tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN November 30, 2016 9:00pm-12:01am EST
we are facing. mr. talent: i love your example. when we do finally take these platforms offline, some will show up at the antiques roadshow. and they will say, what can i sell this for? you got to laugh or cry. we have a new president coming in. have a new president coming in. what i thought was an outstanding defense speech with a very good defense plan over the summer, i would love for you to come on if you want to, but one of the things i like is the emphasis in it not just on capabilities on technological, the technological edge that we are losing and need to maintain, but he did focus on numbers, capacity, and there has been a tendency in the last few years, the defense panel and others, for people to get so in love with capability to offset --
that is important that they forget numbers. do you want to focus on that issue or how you see it going forward? mac thornberry: i agree, i think his focus on building the military is exactly right as was the piece you wrote that chris mentioned. numbers do matter. part of the reason we are challenged right now is we don't have enough aircraft -- i will just continue with that example. we are all -- flying more and more hours, and that is part of the cycle of how hard it is to get things ready if you don't have enough, and what you have got, you are flying the wings off of. what else is true, i was recently in the asia-pacific region, you can have more capable ships -- we had this debate all the time with the obama administration. it can need more capable but
only in one place at one time. you have to have numbers to cover geography. these days, when you have such a huge array of threats from russia and china, iran, north korea, terrorists that not only have gone away but are spreading out in more places, there is no substitute for numbers. final point is, like with aircraft, we can wear out our people does well -- this way. day after tomorrow in the house, we will pass this year's conference report for defense authorization bill. is of the primary features we stopped the drawdown on in strength on all the services, especially the army. part of what has happened is we have drawn down the numbers so much we have warned people out.
for the air force, 700 pilots short, 5000 maintainers short because we are wearing people out. they can only do so much. christopher griffin: i am cochairing at the partisan center, secretary panetta and jim jones. when you get into these subjects as you know, it is quite interesting what you find. one of the things we are seeing is that all throughout the force, one of the reasons morale is suffering so badly is people feel like they are having to do two or three josh -- jobs instead of one. they will do it, but you mentioned stress. over time -- these are volunteers. they don't have to stay. it is amazing that the force has held up, has held up i think as well as it has. mac thornberry: it is a credit to them. one last point on this. when you do the drawdowns like they are in the process of
doing, who are you losing? you are losing the people with some experience and so forth. you lose that capability. even if you try to maintain it tomorrow, you are not replacing that experience. europe up to train recruits. don't lose them to begin with. christopher griffin: it is impossible. you also lose more fighters because to some extent, this is the old tooth detail ratio, -- two tail ratio, but you have to sustain the army. you do have to sustain the institutional army in order to continue as an organization, which means your strengths are going to fall primarily in the brigades and war fighters, which is what we want to see out in the field. bethany is important going forward -- capacity is important going forward, and you are going to be working on what is the
right capacity. we don't keep drawing down. i want to talk -- we were talking about the decline in our strength as a result of all of decline,tors, but that when you talk about the decline of the military, it is relative to the missions they have to perform and the threats they are facing. it is part of the danger, we are not only gradually getting weaker, maybe not so gradually, but many of the potential adversaries we are facing are getting stronger. you agree with that? ago,hornberry: two years when i first became chairman, we had a number of hearings. senator mccain did the same in the senate, just the state of the world. among others, henry kissinger did the comment that probably never before have we faced so many conflicts -- serious complex threats all at the same
time. in addition to that, over the past 18 months or so, or committees had a number of classified-unclassified sessions where we looked at our eroding technological advantage over others, and this is another area that in some ways may have crept up on us, but if you look at it objectively, we are clearly less superior than we have been in the past. so you look at what russia and china are doing, where they are making their investments -- it is directly focused on the way that we conduct warfare. danger, whether it is nuclear deterrence, all the various cyber or counterspace activities -- you know, a variety of other abilities. christopher griffin: integrated air defenses. mac thornberry: absolutely.
you look at the on russia's side, the missile work that china is doing, and they are not the only ones. because you see iran and north korea accelerating their missile testing among other things. isis is getting more sophisticated with the cyber -- the point is, we have a huge array of threats, more than we have ever faced, and their sophistication is growing, and we have got to deal with it all. and that is the a factor. a lot of people say, we spent so much more money than all of these other militaries combined. we also have responsibilities more than anybody else combined. without us, others step into the back -- the vacuum. we are starting to see that in more aggressive activity and in
the world. christopher griffin: yes i too deal with that, we spend more than other countries combined. i thought how best to capture the right response. it is a fair question. we want people to ask questions like that. it is apple to apples. what are we spending? these potential adversaries in their regions of the world -- china has $140 billion a year, half again that much? virtually all of the power you are getting out of that is concentrated in east asia and the near sees. -- seas. so are we spending this money to maintain presence in that type of world, and the answer is no. we are like a company that is trying to market in all 50 states, and a regional competitor is spending three times as much in five states as you are spending, and you will lose market share in those states.
you are correct. we will go to questions in just a minute, so be thinking about it. time goes by so quickly. i think -- i do want to make certain we touch on industrial base issues. when you look at the buildup, and this is the difference between now and 30 years when reagan did this -- we have an incoming resident elect who i think is committed to a major rebuild of america's armed forces, but-- armed he does not have the robust defense forces like reagan did. would you talk about that? is thornberry: i think it self-evident. we are down to one or two suppliers in many instances. if you talk to the major defense contractors, they are very dependent sometimes on a single subcontractor for various components. of the reason for that
has been the erratic budgeting that has come from our political system -- not the political system. cr's, all of that has taken a toll on the industrial device. one of the things, as you know, one of the areas i have focused on has been acquisition reform, and part of the reason is, i have grown increasingly concerned that innovative companies that do commercial work and do work with the government are going to make a decision that is just not worth messing with the government. had are just -- i have executives with some of them tell me, that has been their calculation. it is just not worth it. what it --nk about the way the world is moving, the investments that our adversaries are putting in -- if we lose the
innovation that calms from a whole series of companies -- calms from a whole series of companies, we will have a very difficult time defending the country. and so, when you think of the industrial age as the prime defense contractors, which is absolutely true, they are essential, but really it is a much larger group, and we have made it very hard to did business with the department of defense, and we have made it very slow to take advantage of their innovations. while it is really important to get more value for the money we spent, what is even more of a driver for me is we have to be faster. we have to be more agile in fielding the best technology that will protect our people better but also meet the adversary. we have got to have a better acquisitions system in the industrial base, improving those
relationships. it has been a very hostile one in recent times. you know, i understand you they are in it to make money. there has got to be arm's-length transaction and all that, but we have got to get back to everybody being on the same team for the same purpose in order to harness that tremendous innovation that is in the american army. christopher griffin: all of this -- and we will go to the questions that have monopolized the chairman for an hour and a whole, a lot of that is creating a deeper understanding and colleague.ng the and even within the defense or the press bring these things, the free press understand it of had whatsystem works kind of oversight and what kind of standards to hold them to our appropriate. appropriate.
when they are performing well, and with the $400 hammer shows something is wrong, that is hard to create that. tell me, one of the big things the chairman of the house armed services committee has to do is help his colleagues in the house understand how it is hugely important how a very different part of the government works. most of them will come in have a look at health care, education, but they don't understand this. how do you see of your role, and how do you think it is going? ben cardin: that is a question -- mac thornberry: that is a question i get every day. there is always more work to do. for me, it starts with members of my committee, and so we have had a lot of informal conversations with people that help get a better feel for that,
but for example, a couple of months ago, i took 20 or 30 folks over to the pentagon. we walked around a little bit, got to hear firsthand from many of the service chiefs. i do think for all the reasons we have been talking about, nearly all members of congress feel a responsibility when it comes to national security. you are right, it is in many ways not something that many of them are used to dealing with, except we do have some key veterans who are elected. they bring their bases -- jim talent: i don't want to overstate. mac thornberry: i think you are right. members tohunger for understand better what is happening in the world, about our military capability. is to help job provide the information, but
also to be understanding. about how that works. the rest of the story is, i don't want to explain how this very obligated bureaucratic system works. part of our job is to reform this and streamline it. the bill we are going to vote on day after tomorrow reduces some of the bureaucracy, begins to reorganize some of the functions at the pentagon. my friend senator mccain says the most extensive reorganization since goldwater and the other in 1986. but we are not done. right, i amall going to be a little more disciplined than you probably expected. i will take questions. chris, do i just call people? ok. so i think this hand went out first.
>> hi, i am pat with defense daily. chairman thornberry, you take candles position split into. you have a chief technology officer and the under secretary for engineering. how is that going to improve how you, the speed of which you get new technology into the field, take one decision-maker's decision and make it two decision-makers' position? mac thornberry: we have put too much under atl. what i say is no criticism of frank kendall, who's done a good job. but i am persuaded by those people who say, it is essentially impossible to make the person who is responsible for buying things efficiently the chief innovation officer as well, as well as many of his
other duties. as you know, the senate bill had a very significant reorganization. but what we have agreed upon for this year is to separate out some of these functions, but also delay implementation for a year to allow the new administration to come and look at it, but also to allow us to study more carefully what the right way is and what the implications are. part of the challenge with all of these reform efforts is, you can't take a break and rearrange things and then start again in two weeks. you have got to do the job every single day, so you still have to make sure the arrival gets to tomorrown afghanistan while you are trying to improve innovation and reform acquisition and so forth.
so this is a first step in recognition that we have lost something on innovation. it is probably not the final answer. >> [indiscernible] mac thornberry: i think it is the right thing for now. it will continue to be -- as i said, we are not done on organizational reform, on acquisition reform, on some of the personnel reform issues, so i think this is a good step for now. there is more to be done. jim talent: all right, this gentleman here. >> chairman thornberry, you spoke about the need for a new aircraft, and the first aircraft i think of is the x35, which has been delayed for a very long time.
if you think about how the u.s. government could acquire new assets without that happening again, going over budget were being delayed by significant period of time. mac thornberry: well, part of what we try to think about over the last -- and really, we 2013,d this in november is to understand the problems for the f-35, for the ford aircraft carrier, for future aircraft systems. we have had some problems in the past. think wef the things i definern is, when you requirements at the beginning, it is a very important thing, and you really need to make it difficult to change those requirements. you try to put too much innovation into a new platform,
it will inevitably delay its fielding and increase the cost. and you know, i just had a member on the floor tell me about listing some of the bases, training bases for the f-35. problems are being worked through. computer issues they have had, helmet issues, they are working through them. but you are right. budget, it is too long. if it takes us another 20 years to field the next aircraft, we are going to be in real trouble. so that is part of the reason this year's bill, we really focused on incremental improvement and not committing to buy 1000 of something until we know that it works and have a separate funding stream for some experimentation. we need to experiment.
but you can't experiment as you're building a program of record. and so trying to learn the , lessons of the problems we have had in the past is is important. , the answer is not to not build another airplane. the answer is, is to make these gradual steps. >> can i just add one thing? and i am going to stick up a little bit for the department here. i say this as a person who has been writing for acquisition reform as you know when i was there. part of this is the result of when you know you are not going to have all -- you don't have the money to buy all the platforms that you really think you are going to need. so you are going to get one plane. so the pressure to put as much as you can in that plane becomes very strong. now, yes, i think -- i'm not trying to say that's the only reason. but i think we have seen that.
i think that hurts future combat systems. mac thornberry: you are right. jim talent: we have got this one thing, so we have got to make sure it can do everything we needed it to do. mac thornberry: when we started f-35, the idea of having a common platform that would be adapted for the different services, you think, that could work. but it was much more complicated i think than anybody realized. jim talent: we can do a whole hour on that idea and how that has affected as you know. i'm going to go back there to that gentleman who has been waving his hand. i think we're going to get a real good question here. there is no way to pick these sorts of things. >> tony bertuga, representing the noble defense trade press. for chairman thornberry, in the compromise version of the authorization bill, you ended up halting the increased, but billions got stripped out for f-35s and lcs. everything else. my question is, do you plan to come back for those in the next
legislative cycle? do you think those remain high priorities, and he will try to get an authorized next year? for senator talent, you praised the incoming administration. do you have any plans on playing a role? jim talent: do you want to go first? mac thornberry: i am just happy you get a question like that. my hope is that the new administration will come to us with a supplemental request as soon as they get their feet on the ground. it was disappointing that in order to get this bill done now and to stop the in-strength hemorrhaging that we were not able to have as much funding as the house had originally had. as i mentioned before, the only way you are going to fix some of these old airplanes is to build a new airplane. and so that's part of what we , had. but my hope is, and i think
across the aisle, recognition of the fact that sequestration, 21% cut over four years in the defense budget, as well as the pace of operations has taken its toll. so there is, i think, interest to try to make up some of that ground, and what i hope is the new administration will come with a supplemental, and that we can put back, and for me, the top of the list would be the things that had to drop out now and then, of course, go to next year's budget as well. jim talent: i would love to see a supplemental too. i really love the -- loved the president-elect's defense speech when i read it. i loved the tone. i loved the issues he took on and the way he took on. i am going to support that whether inside or outside of government. i would be very interested in doing something inside of government. we have had some -- i have had some discussions with the
transition. i also know enough about cabinet building, having watched it in a number of instances that, you know he has to pick the people , that fit, that he feels the most comfortable with, and then also fit the overall pattern. they are working their way through a lot of progress. i've been watching and pleased with the appointments i've seen so far. so they are going to work it out. i am going to support that plan inside or outside of government. because there isn't anything more important to america's national security or i would also argue to donald trump's domestic agenda of regrowing the manufacturing base in this country. and i think it's been an untold story. he is starting to tell it. one of the reasons we have lost a lot of manufacturing is because we have underfunded capacity these procurement programs over time. yes, sir. and then i will go back over here.
