tv John Bolton on Trump Administrations New Africa Strategy CSPAN December 13, 2018 9:32am-10:53am EST
foundation's president. [ applause ] >> good morning. it's an exciting morning. we have a full house. i want to extend a warm welcome to everyone who is joining us for this very special event both here and online. we welcome friends, distinguished guests from the administration, ngos, policy experts, business representatives, the diplomatic corps.. i know we have an amazing field of expertise on africa in the auditorium joining us today. we've been privileged here at the heritage foundation in 2018 to welcome major policy addresses from the highest levels of president trump's
administration. earlier this year, we had the honor of hosting secretary of state mike pompeo and u.n. ambassador nikki haley. today heritage is honored to continue our contributions to the most important national policy discussions. we welcome the honorable john bolton, assistant to the president for national security affairs. ambassador bolton will speak to us on the trump administration's new africa strategy. america's global role and foreign policy direction are rapidly expanding in new areas and in new ways. africa is a direction that before now has not, perhaps, received the intense attention of the foreign policy community but that is changing. political security and economic developments in africa now reverberate widely in america,
europe, and asia. how america and the trump administration approach these developments will reverberate equally widely in promoting safety, security, and prosperity on the african continent. thank you all for joining us today to hear ambassador bolton to speak on this important topic and u.s. strategy going forward. we look forward to his remarks and then a discussion after wards with our executive vice president, dr. kim holmes. i think it is fitting that dr. holmes introduce ambassador bolton today. dr. holmes is is a former assistant secretary of state and one of our leading experts on foreign policy here at heritage. in addition to working together over the years, dr. holmes and ambassador bolton has been long time friends. i would now like to invite dr. holmes, who has noun and worked with the ambassador for many
years to offer a warm welcome and introduction. dr. holmes. [ applause ] >> good morning, everybody. thank you very much for allowing me to introduce my good friend john bolton and welcome him to the heritage foundation. i would like to welcome you as our guests here this morning. it's, indeed, a pleasure to have all of you here and it's certainly an honor to welcome john back to heritage. as kay mentioned, he's an old friend. i remember well hosting john many years ago when he delivered remarks at the heritage foundation on the bush administration's decision to disassociate. it seems like yesterday but it was awhile back. john and i have, indeed, been in
the trenches for a long time. we served together at the state department during the bush administration. frankly, i can no one i would rather see advising president trump on national security than john bolton. there is no better advocate for america. he stands up for american interests and american values without apology and hesitation. weather defending american interests at the united nations, as he once did, or today supporting president trump's agenda now as national security advisor. for john bolton, as he once said in his book of the same title "surrender is not an option." john bolton knows the inside and outs of government like no one else i know. he's a master not only of details but of a long plan. you can see his fingerprints all over decisions recently made by the president and for that we are truly thankful.
today we welcome him to heritage yet again to discuss the administration's policy and strategy towards africa. africa is a vast, beautiful, and complex continent filled with a rich culture, a rich history, and an entrepreneurial spirit. it's also experiencing many difficult changes and challenges. some of these are old and of the past. they've been around for a long time. some of them are actually quite new. radical islamic groups are destabilizing the region, refugee groups in the north are contributing to instability. there are concerns, as well, over the influence of external powers such as china and russia on the economic political life of africans and on tsecurity of the continent. the foreign policy team at the heritage foundation follows these developments closely and so we, as well as all of you here this morning, are greatly looking forward to ambassador
bolton's address on africa. so please now welcome ambassador john bolton, assistant to the president for national security affairs. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. thank you to you and kay for inviting me here. i'm delighted to be at heritage. an institution that contributed so much to the public policy debate for many decades now in the united states. and i'm particularly pleased to be here to unveil the trump administration's new africa strategy, which the president approved yesterday and which the administration will begin executing immediately. this strategy, as a result of an intensive interagency process and reflects the core tenants of president trump's foreign policy doctrine. importantly, the strategy
remains true to his central campaign promise to put the interests of the american people first, both at home and abroad. white house is proud to finalize this strategy during the second year of president trump's first term. about two years earlier than the prior administration's release of its africa strategy. we have prioritized developing this document because we understand that lasting stability, prosperity, independence, and security on the african continent are in the national security interests of the united states. under our new approach, every decision we make, every policy we pursue, and every dollar of aid we spend will further u.s. priorities in the region. in particular, the strategy addresses three core u.s. interests on the continent. first, advancing u.s. trade and commercial ties with nations
across the region to the benefit of both the united states and africa. we want our economic partners in the region to thrive, prosper, and control their own destinies. in america's economic dealings, we ask only for reciprocity never for subservience. second, countering the threat from radical islamic terrorism and violent conflict. isis, al qaeda, and their affiliates all operate and recruit on the african continent. plotting attacks against american citizens and targets. any sound u.s. strategy toward africa must address this serious threat in a comprehensive way. third, we'll ensure that u.s. taxpayer dollars for aid are used efficiently and effectively. the united states will no longer provide indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent without focus or
prioritization. we will no longer support unproductive, unsuccessful, and unaccountable u.s./u.n. peace keeping missions. we want something more to show for americans hard-earned taxpayer dollars. under our new africa strategy, we'll target u.s. funding toward key countries and particular strategic objectives. all u.s. aid on the continent will advance u.s. interests and help africa nations move toward self-reliance. our first priority, enhancing u.s. economic ties with the region, is not only essential to improving opportunities for american workers and businesses, but it's also vital to safe guarding the economic independence of african states and protecting u.s. national security interests. great power competitors, namely china and russia, are rapidly expanding their financial and political influence across africa.
