tv U.S. Foreign Policy in Europe CSPAN June 30, 2018 2:00am-3:22am EDT
we invite your comments via twitter. next a hearing on u.s. relations with europe. after that health and human services secretary alex azar at a senate hearing on the cost of prescription drugs. next a senate foreign relations subcommittee on foreign relations in europe including the nato alliance. this is an hour and 20 minutes.
good morning. this hearing of the senate foreign relations committee is called to order. i'm happy to welcome assistant secretary wess mitchell to discuss u.s. foreign policy in europe. um secretary, really appreciate you you coming and looking forward to our back and forth. i would ask my written opening remarks be put into the record. i'm accountant, i like data. there are two relatively big issues brought to the floor in the last 18 months. one relates to our nato partners meeting their 2
percent commitment. the short fall in 2016 was about $100 billion. in 2017 according to testimony they increased spending by 14.4 billion, slated to go up more, so now the shortfall is about 98 billion. from 2019 to 2024 another shortfall will be filled leaving a $62 billion shortfall eight years after 2016. so that just kind of puts that into perspective in terms of what that actually is. i've discussed this with our european allies and friends and partners. i always try and make the point this wasn't president trump making this point. he's really speaking for the american public. if we expect america to be steadfast in our relationship, the least europe can do is contribute their fair share. the other point i want to make, and the other, you know, bone
of contention obviously is trade. we hear the massive trade deficits. the fact of the matter is we export, in 2017 we exported about $285 billion. we imported $629 from the european union leaving a trade deficit of about 101 billion. about 19 percent of what we export. i understand that the president is trying to reset our trading relationship, shock our european partners into really reducing tariffs. i think the best term that the president has introduced in the debate is reciprocal treatment. it would be great to have total reciprocity in our trade relationship with no tariff barriers. that's a worthy goal, and we hope to achieve that as quickly
as possible. dr. mitchell, i also read your speech to the heritage foundation, and i don't want to steal your thunder, but i thought it was pretty salient that you said coming into 2017 the administration inherited a failed russian reset, a conflict in ukraine causing 10,000 lives already, a failed red line in syria, the largest migration wave in recent european history, and an eu navigating the first secession, and these are some enormous challenges. we still face them. new challenges are growing every day. i'm 63 years old. i really can't remember a world that seems to be so destabilize. so many threats coming from so many different directions, so i think this will be a pretty
interesting conversation today, and again i appreciate your willingness to testify. we know turn it over to ranking member murphy. >> thank you mr. chairman. as i hope you know, i tell visitors into my office from europe regularly how lucky we have that you have chosen to take up this very difficult assignment. i want to congratulate you on recent good news with the deal between greece and macedonia hopefully paving the way for macedonia to join european institutions, and i thank you for your willingness to serve. that being said, we had a nominee to be the ambassador of the eu before the committee last week, and it's fairly ridiculous that it took a year and a half to get an ambassador to brussels, but he characterized the moment we're
in today with respect to the u.s./europe relationship as just 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's never been this bad in the post-war era. it's 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 on a joint u.s./european drive to promote open economies collapses as well. i know this sounds hyperbolic, but i think the stakes are this high. the stake of the relationship is in that bad a state, and i don't even have time to run through the gauntlet of abuses the president has heaped on europe, but here's a few. he's u.n. lateral -- u.n.
laterally backed out of paris climate accord and perceived our european allies to be global economic adversaries than economic partners, regularly personal attacks european leaders on twitter, saving the most vicious treatment for germany. he cheered as a candidate and still cheers the break up of the european union, he traffics european white nationalist progun did a through his social media -- propaganda through his social media feed, and recently announced russia should rejoin the g7 without consulting with our european partners. this is all led one of the greatest friends of the u.s./europe relationship, the swedish foreign minister to say is putin interfering and trying to destabilize the policies of
eu? yes. but trump at the moment is far worse. the president's hostility toward the eu is making the challenges we face jointly all the more difficult. the united states should be standing side by side with all allies in europe, not trying to break apart this relationship. i hope you will continue to serve as a bulwark against the worst of the attacks from the president, but you and the other supporters of the u.s./eu alliance are losing this argument within the administration badly so far. we are 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 these topics over the course of this hearing. senator murphy. dr. wes mitchell is the >> thank you senatoras murphy.
