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tv   Reagan National Defense Forum - Global Hot Spots  CSPAN  December 10, 2018 2:31am-3:43am EST

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they are not allowed to test systems for the types of threats you might see from russia, china, and north korea. th system. onwatch the communicators monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span two. >> former cia directors leon panetta and michael morell and former national security advisor h.r. mcmaster discuss how the u.s. can maintain its military power in the world and how to deal with global hotspots. this is about an hour and 10 minutes. [applause] bill: great to be here. we have a terrific panel. no pressure. to engage youhope over the next hour and 10 minutes. say hello to the former secretary of defense, director of the cia, leon panetta. [applause]
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former national security advisor, retired lieutenant general h.r. mcmaster. [applause] director mike morell. gentlemen, thank you for being here today. we are going to get a quick picture. it was mandatory. 1, 2, 3. [laughter] to make sure that i follow the rules especially when i am in reagan's house. tweet that if you want. one of theys -- things i love about this guy right here is that his parents not only immigrated from italy to the united states but they did not choose akron or cincinnati but they chose monterey, california and a
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walnut farm. do you know what i call that? good research. well done. [laughter] ell as actor mor fellow buckeye, welcome and to general mcmaster, he has a new look out called "battlegrounds." before ors is that after november 3, 2020. lt. gen. mcmaster: it is before but it is not what you think it is about. bill: you could sell more books. lt. gen. mcmaster: some people told me that. bill: the first time i was here was for the passing of ronald reagan and the second time, for the passing of herbert walker bush. griffin, and others were talking earlier today. 41 stood up to
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saddam hussein first in august 1990 but 28 years later we are still fighting wars in that region of the world. and i just wonder, secretary panetta, what is the legacy of president bush in that region in the middle east? first of all, thank you for having me here. i enjoy coming back to this reagan forum. every year it becomes more successful. i want to thank everyone associated with it. day with the loss of president bush. i had the opportunity in the congress to work with president bush on a number of issues. in particular, i was chairman of the budget committee on the house side. and it was president bush that had us go to andrews air force
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base, republicans and democrats to try to work on a budget agreement that would help reduce the deficit. and we did ultimately that agreement plus the clinton budget led to a balanced budget. it was something i was very appreciative of, his leadership on that. more poorly, i think president -- more someone importantly, i think president bush was someone that was honest, was a great director ofe cia and someone that mike andues contribution to intelligence. more importantly, he was someone that was a world leader and believed deeply in the role of the united states as a world leader. and i think the steps he took in the middle east to deal with what kuwait was doing was the right step to take. able to push saddam
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theein out of kuwait and president also had a great sense of when to put the brakes on in our relationship with the middle east in general. in many ways, we continue to face controversy in the middle east. we continue to deal with problems that were there but i think the fact that president bush had the strength to take the position he did, assert the united states leadership along with a group of allies in that effort. actually was a step in the right direction for t ge? lt. gen. mcmaster: i admired president bush. serving on theas border in germany when east germany lifted the travel
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restrictions to the west and the wall came tumbling down. no one could've managed that tradition period better than president bush. and he laid out a very bold vision. maybe it was not realized but it was the right vision at the time which was an attempt to pactrate former warsaw countries and even russia into a new world order. i had the privilege of deploying from germany to operation desert storm. and his leadership was apparent there because we could clearly connect what we were doing militarily to what the objective was in that war and it was a relatively narrowly circumscribed agenda. the status quo anti-. many people criticized president bush after that work --why did you not go to baghdad? we know that answer now. and he realized, what we could control.
