tv U.S. Foreign Policy in Europe CSPAN June 28, 2018 6:41pm-8:01pm EDT
here's a look at our prime time schedule on the c-span networks. testimony from deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. and christopher ray, focusing on the clinton e-mail investigation. on c-span 2 at 10:00 p.m. eastern, the confirmation hearing for the next irs commissioner. on c-span 3 at 8:00 a hearing on the promowsed merger between t-mobil and sprint. next, a hearing on u.s. foreign policy in europe. and u.s. military interests. before a senate foreign relations subcommittee. this is an hour and 20 minutes.
>> this hearing of the senate foreign relations subcommittee is called to order. i'm happy to welcome assistant secretary wes mitchell. we appreciate you coming and looking forward to our back and forth -- i would ask consent to my opening -- my written opening remarks be entered into the record. i'm an accountant, i like data, there are two relatively big issues that have brought to the floor in the last 18 months. one relates to our nato partners, meeting our 2% commitment. the question we have, 2% have a limited number of meeting that. what does that mean dollar wise.
in 2016, the shortfall was $122 billion of defense spending. they've increased spending about 14.4 billion. slated to go up another 10 billion in 2018. now, the shortfall is about 98 billion. we're told that over the period from 2019 to 2024 another shortfall will be filled leaving a $62 billion shortfall. it just kind of puts that into perspective in terms of what that actually is, and i've discussed this with our european allies and friends and partners, i always try to make the point this isn't just president trump making this point, he's speaking for the american public. the least europe can do is spend that 2% and contribute their fair share. the other point i want to make
and the other bone of contention is trade. we hear the massive trade deficits. the fact of the matter is, we exported about $528 billion into the eu. we imported $629 billion in the eu. leaving a goods and services trade deficit of 101 billion. that's about 19% of what we export. i understand the president is trying to reset our trading relationship. shock our partners into reducing tariffs. i think the best term the president has introduced in this debate, is reciprocal treatment 37 with no trade barriers. it's a worthy goal hope we can achieve that goal as quickly as possible.
. dr. mitchell, i did read your speech to the heritage foundation. and just kind of -- i don't want to steal your thunder, it's salient, i don't think it's included in your testimony, that you said in that speech, coming into 2017 the administration inherited a failed russian reset. a conflict in u krafin that cos 10,000 lives. an eu that was navigating the first formal state in history. and an insolve ant iran agreeme agreement. these are some enormous challenges. we still face them, new challenges are growing every day. i'm 63 years old, i can't remember a world that seems to be so destabilized, so many threats coming from so many different directions.
i think this will be a pretty interesting conversation today, and i appreciate your willingness to testify. >> thank you very much mr. clirm. thank you ambassador mitchell for being here with us today. as i hope you know. i tell visitors into my office from europe regularly. how lucky we are that you have chosen to take up this very difficult assignment, i want to congratulate you on good news with respect to an agreement between greece and macedonia, which hopefully allows macedonia to join some of the our pie an and transatlantic institutions. and i thank you for your service and willingness to serve. that being said. we have a nominee to be the ambassador before this committee last week, and it's fairly ridiculous it took a year and a half to get an ambassador to brussels. but he characterized the moment
that we are in today with respect to the u.s./europe relationship as part of the normal ups and downs in the transatlantic relationship. this simply is not true. the relationship between the united states and europe is in crisis. it has never been this bad in the post war era. it is getting worse by the month. and if it collapses. as i would argue it is on pace to do, then the entire world order based upon a joint u.s./european driving to spread open economies to the world collapses as well. i know this sounds hyperbolic, i do think the stakes are this high. the state of the relationship if it is a relationship these days is in that bad a state, i don't even have time to run through the gauntlet of abuses that this president in a short year and a half has seeped on europe. he's backed out of the two most important diplomatic agreements
between the paris accord and european union. he regularly personally attacks european leaders on twitter, reserving the most vicious treatment for germanyp the most undisputed leader of the eu. he cheers the breakup of the european union. he traffics european white nationalist propaganda through his social media feed. trying to open rather than heal racial and ethnic divides in europe. and he said russia should rejoin the g-7 without a consult with our european partners. this is all led one of the greatest friends of the u.s./europe relationship, carl built to say, is putin interfering and trying to destabilize the policies of the
eu? yes, but trump at the moment is far worse. the president's hostility is making the challenges that we face jointly all the more difficult from brexit to the rise of populism, finding the solution to immigrant flows, fighting terrorism, the united states should be standing side by side with our allies in europe, not trying to break apart this relationship. i hope that you will continue to serve against the worst of these attacks from this president. but you and the other supporters of the u.s./eu alliance are losing this argument within the administration badly, so far. we're very lucky to have you and many others trying to win that argument. but unfortunately you've come out on the wrong side. and i look forward to exploring some of these topics over the course of this hearing. >> thank you, senator murphy.