dr. wess mitchell is the assistant secretary of state for european and eurasian affairs. he's the author of numerous articles, reports, and books on transatlantic relationships. he received his ph.d from fry university in berlin, germany. secretary mitchell, don't be constrained by the five minutes. give us the full opening statement and then we'll 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's guiding the administration's approach to europe. as we celebrate thevictory of
western democracy over communism, we have to remember it was the product of active and intense prolonged effort by the united states and our european allies. i think it's now very clear in retrospect that history did not end in 1989 with the fall of the berlin wall. 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 in confidence in european institutions. our europe strategy begins by acknowledges that europe and america must take the reality of strategic composition seriously. the goal was outlined by president trump in warsaw, and we want succeed in that task
without europe, that is the west and the heart of the free world. preserving the west begins with strengthsenning our physical -- strengthening our physical defensors. the u.s. has reaffirmed our commitment to nato article 5, and we are providing military assistance to ukraine, georgia, muldova, the baltics, and other european countries. for physical years 2018 and 2019 the administration has requested more than $11 billion in new funds. our allies are stepping up. at u.s. urging since january 2017, every nato member but one have increased defense spending. the number of allies that will spend 2 percent on defense by 2024 has tripled, and the number allocating 20 percent to major equipment has nearly doubled. in that time the alliance as a
whole raised defense spending by 14 had the $4 billion, and project the largest increase this year in a generation. but material strength is only part of equation. taking strategic competition seriously requires 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 force harnessed to certain aspects of competition, and both russia and china want to break the west. russia wants to splinter it, china wants to supplant it. one place they're especially aggressive is in central and eastern europe. our first priority here is to check russian aggression. in recent years the kremlin has
attempted to forcefully redraw borders, intimidate and attack neighbors, launch disinformation and cyber campaigns against the west, and engaged in military build ups 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 principles or allies. the years of soft policy that enabled russian aggression are over. we will continue to raise the cost of russian aggression until president putin chooses a different path. since january of 2017 we have brought sanctions against 213 russian individuals or businesses. we have expelled the largest number of russian spies in history. in partnership with ucomm, the state department is leading the u.s. government's effort to counter russian disinformation. we continue to demand the
russian government uphold international commitments and allow its citizens to exercise their fundamental freedoms without fear of retribution. in parallel we're building up the means of self-defense for the frontier states most directly threatened by russia militarily. ukraine and georgia. we helped both states improve their defensive capability. at the same time, we're striving to keep ukraine on the path of reform, most recently by urging leaders to adopt an anti-corruption court and set gas tariffs to market prices, and we're working to strengthen u.s. political and military economic engagement with georgia. across the eastern frontier we are working to build stronger long term bulwarks from russia and china. we are working with allies to strengthen the resilience of
their political systems and combat corruption and improve military readiness, diversify energy supplies, and increase regional coordination through the three cs initiative, and bucharest 9. throughout the region we're animate bid the urgent -- animated by the urgent need to compete for positive influence. the memory of 1989 is fading. we must be diligent to defend western principles, but also engage more so than in the recent past. criticism bereft of engagement is a recipe for estrangement. we must provide an alternative to allies or expect to lose them to rival spears of influence. europe's southern frontier is another point of strategic focus.
rallying our allies to take europe's southern frontier for seriously will be a major focus of the upcoming nato summit. we're working to secure europe's borders, get nato more deeply engaged in the counterterrorism building, and project stability in africa and the middle east. russia has increased naval presence there, and is seeking to solidify a sphere of influence. turkey faces challenges. it's a steadfast partner in defeat isis efforts and in counterbalancing iran. we look forward to working with the newly re-elected president there on these challenges, while making clear issues in our bilateral relationship need to be resolved. we want to secure the release of unjustly detained u.s. citizens and embassy staff, to prevent turkey's purchase of
the russian s4 system and stabilizing northern syria and preventing isis' return. we encourage the turkish president to implement the on going state of emergency, and represent the views of all of turkey's citizens and strengthen turkey's democracy. in parallel we are constructing a long term strategy to bolster the u.s. presence in the mediterranean. we're working to systematically strengthen security and emergency cooperation with cypress. we're also increasing u.s. engagement in the western balkans. we're working to achieve a historic break through in the greece and macedonia name
dispute. we're promoting reforms in bosnia. in all of these areas we are committed to finding a common way forward. the past nine months i have made 29 visits to european countries and given more than 22 speeches. through this outreach i have seen that what unites the west is far greater than what divides us. while strong positions on iran, trade, and more may not lead to immediate agreement with allies, the long term cost of neglecting these things far outweigh the we get from political unity today. we must act. we can debate, stat apologize, and coordinate, but -- strategies and coordinate, but we must act. our task is one of strategic renovation. doing the hard work of shoring up and strengthen the west now so we don't have to later on terms much less favorable. to preserve is to act.
i am committed to do exactly that, and i'm convinced we'll succeed with europe together. thank you. succeed with europe together. thank you. >> i just want to ask one >> thank you dr. . mitchell. i'll just ask one question and then turn it over to ranking member murphy. we had an interesting conversation in my office before the hearing here, and i'd asked you previously to what extent do we know the dollar investment that china is making into all of europe and you mentioned the pressure of the influence that both russia and china are trying to yield within europe, but we also talked about hungary. can you tell us how much china is investing, how strategic their investment is and give us thoughts in terms of what's happening in hungary? >> the chinese investment is serious, stray teenic, and growing -- strategic and
growing. a good estimate is between 2005 and 2017, the people's republic of china invested more than $24.19 billion in the 16 countries that form central and eastern europe. to give you a sense of perspective on this, china is the primary financier of a high speed railway between budapest and belgrade. as a frame of reference, the united states and opec in general overseas is somewhere between 40 and 60 billion world wide.
