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tv   Panelists Discuss Russia Sanctions Legislation  CSPAN  August 14, 2017 5:08pm-6:50pm EDT

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when we step back, nothing seems to work. our nk that's clearly been collective experience. > that was just a portion of a recent event with national security advisors on u.s. global leadership. ou can see the whole thing tonight at 2k8 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> a discussion on the impact of the new russia sanctions bill intopresident trump signed month.rlier this
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>> we're pleased to see such a of group in the middle august in washington. thatraffic led me to think the city was a little bit depopulated depopulated. we appreciate all of you taking and be with us. think we'll have very interesting conversations today about the new u.s. sanctions on russia. we have a couple of highly speakers who will give us some perspective on that. we're quite grateful to them too for taking the time out of to be with us. russellght, we have dan who's the president of -- and the u.s.-russia business council. former career diplomat.
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he was deputy assistant of state responsible muldova, a, ukraine, matters.er beebee who is george is director for intelligence the center for the national interest. was career u.s. intelligence professional who russia analysis unit at agency.ral intelligence
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we will start with dan. i've asked each of dan and about ten peak for minutes. i'm going to come at this from argely a business community perspective because i think george can speak to the other. but i think it's worth spending minute to talk about how we got here and to look back to at the sanctions regime that was put in place by the
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obama administration through a executive orders. and i think if you look at those sanctions, i mean, there were really two key elements. new.old and one on old element was
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energy companies, you had a maturity threshold on a u.s. debt limited to 90 days. had prohibition on the delivery of goods, services, technology for the exploration and production of water arctic off shore r projects that had the oil.ntial to produce corporation re -- in of crimea. the design as the white house
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from the outset was a set flexible,ons that were scaleable, and reversible response. on russia's specifically with regard to the minsk ment of the agreement. and the third thing i would flag the coordination part with allies.n's predicated on the idea that the only effective multilateral d be ones. europe's response was largely supportive and certainly the together over the past three years sew despite
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what a lot of folks thought. the obama sponse to administration sanctions was a series of countersanctions of its own. basically banning food and agricultural products from north the eu.and in terms of the impact on russia's economy, i mean, with of 20/20, we can say it was limited. dataf you're looking for a point, i would look at the world banks gdp forecast for russia that looked at an alternate scenario with all russia.s lifted against 0.8% but pump up of only for a year because their real economic problems are reforms that need to addressed.
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ew major players left the market.
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his is a very long and complicated piece of legislation. even if you just look at the russia part. 90 pages titled to highlight a would few of those. major thing econd is it mandates the bill ore law a congressional review of sanctions-related actions. basically the president can't really do much in terms of or ease waive sanctions without consulting a h congress during at least 30-day period. i think the third important the bill does is expand the scope of existing
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imposes new mandatory sanctions notably an services and als the defense intelligence sectors authorizes discretionary sanctions in metal sectors as well as on energy pipelines. there is some key sections there which we can go into them people want. we can talk more about specific provisions of the bill i think the q and a.
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rah i would like a comment on and this is not limited to just this bill but we truncated legislative
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process. >> this makes clear that we will actions.ate such ut i think it's interesting that this is an important step as we continue to reassert authority.nal so i think when eh look at those things taken together, clearly russian actions plus challenges to the executive branch discretionary authority targets of the legislation. n design, this is certainly a
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more comprehensive approach. much less targeted in terms of scope. as clearly linked to traightforward russian actions that could result in the lifting or using of sanctions. i think coordination is an issue particularly allies.rica's that's been a real issue. and i think, again, if you look from europe, n you'll get a good idea of where are.e president of the european the ssion said that european commission reserves the measures.ake adequate
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not expect new sanctions to have significant consequences for the outlook on the russian economy but noted the new uncertainty in markets. gas
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short and easy answer to that question. it will. it's d news is that probably not going to affect we ian behavior in the ways
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hoped. there's a flip side to this. rookingthe naern you're to deter also has to believe hat if he complies with your demands, you won't follow through this punishment and hat's a big problem with this particular piece of legislation. it provides lots of opportunities to escalate punishment so it's flexible to that flexible, scaleable, and reversible. it's flexible going up. going up. but the reversible part of this,
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provisions are quite lacking. in fact, i think for the domestic political purposes that dan alluded to, congress wanted difficult relax or lift these sanctions. does i think is incentives.rse
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provided intelligence and logistic support to our operations, ist they closed down their cuba.ligence facility in shut down the naval facility in vietnam. designed to send very positive signals about their cooperate. to sanctions are going to have a generational duration at least. hey'll be a constant in the relationship.