they are deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the united states. from 2016 to '17, china's foreign direct investment toward africa totaled $6.4 billion. over the past several years, china has devoted considerable state directed and state supported financing to projects in the region. china uses bribes, opec agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in africa captive to beijing's wishes and demands. it's investment ventures are riddled with corruption and do not meet the same environmental or ethical standards as u.s. developmental programs. such predatory actions are sub components of broader chinese strategic initiatives, including one-belt, one road, a plan to develop a series of trade routes
leading to and from china, the ultimate goal of advancing chinese global dominance. in africa, we're already seeing the disturbing effects of china's quest to obtain more political, economic, and military power. the nation of zambia, for example, is currently indebt to china to the tune of $6 to $10 billion. china is now poised to take over zambia's national power and utility company in order to collect on zambia's financial obligations. similarly from 2014 to 2016, the public debt to gdp ratio ballooned with 75%. in 2017, china established a military base that is only miles away from our u.s. base, which supports critical u.s. operations to counter violent
terrorist organizations in east africa. in may, u.s. officials accused china of using military grade lasers from this base to target and distract u.s. pilots on ten different occasions. two of our american pilots suffered eye injuries from exposure to laser beams. son they may hand over control of the container terminal, a strategically located shipping port on the red sea to chinese state-own state-owned enterprises. should this occur, the balance of power in the horn of africa, between europe, the middle east, and south asia would shift in favor of china. and our u.s. military personnel could face even further challenges in our efforts to protect the american people. russia, for its part, is also seeking to increase its influence in the region through
corrupt economic dealings. across the continent, russia advances its political and economic relationships with little regard to the rule of law or accountable and transparent governance. it continues to sell arms and energy in exchange for votes at the united nations, votes that keep strong men in power, undermine peace and security, and run counter to the best interest of the african people. russia also continues to extract natural resources from the region for its own benefit. in short, the predatory practices pursued by china and russia stunt economic growth in africa, threaten the financial independence of african nations, inhibit opportunities for u.s. investment, interfere with u.s. military operations, and pose as a significant threat to u.s. national security interests. equally concerning at this time,
the lack of economic progress in the region has accompanied the proliferation of radical islamic terrorism and other forms of violent conflict across africa. countering these serious threats is the second priority of our new africa strategy. in recent years, isis, al qaeda, and other terrorists operating in africa has increased their attacks, expanded into new areas, and repeatedly targeted u.s. citizens and interest. in mali, it describes itself as an al qaeda affiliate, is increasing in strength and killed and wounded scores of peace keepers, partner forces, innocent civilians, in addition to kidnapping westerners and threatening u.s. allies. in libya, the local isis affiliate has found fertile ground to recruit new terrorists
and plot attacks against the united states. in south sudan, an ongoing civil war has ravmged a young nation, and lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. the continuing threat from terrorism and other violent conflicts across the region puts american lives at risk and drains vital american resources. between 2014 and 2018, the united states provided approximately 3.76 billion in humanitarian aid to south sudan and refugees in neighboring countries. this number represents only a small amount of the total aid that the united states devotes to africa. in fact, in fiscal year 2017, the department of state and usaid provided approximately $8.7 billion in food assistance to africa. in 2016, we provided
approximately $8.3 billion. between 1995 and 2006, u.s. aid to africa was roughly equal to the amount of assistance provide bid all other donors combined. unfortunately, billions upon billions of u.s. taxpayer dollars have not achieved the desired effects. they have not stopped the scourge of terrorism, radicalism, and violence. they have not prevented other powers such as china and russia from taking advantage of african states to increase their own power and influence. and they have not lead to stable and transparent governance, economic viability, and increasing development across the region. from now on, the united states will not tolerate this long standing pattern aid without effect, assistance without accountability, and relief without the form.
instead, we're pursuing a new path, one we hope finally gets results. americans are a generous people, but we insist our money is put to good use. our third priority, therefore, is ensuring that all u.s. assistance dollars sent to africa are used efficiently and effectively to advance peace, stability, independence, and prosperity in the region. here are some of the specific bold actions we will take under our new strategy to address the three priority areas i have just highlighted. to expand our economic relationships in the region we're developing a new initiative called prosper africa which will support u.s. investment across the continent, grow africa's middle class, and improve the overall business climate in the region. in addition, we will encourage african leaders to choose high-quality, transparent, inclusive and sustainable
foreign investment projects, including those from the united states. we will leverage our expanded and modernized development tools to support access to financing and provide strong alternatives to external state-directed initiatives. america's vision for the region is one of independence, self-reliance and growth, not dependency, domination and debt. we want african nations to succeed, flourish, and remain independent in fact and not just in theory. in the coming years and months we intend to pursue trade agreements on the continent that ensure fair and reciprocal exchange between the united states and the nations of africa. we will begin these negotiations on a bilateral basis and focus on creating mutually beneficial partnerships.