they're sharpening their outreach in soft power, and the creation of centers, so they're competing for influence, and i think from the u.s. and western perspective, we have to admit we've lost a lot of ground in europe. 1989 is distant for most people, and one of the serious objectives we have to have this year into next year is the 30th anniversary of 1989 as a magnificent opportunity for the u.s. to reengage hearts and minds in that region, and that's an endeavor that will take a lot of focus and effort, but i look forward to working with this me committee. >> and i've made several trips
to serbia and kosovo, and you talked about paying attention to them. paying attention and trying to engage, but we also talked about hungary and poland. both leaders have come under criticism here, but you have, you know, from my standpoint a policy of positive engage. can you speak to that? >> well i think we have to engage senator. i think we've lost ground in part because our rivals are showing a lack in creativity, but in part because of unforced error on our part, and i would just start from zero and say to your point we did deprioritize central and eastern europe starting after 2011 for very good reasons at that time. we had a reset and pivot to asia. the russians and chinese were
not. and in many countries in this region, i think you see the russians and chinese have gained political economic yardage. in the past when the united states has often been harder on our allies, like hungary for poland than we are on russia in periods like the reset, i think that's been a mistake and created vacuums that others have filled, so going forward we have to strike a balance. be clear on principles and what we stand for, and we'll never stop, but i think we have to balance that with increased diplomatic engagement. the chinese and russians are there regularly and spending a lot of money. if we show up occasionally and do nothing but criticize we can lose ground.
>> thank you. senator murphy? >> thank you very much mr. chairman. this is no secret that i think our strategy with respect to europe is just a total debacle, and it's not your fault. i understand you don't share the views of this president with respect to the attack he's launched on europe or some of the policies he may be implementing towards russia, but you're the only one we can ask so let me try to get clarification on what our policy is. let's start with, 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. why did our policy change? >> thank you for that question and let me answer the first and second part of it.
the first part, on our approach to europe, i think it's well articulated in the president's warsaw speech. and i think his starting point and starting point of this administration is saying we're not going to strengthen the west by continuing the polite fiction of some areas of u.s. and european policy that are weakening us collectively and probably preventing the united states from wanting to stay engaged in europe long term, so burden sharing, iran, imbalances in trade, all of these are positions we've staked out forcefully because we believe the west collectively will be worse off. on the issue of russia, the administration has been clear that the door to dialogue with russia is open. we stated that repeatedly and opened avenues of communication on ukraine on syria on cyber, and improvement in the relationship can only happen once russia stops its aggressive behavior. so far we've been disappointed
in the russian government's lack of taking responsibility for its rations. we have nothing to announce -- for its actions. we have nothing to announce at this time. i will continue to fight for an approach with russia that's open to dialogue, but doesn't sacrifice our relationship with our friends. >> but the president announced a desire to bring russia back into the g7 regardless of what the state department has to announce, you are not in charge of u.s. foreign policy, the president is, and he announced that his desire is to bring russia back in without preconditions. is that not the president's position? >> well, i think that's extrapolating somewhat from the comments he made. as i understand the president's view of russia, this is one of the world's largest nuclear powers, we have to be open to dialogue, reach out and keep
the channels open, but i think the administration in the last year and a half has done more to take a tough stance on russia than the previous administration did in the first six years in office in a reset that helped pave the way for the ukraine war, so i think our record on russia, if you judge this administration by our action, the stance we've taken on sanctions, 213 individuals and entities in the last year and a half, what we're doing to buck up our allies. i think we have a good record. >> let me, the administration got dragged kicking and screaming to implement the sanctions by people on this panel, so to suggest the administration is leading on a set of sanctions that you are forced to put into place by legislation passed by this congress, um, i just i think it's, i have great respect for you ambassador, i think that's stretching the bounds of how this played out. the president recently tweeted the people of germany are turning against their
leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous coalition. this is pretty 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 the statistics he referenced are not true. crime is down 10 percent, not up 10 percent, but why is the president openly trying to undermine chancellor merkel in germany. how does that support u.s. objectives? >> i think the situation in europe is one we have to take very seriously, and in the last
few months in italy, austria, france, i think they've been very clear they want stronger border, want to protect the nation state -- >> i guess that's not my question. this is a very personal attack on the chancellor saying the people of germany are turning against her and using his social media, using his voice to criticize here and cheer those politically opposing her side by side with an ambassador to germany who's openly stated he'll use his position to help conservatives across the continent politically. the question is why is the president weighing in on the political circumstances of the chancellor and using his voice to try and politically undermine the chancellor. you can disagree with me, not thinking that tweet is doing that, but it certainly sounds like you're trying to undermine
the chancellor. >> i interpreted the tweet to be an expression of concern about the state of migration in the western world generally, and i think we've been slow to wake up to this challenge. it's a divisive issue in a lot of our societies. as i understand the president's statements, we have to take migration seriously. open without serious public policy discussion about how we regulate and moderate the flow of migrants. on ambassador canal, his comments were taken out of context. he has made clear he is not endorsing any candidate or political party. we have a robust that he's not endorsing any particular party or candidate. we have a robust relationship. we expect the dialogue to continue.