dr. wes mitchell is the assistant secretary of state for ire pea an and eurasian affairs. he's the author of numerous he is the officer.author of numerous articles, reports, and books on trans-atlantic relations and politics. he received his phd in political science from frey university in berlin, germany. don't be constrained by the five minutes. give us your full opening statement and then we will start with questions. >> thank you senator johnson and senator murphy. members of the committee, i appreciate you calling today's hearing. i am very happy to have this opportunity to talk about the strategy that is guiding the administration's approach to europe and eurasia. next year will mark three decades since the fall of the berlin wall. as we celebrate the triumph of western democracy over communism, we must remind ourselves that this outcome was
not inevitable. it was a product of active, intense, and prolonged effort by the united states and our european allies. it gets now very clear in retrospect that history did not end in 1999. today, as both of these senators have mentioned, europe is once again a theater of serious strategic competition. europe today faces pressures on multiple fronts, strategic campaigns from russia and china , record waves of migration, iranian ambitions in the mediterranean and a crisis of confidence in european institutions. our europe strategy begins by acknowledging that america and europe must take the reality of strategic competition seriously. our goal is outlined by president donald trump in warsaw and that is to preserve the west. we cannot succeed in that task without europe which together
with the united states is the west and the heart of the free world. preserving the west begins with strengthening our physical defenses. the united states has demonstrated our resolve by reaffirming our commitment to nato article 5 and putting real resources into the defense of europe. we are providing military assistance to ukraine, georgia, the baltics, and other european countries. for fiscal year 2018 and 2019, the administration has requested more than $11 billion in new funds to expand the european deterrence initiative. our allies are stepping up. the u.s. has been urging every nato member but one to increase defense spending. the number of allies that will spend 2% on defense by 2024 has tripled and the number allocating 20% to major equipment has nearly doubled.
in that time, the alliance as a whole has raised defense spending by 5.1% or $14.4 billion and we project a further $10 billion increase this year, the largest such increase in a generation. material strength is only part of the equation. taking strategic competition seriously requires that the united states and europe replenish our shared commitment to the cause of freedom that since antiquity has been the west's foremost gift to the world. russia and china both represent a coherent model, stability founded on authoritarianism and brute forced -- and brute force. both russia and china want to break the west. russia wants to splinter it. china wants to supplant it. one place where they are especially aggressive is in central and eastern europe. our first priority here is to check russian aggression. in recent years, a revanche is
kremlin has attempted to forcefully redraw borders, intimidated and attacked neighbors, launched information and cyber campaigns against the west, and engaged in military buildups on its western frontiers. we seek a better relationship with russia but that can only happen when russia stops its aggressive behavior. we will not compromise our principals or our allies. as secretary pompeo has said, the years of a soft policy that enabled russian aggression are over. we will continue to raise the costs of russian aggression until president putin chooses a different path. since january 2017, we have brought sanctions against 213 russian individuals and entities. in response to the attack in the united kingdom, we helped to organize the largest expulsion of russian spies in recent history and sent more than 150 intelligence officers back home to russia. in partnership with you,, the state department is leaving the u.s. governments efforts to counter russian information.
we continue to demand that the russian government uphold its international commitment and allow its citizens to exercise their fundamental freedoms without fear of retribution. in parallel, we are building up the means of self-defense for the university -- for the frontier states most directed by russia. we helped both states improve their defensive capabilities. simultaneously, we are striving to keep ukraine on the path of reform by urging its leaders to adopt an anti-corruption court and to set gas tariffs to market prices. we are working to strengthen u.s. political military and economic engagement with georgia. across the eastern frontier from the baltic to the black sea and into the heart of that i nubian basin, we are working to build stronger, long-term bulwarks against the chinese and russian and roads that we can our allies security and
undermine our ties to the democratic west. we are working with allies to strengthen the resilience of their political systems and to combat corruption, improve the military readiness, diversify energy supplies and increase regional coordination through projects like the three c's initiative. throughout this region, we are animated by the urgent need outlined in the national security strategy to compete for positive influence. nations here have greater strategic options than in the past. the memory of 1989 is fading. we must be diligent to defend western principles. we must also be willing to engage diplomatically more robustly than we have in the past. criticism bereft of engagement is a recipe for estrangement. we must provide a viable alternative to allies and reach out to them constructively or expect to lose them to rival spheres of influence. europe's southern frontier is another point of strategic focus. rallying our allies to take
europe's southern frontier more seriously will be a major focus of the upcoming nato summit. we are working with allies to increase and coordinate contributions to operations in the middle east, secure europe's borders, get nato more deeply engaged in the counterterrorism business and project stability in north africa and the middle east. the eastern mediterranean poses particular challenges. russia has increased its naval presence and is seeking to solidify a sphere of influence. turkey faces profound external and internal challenges. it is a steadfast partner in migration and and indispensable component in counterbalancing iran. we look forward to working with the newly reelected president on these challenges while also making clear that issues in our bilateral relationship need to be resolved. our immediate concerns are to secure the release of pastor andrew bunsen and other unjustly detained u.s. citizen's and local embassy staff to prevent turkey's
purchase of the russian as/400 service, and to develop our respective forces and local partners to stabilize northern syria in preventing isis's return. we encourage the president to immediately implement his pledge to lift turkey's ongoing state of emergency and to take additional measures to represent the views of all of turkey's citizens and strengthen the democracy. in parallel, we are constructing a long-term strategy to bolster the u.s. presence in the eastern mediterranean. we are cultivating greece as an anchor of stability in the mediterranean and working to systematically strengthen security and energy cooperation with cypress. we are increasing u.s. engagement in the western balkan. we supported prime minister's in achieving a potentially historic breakthrough in the grease--- macedonia name problem.