our new economic initiatives in africa will help support american jobs and expand market access for u.s. exports, while promoting sustainable growth in african countries. we will focus our economic efforts on african governments which act as partners and striving towards improved governance and transparent business practices. as our partner nations develop economically they will be better prepared to address a range of security threats, including terrorism and militant violence. under our new strategy, we will also take several additional steps to help our african friends fight terrorism and strengthen the rule of law. we will assist key african governments in building the capacity of partner forces and security institutions to provide effective and sustainable security and law enforcement services to their citizens. our goal is for the nations of
the region to take ownership over peace and security in their own neighborhood. the g-5 joint force, comprised of which the united states support, is a great example of the enormous potential for african joint security cooperation. the g-5 joint force is building to build force against crime and human trafficking. as this force gains capacity, g-5 countries must remain in the driver's seat. this initiative cannot be outsourced to the u.n. for funding and other support. we want to see more cooperative regional security organizations like these emerge around the world. as part of our new africa strategy, the united states will also reevaluate its support for
u.n. peacekeeping missions. we will only back operations we seem to streamline, reconfigure or terminate missions unable to meet their own mandate or facilitate lasting peace. our objective is to resolve conflicts, not freeze them in perpetuity. and we will not provide legitimacy to missions that give large payouts to countries sending poorly equipped soldiers who provide insufficient protection to vulnerable populations on the ground. the sexual exploitation and abuse by u.n. peacekeepers of the very populations they were sent to protect has been and remains completely unacceptable. continued malfeasance without consequences damages the integrity of the entire u.n. peacekeeping system.
we are truly committed to protecting innocent life in conflict zones and we must insist on accountable, robust and effective peacekeeping operations. in april the united states did just that regarding the decades old u.n. peacekeeping mission in the western sahara. we demanded a six-month rather than an annual renewal period for the mission and insisted on a stronger, more effective mandate tied to substantive political progress. because of our actions the parties to the conflict in key neighboring countries agreed to meet for the first time since 2012. last week the u.n. envoy hosted these talks in geneva and the participants agreed to hold additional talks early next year. moving forward, we will also ensure that bilateral u.s. security assistance targets nations that act as responsible, reenlal stakeholders and nations where state failure or weakness
would pose a direct threat to the united states and our citizens. we want to use american dollars in the most efficient way to protect the interests of the american people. accordingly, we will make certain that all aid to the region, whether for security, humanitarian or development needs advances these u.s. interests. countries that receive u.s. assistance must invest in health and education, encourage accountable and transparent governments, support fiscal transparency and promote the rule of law. the administration will not allow hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund corrupt autocrats who use the money to fill their coffers at the expense of their people or commit gross human rights abuses. for example, the united states is now reviewing its assistance to south sudan to ensure that our aid does not prolong the conflict or facilitate predatory behavior.
we will not provide loans to a south sudanese government led by the same morally bankrupt leaders who perpetuate the horrific violence and immense human suffering in south sudan. the administration is developing a new foreign assistance strategy to improve the effectiveness of american foreign aid worldwide. american foreign assistance was designed to counter the soviet union during the cold war and recently to fight terrorism after 9/11. today we need to make adjustments to address the power competition and correct past mistakes in structuring our funding. in developing our strategy, we are revisiting the foundational principles of the marshall plan. the marshall plan furthered american interests, bypassed the united nations and targeted key sectors of foreign economies, rather than dissipating aid across hundreds of programs. our new foreign assistance strategy will ensure that all
u.s. foreign aid in every corner of the globe advances u.s. interests. our goal is to move recipient states towards self-reliance and prevent long-term dependency. structural reforms will likely be critical including practicing fiscal responsibility, promoting fair and reciprocal trade, deregulating economies, and supporting the private sector. we should emphasize bilateral mechanisms to maintain maximum american control over every american dollar spent. less needy recipients should graduate from foreign assistance and assistance should decline to countries and organizations making poor policy choices. in addition, we should target resources toward areas where we have the most impact, to ensure efficient use of taxpayer dollars. countries that repeatedly vote against the united states and international forums would take
actions counter to u.s. interests should not receive generous american foreign aid. the united states will respect the independence of other nations in providing humanitarian security and development assistance. we are not among those powers that pursue dollars for dependency. however, we draw the line at funding causes that harm our interests and our citizens. around the world the united states seeks partners that independent and strong, nations that respect the interests of their people, the rights of their neighbors and the principle of fairness and reciprocity in all agreements. under our new africa strategy we will expand economic ties on the basis of mutual respect and help african nations take control of their own economic destinies and their own securities need. and we will ensure that all u.s. foreign assistance in the region gets results for the american
people. i'm honored to have had the opportunity to highlight the details of our plans here at heritage today and i look forward to taking your questions. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> have a seat there. >> thank you very much for that, john. it was -- when we first heard that you were actually working on a larger africa strategy we were very pleased to hear that because we've long argued here that africa does not get the attention it needs or when it does get the attention from the administration, it very often ends up pursuing policies that not only do not improve things, but actually in some cases make them worse. so tackling africa and from the point of view of the principles that you outlined there was really something we really
welcome. i'm doubly happy that you decided to come here and share the president's new strategy at the heritage foundation. we are here -- any points you wish to elaborate on or extrapolate on? this is your time. you can jump in at any moment. to get things started, i thought i would ask you to comment a little bit more on the strategic competition you mentioned regarding china and russia, particularly the approach of china multifaceted, cutting across the entire range of national and international security and economic policy, trade, foreign aid and the like, and so as you rightly pointed out we need a broad, wholistic response to that. if you could say a little bit more about all of the tools that you have at yours disposal for u.s. policy, but if you also could, at some point talk about what is the impact on the u.s.