the ambassador has since clarified his comments and noted it is not u.s. policy to endorse candidates or policies. he was making general observations in the interview. my focus overall with germany is to increase engagement in all areas possible. we have a very strong bilateral relationship with germany, a lot of areas of cooperation in security, counterterrorism and trade. i take a long view. i think the u.s. german relationship has been through a lot of storms in our history. that should not lull us into complacency. i think we have to be very proactive in building up as much cooperation as possible. i think the relationship is a lot more healthy than is often made out in the media. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. i appreciate you coming to this hearing. three quick questions, first has to do with something that might be viewed as more of a
u.s. priority than a european priority. that's how to screen investments. you talked about how china has invested $24 billion in europe since 2001. we have a city's process in this country which, while imperfect allows us to screen investments. the same is not true in europe. i was in eastern europe talking about senator murphy's and my information does legislation about disinformation, russian disinformation primarily. this issue came up. there was an interest on behalf of countries working with us to understand how we could come up with the way to view investments from a national security perspective. my first question is whether you have worked on that. how do you feel about that. does the state department have any best practices to share on that to prevent nations from
using tools to undermine our national security? >> that's a very timely question. when i was in the czech republic, we held a meeting with dialogue in this was one of the meetings -- items of discussion. we are working closely with european countries. there are different ways to come up with a national security focus. the focus is to come up with a differentiation between investments that are surely commercial and market oriented and those that are animated by or could create a pathway to abuse of national security concerns. we are in active ongoing dialogue with our allies in central europe. it's a particularly important subject in something i have been closely engaged on. for those listening and wondering why this is a big deal for the
united states, it's a backdoor to the united states. if european firms become owned by a chinese company that might have a national security interest, particularly in obtaining technology from the united states, we didn't contract with that company in europe that is not going through the process. . i think it's important for us and our allies and i hope you will work with them and our allies. with regard to u.s.-russian relations it's pretty impressive in terms of what this administration has been able to do in terms of pushing back into specific areas. the sanctions we talked about, which have been implemented.
the sanctions are important, not just to crimea and the annexation. i think it's important to keep these sanctions in place. with regard to providing lethal weapons, defensive weapons to ukrainians to be able to defend themselves, we worked with the obama administration for years on that even though it was unsuccessful. initially in the trump adminstration there was some concern. at my recent trip to ukraine, i was able to see the results, which is that now the trump adminstration is providing ukrainians the means to defend themselves. the most striking example is the missiles. there's other equipment including anti-sniper equipment, to push back on the line of contact where i was able to go over the easter period. my question to you is, if there is a russian summit, which it looks like there will be coming up, do you expect these sanctions are going to become
part of the conversation? i expect they will. what is your view on that? there has been some criticism of the way some of these sanctions have been implemented. people would like to be tougher on russia. i know russia will push back the other way. what would your advice be? >> thanks for the question. i know there has been a lot of speculation. we are going into all aspects of our engagement with the russian federation with eyes wide open. we remember the example of research. i think we've had two consecutive administrations, it's not even a partisan issue, that started their term with a positive opening to the russians and then ended up their term with a regional war. that is not something that we are going to replicate. on the issue of sanctions specifically, i have read the legislation carefully. in particular, it spells out what will be needed to change russian behavior and -- in order to see the softening or lifting of sanctions. that is stipulated very
specifically. that is the law. whether it's lifting sanctions for changing the overall temperature of the russian ship, in all of these areas, in the case of cassa, it is defined specifically. the mayor of crimea -- matter of crimea, that's spelled out and we will continue to abide by the letter and spirit of the law. the broader question is one that transcends multiple administrations. this increasing pattern of russia that abuses openings earlier in an administration's term, i think we have seen this and of collectively that this administration is alive to the possibility of vladimir putin
abusing these openings. i remember the open letter. it was written in the early days of the research does reset. they warned us that if we opened this to engagement, no -- not only would putin ignore it, but it would be a problem. we stepped back and we see the consequences of that. you had the pivot and reset. we withdrew our last [ inaudible ] from europe. we have to keep in mind, since we had a solid and secure period in the previous administration, that i would say was the perception of engagement but in reality was disengaging. i think we have a strong track record in this administration. it's often described as disengagement but i think we are very engaged in europe. look at our stance on norstrom
2 and iran. we may not agree on the tactics with all of these things that we are in close dialogue two we are committed to a joint way forward. i think we will do. to before my time expires, one of the issues i suspect would be president putin asking to make decisions about ukraine without ukraine at the table. that has certainly been the approach taken in the past. again, in your role, i expect you to have strong roles -- strong views on this. how would you advise the president on the sanctions and what's going on at the border of ukraine? to i'm not going to engage in too many you -- too many hypotheticals. i think the legislation is clear, what specific actions would be needed on the part of the russians in order for us to lift sanctions. i think we have shown our resolve, not least, by providing defensive aid to the
