tv Public Affairs CSPAN December 6, 2012 1:00pm-5:00pm EST
>> thank you. this has been a three-year campaign since the tragedy and today this bill is going to go from here to the president of the united states and the administration officials have indicated the president is going to sign the bill. we have now gotten this done. i think it's a very proud moment for the united states to show the type of leadership internationally on human rights. we'll be glad to try to answer any questions. if not, let me thank you all very much. appreciate it. >> before you go -- i know senator mccain will be talking about syria very shortly. do either of you have any thoughts on that? >> i'm coming back
>> senators talking about the passage of the russian trade bill, the vote on the floor of the senate a short while ago was 92-4. a look -- the senate continues in session with a vote coming up likely this afternoon, possible vote on the -- we had bep told there was a news conference happening on c-span. >> good afternoon, i'm here with my colleagues from the senate, senator leeber and senator graham and we are deeply
disturbed by reports that assad may have weapononized some of his stores of chemical and biological agents and prepared them for use in aerial bombs. these reports suggests that assad's forces are waiting for orders. if true, these reports may mean that the united states and our allies are facing the prospect of use of weapons of mass destruction in syria and this may be the last warning we get. time for talking about what to do may now be coming to a close and we may be left with an awful and very difficult decision. whether to continue on the said lines and hope that a man who has slaughtered nearly 40,000 men, women and children in syria will decide not to take the next step and use far more destructive weapons to kill
significantly larger numbers of people, whether to take military action of some kind that could prevent a mass atrocity. if that is the choice we now face, it is a grave and sobering decision and would put the starkest expression on the failure of the administration's policy towards syria. savage and unfair fight, this raged now for nearly two years. the longer this conflict has gone, the worse it has gotten. all of those who argued for non intervention because of the things that might happen are now happening because we failed to intervene. and the fact is that we have now reached a point where there are weapons of mass destruction that may be used and also, there is a significant question about the security of these weapons should assad fall.
we would like to make several points, one is that it's now up to the russians to do everything possible and maximize their influence over assad to make sure that he does not use these weapons. it is time for the united states and our allies to make it clear to assad that this is an unacceptable act. it is time for us to be ready for any eventuality, including the option of military intervention, but that is an option we must be ready for. the decision can only be made by hard intelligence, which in this situation is pretty hard to obtain. but we do know absolutely that these weapons have been readied for use by assad's aircraft.
again, i urge -- we urge the president of the united states to make whatever military preparations are necessary to show assad that the united states is fully willing and able to impose the consequences that he has spoken of in the event these weapons are used. it must be based on a credible threat and that exceeds the quiet urgings of the russian federation. i have been very disturbed by a lack of american leadership in the region. looking at it from assad's view point, they have seen us leave iraq and return of al qaeda in iraq. we have seen nothing but announcements of withdrawal from afghanistan. we have watched al qaeda elements able to destroy our or damage severely our consulate in benghazi and kill four brave americans. the message has to be sent that
the united states is in engaged and that the united states is ready to be involved and the united states is ready to do whatever is necessary to prevent an act that could endanger or take the lives of literally thousands and thousands of innocent people. >> thanks, john. we have reached a grave moment in the war that's raging in syria now for 20 months. and it's grave for the obvious fact that we believe that the assad government has weapononized chemical and biological agents and put them in a position where they can be used fairly rapidly. as you look back over the 20 months of this conflict, this follows a series of events, one leading to the other which people said could not happen. this began, remember, with peaceful demonstrations. and when assad was unable to
control them or suppress, he began to fire on his own people and they began to defend themselves in a very unfair fight which everyone thought we should take sides on the side of freedom and give the freedom fighters the weapons with which they could fight. it happened much too late. and people said, at least he's not using his air force to attack his own people and then he began to attack his own people from the air. now more than 40,000 killed. so when we see the government of assad weaponize chemical and biological agents and put them in bombs, we know this is a leader with no limits and unfortunately he follows his father who proved capable of using weapons against his own people. this is a moment in which i have found growing agitation and a
willingness to see tax by the united states among members of all political persuasions here in the senate. you have four members of the senate here representing the widest range of political parties saying with one voice, america has to lead. america has to lead an international coalition that will make very clear to us to assad, which if he crosses what secretary clinton called the red line and uses these weapons, chemical and biological, there will be grave consequences. essentially the end of his regime. i hope through the deterrence we can stop him from doing so, but i also believe that we as leaders of the world, the united states, has to begin to assemble
an international coalition to prevent assad from using the chemical and biological agents against his own people. we have sat too long on the sidelines we are now getting engaged the need for engagement and more than that urgent action is clear and now. and i think we are all saying to president obama who has now stated very clearly there will be drastic consequences for assad and his government if they use weapons of mass destruction. we are with you. there is strong support across congress if the president takes the strong action that's necessary to prevent a very, very historically horrific humanitarian disaster in syria. senator. >> thank you, senator. we do represent a broad range of views from within the senate, the republican caucus, the
democratic caucus, but there is a unanimous view here today that we support president obama in announcing a red line that assad, who has murdered tens of thousands of his people in the last two years, take the unthinkable step of using advanced chemical weapons against his own people, there will be prompt consequences. this is not an easy thing to get a consensus in the senate on virtually anything. i join the statement to send a clear message to those from outside the halls of the capitol who see is in division on fiscal and policy matters, there has been division. but on the matter of standing behind our president in making a clear statement that we will not stand by as assad uses weapons of mass destruction against his own people, is something where a unanimous voice is the only way we can effectively deter and call on the russians to be
responsible partners, to be accountable for having gotten us in some way to this point and we can say with one voice that we are deeply concerned about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in syria and the region. this two-year conflict has not only cost thousands of lives, led to a rush of refugees, with the onset of winter, there are other needs to be met. there is i hope an upcoming decision to recognize the syrian national council and i will commend the work of ambassador forward, in making real progress. we may have differences of opinion about lots of other policy matters, but there is no difference on the view that should assad take the unprecedented and horrific step in this conflict of unleashing the worst weapons in his arsenal, there will be consequences. >> the senate just overwhelmingly approved a normal
trading relationship with russia. i think it was a vote on my behalf and others to say we would like a better relationship with the russian people and the russian government. this is an opportunity for russia to show that that vote was juft, this is an opportunity to show the international community at large you can be a constructive force at a time of great need and you have the capability to do some good. i find it ironic and red lines are talked about, but the red line here is literally red. the line we're crossing is 40,000 people have died. what bothers me is the most we are all fixated on the method of killing, not the killing itself. for over a year, we have been talking about getting involved and need to stop this before it gets out of hand. we want to shape what happens after assad leaves. it will be hard to go to the syrian people when they achieve
their freedom and say we would like to help you and they will say, you did little at a time in our debatest need. we have a chance to correct that impression. from an american national security point of view, if we don't secure these chemical weapons, we are going to reget it. the weapons will fall into the wrong hands and there is a race between the free syrian army and al qaeda-type militias that have flooded into syria because of lack of security and i don't know who is going to get there first. and my hope is we along with the international community will form a coalition to protect these weapons. what happens the day after assad leaves and he's going to go. he's going to go feet first or leave on his own but he's going to go. after he goes we need a plan to make sure there is a force, learned from our mistakes in iraq. we didn't have enough troops. when they told president bush
they needed troops, that person was fired. he happened to be right. if we don't have a follow-on force quickly to get involved after assad leaves, it's going to be all hell to pay in the whole region. if the president believes that we need to use force to secure the chemical weapons to stop them from being utilized to kill thousands more and we stand with him and i'm willing to do a resolution on the floor of the senate to use force to protect us against assad using chemical weapons against his own people and protecting that chemical stockpile if necessary by military force. final thought, you could see this coming for a very long time. leading from behind is not working. saying you can do a lot with a light footprint does not work. how many times do we have to make the same mistake before we understand there is no substitute for american leadership and when we get involved to be smart about it.
to not realize, we all accept responsibility. but turn around and do the same thing is unexcuseable, inexcuseable. thank you. >> seeing that there is a difference of opinion among the four of you what steps you would take, for example, senator mccain here talking about use of force, senator graham, use of force and senator, you are talking about a statement by the president that congress would back a statement by the president that he finds this unacceptable. >> if the president makes a statement, which he has that this is a red line, then i think it's important for assad and those who supported and armed and encouraged him to see a united support for the president in taking necessary military action to make real on that
threat. >> i think that's what units us, that if assad uses chemical or biological weapons against his own people and president obama follows through on what he said about consequences, we're saying that we are with you, mr. president, which is to say to use military action. basically to end the assad regime. and i'm convinced most members of congress will be with us as well. >> senators are saying the decision to use military action, if he uses the weapon and sounds like the republicans are saying -- am i hearing it right? >> if there is sufficient intelligence that indicates there's no doubt about what assad is going to do and i'm not saying that intelligence is capable of being ascertained, then obviously, i think the option of preventing that needs
to be exercised. one of the difficulties that we have is to have that kind of hard intelligence, because that's a decision that assad would make. but have no doubt, there's no doubt in any of our minds that he has accomplished all the necessary preparations. >> why isn't that enough? >> what i believe we said in common is, mr. president, we have your back in issuing a clear threat of a response. there are some come flex yits in what's known and can be known but i don't think there is disagreement that there are credible reports that the syrians have chemical weapons and assad has shown a murderous determination to use any force, any violence necessary to stay in power. we all have a common concern that this has gotten to a critical point and in supporting the president in his next step is most important. >> that is based on this conclusion, that the best way to
deter assad from using the chemical and biological weapons he has used against his own people, is to convince him that if he does, it will be the end of his regime, because an international coalition led by the united states of america will strike him where he is and where all the elements of his regime's power are. i mean, i think that is the best deterrence. for myself, if our intelligence points a feasible way for us to act to prevent from doing so militarily, i would support it. but this is a complicated matter. >> could i just say there are numerous sights, degree of confidence that we would be able to remove all of these threats where these bombs are being
assembled is a very complex issue as well. but if we are certain that he is going to act, then there's no one who would say that we shouldn't -- there's no one would say let's wait until he does it. can you get the hard evidence and can you act in a complete fashion, that is a tough part of the problem. >> use of force resolution, what would it say and when would you do that? >> well, i think what crisis saying, we are united behind the idea of the president -- being responsible putting the idea on the table. but it's deeper than stopping him. who gets the weapons when he leaves? where would these weapons go? do we need military force to secure the weapon sites to make sure the most radical people in the region do not object tape
these weapons? if the president said this is a necessary use of military force, i'm for it. we need to think this thing through. it's not stopping the airplane at the end of the runway. i don't know how far along they are. i just read the paper and reading the news like you all are. but to think this thing through. he is not going to stay. better to be on the ground helping people in time of need than show up when they don't need you anymore. the idea he may kill people in a different way, if i'm on the grouped and had my family slaughtered by a tank coming through the house, you worry about the rest of the family being killed by chemical weapons. the bottom line is what are we going to do to stop him. how do you convince the guy that you really mean it when he has already killed 40,000 people.
that's quite a chore. i guess we are saying together the president now says he means it and we say you're right to mean it and we sure do have your back. if syrian tv is catching this news conference, there is a tidal shift being created here. and every member of congress will be behind the president. what do you do with the weapons themselves? >> lesson of libya, the lesson is we did not have sufficient control of the arms caches that were all over the place and obviously those weapons have gone to places that we didn't want them to do. the second major issue is the increasing number of jihadists and al qaeda who are fighting on the ground. and that issue is going to be a very serious challenge. the longer this goes on, the bigger that challenge is. >> is your warning for u.s.
action or action in conjunction? >> the secretary is urgently meeting with russian representatives and lots of elements of the state department are meeting with our alies. the potential for recognition of the new syrian national council is something we would be doing, a step our alies have taken. i commend ambassador ford for their leadership on the plementic side to deal with this grinding, painful, two-year-long conflict. the differences are far less important than the commonality, which the president has made a clear declaration, which we will back. thank you. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by
national captioning institute] >> you are going to hear from senator leiberman at the foundation for defense of democracy. they are hosting a forum called "dictators and dissidents." we'll take you live to the event with remarks from incoming chairman ed royce and senator bob casey and talking about syria and tensions in iran coming up in a few minutes. we will bring you a portion of the morning portion of the discussion at the foundation for defense of democracy. this segment and this panel discussion focused on the egyptian elections. >> good morning everyone. thank you, bob, for that introduction and thank you all of you for coming out early this
morning for what i think will be a lively debate. we are going to be asking the question if democracy is to triumph in the middle east, victories at the ballot box are inavoidable and essential. this is the motion we will be debating in the intelligence-squared format per requests from our panelists who have done this once already -- they have had a practice round. they have not had a chance of doing this, but i suspect, had probably had several scotches and talked about ways to defeat their foes. we know that this is a time of revolution in the middle east. it started with a fruit sell seller in tunisia and toppled a 230-year dictator that spread to egypt and the egyptian
revolution was concern to the united states. egypt has long held incredible importance to u.s. policy in the middle east. the u.s. reaction to that revolution was unclear. there were some that said this was a good thing that this would only lead to democracy. there were others who insisted that mubarak was not a dictator, which might be an insult to dictators if he spent 30 years securing that grip on power. the revolution in egypt has taken many turns. the muslim brotherhood has come to power through the ballot box but has been marre did thanks to edicts by morrisy. earning him the title of mors
iluni. we aren't sure where this revolution is going. syria is teatering, jordan is burning and the future is yet to be written. the question, will there be elections, will islamists win, will it be one man one vote or one man, one vote, one time. with that, we are going to debate the motion, if democracy is going to triumph are victories at the ballot box unavoidable. we will have opening remarks from our panelists. from there, we will have some question and answers from myself and the audience and our panelists will be allowed two minutes at the end to restate their case and potentially persuade you to believe in what they believe.