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the context within which this ew law is going to be implemented. a s is not conceived as single response. it's not just the full extent of punishment of moscow for its bad behavior. that is part ent of a package that is likely to steps. several other such as the reports that the .s. is seriously considering providing legislatal aid to ukraine. "washington post" report hat president obama prior to leaving office had authorized the u.s. cyber community to
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called cyber t weapons in critical russian nfrastructure that could be detonated in the future at some point. capital hill to tep up with the u.s. military operations.mation
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and i'll just run through a list right of those things to that i think are likely materialize in the next several days. i mentioned the economic area ill probably see some limited countersanctions. just be expelling intelligence officers. there's likely to be an increase
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that's going on. and some of you may have noticed cnn report a few u.s. persons in cuba attacked through acould weapon -- acoustic weapons. this is the kind of step that i not we might see more of just in moscow but in other world.ls around the it can be a very dangerous thing. wethe cyber area, if in fact report hrough with that in the "washington post," i find russians y that the would sit by passively. i think there's likely to be retaliation in our infrastructure which i think is ven more vulnerable than
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russia's. and i think the last thing and is in t's most serious ukraine. i think if we do follow through lethal weaponry to the ukrainen government, the russians are likely to retaliate in ukraine and elsewhere. nd in two areas where i think we should be very careful would north korea and iran. i could easily see the russians stepping up economic support.matic it's easy to anticipate a some kind.sponse of for example, providing defensive pyongyang or tehran hat would be justified in
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russia's. >> i think we've provided an opening for them to do that, and would expect to see moscow take full advantage of that in the coming months. >> thank you very much, george. and thank you, dan. before we open up to questions, let me do something that i hould have done at the outset which is to show all of you this
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issue of our magazine, the national interest. september, october issue. and i highlighted especially have a symposium with a variety of different u.s.-russia on the debate.nship as i call on you, please identify yourselves for our peakers and also to raise your hands so that my colleagues with able to findes are you and ensure that we can all hear your questions. up.'s open it
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>> i mean, i think if you look at it from, you know, a business perspective, if you looked at the obama era -- business never anyway.anctions they're not going to. but the obama administration onstruct was very understandable and targeted. very policy specific. doesn't have that same feel. went out ministration f its way to try to work with companies to make sure that they a sustainable sanctions design with broad support both the united states and europe. bill,'m not sure that this at least at this point, is going to meet that test. that question around in a way and get both of to react to a different
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question. engamed in all conduct.egregious seized crimea, supporting rebels ukraine.rn i can start on that. it's an excellent question. to e's not a short answer it. i would say the first thing we need to do is to understand very
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clearly what our own interests are. interests,thin those what is vital, in other words, go to war to protect? secondary a us.ortance to you can put together a comprehensive approach of the those interests and advancing your priorities. that derstand where it is you can actually engage in that diplomacy with russia. you've got to t draw very tough, firm lines, and
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negotiate, find some ways to accommodate their interests in all of this. to do that, we would find a much more than the way forward path that we're on right now a ch is going to be really difficult one to control with escalation f spirals. >> i would agree with george. of it has to be more active diplomacy. i think some of us have argued long time on ukraine that the united states should have een more aggressive in trying to play a role in stopping the killing there. ather than having a normandy format that was largely a european-driven process. so i think that if you're ukraine, certainly ore active targeted diplomacy, high level diplomacy if we anted to deal with that was probably the right area. and i would come back to a point
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knowing your out own interests. and dividing the united states is certainly not in our interest. >> all right. very much. i have, i think, five people -- six people, seven people on my list but let me start here. > george, you mentioned deterrents. of course, there you go, thank deterrents.ntioned of course, the other part of the national security strategy is assurance. deter and assure. the last comment on russia allies in our particular, when you take a look at europe right now, how much assurance do these sanctions be negative to them economically and politically as well as what's going on in the gcc e east with the countries with russia down there
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laying very strategically in syria. i see it also as a weakening and to exploit going it?
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vital not have a lot of interest at stake that are not ctually advancing our own priorities. >> anything that you would like to add, dan? >> no. >> okay. ambassador? >> >>. >> thanks very much to the panelists. i think it's important to -- as you did recall why these anctions were imposed in the first place and it's indeed a long list of egregious russian you described it.
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we now have this legislation is of course that the congress had no confidence the trump administration was prepared to up hold the rules-based order. so i think clearly felt it lines going back to the early days after the nauguration when there was rumors of a unilateral lifting on the sanctions that congress needed to step in and enforce intent of the original anctions yes, it is domestically driven.