ukrainians and to the georgians. i believe 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's increasingly hard to see whether our dose where there are -- it's increasingly hard to see where there are shared interests with the u.s. in russia. i think we have been very clear about where the boundaries are. >> i appreciate your comments. >> thank you secretary mitchell for being here today and for all of the good work you are promoting in your statement. you say very clearly that we seek a better relationship with russia but it can only happen when russia's capsids aggressive behavior. do you think russia has stopped its 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, president 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 that the previous administration saw, i need to strike a balance where there are shared interest. i'm a skeptic that there are many areas but we have to be open to that. in terms of the national security advisor's outreach, i
call that 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 foreseeing a change in the relationship with russia on syria or ukraine. we have been crystal clear on our messaging on the need for the russians to be meddling in our internal affairs. >> let me interrupt you because i would agree that, we may disagree about the motives, but i agree that the actions over the last year and a half of been tough on russia, because of the sanctions that were passed overwhelmingly by a bipartisan congress, and that has been important. we have not -- there is a difference between what we are doing and what we are hearing out of this white house based on russia. the concern that i've got is you are talking about russian needs to stop meddling in our internal
politics and our internal economy, and yet, we have entered this president even acknowledge that russia is meddling and is continue to meddle in american elections. there are concerns about what that will mean for the upcoming midterms go despite the fact that the intelligence community has said that, and i think a number of people in the state department have acknowledged that, the president hasn't acknowledged that. that's the disconnect that i'm concerned about, about what kind of a message that sends to russia and whether they will misinterpret what to the intent of the united states is. >> i understand your question. i would say, judge us by our
actions. our goal at this point is to ensure that any dialogue we have at the russians, and it's not yet clear whether there will be one, to ensure that we are doing this 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, by the president. i look forward to seeing what might come out of that kind of a summit. i want to switch to nato because 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? are you concerned about what we are seeing, the demonstrations we are seeing in
both greece and macedonia, and whether that will detour the governments of both of those countries in their resolve on this issue? to thank you for that question. it's 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, i would say, yes, i am concerned. i am particularly concerned about the russian meddling. we saw this in montenegro. russian officials have been making statements. we have made clear to the russians we are watching closely and it's not in moscow's rights to decide macedonia's future. we have excellent cooperation with the macedonians. i am in contact with senior leaders are. more broadly on your question, the next steps on this is the macedonian parliament has
ratified the deal, but it has to be confirmed by a public referendum and there needs to be a two thirds majority in the parliament. they -- we would then expect to see greece ratify this only after macedonia has made the changes. we would expect to see nato extend an invitation to what would be north macedonia at the summit in july. we are hope being that the european union would see negotiations. >> have you had a chance to talk to the eu about that? >> yes we have. we are infrequent dialogue, daily dialogue, particularly with the french on this matter. the french have some concerns that we are working with them to help understand their concerns and chart a way forward. i'm optimistic we will see that. as you know, 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 for its implications for the balkan peninsula. i would expect to see a tailwind from that, and how we approach serbia, bosnia- herzegovina, coast of a -- post of oh. >> if there's a summit between vladimir putin and and president trump, would secretary pompeo advisor present he should raise the issues of russian meddling and in the balkan reason -- region in general is one of the reasons for discussion? >> the issue of russian meddling is at the forefront of all interagency discussions of russia. that's a central reality we are very focused on. my question does my response would be yes. >> have those concerns been
raised with vladimir putin? >> we often don't reveal private diplomatic conversations but i know the administration has frequently and public he raised the concern . >> the president has? >> the administration. but not the president. i would love to have you review the record and share with this committee any time at which the president has raised these concerns. >> as long as we are talking about dialogue, i think it's important. i think we need to do it from a position of strength and result. doctor mitchell, ambassador huntsman encourage me to lead a delegation in which he was going to join as well, i think january 2017. unfortunately, senator shaheen was denied entry. we called it off. we weren't going to let the russians play the game. now editor shelby is going to
lead a delegation next week. i signed onto that. i'm not sure whether there going to let me in. my plans are still up in the air. i want to go. i would encourage you to use whatever contacts. i think it should be a goal to improve relations with a power that has 7000 nuclear weapons. putting pressure on eastern europe and the baltic states and trying to gain greater influence, dialogue is good from a position of strength. i would encourage you, i want to try and improve those relationships but from a standpoint of strength and resolve. we all meet frequently with our european partners. i have made more trips to europe and i probably intended to in 2017. one of the reasons is i want to reaffirm through our branches of government, our strong, unanimous commitment to the
strong strategic alliances with nato and the eu. i am hopeful that people realize long-term those are strong relationships. do you get the same sense? obviously, i appreciate your testimony. by ignoring problems -- i am not one to ignore problems. i am one to get right in. if there's conflict involved, fine. get the problem resolved and move forward in terms of long- term strong relationships. do you get the sense that's what you are dealing with with the european partners? they can't separate the short- term troubles versus what the long-term outlook is? >> i do. i get the impression in our conversation with nato that there was 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 coming more competitive geopolitically. the west faces very serious