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but he also realized limits on the degree of agency that we had. he crafted a multinational effort that achieved that objective that i felt tremendously fortunate to have led soldiers under those conditions. and it is really the contrast between that and the difficulty of the vietnam war where the heroes that fought that war had a hard time connecting the risk their were taking and the sacrifices they were making with the achievement of the name worthy of those sacrifices and risks. that is what led to my research on vietnam what it all began for new worldgnizing the order and the experience i had in combat beginning with president bush and his extraordinary leadership. bill: thank you for that. director morell? dir. morell: i worked for six presidents. have been the may
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best in terms of delivering on for policy. leaving the world better than what he found. his time at the agency was very special. he came to the agency at a time of deep morale problems and within a year, he turned those around. he is beloved at the cia, so much so that we named his -- our compound after him. presidenten i was daily intelligence officer, he would often join us and so i had two presidents there. i remember one morning we were talking about a particularly difficult policy issue and in the middle, bush 41 said, you know what, i have done this before and i am going to go play with the grandkids. and he left the oval office. [laughter]
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lt. gen. mcmaster: by the way, let me just add that this was a decent human being. someone you could immediately relate to. and someone that loved to relate to others. i will give one story. ,he chairman of the committee's you oftentimes get invited to the white house, and when president bush invited us, he invited us not just to the white house but to his family quarters on the second floor. we had the chance to go up to the second floor and here were a lot of these old cardinals that had never been around before in terms of seeing the entire white house and there was president us tobarbara welcoming their family quarters up there. i can tell you, unlike some of the other presidents i have this guy really invested
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in the relationship between the president and the leadership in the congress and it paid off for him. bill: your naming names today. can send your questions on the app. if they are good ones, we will get to them in the last 10 minutes. gentleman -- general mcmaster, i have been looking for a lot of comments from you in the last eight months and i did not find many. thannd a podcast but other that, i will not say reserved but how about quiet? i did anmcmaster: interview on rugby. bill: his life better for you on the inside or the outside of the west wing? lt. gen. mcmaster: every day that i served for 34 years was a privilege especially the last 13 months as national security advisor. i got to work with extraordinary people and do important work. i found it immensely rewarding.
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look back on it which i have had an opportunity to do, i am just grateful for the opportunity. bill: why do you think it ended after one year? lt. gen. mcmaster: it was the right time for it to end. my philosophy going in from the beginning was to do my best to serve the president and the country and when it was time to ,eave, everyone would know it the president would know it for sure. and it was the right time to transition i think. bill: can you name one thing you were not able to accomplish that you wish you could have? gen. mcmaster: a lot of things because it is a complex world manifesting serious challenges to national and international security. it is difficult to point to one thing that you get done and then it is finished and can move on. it is a continuous interaction with threats and adversaries.
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the thing i am most proud of we put in place a disciplined process that helped the president and his cabinet in framing these challenges to national security. identifying what vital interests were at stake. throughthe challenges the lens of the challenges. crafting clear goals and objectives and engaging across the departments and agencies. and with like-minded allies and what wes to identify can do and how we can integrate efforts to make progress on those objectives. tomade a deliberate effort restore our strategic competence as a nation and i think we were in large measure able to do it. the great work that dr. sean lowe did that you heard from him earlier. underpinning the national security strategy gaming to advance and protect our interests in light of these
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significant challenges. bill: you would not single out one individual thing that you wish you would have accomplished or succeeded, whatever word you want to use? gen. mcmaster: of course, what all of thee -- efforts are works in progress. we want to denuclearize north korea. that stops its economic aggression against us. we want to confront russia's destabilizing behavior and deter further aggression in a sustained campaign of disinformation against the united states and other free and open societies. the middlestabilize east. we need an end to the syrian civil war.