>> peter humphrey, i am an intel analyst and a former diplomate. wondering about two things. in what fantasy world did preparation for two major regional conflicts disappear? and secondarily, the future is made of swarms of small things. how do we get the pentagon to realize you want to buy 1000 toyotas instead of one lexus? they keep missing the boat on that and creating giant aircraft carriers. one torpedo takes out a huge amount of our capability. that's crazy. mac thornberry: well, both good questions. i've already forgot the first one. oh, the 2 -- i'm sorry. this year's defense bill will abolish the qdr. too much time, effort for nothing.
and part of our frustration is, that it becomes became a budget , justification document, not really a strategy document. and so, that really gets to what you are talking about. we have adjusted the two mc kind of approach just based on the budgets, rather than the other way around, rather than looking at the world, trying to see what , ok, what sizing construct makes sense for the world we're facing, and then develop the budgets to support them. so we have provided a different system of kind of thinking about the world with an outside group at the beginning and, you know, not trying to recreate the qdr but trying to do this differently. because that has definitely not been successful. i think there are people in the pentagon who are very interested in this swarming idea. and i certainly am. i have had a number of folks
that have provided me with some material to read and help think about this, whether we are talking satellites or whether we are talking other sorts of capability. but you get to the heart of an issue, you can think about and say, ok, that makes sense, but still you have cultural bias in a certain direction within the institution. and i think part of our job in congress is to break through some of this cultural bias that prevents us from looking at these different options. i don't mean many small is always the answer to everything. but we have to look in that direction, just the cost benefit ratio for a host of reasons. so i think that concept as well as others is maturing.
it is involved in some of the third offset stuff. and again, part of our job is to nurture that even when the institutional interests are to squish it. jim talent: that's a great answer. if i can just add one thing on that, i think you are so correct. it is a balance that you need. we were talking before about the perceptions of congress as an institution, you know the larger , body of people outside of the know have awho you , role to play in this decision-making. this is what i think the building needs to understand is that those people like to citi -- like to see tangible things for the dollars that they spend. right? they are not all that up necessarily on all the gradiations and differences. but when you spend a lot of money on planes, you like to see planes. i think if the pentagon understood that that's the way to make everybody feel as if we are getting value for dollars,
then there is going to be a little bit less pressure on some of the bigger programs to produce quickly. there is a perception issue involved here too as well as one with four structures. let's take one more, which i'll -- poor structures. let's take one more, which i'll let the chairman answer rather than sticking my nose in. i said i'll come back over here. we'll get this gentlemen right here. >> congressman, thank you. i have a question about technological superiority. when it comes to russian's capabilities, we haven't seen it in a while. given the dubious nature of the t-14 armada take and the new fighter jet, is it possible we are overestimating russian capabilities with regard to a military scenario with a usa. if we reorient ourselves, will we lose out on the capability to
wage the wars we usually do with technologically inferior enemies? thank you. mac thornberry: i do think the point is we have to be prepared for the range of contingencies. so there are folks who say ok, counter terrorism and counter insurgency is behind us. we need to just focus on the high-end threats. we don't have that luxury. we have this huge array from sophisticated to less sophisticated threats around the world, and we have to be ready for them all and maintain competency for them all. but it is true that the 15 years of where we have focused on counter-terrorism have meant that we have neglected training and other things for the high-end sorts of threats. i think we're pretty clear-eyed about the threat that russia presents.
i don't think anybody says their military has as much capability as ours. but you need -- we have to be realistic about where they are putting their time, effort, and money. so for example, they continue to crank out new nuclear weapons every year. we don't. we haven't built a new nuclear weapon since about 1990. and we are trying to keep these old machines, you know safe and , reliable. but russia is putting a fair amount of effort into that. and you have read what they say about the tactical use of nukes to make up for conventional inferiority. we we know what they are capable , or at least their level of sophistication in cyber. we, you know they have had some , demonstrations, i believe, for
our benefit, in syria. so they can't match us, but they don't have to. and if you see some of the recent press reporting about deployments they have made in clinnengrad, it is concerning. part of it is to effect a political purpose, especially in eastern europe. and we have to deal with that. , i want to keep the chairman sensitive to your time, and i want to be sensitive to your time, chairman. thank you, chairman thornberry, you have been a fine fellow today, and i am sure you are ready for the new administration. [applause] announcer 1: now a look at foreign policy and the incoming changes on the senate. we hear from ben cardin.
christopher griffin: good morning again. chris given again -- griffin with the foreign policy initiative. it is a pleasure to welcome senator ben cardin, who is the ranking member on the senate foreign relations committee for our next discussion on the role of congress and foreign policy in the trump administration. he will be moderated by ambassador kristin's overburdened who is the -- kristin silverberg, who is the director for this system of finance. kristin is well-known and well-respected among all of us in washington. the particular for her service during a number of senior capacities during the bush administration, united states ambassador to the european union, assistant secretary of state for international organizations also in the white house and in baghdad. it is great to have a speaker and a moderator who share what for us is an organizational interest in the promotion of
human rights and democracy and strong american leadership in the world. i ask you to please join me in welcoming senator cardin. and the ambassador thank you , very much. [applause] kristen silverberg: senator, it is always an honor to hear from you. you know i have dozens of topics , i would love to talk about. i thought i would just hop right into it and hopefully save about 10 minutes at the end for audience "q" and "a". when we first scheduled this. i was confident we would be talking about the clinton administration. so much for that. so how are you? , you have spent a few weeks kind of getting your mind around how you are going to approach foreign policy under the trump administration? can you say a word about that? ben cardin: kristin, thank you for your public service. it was really wonderful to be here. you are right. it was a little bit of a surprise. when we accepted this invitation, we had outlined our comments about how the clinton administration would carry on
from the obama administration. and now we are talking about the incoming trump administration. it is going to be different. there is no question. it is going to be different. foreign policy institute, one of your goals, your goal is to rope us support for democratic institutions and human rights. that's under attack today. that's under attack. and the principle opponent is russia and what they are doing. i think there is going to be a great deal of concentration on russia. russia is using its influence to affect the geographical boundaries of democratic, independent states as well as democratic institutions within these democratic states. and their target, quite frankly, has been their neighborhood, the former republics of the soviet union, but also the former
communist bloc, and then beyond, including the united states of america. so we all see what's happened in ukraine. and we know that russia has invaded the territorial integrity of ukraine. we know they are continuing to disrupt the development of ukraine as an independent democratic state. but we also see their activity is well beyond ukraine. of course in moldova and georgia, there is physical presence of russia's aggression. but recently, we saw an attack here in the united states, a cyber attack where they compromised our cyberinformation, and then used it to try to discredit the american democratic election system. it was not, in my view, or i think the view of experts, an effort to elect any one specific as president. but it was an attempt to discredit democratic elections.
that that is not the best way for countries to survive. so when you look at the foreign policy institute and your objective to robust support for democratic allies, and human rights, it is under attack. and we need to do something about that. whether we're attacked by a mig or we are attacked by a mouse, we need to respond. and currently, the obama administration is looking at a response. i have encouraged them to take a pretty robust response. i am developing legislation that will develop, give us additional tools that we can use against russia. it's going to be a bipartisan effort. senator mccain, senator graham has already talked about efforts in this regard. senator shaheen is also actively engaged. there are many of us who are working on how we are going to respond to the russia aggression.
but this aggression is, again, not just limited to the united states, not just limited to their neighbors. we have seen what russia is doing in the middle east and syria and the impact it is having on supporting the assad regime. they are what they are doing , there affects what iran is doing. iran of course affects the entire region. there are a lot of issues that we could talk about. let me just try to tie this first to the trump administration. i know we talked a little bit before i walked up here. the trump administration has a significant problem. -- in that donald trump has holdings globally including in russia. his statements about russia have me greatly concerned, have many members of congress greatly concerned because russia is not our ally or friend. they are a bully. they need to be treated that way. you have got to stand up to a bully, and you have got to make sure that they understand that the leader of the free world will be there with our
democratic allies. and first and foremost, mr. trump needs to insulate himself from his business interests. the clausenduced yesterday to make a resolution that the only way the incoming president can do this and adhere to the constitution of the united states, which is the oath he will take on january the 20th, is to make sure that his business holdings are removed from his control. there are two ways to do that, a blind trust or to divest. and i am hopeful that he will take those steps. now i am mindful of the statement he made just today or last night that he will set up a way that he will isolate himself from his business dealings. we'll take a look at that. i think it is in response to many of us saying, you can't do both. but that's going to be very important to have the leader of the free world, the president of the united states, having credibility in dealing with our democratic allies as we stand up
to russia's aggression, whether it be in europe, whether it be their support in the middle east or whether it be attacks here in , the united states. kristen silverberg: thank you. your comments on american support for human rights and democracy overseas i think are very important. you, of course, have been a leader on the anti-corruption and human rights side. what seems to me as one of the challenges is domestic support here at home. i was disappointed by how little those issues played in the current elections. i'm wondering if you have thoughts about what we can do to actually secure the bipartisan consensus that america needs to be at the forefront of those issues? ben cardin: well first of all i'm not surprised those issues , don't play out well on election day. election day is going to be about basically economic issues. we know that. that which controls most of the undecided voters. they are going to be concerned with how the next president and the next congressman or senator
, what they are going to do to help their life. they are going to be interested in jobs. they are going to be interested in higher education. they are going to be interested in health care. america's global leadership is not going to be first and foremost on their minds. make no mistake about it, america's global leadership is critically important. we are the only country in the world that can advance good governance, human rights, anti-corruption. if america doesn't lead, there will be no efforts globally to make these priorities. recently, i was at a national security council meeting. and it was called because of the concern of the growing corruption problems globally and the impact it has on america's national security. if you are looking at the cancer -- cancerous cause that is affecting stability globally, it is corruption. and america needs to be at the forefront to fight corruption. of course, the human rights
agenda is all part of that. good governance, human rights, anti-corruption, empowering people, all -- and america needs to be in the forefront in those efforts. i am proud of the role that we have played in the congress of the united states and the pitssky law that was passed as having an impact not just in russia but in europe. as they have passed mcnitssky laws, we are hopeful we will see the expansion of the mick nitze law to be global so that human rights violators anywhere in the world that are not -- that are protected by their local governments will be subject to sanctions here in the united states. and we hope globally in using our banking system or being able to get visas to visit america. that hurts greatly. those corrupt officials do not want their money in local currency. they want their money in dollars. we can block that, we can make major advancements. kristen silverberg: we are obviously still waiting on some key national security nominations, and i wouldn't ask you to get into any particular
preferences, but i am wondering if you can say a word about how said it democrats are going to approach these nominations generally. i will go way out on a limb and say there will be some controversies. ben cardin: there will be some controversies. kristen silverberg: where are some of the democrats going to want to draw some lines? ben cardin: first of all i'm , looking forward to talking to senator corker and see how his conversations went. first and foremost, i think i speak for my -- all my colleagues, we want this transition to go smoothly. i think president obama is going to extremes to make sure this is as smooth a transition that can possibly be done. we respect the votes, the election results, and we want to make sure that mr. trump comes into power as president of the united states with his team and with all the tools he needs in order to be a successful president on behalf of our nation. and we're going to do everything
we can to make that a reality. but when he deviates from constitutional requirements, such as the imola mintz clause -- annulments clause of the constitution, we are going to speak out and take action. if he nominates people that are not in line with the needs of our country, we are going to do everything in our power to highlight those concerns, to use the confirmation process in the united states senate to explore their backgrounds and their commitments and how they are going to respond to the portfolio under their direction , and then ultimately make a decision to either vote for confirmation or against confirmation. so we will do that. on those advisers that are not subject to senate confirmation, we have -- i have already spoken out on some of those appointments, because we are not going to have other opportunities to do that. we have a constitutional responsibility. we are going to carry out that
constitutional responsibility. but at the end of the day, we want donald trump to be a successful president. and we are going to do everything we can to try to help make that a reality. kristen silverberg: from the nsc appointments we have now, this seems quite clear it is going to very focusedt is on the war on terror and the campaign against isis. if anything, that may actually feed the administration's interest with some kind of accord with russia, if that's their focus. you can see that. and so i'm wondering what you think really their options are on the kind of isis campaign and were on terror in general? ben cardin: isis is a complicated issue. but russia is a critical player here. russia and their support for assad and what they are doing in syria is making it much more difficult for us to have a unified front against the extremist organization, such as isis.