we'll start with reuel. you may begin. >> this is at such an angle, i don't think i can drink. >> i'm confident you will find a way to drink. >> i want to thank everyone for coming and particularly i want to thank my co-panelists here. rob and i have been debating this issue for almost a decade. certainly with bret, i don't think i ever disagreed with him except on this issue and i particularly have to thank my debating colleague, brian katulis from the center of american progress. it shows the left and right can come together on certain issues and particularly brave for him to be with me because on occasion, i have looked at the web site and i am sometimes
found there me to be depicted as the son of satan and i'm not sure what that makes brian. what we are really talking about here is do you prefer dictatorship to democracy, because that's what the resolution really is, because we know that if you actually have a free vote, right now islammists are always going to do well and probably going to triumph. that may not be the case down the road. right now, if you have a free vote, they will triumph. that makes them unavoidable and essential. if you believe you have to go down that path, some path, then you are going to have to open up the road and the option of them. now, what the opposing side is really saying, i think, is you know what we really wanted to have and may be too late now but still want it, is they want to
have kamalism. that's what they believed him you were going to have kamal and enlightened december potism, that is the authorianism that grew out of the turk movement in the late ottoman empire and enlighten december potism and create a new liberalism that would become democratic in the middle east and take the sharia and take the faithful and you more or less passed them off and replaced them with swift legal codes and at the end of the process, muslims would be bavelly us. well, you know, one, let's look at turkey, that hasn't exactly turned out so well. what happened is that as soon as
the turkish military allowed a free vote, islamic history came roaring back. you don't get to cut off 600 years of islamic history and create little men. and the justice and development party has come back and come back rather powerfully and won at the ballot box repeatedly with a free vote. in the future, that may not be the case, but we know if democracy is to have a chance in turkey, their successors will be there and we know that -- that's the most liberal model. in the arab world where we hope the kamalism would come about, you have dictatorships and the kings that we like, that at the end of the process -- we didn't
even get close to that. what happened in the arab world is that dictatorship produced societies where fundamentalism has become the number one dominant intellectual force. and what happened in the arab world, they produced societies that gave it al qaeda. that's what happens down the dick ta torial path. it is absolutely certain that we don't know the islamism, the fundamentalism is going to head in the middle east, but we should have the did he sensey to reflect on our own history and to realize we shouldn't say to them what westerners themselves didn't live up to. you can't expect them to be better than we were. and if you think about how long it took for us to get where we are today, then we should have,
we must have a bit more patience for them. >> thank you, reuel. now rob satloff. >> thank you. it's a pleasure to be here to join my panelists against these two opponents of ours. after jim woolsey's opening comments that put their side of the argument on the side of hitler-stalin and cue maybey is cower age us. if democracy is to triumph in the middle east, we oppose both parts of this resolution. islamic victory is neither inevitable nor welcome as the resolution suggests. first, inevitable, just look at elections throughout the region.
historically, islamists rarely get more than a third of the vote. they don't win nonislamists lose. non-islamists divide among themselves and not that they get more than 50%, they don't. the non-islamists collectively get the more than 50%. the islamists get less. the division amongst the non islamists is what matters. look at egypt, five elections in the last two years. since the fall of mubarak, non-islamists got increasingly more votes in every single election until the presidential election when, with a candidate so tarred by the fact that he was mubarak's alter ego, they
still got 48.5% of the vote. imagine if they actually had a real independent candidate, they would have won. the numbers clearly support the case that islamists' victories are not inevitable as the resolution, unavoidable as the resolution suggests. secondly, the more pernicious part of the agreement that they are essential or the idea that it is in fact good, positive, beneficial for these guys, the islamists to win. some, like reuel say in order to fight al qaeda, we need to help the islamists to win. that, in fact, they sill absorb the islamists' tendencies and dry up support for the true violent radicals. this is a fundamental misreading of the islammist's project.
this is an ideology we should respect with seriousness and respect. i define it as the pursuit of political power with the aim of establishing regimes based on sharia law. it is by its very nature anti-west, anti-democratic, anti-liberal and anti-peace. it's interests are opposite to ours. this is islamism, it is the opposite of democracy. democracy -- people are the source of legitimacy. periodic elections to choose one's representatives. the idea that the political minority can eventually become the majority. respect for certain rights. protection for the rights of religious and ethnic minorities. protection that goes beyond tolerance and of course the rule of law, the respect for a judiciary that is independent. today's debate is simple. we aren't asking whether they can be good muslims and good democrats, the answer to that is
yes. but can islammists be democrat. can advocates of the ideology of fundamentalism lead their countries to democracy? the answer is an obvious no. our answer is grounded inexperience and fact. their answer is grounded in hope and assertion. we have experiences, iran, gaza, sudan, lebanon, turkey, in none of these countries have the attributes of democracy occurred when islammists were in power. rights are recognized only in some of them to varying degree and no free elections have occurred and some people aren't recognized as the sources of authority. are islamists terrorists? absolutely not. but will islamism ever vurned power if it loses elections?
we don't know. if we aren't confident about that fundamental fact, how can we be confident that their election is essential for democracy. it hasn't happened. we have no idea whether the first set of elections in egypt in 7,000 years is in fact the last set of elections. so, let me just quote one final citation in closing from the egyptian muslim brotherhood's web site before they realized everyone was reading it and then learned the lesson of western p.r. quote, if democracy means that people decide who leads them, then we accept it. if it means that people can change the laws of allah and follow what they wish to follow, then it is not acceptable. that's the heart of the story and it is not the path to democracy. thank you. [applause] >> part of our earlier coverage
of the foundation for defense of democracy and their discussion on "dictators and dissidents." we'll take you live to hear remarks from ed royce and senator bob casey. they will be discussing the war in syria and ongoing tensions with iran. later in the day a look at the arab spring and nonproliferation risks and remarks from senators kyle and leiberman. >> congressman royce stands in the forefront against global terrorist groups that threaten the united states including al qaeda. it is unusual impressions, congressman royce has foreseen many of the developments we have witnessed of late in the middle east. in a statement during the gaza war in the middle of last month
before egyptian president morsi attempted to eliminate judiciary checks on his powers, congressman made the united states' interest plain. quote, he rejects violence and force for moderation. now is the time for him to prove it. congressman royce has shown deep commitment to holding the palestinian authority accountable for insighting its people to violence against israel and authored a bill to that effect this year. he understands the danger posed by a nuclear iran, recently calling it the gravest threat facing the u.s. and its allies. congressman royce was appointed as a conferee to the comprehensive iran sanctions accountability and difficult investment act of 2010. he is considered the challenges posed by the current situation in syria and continues to work
toward a forward-looking approach calling syria a chemical weapon superpower and is concerned about the syrian regime's chemical weapons which includes mustard gas, sarin. where are these stockpiles? what happens when the regime falls? how do we ensure these weapons do not end up in the hands of al qaeda, iranian agents or hezbollah, these are all questions congressman royce is exploring. america's influence works in ways large and small. few people understand that better than incoming house foreign affairs committee chairman ed royce. please join me in welcoming him to f.d.d.'s washington forum. >> let me thank mark here and thank the foundation for the
defense of democracies. what i want to express is my appreciation as a member of the house for the work that you do, for the work product that you provide us, i can say i only wish we had deployed that more decisively sooner, but in terms of what you do, in terms of the analysis that you provide, in terms of the communication, the ability to communicate that to members of the senate and the house, i have to say it's the whole package and it is very important work. and i think if i could share one thought in particular is your work on sanctions emenergy sanctions that i think is critical. and i want to say congratulations. i saw director woolsey when i came in and i appreciate the briefings we have received from him and the ability to get the
type of analysis also from cliff and mark and the whole f.d.d. team. it's so helpful. if you were to ask me, what is going to be the focal point, what's the main concern we have, i think it has been and will continue to be iran for the foreign affairs committee. and i think the administration, frankly, has lagged far behind the house. we have been far ahead in pressuring iran and a lot of that is because of your help. i think we have been united in the house in our effort to do that. i think that that congressional pressure, frankly, is building, building quickly, in light of recent events. and i'm looking forward, of course, to the conference report that we're going to see now from the national defense authorization act, where we're going to have another chance to
tighten the noose and i want to say that the amendment that would shut down most business with key sectors in the iranian economy, with energy and ship building and shipping and the ports, this amendment that would shut down businesses that are involved in sectors which fund the proliferation activities of iran and that regime is crucial. in addition, the amendment is going to prohibit business with all designated persons connected to the iranian government. it bans trades and commodities used in these key sectors and used to stop iran from receiving payment in gold or using oil payments in local currency then
to buy gold and we have to stop an effort to water down these sanctions. i say that because i remember the votes in the past. i remember our effort on the central bank. it was only because we got unanimous votes because we got so much support that we were able to deploy those. but let me add that there is another portion of the amendment here that targets the regime for their human rights abuses. and i think one of the areas where we've been short, for those of you who have talked to to those in the prison there and experienced the torture, who have seen the murder, who have experienced the rapes, those are routine there today in iran. iranian officials are involved in that activity, but also in massive corruption preventing
humanitarian assistance, food and medicine, from reaching the iranian people. they are the beneficiaries in some of this. and this amendment would authorize the administration to designate these regime officials for human rights violations. now we know that the officials in iran are indifferent to the suffering of the iranian people. but we also know that that brutal disregard they show to their own people will only be intensified if iran is successful in its nuclear weapons drive. next week, i'm going to join my colleagues in the conference committee to make certain that the administration does not water down these important new measures. and frankly, the original measures submitted were even harsher and i would like to see us move in that direction, because i have been watching for
years the foot dragging that has gone on in terms of the ability to deploy the types of sanctions that would really be successful. i sat on the conference and saw the administration's strong resistance to congressesally mandated sanctions. they were far too concerned about getting ahead of other countries. what they should have been doing is leading and had no interest in crippling the iranian economy. if you look at the messaging. frankly, that's just what we need to do but you look at that messaging and see the problem. they were wrong then and i suspect their resistance of dropping the hammer is going to continue but i suspect also we have a renud interest in the importance of moving quickly in intensifying this effort because the stakes couldn't be higher.
iran is in violation of its international obligations from the pace of its nuclear development cited by the international atomic energy agency to its refusal to open to inspectors where it is suspected of conducting weapon nizzation tests. i have seen the handy work of the terrorists sponsoring country of iran, because i was in iran in 2006 during the war with hezbollah, as iranian and syrian-made missiles slammed into neighborhoods, slammed into the port. one point, they even targeted the hospital there. in that hospital, i saw 600 civilian victims of these missiles. iranian-made and sirenian-made and that inventory of
iranian-supplied weapons continues to increase as hezbollah expands its delivery capability. those of us who have seen the consequence of that kind of carnage can only contemplate the consequences if it happens that this terrorist sponsoring, genocide-threatening regime ends up with the world's most destructive weapon. we know that the president has said, not on my watch, but we have to see the administration act with the urgency that this threat demands. we cannot have opposition is to the latest sanctions effort. we can't have business as has been done before.
we need sanctions that are going to turn the iranian people against the regime as fast as they can be turned. iran's leadership must feel that their survival is at grave risk if they continue on the nuclear path. and if they don't see it that way and relent with broad sanctions, we have a better chance of bringing about the fundamental type of government change that would better assure a nonnuclear iran in the future. this strategy demands effective communication in farsi. the message in short has to be our issue is not with the iranian people. our issue is the -- with the same regime that you take issue with. we know that there is considerable resistance to the regime with iran. we saw great evidence of that during the green movement.
we saw something to build on. unfortunately, we are not doing a very good job communicating with the iranian people, especially the young, those who despise their rulers. the big missed communications opportunity was the president's shameful silence when brave iranians took to the streets and craved moral support. when they died in the streets of iran at the hands of the opposition, our president was silent. but it is every day that we are missing opportunities with our infect you'll public diplomacy. the regime is telling its side of the story and iranians go to great lengths at great personal risks to hear the other side of the story. what are we telling young iranians?
about their government? about its atrocious human rights record? the debilitating corruption of that regime or about our respect for persian culture or asking why is it that this regime is plowing money into nuclear weapons and giving the type of support they do to the assad regime in syria when its own people suffer? we need to be explaining as best as possible that their economic suffering is because of their leader's reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons. public diplomacy is a critical mission even more so in this digital age, but it's one that gets lost among traditional state-to-state relations. so public diplomacy is an area that i will be bearing down on as committee chairman as well. our efforts to date on iran haven't been anywhere near
effective. some have been harmful. our radio and television broadcasts in particular have got to be improved. enough with poor broadcasting decisions, the in-house fighting, all at the broadcasting agencies. those committed to democracy need to work harder and smarter in making allies in that country right now 67% of the iranian people want an end to that regime and want a western-style democracy and there is no reason that number shouldn't be 87%. this isn't the carrot-and-stick of diplomacy or a grand bargain with the regime but a focus to the people of iran with the message that they are better than their government and that is the heart of f.d.d.'s philosophy. unfortunately, let me make this point, because i have seen this in administration after
administration. i have seen this mistake. i saw the bush administration go silent on north korean human rights abuses when it bargained with the regime during the end of that administration. we'll likely see an impulse for the same with the obama administration and iran. and that means congress will have to push very hard to see that human rights and democracy and the promotion of those principles in iran is and that agenda foremost on that agenda and with the help of f.d.d., we'll do that. and to that very issue, congratulations on your human rights panel this morning. congratulations on all you do and one more time i want to tell you, the intellectual information, the data that you provide is absolutely essential. i thank you for that. and i think at that point, we'll take some questions, won't we? thank you, toby.