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the congress lost confidence could beadministration trusted to maintain the sanctions. the right y do have on experience to come up ith a clear path towards the easing and eventual lifting of the sanctions if the russians those the reason sanctions are put into effect. i think that's an opportunity to ontinue to work with europe rather than at cross purposes, and i hope the administration
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do that. >> we should certainly try. maybe we will. as far as the european reaction, is -- the oblem an peans also have
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opportunity but, again, sanctions why the were imposed in the first place trying common goal of trows store use crane's -- the appointment of particular. o actually leverage improvements in relations with russia. >> any response? i agree with everything you said. think that's exactly the way we should handle it. to add to ing more
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that. that part at the beginning about the need to cooperate with america is a good thing but here's other pieces in that legislation that the europeans don't like and i don't think they're wrong. there's out and out on any pposition -- basis in the legislation which, got now, again, you've legislation that's really long and it's kind of -- >> yeah. yeah. but there's lots of it that don't. european n argue the energy security either way but i think ultimately, it's their
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ours.nd not >> let me perhaps pursue this a further and i know that the ambassador has a on this also. of the question has come up war.tions versus going to re there military options for the united states that fall poles, right? two i mean, we're talking -- general reassuring our allies. he united states is taking a variety of steps now actually to do that. that we other things could or should be doing on that front? >> yeah. certainly there are. that the he steps obama administration took militarily in europe to try to
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our allies there of our capability to our defend them against russian military activities were ecessary, and i think if handled in the right way, they can be a very important support efforts with tic the russians. you ndled the wrong way, can cross that line from ssurance and prudence and provocation.to coordinating them is our challenge. >> dan, any -- >> well, i agree with what said.e i think another piece of this has to be also a strategy to people.the russian that needs to be part of this as
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well. wanted to comment remark.e have the mic -- i agree largely with what sandy said. legislation this a trump s is actually administration loss of control russia policy. and i think for the very reasons that sandy and others have suggested waif the lack of capacity of that what stration to pursue both the rub cans and the the hill is the strategy. putin handed the election to
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and was responsible for hillary clinton's defeat. of many erception republicans that particularly cain camp that feels that -- or couldn't understand trump's towards g soft line putin. sanctions blem with and here i somewhat disagree is that they're a very blunt instrument and while group like this at this lunch who think that politically you can be happy about language inserted in this legislation that says -- and it oesn't say consult with u.s. allies, it says coordinate with allies of the united states that when you talk to sanctions lawyers, they say that doesn't mean anything. that language has no
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meaning. this law, the ability ifow has the he chooses to undertake these going to which are countries, pean countr economies, and companies. it's going to happen through the mechanism of so-called secondary sanctions. is -- you can have some political language that sounds it doesn't change the decisions that congress has taken about what the u.s. can do if he decides and in the case of companies have have l down counsels who to make decisions based on risk risk vestments based on platitudes.political
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feel the impact of the language in one way or the other eu retaliation. >> thank you very much. you have robert. i would like to ask a question of paul's s off question. let's say russians are in position to -- from their kindsctive raise the same of questions about us moving astward with nato right up to their border involvement in is inen affairs which traditionally been part of their
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of influence. ooking at it from the kremlin encroa ve, they see encroachment on the part of the west. so given that gaiven what george was saying about the reaction ensue, what areo reachedpects that we've the point of no return in terms of u.s.-russian relations. seems to me that what dick regarding -- g egarding taking away the prerogative of determining u.s.-russian relations from the president of the united states a normal, ordinary thing that happens every four
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pretty significant development and if that doesn't exist and we have these anctions and reaction to the sanctions and this current state in olitical sentiment
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congress. here congress is ill suited to day-to-day management of those sorts of situations. institutionally to design that sort of thing. o i think we need to be very careful right now and in talking weut the kinds of steps that might take and the kinds of things that russia has done and this we approach all of from a policy point of view, i principle we have to keep in mind is the hippocratic principle. no harm. because we're interesting a could on where that harm grave.y all right. wayne. mary. right. >> thank you. no relationship to robert though i wish there was. [laughter]. >> i would like to enswipe right
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thoughts of both speakers on sanctions busting and import substitution. in the modern world, one of the most lucrative of all activities sanctions busting. i was recently in moscow and was to eat some cheese from belaruse. [laughter] >> and they have made it clear helping russia avoid sanctions an opportunity for them but a priority for economic and political reasons. n import substitution, the kremlin has, of course, essential essentially -- agricultural -- those of us who have lived in ofsia know that the capacity that system to resist reforms is xtraordinary unless and until they come under foreign pressure. sacrifice,ability to