in all of these areas, anchoring the western alliance, securing central and eastern europe and stabilizing the south, we are committed to finding a common way forward. in the past nine months, i have made 29 visits to european countries and even more than 22 speeches. through this outreach, i have seen that what unites the west is far greater than what divides us. strong u.s. positions on iran may not lead to immediate agreement with allies. the long-term costs of neglecting these things far outweigh whatever short-term benefits we get from the appearance of lyrical unity today. on all of these fronts, our message is the same. we must act. we can debate and strategize and coordinate but we must act. we cannot continue to defer action on things that make the west collectively weaker. our task is one of strategic renovation, doing the hard work of showing up and strengthening the west now so we don't have
to later on terms that are much must -- much less favorable. i am convinced we will succeed with europe together. thank you. >> i am going to ask one question and then i will turn it over to ranking member murphy. we had an interesting conversation before this. i had asked you previously to what extent do we know the dollar investment to that china is making into all of europe? you did give me a figure on that. in your testimony, you mentioned a couple of times the pressure of the influence that broke data both russia and china are trying to get. we also talked about hungary chimeric -- hungary. can you tell us how strategic their investment is and give us your thoughts? >> thank you. the chinese investment in central eastern europe is serious, strategic, and it is
growing. the exact dollar amounts are hard to pin down but a good estimate is more than $24.19 billion in the 16+ one countries that form central europe. to give you a perspective on this, china is a primary financer of a high-speed railway link between budapest and belgrade that is valued at $3.8 billion alone. as a frame of reference, the united states in general overseas somewhere between $40 billion and $60 billion worldwide. for europe and eurasia, if you are looking at the amount of aid and assistance, it is something like $1.13 billion total. that includes supplemental funding, excluding central asia. i think the scale of what the chinese are putting into this region is considerable in monetary terms but strategic
with the investment. they use debt but diplomacy where they invest in strategic properties and infrastructure on pretty easy terms and then they wait until countries can't service the debt and then they claim the infrastructure. they are sharpening their outreach and soft power. they are competing for influence. i think from a u.s. and western perspective, we have to acknowledge we have lost a lot of ground in central and eastern europe. 89 is an increasingly distant memory for a lot of people. one of the most serious objectives we have to have is the 30th anniversary of 1989. it is a significant opportunity for our u.s. and outreach to reengage hearts and minds in that region. that is an endeavor that will take a lot of focus and effort but i look forward to working with this committee to increase the western and u.s. presence in central and eastern europe.
>> you have encouraged me and i have made a couple of trips to serbia and kosovo. whether we can get the eu to integrate them anytime soon is a whole new question. paying attention and trying to engage, we also talked a little bit about hungary and poland. both leaders have come under criticism here but you have a positive engagement if that is defined right. >> i think we have to engage, senator. we have lost ground in part because our rivals are showing alacrity with the russians but on part because of unforced error on our part. i think i would start with zero and say to your point, we did d prioritize central and eastern europe as a strategic theater. i think we did that starting after 2011 for some very good reasons. from 2009 onward we had a reset and a pivot to asia. we were deemphasizing
militarily and diplomatically. the russians and chinese were not. in many countries in this region, i think you see that the russians and chinese have gained clinical yardage. in the recent past when the united states has often been harder on our allies like hungary or poland then we are on russia through periods like the recess, i think that has been a mistake. i think it created vacuums that others have filled. in our approach going forward, we try to strike a balance. we have to be clear about our principles and what we stand for. we will never stop being clear about our principles privately and publicly. we have to balance that with increased diplomatic engagement. the chinese and russians are in these countries on a regular basis. they are spending lots of money on infrastructure. if we just show up occasionally and do nothing but criticize, we can expect to lose ground. we have to strike that balance very carefully. we have to get back in the game.
>> thank you senator murphy. >> thank you very much. i think that our strategy, with respect to europe, is total debacle. it is not your fault, i understand you don't share the views of this president with respect to the attacks he has launched on europe or some of the policies he may be implementing towards russia. you are the only one that we can ask. let me try to get some clarification on what our policy is. let's start with russia. the president recently announced a new u.s. policy to bring russia back into the g7, reversing the previous policy of requiring russia to implement the minsk agreement before being invited back into join the g7. why did our policy change?
>> thank you for your question senator. let me answer the first and second part of it. our approach to europe is well articulated in the president's warsaw speech. i think his starting point is to say we are not going to strengthen the west by continuing the polite fiction of some areas of u.s. and european policy. it is preventing the united states from wanting to stay engaged long-term. these are positions we have staked out forcefully because we believe if you don't address those things in the years ahead, the west will be worse off. on the issue of russia, the administration has been clear that the door to dialogue with russia is open. we have stated that repeatedly at various levels. an improvement in the relationship can only happen when russia stops its
aggressive behavior. so far we have been disappointed in the russian government's unwillingness to accept his possibility for its actions. with regard to upcoming developments, the department has nothing to announce at this time. i think what we have been clear on and what i will continue to fight for is an approach to russia that is open to dialogue but does not sacrifice our supposed. >> the president expressed his desire for the g7 to bring russia back in with no preconditions, regardless of what the state department has to announce. you are not in charge of u.s. foreign policy, the president is. he announced that his desire is to bring russia back in without preconditions. we all watched him say it on tv. is that not his position? >> i think that is extrapolating somewhat from the comments he made. as i understand, this is one of the world's largest nuclear powers. we have to be open to dialogue.
we have to reach out and keep the challenge open. this administration has done more to take a tough stance on russia than the previous administration did in its first six years in office. i think our record on russia, if you judge this administration by our action, the stance we have taken on sanctions, what we are doing to back up our allies, i think we have a good record. >> the administration got dragged kicking and screaming to come into those sanctions i people on this panel. to suggest that ministration is leading on a set of sanctions you are forced to put into place by legislation passed by this congress, i think -- i have great respect for you ambassador but i think that is stretching the bounds of how this played out.