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in a way that limits the iranian influence in the region. we need a stable iraq that is iran.ot an ally of we need to solve the problems of south asia around a guinness stamp. none of these were going to be a one-year -- i guess what i would say is that there are no short-term solutions to long-term problems. was discussed earlier today is what it requires is the integration of efforts across all departments and agencies and with like-minded earners in the fromed efforts reliable the perspective of our allies over time. is using aa: hr quote i used earlier. we have a walnut farm. i said i am going home to work with a different set of not --
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set of nuts. [laughter] bill: one more question. on thursday morning when the president was leaving the white house, he said he would meet with vladimir putin in argentina. and when he got on air force one 30 minutes later, he tweeted that the meeting was off. who counselsnths, him from the helicopter to the plane to suggest we should not go forward with this meeting in argentina? it will typically be the national security advisor. that is the one person in the foreign policy, national security realm in the administration whose only client is a president. others are heads of department or directors of agencies. that president your opinion and the assessment and
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recommendations across those departments and agencies. that is what i tried to do. very much on the model of brett scope crop -- brett scope craft t as the- scowcrof model. in that answer you would imagine it was john bolton. i'm going to talk about threats. was with myttis colleague a few hours ago and he said that north korea is the most urgent concern. he was given a list of russia, china, and north korea and he said north korea in terms of urgency. do you agree? dir. morell: one of the defining theacteristics of today are number of national security threats and challenges that our
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country and our partners and allies face. and that the president of the united states needs to pay attention to on a daily basis. it is a long list. 15-20 things on the list and they are all wickedly hard problems. none of them are easy. if you were to prioritize them there would be one issue that for me is at the top of the list. for me, there is a big gap between one and everything else. and that number one is china. and it is --what is our relationship going to look like with china? how will it you've all? i believe -- evolve? because i believe that will determine what the world will look like in the next 15-20 years. it is incredibly important that we get that relationship right because the range of possible outcomes and that relationship including cooperation on one end of the spectrum, the cooperation
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you saw fleetingly with obama and climate change, all the way to war on the other end of the spectrum. we have to get this right. it is an extraordinarily difficult problem. i think it is them was important issue. it does not mean that we don't pay attention to the other issues and work them hard. the: how about i hear from --from you other gentlemen? sec. panetta: i think jim mattis probably has it right in terms of the three at the top of the list. , look, wehael said are dealing with a lot of flashpoints in the world today. i have never seen this many flashpoints since the end of world war ii. it is not just isis. it is a ron -- i r.
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ran. it is north korea, russia, china. cyber. and a group of other threats as well out there. a series of very dangerous flashpoints we are dealing with in the world. and to even begin to prioritize which are the worst, the fact is that the united states has to deal with all of the flashpoints because similar -- we just celebrated 100 years from world war i. i think the reality is if you 19k at that period, in the we had and 1916, series of threats out there in the world. terrorism. territorial disputes. fragile alliances. and we had failed leadership. and the result was that because of that there was no capability to deal with all of these challenges and suddenly, we were
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in world war i. i think that is the danger today. and the reality is that we have got to have the capability to exercise leadership in every one of these areas. yes, we have to deal with china on a geopolitical basis and because of the economic ties etc. and the president is hopefully trying to do that this evening in trying to deal with the tariff issue. we have to deal with russia in a new chapter of the cold war with vladimir putin. in terms of the most immediate threat, i do still worry about north korea. because, even though there has been the singapore meeting, the problem that i see is that there has not beenere any progress on denuclearization. and at the same time that there has been no progress, we have got north korea and intelligence is telling us this, north korea
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is continuing to develop its nuclear capabilities and missile capabilities. they are avoiding the sanctions to a number of steps. and what i worry about is a point where if north korea is continuing to develop its missile capability, if at some point they test an intercontinental ballistic --sile that has some kind that can carry some kind of nuclear weapon at the top, that that will bring down in a very critical way all of the groundwork that has been made to establish better relations. and i think it could create that kind of counter reaction that could have us immediately in some type of confrontation. bill: do you think he would do that? gen. mcmaster: the real danger
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is what the secretary pointed out already which is that they will continue the program and what they will try to do potentially -- i think we have to be open to the possibility that he wants to keep his nukes. and in that instance what he would want is to extract as much of the payoff as he has in the past. get a relaxation of sanctions. negotiate for a long time to get a weak agreement while he continues the program. i think any administration that would have come in, when president trump came in, would have had to make some serious adjustments. our policy was strategic patience which did not work out. -- ofrategy of mexico maximum pressure has a chance. we cannot alleviate the pressure prematurely. just based on the promise of progress. it is tough to keep china and south korea on board with that with the pace of the inter-korean dialogue.
