tv Senator Mc Cain on Foreign Policy CSPAN December 7, 2014 5:05pm-6:01pm EST
this victory belongs to you. this victory happen because people in louisiana voted for a government that serves us but does not tell us what to do. think about it. on november 4, the american people sent a message. they sent a message they did not like the direction our country was going in. exclamation the
mark on that message. we want the country to go in a conservative direction. we have no shame in using america's natural resources to create better jobs for working families. and where we the people have the power and not the federal government. i send that message. thank you very much. [applause] i've got a lot of people to thank here. let me start with the staff and volunteers. we didn't just have people in
louisiana. we have people in connecticut, massachusetts. texans and oklahomans, people in idaho, iowa. we had people in states i didn't this was an. american victory. thank you all again. a special shout out to the campaign team who made sure louisiana did better than the obama turnout. speaking of shout outs, senator vitteridder -- victor --
[applause] i thank my family. my mother, my son. he couldn't make it today. i think my father and mother-in-law, -- the bank -- i andk my father mother-in-law, my brothers, my extended family. we could not have done this , withoutour support your prayers, your contributions, your work. you are wearing red tags. you made this happen for the last two years. theceived a call from
senator. very graciously, she congratulated me and wished my family well. the senator should be thanked for her service to our state and country. those is that i don't care that you voted for senator lambert. i am here to serve you, too. [applause] we have lots of challenges, if anyone hasn't noticed. my commitment to you is to so we and learn from you can address those challenges for our state and our country. it is not about us.
it is about the united states of america. each of you in this room cares about our country deeply. the personored to be you elected to express those concerns. we have got lots of work to do in the future, but tonight is the night to celebrate. god bless you. she cost me votes. it's her fault it didn't go down. god bless you. god bless louisiana. thanks once more.
>> with the louisiana senate race decided, republicans are set to hold a 54 member majority in the senate when the congressional session begins in january. the house races were won by republican candidates, giving them the majority. there is one final house race that has yet to be called in arizona, where a recount is clearly taking place. arizona senator john mccain discussed priorities in the next to military and foreign affairs. aboutke at a forum foreign-policy initiative. this is just under an hour.
>> i cannot think of a more important time to take on that , and let me just ask you, what are your top priorities? what are the things you're going to be focusing on over the next ?ear or two >> thank you. these are interesting times. we have a lot to talk about. may i express my admiration for all the work you have done? lie of you know the brains and his wife, who continues to serve with distinction in republican and democratic administrations alike. i thank you.
we needthe first thing to address is sequestration and the impacts of it. i think we need to listen to our military leaders. it's people like the general who are responsible for our men and in the united states army and the marine corps. they are the ones bearing the brunt of sequestration. we have still got people on the ground in afghanistan, as you know. what's the general is saying and what the commandeer of the marine corps is saying is we're not going to be able to defend national security institute. i would argue when we passed sequestration, and nobody thought we would. factor to motivating force them to bargain, and the
bargain sale. if you listen to both of those individuals, they will tell you they will not be able to defend this nation if sequestration continues. is any think there greater critic about cost and waste in management, and that has to be addressed. right now we are having a cutback on training, readiness, maintenance. those aspects of the military the consequences are not felt until later years. they are very specific, and i agree with them.
i would say sequestration is the first. then we have to look at the number of issues. one of them is cyber. meetings onto more fiber that have achieved -- on cyber that have achieved less. we all recognize the huge challenge. yet we always leave without agreement. i would argue if there hasn't been sufficient leadership from the white house, but i would also argue it is a failure from congress to understand it. a lot of people have not been
involved in this type of warfare. issue continues to evolve. i would say ciber is something we have to work together on. we have a close relationship for years. we are committed to working together. corker will be in the foreign rations -- relations committee. there is competition among staff. we are close friends and we will try to work on a common agenda. i can't go to the american people and say we will repeal sequestration without making another run at acquisition reform. we have built an aircraft carrier, $2.4 billion in cost overrun. it is now having more cost overruns. i asked the chief of naval operations who is responsible. you know who is responsible? he said, no.