[applause] >> congressman royce. it is clear to all of us why you have been entrusted with the very important gavel of chairing the house foreign affairs committee following the able leadership of chairman laint. we are on a tighter schedule and i'm going to call up senator casey but i recognize the presence here today of lieutenant colonel larry ger lock. he was the commander of an amphibious unit. he drove two trucks and exploded the american and french marine -- lieutenant colonel gerlock
survived it. he is here today with us. we thank you so much for your service and for honoring us with your presence today. [applause] >> who wants to follow ed royce? not me. welcome again to the foundation annual washington forum. my name is ken schwartz and proud member of the f.d.d. board. today i have the pleasure of introducing a distinguished public official. robert casey, senior senator from the state of pennsylvania. he has served since 2007 as chairman of the near east and south asia subcommittee of the
senate foreign relations committee and this only in his first term. one can scarcely imagine more interesting or challenging time to occupy that position. the past two years in the middle east have seen wars across international borders and within them. the collapsed of regimes and the rise of new political movements that may yet turn hostile to the united states and its allies. in the face of these new developments, senator casey has led the way on many issues of great concern to f.d.d. founder and co-chire of the bipartisan senate caucus on weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. in that capacity he has worked across the partisan divide to highlight the serious threat of weapons of mass destruction poses. few leaders have done as much as senator casey to confront iran our greatest threat in the middle east. he has led the way on new legislation to pressure leaders
to abandon their unlawful nuclear activities and their efforts to destabilize the middle east. he author s the iran sanctions enabling act to divest pension funds and doing business with iran. in february of this year, senator casey authored a bipartisan resolution passed by unanimous vote of the senate expressing iranian's right for freedom of speech, assembly and due process. during times of both peace and conflicts, senator casey has traveled to the region to safeguard our interests. in july, he led a delegation to discuss the ongoing threat posed by iran and review developments in the middle east peace process. senator casey has traveled to saudi arabia, kuwait, iraq,
israel, the west bank, lebanon and egypt where he met with top officials and u.s. troops in iraq and kuwait. and went with vice president biden and met with the troops. he has come out in strong support of israel during the fighting in gaza last month. senator casey has said quote, the u.s. must continue to support israel in preventing the mill tar rizzation of ham ause and they have the right to set up a naval blockade to keep weapons being sent to hamas. ham asis a terrorist organization and has fired rockets at israelis and is a proxy for iran and main impediment to peace in the region and he goes on to say, israel's citizens deserve to live without fear and we must do all we can to strengthen this
unbreakable bond. and i have no doubt he will continue to do all his great work. please join me in welcoming our friend, senator robert casey. [applause] >> thanks so much, ken for that introduction. i'm honored to be here for so many reasons, to follow the chairman. always an honor and so grateful for that. but i'm especially glad to be here today because i almost wasn't. not in a dramatic way. we were all set to have a meeting and then a vote that would involve the debt ceiling. it just arose very quickly in the senate. as you know, not much arises quickly in the senate on anything. there was a meeting called for 1:00 with our caucus and then a vote after that or so we
thought. that lasted about, oh, about 18 minutes and got changed. so thank goodness we're here. probably should still do that vote but won't be today. i thank you for this opportunity and i want to thank ken for his kind words an >> of what to think the ftc chairman, -- fdd chairman, jim woolsey. also the staff responsible for our visit here that are so hopeful when we reach out to them. -- helpful when we reach out to them. it is a lot of work to staff a
member of the foreign relations committee and someone who is in the subcommittee. i am also humbled by the opportunity to speak to this audience. i come here not just in gratitude, but with a full measure of humility because i know of the collective wisdom, knowledge and experience of the people in this room. on days like this, i am not sure i were the to talk to you -- am worthy to talk to you. i'm grateful to share some ideas. as we were preparing today's remarks, the low sections have been deleted in the interest of time -- yellow sections have been deleted in the interest of time. this is been especially difficult time in this country, because we have a huge economic and fiscal challenge. there is a good degree of for
about it every day. -- worry about it every day. those worries, side by side with a host of international and foreign policy and security challenges. we cannot separate the two. when you are talking about our fiscal situation, there is an obvious connection to our national security. i am cognizant of the connection. today we will be speaking only about foreign policy, and in particular in a very focused way on syria. i want to thank those who have made this possible. as the chairman of a key subcommittee, i value the work that you do, each of you do and fdd does on a range of policy issues, whether it is the security of our troops in afghanistan, but also the work you do to strengthen our policy as it relates to the regime and i ran. -- in iran.
your team has brought to the forefront carefully thought out and persuasive research and policy positions that have been an outstanding resource for those of us in congress. i'm especially grateful for that help. i know the theme of this year's form is, foreign dictators, should the west choose sides? quite topical, given the events that have played out recently, whether it is the arabs bring, whether it is the recent democratic openness in places like burma and otherwise. i would argue that the central question is one of process. that question being whether the u.s. and the west should support the democratic process such that citizens are able to choose their own leaders. even when the process gives rise to political movements and leaders of may disagree with the u.s. or oppose western policies
and u.s. policies. i think moreover, at the u.s. and western diplomats have had a soul addressed to: in many countries. -- sole address to call to in many countries. i would argue that relations with countries that have duly elected leadership are built on a more stable foundations been the substantial debt ultimately brittle ties that the u.s. maintains with, for example, the mubarak regime in egypt. nowhere in the region is the struggle against dictatorship more vital and acute than in syria. over the past 20 months, it has become abundantly clear that bashar al-assad in power, there is no possibility for a democratic process in syria.
for years, syria has been one of the most repressive countries in the world. according to the state department and analytical studies done by freedom house, political dissidents were routinely imprisoned or disappeared, and journalists were silenced. human rights activists operated underground, living in constant fear of the dreaded -- meanwhile, mr. assad professed a commitment to play a constructive role in the region. he was cast by many as eight "reformer." but it's terrible treatment of its own people should have been a strong indication of what he was really all about. how government treats its people is a true testament to its character. it is an indication of how it will act on the world stage. we have seen how voskhod operates in the region, -- the
regime operates in the region. providing weapons, logistical support, and tactical advice to syrian government forces. iran has also used syria as a conduit for support to hezbollah, has that terrorist organization has substantially increased its arsenal of rockets and missiles, restocking after the 2006 war with israel. i have saw to use my position in the senate as chairman of the subcommittee to put a bright spotlight on the destructive terrorist activities that hezbollah continues to conduct in the region and around the world. after al qaeda, hezbollah has killed more americans than any other terrorist organization. in recent years, it and it's the
rickenbackers have been tied to terrorist attacks or planned attacks in cyprus, india, and azerbaijani. azerbaijan. the bulgarian bus driver that was killed appears to have had the marking of a strike by hezbollah. last year chaired a foreign relations hearing on the growing threat posed by hezbollah. i urge catherine ashton strongly urging the european union to designate them as a terrorist organization. the response that we got was unacceptable, in the sense that it laid out a whole series of bureaucratic reasons or hurdles
that would have to be surmounted to do that. i do not think it should be acceptable to us, ever. in the coming days, i and senator lieberman and senator rich will introduce code resolution with the same message that we sent to catherine ashjian -- a resolution with the same message that we sent to catherine ashton. bashar al-assad is a key link. efforts to support moderate forces opposing him within syria should be considered now and considered seriously. i have recently called for a more robust u.s. response to the crisis in syria. i believe that a political transition to a government that reflects the will of the syrian people is also in the core security interest of united states and the region.
moreover, this change would align with our values of supporting the democratic process and the basic rights and freedom that should be enjoyed by all people, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or gender. over the course of the past 20 months, the aside regime has unleashed a barrage of unspeakable -- assad regime has unleashed a barrage of unspeakable terror across the country. more than 40,000 syrians have been killed, countless have been injured. refugees have surged into neighboring turkey, jordan, lebanon, and iraq, taxing the limits of those countries. assad's escalation of violence has reached a point where
fighter jets have been used to kill civilians. it is hard to comprehend that happening in any country. that is what has played out. this regime's shocking capacity for wide spread terror may only grow as we see reports of chemical weapons. international institutions have largely remained on the sidelines, held hostage by the reprehensible policies of the russian and chinese governments. the administration was right to initially work through the united nations. but due to russian and chinese intransigence, the syrian suffering has continued. ambassador ford has led the
charge in coordinating humanitarian assistance. let me share a few thoughts on this brave american, ambassador afford. i am glad he had a chance to catch up with you today and speak to you. his personal courage and commitment, seeing a way forward in syria is remarkable. his visit in july of 2011 stand as a testament to american commitment and concern for the syrian people. i was proud to cheer his confirmation hearing to stand as ambassador, and have appreciated his friendship and openness to engage. he is precisely the kind of diplomats we need in these challenging times in the middle east, and we need more robert fords. ambassador ford and his team have led an effort to support a more cohesive and moderate opposition political groups in syria. this has not been easy.
opposition political organizing is difficult in the best of circumstances. not to mention during a war and after decades of severe repression by the syrian government. despite these considerable challenges, the national coalition of syrian revolutionary and opposition forces was recently established. this group is not perfect, nor should we expected to be. i do not need to tell anyone in this audience that the work of political consensus is hard, especially those of us who work in the united states congress. moving forward, i expect the administration will continue to communicate clear and achievable criteria for the formal recognition of this group as the sole, legitimate representative of the syrian people. and once those criteria are met, the u.s. should move quickly to recognize and support -- show support for this group, and
continue to repeat the commitment to democratic principles for syrians of all religious and ethnic backgrounds and. time is growing increasingly short for these moderate elements among the political and armed opposition. we see reports of increased influence of foreign fighters and jihadists. the space to positively influence the elements is narrowing and perhaps closing. the establishment of the new opposition group, combined with a better understanding of the armed population, provides a renewed opportunity for a more assertive u.s. policy. let me propose a couple of ideas. number one, first the u.s. must lead an effort to better coordinate international support for the moderate serious opposition. several countries over the past 20 months have provided different degrees of military, political, and humanitarian assistance to syrian opposition
groups inside the country, which has led to a common complaint by those in the opposition. they say that costs the u.s. and international community have applied considerable pressure on the syrian opposition to coalesce and coordinate. yet these countries providing assistance to the opposition are sometimes not coordinated among themselves. the want us to feed our own advice, which i think -- he our own advice, which i think is a fair statement. -- heed our own advice, which i think is a fair statement. u.s. leadership among interested countries would help to better coordinate these efforts and bolster the position of moderate elements. we must also work closely with syria's neighbors, were greatly suffering from the spillover effects of the crisis. we must make sure they are
committed to hastening the end of the assad regime. aikens for the iraq continues to allow iranian flights to use iraqi airspace to transport military supplies are disguised as humanitarian aid to the syrian regime. iraq also failure to turn off any that are carrying illicit cargo it violates international sanctions and directly undermines u.s. security interests. the iraqi government must commit to expecting all iranian aircraft passing through its airspace to ensure that iran is not able to facilitate assad's brutality co. as a major recipient of u.s. assistance, iraq must continue to undercut -- must not continue to undercut our key interest in the region. second, the u.s. should consider initiating security cooperation to include training
and intelligence sharing opposition groups that are committed to the democratic process. i understand that organizations like the syrian support group have developed criteria and secured commitments from commanders on the ground to abide by internationally accepted human-rights norms and conventions of relative to behavior during armed conflict. we should make sure that if we take this step, that we ensure that that happens. the u.s. should consider measures that would hamper the ability of the syrian air force to conduct aerial attacks on civilians. nato is finalizing the patriot missile batteries, an important step in the right direction. these batteries are an important display of international solidarity with turkey and the syrian people. the illustration should also examine and assess other ways
-- administration should also examine and assess other ways in which the syrian air force can be -- planes on the ground is what we're talking about here. as part of our support for the opposition, we should be working to identify ways to strengthen moderate elements within the country with direct monetary support. years ago the international community provided oil and energy assistance to towns led by democratic forces opposed to mr. milosevic in serbia. this assistance helped to bolster these leaders in the eyes of their constituents and helped them to provide much- needed heating services during the cold serbian winter. in serbia, the humanitarian situation is considerably more direct -- in syria, the humanitarian situation is considerably more dire.
if we can help them, and help them on a front in a way that does not exacerbate international opposition dynamics, we should. as far as the security situation permits, the u.s. should enhance our diplomatic engagement in syria by sending emissaries to meet with members of the political opposition in the northern part of the country. this important display of solidarity would greatly enhance u.s. standing among moderate -- the moderate opposition and would include our ability to undermine what will be considerable challenges in a post-assad of syria. -- syria. all of this is clearly within
our national security interest. i do not support the use of u.s. forces on the ground and syria, but i believe the u.s. can and should take more concrete steps to demonstrate support for the transition. "we cannot predict exactly what a new steering government would look like, we can encourage moderate actors to take center stage and emphasize the importance of the process, the process of building institutions, electing new leaders, and bring together series of different backgrounds to pursue a common goal, peace and representative government. this is a goal worthy of supporting. i hope the u.s. will demonstrate our commitment to these core principles in the weeks and months ahead. i know we are short on time. thank you for your attention. god bless you. thank you. [applause]
>> senator casey, thank you for your remarks. they could not be more timely, urgent, or compelling. just this week alone, 850 people have been killed by bashar al-assad. we face the prospects of chemical weapons being used on the syrian population. but thank you so much for your very important work. thank you to your able staff, and they do for spending your afternoon with us. -- thank you for spending your afternoon with us. will introduce the next panel. >> good afternoon. i'm a proud member of the fdd board. today i have the pleasure of introducing a group of top experts to discuss the implications of the arab spring
on nuclear non-proliferation regime is. the bios are in the book. i will turn it over to our moderator. >> thank you to all of you. marks andul for your services. we're going to do a topic that will sound too technical. the non-proliferation policy in wake of the arab spring. i want to put this in human terms. this is the sum of all fears panel. i spent the entire night last night the thinking of a way to do this in an entertaining and humorous way. there is no such way. this is about weapons of mass destruction in the middle east. it is a serious topic, and we have very serious experts, people who are the leading light in non-proliferation.
a double what i have spent a year working with -- a gentleman i have spent a year working with on this subject, very specific recommendations on how to deal with is a grave threat. we've talked about the iranian nuclear program, the implications for the united states, israel. the possibility of the cascade of proliferation which could lead to multiple middle east countries with nuclear weapons, whereby intention or accident it could lead to a nuclear conflagration. a man who was slaughtered 40,000 of its own people, and clear lee is capable of slaughtering many, many more. i learned a lot from these extraordinary, smart individual sitting here.
i learned the other day that since world war ii, the middle east has seen more weapons of mass destruction attacks than any other place on earth. just to go to the list here, which may or may not be aware of -- egyptians used chemical weapons against yemen between 1963 and 1967. in the 1980's, the iraqis used chemical weapons against iranians and it is reported that iranians used chemical weapons against the iraqis. 1987, khaddafi's libya used chemical weapons against chad. as most of you remember, saddam hussein used mustard gas against the kurds. those were the years when the middle east was stable. the about that. -- think about that. now we're in the middle of the
great arab revolt. these middle eastern governments who brought so-called stability have come down, and now we have political foes who could very easily get each other's throat. the stakes are extraordinarily high. they are here in their personal capacities, there the world's leading lights on non- proliferation. let's jump into it. when will it run get a nuclear weapon -- iran get a nuclear weapon? >> it is not inevitable. whether the will or not will depend on what we do. it is hard to gauge when they may decide to get a bomb. certainly the current strategy is to prevent them. the obama administration has made it clear they want to prevent them. israel has made it even clearer
they want to prevent them from getting it, it is certain amount of nuclear weapons debilities. i think it wrong perceives it is risky to try to get -- iran perceives it is risky to get a nuclear weapon at this time. they would have had one by now if it had not been for the actions of the international community. if they are deterred now, will they be in the future? one of the worries we have is that if it is easy for them to make, a bomb, they will be more likely to make the decision to do it. there have been other cases with no weapons, where they had beaten and technical ability, the political decision to do so was a lot -- where they had the technical ability, the political decision to do so was a lot easier.
their nuclear capabilities are growing so fast that perhaps in 2014, they will actually have secret capability and it could produce weapons-grade uranium and we will not even know what happened until they choose to rivulet. -- reveal it. the many methods being developed, some by this organization that have been very creative, and to keep the pressure on iran, keep deterring them -- in the future, those methods will be required to do a lot more. we use 2014 as the time when we really need to worry much more that we will not have the methods in place to stop them from crossing the line.
