo. a little bit about the hudson institute. what is its positioning? >> we're dedicated to promoting u.s. international leadership. we are center right. we do a lot of work on international affairs, on u.s. national security. and economics as well. >> when it comes to mike pompeo specifically, you had an op-ed.
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>> i think he has a chance to be a transformative secretary of state. he has the full confidence of the president. this is a man if you know him, he's a strategic thinker. he has got a very impressive background. he graduated first in his class at west point. went to harvard. was a successful businessman. served three terms in congress as -- in the house of representatives. served on the intelligence committee. has an amazing grasp of public policy. he has an ability to connect with people. he's great listener. has strong convictions, but knows that the president is the one who is largely calling the shots. he's there to advise the president. they've developed a terrific relationship as cia director.
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they didn't know each other terribly well. they spent a lot of time together in the briefings. the president trusted him with the most sensitive dossier yet, the secret trip to pyongyang to meet with kim jong-un. and so having watched him closely over the past few years, i have a sense this is a man who has a three dimensioned grasp of management. he is someone who thinks not simply about military issues, which he does as a west point graduate, a man who served in our armed forces in europe, but also as someone who thinks about strategy in a broader sense. what the united states needs to do. what the possible areas are we can have a real impact. >> those things translate, those soft power skills you have to have? are there demonstrations aside
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from the trip of visiting with kim jong-un? >> first of all, as cia director he's built close working relations with our european allies, with our allies in the sunni muslim world. he's built very close ties to man whose word can be trusted. he's got a sense of what america needs to do and how to go about doing it. and he's young. relatively. he's dynamic. i think he'll be transformative secretary of state. >> some of the criticisms that came up during his confirmation hearing was the views on muslims and muslims' role in fighting the war in terror, on homosexual and gay rights. what do you think of the criticisms from democrats who brought them? >> they have to be taken seriously. but at the end of the day, people -- our muslim allies can assure you that mike pompeo is not an islamaphobe.
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i think that's probably would have been helpful. on guy rights issues he's a devout presbyterian. he's someone who doesn't believe in gay marriage but he has respected gay marriage as an institution at the cia where he -- numerous gay spouses, spouses of cia employees are working there. he treated them as he did any other working spouses. >> do you know him personally? >> yeah. >> what do you think -- have you talked to him at all or at least has he shared with you the possibility of coming into the position? >> i have not spoken to him since he's been nominated. we at hudson institute have been
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fortunate. he's taken part in numerous workshops we've held. what i find most remarkable is his ability to balance the strategic focus and the knowledge of detail, which is really rare in a policy leader. he's someone who has just an immense grasp of global affairs. he has just a detailed understanding of the way -- of foreign leaders, how they think. and one of the most impressive things about him, we had a workshop, where we do various workshops with international partners. we did a workshop in 2015, the two presenters were the now president of the european parliament, who was from the center right european people's party and congressman pompeo. this was long before he was
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considered for the cia. his insights were impressive. and as the workshop came to an end he said i've got to leave a little early. i'm heading to vienna with my friend, senator tom cotton. we're going to the iaea in vienna to talk about the iran deal. then we found out after that trip that senator cotton, representative pompeo had uncovered the existence of side codicils to the iran deal between the iaea and iran that didn't need to be submitted to congress for approval. that's the kind of person he is. he's a skeptic in some ways of these kind of international agreements, but it's exactly the person you want. if you're going to get a good agreement with north korea, if there's a possibility to get an agreement, mike pompeo is the guy to do it. he knows the tough questions to ask and the standards to set for what a good deal will look like. >> we'll continue on with our
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conversation with ken weinstein. if you want to ask him questions, you can make your thoughts and questions on twitter available. i want to play you some reaction that took place at the hearing before the vote that took place yesterday. this is from senator bob menendez expressing some concerns and criticisms about mr. pompeo, what he brings to the position. here's what he had to say. >> i do not have a satisfactory answer on the question, which mike pompeo am i voting on? unfortunately during his hearing, director pompeo offered contradictory statements. he was less than forthcoming when he was pressed on a number of issues. given the opportunity to outline the strategies he would advocate to the president and to the country to deal with russia. with iran. with north korea. with china. or venezuela. he failed to exhibit the depth