so what concerns me, i need to understand what is in mr. trump's strategic thought process and what he is suggesting with russia. russia, as i said, is not our ally. they are not our partner. they don't share our values. they are a bully. they want a larger, greater russia. they don't want to see nato expansions. so one of the first signals that this congress could do, this congress could do, is to approve montenegro's -- succession into nato. the failure will be interpreted by mr. putin as a way he can block that from happening under the next administration that wants to set up good relations with russia. so it is hard to figure out exactly where we're heading in syria, where we're heading
against isis until we know how we're going to confront russia. the syrian civil war has been going on now six years. there is no end in sight. aleppo, when aleppo falls, and it probably will, it's not the end of the civil war. it's continuing. the only way to end the civil war is to bring all sides together and have a negotiated way forward without president assad. i think all of the major stake holders, including russia, understands that. so we have got to get that done. and the humanitarian crisis that's been created through russian support of the assad regime warrants the human rights criminal investigations. he should be -- they should be investigated at the hague. that needs to be done. if we can get that moving
forward, then we can concentrate on isis. that is simple. you take away their support by their geography. you take away their support through oil revenues. you take away their support through extortion revenues and marginalize them and ultimately, we have to deal with them as a threat because they have their , terrorist networks, but we have shrunk them and shrunk their support networks, and ultimately, we can marginalize their importance. kristen silverberg: the syrian civil war among among its many consequences has been a lot of political stress on europe. you see european institutions struggling, the rise of populism. we have some key elections coming up. do you have thoughts about what the u.s. should be doing to support your at this point? ben cardin: you are right we , have critical elections coming up. the inward thinking is not just in certain european capitals that we have seen in their elections.
certainly, we have seen that in great britain and the brexit vote. we saw it as part of the vote here in the united states. it is now a major issue in the french elections. so it is really becoming a very critical issue as to whether nations are going to look inward. you can look inward, but you are still going to have the refugees. refugees are in danger of their life. and that's the reason they become refugees. it is not safe to be in syria today. that's why people are leaving syria and risking things like traveling over dangerous waters and dangerous borders and hostile communities. they do that because they have no choice, by the millions. and with the civil war continuing in syria, those numbers are going to continue. the impact on europe has been dramatic. dramatic. i understand that. the impact on the united states has been minuscule, if at all.
so, yes, as i said earlier, the united states is the leader of the free world. we believe in human rights. we believe that people should be able to live and raise their family without fear of their children being kidnapped as soldiers or killed and that women have the right to go to school and be educated in advance. that's what we believe in and that is what we fight for. if we can look inward rather globally -- van globally, there will be no global leadership. the refugee crisis will get worse. it will lead to instability in other countries. it will affect america's national security interest. so we need to be aggressive in saying, we need to be part of the solution of the refugee issue. obviously, the way to solve the refugee issue is to solve the unrest in the countries.
that is we've already talked a , little bit about syria. it is more than syria. we know what's going on in africa. there is a lot of places in the world where refugees are increasing. we have got to work as an international community to resolve those issues, but we also have to recognize we have a responsibility in regards to the refugee issues more than just financial. we have got to take our fair share here in the united states. kristen silverberg: have you thought about the future of ttip ? it is on life support, sort of flatlining. there was also discussion about whether an fta with the u.k. would make sense. do you have a sense of what is the future of our sort of trade negotiations with europe? ben cardin: i really don't know how the trump administration is going to deal with trade policies. they have also talked in addition to saying ttip is over, they have also said that nafta
might be over. so it's a lot of agreements and, of course, i am sorry, did you say tpp or -- kristen silverberg: i said ttip. i will ask you about tpp. ben cardin: i thought we were talking about ttp. ttip, that's on life support. that is possible, it is possible you can get the ttip agreement. it hasn't been concluded yet. the trump administration could take credit for concluding it in a way that is beneficial to the united states. trade agreements, america is in a global economy. we need trade agreements. we need fair trade agreements. we need a level playing field. and yes for many years, the , united states has not been aggressive enough on nontariff barriers. so for a long time, intellectual property was not as aggressive as we needed to make it, and we should have make it a stronger serious -- service industry. currency manipulation is still not being dealt with where we have been disadvantaged by many
countries, around the world, china being the number one country. but there are other countries. on dumping issues, we haven't been as aggressive as we need to be. there is areas on labor an -- and environment. we are late to the table to deal with labor issues and environmental issues. so there are a lot of issues that need to be dealt with. europe is probably a country where we could complete an agreement, but there the battles , are going to be on agriculture, they are going to be on areas in which europe has been very difficult to the u.s. producers. i don't know whether a president trump will take a tough position and, therefore, not be able to complete an agreement, or whether he will moderate some of his views on ttip. on ttp, that is a real void. i think we need a tpp agreement. i'm not suggesting the one negotiated was the best one, and
it couldn't have been done better and should have been done better. we are dealing with communist countries. when you are dealing with communist countries in trade agreements, you really need to make sure you have strict enforcement on governmental issues in the agreement. we can always do better there. i am hopeful that we will not give up with vietnam, that we will not give up with other countries and trying to develop a trade relation. if there's a void, china will fill the void. i think it is important that we are actively engaged in those areas, but there will have to be agreement that have broader support here in the united states. otherwise it won't get done. so the trump administration is going to have to reach out and get broader support and bring in organized labor. we're going to need support in order to get those types of agreements done. kristen silverberg: and while i think your point on china is an important one, we are getting our ducks in a row on ttp, china is moving ahead. australia has now decided to
join, and i really wonder feat -- at the end of the obama administration where is the , assessment that we are in the rebalance, and this is something on bipartisan agreement that we really need to invest in asia. ben cardin: well, the obama administration has been strong on maritime security issues. we have used the military very much so and had physical presence. we have challenged china directly, and china has pulled back. they have done things that are unacceptable. don't get me wrong. they recognize that we were but prepared to take more aggressive action, and they did not want to see a military confrontation. and i think we were able to make certain progress. we challenge of course there fly -- their fly zones. we have challenged a lot of what they're try to go do in the controlled areas that are unilateral decision-making rather than negotiating with their regional partners.
and so we made some progress and we have seen in the regime and -- in china, of the regimes, that they have backtracked on a lot of the good government issues and hope human rights issues and opening the society. that's not good. that's not good for china or the united states or for the region. what i hope we will see moving forward is that the reform process that started in china several decades ago, and make some progress. we will energize the entrepreneurial spirit in china allow people the opportunity to , really express themselves and to be able to advance and make too many decisions about young children too early in life. there is a lot of things that have to be done in china that i think the united states can do, but we're not going to be able to tell them to do things and they are going to say yes we can , do it because the united states want us to do things. it has to be in the interest and we understand that.
the united states foreign policy has to reflect that. that is what diplomacy is about. that is what soul power is about. one of the interesting points, you mentioned donald trump -- at least the list -- which he is seeking part of the cabinet or wants it is that there are a lot of military people there. i'm not against that. we need military people, but we need to understand that soft power, civilian control is critically important to america's goals. we don't have a large budget for diplomacy. we need a larger budget for diplomacy. we don't have a large budget for development assistance. we could use a larger budget for development assistance, particularly as it relates to developing democratic institutions. if we did that, i think we could help countries like china in a way that it would be in our national security interests, allow china to grow as a stronger country as we want it
to be, and it would be safer for the global community. kristen silverberg: want to open it up for the audience and before i do that, i want to have one other question about the assessment on where we are on alliances. we had tensions with the philippines. where do you think we are broadly on the strength of the alliances around the world? sen. cardin: well, i think that president obama deserves great credit for strengthening america's partnerships. the recognized that we could not do things alone. look, i disagreed with obama on the strategies on ukraine and syria as far as the original responses. i thought we should have been more aggressive. president obama did not want to states to benited
alone on decision making. he went to other countries and formed broader coalitions. one of the first things that he did was form a broader coalition against iran. that paid off and we were able to negotiate an agreement. i disagreed with the end of the agreement, but agreed that we should have an agreement. that was good diplomacy. building alliances. we see that now in north korea. today there's an announcement today about a resolution with north korea. that's good news and we can isolate countries by working with other countries to coin a phrase that we're stronger together. and president obama has done that. he has formed true confidence of the allies in all parts of the world, in our own hemisphere. and i have talked to many leaders in our own hemisphere,
the policies are isolating the united states and hemisphere. you argue how do you get cuba to , change the way? cuba has to change the way. the prior policy was not working. it was marginalizing the u.s. influence in our own hemisphere. the obama administration has dramatically improved in the hem -- america's influence in our own hemisphere. so there are a lot of things that's happened in asia. i have been there a lot of times, and i can tell you that i was pleasantly surprised to see the close personal views in vietnam with the united states . atountry that we were at war a few years ago. he built relationships with countries we would prefer to work with. and they would prefer to work with the united states than they would with russia and china and they look at the united states as being a stronger and more reliable partner, and they want
to deal with us in the middle east and meaning a lot of the gulf state, they are partners to a leader. they said that we would rather deal with the united states. i they we have formed those alliances under the obama administration that are critically important for america's national security interest. kristen silverberg: ok. i want to go to the audience. i see a lot of hands and i want you to keep the questions con cise and tight. right here on the second row. >> you talked about montenegro on what is your opinion getting ukraine and georgia into the alliance as well? sen. cardin: they are going through a process, ukraine and georgia, with nato. russia is doing everything in their power to make that difficult. the activities in ukraine and the occupation of crimea and activities in that eastern part
of ukraine, all have made it more challenging for nato to -- to meet the native requirements -- nato requirements for a session. i would like to see ukraine in nato. i would like to see us develop a path that we can get there. the same thing is there with -- with georgia. and they recognize as long as they can continue that un uncertainty that because of the border uncertainty issues, it's unlikely that georgia can make it to full participation in nato. bywe should counter that showing a way that they can get both participation in nato. i very much want to go on a path to get there. that would require u.s. leadership, because we are more interested in that expansion than the other european
countries are, and you need consensus for nato expansion. so it will require u.s. leadership with our european partners. kristen silverberg: ok. let's go over here. yes, right there. yeah. i would say dark suit, white shirt. [laughter] but -- >> thank you. you spoke about the importance of alliances. given the rhetoric of president-elect trump and those talking about racketeering when it comes to new docomo what does -- nato, what does this mean for the baltic? we have him talk about the rapprochement of russia. and what about foreign policy? sen. cardin: that is a great question. a lot of things mr. trump said during the campaign has been
greatly -- has me greatly concern. we goes beyond foreign policy. -- that's beyond the foreign policy. welcomed when he changed his views on some of these issues and i would want him to do more of that when it comes to the experts in the campaign. comments madene it during the campaign. i think you should have a moral standard in the campaign, but i want him to govern properly and i hope you will take this advice and as it relates to russia, i hope you will understand the danger of russia to the united states and of the region. the baltic countries, there are so many countries that are justifiably concerned as to what will happen. some are nato allies. we have the security initiative in the united states.