the president recently tweeted the people of germany are turning against their leadership . migration is rocking the already tenuous berlin coalition. crime is way up. crime in germany is up 10% since migrants were accepted. other companies -- countries are even worse. this is exceptional that the president is openly campaigning against the leader of the most important country inside europe , tweeting that germany is turning against their leadership . we know that the statistics he references are not true. in fact, crime is down 10%, not up 10%. why is the president openly trying to undermined the chancellor's political support in germany? how does that support you as objectives? >> i think the situation with migration in europe is one that we have to take very seriously. in the last few months, in
italy, austria, germany, france, public in this country has been clear that they want stronger borders. they want to protect the nationstate. >> okay that is not my question. the chancellor is saying the people of germany are turning against the chancellor and using his voice to criticize her and to cheer those that are politically opposing her. he is side-by-side with an ambassador at germany who has clearly stated he will help his position to help conservatives across the content politically. my question is not about our position on migration. my question is why is the president weighing in on the political circumstances of the chancellor? why is he using his voice to try to politically undermined the chancellor? you can disagree with me if you don't think the tweet is doing that but it certainly sounds
that way. >> i interpreted the president's tweet to be and coexpression of concern about the state of migration in the western world generally. i think we have been slow to wake up to this challenge. it is a divisive issue in a lot of our societies. as i understand the president's statements, we have to take migration seriously. irregular migration in europe is challenging society at all levels. it can't be addressed by simply saying that the door is wide open without a discussion about how we regulate and moderate the flow of irregular migrants. on the ambassador, i think his comments were taken out of context. he has made clear he is not endorsing any particular candidate or political party. we have a very robust dialogue with the german government.
the ambassador has since clarified his comments and noted that it is not u.s. policy to endorse candidates or policies. he was making general observations in the interview. my focus overall is to increase engagement in all areas possible. we have a very strong bilateral relationship with germany. a lot of areas of cooperation. i take the long view. the relationships have been through a lot of storms in history but that should not will listen to complacency. i think the relationship is a lot more healthy than is often made out in the media. >> senator portman. >> i appreciate you holding this hearing. it is good to see you. three quick questions.
first, it has to do with something that might be viewed as more of a u.s. priority than a european priority. i think it is both, how to screen investments? china has invested $34 billion in europe since 2001. we have a scythia's process in this country which while imperfect, allows us to screen investments. the same is not true in europe. i was recently in eastern europe talking about a number of issues including center murphy's and my legislation to push back against russian disinformation. this issue came back and there was an interest on behalf of some of the countries working with us to help understand how we could come up with a way to view investments from a national security perspective. my first question to you is whether you have worked on that and how you feel about it?
>> thank you for the question, senator. it is a very timely question. when i was in the czech republic last week, we held a meeting with security and this is one of the items of discussion. we are working closely through our embassies with central and eastern european countries. there are different ways to go about creating a national security filter. they are different models that can be used. the point of emphasis in all of them is to find a mechanism by which allied governments can draw a differentiation between investments that are purely commercial and market oriented and those that are animated or could create a pathway to abuse of national security concerns. we are in active dialogue with our allies on that. in central europe, it is an important subject. >> for those who are listening
who are wondering why this is a big deal for the united states, it is a back door to the united states. as european firms become owned by a chinese company that may have a national security interest, we then contract with that company in europe that is now going through a process with regards to chinese investment. we could circumvent our process here. i think it is important for us, as well as our allies. i hope you will continue to work with them on that. i think it is in our interest that they do have a screen. with regard to u.s.-russian relations, you made an interesting point earlier which is you can look at the rhetoric or you can look at the results. it is pretty impressive in terms of what this administration has been able to do in terms of pushing back in some very specific areas. the sanctions were talked about , understandably. the administration did sign the legislation and has implemented those sanctions. the sanctions are appropriate as to not just the illegal
annexation but also other issues. i think it is a perfect way to keep sanctions in place with regards to providing lethal weapons, defensive weapons to the ukrainians to be able to defend themselves. we worked with the obama administration for years. as you know, we were unsuccessful. there was some concern initially with the trump administration. my recent trip to ukraine, i was able to see the results which is that now, the trump administration is providing the ukrainians the means to defend them selves -- themselves. they have had anti-sniper packages to be able to push back against what is happening on the line of contact. my question to you is if there is a russian summit which it looks like there will be coming up, do you expect that these
sanctions will become part of the conversation? i expect they will. what is your view on that? there have been some criticism on some of the way some of these sanctions have been implemented. i know russia will putsch -- will push back the other way. >> thank you for the question. i know there has been a lot of speculation about this. we are going into all aspects of our engagement with the russian federation with eyes wide open. we remember the example of reset. we have had two consecutive administrations that started their term with a positive opening to the russians and that was abused. then they ended their term with a regional war. that is not something we will replicate. on the issues of sanctions, i have read it very quickly. it spells that would be needed in the changed russian behavior in order to see the lifting or
softening of sanctions. that is law. it is stipulated very stiffly. we will stipulate and abide by the law as it has been formed. we have to be able to say what specific actions would be needed to address our concerns whether it is lifting sanctions or changing the overall temperature in the relationship. and all of these areas, it is to find very specifically. the matter of crimea in ukraine and syria is very clearly spelled out. we will continue to abide by the letter and spirit of the law. the broader point you make on russia is an important one. it is this increasing pattern of a russia that abuses openings early in the administration's term. we have seen it often enough that i think both parties and this administration is alive to the tendency of vladimir putin to abuse one-sided openings. the reset was illustrative in
this regard. i remember the open letter that several center -- central and eastern european friends wrote. they warned us if we opened the store to one-sided engagement, not only would putin abusive but we would likely have a war on our hands. approved sadly prophetic. we stepped back on missile defenses for poland and czech republic. we speced back on demoting democracy. we see the consequences of that. you had to pivot and reset. we withdrew our last u.s. thanks from europe. it is important to keep in mind that simply because we had a solid six year period in the previous administration that i would characterize as the perception of engagement but the reality of disengagement. in this administration and our first year and a half, we have a very strong track record. i think we have exactly the opposite. we are very engaged right now. look at our stance. look at what we are doing with iran.