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essentially stiff the foreigner, is also almost unlimited. to get your ke what ts on what sectors, places in the russian economy genuinely see a five to seven year period damage to these sanctions and which ould be more or less untouched and which may actually benefit. you have growth in the three o four percent range and
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-- you have domestic existing capacity to meet demand inside russia and of 're not investing a lot money in new production lines exports which they're ultimately, i think you still in russia for modernization, you need capital, and project management. and the easiest place to get
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that is internationally because already exists rather than trying to develop it on your own. i think that there are certainly a very significant percentage of elite and the business people want to see further see further globalization. and they believe in some sectors they can be globally competitive. they could export auto-parts, for example, over time. there are some industries like pharmaceuticals where, yeah, you could produce certain generics, but you will not come up to world standards to have a world-class health care system. i think the answer is still a more open economy if you want to go forward over the long run. on sanctions the, and i think that is one of the problems with sanctions designed today is the
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idea that somehow the united states in areas has exclusive technology that is unavailable elsewhere. the sanctions on the energy sector. i don't really think it is holding up to scrutiny. united states might have the best product management, but in today's world, there are lots of substitutes out there. when you post something like that, what you are doing is allowing other people in the manufacturing world to take their place. you remember the embargo on the soviet union and the experience that caterpillar had. they had a very large percentage of the pipe laying equipment market in the soviet union, then they were frozen by the embargo.
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what happened is what most people call backfill from friendly countries who took over the market. it took a long time to claw its way back there this comes back to the idea of don't do harm to your own economy and industries while you implement this stuff. >> it occurs to me, don't sanctions busting and import substitutions actually directly contradict one another? by which i mean the sanctions busting produces the incentive for import substitution. i assume your fellow was from france, someone sold it to belarus, put a sticker on it. you have got to have a substitute. >> if you are running an automotive assembly plant in russia, you want a local product, because they will be cheaper. the supply line, it works better.
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most of the foreign automotive producers, what they want is the russian government to give more subsidies and more incentives to the producers so they can be more competitive. but you need something, you need something. >> i am going to provide a leading answer which is different than a leading question. one of the areas i think we need to be careful about is the degree to which sanctions can incentivize bad proliferation behavior where countries seek out new markets among odious regimes when they are denied
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trade opportunities with the united states and the west. the recent report of the possibility that ukraine i have provided some missile engines to north korea is a case in point there. yes. >> all right, david mitchell. >> this is a question or both you guys, george and daniel. -- for both you guys, george and daniel. [indiscernible] is there still any room for cooperation? arms control, for example, do you see any opportunity where the governments will actually work together, or is this kind of like what bob was saying earlier with critical point where it is beyond the point of no return? >> i think one thing that has happened since 2014 that has not been good in intergovernmental
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cooperation was the obama administration's decision to cut off all of the working groups at the presidential commission and the day-to-day work between government agencies at the political level. i don't think that is going to be easy to reconstitute. i think it is going to be really hard. because right now you talk to people in the administration what you are asking, what are the conduits for u.s.-russia in direction? you will never get about three or four days. george beebe: yeah, so in areas where we might be able to cooperate, there are areas in principle weather there is some coincidence, u.s. and russia interest where ordinarily you
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would say, those are areas where our interests align, we should be able to cooperate. the difficulty there is political environment in both capitals are going to make that very difficult. i think it could be over -- we could be overwhelmed with the prices of crisis management. the recent news reports of the united states that parts of our country are being overflowed by russian surveillance aircraft, oh my gosh -- that did not happen by accident of course. there are people in this country that don't like the existing arms control agreements. these flights have been going on under open skies for a long time. the transparency that regime provides is in our national interest as well as russia's national interest. the sort of thing that is eroding.
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a lot of the arms control framework we had to serve -- do serve our national interest. we are starting to lose. those are areas will have to think very hard about going forward. >> thank you for your patience. >> i was wondering in your sweet of the tensions between the two countries if i can ask you about the importance or significance of the magnet see -- the recent sanctions and how they fit in. in the lives between -- the moves between russia and iran, how they might, with scope you see for russia's continued existence in afghanistan and syria? >> i will do that.