military activities, military presence, and the military security, even in terms of the assistance that we provide to some of the countries either for military or for counterterrorism purposes? >> well, you know, one of the reasons i had been interested in africa for some time my first job at the agency was at the regan administration and i traveled among other places to zimbabwe a few years after the end of the real independence of zimbabwe, end of white rule and the beginning of self-government there. it was a fascinating time and didn't work out so well for a lot of reasons. hopefully we're in a new era now. this -- the continuation of these kinds of governance problems was something that always drew my attention and as i was mentioning to you and kay a little earlier, being at the
u.n. in new york and talking to african ambassadors about their vision for their own countries and africa was something that also was, i found, quite fascinating. within the u.s. government it is fair to say, whether it's republican or democratic administrations alike, it's often been difficult to get people to focus on it. there are always competing priorities, and -- but now i think precisely because of the very well thought out, very comprehensive intervention of china in the continent of africa and other places around the world too, with a program that is very systemically designed to tilt whole regions of the world and particularly mineral resource rich areas in china's direction, that this is a very important point for the united states and the west as a whole to wake up. we need to foster, as i said a
few moments ago, independence for african countries. the united states, although our adversaries have called us an imperial power, we're probably the least imperial great power in the history of the world. our interest doesn't match any prior power throughout history of comparable size and influence, but that's not the view of some of the great powers we are competing with in the world today. we have an opportunity here, i hope, for a debate and discussion in the united states about shaping relations with africa to the mutual advantage of the african countries on the one hand and the united states on the other. it's a very different view than i think some of our competitors hold. whether it's in the economic field, prosper africa is not an aid program, it's based -- the idea is based on trade and investment in the security field because of the threats that we
see really across the african continent, and in the political space as well. there's some real opportunities here. now, resources from the u.s. government are constrained, there's no doubt about it. we're certainly looking for all the opportunities we can. i think if you're going to have a comprehensive strategy and i mentioned our foreign aid review which is very near completion, that implies changes in allocations and directions, otherwise you're just pursuing the path you pursued the year before endlessly. that doesn't amount to a strategy. that just amounts to bureaucracy of remeetipeating itself. hopefully with the strategy that president has just approved, we can have that kind of conversation to give africa the priority in american strategic thinking that i think the administration believes it deserves. >> you've mentioned the ongoing or the review of foreign
assistance program that's currently happening. reforming the foreign aid program is something that we here at heritage have been looking at for decades. we've been talking about the importance of having conditionality applied to the aid, focusing more on developing civil society and free markets and economic freedom rather than government to government assistance, which ends up propping up corrupt regimes often. can you give us a forecast of what is happening with that review, but in particular, from our interest here, is there any thought about what will change in terms of the purpose and mission and structure of a. i.d. as the main administer of these programs? >> right. i wish i could say that foreign aid review is complete and that i could describe it and what it is. i would be happy to come back. >> we can do that too. >> we're close. we're close. i would expect within a very
short period of time with we will bring it to a conclusion. i think speaking as an a.i.d. alumnus, we see for years things have just proceeded really without this comprehensive review and it's long overdue. there's a long history to u.s. foreign assistance programs dating back to really the first was a private effort, herbert hoover's famous committee for relief in belgium during world war i where really with no assistance from the u.s. government at all he developed an enormous program for feeding civilian populations in war-stricken europe. we've got to have more effective delivery mechanisms. i think we're going to look hard as i mentioned in the speech, what's the best way to provide this assistance. i would reveal my biases again if i said i was an a.i.d.
alumnus. i understand bilateral programs and been at the u.n. and had my views on that as you know. but look, this is a complex process. if it were easy to do, it would be done already. there are a lot of bright prospects here and we will be talking to some of the other donor nations as well as we conclude our review and see if they might not be up for looking at their programs too. >> you mentioned also in the context of the new africa strategy you're taking a strong and hard and close look at u.n. peacekeeping operations in africa and mentioned that the principle of trying to actually bring peace and end the operations rather than freezing the conflict, which very often happens with u.n. peacekeeping operations, is the goal of the new strategy. once again, this is a very laudable goal as far as we at heritage are concerned.