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 or nordstrom to -- nordstrom 2. the administration is raising a. -- it. to see the 10,000 casualties on the doorstep of ukraine and irregular migration flows as a result of the conflict in syria, geopolitics is back and on a long-term basis, if we look back and say we were able to increase burden sharing, in germany in particular, that we killed nord stream two and got
a more fair and reciprocal transatlantic trade, i think that would be a pretty good run. i think we could say on that basis, the west as a whole is collectively better for the strategic competition. none of these things that we are working on in our diplomacy, are things that we are approaching from a narrow u.s. self-interest. they are in the u.s. tantris. but what we have raised with european alley -- allies in the past, we want to make headway with. to make it interesting, when i first joined this committee, we met repeatedly with european partners and back then, the discussion was all about edward snowden, angela merkel's cell phone and then charlie hebdo happened. it really is the serious nature of the threat of terrorist for
all of our societies, and the need for us to maintain strong partnerships and share the intelligence which is the first line of defense against that. do you believe that our intelligence gathering and sharing and cooperation is as strong today or stronger than it was with charlie hebdo? >> our cooperation with european countries in the nato framework and eu framework and bilateral basis is very strong. >> again, that's a good positive outlook in terms of the relationship. let's go back to a conversation we had in our office. the different approach that both russia and china used versus the u.s. when it comes to investing in foreign countries? >> i think they have integrated
matters of commerce and investment into a strategic vision. the chinese in particular tend to view commercial investments abroad as a matter of state. my perception is 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, quiet, skillful building up of influence, relationships, and investment over the last several years, that the chinese have taken. i think we have to acknowledge that these are serious, well thought out, well resourced, long-term efforts and we have to be candid about the goal. the goal is very much to undermine the western order, both politically and economically. 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 immediate post-cold war period were a straight-line trajectory that was an arc of history or end of history that implied a certain amount of latitude on our part. i think the events of the last several years have been a real wake-up call that europe is not a post be -- post geopolitical environment. i think we are catching up quickly in the understanding that we need to compete in that environment. the national security strategy is for most that this is a prolonged and strategic competition. counterterrorism will always be important but will not retain the salience and u.s. foreign policy that it did from 9/11 until a couple years ago. we have to shift into a different mindset for the west in general. that requires some tough choices for our society.
>> real quick, america, we spent about 1% of our federal budget on foreign aid. in the past, oftentimes there were very few strings attached, just showing the compassion of the american public. china goes about it a bit differently, don't they? i've heard anecdotal evidence where they will build a port, let's say, and make a loan which the country obviously can't pay off. the lawn -- the loan is defaulted and then they take possession of the porch. is at standard operation -- is that standard operation? >> i think that's a good observation. there are strings attached. when countries find they can no longer service the debt, chunks of their infrastructure are claimed. the chinese have also tended to have a more relationship-based approach to national elites who, in many of these countries, are corrupt double.
i would argue corruption is the single biggest problem, even among our allies today in europe. the chinese can use that avenue of corruption. we can do that. >> that's a huge advantage they have. >> senator murphy? >> thank you mr. chairman. two quick comments about this conversation about russia and that i want to change the topic and get another set of questions in before the time is up. you and i have a different analysis of what happened in 2013 in ukraine. i don't want to litigate it here but i think it's a convenient conceit to suggest the russian invasion of ukraine was because of u.s. policies from 2008 until 2013. i can make a different argument in that it was the success of
the transatlantic hardship that brought ukraine to the point in which they were considering joining the european union that panicked russia into a mistake they will pay for for a very long time, unless trump gets his wish and they are brought back into institutions such as the g7. i also don't think there's a lot of evidence that russia's bad behavior is getting better. in fact, i would argue that it's getting worse. you have seen significant democratic backsliding in turkey and other countries. you have seen outsourced diplomacy in syria to russians and the turks. big investments in places like the balkans that we did not see during the obama administration. and the continued partnership between the russian government and the trump adminstration with respect to pushing trump's agenda, because of russian government propaganda is, they
were pushing a storyline in the u.s. media. they have not given up on their attempts to influence the american political dialogue. i don't think that there's any evidence that they are bad behavior is lessening. i think, frankly, it's getting worse and worse. let me turn to the iran nuclear agreement. i would love you to talk to us for a few minutes about what our strategy is. the announcement that we were 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, chancellor merkel and others in the european union are attempting to try to keep the iranians to their end of the agreement, which in their minds involves, for