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i was involved in implementation of that act. that act was quite different in that you had -- you are talking about a limited number of people who are involved. most of the people who were on the sanctions list, you can make a credible case in the u.s. court for that. no matter whether you liked the bill or not, the intent is very targeted and very, very specific. that is quite different than what we are talking about today. >> wait a minute here, dan. it is something that did ministration had to go along
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with. you had one sanction in place for way, way too long. the only way to get that listed was to agree to a new set of sanctions. dan is right they are targeted, but now you have global, so it has expanded beyond russia and the entire planet. you will have people naming sanctions for human rights abuses around the globe. once again, the congress is never satiated by voting sanctions. you will just keep doing this endlessly. it gives them great emotional satisfaction. >> so on your question about afghanistan and syria, there have been some press reports the russians had been providing weapons to the taliban. that is the kind of thing we
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could see more of for a couple of reasons. it is the asymmetric ipo -- eye poke to the united states, and the russians are trying to position themselves for the post u.s. period in afghanistan, and they want to have relationships with people who are likely to be in power if not nationally then regionally in the northern parts of afghanistan. i would expect the russians to step up their activity in afghanistan over time for no other reason. in syria, i'm not sure there is very much prospect for cooperation between the united states and russia right now largely for political purposes. i would expect both we and moscow would want to coordinate
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and communicate to avoid military incidents, for example, between our forces. >> george mason university. are we underestimating the importance of soft power with government sanctions? in two weeks, 150 first year students will be taking my class. do sanctions work? i anticipate the answer is no because most of my students -- i don't want to be stereotypical, but many think you post sanctions, find out they work. if they get five, you lift the sanctions. so we'll see if something is sufficient, it must work immediately. maybe we underestimate the prolonged self impact of the
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cold war, the fact result in the 1980's and early 1990's. one of my friends, she spent 16 hours going to london and back, two hours in the country there, and talks about wasting her time. why waste her time resort maybe that is the impact of business women, businessmen who see the complications and the annoyance and the inconvenience of the sanctions may be able to finally accumulate something more related. my question is, maybe we need to be more patient and see. it is not great, but it could impact that regime.
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>> we have that theory about cuba although years i worked in the state department -- all the years i worked in the state department i respectfully disagree. -- state department. i respectfully disagree. >> i think that sanctions can be ineffective -- an effective part is coordinated with other elements of u.s. power. and we have a very clear, well considered objective that is actually attainable. if your objective is you want the russians to surrender, turn over their country to the united states, sanctions will not be up to that task. they have to be proportional
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between the goal that you got, it has got to be achievable, and the tool you bring to bear have to have some prospect of achieving this goal. in this case, we don't have a strategy. we don't have the well-thought-out set of objectives on all of this. it was an emotional response. we are angry at the russians for all kinds of reasons, some of which are very legitimate. we want to do something to register our unhappiness. we have done that. if you want to register on unhappiness, mission accomplished. if you want to get the russians to abandon crimea, i would argue the sanctions are not nearly up to that task. we need to understand what our objectives are. >> james. >> george, you have the idea we need to understand vital interest and national interest. i was hoping you would have that discussion. i see a couple redlines bumping
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up against each other. we have interfered an intervention on nato allies. russia -- i interpret their actions in georgia and ukraine -- have a redline. so any more enlightenment on what the redlines are for each of us, and [indiscernible] on their border able to join nato? is it a redline event, we have to have russia give a crime like -- give up crimea? i can't see sanctions, just redlines. >> i agree. that is a set -- that is a discussion we have got to have. we don't really have the kind of debate over those things in this
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country we need to have. it is an important element of putting together an effective strategy to dealing with russia and advancing our own interests. i also agree with that idea that if our redline is that countries bordering russia ought to have the right to join nato, not just theoretically but in practice, we are going to bump up directly against the russian redlines. we need to understand those conflicts are not conflicts that can be resolved diplomatically. if we insist ukraine has to be a part of nato and russia says they cannot, the only way to resolve that is on the battlefield. we need to understand we can't approach that topic on the cheap.
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they are not going to back down and we cannot achieve our goals unless we are serious about putting the full might of u.s. military behind it. we ought to be very careful. it is vital to us before we commit. >> george, let me press you a little bit on that because there are different ways to approach. one is we want ukraine to be a member of nato tomorrow. then another is we want ukraine to have the option to be a member of nato 30 years from now when there might be a totally different russian government, and when will any russian government inherently be opposed to that, or might there be some notional russian government of the future that would not establish that? george beebe: well you can't rule it out altogether, but it is unlikely any russian
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government in the conceivable future would be comfortable with ukraine being a part of the nato alliance. the question really is, will russia at some point be like sweden? really abandon its great power aspirations, see itself as great to provide a great standard of living for its people, and for all kinds of reasons which are very tied up in russian conceptions and russians -- russia's own history, it is not likely. we can see it stay intact. it is projecting power in the immediate neighborhood. it is unlikely scenario.