we have everybody responsible so nobody is responsible. that is the classic bureaucratic response. we need to fix it. i could go down the list. i don't have to tell you. it has got to stop. it's got to start with fixed cross contracts. with all respect to my friends, they lowball the numbers so they can get the contract. and then it it escalates and gets higher and higher. >> my contractor does the same thing. >> if your roof leaks, you hire it a guy -- not on a cost plus
contract. my wife has done that, by the way. >> you speak with a great deal of urgency which i think many people in the room share, both the defense budget and the problems associated with it. i wonder how much urgency the american people feel to read even within the republican party, there seems to be many people who believe we don't need to have this big defense capability. what is it for? if you're fighting terrorism, fine. you have drones. other people to do it on the ground. what is this for?
can you push something as dramatic as an increase in the defense budget when americans don't know why they need to do it. >> could i complete my answer to your first question? i apologize for not doing so. what we are going to try to do is have initial hearings, the smartest people in america i know -- starting with kissinger and baker. and then with others, former national security advisers. military commanders like petraeus. have those hearing so we can develop a situation, hopefully, where policy drives budgets rather than the opposite. i know that is impossible completely. how to the american people feel? the greatest frustration to me for a long time was the carnage and genocide taking place in syria. the pictures smuggled out had no effect. it was stunning and frustrating
and heartbreaking to read i knew the people who were dying in syria. the beheadings had a huge effect on american public opinion. i could show you a 30 point swing in american public opinion about support or addressing isis. the appreciation of the threat we face. whether that should've been the reason are not, it was not. i believe americans are much more concerned than they were before that happened. american public opinion is very much leaning towards more significant action to be taken.
the american people need to be told. after there were 8000 people ethnically cleansed in bosnia, which is a horrible act of genocide, president clinton went on national television and said, genocide is taking place. you are going to have to intervene. gerber that vote and that debate. many in my party were against it. -- i remember that vote and that debate. many in my party were against it. the president needs to talk to the american people about these threats. how serious they are. how impactful it is to the future security of the u.s. that is still not happening. the american people, there was only one person that can talk to the american people. affected significantly the american public opinion. that is the president of the u.s. he has not done it. >> that is why it i were you are -- why i were you are going to have tough sledding. >> unfortunately for us, it is
going to be overtaken by events. remember when we celebrated when the last american combat soldier left iraq? now it is 300. then it is 1500. my friends, sooner or later, we will have boots on the ground in the form of forward air controllers and other capabilities that the iraqis do not have. it is happening gradually. it reminds me of another war long ago and far away when robert mcnamara decided gradual escalation was the way to win the vietnam war. when you tell the enemy you are going to strike them and give them a week or two weeks noticed, usually those buildings you see being destroyed are empty. when you keep telling the american people and our adversaries what we will not do, that sends the wrong message to
isis. life is antidotal. mr. baghdad he, who spent four years in our prison camp, one time we had 25,000 prisoners there. after four years, he was released. on his way out the door, he said i will see you in new york. he was not known for his sense of humor. he is committed to seeing us or his followers in new york or a major capital of the u.s. when you have thousands, not hundreds but thousands of europeans, some from the u.s., who are fighting in syria. although need to do was have a plane ticket to get to the united states. that is why the director of intelligence and fbi have said sooner or later they will
present a direct threat to the u.s. >> there is a whole generation the room -- of americans who have known only two things. afghanistan and iraq. setting aside what they think america's role could or should be, there is a great sense among this generation that we cannot do it. president obama thinks, it is not whether we should or not, we cannot. we cannot use military force to achieve objectives. that is what afghanistan taught. that is what people think iraq taught. do you worry they way the military activities being carried out now, that is once again going to teach a lesson it does not work? how do we begin to reverse this perception? or do you agree this perception
is out there? >> i think the perception is accurate to a degree. i don't think the u.s. had any choice as far as afghanistan is concerned. these were the people that caused the attacks on 9/11. the taliban refused to give them up. the u.s. had to act. the question is whether we conducted the conflict correctly. whether we got our attention diverted to iraq. i believe when the secretary of state, one of the most highly regarded and respected man in america, goes before the un security council and congress and says there is hard evidence that saddam hussein has weapons of mass distraction, that was justification for the vote. we found out afterwards it was not true. i will never forget being in baghdad afterwards. one of your favorites, he was one of the people in the
opposition, said where the weapons were. he said, in the desert. i said, that is helpful to read in the case of iraq, the tragedy is after years of mismanagement, lindsey graham and i and joe lieberman were the severest and harshest critics of the bush ministry should -- administration, called for the firing of donald rumsfeld. said we were going to fail. the surge succeeded. if you look at the number of attacks, the ability of al qaeda and others to respond, the country was under control. it was under control. if we had left the force behind to stabilize and keep the situation stable, we would have won that. i have been campaigning for president -- not president, for arson tutorial -- four
senatorial candidates. there was an event. there was a man who said he was in the marine corps, in the second battle of falluja. it was the bloodiest battle of the conflict. we lost it is 6, 400 wounded. three of my platoon mates were killed. he said, now the black flag is about isis, flying over. what do i tell their mothers? i don't have a good answer. this is not a technical or scholastic issue.