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of knowledge or thoughtfulness about what those strategies would be. clearly any nominee would know that those would be hot spots in the world which would have to be addressed before the committee. truthfulness and the willingness to be forthcoming to this committee are essential to be a nominee. upon his interview with special counselor muller and his non-disclosure of his trip to north korea, even in a classified setting, both critical issues before this committee. both of which members on both sides of the aisle peppered him with questions about. he exhibited that he was suited more to be the cia director than the secretary of state because he wanted to be clandestine at the end of the day. i don't expect the cabinet secretary to publicly disagree with the president. it's his or her duty to carry out the president's agenda. as policies are being worked out, i remain skeptical of the
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kind of diplomat that director pompeo would be. whether he'd be willing to say no or whether he would simply be a yes man. >> what do you think about that last comment from senator menendez? >> look, there i have to respectfully disagree. the cia director pompeo has been involved in some of the tough decisions that the administration was worked on. enough creasing a true presence in afghanistan, where the advice went against the president's instincts. i think that the director pompeo is someone who has got a personal relationship with the president where he can say with all due respect, mr. president, this is the direction we need to go in. on russia he's proven to be tough. they've had a much tougher policy than the obama administration did which was frankly so obsessed about getting an iran deal and so worried about upsetting it the russians that we ended up not enforcing the red line in syria.
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allowing the russians to go into crimea. not arming the ukrainian opposition, which the ukrainians were fighting the russians on the ground with non-lethal weapons, with other kinds of weapons which we are now doing. this is something that's very important, the number of diplomats that have been expelled from the united states is remarkable in this administration. i think director pompeo is someone who has -- will work closely with the president. i think he's someone who can be trusted. the issue of the north korea trip, that was a highly highly classified trip. and i suspect the reason why that wasn't disclosed was fears that it would leak into the press and might create both expectations and problems with the negotiating process that is really quite sensitive. >> our first call for you comes from chicago, illinois. that's on our independent line. rudolph, you're on with our guest, good morning. >> caller: gulf coast to you and
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your guest. if anyone takes a real good look at the adults or the background of the candidates for secretary of state, they'll find he's very conservative, almost a neo conservative. what has happened in how they refer to the previous administration we'll rely heavily on diplomacy, relating to people in a dignified fashion as opposed to getting involved in these unfunded wars and obligations. this administration has got into power from innuendo, personal attacks, racial attacks, and if this individual is in line with the president and the rhetoric that catapulted him to the president of the united states, i'm very cautious. because this particular point in time, you have to reevaluate our relationship with nato. because we've been in europe for over 50 years to stabilize the european countries. when we get into the notion of
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what has happened in the world of the arab world and the onslaught of nuclear weapons and the international relationship with china as well as russia, you need someone who is balanced. >> okay. thanks, caller. >> look, the caller notes rightly this is a very challenging time in world affairs between resurgent russia, challenge from china. the situation in the middle east, particularly syria. there i would have to submit the president's worked in a very effective multilateral fashion with our allies in france. with our allies in the uk to take action against the syrian chemical weapon facility which we destroyed a little more than a week ago. this was a very multilateral action. his action with regard to expelling russian diplomats was mul multilateral taken in conjunction with our european allies. this is the kind of action that
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needs to be done. he's worked very carefully on the north korea dossier, with our japanese allies, with our south korean allies. and, actually, in terms of the p president's rhetoric the president has been the one saying it's time for us to leave syria. he's rethought a bit now. he was originally for leaving afghanistan and decided we needed to leave a true presence. he's been very tough on our nato allies saying they need to step up and spend 2% of gdp on national security. so we're at a moment where i think the kind of person that mike pompeo is, someone who understands the president's agenda but knows how to work well with partners around the world will come in and help smooth some of the changes that really do need to take place in global affairs and to move things forward in a positive direction. >> james, good morning. >> caller: good morning. i think pompeo has got his nose