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>> over here, yes. >> washington post. with respect to read lines, -- red lines, i want to pull out this article with russian interference in the u.s. election last year. george, do you have any reason to doubt the conclusion of the intelligence community russia interfered with the intent to at least help donald trump -- maybe we did not succeed, but the intent to help donald trump when the election? and is that a redline? should we punish russia for that? where can they be punished, and what can they be deterred from doing in the future without the same thing we have been talking
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about before? is this an area in which we can recently in list the help of the do -- in list -- enlist the help of the europeans to keep russia from interfering in their elections? since something that was unprecedented in the united states when it comes to the fire. it was the most successful covert operation in history some say. you get my point. i would like your thoughts on that. >> paul told me there would be no hacking questions today. [laughter] >> so on the question of the intelligence community's conclusion and what i think about them, there are three
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conclusions that were prominent in the intelligence community assessment that got published in january. one was that russian hackers were the ones who had the dnc -- hacked the dnc server. one other was they did it on the orders of putin, and the third was to advantage trump and to undermine our democracy in the broader, liberal international order. i will address each of those points and tell you what i think. on the first point, russian hackers that hacked the dnc servers. i don't know. i have good deal of uncertainty about that. i am open to persuasion it was russian hackers. it probably was. but the case has not been made publicly.
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we have not seen the kind of evidence to go beyond the trust we know we are talking about. the second point, was it president putin who it? i am more skeptical, doubtful. for a variety of reasons, but from what i understand from the washington post reporting, there is a single piece of evidence that figure very prominently in the conclusion that putin ordered this. anytime you are relying on a single source fred conclusion of that magnitude, it better be very confident in the ferocity of that source. automatically i am -- you better be very confident in the veracity of that source. automatically i am skeptical. and president putin does not decide everything that happens.
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it is a large country, large government, a lot of people do a lot of things. he has limited time and capacity for doing these things. if russian hackers were the ones that penetrated the servers, they probably did so without president putin saying, go do this as a product this -- as a part of this broader campaign. he was probably informed after the fact. the last conclusion the russians were trying to advantage president trump and undermine our democracy and liberal order, i am actually, i think there is very little evidence. that is the judgment i am most doubtful about. >> [indiscernible] you probably would not have recommended that the obama administration issue the package
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of sanctions december 29 in response to these actions? george beebe: i think i would have recommended had i been asked my opinion -- the russians -- it is one thing to go to president putin and a, we have got the goods, -- and say, we have got the goods, we know you did wrong, and you will take this. the punishment is justified. on the other way, you can say something happened that was wrong, and it should never happen again. you will agree it will never happen again because you agreed it was wrong without acknowledging you did it. i think that kind of approach was very doable. i think the russians have
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reasons of their own to want to agree essentially to a mutual nonaggression pact in the cyber world. they have full verbal infrastructure of -- vulnerable infrastructure of their own. they have booted the possibility of an agreement we will not attack each other's critical infrastructure. that kind of thing could be done. maybe the window of opportunity for that has passed. but how you approach that diplomatically has a big impact on the prospect for success. paul saunders: we have ruth wedgwood over here, then david ignatius. >> just a quick little prelude. alexander the first is a personal hero, so russia has a very glorious past. they helped us with the civil war. but it almost seems like something for a psychiatrist
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rather than a strategist. we cannot ourselves cure the russian feeling of inferiority. i wonder whether the personality in the white house is at issue with personality in the kremlin or because of the prior battles have not identified in a nice little package of topics which we can each be productive and corporate of, but somehow just become this kind of battle. if you are suggesting a few things with the tonality of relationship being transformative, what would they be? >> the traditional playbook has been arms control. it is usually start -- the start. because the way the united
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states and russia lineup on issues, i think the disagreements over the imf treaty and whether russia has violated that make that a hard starting point at this time. i would like to see something involving terrorism and countries usually have trouble with it as a good starting point, but experience in syria does not bode well for that. do you have a brighter idea? george beebe: i do not, unfortunately. under different political circumstances in both countries, there would be opportunities for starting small with mutual interest and building trust over time through some success. but i think that chapter has ended in our relationship, and
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now we will quickly be in the crisis management mode here. depending on how the crises evolved, we may find ourselves in a situation or we start to realize we do need to do more to analyze the prospect of dangerous confrontation between our countries. we may need to start to rebuild some trust and get beyond where we are now. we are not there yet. >> russia was a very attractive concentration. [indiscernible] it is almost as if we have white them off the map of a cultural phenomenon. paul saunders: mr. ignatius. ok. let me briefly follow-up on this issue of trust because that is an issue secretary tillerson actually raised.