>> to press you on this a little bit more, when in 2014? >> i cannot say. we're not that precise. i would say the actions today can delay it. you worry about their stock of 20% low enriched uranium. they're being pressed clearly by netanyahu's statement to keep the stock below a certain amount. the need to do that. they may decide it is not worth the risk to keep letting that stock grow. if they let it grow, they can break out more quickly. a lot depends on what we do. >> let's talk a little bit about what we can do. president obama has made it clear that the policy of his administration is to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
can you tell us why containment or deterrence will not work? >> there are three major reasons why you cannot rely on deterrence or containment. first of all, there's a possibility that iran's nuclear bombs might be used, either because the iranian regime itself is so messianic as to be and the terrible, or rogue elements in iran get ahold of weapons and transfer and use them. we saw what happened in pakistan where a to c. what would happen if you had a similar situation and irin iran? you also have to worry about
miscalculation. people say, mutual assured destruction worked between the u.s. and soviet union for many years. if you look at the history, it actually came very close a couple of times, particularly on three occasions. one was the time of the cuban missile crisis. another time was during the yom kippur war. there was an article recently in and how healmem post" describes how the american and soviet navy circled your mom to poor, and watching each other. they got so tired -- circled, watching each other. they got so tired that they got close to making a mistake. boris yeltsin was president of russia. the norwegians had it with the
rocket. the launch a whether rocket. the notification got lost in the mail. the russian generals came into yeltsin and said, someone has launched something at us across the far horizon. if this is an american nuclear attack, you have two minutes to launch or russia will be obliterated with no shots back. yeltsin and thankfully was sober that day, relations were good between the u.s. and soviet union and he said, it cannot be the americans attacking. when we talk about the u.s. iran it, israel and iran, a shorter flight times, more attention -- the chances of something going wrong are that much higher. you also have to be concerned about iran with a nuclear umbrella. people say, iran will be more
responsive. if you look at pakistan, they became much more aggressive after they got nuclear weapons. they started attacking in india, knowing that the indians wanted to avoid getting into a nuclear exchange. if you have nukes and you're more aggressive than the other guy, you could go further than you would if you did not have nukes. it is called the stability- instability paradox. finally, the saudi king said if the iranians did nukes, we will get them also, and from there, other countries may follow. in a country as fraught with tension as the middle east, it did not want to have a cascade of proliferation. >> mike, i want to ask you about this casket of proliferation. has this arab revolt change the proliferation in the
government's in the region for better or for worse, or not that all? >> i can say that things have improved in the sense to that there is more of awareness about what is going on. more consciousness of it. when you look at the issue of authorities that have happened in the region, particularly in that hasof libya, wher -- caused great alarm about how secure the stockpile is thrown the region. we have all been talking about chemical weapons -- throughout the region. we have all been talking about chemical weapons. as more testimonial to this on a personal thing, for the last three years the u.s. central command at my center have been posting annual symposium --
hosting an annual s ymposium. this year's symposium was held three weeks ago in saudi arabia, the first time any symposium had been held in the region. we were happy to host it. the concern is not simply on the nuclear level. it is that all the different levels of weapons of mass destruction. it is on the chemical, it is on the body -- biological, radiological. there is an increase in concern about this potential threat. >> do you agree that a nuclear will result inn proliferation? iran, israel,
saudi arabia. .air trigger, conflatgration >> probably not. i should have not said it with a smile. this is a serious business. there will certainly be pressures and movement in a general direction of creating some type of capability that maybe in the long term might provide access to nuclear weapons. we're seeing nuclear energy, for example, nuclear power plants will come to the region relatively soon if the arab spring does not interfere with those plans. the projections that are on the books come to be realized. if you go country by country and realize what the motivations might be, there are many factors and might lead in a different direction. it is difficult to make nuclear weapons.
we would certainly push back on any of these states that are seeking to acquire nuclear arms. many of the states are very dependent on us. even saudi arabia is dependent on us to protect them right now , and provide advanced military equipment. that relationship would be completely endangered if they were seen to be moving down the wrong track. the same is true for egypt. maybe algeria, any other state we would like to identify. i do not need the cascade and to get extremely nervous about iran. there is much to worry about there. just an iran per se, and the
threat they will present to us and others. focusing on iran because of what it can do itself. >> let me be a little more pessimistic. proliferation historically has been very slow. iran had nuclear weapons, there were be greater instability, also many more demands placed on the u.s. to keep the others from proliferating. in that, there may be some slipups, some bad moments. with the growing nuclear capabilities in the region which i think would be inevitable, you could see countries cross the line. there could be surprises in the long term. i think you will see them coming in the short term, and but you could have, just like we have
seen, proliferation would continue. it may not be a cascade because of countries like the united states, but it may be inevitable. >> i want to keep the conversation moving on this. if we are in agreement that a nuclear-armed iran is a serious threat to american national security and the security of our allies, let's talk about what we can do about it. we had some really help the disagreements about some of these questions. -- healthy disagreements about some of these questions. the fundamental question in the might of the audience is the importance of a credible u.s. military threat. -- mind of the audience is the importance of a credible u.s. military threat. >> it is something we do agree on, even if there are careful reservations about an actual military attack. the military's threat needs to
be real enough that it influences the behavior of the iranians. we have sanctions, i'm sure you'll talk about that in a semoment. it turns out over the last year, and certainly before that, their thin many elements that have gone to reinforce the reality of the threat. there was a large exercise in the persian gulf recently. there have been new arms purchases in the region. the missiles, defensive missiles have been shared with the number of states in the region. frankly, the presidents declaration has been explicit. he was put to the choice of saying, do we want to manage this and contain the threat, or are we going to prevent it. remarks made by leon panetta
have dropped some of the earlier reservations. i think it is everyone's hope on the panel that we never get to that, but the measures that are being taken are the ones that make that threat real. we hope we will have some influence. if you go back to 2003, 2005 when we were in iraq, with all the problems that post and all the missteps that got us into that war, it concentrated the minds of the iranians. that was a period when they suspended a lot of their nuclear activities. they are susceptible to military pressure. the trick for us is to get it right so that you apply the pressure, but you never have to take it all the way to actuality. >> president obamdo you think wl
we can to send a clear message that this is a credible military threat and we are serious about using the full power of the u.s. government to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? if not, what else can we do? >> we have established this portable natal best in the persian gulf proper. >> -- base in the persian gulf proper. we want to continue that activity. we had an exercise in two months ago, and we had one maybe six months ago. you do not want to stop. that has to continue. the declarations have been pretty powerful. those need to continue. i am not saying that we sit on our hands. that is the style of activity. the reinforcement that we mean
business, that is where you want to do but. >> this is a little bit inside. the obama administration has said it wants to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. but what does that mean? does that mean we have evidence that there bolting the last polls together for a deliverable nuclear weapon -- bolts together for a deliverable nuclear weapon? does that mean they have too much 20% material and could break out more quickly? there is a real need of for try to define that. in our report, we tried to do that, not in a red line way, but in a way that the u.s. has to be prepared to be able to make an assessment based on a set of criteria that if iran meets that set of criteria or there is a judgment, the u.s. would respond militarily.
i think right now, at least what i hear, it is not well defined in. you have israel taking a very different point of view, where they have said that they may strike militarily when iran reaches a certain level of nuclear weapons capability. that would be short of making the bomb there is a need to reconcile the u.s. and israeli points of view -- >>,. -- bomb. >> there is a need to reconcile the u.s. and israeli points of view. you wanted to look more like what happened in 1991 in iraq. -- iraq, then it looked like in 2003 and iraq. you want to make sure there is a strategy of, what happens next,
like there was in 1991. >> there is a lot of thought that is necessary in order to work out -- what does it mean to build a nuclear weapon? two, what will come after a military strike to prevent iran from the building? >> president netanyahu made it very clear at the u.n. general assembly where the israeli red line is. but there is an argument that there is no american red line, there is an american invisible line, and no one is sure where it is. not the iranians, not us, not the israelis. do you share that concern? is there anything we can do to establish a more conclusive and defined redline so that it helps us in our negotiating strategy with the iranians? as we were reminded this
morning, persians negotiate in the bazaar. do we have an america that we can more clearly defined -- american red line that we can more clearly define? >> there are a couple of reasons by the military threat is important. as sandy indicated, the iranians to respond to credible threats of force. -- do respond to credible threats of force. if you read the biographies of the hostage-takers, they said they were afraid ronald reagan was going to act like a cowboy. the release the hostages the minute he was sworn in. the soviets threatened to bomb tehran, and the hostages were let go.
it is important to note that the iran-iraq war came to win and win the u.s. mistakenly shot down an american civil airliner. the ayatollah cooper made a speech saying that the cards were such -- ayatollah made a speech saying that the cards were such that he had to take the best deal he could. there was a lesson there. the iranians back down in the face of a credible threat of force. if you were the iranians, you are thinking to yourself, what can i learn from the example of india and pakistan? india and pakistan detonated a nuclear bombs. there were sanctions imposed on them. a few years later, those
sanctions were lifted. if you're an iranian, you think yourself, all i have to do is get the bomb and tested, there will be sanctions, and then i will be home free. you have to make it clear to them that there is no home free the day after, because they're never going to get there. they have to cut the best deal that they can. >> there is a lot of talk about sanctions. you have been two previous fdd conferences and heard all you want to about sanctions. i want to talk about another aspect of sanctions that are as important as economic sanctions, the sanctions that prevent iran from acquiring the essential parts and components for its nuclear program. even in a postal strike environment, if iran wanted to reconstitute its nuclear program, do we have a problem
with nuclear smuggling? >> without outside assistance, iran would not have a large centrifuge program. the death developed a small one overtime, but it depended -- they have developed a small one overtime. they have been smuggling dual- use goods that are necessary to build centrifuges and centrifuge plants since the 1980's. the family will talk about this. -- they freely will talk about this. there are very dependent, and they're active now. there was another court case, and arrested some smugglers yesterday trying to buy things here. carbon fiber. but they were looking for a carbon fiber when the machine. these things are used in missiles, -- winding machine.
these things are used in missiles. europe has tightened up. they have been working actively in china to buy european- american-chinese goods. the government is not completed, but they're not doing enough. we're thinking that pressure needs to be brought on china. goods made in germany, sold by that company to the chinese company that thinks it will keep it in china, but in fact it is going to iran. all it a country of tr concern. we're thinking maybe it is time that china is called out on that.
china needs to be pressured to stop a local in the system internationally that is being created to keep iran from outfitting its centrifuge program. that effort over time has had tremendous success. with more and more sanctions, it is been more successful. more purchases stopped, more interdiction's, more trouble for iran to make progress. >> in terms of u.s. non- proliferation programs, david is emphasizing some of the holes that exist, particularly in controls and lack of enforcement of existing sanctions legislation. what is your assessment of non- proliferation programs? >> when you hear discussions on
sanctions, these are the things we tried to do to cut off supply. there are more things that could be done to enforce things, have better training in the region for border guards. we also need to look at the demand side. what drives countries to proliferate? how can you build in that notion of a nonproliferation norms? how you build a community of non-proliferation in the region? united states has been doing things, angood stuff. but there is a lot more that can be done. we have a lot of programs are operated throughout the department of state, department of defense, department of energy -- that is not to say that all these things are working together. but there is a way that there could be more of a concerted action to be given to this.
we need to look in terms of how do you build a non-proliferation arm within society's. >> nonproliferation norms, i get that. here is a direct question. how much it does the u.s. government spent annually inviting non proliferation in the middle east? this is the sum of all fears. we are in the post-war. -- post-war period. we see thousands of people killed. i would assume as a layperson that we must be spending billions in fighting middle east non-proliferation. >> i do not know.