it's about american blood and treasure spent and succeeded thanks to one of the great military leaders in history. david betray us. we had -- petronius. you are going to see the same result in afghanistan. we had a meeting with the chief of the pakistani army, a guy i was impressed with. i asked, do you believe the taliban well -- if we withdraw everybody out of afghanistan, the government can survive? he said, no. absolutely not. unless we adjust our strategy, leave enough of a force there that provides medevac, that is huge in a country like afghanistan.
close air support. forward air controllers. trainers. then you will see the same situation in afghanistan. that is tragic. >> what about another area which has been tragic? you have spoken about it many times. >> can i say one more thing about afghanistan. they have a great leader. it is a dramatic change. he deserves the chance to govern. he has a working relationship with david abdullah dula. this guy is so good, so dedicated and so knowledgeable, that i have great confidence on his ability to unite the people. if the battlefield conditions
indicate he has the opportunity to do so. >> that is an important point. it is important -- worth making. the average american thinks afghanistan has been hopeless for a long time. we see the administration is apparently going to be weighing the possibility of a no-fly zone in syria. is that something you would like to see happen? >> we've been calling for it for years now. this is a gradualism that is so frustrating. we hear that we are going to
step up our assistance to the free syrian army. i've heard all of these songs before. i think they may do that. i have great confidence in general allen playing a very important role right now. i really am convinced that what we are doing may be one of the most immoral courses of action that i've ever seen in my lifetime or in my study of history. we are telling young men in syria that we will train and equip them to go back and fight against bush rl assad. -- bosher al-assad. while he increases his tax on the free syrian army and slaughtering them with a barrel bombs. we will attack isis and we will tell them to go back into the
fight. we are looking for some kind of unholy alliance with iran based on an agreement for nuclear weapons and then to china? it's delusional. this is the same outfit that sent hezbollah into syria which is what tipped of the momentum in the battlefield. they ran a revolutionary guard with plain roads -- planeloads of weapons that came in and now we will make some alliance with iran? it is incredible to me and frankly, i will not be a party to asking a single young syrian to go in and fight for his country's freedom if we are going to continue to allow assad to attack them from the air. it is immoral to do that. i value human life too much. >> is there anything you in congress can do or are we prisoner to what the administration does or does not the side -- decide? >> it is authorized to go after the people responsible for 9/11 and that obviously is passe. the second thing we need to do is have hearings on both the
foreign relations committee and in the armed services committee, again working together on this whole issue. we can pass legislation. for example, now to bob corker, we have legislation ready to authorize providing weapons to ukraine. does anyone here not know that we are refusing to provide defensive weapons to ukraine while they are being dismembered by vladimir putin? we can't make that up. by the way, we're are sending them lots of blankets. you throw them at a russian tank and sometimes it catches in the treads. [laughter] it's insane. of course, you cannot imagine the disillusioned that i'm sure
you are aware, but you cannot imagine the disillusioned that the ukrainian people feel as we encourage them to overthrow and get rid of yanukovych and now we want give them weapons while they watch their country being dismembered? he is establishing the land bridge, as you know, and his next calculation will be moldova especially in light of the recent elections which narrowly the communists were defeated. >> what do you say to the argument that the u.s. goes ahead and provides weapons in any substantial form to ukraine that it will give putin of the excuse to go in and a much heavier weight than he is currently going in? what were your response be if that did come true?