and we should show physically that we are there and we have increased that genetically. i am suggesting we have a democratic initiative, democratic institutions similar to what we did for military and fusion -- institutions, so we can provide real support for those democratic institutions. you are finding more civil societies being challenged and we should be providing significant support to make sure that those institutions remain strong and in particularly starting with the ali's. -- with allies. there's a concern that some of the allies including nato will go below the threshold. that is acceptable for us as a democratic country. kristen silverberg: you had a question? >> yes. russell king. i had a classic minor you mentioned it, cuba has had a close relationship with russia and china over the years, and
they have been heavily mostly chineses weapons. i would you do the demilitarization of cuba? sen. cardin: because of how close they are to us. our relationship with cuba. we need more people to people contact. we need more business to business contact. and yes, we need military to military paid we need to understand -- military. we need to understand their military better. we need to break the isolation that has existed between the two countries. i could give you chapter and verse on this, what people have to go through with canadians in order to get the type of information they need from cuba. it is ridiculous. make no mistake, cuba's government is repulsive come at
to the economic growth -- opus oppressive. cuba's government and then dealing with the business issues in that country. and it is very tough. i have had -- if you go to cuba you will see how untimely it is toward commercial activities. the way that they treat their citizens is terrible. the opposition, it is not a lot of. there are so many things that need changed for them to be able to grow in the way that they need to. and in the military, what is their intentions further military. we need to know. they worried -- who are they worried about? that needs to be changed. yes, i do worry about the military and the active economic system and the country that's so close to us and we need to have
a strategy to change all three of those, which you don't do by a policy that has failed for decades. kristen silverberg: we can take two more. we need to keep the senator on schedule. over here in the front row. >> senator, one of the things is strengthening democracy abroad and why do you feel it is so important to send more money overseas, when most americans would argue that there are shortcomings at home and we need to taxpayer dollars to be spent on education and health care reform, issues that affect our citizens? kristen silverberg: i would argue -- sen. cardin: i would argue we do not send masses of money overseas. it is not part of the budget.
it is only 1% of the budget, a small percentage of our security budget. soldiers and weapons, then there is the generals, they will call you that the money that we spend on development assistant saves money on the military side, the department of defense side, and it saves lives. when we can prevent a country that is strategically important to the united dates -- states, from becoming a destabilizing influence in that region, with potentially using soldiers, we are saving money. look at afghanistan. look at the amount of money we spent in afghanistan. look at the amount of money we spent in iraq. look at syria. look at africa, there are places in africa that could be challenging to the united eight
-- states. it is in our interest to resolve these issues. it is not the u.s. alone. sustainable diploma goals with the u.n., we've been able to reduce poverty, increase health. if you look at ebola and of u.s. involvement, the taxpayer involvement, they saved hundreds of thousands of lives. i think americans should be proud of that. look, americans can make a difference, we should be proud of that. the humanitarian and social conscience. it makes us safer. it is a win-win situation. and our development assistance budget, we spend a lot of money in a few countries. we should be spending more money on developing democratic institutions.
in africa, we spend such a small amount of money to build democratic institutions. we should be spending more. kristen silverberg: last one. in the redshirt. >> you talked about democratic institutions and building them up. can we discuss your views on turkey? sen. cardin: turkey is going to a difficult time. from my point of view, they are going through difficult period. they have had a rough history. for many years they were not treated fairly by europe. mainly because they are a muslim majority country. they have had their share of issues. turkey is concerned about the kurdish extremists. to the detriment of themselves. they focus much on that that it causes a challenge in their
commitment to govern with human rights and it prevents turkey from being a significant player and dealing with the broader regional security issues. so we look at turkey as our ally. we look at the prime ministers policies -- we look at pentagon dogan's issues. we continue to work with them. we want to continue our partnership with turkey. we look at it as a country that it is a large independent country that they will do what they think is right for their national interest and we will try to work with them to get them more in mind of what we think is more important for a major democratic date. me let me end on that point. there is one thing i want to mention. one of my priorities the next
congress. it is a bill that would develop an anticorruption index, which i think is important for all countries. it will be interesting to see how the united dates and -- states and turkey and other countries will fare on that index. no country is perfect on fighting corruption. we all have that problem. in some countries, it is part of their system. we saw in trafficking with persons, when we put a spotlight on acceptable practices in combating modern day slavery, we were making progress in reducing the amount of trafficking. i was in india recently and the big issue in their country today on how they are dealing with trafficking. so i work on that. and we have been principally response to the type of changes -- responsible for the type of changes we are seeing in india.
so we should use that model to put a spotlight on all countries, all of us can do better. i am not picking on turkey. i would not put them as being -- that, they are not -- they are in range, they could make progress as we all can. i think every country can benefit and america is taking the leadership. this could really help national security. corruption is so devastating in the international community. so that is something i will be working on in the next congress. i have republicans interested in this. i am hopeful congress will do what we need to do it foreign policy as well as other areas. this is a conversation i have had with several republicans, before the election and since the election. as you may be aware, there is serious concern that barack obama has abused his power as
president. and the used the power in a way that should not have been used. presidents do things that they should not do through executive action, because congress is not active. on immigration, we should have acted. on climate change, we should have acted. congress. we did not. as a result, the president felt compelled to use the power he had as president. fast-forward to january 20 of next year, i think it is incumbent upon congress to act. we have seen it meant that donald trump -- statements that donald trump made that i think step with congress. and if congress does the responsibility is passes legislation, we can influence what the donald trump administration will do.
that is very true in foreign policy. that is why you will see democrats and republicans, whether it is russia, iran, climate change, whether it is how we deal with tolerance for human rights violations and corruption, you will see members of congress come together, i hope, and be able to be the voice of the legislative branch of government. that is an optimist speaking on a cloudy day. but i do have confidence in our country. thank you very much. [laughter] [applause] the senator of nebraska joined an event to talk about u.s. engagement in the world and foreign policy priorities. this is 45 minutes.
>> good morning. if i could ask you to make your way to your seat. we will begin our next discussion between ambassador at and senatordelman sasse on the retreat of the west. i have a topic to discuss and a great follow-up to some of the point and conversation we had with senator cardin. we are joined by senator sasse that represents nebraska and has a unique background in the u.s. senate. userspective that many of will benefit from as he brings.
it will be moderated by ambassador edelman. thank you for all that you do. you broadly, before that, was a foreign service officer commit retiring in 2009 after a number of serious -- a senior positions, including being an ambassador in finland and turkey. i appreciate you both for being here today. please join me in welcoming them. [applause] sen. sasse: thank you. mr. edelman: it is great to be here. we are talking about one of my favorite subjects, american exceptionalism. the senator and i share next abuse -- mixed views, having both been graduate students and have phd's in american history from the same, modern at yale.
so for any struggling graduate students who may be out there working toward your phd, we are living proof that there is life after graduate school. sen. sasse: have a backup. mr. edelman: both of us had backup plans i think. i got my degree a few years before the senator, when dinosaurs walked the earth. and when the academic job market was so bad we literally had a publication called the silver lining, which consisted of faculty obituaries around the country. [laughter] i am not making that up. it is true. we're going to talk about a really important subject today, about american exceptionalism and retreat of the west. senator, i wonder if you could unpack the subject a little bit. when people use the term
american exceptionalism, i think they tend to talk past one another in the sense that it has been used both as a descriptive term to analyze those things that make the united states different and separate it from other country's historical experience. but it's also used in the sense of america's mission abroad. and what exactly the nature, if there is such a mission what exactly the nature of that mission is. i wonder if you could tell us how you think about american exceptionalism and then we can go from there. sen. sasse: you bet. thanks for having me as well. obviously, the term has been used lots of different ways and the u.s. generalin the world, in post 1945, and maybe in particular in a more contested 1989 and the end of
the cold war, it is complicated and has been contested and there's a lot of interesting and debatable things we should talk about related to that. the u.s. is kind of a unique place in the world since world war ii, but i think it's important historically to understand that what the word, the term american exceptionalism used to mean and i think it should mean again partly because it provides a meta level of agreement, it's a historical claim about the american founding. i think it was really sad and i don't, i'm a very conservative guy, but i'm not particularly partisan. so i do not think -- so i don't say this to sort of open by taking a shot at president obama, but i thought it was particularly sad in the run-up to the 2012 election when president obama was being interviewed one time and he was asked do you believe in american , exceptionalism, and if you watch the videotape you can see the president's wheels turning in his head as he thinks what to say. it felt like what he was thinking, of course i can't say i believe in american exceptionalism because that
sounds parochial in a way that's arrogant and maybe ethnic or race based or something. and yet, you could also hear him heading towards the election, saying i'm not supposed to say i don't believe in it either so he pauses for a minute and he says, well, of course, i believe in american exceptionalism, i believe in american exceptionalism in the way that the greeks believe in greek exceptionalism or the brits believe in british exceptionalism. but that does not mean anything. it is like saying you believe in patriotism. and you should be thankful for what you inherited from your grandparents and that's true. but american exceptionalism is something else. it's a recognition of the fact that the american founding was a truth claim about human dignity. margaret thatcher used to say that all of europe, every european country is a product of history, but america is the only nation that is a product of philosophy. the american founding is a claim that rights come to us from god via nature and government is a shared project.
to secure those rights. government isn't the author or the source of our rights. it is an important secular told that we the people build -- tool that we the people build together but rights predate government and government is a claim about human dignity. when you look at human history there are flirtations with this idea. greek city states for a while in the early modern period. swiss city states have talked about human dignity as a foundation for commonality and community. and that. but by and large throughout history, people have assumed that the world's a broken and dangerous place so you need government to protect us and provide stability. and is so whoever has the stability, whoever has the monopoly on violence we should be grateful for them. and we should sit back and supplicate before the king to see what rights he grants us. the assumption has been that government came first, power came first and the powerful out of their beenough asense granted rights to people. and people are created with dignity. we should secure the rights together as a people.
and now we get to, i'll stop here, but we get to the role , what america's role should be to advance that truth claim and versus the responsibilities of this nation that shares this as a truth claim and therefore the basis of our own power internally. then we should debate to advance it externally. mr. edelman: before we get to that external mission, which i think will be the part of the discussion with the audience, we should stick to the theme of what separates the united states and its experience from that of other nations. you have touched on i think the important point of the founding and the self-understanding that the founders had of what they were doing that was quite different. because they're very, very conscious of the fact of what they're undertaking is different from what has happened in the past and it's antecedents in the ancient world, in the
renaissance world demonstrated how frail and difficult the undertaking was. but there is another, i think, important element that emerges out of this that's not irrelevant to our immigration debate and the larger mission debate, which is, what does it mean to be a citizen of the united states and in that i believe we are exceptional as well. because most other countries in the world, citizenship is rooted in blood and birth and in our country, it is rooted in adherence and allegiance to a premisesilosophical and those documents that enshrine those premises. sen. sasse: right. mr. edelman: i wonder if you want to comment about that. how different is that from the experience of other countries , and where does it put us in a world where ethnosectarian
differences are a huge part of the drivers of conflict around the world? sen. sasse: great question. first let's acknowledge two things. one, that this inheritance is a pretty special thing. it is extraordinary that we have the shared sense of what america means and we should recognize what great peril we're in right now, because we don't really have the shared sense. polling data would show that our young people really don't know this history. we haven't done civic or culture catechesis. we have not taught them about what this idea means, to have a creedal nation. and the founders as as you said , recognize this is a hard thing to do. to build republican government, it is historically rare and bizarre. and the founders didn't know if they thought this would really work. there was a lot of debate and for good reason. i mean, obviously the
revolutionary war doesn't end in 1776, the year that kids have locked in their mind. but by the early 1780's and it looked like we'd win the revolution or the brits would be distracted enough that they wander away and their fighters lose the will. we win the revolution and we experiment with the articles of confederation and we arrive at this moment in philadelphia in 1787, 1788. we're 12 years past the declaration of independence and they're still working through the ideas. american kids should read the federalist papers. they should have to wrestle with the question and know why or what it meant for the people in the past, the idea of the cost duchenne being a silver frame around the golden apple which is the big truth claims about human dignity that are in the declaration. we aren't a nation rooted in blood. we aren't a nation based in ethnicity. as a seriously conservative guy, i get disappointed and angered
and saddened all the time to hear current media analysis of the political spectrum that somehow breaks down by race, class and gender all over the place. you wake up and you see a ticker on the morning news almost every morning, demography is destiny for america. it means elections will be determined by a person's skin pigment. and what population subsets are growing the most rapidly. if it is true, whichever way it goes based on pigment or ethnic coalitions that are built, which ever way it goes america died. because america was an idea that was about something much bigger than what tribe you come from. we actually think the greatest things in life are the textured relationships you have with your family and your friends and the dignity and the importance of your local work as you try to serve out of a life of gratitude. try to serve your neighbors and build a better mousetrap and build philanthropy and wrestle
through important questions about mortality and heaven and hell and all the important things in life are local relational things that are based on ideas and persuasion and government isn't the center of any of that. government is a means to an end. government is a means to an end. we have not been having a conversation for 50 years. i will pull up, but just to think about president reagan well before he was a republican ronaldr of california, reagan, the democratic labor union organizer who worked for ge and traveled the rails to talk to factory workers about what america meant. it was that reagan -- this is not a republican or democratic an american claim -- that reagan said that it been new republic, you were always only one generation away from
extension of freedom. the only way american understanding goes on is if the next generation comes to own it, and we are not doing that right now. 41% of americans under 35 tell pollsters that they think the first amendment is dangerous. because you might say things with your freedom of speech that hurt someone else's feelings. actually, that's the whole point of america, that we can say things that hurt each other's feelings because we believe so much in the dignity of the other person that we want to join with them and try to have a community free from violence, so we can wrestle together as people with questions that are more important than power. power is a means to that end. and i think as conservatives, we also believe in pre-political things, and politics is one dimension of life, but not the only one. thatsasse: two underscore term, believing in pre-political
things is an essential element of being a fully participatory america. i have on my twitter profile that i am a husker addict, that i am a skeptic of political addicts. what i mean by that is the dwight eisenhower line that every american adults should understand themselves as a part-time politician. have myho are here and calling for a time that think that being a politician is the be-all and all of their identity, they are not worthy of this job. politics are not the center of life. yet american adults on farms and ranches in nebraska today that are fully loving their neighbor and serving in maintaining the polity and passing it on to their grandkids and grandkids can't be totally politically disengaged either because all of us share this project. mr. edelman: i appreciate you saying that. as someone in a mixed political marriage, it helps me get through every day. [laughter] sen. sasse: thank you. now and fervent
twice in your remarks to polling data about young americans and weakness of their grasp on the fundamentals, not just american exceptionalism, but the founding and our political institutions and our system of governance. i want to come back to that at the end. before we get there, what works either of history or political philosophy have you found most illuminating and enlightening, and you found have been most important to you in your understanding of american exceptionalism? i mentioned the federalist papers, so let's work you bet. everyone not read them and wrestle with federalist 10. -- everyone ought to read them and wrestle with federalist 10. federalist arguments on to the what we wrestled with has be what weought to wrestled with as parents all the time.