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how do we address -- is there a way to address? if there is not, what happens to this relationship? there are good reasons for u.s. officials to mistrust their russian counterparts. i am sure their russian counterparts probably feel like there are good reasons for them to mistrust us. is there anything we can do about that? should we try to do anything? >> i don't know if you are back to the cold war playbook for you have to go small and smallest or with something easy. the alternative is the crisis in north korea or something that,
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together, where you have to work together. that is a force of confidence building approach. those are the two ways that traditionally happen. >> it is a very good question and i wish i had a good answer. >> [indiscernible] >> sure. >> i think i can address the issue of the u.s.-russian trust. that is our own domestic trust issue, and that is how does the trump administration regain the trust of the congress so that he can even conduct a policy towards russia? >> i leave that to you. [laughter] >> it is a very good point. linda is out area -- out. did you have anything? >> i think you asked the right question.
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it is not just the trust between congress and the white house which is lacking. it is the broader level of trust in our society has really declined the last few decades. and that is problematic. we are seeing the political implications of that declining trust. it makes it difficult to govern who ourselves and put coherent approaches together internationally as compounded by the lack of trust between russia and the united states. it is a serious problem. i don't know how to easily address that because it is a complex system problem. there are a lot of different components that interact with one another to produce the problem.
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if you address one of them, you do not sell it. -- solve it do . you have got to do many things to improve the atmosphere. it is hard to do. >> dan, you are running through some of the new aspects of legislation. one of the ones that we used was mentioned earlier. it is amendment to one of the ukraine ask from 2014 -- acts from 2014 about sanctions being offered. serious human rights abuses that were controlled by the russian federation. it seemed new because it opens up potential sanctions involving russian activities in countries other than ukraine, specifically moldova in georgia. i wonder if you have comments on whether you think the intention of that was good, should it be
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implemented, because i feel like it is a game changer for small areas. >> i would go back to what george said about legislation being an emotional response. it has something for everybody. we have to talk about the other pieces with oligarch correction -- john option, human -- corruption, human rights. it is a pretty big canvas to color on. the issue you raised is certainly one of them. >> i would agree. >> anybody else? paul, then we will come back to you. paul clark. >> this is a question about potential u.s.-russia cooperation with arms control
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and so on. it is suggested a couple of the areas where you might see cooperation, to the extent we are not seeing it is because not hangups of the russia relationship, but -- one is syria. there is a lot of convergence of interest. we get past both on each side. the russians clearly one the assad regime to stay in power, but they will not control syrian territory. there will be in this war will end some kind of negotiated settlement. most of the action is with the russians, turks, and iranians. we have been on the periphery. there is a set of realities where if we got over such things as the ability to let go of this assad must go view, and we saw that with the administration
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discontinuing the aid for the antiregime rebels -- there was a lot of pushback from senator mccain and others. that is the barrier to the hangup. clearer as iran and the nuclear agreement. we being the obama administration with the russians as well, europeans and chinese to negotiate. we know the white house is moving in another direction. so i just want to make that point. it does not deal with the bilateral relationship sometimes but rather the agate with some of the issues -- the package with -- baggage with some of the issues.
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>> one of the difficulties in syria is a broad level to u.s. and russian national interests. they are not that incompatible. we'll overlap in divergence. that is an area where i think the white house faces some very consider -- very severe constraints to be flexible. the ending of the covert program, not without controversy in and of itself. we should do some fairly formidable domestic political forces that are already starting to be alarmed about the direction we might be going. if you combine that with the great suspicions a lot of people have here about the trump administration's willingness to make deals with moscow, that strong -- sharply circumscribes
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our ability in syria. in iran there is a divergence between its role in the region and the white house's perception of iran and its role in the region. there could be serious differences between iran and the preferences of the white house, which will limit the cooperation. >> ambassador, back to you. >> come back to the question of, do we have strategy? i think that is not entirely fair. clearly sanctions are not going to be the magic wand that helps us overcome the problems. the relationship i would argue
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will be largely competitive because of conflicting worldviews. we have some fundamental difference. we have to manage arms control measures to be revived, but the russians don't seem interested. that is a separate discussion. sanctions can address one problem, the ukraine crisis. the bulk of the sanctions, enacted by obama, relate to ukraine. if the trump administration is skillful in using them as part of the strategy to not only do de-escalation but the withdrawal of russian troops and properties, in return for ukrainian -- ukraine agreed to autonomy and stuff.