if in response to our doing more to the ukrainians that putin sort of goes all in ukraine? >> we have a long history of helping people struggling for freedom. we could cite many examples, greece and turkey after world war ii after the soviets were about to encroach and our support for afghans after the russian invasion of afghanistan. history is replete with our record of assisting people not necessarily intervening militarily but helping them fight against oppression or invasion. there've been a few times when we have not. in this case, to think that by providing these people with weapons to defend themselves we give vladimir putin further excuse -- i think, perhaps the only thing he might understand is if he makes further territorial gains that it will be at a higher price. one thing that russian mothers
don't like is coffins coming back to their hometown with their dead sons in them. i have the exact opposite conclusions than the president does about arming the ukrainians. we've lost 4000 americans and our involvement in iraq. i believe the population in ukraine is 30 million? they have lost 4000 ukrainian soldiers with many wounded. look at the sacrifice they've already made and we have refused to help them. i guess they are of the mind that if you tell vladimir i'm reelected i will be more flexible? again, some of this stuff, you
cannot help but get a little emotional about it. we were there when the 300,000 people in subfreezing weather demonstrated day after day, night after night because they wanted to be part of europe, part of the west. they don't want the clip dr. c -- kleptocracy they were living under that we saw in russia. russia is a gas station masquerading as a country. [laughter] that is a mafia-run gas station. anyway, we need to give them assistance. what can we do? we can have hearings, pass legislation, hopefully force with education of the american people changes and what is clearly now a losing situation. >> let me ask one more question. people like henry kissinger and others say, a, ukraine is part of the traditional sphere of influence and it is not a vital interest of the united states. and b, why don't we just cut a deal with the russians where
ukraine agrees never to seek membership in nato and makes the necessary adjustments and its trade agreement with the eu so ukraine is kind of a finland? that is kind of an analogy that kissinger and others have used. that's the best way to pursue what american interests are in this situation. what have you said in response to that argument? >> i have the utmost respect and admiration for those individuals. but i think it does not comport with the situation on the ground. the situation on the ground today as they've already taken crimea. they've already had the "separatists" takeover in donetsk and the eastern ukraine.
if you're going to work on something like that. the only scenario i could see is return crimea to ukraine, get out of eastern ukraine, and then maybe we could talk about a finland divinization of ukraine. right now, the fact on the ground are does anyone believe vladimir putin is ready to return crimea which, by the way, was part of a solemn agreement made in budapest when they gave up their nuclear inventory. the territorial integrity of ukraine will be respected including crimea. but some of us knew that as soon as yanukovych amerco and could not live without controlling and that was at risk. it was predict the bowl what vladimir putin would do.
i'm predicting it to you now again. maybe the price of oil will have a significant effect on his behavior but it won't be soon. unless he thinks there is a very heavy price to pay, moldova is next. if you talk to the president of estonia and the other baltic countries, you will hear there is enormous pressure. they went into estonia, captured a guy, took him back to russia. does any american know about that? thanks cold war stuff. anyway. i believe that it would be a workable agreement if somehow we had the belief that vladimir
would get out of the ukraine including crimea. >> thank you. now let me turn to the audience for some questions. you on the end there. yes, you. >> thank you, senator mccain. i may ukrainian journalist. having spent a few weeks in the battle zone in real life, ukrainian soldiers put more hopes on your decision than in our own president. i have a few remarks. the eu mentioned 4000 ukrainian soldiers killed. that's not correct. to my data it's at least two times more. it's a full-scale invasion. >> first time a country in europe has dismembered another country since the end of world
war ii, yes. >> in my cell phone, i have more evidence is of russian invasion in eastern ukraine than probably the entire russian embassy here in the united states. i have a couple questions. the first is global and the second is regional. i understand there are some political issues, but do republicans or someone in the white house have a strategy on what will happen in ukraine in one year? one year ago, no one could predict the isis offensive in the middle east, so what will happen? we have a number of different terrorist groups in eastern ukraine and some of them the kremlin does not control. does someone here in d.c. have a strategy? the second question, what are the main challenges for ukrainians in providing weapons for the army?