been in a class and it feels daunting to get a 1500 page assignment from a professor, at the ambassador jokes that we were both historians together. before we came out here, there were six of us in the room and five of us had history phd's, which meant that one of us was actually employable. [laughter] sen. sasse: it reminded me of what i was at grad school at one point, the second year, the chronicle of education him out with a special issue, and it had a picture of it with all this pvc pipe and curtains, and it was a thing called the pit where graduates interview for jobs, and the headline was "in the pit at the american historical association: would be historians beg for jobs they don't really want." my wife hung that up in our kitchen and said, get a backup plan fast. but if you have ever had a political science class and you looked at it as this daunting 1500 page book, it is the wrong
way to think about that book. shred it. read the binding off and leave 7 page chunks5x all over your house, because that's the way it was written. tried to explain what was happening in america and the late 1830's and early 1840's back to europeans, they cannot really make sense of this experiment and republican government, and self-governance. what made it the case that you had a canal revolution, that you had a proto-railroad revolution, that you had a transportation revolution that was putting out. a sort of production revolution, not the factory system, but something that would proximate a moving assembly line. you had this massive economic innovation in america, and europeans did not know why. they said, americans, we thought these people were founded on an idea where there but have pluralism and they believe all these crazy, religious things and they are not going to kill
now all of and sudden they are really economically productive. how do they make sense of that? tocqueville's first thesis was, if you are going to understand economic ingenuity, they must have better planners then we french did, so we will go to washington and figure out where all the planners reside. they get to this city and write back and say this is kind of a swamp and the people are not that interesting or creative. not a lot has changed. [laughter] sen. sasse: ultimately, they said, this is not the center of america. the center of america is not here in the compulsory power center that is washington, and tocqueville goes out to travel to 17 of the 25 states, and he writes back and essentially says in these travel reports, i found the meaning of america, the center of america. it is the rotary club. it's actually where people come together. they are not isolated individualists, but they don't
leave government power should organize everything. they believe in community, and persuasion, and debate, and building better products and someone and having purchase that. they believe in community. there was that line in american politics five years ago where it was said -- i don't want to beat up on a second democrat, but it was barney frank -- it said government is just another word for those things we choose to do together. it's not. community is another word for things we choose to do together. government is another word for ispulsion, and compulsion necessary in the world, but we should move cautiously before we take away someone else's freedoms by using the powers of government and compulsion. democracy in america is a great snapshot of all those little platoons of where second rich life is lived in america and has been. and i think the well-documented decline in mediating institutions that as theille identifies
engine of what you are describing, along with some of -- you mentioned earlier -- i think when taken together, are troublesome, in terms of what we call the exceptional america that the founders created. let's turn to that question of mission. tensions always been a in american thinking about this. on the one hand, the founders were not only aware of the frailty of democratic institutions, and for that reason came up with the as thecan remedy federalist papers call it, for the frailties of democracy, but they were also very mindful of the fact that they were inhabiting a world of non-democracies, and that it would be very difficult in the long run for the united states to prosper and survive in a world that remained nondemocratic.
the tension in that was, how do you, particularly as a small, , the daystrong country world revolution of democracies? you don't. on the other hand, as adams said in his fourth of july speech, you are the well which are for all who want democracy, and attention between how much -- and the tension between how much we should intervene has been there since the beginning. it is very much the animating force for what we do during ,orld war ii and world war i and the unique role he played since 1945, which you identified earlier. , when you go to nebraska and speak to constituents and they ask you about america's place in the world and what our mission, if we have one, is, how do you describe it? how do you talk to them about it?
what do you find when you go there, when you talk to constituents, and what ought those who both believe in the ant optional america -- in exceptional america and those who believe america should lead the world, what do we have to do in the wake of this last electoral cycle? sen. sasse: great question. and when i listen to nebraskans and wrestle through these let's start byn, rejecting silly false choices. the idea that there is a choice someen isolationism and sort of machine internationalism is silly, because they are both horrible ideas. you look at some of the polling data right now, one of the tragic things that happen -- that's happening is we are deciding that the continuum we have across right versus left on domestic policy issues. one simple way to think about right versus left from 50 to 75
years is how much federal, governmental intervention do you want in the economy? a debate about the minimum wage, this is not about limited government, this is small to medium-sized government. limited government is the idea that we don't believe in totalitarianism. we believe the powers of government are limited. small versus medium is an important debate about economic engagement. foreign policy views should not have to the immediately terrible herbal -- have to be immediately tailorable and alignable with that. we are seeming to embrace silly views of foreign policy on both sides that don't make a lot of sense. i saw polling data from pew last week -- when asked on the eve of the election, trump supporters versus clinton supporters, do you mostly identify with this statement, "other countries should solve their own problems,
or the u.s. should help as other countries solve their own problems?" first of all, that's a silly statement, but if you are going to take it at face value, 56% of clinton supporters said the u.s. should help. that's take apart why that does not make sense. help how, and are there limits? there are certainly limits on our capacity and means. on the other side, only 25% of trump supporters said the u.s. should help in the world, and the assumption behind the question seems to be there is a choice that if you help in the world, what you are rejecting tackling our own problems at home. a more sophisticated debate when the idealism versus realism in foreign policy. also there, we should recognize that the right answers in the long term, recognizing that the world is becoming a flatter and fletcher space, are going to be that realism done right is still going to affirm lots of
long-term value propositions about the role of law, about stability, about how when you make pledges to allies, they know that they should trust you and that your enemies should fear that you are going to keep your word. conversely, idealism done right is going to be bounded by a sense that the world is broken, and there are going to be a whole bunch of things that are beyond your ability to anticipate, and there will be unintended consequences. i would want to start, and when i try to do as i wrestle through these questions with nebraskans is, let's recognize that there is no idea of withdrawal from the world that could be cost free for us. the distinction we learned on out2001 is that ikeda -- kate and the taliban different entities, and we the american people -- al qaeda and the taliban are different entities, and we the american people have not learned that we are not the only actors that have global reach. monopolyan was the
government of afghanistan, and so al qaeda, this death cold, was able to kill 3000 americans, do massive harm on our economy, and transform a whole bunch of aspects on how americans thought about the world. and yet they were a pretty small organization, and there were only enabled by the fact that there were vacuums of ungoverned space in afghanistan. if you look at a globe of the world today, if you are nerdy parents like we are. every day when i knew country is mentioned, we bring the globe to the kitchen table and talk about what their economic production looks like an something about their history. it's rough to be our children, i acknowledge. at about a third of all countries on the globe are not really countries. 2/3 of the places on the globe are countries as we think of but in a 1648 kind of way,
a third of the places around the world are kind of a jump ball. and more ungoverned places emerge and expand, you are going to have more consequences at home for us in terms of lost life, in terms of battle with jihadists, in terms of economic implications, because the world is flat, to quote tom friedman. we need a foreign policy to question the long-term interests of the 320 million people that the american politicians are called to serve, and that requires respect for human rights and the role of law, so it is a more complicated interventional alyssum versus isolationism. -- interventionism versus isolationism. mr. edelman: i hope we have time for one or two more questions before we lose you. part of the proposition that we are different appears to be
undermined by the fact that many of the same forces that seem to be coursing through the party -- body politic in the united states this year have been coursing through the body politic in other countries. , our talesition colleague wrote a book about what happened in 1968, which may be the previous point in history where similar kind of forces were moving across the globe, affecting the way countries felt about their international role. i have in mind the rise of populist movements in eastern europe, central europe, the , of course, the trump phenomenon here. some of that suggests to me that our political system may be in
deeper crisis and the political system we associate with, democracy, may be in deeper crisis than we realize. part of it is what you talked about in terms of polling data. there is also very disturbing polling data that younger folks not only don't see the importance of free speech, but 36% in one pew poll said they did not particularly care if they lived in a democracy or not, which i find troubling. before the actual election was held in november, there was a lot of focus on our party and the crisis that it was in, and a lot of discussion about how our party was going to implode or up.ode or break could not hold together, and the trump domination was proof of that, allegedly. now in the wake of the election,
we look around in the republican party seems dominant. they will control the white .ouse, the senate, the house during the eight years of barack obama, the democratic party has seen an enormous decline not only in the number of members in the house, but the senate, the governorships, state legislatures, etc.. some people are talking about an euro of potentially 50 years of republican dominance. the focus is now on the democratic party and its dysfunction, and questions about whether in the absence of the impact of the clintons, whether the party will lurch to the left , something along the lines of the labour party in britain under jeremy corbyn. it seems to me that both parties remain in crisis. there were both in crisis through 2016. a remain in crisis, and our legal system is going through a
crisis -- political system is going directly to seven adjustment because of forlization that may last years. how do we go through that crisis and ensure we come out the other end as a vibrant democracy, and that democracy does not end up being in retreat around the world as compared to the we went advances through in the 1980's and 1990's yeah cap -- 1990's? sen. sasse: lots of meat in that question. let me agree with the horror about young people that says somewhere between a third and a half differ -- are indifferent about whether they live in a democracy. show our historical amnesia and the lack of civil education we have, we don't have another three hours where we can talk about the new genus of a lot of the media coverage of castro's death, because it is a way that we can show how little shared
understanding we are in history. 1/3 of millennials said in a poll in october that they believed or w bush killed more people than stalin. millionilled around 150 people. we have big problems in terms of what we are not teaching. but i think that anybody who says we know what comes next in partisan politics in american life five, 10, 15 years in the future is smoking something, because the reality you about the undercurrent of all of these movements right now is that is transforming the economy in an unprecedented way. becamenter gatherers farmers, that was disrupted. we don't not have alphabets then, so we did not have a lot of record of what it looked like, but the only analog we have in the moment is the 50 to
75 year period that was industrialization. it was remarkably unsettling for people to go from almost everyone inheriting the farming job of moms, dads, and migrateents to now across the landscape and get a different kind of job in a big tool economy. as disruptive as that was, and it was, it spawned progressivism in american politics that transformed both parties under teddy roosevelt and woodrow wilson, it was big and disruptive, but once you got a new job, you tended to have that job until death and retirement. what we are going to have now is everybody losing their job every three to five years for the rest of their existence. and 45 ander had 40 50 and 55-year-olds dis-intermediate out of a job and half to get a new job at age 55. if you lose a job now at age 55,
you will never get employed again. in the future, that is not going to work, because it is going to be all of us. there is tons of human turmoil. we can talk about the shrinking of all those mediating institutions, but we are not talking about the underpinning of all of that, which is the tonsportation of the economy unstable, occasional, part-time flex jobs where everybody will have to become a lifelong learner. we have not talked much about trade, but when people feel anxiety right now, they are trying to project the things they are worried about in the economy on to trade, and trade is a really big deal. there is afrom, broad consensus that trade is a good deal. if we had more trade with asia, nebraska, known for a court in football, but also the largest cattle state in the union, if in asia,more trade whether you want to buy a japanese pickup or not, you will
end up with a cheaper forward or cheaper chevy, and we will end up with more beef market for export. trade is a win-win for nebraskans. for all a whi consumers internationally, but there are people who suffer. and we don't have good trade mitigation policy. all of that is an important t is a muchi smaller topic in artificial intelligence. we can talk about a specific factory moving from ohio or indiana to mexico, and the jobs that might be saved or lost in a move like that, but the long-term factor is that each of those factories have so many fewer workers. about 7% of the u.s. workforce now working in the industrial jobs, and we are not wrestling with any of those russians, and neither political party has an answer. reduce this to right
versus left are sniffing something and think this town is made up of a bunch of geniuses who can look into their distal ball and know how to plan 2030. we don't. mr. edelman: i think we can now see why senator sasse is one of my favorite u.s. senators. i hope we have a minute or two for one or two questions. the young woman back there. please introduce yourself, and i ask that you keep the questions in light of the senator's time constraints short, and that they have a question mark at the end. sen. sasse: what he is saying is he has to preside over the senate when everyone else does not want to, and that's called lunch. >> a personal thank you. 'sam here with duke university alexander hamilton society. i am one of those millennials who would like to say we do not believe the guys you have been saying, particularly about our generation, but i would like to ask in this very layered and complex world, how -- you
mention how you teach your kids about different countries, and i think that's amazing -- how would you teach our generation about how to handle this new, complex, very different world, specifically [indiscernible] sen. sasse: great question. we do have a weird experience with our kids, because i live in nebraska and commute every week, and i bring whichever kid mom is most sick of of the week. my 13-year-old is here today. the most important thing for secondary education and for college students is that we need to make the flip from viewing "cooling" and "education" as synonyms. school is a tool that sometimes advances education, and sometimes distracts us from actual education. are entering a
world where people will have to become lifelong learners. it's going to have to become a much more sophisticated approach to the way you build networks and to the way you acquire new information, and to the way we reacquire and ability to have long cycles of learning, regardless of what gadget in our pocket is buzzing. switched from one social media platform to another four minutes ago, but i probably missed something that changed the world in those four minutes. have more thinking ability and to read texts again, and right now we are not developing those habits of mind that are necessary. for people who have not finished learning, at age 18, you will have to learn a lot longer into the future. right now, secondary education is underperforming. we are drifting towards an assumption that universal great 13 would somehow solve this problem. if grade 11 is not working now, i don't know why we think grade 13 would work well.