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so far up trump's you know what, mike pence is going to have to move over. that's what trump needs is another yes man. that's why comey got fired in the first place. he wasn't a yes man. at least obama had michelle to answer to. trump's got melania, but she don't know-nothing about policy or politics or anything. >> okay, james. >> again, this idea that mr. pompeo wouldn't push back against mr. trump over issues? >> all the presidents advisors give their advice. i'm offended by the analogy that you used about the vice president, as someone who has an excellent relationship with the president. he gives advice quietly behind the scenes. director pompeo has done the same. the president doesn't only want yes men around him. he's shown that already. he's someone who listens to his
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advisors and has changed his policies and taken steps. unlike, for example, president obama who refused to take action in syrian in the face of widespread evidence that action needed to be taken -- military action i'm talking about. the president has taken action twice, going against his own instincts. he's increased the presence in afghanistan. president trump has exercised an independence of judgment and has moved away from some of his stances during the campaign as well. >> let's go through some specific issue and the way you would like to see mike pompeo perform if he becomes secretary of state. you mentioned the iran nuclear deal. what's your sense on whether the u.s. should stay it in or not? >> it's a tough call. i think the deal is a very imperfect deal. there are a number of problems with the deal. the sunset clause that allows
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iran after ten years to go out and develop weapons. secondly the fact that ballistic missiles are not included in the deal. thirdly, the fact that the president needs to certify that iran is in compliance with the deal. the fact it doesn't deal with regional issues as well as growing regional efforts. obviously, the large amount of money given to the iranian regime. the deal is fundamentally flawed. it's a terrible deal. i think if you speak to our european allies off the record, they'll all tell you that. they weren't happy with the deal. the deal they felt they had to go along with because president obama really wanted it. it was a signature agreement. it was a deal he was willing to sacrifice syria, ukraine for and it was not the way to negotiate a deal. the question remains, what do you do after may 12th? my gut instinct is that the president's probably going to -- if the europeans don't come forward with major changes to the deal, including also the possibility of inspections of other military facilities in
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iran that were left off the original deal where weapons could be developed, i think we'll be in a situation where the president may give the europeans another few months to say, okay, show me some changes before we fully exit. i think that's probably the right policy. they've now gotten the message with the appointment of -- with the nomination of mike pompeo as secretary of state. and john bolton, i think, will actually continue. the europeans know they need to step forward. they need to do something. the iranian regime is a regime that's facing major protests at home. it's widely unpopular. there's an economic crisis going on. this is a klepto theocracy as bret stevens of the "new york times" has called it. it's a regime that has taken money from its people to fund overseas excursions in syria, in lebanon, yemen. it's a very unpopular regime.
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it's a regime that -- there are protests every day. we see protests throughout the country. protests that come from the base of the regime, the lower middle class, more religious people. my sense is, you know, we should increase pressure on the iranians. we've got to increase -- do more to get the word out about the assets the regime holds. and both the supreme leader and mr. rouhani hold and get that information out there. put pressure. and also put pressure on the europeans to let them know things will not continue as n m normal. >> jim? >> caller: good morning, thanks for taking my call. so first of all, i mean, i think pompeo's boss is not a good president, but, you know, the alternatives were i think worse.
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i think it's -- his election is because we have such a poor choices from the parties. but to pompeo, i mean, i think he's really a smart guy, obviously. but the thing i don't -- the thing that personally i find troublesome and i heard this on cnn or maybe one of the other news channels. you know, i think it's sending a bad message to our allies that we're -- that our former head spy at the cia is going to be our, you know, secretary of state. i just think that sends a bad message to our allies. >> jim, thanks. >> i think it's a fair point. you know, i think that our allies -- the governments around the world know mike pompeo, they trust him. they may disagree with him on issues but they know he's man of honor, a man of strategic depth and real understanding.