maybe it's corruption or lack of experience for our militaries, so those are the questions. thank you, senator. >> the first will depend on united states policy and action. i think the situation is going to get worse. the guy it's not listened to a lot but is saying a lot is our head of nato. he's been very, very strong in his comments in talking about the russian military buildup, invasion, dare i say it. i don't know the answer because it depends on american policy. we will be arguing strenuously on providing weapons. second of all, i can only repeat. i think vladimir putin calculates profit and loss. he calculated that he could take crimea and there would be minimal response.
he then figured he could go into eastern ukraine. one of my favorites is when he said those are the russian soldiers in crimea. they were uniforms they bought from stores. this really echoes the old cold war days and that kind of statement. all i can say is we will have the debate on the floor of the senate now that we are in the majority. we will make sure this issue is kept alive not only for ukraine, not only for ukraine because that is a compelling enough argument, but what happens next to the baltic? what happens to moldova? what happens to the other countries in the region?
not only are you seeing direct threats but other countries in the region in eastern europe, former soviet union, making accommodations to vladimir putin because they see a lack of american leadership. that also has very significant long-term consequences as well. rest easy because we just confirmed an outstanding american as ambassador to hungary yesterday. [laughter] the countries in good hands. >> pam dawkins with voice of america. what would your reaction be to -- can carter nomination to defense secretary?
you touched on this earlier, but if you could elaborate, i would appreciate it. if there is a u.s.-turkey agreement on a no-fly zone, would this be official to the u.s.-led coalition effort to the fight against isis in syria? >> i have known ashton carter. he is qualified, in my view. i've had the great pleasure of working with him for a long time. the only problem is he's the last man standing. his three predecessors and at least two of them have been very vocal about it, do not have any influence on the decision making with regards to national security.
they are completely shut out. they have complained bitterly about the micromanagement from a handful of people in the white house. the second question -- what was it about? >> the no-fly zone? >> in my view, that has been vital and i've said that for three years now. we have to have a no-fly zone. you don't have to take out assad's air defenses. all you have to do is shoot down any airplane that flies into that area. i promise you that wants pilots see their friends shot down, they won't want to go there. that's what we've been arguing for all along. they probably won't call it a no-fly zone. they will call it in aircraft exclusion area or think of another name. i'm not making that up. they will think of another name. i think that they are obviously moving in that direction. exactly how it happens or under what circumstances, but what we've always envisioned is on
the turkish area inside syria and the turkish border. in my view, that also has to have humanitarian assistance as part of that zone. there is 3.5 million refugees, my friends. we just met with the king of jordan yesterday. i'm telling you they are terribly strained with the number of refugees in jordan. it is an incredible pressure on their country. 6 million people with 2.5 million refugees? compare that to the population of the united states and think of what that would be to us. the no-fly zone, in my view, i hope is not a half measurement i hope it includes a humanitarian part where we can help some of these people escape the barrel bombing which has been so horrible.
if anyone here would like to, i have copies of the pictures that caesar smuggled out, these horrible things that were done in assad's prisons. there are still 150,000 people in assad's prisons. >> yes, right there. >> thank you. the discussion today has been focusing on syria, but i have a question about asia. south korea's position is very much dependent on the relationship between the u.s. and china. what elements of the forces concerns you the most in the next five years?
>> the chinese military buildup has been significant and accelerated. they now have an ex russian aircraft carrier which is a statement about the country's commitment to having the capability to project power. that is what aircraft carriers are really all about. if you look at their new fighter aircraft in the f 35, you will see the benefits of cyber. there is no doubt that continued cyber activity on their part has had not only military but the civilian side has cost us aliens of dollars -- cost us billions of dollars and then the incredible ability to leapfrog technology. i believe that the chinese have always believed that the last 200 years was an aberration of history, that it is their
mission and role to play in the middle east, the dominant figure. we give them great credit for being wise and all seeing around the corner of history, but i don't agree with that. they have alarmed almost every other nation in the region which has caused concerns with alliances and efforts in coordination amongst all of those countries the likes of which i did not envision 10 or 15 years ago. a small anecdote, there is a destroyer named after my father and grandfather a naval ship of hours based in japan and about a year ago it paid a port visit to the port of denning -- danang. if you live long enough, anything can happen.