i think we may not agree with our allies on the tactics on every one of these things but we are in close dialogue. we are committed to finding a joint way forward. >> i suspect one of the issues we raised is putin asking to make decisions about ukraine without ukraine at the table. that has been the approach they have taken in the past. in your role, i expect you to have strong views on this. how would you advise the president on this issue of ukraine and specifically the sanctions and what is going on on the eastern border? >> i will not engage in too many hypotheticals. i will say that on ukraine, we have been very clear in our public messaging. i think the legislation is clear about what actions would be needed in part of the russians in order for us to lift sanctions. i think we have shown our resolve in this area by providing defensive aid to the ukrainians and georgians.
i think beyond that, our overall mindset has to be that we keep the door open to constructive dialogue where there are shared areas of interest. it is increasingly hard to see where there are shared areas of interest to the russians but i think we owe it to the american people to keep open to the idea that we can find those areas. i won't engage in hypotheticals. we will see where the process leads. we have been very clear about where the boundaries are. >> thank you. >> secretary mitchell, thank you for being here today and for all of the good work you are promoting in europe. in your statement, you say very clearly that we seek a better relationship with russia but it can only happen when russia stops its aggressive behavior. do you think russia has stopped this aggressive behavior? >> no ma'am. >> this week, national security advisor john bolton is heading to moscow to plan a summit with
vladimir putin here in the united states where president donald trump is talking about having what appears to be a very positive meeting with vladimir putin. what kind of message does that send to our european allies about our willingness to be tough with vladimir putin? >> thank you for the question. our european allies consistently say to us that they want the united states to have a less adversarial relationship with russia. i think they see the need to strike the same balance that we see and what the previous administration saw. i am a skeptic that there are many areas but we have to be open. balancing that for strong messaging on interest and values, in terms of the national security advisor's
outreach, i call it diplomacy. what i would say is whether that leads to a better relationship, or even a meeting, is up to the russians. i think we have been publicly clear what the standard is for seeing a change in the relationship with russia. we have been crystal clear in our messaging on the need for the russians to stop meddling in our own internal affairs. >> let me just interrupt you there. i would agree that the actions over the last year and half have been tough on russia because of the sanctions that were passed overwhelmingly by a bipartisan congress. that has been very important. we have not -- there is a difference between what we are doing and what we are hearing out of this white house. the concern that i have is you are talking about russia needing to stop meddling in our
internal politics and our internal economy. yet, we have not heard this resident even acknowledge that russia is meddling in and is continuing to metal in american elections. there are concerns about what that will mean for the upcoming midterms. despite the fact that the intelligence community has said that and i think a number of people within the state department have acknowledged that, the president has not acknowledged that. that is the disconnect that i am concerned about and about what this kind of message this summit sends to russia and whether they will misinterpret what the intent of the united states is. >> i understand your question and i would say judge us by our actions. our goal at this point is to
ensure that any dialogue we do have with the russians, we are doing so from a position of u.s. strength. i think we have accumulated that position of strength and leverage in the past year and a half very well. >> as you point out, the proof is in the pudding. so far, we have not seen any actions really taken to address russia's meddling in the united states either by the president. i look forward to seeing what might come out of that kind of a summit. i want to switch to nato. as senator murphy pointed out and you acknowledged, we have seen progress between greece and macedonia on the naming issue. what do you think that means for the potential for macedonia to join nato and are you concerned about what we are seeing -- the demonstrations we
are seeing in greece and macedonia and whether that will deter the governments of both of those countries and their resolve on this issue? >> this is a critical issue. i will just say making progress on the name dispute has been a major point of focus for our team. to answer your question directly, yes, i am concerned about the potential for russian meddling. we saw this with montenegro. russian representatives have been making very threatening statements. i think there is a high potential on the macedonian side for the russians to try to interfere with this. we have been clear to the russians that we are watching it closely and it is not for moscow to determine macedonia's future. i am in frequent contact with senior leaders. we also know russian methods. more broadly, the next steps on this the macedonian parliament
has ratified the deal but it has to be confirmed via public referendum. the parliament has to adopt the necessary amendments by two thirds majority. we would then expect to see greece ratify the agreement, only after macedonia has made the constitutional changes. and we expect to see nato extend an invitation to what would be north macedonia at the summit in july. we are hopeful that the eu will decide to open accession negotiations. that is much more uncertain than the nato path. >> have you had a chance to talk to the eu about that? >> yes we have. >> have they given you any indication? >> we are in frequent dialogue with the french on this matter. the french have some concerns that we are working with them to help understand their concerns. i am optimistic that we will see that. we are coming up on a council meeting. i think everyone recognizes that
what the greek and macedonian leaders have done is truly historic. if it is successful, it has the potential to be something on the scale of dayton. really, i would expect to see a tailwind from that on how we approach bosnia and kosovo. we are committed to using the opening on the main issue itself to get a ripple effect in other parts of the region. >> if there is a summit between vladimir putin and president donald trump, will secretary pompeo be advising the president that he should raise the issues of russian meddling in greece and macedonia as one of the issues for the discussion? >> the issue of russian meddling is at the forefront of all interagency discussions about russia. it is a central reality that we are very focused on. my short answer to you would be yes. >> are you aware that the president has raised those
concerns? >> i am not aware of it. we often don't reveal the content of all private diplomatic conversations. i know the administration has frequently and publicly raised the concern. >> the president has frequently and publicly raised the concern? >> the administration. >> but not the president? >> i would have to review the record. >> i would love to have you review the record and share with this committee any occasions in which the president has raised those concerns publicly. >> i am happy to do so. >> thank you. as long as we are talking about dialogue, i think it is important. i think we need to do it from a position of strength and resolve. i think you are aware that i have been encouraged to leave the delegation -- lead the delegation. unfortunately, senator shaheen was denied entry. we called it off. we were not going to let the russians play that game.