beyond the mission of south sudan, are there any other peacekeeping operations that you are looking at? for example, the democratic republic of congress, there are others as well, this is really where most of the u.n. peacekeeping operation work is done is in africa. can you say a bit more about that? >> clearly what has happened in u.n. peacekeeping operations all around the world is that in an effort to bring an ongoing conflict to an end, a truce of some kind is arranged and a peacekeeping force is inserted. increasingly in recent years with a political component to it. unfortunately, all too often at the united nations establishing the peacekeeping force and deploying it is the end of creative thinking. the mandate is renewed almost
automatically. the secretary gentle special representative comes in every year, gives a report, the security council rolls the mandate over and not very much happens. i think there needs to be a lot more focus on resoflg the underlying conflict and therefore having success in the piece keeping mission. success is not simply continuing the mission. i pick western sahara as my favorite example because when i had the job we both once held as assistant secretary for international organizations at the state department in 1991, i participated in writing the mandate when it was created 27 years ago. i worked with jim baker when he was kofi annan's personal envoy to try to solve the western sahara where the effort had broken down. he tried it again in 2000 and
2001. when i got to the u.n. in 2006 -- 2005/2006, again we tried to fix. all we want to do is hold a referendum for 70,000 voters. 27 years later the status of the territory is still unresolved. the new u.n. envoy has very creative ideas. honestly, ladies and gentlemen, 27 years of deployment of this u.n. peacekeeping force, 27 years and it's still there? how can you justify that? i think -- i've gotten to know over the years, i've gotten to know the people and i have enormous respect for them. i have enormous respect for the government and people of morocco and algeria. is there not a way to resolve this? because the resources, time and attention we're devoting to the peacekeeping forces could much more productively be used in the development and economic betterment of the people of the
region. that's why this is important. if you resolve conflicts you're freeing resources, economic and political, for other purposes. that's what our objective should be. >> you write about in many ways the way the mandates are put together for the peacekeeping operations, they're political compromises with groups in the region and the countries on the security council, and the compromise is almost always ends up freezing the situation or not advancing it. when i was assistant secretary i visited congo and flew all around and saw in one case there was a case where there was a village that had been reoccupied by some of the militia and drove out mostly the women and children into the side region of the village and the u.n. agencies came in and took care of those children. they would do nothing about the problem and they told me the way the mandate was written, which was basically freezing the
conflict. this is a real problem that is built into the way they approach peacekeeping operations. >> on that point i'm not blaming the u.n. secretary here. i'm blaming the security council. >> yeah. >> the security council sets the peacekeeping forces up, the security council should guide the special representatives, the security council should press to get the conflict resolved. it's not enough just to roll a peacekeeping mandate over. they need to be much more involved politically in getting the parties to work out their differences. >> you mentioned the problem of terrorism in africa. it is very significant and some areas it's growing. could you say a bit more about what the united states expects of african countries themselves in not only cooperating with the united states, but even taking activities and responsibility of themselves to combatting terrorism? >> well, there certainly have been very successful efforts, i think i mentioned the g-5 joint
force, there are others that we can envision, others we would support. we're in active conversation in new york and a number of capitals on that score. it's foundational in the u.n. charter that regional organizations should have much more of a role than they've historically had. i think africa is a very important place to try to make that principle work. obviously there are countries in africa that have benefitted from successful u.n. peacekeeping operations, n operations. we would love to encourage and support that if the circumstances were right. >> the heritage foundation is a civil society organization, if you will, and there are many people in this audience from civil society groups who operate and work either in africa or
work on the subject of africa. i'm sure that many of them are interested in what they could do or should be doing differently in terms of civil society, support for helping the african people that would be complimentary to what you're trying to do for your africa strategy. >> i think the most important thing is to look at the geopolitical realty that we're facing. we've already seen some countries, i mentioned a couple of concerns in africa, but other countries in asia, some in latin america, where we call debt diplomacy strategy is being pursued very successfully. it's attempting to get into financial arrangements and seem attractive in the near term, but then get more and more difficult to get out of. i think because the state directed nature of that kind of approach fundamental isn't really reconcilable with
independent civil society to begin with, i think nongovernmental organizations and others should be aware of that and should be advising their partners in africa of the risks involved when these kinds of proposals are made. not only will it squeeze the independence of african countries, it will squeeze the space available for civil society inevitably. >> we have been hearing for many years the mantra towards africa trade, and you mentioned both trade and aid in your remarks. there are many u.s. companies that probably would like to invest more in africa. they're not sure of the trade environment, the legal environment, most importantly not sure of the security and political environment. if we wish to try to engage africa more not only in a civil society but economic and
financial levels to counter what china is doing, what can we be saying to american cooperations or investigators in addition to what you mentioned a minute ago about civil society groups that you would be working on to try to increase a better, more friendly environment for u.s. investment in africa? >> i think the policy environment is, obviously, the most important and i think that really is fundamentally within control of the african countries themselves, the more open they are to foreign competitive investment not tied to one country or one particular program, the more likely foreign investigators would likely come in. the united states we've certainly added to our capacity to help american investigators through major improvements i think in the overseas private investment corporation with new authorities, with millennium
challenge corporations. there's lots of possibilities that didn't exist and these are all things from an american business point of view that ought to point them in the direction of places where their supply chain can be safer and less susceptible to political manipulation as it is in many countries where we've invested in. >> you and i in the discussion here, we've made reference to a couple of times to the different approach how you're trying to take with africa, how it differs past approaches. not to put you on the spot, but what do you think in the past has been the sort of central concept all mistake administrations or americans make when they look towards africa? i know there's a lot of different aspects to the policies you're talking about, but if you raise it to the strategic level and -- what have we done wrong in the past when
we think about africa? >> i think too many administrations and look, it's a bipartisan problem, have looked at africa and said, you know -- they wouldn't necessarily put it this way, but they would say it's not strategically important to the united states. i can remember an assistant secretary of african affairs in one administration which i served, i'll leave that vague so i don't embarrass him, once told me a story how he had had a consultation with his japanese opposite member, the assistant secretary equivalent there for africa, and they had both quickly agreed that in the list of regional bureaus and foreign ministry in the state department, africa was the lowest-ranking priority of all the regional bureaus. i think if you start with that proposition, the conclusion is pretty obvious. i think the proposition is wrong. africa is important to the united states.