the pivot to asia, two literal combat ships. when you say you are going to pave it and you send two ships moving from one theater to another, i don't think it keeps the chinese awake at night. >> i'm afraid that's all the time we have -- >> one more. this one right here. we needed a gender balance here. >> we will do whatever you like, senator. >> cybercom. your first and second priorities of incoming chair, sequestration, money. do you have a plan to heighten the importance of the cyber threat among the administration, congress, senate? as you said, your generation doesn't really know much about
cyber. it you are stuck in the older technologies. >> it's ok for her to say it. [laughter] >> i still have a rotary dial phone. there's nothing wrong with it. it works fine. >> do you personally have a plan or know of a plan to educate our policymakers on the cyber threats and technology? >> adult education. >> this is the beauty of congressional hearings. you're really have to have in-depth hearings and bring in the smartest people in america not only from the military side but from the commercial side. i would love to see our friend that runs apple before our committee. mr. coke. i would love to see some of the really brilliant people in silicon valley come and testify before us.
i think we are going to do it. the problem has not been a failure to appreciate the importance of the issues. the problem has frankly been how do you balance a person's personal privacy, right to privacy, and the requirements of government to ensure the safety and security of all of us? mr. snowden obviously made that issue much more complicated. it requires us to make determinations that on one side, civil libertarians say the government does not have the right without reason to listen to your phone calls to damascus. then on our side, we have to monitor some of this activity. if we had not been able to monitor some of this act of e,
maybe 9/11 would have been invented. that really is the crux of the debate here. i will require some very tough discussion. frankly we are all disgusted. when we hear of some innocent individual who has done nothing that they are tired of phone records and everything else, they've made some government agencies examining, that concerns me as it concerns all of us. there's got to be a good balance here and we have not found it yet. the other thing we want to do, i mention again, if there is an overall mission -- i'm not doing this by myself. we have good colleagues in bob
corker, lindsey graham, mitch mcconnell trying to develop as much as possible a policy that drives budgets. we are now in a budget driven situation. that is not good for the security of the united states of america. if we can articulate a convincing policy to our colleagues on the side of the aisle -- i work very closely with jack reed. he's a great guy. he went to the wrong school. [laughter] the armed services committee has kind of been in ireland thanks to carl levin -- been an island. i don't see bitter partisanship within the committee. i certainly see it when we get to the floor. we get a significant resistance not just among democrats but there is still the isolationist wing of our party. i'm very happy to report that the internationalist a weighing of the republican party gained
some significant victories in the last election. that was not the case with the isolationist wing. can i say i thank you for having me today. these are most interesting times. bob, thank you for all you do. i recommend reading bob's latest book. i got a lot out of it. we need to have this debate and discussion all over america. i have town hall meetings all the time over in arizona talking about a lot of these issues, a lot of other issues as well. we have so little water the trees chase the dogs in arizona. [laughter] we need to continue this discussion and debate including as many people as possible. that's why am very happy to have
the opportunity to be here today. >> thank you, senator. please join me. [applause] >> newsmakers is next. the democratic congress woman of california. jonathan gruber talks about his experience drafting the affordable care act. discussesh mcconnell the republican agenda. later our on q&a. >> we want to welcome to
"newsmakers," congressman linda sanchez, incoming hispanic caucus chair. we also have the editor in chief of "roll call." and we also have a congressional reporter with politico. thank you for being here. on thursday, the house approved legislation that would stop the president's executive action on immigration. they had also found to defund it in congress. what can democrats do? >> it is interesting because there is difficulty getting consensus within his own caucus. to avoid a government shutdown, the president will need a fair number of democratic votes to keep the government open, and in order to do that, there are members of the hispanic caucus who are willing to say that you cannot defund homeland security and put our nation's security at risk simply to keep the government open. i suspect that there will be a lot more negotiation.