>> does congress know? >> i doubt it. >> do you know? >> as part of our report, we talked to a lot of people to try to get a handle. we know that overall uncooperative a reduction of proliferation programs around the world, about $1 billion per year is being spent. -- on the cooperative reduction of proliferation programs around the world, about $1 billion per year is being spent. there is no person who follows everything that is being done with regards to non- proliferation programs in the middle east. there is nobody who coordinates, who looks for overlaps, who tracks.
we think somewhere around the figure of $20 million a year is being spent. the congressional research service spent a lot of time on it. probably $20 million, give or take. she was not able to tell. this is a concern. this is an important region with a lot of threat. for whatever reason, there is not accorded a strategy. one of the things we call for is having a comprehensive nonproliferation strategy for the middle east. >> can i interrupt here? >> you ran a business, and if someone came to you and said, how much are you spending and a vital element of your business and you said, i do not know, but maybe we should do a report and find out --
>> [inaudible] >> it is worth emphasizing that $20 million to address a significant threat to american security -- >> this is one slice. i would say it is a soft slice. we are spending billions in the middle east. every exercise, every military exercise is $100 million, probably. every aircraft that we finance to give to a country in the region is money spent. the bases that we run, the presence we have in the region, all of these add up and they're big. how about the intelligence capabilities we have? but is billions right there. -- that is billions right there.
this is the yen and the gang. -- yin and yang. the programs that are trying to build and norms, established codes of conduct within chemical and biological institutes better try to make sure the nuclear power plants -- their very important. >> in terms of hard core national security stuff, and what to shift from this paradigm where we imagined iran building a nuclear weapon, putting it on a missile, firing it into your or israel, and ultimately getting a icbm technology, being able to reach the united states?
this is a classic paradigm. wmd terrorism. what are the real risks of wmd terrorism and throw their significant risks. -- terrorism? >> there are significant risks. when you look at chemical and biological, they're also very significant threats there. when you look what happened in world war ii, the japanese army dropped infected fleas in china and killed 50,000 people as a biotech. played infected fleas killed 50,000 people -- plague-infected fleas killed 50,000 people.
you have terrorist groups in the middle east. al-qaeda has tried very hard for years to develop wmd. probably the closest they came was when there were a group of retired pakistan the leaders -- pakistani leaders to try to team up with al-qaeda to help them develop a wmd. luckily they were tracked down upon before things got too far out of hand. that is an example of al qaeda. you have to worry potentially about iranian scientists teaming any similar way. you look at hezbollah, there are rumors that hezbollah might get their hands on some syrian chemical weapons. hamas has been known to use cyanide gas in attacks on israeli civilians.
the question of what to do about this, what can you do to stop nonstick actors such as al qaeda, -- non-state actors such as al-qaeda, hamas, from getting chemical weapons? talking about how wmd is prescribed by islam, and how it is o.k. under islam, one of the things to do is get allies in the middle east such as the saudis. you can make it very clear that if a state like syria or iran, if their wmd end up in the hands of terrorists, that state will be held to account and your not going to wait necessarily for perfect proof. the other thing you can do is
improve detection and response. a lot of what you do to improve detection and response with regard to biological weapons is the same thing that you do to improve detection and response to naturally occurring diseases. talk about unfunded projects in the middle east, there is an interesting project still exists. middle east consortium for infectious disease surveillance. a partnership of the israeli, palestinian, and jordanian government. it is useful in tracking disease spread and also potentially in tracking and responding to biological weapons attacks. that project, they great project, is begging for money. -- that great project, is begging for money. this is the sort of thing that ought to be supported by the
u.s. government. the final thing we need to do in terms of non state actors, al qaeda came closest to developing wmd when they were in control of territory in afghanistan. we have to keep groups like that from getting a base. >> chemical, i wonder if you could talk a little bit about nuclear terrorism. >> again, i am a scientist. i think it is a very small probability. i reject the idea of 1% or 50%.
the chance of fukushima happening was less than 1%. it is a low probability, but a horrific consequences. i think if proliferation happens, as nuclear capabilities bread, you'll have more of the wherewithal for terrorists to exploit and therefore more opportunities. i would like to emphasize what was said, you have to deny the territory. that is the lesson in afghanistan. you don't want to give these people time and space to work on these kind of weapons. with that being said, if you look at sudan, somalia, a couple of places, is not an easy thing to accomplish. and i would say that we are not prepared here for a nuclear attack. that is why you have to always worry about it, even though i think you should keep it in
proper perspective. if one happened, how do know a second is not going to happen? or is that democracy would survive if there was a second one. what would it do to the state that did it? if you look at the news commentary after 9/11, you heard comments just based on what happened at 9/11 that maybe we some states. can you imagine what would happen if there is a nuclear explosion goes off in a city? everything has to be done to prevent it. the middle east is unfortunately the breeding ground for the terrorist that may do it. as time goes on, they will become more technically capable. when i worked on it in the task force, there were not that many terrorist groups that could even think about building a nuclear weapon. that, unfortunately, is changing. >> overtime is up.
after a year of working with you, despite the gravity of the threat, i feel better knowing that american national security is in the hands of such exports. please give them a round of applause. now i will introduce -- he will introduce senator lieberman and senator kyl. please keep your seats. >> good afternoon. i am a long time fdd board member. i have the opportunity to
introduce to distinguished leaders, senator joseph lieberman and senator jon kyl. though they came from different parties, on the most important issues they have fought on the same side. indeed, few states and have done more to advance the cause of freedom, human rights, and democratic governments than they have. most recently, that work together to prevent the world's leading sponsor of love human rights violations from acquiring nuclear weapons. they leave impressive legacies, and i am confident they will have much more to contribute after they retire from congress at the end of this term. over the past decade, both have worked very closely and productively with fdd, for which we are very, very grateful. i will now turn the microphone over to cliff may, who will moderate a discussion and
question and answer session with the senators and breivik -- present them with a much deserved award. please join me in welcoming senators joseph lieberman and jon kyl to our washington forum. [applause] >> thank you, well done. >> i have a couple of countrymen here. i mean connecticut, of course. [laughter] thank you so much. i will thank you more formally in a few minutes. this is really a wonderful time to pick your brains and talk with you. let me start with you, senator lieberman. when you came to congress, the
united states was engaged in a cold war against totalitarian regimes, movement, and ideologies. as you leave the senate, the united states is engaged in an asymmetrical war against egalitarian -- egalitarian regimes. have we made any progress? >> we have made progress. i was about to quote lenin, sometimes it is to step foot forward, one step back. it strikes me that obviously there was enormous progress when the berlin wall went down. sadly, in russia itself, we have not really seen that returned.
not quite as bad as the old stalinist days, but bad. i said to one of my colleagues that there are days it will be shot, and recent times when i left the senate wondering if i had ever done anything that would matter during that day. i think we have done something significant. this is history, the victory over communism in the soviet union was remarkable, and yet somehow, the respite from conflict in fact was short. there are lessons to be learned. oddly, both of these work
ideological conflicts at their heart. sometimes people miss that. it is a theology, but it is an ideology. the other hopeful thing to say is that ultimately, as generally happens through history, communism collapses under the weight of its own repression and evil and extremism. i am confident the same will be true of islam must extremism and terrorism. the other lessons i have learned is we have to be clear in making the ideological counter argument, which we did for a long time, against the communists. that was critical to the ultimate victory we secure. we have to remain strong and
unrelenting in our willingness to use our strength to protect our security and our values against these ideologies which were then and are now inhumanely militarized. and we have to have patience. that is a real challenge for us in a democracy. the cold war did not end quickly. it took strong leadership to end it. this conflict against against extremely -- an extremely unconventional enemy will not end quickly, either. in our democracy, we are going to have to, hopefully without suffering anything like the attack of 9/11, continue to convince the american people that we've got to stay engaged,
keep our defense is high, and remain on the offense, both ideologically and militarily. >> senator kyl, if you would also comparing contrast the cold war to the current conflict any way you want to. among ourselves, we will talk about the autism -- jihadism as an ideology. we are fighting violent extremist spirit of violent extremists, almost by definition, has no coherent set of beliefs. it seems to me that if you don't understand and will not delve into the ideology of those who proclaim themselves to be in me scummy cannot understand them. if you cannot understand them, you will have a very tough time defeating them. >> exactly so. let me compliment senator
lieberman. as usual, everything he said was wise and on. . your last comment runs me that several of us joined together on the second iteration of the committee on present danger, which brings us back to your comparison. the cold war and the war against islamist, theological, ideological movement, there are many, many parallels. obviously there are different ideologies, but you start with a proposition that the enemy here in both cases was an ideology. you cannot therefore defeated without engaging the ideology. cannot engage the ideology unless you understand it and are willing to call it by its name. know your enemy, you are not likely to beat him. especially an enemy like this,
which has a lot of very clever components to its way of fighting. point number one is you've got to know the enemy, you have to be realistic and calling it by its name, and then begin to develop ways of defeating it. senator lieberman is exactly right. the cold war took a long time to win. i sometimes think we want it to some extent by accident. think of the things that were done that were not by accident and that could form a basis for released an analysis of how you win now. you have to be strong as a nation. militarily and in whatever other ways are necessary to confront this particular kind of enemy. the second point is, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent here. what is the methodology for advancing the islamist movement and where might its weak points
become and how you take advantage of those? this requires a different kind of thinking about how to approach this enemy. i don't think we have done this yet. we have been on defense from day one. we have on occasions employed offensive techniques and by and large, they are pretty effective. we understand intelligence is a critical component of this battle, may be even more so than the last. but it was important then, too. we have had some reorganization of our government and we have certainly had a couple of wars. we think of afghanistan right now, and maybe that is the last point of the microcosm. is there anybody here who believes that in five years, afghanistan is going to look very much different than it did, say, two weeks before 9/11? is it going to look any
different? there is a lot of blood and treasure spent, maybe not to very good effect. we final point is that's could, because we are and impatient people by nature, and because the enemy in this case is extraordinarily patient -- well, i am not going to say we can lose it, because at the end of the day, we have no choice but to win it. it will be a longer struggle if we don't appreciate that the time element is important, because we are a democracy, and as john mccain likes to point out, the afghani who says you have launches, but we have the
time. to decide where that leads to in terms of military expenditures. >> i want ask one more broad question. this conference is entitled dictators and dissidents and ask the question, should we be choosing between dictators and dissidents? there are a lot of people on the left and right at this point. this is what i want you to address. between on the one hand supporting democracy, and on the other hand supporting democrats, are simply some other option or policy. this is very timely right now.
one of our senior fellows is just back from egypt. i just saw him in the hall a few minutes ago. surrounded by people who do not want to trade autocracy for theocracy. the question now is not only do we leave it all alone, or do we help morsi and perhaps in power him to establish that the craddick regime of the muslim brotherhood, which we are told will be moderate? i have opened up several doors for you. >> as i look behind me and see that we are guests of the foundation for defense of ies, it is one i feel deeply, which is obviously the choice between -- we always have
to go with the dissidents, because that is who we are. we are a nation founded on a set of principles that more often than not and more than most other nations have guided our behavior. those principles are set out most eloquently in the declaration of independence. the same reason the founders form a government, which is to secure the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. that should always be our guide post. because it is a complicated world, and because we are not perfect, we will take compromises on that ideal, but we are always better off internationally when our foreign policy reflects our founding values, which are freedom. it is not only that we feel
better about it and are consistent with our national ideals. in the long run it usually works out better. that is the beginning of a general answer to your question. the arab spring has presented me and probably a lot of others -- incidently, i will go back to one other point. this is about political parties in our country and how this value of freedom sometimes gets a bad name. i got motivated, like a lot of people in my generation, into public service by president kennedy. we were inspired by the words of his inaugural, don't ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. this is a nation that will be
prepared to pay any price and bear any burden for this arrival and sustenance, really the expansion of liberty. then suddenly you read that column somewhere where somebody is talking about, we have to get over this neocon nonsense of a freedom agenda. that is the american agenda. maybe i should stop with that. [applause] >> if you were telling our ambassador in cairo what to be telling morsi, what would you be telling him? >> i would say there is already a lot of skepticism about you in america. we have read the muslim brotherhood documents
historically, and they are not consistent with our values. but okay, you won the election. it is very important for us to have good relations between egypt and the united states. but we are going to judge you not by your title with the muslim brotherhood, but by your actions. to be more specific, as grateful as we were two weeks ago, di, that you helped end the conflict in gaza, but if today's after you suspend the right of judicial review, we will not be able to have normal relations with you. if i was in the white house, i would say, president morsi, those lunatics on capitol hill force us not to have normal relations with you. it is good to have a lunatic on capitol hill.
[laughter] i see no danger of that with joe's departure and mine. would you put us in the realism branch? life is full of compromises. marriages, families, governments, it would be very odd indeed if everything were clear-cut, black and white, in dealing with situations like all the complications from the arab spring that set up the tensions between the dissidents and the dictators, as you put it. so we don't have to be cowed by the fact that there are some very difficult questions presented here. sometimes the compromises are not apparent and they are difficult, so how do you make
the decisions? you have to try to influence the setting of the stage rather than just always reacting to what is presented to you. you have to do that by having some foresight and good intelligence. i go back to good intelligence and always having a coherent philosophy that you are in and year out, you will try to stay as close on that line as you can. we will not only have a better chance of winning but be much more credible with everybody of the world if they know what a work north star is. where we want to go. -- what our north star is. you have to do that sometimes. always with the end goal in mind. people understand that, they will be a little bit more forgiving and we will be less subject to being hypocritical about this or the other thing.
i kidded about it, but i think a realistic school of shcharansky is what we are talking about. >> are on the right track? can we influence the situation still? >> here is where i am going to punt just a little bit. i don't know nearly enough about everything to be able to answer that question really intelligently. one of my approaches to problem- solving is, i don't twitter. i try to think carefully about what i am going to say before i say it. frequently comes in handy and you don't have to explain as much later. i think that we might have
somewhat better choices had we had a more coherent policy going in. i don't think it has been very coherent, and as a result, some of the choices are less potentially productive than they otherwise would have been. sure, i have ideas. after 26 years in the united states congress, our colleague, john mccain, has some of the best quick in stinks' -- all of his instincts are quick, but he sizes up situations in foreign matters very, very well. i subscribe generally to the kind of approach is he has advocated throughout this conflict. but beyond that, i have not. >> to me, this is the classic
case of a dictator and versus dissidents. i have been increasingly frustrated, disappointed, angry that the u.s. has not been much more proactive in support of the dissidents in syria. both because they were on the side of freedom and then assad started to fire at them. increasingly it became a humanitarian disaster. i don't know that my 24 years in the senate -- this is a case where there is an awful lot of values and strategic interest of our country coming together. the one big one is that assad is the number one friend of our number one enemy, iran.
his collapse would be probably a significant and valuable to the regime at the top in tehran as anything we could do. in some ways that would increase our leverage over iran when it comes to their nuclear program, maybe even as much as the sanctions do. the other strategic reason is that i think the longer we have waited to get involved, the more natural vengeance comes up because of all the killing that has gone on. the more the hottest fighters have come in. i have spent a fair amount of time on this. i went three times to turkey to meet with the opposition. it started out really as a
patriotic, anti-dictator movement. it is still more that than anything else, but it is clear that al qaeda related people have come into it. the danger here -- there are a lot of dangers, but one is that assad retreats essentially to a province with chemical and biological weapons. the rest of the country goes into civil war. the sunni nationalist and extremists, the kurds and the arabs biting. it expands what could be the most consequential threat to stability in the middle east in the next chapter. it will not be the israeli- palestinian conflict, which is significant, but it will be the sunni-shia conflict in the muslim world.