around policy conversations that are too regularly stuck in 1965, the high-tech revolution is creating lots of opportunities for disintermediation and digitization that go beyond what schooling is doing in ways that should be supplemental in the long-term, but are able to go her policy discussions which are clunky and stock cap a century ago. things as basic as the con khan academy. we could go through places where online education is not going to be a substitute for worldview-forming things that need to happen with real teachers and peers and people good, true,ut the and beautiful kinds of philosophical questions you are wrestling through to read your identity and world view, but lots of things that are more like accounting. there could be more skills acquired much more rapidly online, and there are a lot of
tools available that are exciting that we did not even envision five years ago. as you can tell from that answer, senator sasse is way more tech savvy than i am. any of you who have not mean tweets about himself, go to youtube. you are in for a real 20 -- a real treat. sen. sasse: i would like to call on my former colleague from the reagan administration, doug mcfarland. >> thank you very much for not just today, but for everyday day that you serve here. it's really a blessing for all of us. policy not about foreign , for mostly. however, in the context of idealism, realism, and real things we are facing in the years ahead in the middle east, when everyone may think about the nuclear agreement with iran , it has spawned a lost
among the sunni arab states for a willing capability in nuclear -- and equivalent of ability in nuclear power generation and the potential for weapons systems. if you believe the rhetoric coming from saudi arabia and the vision 2030 of the deputy crown thece, if you believe rhetoric calling for reform of aliceand seemingly having degreeind him, to what can, or should, the united solomonncourage mr. ben , the deputy crown prince, be helpful in enabling the industrialization and the move away from oil, and to what extent can we imagine the assibility of forging
collective security organization within the middle east that , avoid conflict between iran and its neighbors? this is more than a three credit course, but i am grateful for your comment. thank you for your question and your past service as well. let's start by saying that iran can never become a nuclear power. iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terror, and we should declare that they can never get access to nuclear weapons. so much of the current short-term and midterm crisis in the middle east is driven by the fact that people don't know where the u.s. is going to land, and have not known for eight plus years. and so you have a middle east where we could talk in lots of technical details about how we
got to the agreement that we have. but i think one of the things that is missed when the kid straight-- when we get to the fight on whether people were for or against the joint agreement, is the fact that we stop talking about the broader sanctions regime against iran for all of the other things that they do. and we should recognize that when iran is sowing discord that they are selling all over the put one day to stamp on what it has happened in syria, on the eve of the syrian civil war, there were 21 million people in syria. only about 11 million people in syria live in their homes now. the estimates vary, but around 450,000 people have been killed. almost half of the 21 million people have been displaced from their homes. and about half of that half has been displaced beyond their border.
and then you think of the millions that are bunched up on the jordanian border. i was with king abdullah last year, and he was talking about how many school systems that were in jordan that had more syrian kids and jordanian kids in the school system -- they and ian kids in the school system. any suburban america, and imagine that the majority of the kids in that school were from brazil, the complete transformation of local culture and politics and the risk of jordanian collapse. those kinds of pressures are a lover the middle east, and what did we decide to fight about a lot in the mid--- in the u.s.? the 10,000 syrian refugee numbers should be 10,000, zero, or 60,000. we had a fight that was about symbolic things. they were important things as well. the u.s. government is not competent to do the venting of people who may be infiltrating
syrian refugee pipelines and the jihadists, but we also knew that there were breast-feeding moms with little babies in this population, and we were thinking 10,000 versus zero versus 60,000 when none of it really had anything to do with whether we had a long-term vision for the region, and the role of the russians and iranians in the destabilization of the region. here's the simple fact. as the civil war was unfolding, our allies did not know the edges that we made were trustworthy, did not believe that our red lines were real, and our opponents did not think we possibly meant anything that we said either, and that our red lines would be real. inhink at the old leadership the world goes really slow before you ever do anything that rocks the main strong a redline, and if you draw a redline, you -- because you intend to enforce that redline. we have not done any of that, so
we need to rebuild a foreign policy where we are credible, trustworthy, and choose our objectives in a cautious way, but if we choose them, we mean them, and our allies know they can rely on us. so many of the issues you mentioned are early driven from a state of back in -- of vacuum where no one knows where the u.s. is going to land. i am out of time, so i will not comment on any of the likely policies of the incoming administration, but we are obviously as a personnel-is-policy moment. most of us should be hopeful that the new president-elect will be populating his administration with people who are conscious, responsible verys, who take words seriously, because our allies and opponents take our word's very seriously, and iran cannot become a nuclear power, and our allies in the region should know that we would never allow iran to become a nuclear power. senator sasse,
thank you for taking the time today. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: now, joseph votel gave an update on military operations to defeat isis in remarks before the foreign-policy initiative a long event. conflicts included the conflict in human, the iran nuclear deal, and relations with egypt and turkey. >> good afternoon. my name is chris griffin. i ask that you kindly return to your seats so that we can begin our next conversation featuring general joseph votel, who is the commander of the united states central command, and moderated by michael o'hanlon of the
brookings institution. give folks just a minute to take your seats. a couple of courtesy reminders before you get there, once again, make sure your phones are set to sign on. however, do not necessarily turn your phones off. feel free to join the conversation on twitter at hashtag #fpiforum. if you are watching on tv, feel free to visit our website, ignpolicyi.org. once again, it is a pleasure to welcome general votel to the discussion. we have an excellent moderator in michael o'hanlon, the codirector of 21st century security intelligence. he is the author of too any books to list in the time we have available, but most recently would want to emphasize
the $650 billion bargain, the case for moderate growth in america's defense budget, which i highly recommend it. you for moderating today, and i ask you to join me in welcoming general votel. [applause] thank you, chris, and good afternoon, everyone. i will give a brief word of introduction. i believe many of you are familiar with his work around the country and world areas he was commissioned and world -- and world. he was commissioned in 1980 after growing up in st. paul, minnesota. -- went tot point west point, spent a lot of time in various ranger activities early in his career and thereafter. ,lso a lot of time in europe including in bosnia. some backdrop in the kinds of missions that perhaps were slightly foreshadowed by that particular set of operations in the balkans that we have now seen him the preoccupied by in
the 21st century with a lot of activity in iraq and elsewhere. of course, he was the commander of special operations command, now the commander at central command. it is a real privilege, general votel. as you surely know, you are widely respected and admired, and therefore we are looking to you for a lot good wears them -- of good wisdom. i think many of you know that general votel has 20 countries to worry about in central command, a smaller number than the average command, but maybe a perer headache ratio country, and therefore i think it adds up to a robust portfolio. with just abegin few countries, working from west to east, if we could, starting with egypt. luckily we get to hear from you when you testified in another forum, so i want to have a focused question on egypt.
i know you have had a lot of important collaborations with egypt, but it also strikes me as a country that we as a nation have a dilemma with in our relationship, because the leader of egypt is there by virtue of a coup, and we are in this uneasy position of not knowing how to relate to his government, how to influence his government. i would ask, how do you think through this issue of how to make egypt under presidency seat inull partner, not only strategic counter missions, but every time when they are in flux themselves yeah cap gen. votel: when i came into this position -- in flux themselves? mr. edelman: when i came into this position, i got advice. one of the common themes was, what is the important role of egypt in the region? the strong encouragement from all of them to make sure that egypt was one of the first
countries that we visited, and it was. it was one of the countries we want to first. -- went to first. , think the importance of egypt i think certainly there are some challenges, as you have highlighted. i think the way that i am trying is think about egypt through a longer-term relationship with them, what they have meant to us over a lengthy period of time. there certainly are some challenges that the president and his team are dealing with on a regular basis there, economically with security challenges. ist i have tried to do listen to what they are telling us and try to hear them. i do hear concern from them
about ensuring that they are stable. that they have established stability within the security environment. i think that weighs heavily on them. i think that is a priority for them, and i think it is something that we have to recognize, that he is very concerned about making sure the country is stable. then, i think we have to look at the relationship with egypt not just through the lens of the last couple of years, but over a much longer time, but it has meant to us in the past, but it means to us right now, and what it will mean to us in the future. i was reminded of the important role that egypt plays in the facilitation of our activities throughout the middle east. we just talked about the suez canal. forsupport we get from them our ships and commerce and other things is extraordinary, and we
get what i would describe as premium service. the head of the line privileges, if you will, in some cases, to move our resources through. that's a key aspect. i think what we have to do is take a longer-term look at egypt . we have to recognize the importance they play in the region. we have to recognize the relationship we had with them in the past, and we have to continue to work through the current political challenges we are dealing with here and look long-term at them. iny are an important player the region. they have been, they will continue to be. they are the most populous country in the region. we have to recognize that. and they said it at a very critical point. looking for ways to cooperate with them, looking for opportunities, big and small, where we can work with them i think is extraordinarily important.