now, senator shelby will be leading the delegation next week. i signed onto that. i am not sure they will let me and. my plans are still up in the air. i want to go. i encourage you to use whatever contacts. dialogue is good. i think it should be a goal to improve relations with a power that has 7000 nuclear weapons. it is putting pressure on eastern europe and the baltic states. i think i encourage you to try to improve those relations. all of us meet frequently with our european partners. i have made more trips to europe than i intended to in 2017. one of the reasons is i want to reaffirm our commitment to the
strong, strategical alliances with nato and the eu. i am hopeful those discussions will help people realize that they are strong relationships long- term. do you get the same sense? i appreciate your testimony here. i am not one to ignore problems. i want to get right in. if there is conflict involved, fine . get the problem resolved and move forward. do you get the sense that that is the attitude you are dealing with with your european partners? they can separate their short- term troubles versus what the long-term outlook is? >> i do. i get the impression in our conversation with members of nato and the eu that there is a growing realization that history did not take the course that people expected it to take from the vantage point of 1989. the world is becoming more politico -- more competitive
geopolitically. the west faces more challenges from china and russia and iran. i think the political willingness to engage those challenges has increased. this is not the first administration to raise the matter of burden sharing. i think what is changing is both the urgency with which the united states is raising it but also, it has been a wake-up call for europeans to see things like the ukraine war on their own doorstep. geopolitics is back. on a long- term basis, if we take a long view, we say in a few years time we look back and we increased burden sharing in germany in particular. we want to say we killed north stream too and we got a fairer
and more reciprocal playing field in international trade and transatlantic trade. we got a framework in place for dealing with iran. i think we would be able to look back and say the west is collectively better off for this strategic competition. none of these things that we are working on in our diplomacy are things we are approaching from a narrow u.s. self- interest. in most cases, these are things we have raised repeatedly with european allies in the past and that we want to make headway on. >> we are making headway, particularly on the burden sharing. when i first joined this committee, i met repeatedly with european partners. back then, if you remember, the discussion was all about edward snowden, that type of thing. then, charlie have don't happened and i have not heard that since.
maybe it is the serious nature of the threat of terrorists and the need to maintain strong partnerships. do you believe that our intelligence gathering and sharing and cooperation is as strong as it was before charlie hebdo? >> our cooperation is exceptionally strong. >> so again, that is a positive outlook in terms of what a relationship is. talk a little bit about -- this goes back to a conversation we had in our office. the different approach that both russia and china use versus the u.s. when it comes to investing in foreign countries. >> i think the russians and chinese have done a better job than the west collectively in the last few years, integrating
matters of commerce into a geopolitical vision. the chinese in particular tend to view commercial investments abroad as a matter of state. my perception is that the chinese have tended to approach these questions with a much more long-term filter or framework in mind. i think in the countries of central and eastern europe, you see the results of that. a quiet, skillful building up of relationships over the last few years. i think we have to acknowledge that these are serious, well thought-out, well resourced, long-term efforts. the west, by comparison, has tended to segment strategic issues and
trade. i think we have also tended to imagine that the institutional enlargements of the immediately post-cold war period were a straight-line trajectory. it was an end of history that implied a certain amount of lassitude on our part. i think the events of the last several years have been a wake- up call that europe is not a post geopolitical environment. i think we are catching up quickly in understanding the need to compete in that environment. the message of the national security strategy first and foremost is that it is a serious and prolonged strategic competition with big power rivals. counterterrorism will always be important but it will not retain the salience nus foreign policy that it did from 9/11 until a couple of years ago. that requires some tough
choices for our society. >> america spends 1% of the federal budget on foreign aid. in the past, we have had very few strings attached. china goes about it a little differently. i have heard anecdotal evidence where they can build a port. is that kind of the standard operating procedure? >> that is a good generalization. the chinese tend to apply less in the way of obvious near-term strings. sometimes countries find they can no longer service the debt and chunks of their infrastructure are claimed. there are strings attached. they are less immediate. the chinese also intended to have more of a relationship based approach. many of these
countries are corruptible and corruption remains the single biggest problem. the chinese are very brazen in using those pathways of corruption. >> we can't do that. >> two quick comments on the conversation we are having about russia and then i want to change the subject. you and i have a different analysis of what happened in 2013 in ukraine. i don't want to litigate it but i do think it is a convenient conceit to suggest that the russian invasion of ukraine was a consequence of a set of american policies from 2008 to 2013. i can frankly make a very different argument to you that it was in fact the success of the trans atlantic relationship