instance, keeping a rams access to banking systems -- iran's access to banking systems, such as the swiss system -- my question has two parts. what are our plans to continue to rollout previous sanctions such as secondary sanctions on european companies that are doing business with the iranians. how on earth does the administration plan to do what they said they planned to do which is put together a series of sanctions that are tougher than the previous set 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 with the ramp to try to get -- iran to try to get iran to end their nuclear program. to most folks, it seems today that there is absolutely 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. flesh this out a little bit for us. to i thank you for those questions. on the first point, i completely agree with you. i want to be crystal-clear in a public setting, there was one person responsible for the ukraine war and that is vladimir putin. it's important to acknowledge in recent years u.s. policy, as terry pompeo said, help to to create a permissive environment that aided, indirectly aided many of putin's aggressive aims , which is to say the decisions we make in u.s. policy do 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 shouldn't have a double standard. the administration can go six years with a very lopsided courtship of an authority aid -- authoritarian russia but somehow it's off bounds for this
administration to even talk about a meeting with the russians to explore whether there are points of cooperation. i take your overall point. vladimir putin is the one responsible for the ukraine war. on the issue of iran, the secretary recently outlined our approach. i would argue it's a much more comprehensive strategy in that in addition to imposing financial penalties, it focuses also on engaging the iranian people and creating a structure for our allies and dealing with ballistic activity. unlike our european allies, our middle eastern allies were very much not pleased with this. they saw how this created an opening for iran to become more aggressive. i think our focus at this point is working with all of our allies, not just in europe and middle east and asia to build a comprehensive
framework. what i have seen in our interactions with european is talking about the randian agreement, there's a fair consensus on analysis of the randian threat our european allies acknowledge the deal to -- need to deal effectively. president macron when he was here had a four pillar formula that's very similar to the u.s. approach. >> i understand that but you are talking about nonnuclear activity. i submit we can continue to work with europeans on nonnuclear activity. let's get the playing field straight today. the europeans today are not interested in re-imposing new nuclear sanctions on iran. they are interested in trying to
hold together the set of economic benefits that will entice iran to stay in the nuclear agreement. that is europe's position today. to i think we will know more about europe's position in the coming days. there's some difference of opinion among different members of the eu and e3. we will know more about the perspective on this one we have dialogue in the future. what i would say is i think the self policing of european companies, the flight of european companies doing business in iran away from iran, it has change the equation in the sense that when european leaders look at iran and cedar businesses are voluntarily -- see their businesses are voluntary and -- voluntarily removing themselves from iran, that doesn't seem like a strategy.
i don't see how that's a strategy to get the europeans in a fundamentally different place than they are today. it is true that angela merkel, in particular, and other leaders are trying to hold us together. there doesn't seem to be a strategy to reverse their decision, or any sanctions that are tougher than what we had. you can hope for that but i think most begged the president not to do this because they thought that will be a likely possibility. >> senator shaheen. >> i would like to go back to the balkans. as you know, recent elections in bosnia-herzegovina have contributed to concerns about stability. i wonder if you could tell us how we could allow elections to
move forward by some sort of a fix. >> i have been personally engaged in this issue. when i was in the balkans last week this was a point of discussion. two broad's brands -- broad streams, one is we are working with regional allies to use the small window that we have in the lead up to the elections to push for electoral reform. i think cobit, in particular will be a key. i believe this will be a key to formulating the house of peoples in a way that allows for stability but also equal representation. on a parallel track with nato, we have supported the british approaching nato in the lead up to the summit, of lowering some of the conditions with regard to the defense property so that we can have a clearer path and discussion about nato prospects
so that we are not exercising in the fact.be too. i would like to get back to the place we were when bhatia herzegovina was the biggest problem -- bosnia-herzegovina was the biggest problem in the balkan peninsula. i think this creates a very attractive opening for the russians to metal. >> there's no doubt about that, not just in bosnia-herzegovina. as you pointed out, in coast of all, serbia and throughout -- kosovo , serbia and throughout the balkans. i now want to turn 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, which obviously would be in violation of law. can you talk about what the
administration is doing on that front, and if turkey does accept delivery of that system, when would we invoke sanctions? >> thank you for that question. i have been very engaged with the turks on this, as you know. it's a very serious matter. we have been clear with all of the matters. the acquisition of the s 300 -- s 400 which we would assess to have occurred when there's the actual delivery of the technology, we have been clear on multiple that there will be consequences, first and foremost spelled-out under casa 631. we will impose sanctions in accordance with section 231. we've also been clear that an acquisition of s 400 will inevitably affect the prospects for turkey us military --
turkish military cooperation with the united states. we have to put this in the context that this is a crucial ally and partner. what they are doing with us to defeat isis is absolutely essential. we work in intelligence and other areas but this has the potential to spike the punch. we can't be any clearer than saying both privately and publicly, a decision on s 400 will call a tale of two does qualitatively change the relations. >> i think that's an important message for turkey to hear. i think you know, i have been involved with senators langford and tillis to try and delay the delivery of f 35's to turkey because primarily of their [ inaudible ] without any reason, holding americans systems -- citizens. i appreciate that at last
week's ceremony, with lockheed martin, celebrating the partnership with turkey on the f 35, that the state department did not send a representative to the ceremony. i think that's a part of trying to send a clear message to turkey about what our views are. but i do know there is some confusion about whether planes have actually been delivered. it's lander standing they have not yet delivered planes. can you confirm whether or not any planes have actually been a delivery? >> in my view this is helpful in the circumstances because this gives us time to continue the messaging. my understanding is we are in the training phase.