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i think this is the most important aspect of the problem, to keep the pressure going. i would add that the stakes are very high not only because of an but because north korea did not ever develop a weapon it did not sell to someone. it was developing a nuclear program -- a nuclear weapon for asad in syria. and then what happens to the nonproliferation regime? how does it -- how long does it take japan to conclude that it needs a nuclear weapon? i think this is a grave danger and so we have to keep our attention on it and the emphasis ought to be on maintaining the sanctions. maintainon but also to the possibility of a military option. it is not diplomacy and then war. it is diplomacy integrated with military options, with economic
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pressures, with diplomacy. it all has to be together. that is what i think we have to do is convince him that you are safer without them. then you are with them. and so, i think that is our best chance. bill: two of three of you agree it is north korea. dir. morell: i think it is important to look at the problem from the other guys perspective. it is one of the jobs of the intelligence community to tell our president how the other guy sees it. how does he look at this? he sees himself as having two potential paths. one is the road he is on which is maintaining the strategic weapons program to deter us primarily but also to show his own people that he is strong. stay on that path and deal with sanctions and deal with being
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isolated by the rest of the international community. that is one path for him. and chip away at the sanctions as he is doing now. gen. mcmaster: enforcement for sure. dir. morell: the other path that we seem to be offering him is to negotiate away those weapons in return for what? an end to the korean war? opening relations with us? engagement with the rest of the world? and a better economic future for your people? we think that is a good deal. he does not see that as a good deal. he sees that as his death. he sees an opening to the world as his death. when he looks at those choices, number one looks much better to him the number two which is why i believe he will never give up his weapons. gen. mcmaster: it also does not look as bad as option two. dir. morell: i think it is
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really important to have a conversation with him to give up those weapons but we should not kid ourselves on how tough this we have to keep the military option. bill: that was their ambition. you always have to look at the problems from the perspective of the other. this is something we do not do well a lot of times. the intelligence community does but leaders don't always listen. there are generations of brainwashing that has occurred. madeeology where they have deprivation a badge of honor and a sign of their racial superiority. you have to take all of this into consideration when you're looking at this. earlier today, james mattis called vladimir putin a slow learner. [laughter]
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is that the case or is he something else? i don't know that he is a slowed learner to be -- a slow learner to be truthful. i think he is a bully that understands that if he reads weakness he will try to take advantage of it. that is what he is all about. and i think he has been reading weakness into the u.s. position going back a number of years. butjust with this president i think the prior administration as well. andonce he senses weakness that he can take advantage of it, that is exactly what he did. that is what he did in the crime here -- crimea come ukraine, syria. that is what he did with the cyber attacks on our election system. and the issue is going to be whether or not what he did in the black sea, anyone is going
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to check him on that. and take a position. get awayannot simply with that kind of behavior. and if that does not happen, then he will continue to exert an aggressive approach to dealing not only with his neighbors but with other issues as well. if you are going to deal with a bully, if you're going to deal with vladimir putin, you have to deal with him from strength and not weakness. you have got to make very clear you have to make it clear to him where the lines are that cannot be crossed. that, andy, if you do he believes that you are going to abide by those rules, than i think you can sit down and negotiate with him. but if you does not believe those lines are real, that is when you have trouble with putin. if you're going to approach russia and deal with t fear that we were behind the 2013 uprising. fe that we might be behind the
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next color revolution. when you go back to honor, the speech he gave on christmas eve in a 1999 and that white paper he wrote, he wrote in that paper, i think it will take 15 years to start competing again and for us to regain our greatness. crimea.invaded so, he operates tactically and opportunistically, but he has a vision in mind. a vision that is based on fear and on the need to regain russia's sense of honor as a great power, so over the years, we have tried to look into his soul. secretary clinton famously , right?a reset button and i just say, we need to look advanced,ld as h
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look at him as he is, and make it clear that we will confront his destabilizing behavior. and we need to begin to impose cost on him, well above those he factored in at the outset of these actions? mr. morell: hr bama said middle-class ,oming-out onto the street something important. and think, we don't like the way the country is going to react and by the way, we what you to >> and just a quick point on this, his approval ratings are not super reliable, as you all know, but -- [laughter] >> that is true everywhere. [laughter] today's approval ratings for pugin are about ready were in 2013 at the same time. against acident ukrainian navy, was that related to his domestic approval rating, it may have been come i don't know? mr. morell: but his fears should tell you more about how we can pressure him.