if we didn't understand it before, the competition posed by china and russia among others, should highlight it for us which is why i do thinks this is a potential turning point in american understanding of what's at stake for us, not just for africa, but for the united states in african affairs, so that as we address this, i think there should be a new openness on both sides to understanding what's at risk here and why it's to our advantage to update our understanding of what the priority is for the united states. >> one of the main themes of your speech and the president makes this point time and time again, is that the american foreign policy should serve the interests of the american people. the interesting thing that struck me about the way you were laying out the strategy is that, yes, it suits our interests and suits our values, but it's also
good for africans too. it's more effective in combatting the problems the africans themselves face, whether it's terrorism, economic development, or a lack of freedom. i mean, this has been -- this has been the formula, in my opinion, of american genius of our foreign policy over the last decades and it's sort of a re-centering the way i see it of american foreign policy and the way we have looked at our interests in the past. can you say about how in your conversations with the president and his approach to american interests, he has said elsewhere, he's actually talked with our european allies in terms of burden sharing, this is not really the context you're putting this in. can you say a bit more about how the president's own vision of his new foreign policy fits into your thinking. >> i'm sure people in this room know the famous alibi lines i
guess that people use and it has become sort of a joke when somebody says the check is in the mail. you know the check is not in the mail. when somebody says, i'm from the government and i'm here to help, that's an instant warning that you better put your hand on your wallet. this is not really about -- i think the conceptual mistake that has been made before is that talking about the u.s. relationship with africa, talking about how we're going to help africa, i think the president's transactional history of making deals that are mutually beneficial because you don't make many successful investments unless the people on the other side of the transaction get something out of it, is something that should encourage african governments and those that want to see a higher level of relations between the united states and africa, to see what's possible because if it's a little straight talking among friends about what's beneficial on both
sides, you're much more likely to get a successful outcome than pretending it's a one-sided relationship. >> unfortunately, we have run out of time. ambassador bolton, it's a pleasure to have you here again and thank you for coming. i know you have a lot on your schedule today. i would like to ask everyone to join me in a round of applause to thank ambassador bolton. >> thank you very much. thank you. >> thank you very much. can i ask everyone to please remain seated for a moment please. i would like to thank everyone for coming this morning. if you wish to learn more about the heritage foundation go to heritage.org and learn about our many programs including the work that we've done on africa and
the united nations in particular. ambassador bolton's speech will be recorded. as a matter of fact, it was streamed live by -- as a webcast by the heritage foundation but it will be archived shortly on the heritage.org site if you wish to review it. once again, thank all of you for coming. we are having to use this room, i'm afraid, for another event in a short order of time so if i could ask everyone to vacate the room quickly i would appreciate it. thank you.