that had brought ukraine to the point at which they were considering joining the european union that panicked russia into a mistake which they will pay for for a long time unless trump gets his wish and they are brought back to institutions like the g-7. i also don't think there was a lot of evidence that russia's bad behavior is getting better. i would argue that it is getting worse. you have seen a significant democratic backsliding in hungary and turkey that has been led by the russians. you have seen the united states effectively outsourced diplomacy to the russians and the turks. we have seen continued partnership between the russian government and the trump administration with respect to pushing trump's agenda. because of russian government propaganda's, they were pushing
the storyline in the u.s. media. i don't think that there is evidence of bad behavior lessening. i think it is getting worse and worse. >> let me turn to the iran nuclear agreement. i want to have you talk about the strategy. the announcement that we are going to pull out of the agreement was not unexpected. the message has been sent from what i understand that we are going to reimpose u.s. sanctions but also secondary sanctions. as you know, the european union is attempting to try to keep the iranians to their end of the agreement which in their mind involves keeping iran's access
to banking systems such as the swift system. i guess my question is a bigger one but it has two parts. what are our plans to continue to roll out previous sanctions such as secondary sanctions? how on earth does the administration plan to do what they said they were going to do which is put together a series of sanctions? right now, we seem to be in a world in which the europeans want no part of that. they want to continue this relationship to try to get iran to refrain from restarting the nuclear program. we seem to be a little unclear. there is no hope of ever being
able to put back together a set of sanctions that were stronger than the ones we had back in place. >> i completely agree with you and i want to be crystal clear on this in a public setting. there is one person responsible for the ukraine war and that is vladimir putin. i think it is important to a knowledge that recent policy has helped to create an environment that aided indirectly many of putin's aggressive aims. the decisions we make in u.s. policy to help to create a context that our rivals can either exploit or not exploit. i think the reset was a big part of that. my point is we should not have a double standard. the administration can go for six years with a very lopsided courtship of an authoritarian russia.
somehow, it is off-balance for this administration to even talk about planning a meeting with the russians to explore whether there are points of cooperation. i take your overall point. vladimir putin is the one that is responsible for the ukraine war. on the issue of iran, the secretary recently outlined our approach. i would argue it is a much more comprehensive strategy in that in addition to imposing financial penalties, it focuses also on engaging the iranian people, creating a deterrent to structure for our regional allies, and dealing with listed missiles. it is interesting that our middle eastern allies were very much not pleased with it. they saw in monetary and military terms how there was an opening for iran to become more aggressive. i think our focus at this point is working with all of our allies to build a comprehensive international framework. what i have seen in
our interactions with the europeans both pre-and post, there is a fair and wide consensus between ourselves and european allies on analysis of the iranian threat. much more so than there was before we started this process. our european interlocutors acknowledged the need to deal effectively with ballistic missile perforation and bringing revolutionary guard into syria. president mccrone had a four- point formula that is similar to the u.s. approach. >> you are talking about nonnuclear activity. i submit that we can continue to work with europeans on the nuclear activity. let's get the playing field straight today. the europeans are not interested in re-imposing new nuclear sanctions on iran. they are interested in trying
to hold together this set of economic benefits that will entice iran to stay in the nuclear agreement. that is europe's position today. >> i think we will know more about that in the coming days. there is some difference of opinion among different members of the e3. we will know more about the collective perspective on this when we have more dialogue in the near future. i would say that there is that they are self policing. european companies doing business with iran has changed. european union leaders are seeing it is removing themselves. >> it still does not sound to me like a strategy about how you get europeans into a fundamentally different place than they are today.
it is true the europeans are trying to hold this deal together and there does not seem to me to be any strategy to reverse their position or any hope to rebuild a set of sanctions that were tougher than the ones that we had. i know that you can hope for that to be true but heart of the reason that most of the foreign policy establishments begged the president not to do this is they knew it would be a likely impossibility. >> i would like to go back to the balkan. as you know, recent electoral issues in bosnia have contributed to concerns about stability there. i wonder if you could talk more specifically about what we are doing to work with the international community to try to encourage a fix to allow elections to move forward? >> thank you for the question.