i think we have waited too long. i hope that we will immediately recognize this new coalition of opposition that they help to put together that will give them weapons, and that with both the neighbors of syria and our allies in europe, some of which have now been ahead of us, like france, that we will focus on this immediate, potentially disastrous threat that assad will use chemical and biological weapons. >> you said a moment ago that iran is our most dangerous enemy. if so, how far should we be willing to go to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? >> i did echo what everyone has said, right up to president obama, that it is unacceptable for us to allow iran to become a nuclear state. containment is not an acceptable alternative. it changes the whole balance of power in the middle east.
emboldens the terrorist like hamas and hezbollah that are agents of the iranian government. it probably lead some of our allies in the world to begin to accommodate to iran. it is a threat to most of the rest of the world, including us. the sanctions have been unprecedented. they are having an effect on the iranian economy so far, not an observable effect on the iranian regime at all. we have to make sure that our threats of military action, if they don't take down their nuclear weapons program, is credible to them. i am still not sure if it is, but they got to believe that the u.s. will use our immense power to disable their nuclear program, if they do not do it
themselves. >> senator kyl, just one comment directly pertaining to the overall theme here. it started a long time ago, years ago. i think our sanctions regime should not only have been stronger, but it should have been ordered in a slightly different direction. we should have been saying to the people of iran in very clear and firm ways, our quarrel is not with the iranian regime creating nuclear weapons alone. it is the iranian regime acting in all ways that it does, including to repress your freedoms. and recognize the fact that the average iranian on the streets, there probably nationalistic enough to be proud of the weaponry that would be created. so if sanctions are really going
to work i impacting the will of the people, and therefore the action of the people, the people have to believe we are not doing it just in our own self- interest, but primarily doing it for their self-interest, to give them the ability to reassert control over their future, over their country and their government. if they have a stake in it, too, then the fact that they are impacted so negatively in personal ways is much more bearable by them. against this is a microcosm -- microcosm of a point i make in a larger way. there should be a lot more radio free europe, and all the other voices of the american ideal, telling people what we are for, what we are for it, what we share their aspirations, and whatever actions we are taking hopefully are consistent with those things. >> that is an important point.
any people in the muslim world who understand what islamic rule is like. senator lieberman said a moment ago that our military threat to the iranian regime must be credible. is it credible to you? can you imagine president obama using military force to stop iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? >> we have to get into some definitions. you have the united states attack, an israeli attack, a combination attack, an israeli attack backed by some elements of u.s. force, but not -- a war after the fact. there are all kinds of iterations here. i think the iranians are probably nervous, but not nervous enough, obviously. the rather apparent answer is the threat probably is not
credible enough. >> gaza is ruled by hamas, which has used the territories since 2005 as a base for terrorism and missile launches. the west bank is more or less ruled by the plo, which after four years of not negotiating went to the un ask for an upgraded status. do the israelis have anyone to negotiate a peace process with at this point? could he sign a paper that would be at all meaningful? would he be able to bring hamas into it, which is dedicated to the extermination of israel? is there really any way to believe that israel could have a separate peace in the midst of a global conflict with islamism? >> it is possible, but it is
very hard to imagine at this point. it would not come easily, for all the reasons that your questions embody. in the first place, right now, israel faces a palestinian people that are divided between two governments. making peace with one would not given the security and confidence to take the risk that would have to take as part of any peace process. i was encouraged by one of the stories a couple of days ago that people in gaza are beginning to take a second look at hamas because of how much they suffered in the last conflict, because hamas was doing something that was not for the people of gaza.
they were firing rockets into israel because iran was asking them to do that. hopefully that will leave at some point to more on popularity for hamas. what i am saying is that the idea would be that there really were elections that were genuine both in the west bank and in gaza. it produced a government that had some credibility in all parts of the palestinian community that could negotiate with the israelis. imagine a settlement takes an optimistic beyond my capacity for optimism, and i am an optimistic person by nature. the question is whether they could negotiate tentative agreement on some of the issues involved here.
this is the case where people in israel, the majority want a two- state solution. i have seen this in recent polls on israel that most of them have just given up on it in the foreseeable future. if they do not see a partner who is prepared to negotiate, and i don't blame them. >> i don't think the boss is prepared to negotiate, but let's suppose on friday that he and netanyahu shake hands and come to deal on friday center. will he survive through sunday breakfast? [laughter] in the current circumstances, probably his days would be number. i am not talking about his life, but his power. joe analyze did exactly correct. they are totally divided. they have no leadership capable of making a deal.
you cannot start with the education of little kids, teaching them to hate israel and everything that it stands for, and hope to have support from the people when you make a deal like that. there are a lot of conditions for this to work. it cannot happen overnight. as i said, part of the problem is that have created their own problem for acceptance of any kind of a reasonable deal. >> express some realism about what is likely to happen in afghanistan after the departure of substantial numbers of u.s. troops. we'll be back essentially to where it was before 9/11. what happens to pakistan after that? it is semi-democratic. >> this just adds to the conundrum of the entire area and how we deal with it. i go back to where i started. if you have some first
principles that you try to apply in any controversy and recognize that as to apply them, there will be certain -- circumstances were some send potential compromise is required, the new approach of these problems that way. if you have very good intelligence, you understand better what is going on within the pakistani society in government, if you have a strong military, you have the ability to control events more than the controlled by them. if you have strong allies, you have the ability to sway opinions. and so on and so on. which goes back again to joe's first. and mind. if you look at all of these problems as they exist today, you could easily become very pessimistic about our ability to deal with them.
and maybe make the wrong kind of conclusions or compromises based on that. if you go back to the question, how would we go about winning the war against this islamic ideology? political islam is the moniker that some wise people have given to it. i think that is the best description. robak to how did we approached the cold war. why did it change? when did it change? what did we need to make those changes? now apply lessons learned. conflict. what are the strengths and weaknesses? what assets are you going to need. what moeller abilities could we take advantage of? you work all that out and you can begin to see some opportunities. at a minimum, you know they involve trying to have strong, allies and alliances. trying to be credible and
consistent philosophically, being clear eyed about the nature of the conflict, and here is something we both forgot to talk about. how can you win a war without ever talking about it to the people that you lead? where is church hill today? i love george bush, but the only big argument i ever had with him is, why don't you explain your decisions? there is some good basis for them. part of leading is bringing people along with you. why is what you did the right thing to do, and why do we have to stay the course? his explanation as always like lincoln's. if i am right, i am right. it wants to talk about other things. is it no wonder that the american people are despondent over this, have no will to fight
it, when all they see is the downside? guys coming back with an arm blown off, if they come back. and a lot of cost, without any explanation whatsoever about why this is important. without the president's standing up there and leading people, what we have to support this and sacrifice. henry kissinger said something a long time ago that really rang true at the moment. their leaders have lost the capacity to get their people to follow them in any sacrifice. there is nothing to before, so why would you want to sacrifice? -- there is nothing to be for. part of winning this is to be able to talk about it with principles in mind that motivate the american people to be supportive of good policies. [applause]
>> i was going to ask about pakistan, which strikes me as one of our most important but least reliable allies. we are negotiating with the organization of islamic over the defamation of islam which would be a blatant violation of the first amendment to the constitution. what is there to fight for, really? >> i think jon stated it very eloquently. this is the whole question of relativism. the reluctance of some people to judge. there are rights and wrongs and better and worse. if you believe that, you have to say it. that is the responsibility of leaders of democracy, or else
the mob will influence foreign policy to a greater degree than any of us would want it to . i itjon stated it very, -- i think jon stated it very, very well. >> we met with musharraf and he pleaded with us to restore it military contacts. he said that might be generals are very loyal to me. they were all educated at west point from day one in their military careers. he said the colonels and below, i am really worried about. you cut off all contact from us, i guess because they build a nuclear weapon. i am not that old, so i don't remember all this. we had a principle, a policy. if they did not adhere to it, we
were going to punish them. talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. that was musharraf's. . point. was musharraf's it just shows you how things are not perfect in this situation. you have to be careful about action and reaction and think about the long term. >> our relations with pakistan are the most complicated and consequential. it is hard to think of another country that is both a complicated and consequential. they are in a very strategically important part of the world. i can tell you that in many ways
over recent years, they have given us very substantial counter-terrorism assistance. yet on the other hand, we know the -- their intelligence community is actively supporting terrorist groups. i cannot think of another nation quite like that. now we are in a better place. right now, we seem to be in a cooperative period. i would just end with this about afghanistan. it is so important that we are negotiating a longer-term strategic relationship, and that we successfully conclude it and do better than we did in iraq. iraq would be a lot better shape if we had 10 or 15,000 backup troops there, not leaving the ground opened totally for iran to come in and put more
pressure on the iraqi government and the iraqi government really wants. i hope that the drawdown from afghanistan is not precipitous of our troops. that is clearly not what our military wants. secondly, that we leave some deployment of our troops there, and one of the most important reasons to do that is the message it sends to pakistan. the conventional wisdom, of course some elements in their intelligence service support the taliban or other terrorist groups because they are positioning themselves for the day which they know will come when we again leave. leave afghanistan, leave the region, and they see iran coming in more to afghanistan, but really india. we have to convince them, not by
words, but i are decisions. >> that have to buy the insurance policy from us, not the other guys. >> beyond afghanistan, this whole area -- just look around the neighborhood. with growing economic importance, not just for afghanistan but for ourselves, we don't use the word bases anymore. would be good to have some joint operating facilities in iran. >> if you want to ask a question, signal me and i will try to come to you. we have reset our relations with russia. i am not sure russia has reset
its relations with us. is that fair to say? >> yes, after the election, my friend. [laughter] pass that on to vladimir. >> the thing about jon kyl and me is that after the direction, one -- after the election, when we are out of office, we will be more inflexible. >> this is a great frustration, obviously. you can understand the new president obama, with a different point of view than many of us, hoping that through the dint of his intelligence and personality and different points of view that maybe the russians would be receptive to new approach, which is sort of the anti-bush approach.
you can understand why he might think he might succeed at that, and therefore try this out. i am not criticizing him for trying. you could question whether he should recently have come to that conclusion, but nonetheless, he should try that. i hope he is shrewd enough to appreciate that it has failed. it is not likely to succeed because of a variety of reasons. it cannot keep going down a path chasing someone who does not want to have anything to do with you right now without doing some damage to yourself. just to cite one example, the very difficult situation that has been created with the czech republic, with poland, with our missile defense system, which i would argue is now pretty much shredded. >> missile defense is nowhere near where it should be to protect the homeland.
>> nuclear modernization may be going backward, which is not good. in terms of the homeland, there are two elements to missile defense. it protect the homeland, which people associate with the ground-based interceptor. the obama administration has cut way back on the numbers of those, on the deployment, and on the development of the new generation of kill vehicles. they have cut the funding for that. a system that can be both an effective american defense system and protect regional interests, such as europe, for example, from a threat from a country like iran, for example. the great pronouncement in bowling to provide the rationale
for cutting way back on the gbi was that we are going to have something even better. of course everybody said wait a minute. the fourth stage of that would be very effective against a missile launched by mistake or perhaps by a rogue commander. in any event, the russians are now saying under no circumstances should you develop that. they not only object to a missile defense system that might potentially be effective against them, let alone other countries. they also have been putting enough pressure that i wonder if the administration will go forward as what they characterize as a substitute for gbi.
>> i think a couple of lessons have been larger over the last 10 years and may be the last five years. not least of which is elections do not mean democracy. i wonder if there are people in this world who just do not want democracy. is that necessarily a bad thing in particular parts of the world? how do we respond to that in the u.s. if that is possible? >> generally speaking, from what i have observed, i would say people do want democracy. they may settle in with dictatorship for a while, but ultimately, there is a natural human yearning for freedom and economic opportunity.
i went with mccain to egypt and tunisia within a month after the arab spring uprisings. i was quite fascinated to talk to the people who led both of those revolutions. one point that struck me was that they were motivated as much by a feeling of economic outrage as they were by their desire for political freedom. in other words, they had a feeling that the leadership at the top was consuming most of the wealth of the country. someone said these were the middle class poor, educated, on the internet, knowing all the opportunities out in the world, and yet could not find a job in egypt or tunisia. i would say that maybe people develop a sort of comfort for a
while with dictatorship, but ultimately, it doesn't work. and we know that from our own history, and again from our founding ideals. clearly we have over our history, and we continue to in some cases, but it is not a good bet in the long run. >> we could go on for very long time, but we don't have the time. i want to present an award. senator lieberman and senator kyl, i want to thank you both very much for honoring us with your presence in talking so candidly with us. i do have the privilege of presenting each of you with an award, named for one of our country's finest diplomats. ambassador jeane kirkpatrick was -- much of our work today is
based on her deep commitment to advancing democratic values and institutions. ambassador kirkpatrick spent her life studying totalitarianism and fighting totalitarianism. she understood early on that the collapse of the soviet union would not mark the end of this struggle between freedom and tyranny. instead, the challenge would take new forms, and indeed it has, as we have discussed today. ambassador kirkpatrick story is quintessentially american. she was born in rural oklahoma. she was raised by a dollar a day roughneck during the great depression. she became an action intellectual, which is a great model for the work we are trying to do. she became a maker of history,
not just a student of history. she was the first woman appointed to serve as the permanent representative of the united states at the united nations, and she was one of the great un ambassadors. she served as a member of ronald reagan's cabinet. ambassador kirkpatrick was awarded the presidential medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. we are honored to have known jeane kirkpatrick how to have worked with her and learned from our, and we continue to honor her legacy an example. to that end, it is particularly gratifying for me to present the first award named in her many -- named in her memory and her honor to senators lieberman and kyl. [applause] senator lieberman, i have had the privilege of knowing you send your first elected to the u.s. senate about 1/4 of a century ago.