as we look at things like our presence in the sinai as part of a multi-international force, i think we have been able to do things with them that have been able to ensure the stability of that mission, that critically important mission. i think we have to continue to stay engaged with them and look for opportunities to move forward with them, and we have to weather through the political waves that do take place. follow-upse or two before i start a swing to the arabian peninsula. we had a complicated. bank in dealing with -- a collocated period in dealing with egypt from 2011 to 2013, and everything from the conflict desperately confusing signals about when president mubarak should step down to president period, ihis recognize that some of this is getting into the broader
relationship, but you are arguably the highest level american official dealing with egypt, and therefore i know these issues are on your mind. the final question would be, have you seen consequences that affect the relationship between the united states and egypt from that 2011-2013 period and a harmful way that has pushed them away from us, and therefore there is not as much trust and cooperation as there might have been? gen. votel: certainly we have. russia seen average to lately. i think that is some concern for us, and it is something we are to take notice of and look at what that means to us long-term. i don't know that that is particularly helpful to the things we are trying to accomplish in the region, to push them into the arms of others. and so i think we do have to pay attention of that, and those are good examples of something we have seen most recently. michael: one last question, and the rest of my focus will likely be more military and security,
but on the issue of egypt, i have noticed that president lcc soft and a little in his crackdown on the brotherhood. taken president morsi on death row, which is important, but here he is, to what extent do these kinds of issues affect you and how you have to deal with egypt? gen. votel: they are helpful to us. think the military-to-military relationship, like all relationships, has highs and lows, but i think it has remained pretty steady. ghazi on aeneral regular basis. things like that i think helped getto develop the relationships spaceve -- help give us to develop relationships and move forward. as i work with their military
leaders, mostly through the chief of defense, i think he agrees with that, so we are. but one thing we are trying to do is get our exercise program back in place. as many of you recall, we had an exercise program called bright in a stables long of security cooperation in the region. we stopped doing it in 2009 largely due to what's going on. but they agree and we agree that this is something we ought to investigate. so we are. we are looking for those types of opportunities where we can capitalize. way, the format here, i get to have most of the fun. chris told me i should ask questions for the first half hour, 40 minutes, and we will involve you in the last 15 or 20. please prepare your questions in addition to what i cover. but as we think about one more country in that neck of the woods, i know libya is not
within your command. however, thinking a lot about egypt, you are a key observer and participant in all things libya, i'm sure. as the new administration prepares to come in to washington, is there any advice -- if you were asked, for example, how well our centcom and european command working , is there alibya need for a new kind of collaborative vehicle, or is the system more or less working? would you have any thoughts their? gen. votel: i think you are an extraordinary point. tendencym, we have a to think more globally, and i don't mean that as a critique of any of our partners, but we did have an approach that had soft forces around the world. the thing that is important to recognize for me as a centcom commander is that i am
not in this by myself. as scenes around centcom, you point out, libya, turkey, russia, india, sudan, the horn of africa, just as some examples, these are some areas that have challenges as well, so we have to think trans-original. we have to look at -- trans-regional. we have to look at the threats. i think when we limit ourselves, our thinking, our operations, how we organize to bureaucratic boundaries, we limit our options to address the threats we have. i think there has been some very good work done, largely through the leadership of the chairman, national military strategy that capitalizes on the trans-regional aspect of all our threats, but trans-regional, multifunctional, multi-domain aspects of all of our threats. i think it is going to begin to change how we think about command and control and how we
think about relationships in the various commanders. my advice to the incoming administration would be to build on that. i think it's the right direction for us to move in the future. michael: thank you. let me down go with the arabian peninsula and start with yemen, then work northward. i wanted to ask briefly about yemen, which has been an extraordinary conflict -- extraordinarily complicated conflict itself. friends -- our saudi friends have hopefully learned the same lessons we have. words inant to put your mouth, but i am curious as to how you would see the evolution of the war in yemen in broad terms. we have a transition coming up in the united states, so it is important to think about the big story on yemen. where is this conflict in its long-standing history, and what
opportunities do we have to influence it? remains largely a military conflict between the saudi led coalition and the former regime elements. it remains a military conflict. my personal opinion is that this require a that will political solution at some particular point. what we are finding is we are finding both sides trying to use military means to gain leverage to support their positions in political negotiations. unfortunately, that sometimes for t-rex the process -- tracts thepro- process. it is a struggle for leverage between both sides to try to gain a leg up in any kind of political negotiations that will ultimately address the real problems.
is this a country where the united states should think about doing more? when i say that, i am using that in a vague, broad sense. it could be more of the special operations variety or more to influence saudi arabia's behavior, or it can be more diplomatic flexibility, thinking about confederations instead of one new central government. is there a case for us to think about doing a lot more? gen. votel: i think we are doing a lot in all three of the areas you highlighted. our excellent diplomats are well engaged in the cessation of hostility discussions and continue to provide a leadership role in that. that play have seen out with the secretary of state and ambassadors in the region which are very engaged in that. we certainly have long-term ct interest in yemen. i would remind you that one of the most capable franchises of
al qaeda still remains there, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. this is an organization that has demonstrated capability to come after us in the homeland, so we have to deal with that seriously. the ongoing conflict has been a challenge for us, to have some of the presence we have had on the ground before. but i think we have been able to begin to address that, certainly our strike program and other things continues to move forward in that. i know we continue to keep pressures through that, and we are working with a variety of other partners. we worked closely with the uae a few months ago on operation focused on al qaeda down in the makela area of yemen, and that was very successful. i think this is a good example of how the kind of approach that we will have to take an leverage.
we look for opportunities, we tried to capitalize on that, and by capitalizing, we prevail as we move forward. with the arabking coalition. we obviously are not providing intelligence support. we are not taking targets for them, but we do continue to work with saudi arabia and other partners to help improve their processes and the way they go about this and providing some training advice and assistance. i don't know that we necessarily need to be involved in the civil conflict taking place there, but of all the three areas that you pressed on, i think we have to kind of continued look for opportunities to continue to push the gas pedal all of those areas. if i can now turn to
iraq and syria, i want to ask you about the strategies in both places, but first i wanted to see if you wanted to share any tactical updates from the battlefield. i'm not asking you for a full classified briefing, but if there is anything specific that you want to mention that you think is worth highlighting, i would be curious about that before getting into the broader -- gen. votel: yeah. here's the big idea about how we are trying to approach iraq and syria, that is to create momentum and pressure, and do it in a variety of different ways. certainly on the ground with our partners, through the targeting of key leaders in the islamic state network, through our targeting of threats -- targeting of their financial resources, looking at how we improve our capabilities to address the ideology and the narrative, the toxic narrative that comes out of here, and how we enable partners in the area to do this.
what we are trying to achieve ,ssentially, in a broad sense is we are trying to present the islamic state with a lot of dilemmas that they have to deal with simultaneously. think, isegy, i working. it is beginning to expose the tracks, and i think it is helping us with reducing the size of the physical caliphate. it is not just about the physical caliphate, it is the virtual caliphate that goes along with that has to be addressed. in many ways, we are doing that and will continue to in the future. that's the big idea. in iraq, the main focus is on mosul. the iraqi security forces under the leadership of the prime minister are working in close formation with the kurdish regional government. they have put together a plan, and they are executing it with the support of the coalition.
it's not a perfect plan, it's their plan, and we have figured out ways to bring our coalition to do with these -- coalition capabilities to help them move forward. it will be a long fight emotional. i would remind you that if you bij int the town of man syria, it took us 71 days for our forces to take that area. size of three times the that. this is a huge urban area, and the islamic state had a couple of years to prepare their defenses. it's not going to be a cakewalk, iraqis have a pretty good plan. they are executing it, they are making adjustments to it, and we are making adjustments as well with our support. that is the main focus, and that's what we are trying to keep the focus on right now. track, a hard fight from us in mosul.
syria, we have now begun, as you have seen some of the isolation of the tom arauca. of trying tolement synchronize both of these things while our partners on the ground -- our partners on the ground may not be self synchronizing, the coalition is trying to do that. there is the element of putting pressure on the town of rocca. at the same time, we are putting pressure on the town of mosul. i think we are seeing good effects from that. that will be a long fight as well. i would highlight to you that we've got to bang different forces -- we've got to bang different -- we've got two different forces. iraq, you have special operations in the form of a recce surface, you've got police
and other things that look similar to what we did. with aa, we are working much more indigenous force that picks up partners on the go and requires a different way of working with them. these are not equal forces. they each have their advantages and disadvantages. is what we are trying to do make sure our coalition capabilities are matched to those of our partners, and that we are continuing to focus on momentum and pressure against the islamic state in as many different places as we can. one specific follow-up on that before i ask a broader question on those countries, it sounds like, if i heard you write, you would not want us to think in terms of a predicted date by which the most whole operation will be concluded. 71 days times three is much of 2017 erratically. could this be months -- theoretically. could it be months more of time to liberate most whole -- mosul?
gen. votel: it could be a couple of months. we will see. the islamic state is fighting hard right now, but again, i think you have to look at the wear and tear that they are absorbing. thecontinued strikes, continued pressure, the inability of them to move forces between their two major consequences. i think ultimately that will happen. businessi'm not in the of giving dates for this. we are going to move at the pace of our partners and continue to keep the momentum going. michael: my broader question about iraq would be that a lot of people have said as tough as the fight is in mosul, it is a very serious business, no doubt, but also people have said it will be in a way the more manageable proposition compared
to what follows the day after. everyone from my colleague at brookings to general petraeus, many others have argued that it is building that multi-sectarian consensus that is going to be the challenge. a job for aat is lot of people, mostly iraqis and the u.s. government, not just you. one part of it that i think probably is within central command's purview is the issue of how we work with sunni citizens, sunni tribes, to build out either tribal forces, police forces and national guard. do you see that proposition perhaps after the fight, and i just during the fight? general votel: i do. admittedly, it comes a low bit late. decisions taken by the prime minister lately that have provided the means to develop those sunni tribal elements to basically hold and be part of the security plan afterwards.
i do see some progress. that is certainly something we will have to keep our ion and continue to encourage as we move forward. i absolutely agree with that. as we approach the plan for mosul, this was not just about the military plan. it was about the military plan, the political plan, the humanitarian aid plan. a mantra the came across the coalition and our discussions with the coalition of iraq and other partners, that all of these things needed to be addressed at the same time. and we will continue to work on all of these. we can't do -- one is not independent of the others. .hey are all very linked i think we are turned to do as good a job as we can. proud of therly job the united nations and others have done on the humanitarian side. they are handling what they are dealing with right now. on woody, again, knock
here. i don't want to jinx myself. and it will become more challenging as we get more into the city. but they are handling it right now and they've got to the right -- in place. there an external area level of cooperation between the kurdistan regional government and the government of iraq. both militarily and politically. on a regularing basis. they recognize this same concern about what happens next that we do. it's not something that is unique to us. they recognize that. with the help of our diplomats, they are continuing to address that. michael: there is no progress on the iraqi national guard, right? the progress you are talking about is please send tribal cooperation. general votel: that's correct. michael: on syria, wanted to ask two things. one, how are we doing against the front for conquest or how i -- however it is redefined? a lot of people are confirmed --
a lot of people are concerned, -- only plan against otherwise, it remains a formidable force. especially in the absence of a plan or a promising plan, from my point of view, to share power with the sunnis in syria. looks like president assad is try to hold power. he's got russia and the iranians and hezbollah on his side. it does not seem likely that he is sincere about a political transition. i don't detect any sincerity. i'm what about the word -- the world in which we have made way against isis good but the entire sunni world is enraged against a saudi. and perhaps donald trump has said things that made us seem complicit. how does that war end without constantly giving al-nusra and others an opportunity to regroup? general votel: i think you are correctly identifying a key challenge for the upcoming administration as we look at
this. , to get to al-nusra your question, i would agree. this is an organization we should be very concerned about. this is al qaeda. and they have long-term designs. so we have to be very, very concerned about that. can, wextent that we have been addressing al-nusra. massively, trying to disrupt or their network, through leadership and addictions and addressing some of their key capabilities that contribute to that. and i think we've been moderately successful in addressing some of that. that said, these are resilient organizations. and we should expect that they will respond to this. so the idea of constant pressure is important. and i would bring you back to my first comment. this is an organization we have to be concerned about long-term in how we address that. taking care of the islamic state is necessary.
but it is not sufficient to the challenges we are facing. michael: i realize that president-elect trump is not yet in the white house and certainly the first advice you give him will be private, night in front of all of us. but nonetheless, let me ask -- is there a way to sustain at least some support for those moderate insurgent groups in syria that have been are important allies, that we feel a certain commitment, loyalty, promised to, who have helped stabilize the jordanian border, who have done other things, however modest and local, have nonetheless been important contributions and we really don't want to desert just because we decide to focus like a laser beam on isis. do we imagine managing -- to we imagine ratcheting back some of our support for some of the more questionable groups but stay loyal to the ones who have been good friends? general votel: i surely hope so. -- i certainly hope so. i can think of a number of
groups that have been good partners with us and have done are bidding with support. we should look to do that. i hope that we will find a way to continue to do that. iranel: moving right onto briefly and then we will finish up in south asia before we go to your questions. i want to ask a broad question about iran. any particular updates that you want to give this kind of a group? it seems people are debating the future of the joint conference of action. most people who watch it say that it is being implemented -- itably well with the is at least be complied with. both sides complain about the other on specific detail. i would share your assessment. from our perspective, it is not my job necessarily to monitor that. but i think it is being implemented appropriately.