ambassador bolton, a press brief on the trump administration's new africa strategy. the ambassador will only be answering questions as it relates to the region and the strategy and anything else we'll skip to the next question. keep your questions relevant to the topic. we have a hard stop a little before 11:00. we will get going with that. i will introduce ambassador bolton and take the first question. anybody -- please, steve. >> good morning, ambassador steven. i'm wondering if you could tell us as far as who is going to get what in africa, how those -- who's going to be in the u.s. government making those decisions? sort of a line item where you and the president are deciding or a more wholistic general process? >> there's a budget process we're going through right now in
compiling the president's fiscal year 2020 budget request. the aggregate numbers are built up from the bottom so country allocations for the various kinds of economic assistance and security assistance, economic assistance primarily from state a. i.d. food aid from the department of agriculture, security assistance from the department of defense, and omb will be using -- is using the principles we'll developed in the foreign aid review that i mentioned during the speech. the foreign aid review is not quite done. we didn't make it on the budget cycle, but we know 90% of what the conclusion is. those considerations are being factored in now. i can't really give you the kind of answer that you like, but when the budget -- when the president's budget request comes
out that's when you'll see the outcome of it. >> nick? >> thanks for doing this. as you know, these african countries are accepting chinese technology and infrastructure, even countries like nigeria and kenya that are relatively advanced, because they want the technology and they want the infrastructure and they believe the u.s. isn't competing. how do you respond to that? also africom has been asked to cut 10%. what message does that send while you're trying to increase emphasis on africa? >> the way the chinese are doing this, and it's been very successful in places like sri lanka, djibouti in africa and other countries, they come in with projects and have attractive financing in the early years, but the terms and conditions of the projects as they accumulate get more owners and countries find themselves
having been attracted by initially attractive financial terms to find themselves in more and more difficult straits. there's a little bit of bait and switch in what china has been up to. part of what we've been trying to do is make this clear, that our -- the way we do business is much more straightforward, but you have to both do the math and understand what's behind it. i think it's not that they need help from us, the developing countries all over the world are increa increasingly worried about this chinese approach. you saw it graphically recently at the apec meeting where the vice president represented the united states and i think you're going to see more of that across africa. this is part of the reason that we felt that we needed to make it clear that the united states did have a high priority on
africa. we approach it very differently than our peer competitors do. [ inaudible ] look the military is reallocating budgets on a worldwide basis to meet a growing range of threats and that's why i emphasize in the speech things like the g-5 joint force. what we would like to do is empower the african countries to do more of their own security and in coordination with one another, rather than have the deployment of american forces who are comparatively very well paid and well equipped. we're not going to be in a position, as we're not in the middle east where you've seen rotation of forces away to the pacific and other places, but our -- but those kinds of decisions don't reflect a lack of priority but a change in way trying to give business to the help we're uniquely capable of
giving to the countries that want it. >> jessica? behind you, actually. that's okay. >> i also have two. you explicitly mentioned china and russia repeatedly. on the first one the president called off his meeting with vladimir putin recently where they might have talked about some of theses issues. are there any plans to reschedule the meeting? >> no. i'm just going to relate this to africa, but it's about as close -- it's close, but you're hanging by a thread, the president -- the president -- we made it clear, i made it clear to my counterpart in moscow before the president announced on air force one he was canceling the meeting with president putin, that we simply could not have the previously scheduled encounter as long as russia still held the ukrainian ships and crews. the president ran into vladimir putin at the dinner that
president of argentina gave for the g-20 countries the first evening of the g-20 country and made the same point. it's something the president feels strongly about. i've spoken to the russians myself on the subject and that's where we are. i don't see circumstances in the foreseeable future where such a meeting could take place until the crews and the ships are released. >> second, regarding yemen, which is africa -- >> no, it's not. no, it's not. >> okay. well, the president said this week that he -- >> take a shot and see how close you come this time. >> the president said this week that he would be open to looking at the legislation that would pull support for the war in yemen in response to the killing of jamal khashoggi but then there was language added to a bill yesterday that blocked it. i want to know how that fits into the strategy and whether or not -- >> i don't think you made it
across the line enough. >> i'm trying. >> focus on africa. >> thanks. getting back to what you talked about earlier and this might go back to the previous administration quite a bit, but why was the u.s. so much slower than russia and china to see the strategic importance? what was the flaw there and what did we miss? >> i think it's been an uneven performance by the united states, an uneven appreciation of africa. certainly we saw in the case going back to the bush 41 administration with the intervention in somalia at thanksgiving in 1992 to open channels of humanitarian relief there, it wasn't -- it wasn't that the continent was ignored, it was simply that it did not fit coherently into an yoef all american foreign policy. i think klechina it's
understandable what they're up to, they have tried to monopolize natural resources in countries around the world. the one belt, one road initiative is a multidecade long project. one could say that china thinks over a longer strategic period than we do. americans have the vices of their virtue, we're an impatient people. that's one reason we are the country we are today. it has downsides you don't think necessarily in longer term strategies. i think the russians are much more opportunistic. i think this has to do with putin's desire to re-establish russia as a world player. they've been involved in various african countries before and this is an effort to get back into the game. >> please. >> i'm with the german press agency. i wanted to ask, is this program going to lead to budget cuts in u.s. foreign assistance to africa or is this a reworking,
restrategizing a more effective use of existing resources? >> it's a fair question, my answer is the same as the first question from the gentleman from voice of america, what the math ends up to be depends on a bottom up approach. we're looking at this in global terms as omb and the operational departments and agencies prepare their fy 2020 budget request. congress has to appropriate the money so that could change the direction and levels and some respects as well. we don't know -- i can't -- i literally cannot answer the question until we get to the end of the budget process. that's nothing new, by the way. that is true every year and what makes the budget process so much fun. >> what's your goal? is your goal to actually lead to reductions? when you go into these meetings, what's the mindset?