i was a reporter for the new york times back then, and i had the great privilege of covering senator lieberman, senator daniel patrick moynihan, and senator bill bradley. and i have to tell you, i have a lot of fun. that was a great job to have. over the years you have worked consistently to expand the reach of freedom at home and abroad. you became a distinguished adviser to this organization. a great credit to you also is a talented and dedicated staff you have assembled. it is a treat and privilege that we get to work with them. senator kyl, working with you and your staff, also immensely talented people, smart, dedicated, has been an honor but also an education. i have learned so much about missile defense. you have been singularly committed to policies that
promote peace through strength. you have steadfastly opposed any effort is to compromise the united states national defence. it expertise on a range of issues is unmatched in the u.s. senate and will be greatly missed. you have earned a reputation for strategic thinking on matters of great complexity. in light of your many accomplishments in defense of national security and freedom, i am proud to present you the ambassador jeane j. kirkpatrick award. is sitting right next to you. please join me in congratulating senators kyl and lieberman. [applause] your burroughs-wellcome to say a couple of words here. -- you are both welcome to set a
couple of words here. >> thanks very much. when i think about it, cliff's movement from the new york times to fdd is alike my movement from the democratic party to being independent. i am really honored by this. i have great admiration for the fdd. i like the phrase of actions intellectual. you have been very effective advocate. i am really honored to receive this award with the name of jean kirkpatrick. another independent democrat. she was an inspiration. and real -- a real honor to
accept this award with my dear friend jon kyl. he is the model of what a public servant should be. he works very hard. it is gifted with some brains to start out with, but he really uses them. in this extremely combative political climate, he happens to be a gentleman, and that matters. has been my honor to work with him >> for today, i will just say that i am tripoli honored to receive this award from the fdd with jon kyl. thank you. [applause] >> it is a triple honor to be
honored by fdd co. [applause] it does not get much better than this. i am deeply honored. as joe said, we both viewed this as the end of the first half of the ball game. [applause] >> i like that olga metaphor. -- that ballgame metaphor. >> think you. >> i think you, guys. -- thank you, guys. >> and to not go anywhere,
folks. we have remarks by secretary cohen, a brief awards ceremony. it is been a long day. i promise you this is the best yet. okay, folks, please take your seats. about another half hour left off. then we will be good to go. those of you who have been here through the day, i am mark dubowitz, executive director of the foundation for defense of democracies. it is a privilege for me to be introducing the next speaker at next award recipient. david: is the man that i greatly admire. a man that it
greatly damire. -- admire. he carries out a job that has been best described as a high wire balancing act. diplomacy, economics, other factors that go in heading up what i think is the most important national security agency in the u.s. government. david will tell you more about what tfi does. he takes the intelligence functions and he guards the credibility of the u.s. financial system against illicit use, combats road nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction proliferators -- rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weap
ons of mass destruction proliferators. it is a tremendously difficult job. when you know david and his team, you'll understand how they do it so successfully and so gracefully. we're going to honor you in a few moments with your first inaugural award for distinguished service, for your remarkable resource flows at finding new ways of using united states influence and power to hold those responsible for iran for terrorism and human rights abuses. david leads a team that understands that sanctions are not a replacement for policy, but as denny glazer has reminded us, sanctions serve as policy. david engages in a day and day
out. please call your heads together to welcome secretary david -- hands together to welcome secretary david cohen. [applause] file >> good afternoon. thank you, mark. thank you for inviting me to speak at the foundation for the defense of democracy is washington form. thank you deputies chairman ambassador jim woolsey, and his distinguished board of directors and advisers. it is a great honor. we at the treasury department's office of terrorism and financial intelligence have long valued ftd's insightful analysis, creativity, and
commitment to combating the most oppressive and dangerous regimes in the world. we have benefited greatly from their work, ranging from its reports of the deceptive practices around shipping lines to the ways to constrain iran's energy sector. we appreciate our partnership with you. we're proud to receive an award given by you in the name of one of the great states of the 21st century. ofthe treasury's office intelligence, george shultz is regularly on our mind in part because one of the tables used all the treasury now sits in the office of one of my colleagues, steny glaser. secretary shultz served -- danny glazer. secretary shultz served,
patriotic, dedicated to what is right for country. there's only a handful of men in american history to serve as both secretary of state and secretary of treasury. only three before him and 1¢. george shultz and understood as few others can -- since. george shultz and understood -- even if he could not have predicted the place of the treasury department occupies in america's national security architecture. god they will work to advance our national security interests -- today we work to a dance our national security interests by systematically undermine the financial strength of those who threaten our national security. while my colleagues in the treasury department are hard at work preparing our economy, laying the foundation for sustained and balanced growth and job creation here at home
and working to create an mitigate financial instability abroad, we are focused on leveraging the unique powers and status that comes from being firmly rooted in the united states department of the treasury to combat illicit finance and promote financial integrity. all in the service of key u.s. foreign-policy and national- security objectives. no other finance ministry in the world houses and operation quite like tfi, one that uses policy making, financial intelligence, regulation, law enforcement, diplomacy, and targeted financial actions. two of tfi's offices existed long before it was created in 2004. since then, ofac administers
the bank secrecy act. as our country's financial intelligence unit, other work is done around the world to combat all manner of financial crime. the office of intelligence and an analysis was treated shortly before tfi was established. oia is the fully integrated components of the u.s. intelligence community. the officials in oia and cover potential malefactors and map financial networks.
we're the only finance industry the world with their own in- house finance intelligence. a new office was established, the office of terrorist financing and financial crisis. it has response ability for policy-making across the spectrum of illicit finance its advisers work with colleagues in the u.s. security community, in the private financial sector and foreign government, especially counterparts in the world central banks, financial regulatory agencies, finance ministries and foreign ministries. identify and address threats to the international financial system. global standards have been developed for money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing. acting together, these
components create a unique role for treasury department in the u.s. national security community and among finance ministries worldwide. while i am very grateful for being recognized, i want to emphasize is the folks to come to work every day at tfi that deserve recognition. there are two seldom recognized for their service. i like to beg your indulgence here today, to thank them for providing the opportunity to do what we do. these are dedicated public servants who work and tfi. i want to provide them some of the recognition they deserve. we have identified and employment for each of the four component of this is -- an employee from each of the four components.
first is elizabeth barrow. -- pharaoh. she is part of our critical licensing efforts that help ensure that our sanctions program by having an impact on their intended target. liz started working at ofac in 1980. today she serves as a senior sanctions adviser in the licensing division. catherine as a representative representative. she has served as the point person on implementin. she has worked with the u.s. and to develop standards -- u.n. to
develop standards and has created workshops and bilateral engagements around the world to facilitate implementation of standards. lee davis is here today. he is a regulatory specialist in the office of regulatory policy, where yields design a regulatory defenses to protect our national security and protect our financial system from being used for money laundering and other serious financial crimes. bill sunderland, who is representing the office of intelligence and an analysis. [applause] he has served the american people for 45 years in both military and civilian roles in. he has been with oia since 2004 and provides support to our sanctions efforts.
as a result of the work of liz, catherine, lee, and bill and their colleagues, we're able to provide the president and his security team with new tools that help bridge the gap between diplomacy and force. from khaddafi to a siassad, tehran to p'yongyang, i treasury colleagues identify and implement innovative treasuries . -- my treasury colleagues identify and implement innovative treasuries. as this audience is aware, we devote a substantial portion of our time and resources to the issue of iran.
we seek to make clear to the regime that it faces a simple, inescapable choice. to address any meaningful and concrete fashion international community's serious concerns regarding its nuclear program, or face ever-increasing financial and economic pressure. the campaign of increasing financial pressure on iran has been years in the making. treasury engaged in a multi-year international outreach campaign to emphasize to financial institutions around the world the risk of doing business with iran, while adding more and more entities to the sanctions list. i cannot emphasize enough the importance of that work. our quiet but forceful conversations with our counterparts around the world prepared the battlefield for the
more aggressive and more public effort that followed. clinton and the foundation, over the past two and a half years, the joint efforts of congress and administration -- built on that foundation, over the past two and a half years, the joint efforts of congress and administration has put pressure on the government. foreign banks have been offered a clear choice. you can do business with designated iranian banks, or you can do business with the u.s., but you cannot do both. with that powerful authority in place, treasury embarked on a global campaign to engage with governments and financial institutions around the world to warn them off of business that could make them pariahs in the u.s. and internationally. the designated iranian banks
have largely been forced out of the international financial system. last summer we imposed sanctions on two foreign banks. it failed to terminate their business with iranian banks, cutting their ability t. we have encountered resistance, and we have acted. no matter how complicated or sensitive the relationship. turning the heat higher, legislation enacted at the end of last year adopted a model of secondary sections and used it to target the iranian regime's most important source of revenue. its oil and the central bank of iran. colleagues of the treasury, along with the departments of state and energy lost global campaign to explain the law and
its applications. -- implications. amplifying the effect of these measures, the eu enacted its own asset freeze on cbi. putting in place a complete embargo audio imports of oil as of last july. -- on eu imports of oil as of last july. conductbility to international activities is greatly limited. the president issued an executive order decide to preclude iran from developing work around measures. and as a result of this action by the president, transactions for the purchase or acquisition of iranian crude, petroleum products are petrochemicals, regardless of whether it involves the cbi, potentially sectional. these measures, combined with
complementary efforts to drive down exports, have hit the regime hard. stress has been put on iran's already mismanage budget, as oil exports have historically been prized two-thirds of their budget revenue. we have seen reports of iran having to cut back on key programs because it lacks the necessary funding. the executive order issued this summer contains another key provision. it allows us to impose sanctions on anyone, a bank, a business or a person who insists the government of iran in acquiring u.s. dollar banknotes. we know that the iranian central bank has for a long time provided physical u.s. dollars to the currency traders and iran, who sell those dollars. elementary economics tells you
that any restriction on iran's access to u.s. dollars would drive down the riyal's value. we know the iranian government has grossly mismanaged its economy for quite some time. it has undoubtedly contributed to the decline in the value of the riyal. with the mounting impact of the oil sanctions, the increasing limitations to revenue from dwindling oil sales, or a combination of these factors, and perhaps others have contributed to the fall in the value of the riyal. this fall we did with is a very rapid devaluation in the riyal. in one week's time in early october, the riyal lost 20% of its value against the dollar. that came about nine months --
that came after nine months of steady weakening, during which time the real that already lost about 35% of its value. this devaluation of iran's national currency is putting stress on iran's economy. based on their public comments, we believe is putting significant stress on iran's leadership. days after the president issued the executive order this summer, he signed legislation that expands even further the range of existing sanctions on iran. i want to highlight one key provision from that law that together with this summer's executive order represents perhaps the most dramatic escalation of financial pressure to date. under the new law, as of february 6, 2013, any bank in any country that has received a significant reduction determination that is conducting a transaction with the central bank of iran or a transaction
involving the sale of iranian oil to avoid sanctions risk only if it makes its payments into an account at a bank within the country that is purchasing the iranian oil, and only if those funds are used to facilitate non section of all bilateral trade between that country and iran. let me repeat this. even with the reduced sanctions exposure provided by a significant reduction determination, a foreign bank involved in the payments for iranian oil must ensure that the payment goes into an account at a bank within the country that it is supporting the oil, and that is used only to facilitate permissible trade between that country and iran. the funds cannot be transferred to a third country. they cannot be repatriated iran, and it cannot be used to facilitate a third country trade.
this is a very powerful sanction. virtually all countries that purchase oil from iran run a significant trade deficit. the value of their oil imports are greater than their exports to iran. this provision should lock up a substantial portion of iran's earnings from its oil sales in each of these countries. as for the financial executions will longer be able to transfer iran's oil earnings beyond their countries borders without fear of losing their access to the u.s. financial system, iran will be severely limited in its ability to transfer funds across jurisdictions. oil revenues will largely be shackled with a given country, and only usable to purchase goods from that country. as you might imagine, we have been hitting the road, making sure that our partners in the international financial community understand the significance of this provision.
perhaps the greatest endorsement of our efforts has come from the iranian president himself. speaking in october, ahmadinejad said, "the enemy has announced it has introduced sanctions on the purchase of iran from iraq. even worse, it has imposed banking sanctions, meaning of some oil is sold, its revenues are not transferable this is a hidden world. a broad and heavy work, spread across the globe." -- war. a broad and heavy war, spread across the globe." what we're doing is not a war. it is the alternative to war. they're committed to increasing financial pressure on iran as long as necessary and will continue to look for innovative
ways to make the iranian regime bear the financial cost of its behavior. although we are uniquely positioned to take this work, we recognize that we do not have a monopoly on good ideas. we will continue our dialogue but with all the stakeholders in this shared endeavor. -- with all the stakeholders in this shared endeavor to ensure that we're bringing forward the most effective and creative strategies that we can. in doing so, our hope is that we can all draw closer to a peaceful and secure world that respects the universal values of democracy, inclusion, tolerance, and respect. thank you. [applause] >> david's remarks were on the record. we're going to do a brief q&a off the record.
if i could, i'm going to ask one brief question, which is something that has been concerned -- a concern. there's been a lot of evidence in the press, recent reporting of the humanitarian impact, that thatiothe regime is claiming sanctions are causing a humanitarian crisis. the reporting of recent that has been done shows that in fact the real reason for a humanitarian problem in iran comes from humanitarian related corruption. mass of scams that are being run by the revolutionary guard corps, to deny it medicine and other humanitarian goods to the iranian people. talk briefly about what the u.s. government in terms of its own
strategic messaging is doing to counter this message. >> that is a great question. it is something we have been falling as well. -- following as well. it is important to look carefully at what the facts actually are. not to believe the the republication of claims by the iranian government of a humanitarian crisis. i did not think there is any evidence to support the notion that there is a gehumanitarian crisssis in iran. in all of what we do, the facts matter. it is important in this realm as well that we look carefully uncritically at these assertions and look where they
are coming from. it is a longstanding policy of united states from the congress and the administration to exempt humanitarian goods from the reach of sanctions. food, medicine, medical devices are not subject to sanctions. we know that there continues to be trade and all those types of goods. from the united states, and from europe. i am not infrequently confronted when i am in europe by people who complain that the u.s. is increasing its wheat exports to iran. one thing it points out is that it is still possible to engage in humanitarian trade with iran, and the companies that are doing it must be getting paid, otherwise they would not do it.
the sense of the financial sanctions have these killing effect and are preventing humanitarian trade is not borne out by the facts. it is critically important for the administration and for the community of folks who work on these issues to make absolutely clear that the reason there is todayue at all in iran is because of the choices made by the iranian government. the reason we have sanctions, the reason that we have financial sanctions and we have been rationing up the impact of these financial sanctions over time is because of choices made by the iranian government. the iranian government has in its power the ability to make
things better for the iranian people, in part by having a system and iran that is not subject to domination by the irgc, and by addressing concerns with its nuclear program as a way to find relief from the sanctions. at the end of the day, it is the iranian government that must be held accountable for whatever impact the sanctions are having inside iran. >> i'm glad to take a couple of questions. long statements with a question mark are not questions. please give david the opportunity to respond. >> ariel cohen, the heritage foundation. thank you for your effort.
it is a terrific effort. but i want to ask you about one specific u.s. ally and one country we're helping. these are turkey and armenia. two different sides of a political divide. both countries are involved in economic relations with iran, turkey specifically on gas for gold swaps reported in the media. armenia allowing representation as well as a variety of firms that allegedly are involved in technology acquisition on behalf of the iranian regime. what are we doing about these two countries? they are political and foreign policy status in this town are [inaudible].