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certainly the fact he was the cia director could be used against the united states in terms of public diplomacy, but this is a man who served with great honor at the cia. he's clearly well liked in the agency. brought a number of critical transformations in in his short time there. george w.h. bush was also a cia director and went on to be elected president. as we've seen by the incredible outpouring of support for him, not just after the death of the first lady this past week, but over the past few years. what a beloved figure he is. the fact that someone who is a cia director, of course that could be used by propaganda efforts. i think knowing who mike pompeo is, knowing what kind of person he is, his character, his
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intelligence, i think this is a man who will prove his skeptics wrong. >> from baltimore city, maryland, independent line. gregory, you're next up. >> caller: yes, in reference to pompeo and germany. germany did not participate in the bombings in syria. how does he negotiate with germany? because germany is one of our nato alliances. what is wrong with germany? it's something wrong with this picture. when the uk is involved and you've got france. but germany is not participating. you answer me why isn't germany participating? because if germany is not participating, something stinks in this whole picture. answer that. and i'm off. >> thank you, it's great question. the reason why germany hasn't participated, germany since world war ii has a much more pacifist strategic mindset. obviously in reaction to the nazi regime.
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currently -- it's been much less one to engage militarily on issues, particularly out of area, outside of its own country, outside the immediate nato zones. secondly, it also has a coalition government now where the -- where chancellor merkel who did not fair particularly well in the recent german elections as a coalition government, she's not the person who makes all of the policy decisions. the social democrats have the foreign ministry and they are deeply skeptical of military action and deeply skeptical, also, of reaching the 2% goal for the -- set at the summit for military spending. the germans, at this stage, they started something out of reaction. they were helping the french in mali where the french are leading an anti-terrorism
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action. they are generally skeptical and they'll remain this way until the end of chancellor merkel's term, particularly given the coalition government they're in. >> ken weinstein of the mudson institute joining us. he's their president and ceo. the german chancellor is visiting later this week. the french president visiting today over the iran nuclear deal. quickly, how much sway do you think these leaders have over the president? >> they do. look, the president for all his reputation, he's a very multilateral leader. the japanese saw this when the prime minister abe went down to mar-a-lago early in the president's term, i think it was february. and the north koreans launched a missile test and the president got up -- it was a saturday evening -- and said we stand 100% behind our great ally, japan and yielded the microphone to shinzo abe to talk about what
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was going to come next and to warn the north koreans. he's been an incredible partnership with emmanuel macron, who is a dynamic young leader. in some sense when you look at the surface, he's very different than president trump. president trump is a populist. he is someone who hasn't had government experience. but both of them have really challenged the establishment. macron built his political movement on marsh. tha they have pushed the major political parties aside. he's come in with a message that france needs to have reform, to get its economy going, that france needs to regain its place around the world. and shinzo abe and japan has, which president macron has is shared with president trump. he's willing to listen to leaders. he talks regularly to leaders around the world. he has a very strong bond.
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his relationship with chancellor merkel is a little bit different. he respects chancellor merkel, they speak regularly. they have yet to develop the personal close relationship that the president has, say, with either the japanese prime minister or the french president. and the president developed close relations with president xi jinping of china. the president has civility and listens skeptically but is willing to take their advice. and their reaction to the syrian use of chemical weapons, nerve weapons, was actually guided by president macron. they worked together on this issue. i think chancellor merkel will come in this week, macron has the estate dinner. it's a big event. the merkel visit will be more low key.
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. >> from gary in baltimore, maryland, democrats line, running a little short on time. go right ahead. >> caller: thank you. i'll keep it quick. i was wondering your opinion on mike pompeo's ability to deal with trump, sometimes how he'll flip-flop on policy and not necessarily communicate policy changers to his advisors. how would he deal with a situation that nikki haley was involved in, rex tillerson was also involved in a couple of policy snafus where they thought they understood the administration's policy line but trump may have tweeted or said in a press conference something different. >> sure. another great question. i think secretary pompeo understands that donald trump is president of the united states. mike pompeo isn't. he'll defer to the president's judgment. he does have this close relationship with the president where he can be frank with the president. where they speak regularly. he's not the kind of person who
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i think is going to get caught off guard by these kinds of decisions. we'll waiting on the russia sanctions announcement. in the end i think nikki haley will be proved right, what she said. it's a matter of timing. he knows how to deal with the president well. he understands what motivates the president. he has seen him up close. if anybody can handle what might be tactical moves where the president may seem to depart from policies, but he really doesn't, it's pompeo. >> ken weinstein who is the president and ceo of the hudson institute, thanks for your time. >> thank you. the administrator for the u.s. agency for international develop mark green is set to testify this afternoon on the agency's fiscal year 2019 budget request

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