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you could see a finite step away from the break. it would be a basis for continued opportunity with the europeans, so i think we focus on that and use sanctions as a tool. one thing we haven't discussed his provisions in the bill relating to intelligence factors. those create the possibility of the secondary sectors -- sanctions. european allies cannot complain about this one, but it could have real cost on russian export revenue and could help india and china, arms purchasers from china. death from russia. we can use diplomacy to solve the ukraine crisis. let's look at what we could do with sanctions and not just a despair these are aimless, misdirected weapons that are not really achieving any strategic objectives.
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the negotiations and nato will come up. i believe we should not give up the rights of a country to seek nato membership, and the russians agree with that. all of these trees, they signed up -- treaties, they signed up to it. i think if the russians are interested in a real solution in ukraine, we can find some and address the issue in the short and medium term while preserving ukraine's rights in the long-term. for hacking sanctions, i'm glad we did oppose -- impose something. we are now looking at deterrence, focusing on
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vulnerability to the future hacking of the political crisis -- process. you have to have a strategic act and not give any assurances we can't count on even against critical infrastructure. pledged not to attack until they do, so hoping to build, assuming the russians will do the same. >> all right, last comment or question from the president, then each of you get to respond briefly. >> what he has said i basically agree with you seems very clear the reason we are discussing sanctions with russia is not because of sanctions themselves.
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there is little russia can do. what matters is explaining to the united states economically. they are limited. we are assessing because part of the dynamics of russian relationships. most of us agreed we need to step away from the brink, but [indiscernible] you may correct me if i am wrong. you feel the need to step away from the brink and not show impotence on the russian actions. we considered this disagreeable. this is a very serious matter. what concerns me most is not this particular bill. there is a lot of elements in
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the bill which makes sense on some specific grounds. but with the political process, their past at least in part, not because of what we needed to do with russia but because of the distrust between the administration and congress. it is very clear to me this administration failed to look at the strategy. they look at how putin [indiscernible] trumpin allegedly admired -- admired then candidate trump is not a sound reason for the russian organization. it is very clear the russians were denying this and talking about trust before the campaign. it does not contribute to our ability to work together. they had some very hard choices to make. we have to address these choices in the state of president
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reagan, who took very tough measures, including using sanctions, to put pressure on the soviet union. this was to punish them and reduce their dependence. at the same time, we remember unless we know how to defeat russia, it is in our interest to find a way to work together. >> comments? final words? >> i very much agree with that. when it comes to ukraine sanctions can be a very important piece of a broader strategy of managing and containing that problem is not solving it. i am more skeptical than you are, sandy, of how coherent that strategy is. part of it is we know to what we want the russians to do with
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lifting sanctions. is it not moving further westward? to reduce or and their support for ethnic russian separatists? is it actually to return crimea? some of these things are clear and some are not. i don't think we have a clear objective in washington. >> i agree with you and will not repeat what you just said. i also wonder how clear the russians strategy is for what they want and the ukraine. [laughter] >> they know what they don't want. >> yeah, there are two sides to the point.
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we will have a better mutual understanding. while we have this very difficult political relationship, it is worth pursuing some of those avenues we have pursued in the past in terms of cultural and educational exchanges to try to build a level of interaction between two peoples while we have a difficult geopolitical situation. >> thank you very much. please join me in thanking our panel. [applause] >> thank you to all of you for being here today.
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at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span, tonight for former national security advisers who served the , includingesidents stephen hadley, national security adviser for george bush. >> i think we are in a dangerous pod thing with russia. putin has decided americans are anti-russian as his ambassador says. he is basically saying if you think i'm an enemy i'm going to show you what it's like to have an enemy. >> the future of the internet. white house interim chief digital officer. click certain platform seem to provide information that
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reaffirms what they think. they said i'm going to show you the things that people you don't know and pay content from the pages you don't like. unlike you shown you more of that. if facebook hadn't done that we wouldn't be having this conversation because we wouldn't have grown to the scale we see today. >> here is the former mayor of rio de janeiro. >> i think the city will play major role. and than the way they can change representative democracy is seen machine to change what is going on. >> a look at the opioid
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epidemic, including -- was selling several drug companies. >> what is different is how pervasive it is. is in our smallest communities, in our cities, in our most affluent suburbs. said we are not a pure democracy, we are a constitutional democracy. that means the judiciary has an important role to play in policing the boundaries of all the other branches. that can make the judiciary and unpopular set of people when governor ora president or congress know you can't do that because it's not within europe constitutional powers. 8 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org.

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