>> let me begin with what ought to be clear. >> share on c-span -- here on c- span we will break away. the entire program can be found on c-span.org. 8:00 eastern on c-span, negotiations on the fiscal cliff. we'll hear from harry reid and mitch mcconnell. c-span3, the impact of hurricnae ane sandy. a bipartisan group of senators spoke to reporters today about the civil war in syria and the
potential use of force against the regime of bashar al-assad. >> good afternoon. i'm here with my colleagues from the senate, senator lieberman, senator gramm. -- graham. we are deeply disturbed by reports that bashar al-assad may have lionized -- weaponized some of his stores of chemical and biological agents and prepare them for use in aerial bombs. these reports also suggest that his forces are awaiting orders to use these weapons. if true, these reports may mean that the united states and our allies are facing the prospect of an eminent use of weapons of mass destruction and syria, and this may be the last warning we get.
time for talking about what to do may now be coming to a close, and we may instead be left with an awful and it's very difficult decision. whether to continue on the sidelines and hope that a man who has slaughtered nearly 40,000 men, women and children in syria will decide not to take the next step and use far more destructive weapons to kill significantly larger numbers of people, or whether to take military action of some kind that could prevent a mass atrocities. if that is the choice we now face, it is a grave and sobering decision. a savage and unfair fight has raged now for nearly two years. the longer this conflict has gone on, the worse it has gotten. all of those who argued for nonintervention because of the things that might happen it are
no happening because we failed to intervene. we have now reached a point where there are weapons of mass destruction that may be used, and there's a significant question about the security of these weapons should bashar al- assad fall. we would like to make several points. it is now up to the russians to do everything possible and maximize the influence over bashar al-assad to make sure that he does not use these weapons. it is time for the united states and our allies to make it clear to bashar al-assad but this is an unacceptable act. it is also time for us to be ready for any eventuality. including the option of military intervention.
but that is an option that we must be ready for. the decision can only be made by hard intelligence, which in this situation is pretty hard to obtain. but we do know absolutely that these weapons have been readied for use by bashar al-assad's aircraft. we urge the president of united states to make whatever military preparations are necessary to show assad the united states is willing and able to impose the consequences that he has spoken of in the event these weapons are used. for deterrence to work, it must be based on a credible threat. that exceeds the quiet urging of the russian federation. i have been very disturbed about a lack of american leadership in the region.
looking at it from bashar al- assad's influence, we see the return of al-qaeda in iraq. we've seen nothing but announcements of withdrawal from afghanistan. we have watched al-qaeda elements able to destroy or damage severely our consulate in benghazi and kill for brave americans. -- four brave americans. the message has to be set the united states is ready to be involved and do whatever is necessary to prevent an act that could endanger our take the lives of thousands and thousands of innocent people. >> , we have obviously reached a grave moment in the war that has raged in syria now for more than 20 months. we believe that the upassad
government has biological and chemical weapons and has put in a position where they can be used fairly rapidly. as you look back over the past 20 months, this follows a series of events, one leading to the other which people said could not happen. this began with peaceful demonstrations. when assad was unable to control them, he began to fire on his own people. they began to defend themselves, in a very unfair fight. people said, at least he's not using his air force to attack his own people. and then he began to attack his own people mercilessly from the air. more than 40,000 killed. when we see the government of
bashar al-assad weaponize chemical and biological agents and put them into bombs, we know that this is a leader with no limits. unfortunately, he follows his leader and proves himself capable of using the worst weapons against his own people. this is a moment in which i have found growing agitation, and a willingness to see action and leadership by the united states among members of all political persuasions here in the senate. you've got four members of the senate here, representing the widest range of political parties, saying with one voice, america has to lead. america has to lead an international coalition that will make very clear to us what he may not leave yet, which is that if he crosses what secretary clinton has called a red line, and uses these
weapons, chemical and biological, there will be grave consequences. i hope through that deterrent we can stop him from doing so, but i also believe that we as leaders of the world, the united states has to begin to assemble an international coalition that will prepare to do whatever we can to prevent assad from using those agents against his own people. we have said further -- we have sat for too long on the sidelines. we are now as americans getting engaged. the need for engagement and more than that, urging action, is clear. we're all saying to president obama, who has stated clearly that there will be drastic consequences if they use chemical and biological weapons, we are with you. there is strong support across congress if the president takes
the strong action that is necessary to prevent a very historical horrific humanitarian disaster in syria. >> thank you, senator lieberman, senator mccain, senator gramm. -- graham. there is a unanimous view here today that we support president obama in announcing a red line, should bashar al-assad, who was murdered tens and thousands of people in the last two years, take the unthinkable step of using advanced chemical weapons against his own people, there will be prompt consequences. this is not an easy thing to get a consensus in the senate of the united states on virtually anything. i join this statement today to send a clear message to those who from outside the halls of the capitol watches and see division. on fiscal matters, other policy
matters, there's been a lot of division. but on the matter of standing behind our president and making a clear statement of principle, that we will not stand by, as assad uses chemical weapons against his own people, it is something that we're a unanimous voice. that we can effectively call on the russians to be responsible partners, for having gotten us in some way to this point. we are deeply concerned about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in syria and the region. this conflict is not just cost 40,000 lives, it has destabilized turkey and jordan. there are other humanitarian needs to be met with the onset of winter. i hope there is an upcoming decision to recognize the serious national council. i will commence the tireless work of ambassador ford, the leadership of secretary clinton
in making progress on the diplomatic front. we may have differences of opinion on other policy matters, but there is no difference on the view that should bashar al- assad take the unprecedented a terrific step in this conflict of unleashing the worst weapon in his chemical arsenal, there will be consequences. >> the the senate just overwhelmingly approved a trading relationship with russia. we would like a better relationship with the russian people and the russian government. this is an opportunity for russia to show that vote was justified. this is an opportunity for russia to show the international community that you can be a constructive force. i find it ironic, the red line here is literally read. the line we're crossing is 40,000 people died.
what bothers me the most is that we are all now fixated on the method of killing, not the killing itself. for over a year we have been talking about, we need to get involved and stop this before it gets out of hand. we want to shape what happens after assad leaves. american not being involved in a constructive way, they would say, who are you all? from an american national security point of view, if we do not securities chemical weapons, we will regret it. these weapons are going to fall in the wrong hands. there is a race right now. the free series army and al qaeda militias that have flooded into syria because of lack of security, and i do not help know who will get there first. my hope is that we along with the international community will
form a coalition to protect these weapons. what happens the day after assad leaves -- and he is going to go -- we need a plan to make sure that there is a force. we did not have enough troops in iraq. i am here to say if we do not have a force quickly to get involved after assad leaves, it will be held to pay in the whole region. he whole to pay in teh whol region.
final thought, you could see this coming for a very long time. saying that you could do in light footprint did not work. how many times do we have to make the same mistakes before we understand there is no substitute for american leadership, and when we get involved, to be smart about it? to not realize what you're getting into a iraq, we realize that. inexcusable. >> it seems like there is a difference of opinion among the four of you about what steps you would take. senator mccain, you're talking about the use of force. senator graham, you're talking about the use of force.
congress would back a statement -- >> i either misspoke always misunderstood. if the president makes a statement -- misspoke or was misunderstood. if the president makes a statement -- >> assad uses chemical or biological weapons against his own people, and president obama follows through and what he said about consequences, we're saying that we're with you, mr. president, which is to say to use military action and to end the assad regime. i'm convinced that most members of congress will be with us as well. >> if he uses the weapons, it sounds like the two republicans
are saying [inaudible] -- >> if there is significant intelligence this indicates there is no doubt about what bashar all side is going to do, and i'm not saying that intelligence is capable of being ascertained, a think the option of preventing the need to be exercised, one of the difficulties we have is to have that kind of hard intelligence because that is a decision that bashar al-assad would make. there is no doubt in any of our minds that he has established all the necessary preparations. >> why is non't that enough? >> but i believe we said we have in common is that mr. president, we have your back. i do not think there is disagreement that there are
credible reports that the syrians have chemical weapons and the bashar al-assad has shown a murderous determination to use anything, any force, any violence necessary to stay in power. i think we all have a common concern the this is got to a critical point. >> i think that is based on this conclusion, the best way to deter assad from using chemical and biological agencies is to convince him that if he does, it will be the end of his regime, because an international coalition led by the united states of america will strike him where he is aware of the elements of his regime's power are. i think that is the best deterrent. if our intelligence points if
feasible way for us to act to prevent him from doing so militarily, i would support it. but this is a very complicated matter. >> there are numerous sites, so the degree of confidence that we would be able to remove all of these threats were these bombs are being assembled is a very complex issue as well. we are certain that he is going to act. then there is no one who would say that we should not wait. but can you get the hard evidence, and act in a complete fashion, that is the hard part of the problem. >> [inaudible]
chris we all united behind the idea of the president -- we're all united behind the idea of the president. when he leaves, where will these weapons go? do we need military force to secure the weapons sites to make sure the most radical people in the region do not obtain these weapons? if the president deems that is a reasonable use of military force -- we need to think these things through. i do not know how lfar along they are in weaponizing. it seems to be disturbing. think this through. it is better to be on the ground floor helping people at time of their greatest need and show up when they really do not need you anymore.
this idea about, he may kill people and a different way -- if i am on the ground and i've had my family slaughtered by a tank coming through the house, your board about the rest of the family being killed by chemical weapons. -- you are worried about the rest of the family being klled billed by chemical weapons. the president says he really means it, and we're saying, your right to meet it, mr. president. we're saying, we sure do have your back. every member of congress i know what will be behind the president. but what do you do with the weapons themselves? >> the lesson of libya is a we did not have sufficient control of the arms caches that were all over the place.
those weapons have gone to places that we did not want them to. the second major issue is the increasing number of jihadists that are there on the ground, fighting very well. that issue is going to be very serious challenge. the longer this goes on, the bigger the challenge is. >> are you for unilateral u.s. action? perhaps if i understand correctly, the secretaries of state is urgently meeting with russian representatives. one of the things that i referenced, the potential for recognition of the new series national council, is something that -- a step the and the other allies have taken. i commend ambassador ford and secretary clinton and the president for their leadership on diplomatic side of try to engage until with this credit,
painful conflict. the differences between us are far less important. the president has made a clear declaration, which we will back. >> house of representatives is in recess. it will reconvene on tuesday. the house is expected to take up noncontroversial legislation under suspension of regular house rules. the house had planned to adjourn for the holidays at the end of the week next week, but majority leader eric cantor says the house will be back in session december 17 to deal with the so- called fiscal cliff. he says the house will not adjourn until an agreement is reached. when the house gavels in next week, live coverage c-span.
>> and think the writers institute is something that is very important within the culture. we are a culture of words, of voices. words are key to our imagination, our capacity to envision things. we are not completely tied to print on the page. but i think there is no other art form so readily accessible other than perhaps film, which we work with, too. there is something in literature that just captures the human spirit. >> join "booktv," "american
history tv" as we look behind the scenes at the history of new york's capital, albany. sunday at 5:00 p.m. on american history tv on c-span 3. >> the joint economic committee today heard from the two economists on how to deal with the fiscal cliff. marchese said tax increases are necessary to reduce the deficit. senator bob casey of pennsylvania chaired the hearing. >> the committee will come to order. we want to thank everyone for being here today. i did not have a chance to personally greet our witnesses,
but i will have time to do that later. i want to thank both of our witnesses for being here. i will have an opening statement that i will make, and then i will turn it to dr. burgess. i know that vice chairman brady will be her as well. we know the challenges that we confront here in congress on a whole range of issues which are sometimes broadly described under the umbrella of the terminology, fiscal cliff -- when we confront those difficult challenges, we have to ask ourselves a couple of basic questions. one of the basic questions we must ask is, what will be the result and will be the impact as it relates to middle income families? what will happen to them in the midst of all these tough issues we have to work out? we know there is broad agreement that going over the so-called fiscal cliff would jeopardize
the economic recovery. it would do that by increasing taxes on families, halting employment growth, driving unemployment up instead of down, triggering a deep cuts to programs that families across the country count on. the job before the united states congress is to reach an agreement that builds on the economic progress that we are making, and puts us on a path to fiscal stability. we need to cut more spending, and generate more revenue. we need to do it in a smart way that keeps our economy growing. earlier this year, congress extended the payroll tax cut through 2012. the two percentage point payroll tax cut has played an important role to sustain the recovery. boosting economic growth by an estimated 0.5% of one percentage point, and creating 400,000 jobs. we should continue the payroll
tax cut through 2013, and yesterday i introduce legislation that would keep the employee payroll tax at 4.2% next year. to keep the economy growing -- there is good evidence of that in the last couple of months? job growth of about 511,000. to keep that momentum going, we should alwaprovide tax credits o small businesses. my legislation includes such an incentive for small businesses to grow. i am confident that congress will again be successful in reaching a compromise in the days ahead. i look forward to hearing today from the experts that we have before us today on how to reduce the deficit while protecting middle income families. as we enter the holiday season,