i have been very engaged on this issue. when i was in the balkans last week, this was a point of discussion. there are two broad strands to this approach. we are working closely with the european union and other regional allies to use the small window that we have in the lead up to the elections to push for electoral reform. i think cobe which will be the key. we will formulate a way that allows for stability and equal representation. we have supported the british approach in nato with the lead up to the summit. we have lowered some of the conditions with regard to the defense properties so that we can have a clearer path to a discussion about nato prospects. i would like to get back to the
place we were when bosnia was the main and biggest problem of the balkans. we want to get more attention to bosnia. i do think the conditions create very attractive openings for the russians to medal -- to meddle. >> there is no doubt about that. as you point out, in kosovo and serbia, and throughout the balkans. i think the more we can do to help stabilize the situation, the better. i want to turn finally to turkey. there are a number of issues with turkey that i know the state department is very concerned about. one of those is there continued pursuance of the s 400 air defense system from russia. obviously, it would be in violation of half the law. can you talk about what the
administration is doing on that front and if turkey does except delivery of that system, when would we invoke sanctions? >> thank you for that question. i have been very engaged with the turks on this. it is a very serious matter. we have been clear in all of our communications with the turkish government that acquisition of the s 400, which we would assess to have occurred when there is an actual delivery of the technology, we have been clear on multiple occasions with the highest level of the turkish government that there will be consequences. we will abide by the rules and when we determine a transaction has been made, we will impose sanctions. we have also been very clear that across-the- board, an acquisition of as/400 will inevitably affect the prospect for turkish military
and industrial corporation within the united states. >> i think we have to put this in the context of that this is a crucial ally and partner. what they are doing for us with isis is essential. we worked with them very closely in intelligence and other areas but this has the potential to spike the punch. i think we can't be any clearer about saying that both privately and publicly. a decision on as/400 will qualitatively change the u.s.- turkey relationship in a way that would be difficult to repair. >> thank you. i think that is an important message for turkey to hear. i have been involved in efforts with senators to try and delay the delivery of s 35 to turkey because of their holding without any reason of american citizens. i appreciate that at
last week's ceremony with lockheed martin on celebrating the partnership with turkey on the f 35 that the state department did not send a representative to this ceremony. i think it is part of trying to send a clear message to turkey about what our views are and i do know that there is some confusion about whether planes have been delivered. it is my understanding that dod officials have said that we have already begun delivery of planes. it is my understanding that that is not the case. can you confirm for us whether any planes have been delivered to turkey? >> as you probably know senator, the u.s. maintains custody of aircraft until they are transferred which normally occurs after a lengthy training process. in my view, that is helpful to us in these circumstances because it gives us time to continue the messaging. we are in the training phase.
we have watched developments on the hill. we know some of what is being considered on f 35. we believe we have existing legal authorities that would allow us to withhold transfer under certain circumstances. given that, we believe that we continue to have the time and ability to ensure turkey does not move forward on as/400 before having to take a decision on f 35. we are being very clear in our messaging to the turks that they will be consequences. beyond that, i would request that ability to discuss it with you in a classified setting. >> i would be happy to do that. there will be additional ability to cite the acts of congress in dealing with turkey. can you tell me to the extent that we can make this information public, how many american citizens we believe turkey may be holding in prison?
>> we can confirm dozens of u.s. citizen's, mostly u.s.- turkish dual nationals that have been detained or deported. you are aware of some of the legal and privacy restrictions on our ability to discuss it in this setting. my understanding is there roughly 2 dozen detainees. most are detained on criminal charges or foreign terrorist charges. of the number, i believe for have signed privacy waivers. we also have three locally employed staff that are being detained. >> can you talk about what we are doing to address those improper detentions and who we are talking to in the turkish government and the extent to which we are bringing this up with the president? >> the subject of these detained citizens, particularly american citizens, is at the forefront of our agenda with turkey. as important as these other areas are, all the way up to the level of the secretary and the president, it tops our list when we talk to the turks.
the point we have tried to make repeatedly is two things. turkey does have legitimate security concerns that need to be addressed. we have tried to help address those including in syria. in parallel, we have tried to help the turks understand that if they continued to unjustly detain american citizens, it will significantly alter the tenor of our relationship. we appreciate that capitol hill has created leverage for us in some of these areas. we use that leverage to the maximum ability. we explore every inch we have. i will use this setting to lay a very strong marker on the case of pastor andrew bunsen. i have been in close touch with his wife and his family. we have looked at the arraignment and terms of the case that was brought against him in english and turkish but there was nothing there. this is a manifested case. there are limits to how far we
can go in trends actualizing things with any ally or any country but we have examined every option. most immediately, we are hoping and expecting to see the president act on the pledge that he made during the campaign to lift the state of emergency. we are monitoring that very closely. >> i know i am out of time but if i could come i want to follow up with another question. i know that in the past, we have often assumed that after elections, it would be easier to deal with the president and turkey. that has not necessarily proved to be the case. is there any reason to believe that he may be more responsive after these elections? >> that is a good question. we have consistently said that we respect the democratic desires of the turkish people.
we were concerned about some irregularities in the selection. we are concerned about the state of human rights. our approach will be to continue to find those areas where we can cooperate and strengthen the relationship. turkey is a strong ally and partner at -- partner that has legit security concerns. i think that president erdogan knows what our expectations are about our people and all aspects of the relationship. we are going to use every opening that we have to message that but also try to get this relationship on a better track. keeping turkey on a track toward the political west but the geostrategic west has to be a prime objective for the u.s. strategy in the region. >> thank you. >> turkey's treatment of pastor
brunson is simply outrageous. i think that they need to understand that every member of congress is highly concerned about it. i appreciate your lead on it. i appreciate your strong statement on it as well. that would be a really big step in terms of helping to improve relationships with a very important country. my final question has to do with the baltic states. i have always been concerned, particularly after russia's invasion of georgia. our response now hopefully sends a strong message. can you give me your assessment in terms of the dangers of russian meddling? >> i think the dangers are very real. i think the baltics -- the baltic states have never been stronger. these are model democracies. the really set the standard across the region for strong atlantis bulwarks.
we have to be diligent both militarily and with regard to hybrid and cyber threats. we have strong pathways of coordination with all of these countries. >> we really do appreciate your service. these are incredibly important relationships we are dealing with in a very unstable environment and world. thank you for your service and your testimony. with that, the hearing record will remain open until the close of business on thursday, june 28. this hearing is adjourned. con] , what someone.
[inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] coming up tonight, a senate hearing of the proposed t- mobile and sprint merger. white house trade director peter navarro discusses the u.s. economic relationship with china. the state department releases its annual human trafficking report. veterans affairs secretary nominee robert wilkie testifying at his senate confirmation hearing. executives from t-mobile