we have watch developments on the hill and we know what's being considered on f 35's. we believe we have existing authorities that would allow us to withhold certain things including with national security concerns. we continue to have the ability to determine they haven't moved forward on s 400 before we make a decision on f 35. we are clear with our messaging with the turks that there will be consequences. beyond that i would request the ability to clarify this in a classified setting. >> i would be happy to do that. as you know the provisions in the appropriations bill are on track for passage. there will be an 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. citizens, mostly u.s. turkish dual nationals that had been detained or deported is the start of the state of emergency. you are aware of our inability to discuss it in this setting. my understanding is there are roughly two dozen detainees, most detained on foreign terrorist charges. of that number i believe four have signed privacy waivers. we also have three locally employed staff that are being detained. >> and you talk about what we are doing to try and address those improper detentions and to we are talking to in the turkish government and to the extent we are bringing it up to the president? >> particularly american citizens, this is at the forefront of our agenda with turkey. is important as these other areas are, all the way up to the level of the secretary and president, it top solace when we talk to the turks.
the.we have tried to make -- the main concerns we have is trying to address this with syria. we have tried to make the turks understand that if they continue 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. use that leverage to the maximum ability and explore every inch of that leverage. i will use this setting to lay a very strong marker on the case of pasture andrew bunsen in particular. i have been -- pastor andrew bunsen. we have been in close contact with his family. we have looked at the arraignment in terms of the case that was brought to him in english and turkish. there is nothing there.
this is as a manifest case of on justice as we have seen. there are limits and how far we can go with any ally or country but we have examined every option we message it all the way to the highest levels and will continue to do so. most immediately, we are hoping and expecting to see president air to one -- erogan to lift the state of emergency. if i could follow up with another question, i know i am out of town. -- out of time. we have assumed that it would be easier to deal with turkey after the elections but that is not the case but is there any reason to believe he more -- might be more responsive now? >> that's a good question. we respect the democratic desires of the turkish people. we were concerned about summa
legarrette these -- some elijah rarities -- some irregularities in the elections. we want to continue with the relationship. turkey is a strong ally and partner that has strong security concerns. i'm not going to try to look in a crystal ball. i would just say that i think our expectations -- erdogan knows what our expirations are -- expectations are. this has to be a prime strategy in the region. >> thank you and thank you mr. chairman. >> i appreciate you bringing up the subject of turkey. turkey's treatment of the pastor
is simply outrageous. every member of congress is highly concerned about a. i appreciate your and senator culus is -- about it. i appreciate your concern and senator tell us concern. i've always been concerned, particularly after russia's invasion of russia and eastern ukraine, what could be next. our response, in dealing with weaponry in ukraine, i think it should be taken seriously. can you discuss the danger of russian meddling in the baltics. --? >> i think those concerns are very real. the political relationships with the united states have never been stronger. those are model democracies and have set the standard for the bulwarks. we have to be
diligent in this area, both militarily and hybrid cyber threats. we want to have strong coordination with all three of these countries. >> doctor mitchell, we really do appreciate your service. incredibly important relationships we are dealing with, in a very unstable environment in the world. thank you for your service and your testimony. with that, the hearing will remain open until the closing of minutes. this hearing is adjourned. , what someone.
eisenhower, stateside training of world war i troops and his extensive work with tanks. wednesday, a discussion on the declaration of independence and how it's been interpreted and applied in u.s. history. thursday, former white house photographers. on friday, the life of robert f kennedy, acknowledging the 50th anniversary of his assassination. watch american history in prime time on c-span three. syndicated columnist mona chairman talks about her book sex matters, how mom and in -- modern feminism lost touch with common sense. >> we send such confusing messages to young people. these were a number of women that
posed topless or semi-topless for sports illustrated. one quoted saying, i am proud of my body and i want to help young women who might have body images -- body image issues. my feeling is that is a crock. women should be dignified. they should remember that when you disrobe it's very hard for people to take you seriously. a man looking at a picture of a topless woman is not going to say, look at that fantastic athlete. isn't it wonderful that she doesn't have any problems with body image. no. he's going to think about sex two he's not going to think of her in a respectful way either. that's why i said, angela merkel is the chancellor of germany, she would not take off her blouse to prove she doesn't have body image issues. she wants to be respected. if women want to be respective