-- one it is addressed of the threats that we needed to be concerned about. the bigger concern for me is the changed iranian behavior. it has not changed regime behavior. the other comes learns we have about the broader iranian threat problem remain. whether it is cyber activities, the use of sir derek -- of aid, missileethal capability and other anti-access capabilities in the region, or whether it is there a professional and aggressive activities in the persian gulf. i think these are all things that remain very, very concerning to me. again, as we -- one of the principal interests we have in this area is chokepoints. the criticality of those. the straits of hormuz are an
area that are certainly the close watch of iran. my concern the -- that it will spread to [indiscernible] and what that means to us in the future. i am concerned about the activities ofgn iran across the region. thatel: would you describe level of malign activity as relatively steady since the signing and initial abomination of age i can offensive plan of pensive --nitial, initial copperheads a plan of action? in yemen in the country of iraq, we look at 100,000 plus shia militia group members that are there. been -- has had some role in raising and developing. i would say it is a little bit
of an uptick. ask aboutet me afghanistan and pakistan and then open things up to others as well. on afghanistan, president obama decided to hold the force levels steady at roughly 8400. again, a few of us at brookings with a few of your predecessors and friends, we suggested there should even be a broad range of options considered by the new administration that could even imagine a few thousand more forces from the united states and coalition, as well as maybe some expanded authorities and the use of air power. i don't know if you want to comment on whether we should have a broad review of that type that would consider multiple and separate options or do you feel we are in a steady path you are comfortable with? general votel: nothing is on cruise control in centcom. i would encourage that we don't take that approach. we should all be looking at what is happening out there for opportunities to change your footprint, whether it is increasing or decreasing.
in general, i think we should always be looking at what is happening out there. i think they president's decisions have been very fortuitous to us. the decision to stay as opposed to going at a 5500, which is where we would generally be right about now, and keeping it at a much higher level, around 8400 come i think it was a very wise one. i think it's at a very strong message to the coalition, a strong message to the afghan forces and the people and afghanistan. and the a 30's that have been granted to us i think it helped themmensely -- and authorities that have been granted to us have helped us immensely. as we can keep that going assess the environment to keep the afghans going. i think the -- i think afghanistan is a country worth fighting for. as well as a military member who went with the first wave of forces in october 2001, i remain
hopeful about it. i know it is a very challenging environment. and there is a lot of things to address there. but i think it's important for us to see this through. michael: how would you describe how we are with battlefield tribes in afghanistan, especially in? the last one to two years? ? there's been concerns that the taliban has temporarily occupied [indiscernible] last year's and taken some excerpts this year. there are some areas in the released where they have always been in flux, but maybe a little less favorable to us at this juncture. i personally detected a systemic collapse either. 5% or 10% of the country have shifted in terms of opulence and an territory. i don't know if that is a fair assessment or if there is a way you would describe the last one or two years. general votel: i would describe it as an equilibrium in favor of the government. there has been a number of attempts by the taliban as part
of their strategy this year to try to seize a bike relations center. they certainly attempted it on a number of times, maybe seven or eight times since august. while they may have gained some foothold oress or a something like that, the afghan forces with support of the coalition have been successful in addressing that and bring it back into the fold of the government. i am concerned about the casualty rates the afghans are taking. and we are addressing that. i think, as we look not to move from one season to another here, we will -- i think general nicholson has done an excellent job at looking how we can refit and address these challenges with our capabilities to keep the afghans moving forward. i think they are holding their own. and as president gone he described to me, 2015 was a year of survival and they did. this has been a year of kind of
solidifying that a little bit more. there is certainly a challenging security situation out there. i agree with you. that does fluctuate 5% to 6% either way. but the better part of 60% is under the control of the government of afghanistan. five did -- 5% to 10% under the direct control of the taliban. and the rest is uncontested territory that we will have to continue to work over. michael: i realize this may be getting into a detailed question and best ask general nicholson. but deed -- but do you see in the trends? general votel: it is improving. i am encouraged by my interactions with the chief of defense and the minister, who i think are very serious individuals, are well experienced. and they are looking at things capital from a good sense, but are from a value sense. what you do with and how you do
things. i'm very encouraged by that. i think they police is an area where we will continue to look at the ime am encouraged by some of the things that the president is doing to address corruption in the ranks. ofre has been the removal some corrupt military leaders in the past and i think that is well received. i think it sends exactly the right messag, that needs to be sent. my last question will be on pakistan. it's a big country. and a big challenge. so i will ask one big, broad question. you can go wherever you wish with it. he just sort of the overall trend we see in afghanistan. a transition in the military leadership has been on schedule. there has been ongoing citizen leadership that has been overturned by cu herod but there is -- by coup.
but there is also support for the taliban care debate in the ease, to finally extend your zone of immediate concern and responsibility to go right up to the border with india, there is a low grade ongoing skirmishing with india right now. how would you describe ongoing trends with secured relations, u.s. security relations with pakistan right now? general votel: it is one that is complex but is vital to us and ebbs and flows. be -- we have been maybe for the last couple of years at a lower point than we have been in the past. but i think this is a relationship we have to have and we have to maintain as we move forward. by the transfer of leadership that has taken place here. it was good. again, there's a lot of potential ways that could have gone. but i think it with the way we would have hoped it would have went. beginning to develop a
relationship as we move forward. i think it is important with all of our partners across the region here that we take the time to talk with them and listen to what they are telling us and to make sure we understand the situation with granularity. we can't always look at things through our american eyes all the time. have to understand with her concerns are, what their interests are, and how we try to we have to understand what their concerns are, what their interests are, and how we try to balance that. so we've got to look at how we balance that back and forth. challenge, an a complex relationship, but a better relationship as we move forward. thank you. remarkable expertise. i'm honored to have had the chance to ask questions. let's start by kieran the back. wait for the microphone and
introduce yourself before asking general votel a question. what are the implications of the right iran nuclear deal? general votel: thanks for the question. i'm not sure what all the ramifications are. as you know, that is an agreement put in place by a number of nations. i won't presume on that. i don't know. i think it is addressing a concern right now. so i don't know what that would mean and how that will be absorbed by iran if we did that. i think we will just have to wait to see. >> what are your intelligence [indiscernible] racear arms [indiscernible]
theern going into [indiscernible] areral votel: i think we always concerned about those types of things, and not just on nuclear arms, the conventional arms in a race that is not healthful to a new thing that we are try to do here. this is something we will continue to watch as we move forward. -- we have we just to lead to the new administration get in place here and get up to speed on what is actually happening. i'm confident that we will have the ability [indiscernible] michael: there is a microphone. thanks. daily beast. the incoming administration has signaled that it would work with russia to find a resolution to the conflict in syria. the u.s. and russia have had professional military relations in the past come a lot of
cooperation, crosstraining across operations. what would that sort of cooperation look like? could russian forces help to the and keepassad's forces them apart from u.s. operations? conflictionel: the de piece happens right now. it supports our efforts. it is not coronation. it is not sacred as asia. it is not collaboration. it is not synchronization. it is not collaboration. i think it is working for us right now. it is a complex area. so we have to continue to look at that and make sure that we are keeping that properly updated. this is a political decision here that may or may not be addressed.
terry -- as a military professional, we will look at what happens here and look at how we adjust to that particular situation. ctionnfli f the stuff, that happens right now. >> [indiscernible] general votel: in fact. it is already a challenge for us. northern syria airspace is a congested area. so we are finding our way through that right now, through process.fliction this is something we are concerned about supporting our military objectives. we are also concerned about supporting and keeping our forces safe.
so we will look at how we do that if there are some changes in how we do this. michael: over here, please. and then we will go over there. divine votel: conservative. thank you for the opportunity to speak. general, a question concerning iran again. there's been reports that iran is advancing not the military ways, but through influence and politics and culture in america what are the plans, if any, to counter this advance? general votel: thanks. i think that question is probably better answered by admiral [indiscernible] highlights the concern about iran. think we have to look at -- we can't confine or look at iran through just a nuclear program or this or that. we have to look at what they are
attempting to do. iran has a place in the world. and iran has a place in the region. out inn that plays malign ways, in ways that create friction, in ways that create conflict and add to instability, that's not helpful. so i think what we have to do is look at what that role is going forward. and that includes things that may be taking place here in our own hemisphere. i think those are things to be concerned and things to be discussed. thevor looking at challenges and threats we face out there in a more holistic fashion. that would include looking what you suggest -- looking at what you suggest. michael: in the back row, please. cnn. general, in paris, since secretary carter talked about command taking an
expanded role fighting externalizes threats, can you set any light on what they would do or how it would help the fight and just what is the external isis threat these days? general votel: thanks. a really great question for the centcom commander. i would encourage, when you have the opportunity, to ask him about that. i think what the secretary talked about is there is -- i mean come as we talked about earlier, the islamic state isn't and syria.d to iraq most of these violent extremist organizations are not just limited to specific geographic areas. they do have them horns. they do use virtual means to put out a toxic narrative, to influence people, to create disruption and conflict in other areas. i think we have to look at these
threats much more trans regional and and we can't limit ourselves to specific areas. i think what the secretary is talking about is making sure that we have a process, both in the military and across the broader government, that allows us to look at this much more holistically. and to bring the power of all of our capabilities, our diplomatic ourr, our military power, intelligence community power, our informational power, or economic power, to really address these issues. these are just military problems. these have to be addressed on a variety of different ways. i think what the secretary is talking about is a process and a way of looking at these problems that brings it together. one thing we have within the department of defense is the u.s. special operations command, un-organization that looks at this particular problem, that has forces around the globe, that has wall-to-wall capabilities and can be a leader
in how we pull all of this together. michael: front row. sorry, get you your exercise. new york times. afghanistan, the 40% or so of the eight territory that is contested or held by the taliban, to what extent are you concerned that regional or international terrorist organizations are taking advantage of that and contested space to move and, bid al qaeda or some other groups? general votel: i'm very concerned. general votel:as you look at the 98 violent extremist organizations that our asartment has identified designated terrorist organizations out there, if you look at the afghanistan region can be fined 13 of them are specifically present in afghanistan. so i think we can be concerned about this.
together andulling cooperating and collaborating with other terrorist organizations is something we should be concerned about. so i am concerned about that. so i am concerned about how these voids are filled and how we address and provide the pressure and incentives for them not to grow roots in these particular areas. i think that is something we will have to continue to contend with in places like afghanistan. michael: we've got about five more minutes. let see if we can get a couple more questions. we will go here and then over there and then finish year. we have time for all -- and then finish here. we have time for all three. >> my name is russell king. to what extent are the battles in the middle east driven by the fact that we had all these terrorist incidents in europe? is there like a coalition of the willing? i know in iraq we had the coalition of the willing. what are the nato countries doing and -- general votel: well, exactly.
we have a coalition of 52 inntries that are contribute on a regular basis to all of our operations in iraq and syria. and they are doing it in a variety of different ways. providingibuted by economic resources, supporting basis, providing military capabilities to this. i think, as i look at -- excuse me. let me get aging so i don't -- -- let me get a drink so i don't -- there probably sounded bad. i need a drink here. [laughter] i think european nations understand this. one of the things we have seen is this heavy movement of refugees that have moved from places like syria, that have europe.ross southern they get that aspect of it and they can's -- they are concerned
and they want to address it. european partners have been extraordinarily cooperative in doing. are they are concerned about this as we are because they have seen these attacks come out whether they are directed, inspired, influenced, taking place in their capitals, just like we have seen them taking place in some of our cities as well. so they are very, very concerned about that. i think that does motivate them to continue to be contribute in members of the coalition. so i think we will continue to capitalize on that. michael: right here, please, in the front row. green shirt. name is alexa hopkins. how do you think the recent integration of the pms into the iraqi army will affect the future of the u.s.'s ability to coordinate capabilities with the iraqi army? general votel: thank you. -- unvarnished, it
sounds pretty challenging. it will increase a lot of shia or potentially iranian influence over the government of iraq and we have to be concerned about that. i'm not sure, however, at the last -- that the last shoe has fallen on that. there are still discussions. there is a lot that has to be that isterms of how implemented. this isn't just limited to shia, but it is shia-sunni, and how that gets put together by the government of iraq will be very important for us to watch. so we are concerned about that. i think others in the region are concerned about that. i think we will have to work with our -- with our government of iraq partners in trying to shape that a little bit. michael: the very last question in the back. >> time with a hill. president-elect trump said he would ask his generals replanted effete isis within his first 30 days. has that planning begun?
and what might be done differently that is not already being done? and where will be -- where will we be in the fight when he does take office? general votel: again, the president-elect has to be inaugurated. then he becomes a president and then he will give direction and we will do exactly what he tells us to do because that is what we do. you,, i would just tell nothing is on cruise control with anything that we do in central command and really across the department of defense. we are always looking for ways to move forward, to accelerate and do things better, to be more effective against our enemies. we read the papers. i'm thinking about things and how we might do this as well. so there is a lot of thought that has gone into this. we will be prepared to do that. i don't want to get in front of the new administration. i want them to have the opportunity to come in and look at the situation and give us the strategic direction we