>> the budget guidance that the president directed that omb send out across the board with the exception of defense looks overall like a budget cut for the entire government budget. he wants to reduce the deficit and obviously reduce the national debt. how that works out in department by department and then program by program we just can't say at this point. >> please. >> from "the new yorker." i was looking at the western sahara and i just -- i was interested in what you hoped to see there? do you want to see the moroccan autonomy plan? do you want it see a referendum? i want you to speak personally what it's felt like for the last 27 years seeing this crisis be frozen? >> frustration. frustration. that's -- i referred to american impatience a few minutes ago. i would like to see this resolved if the parties can agree on the way forward.
that's the -- that's the preference. i spoke to former german president who is the u.n. special envoy now for the western sahara. he has spoken to jim baker who -- they're two americans that focus a lot on the western sahara and one is jim baker and one is me, and there are plenty of others but we've worked on this a long time. you have to think of the people of the western sahara, many of whom are still in refugee camps and the sahara desert that we need to allow these people and their children to get back and have normal lives. there should be intense pressure on everybody involved to see if they can't work it out. being an american i favor voting but there are -- this is, obviously, a long-standing dispute going back to the -- in the -- as -- after franco's death when spain's control over the colonial areas disappeared,
so after 27 years i don't get impatient on a daily basis, i just get impatient when i think about it and i'm hoping that president color can bring this together. >> one american news. sir, many in congress, particularly senator rand paul, have blocked the pentagon from moving the headquarters of africa command from kelly bare racks in stutgard. would you support moving it? >> i think the pentagon has been clear for some period of time it should be in the theater it's responsible for. the reason it's in germany because africa used to be part of the european command, so it made perfectly good sense to be there. i think it's not unlike where we put regional commands in other contexts and so i think the
pentagon has been right on that. >> we have time for two more questions. >> rob, with the daily signal. mr. ambassador, i wanted to ask, there are over two dozen individual aid programs, how do you envision using those programs as part of the new strategy? will you be going to congress to ask for legislative changes or does the executive branch have the authority? >> well, i think we probably want additional legislative authority on some aspects of the prosper africa approach, but we have succeeded in getting the improvements and expansion of the authority in the build act. i think that's very important. we'll look at other ways as well. part of the issue that we'll confront is the proliferation of aid programs across departments and agencies coordinating them more effectively from the u.s. government approach, but also as i said in the speech, i think you have to look at part of this as whether and to what extent we
want to reallocate u.s. resources away from multilateral institutions towards more direct bilateral programs. the argument being they're more effective that way and there's more direct american involvement. that's an issue we're still discussing. >> to be clear on whether there's any dollar figure of resources? you've talked about trade, not aid, but i wasn't sure if there was any proposal for financing? secondly, i think our colleagues in kenya believed there was some point country you were going to be working with for this. is that the case and if so, who is it? >> well, i think there are going to be several countries we're looking at. we're in discussion with a number of african governments now. i might say other governments around the world on the foreign aid review. again, the way the budget works
is that these numbers -- it's not a target number as such. aid has a lot of flexibility in how it allocates resources, the state department, the treasury department, and the multilateral area. people are working through all these changes that we've announced, some we haven't announced, but the consequences of the foreign aid review and omb budget's guidance and we're at a point where the president's request to congress will go up, you know, knock on wood, some time in january which is when it's supposed to go up and that's when all of this will be answerable in the public domain. >> we have time for one more question. back there. >> if i give short answers. >> do you expect the president to go visit africa? i know his -- the first lady made a visit. is this something he's going to be prioritizing? >> i expect that we'll be able to talk more about foreign travel in fairly short order. i've asked all of the regional directors on the nsc to give me
their recommendations for presidential travel for after the first of the year. i'll be reviewing them over the holidays and we'll go on from there. i would expect some announcements fairly soon after the first first of the year, ye. >> great, thank you, everybody. >> thank you very much. >> you can reach out to me with questions or my colleague kale brown. the transcript will be online on the website soon and if there is anything else, be in touch. thank you.
today the house oversight government operations sub-committee will hold a hearing on over sight of nonprofit organizations and restrictions to their political activities. they will focus on the clinton foundation. live coverage starts at 2:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span 3. this weekend c-span cities tour takes you to lawrence, kansas. >> lawrence was founded on a principle and it was founded in conflict. for those that know about bleeding kansas, it was the beginning of the civil war but it started before the civil war. and -- in the 1850s. and it drew a lot of people in on both sides of the slavery issue. to decide whether kansas would be pro-slavery or not. lawrence was burned in 1856
because it was the headquarters of the free state movement. >> on saturday at noon eastern on book tv, we'll hear from local authors as we learn about the history of lawrence and then sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv we'll take you to local historic sites and to the robert dole institute to hear about the life of the long serving senator from the state. the c-span cities tour in cooperation with our cable partners around the country exploring the american story. former trump campaign adviser george papadopoulos sat down for an interview with the american priority conference, a day after serving a brief prison term connected to the russia investigation. this is about an hour and ten minutes. >> everybody can hear me good? >> i worry about the camera angles.