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bill: on a related matter, general mcmaster, you said the evidence is quote, "incontrovertible, about interference by the russians individually 16 elections." what in your view, is not in dispute? gen. mcmaster: i think what happens with russian interference is a conflation of three questions. did they do it? yes, they did. everybody knows that. the second is, did they really care won thedebate. i think russia has had a long bridge of experience by this time in trying to rig elections, and it did not work for them most of the time. i think what they were trying to achieve above all, their primary object to, regardless of who won, was to polarize and it amenities against each other, -- companies against
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each other. bill: do you think that happened, or is that a creation on behalf of the media in america? gen. mcmaster: i think it is both. my colleague at hoover, neil the usn, has done a has done great work on this direct he has a recent paper that wrote that will come out. it is super powered by social media and social media algorithms. so if you like something on social media, you will probably like this even more. and guess what, even more will be even more radical, and pull you more to the right, or to the left. and guess what, russia's efforts at propaganda and subversion increased after the election. i think, the opportunity. i think they got what they wanted. if you look at our public discourse now, they are probably
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very happy with the result. -- : the basic problem mr. panetta: the basic problem that we have not come to realize my even though bells have been going off, is that cyber warfare is the battlefield of the future. develop.ll continue to we were aware of it when we were there that there were all kinds of cyber attacks that were taking place. use camerarying to to take over our intellectual wealth. iran, north korea, all of them were using cyber to disrupt our society. the problem is that i don't anticipatedr really that the kind of bold cyberattack that russia implemented in that election would really take place.
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i think we missed the boat, very frankly, on that. and that when we began to find out it was happening, we were caught with our pants down. and rather than having some kind russians to make the know that we know, and that they should back off, that there was this attitude of, well, we don't quite know, we have to be careful about how we respond. again encourage them to continue to implement that aggression. was, what the purpose was, it is very basic. the russia is always trying to undermine the united dates of america. let us not kid ourselves. that is what they are about. anything that will weaken us or have us at each other's throats.
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anything that will disrupt our society is what the russians want, and they were so natural at it. i will they, at least it is my sense that we are still unprepared to deal with that kind of assault. bill: i just want to pick up on the secretary went about eating surprised to year, because i think it is absolutely right. i think this was a strategic intelligence failure. i was not there at the time, so it was know how quickly picked up and was seen happening, but when we look at annualt 10 years of the threats testimony ever generated from the director of the cia, there is always a big section on cyber. and it always talks about cyber astro-med, the stealing of intellectual -- cyber espionage, the stealing of intellectual
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property, but there was never, ever, any mention of anybody weaponize and social media. we did not see this coming. there was a lack of imagination on this issue, not the similar to the lack of imagination prior to 9/11. >> the speed by which facebook and twitter, and now instagram have gained traction, it was warp speed out of silicon valley? gen. mcmaster: one of the most important elements of propaganda in the past was consistency of message. now, that is not the case with russia. we had a study that came out of that described it as the firehose of falsehood. they really just want to pull us apart as americans, and i think we have an opportunity. i have met with my counterpart, and i tried to just turn it on him.
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if you think you are winning, you are losing. the only thing congress can agree on overrun loneliest affection new because of this. so i think there's an opportunity to come together, to recognize the threat and work together in a partisan and bipartisan way. . bill: saudi arabia, what do you do about saudi arabia? >> secretary pompeii amid the case this week that the middle actors.filled with that he wrote in the wall street journal, i am taking two sentences from the piece, he is as -- the kingdom powerful force for stability in the middle east, saudi arabia is keeping baghdad tethered to the west interests, and not tehran's. the sentence is a lot about strategy of this administration. how do you find the balance, mr. secretary, in dealing with of these relationships, that you
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know are less than perfect? sec. panetta: that is what the policy is all about, forgot six. you have a choice here between destroying the relationship or doing nothing. it is about balance. it is about, how do you approach this, uphold the values that we think are very important -- this country is always had a set of values that relate to human dignity, to the will of to how we treat people, let go to the core of what they notice it is all about. that has in the core of our ability to provide leadership in the world. and when it is clear that saudi arabia did what they did in this horrendous murder, you have to --e very clear to the saudis i just think it is really
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important for the president to work with the congress to develop the kind of targeted sanctions that send a message that this kind of behavior is actankly, we get a lot worse -- we would get a lot more risk that if we made that clear -- we would continue to work with you. it would continue to cooperate with you, but we cannot tolerate this kind of behavior. that is the way the united dates is a post act. not to run from this case, not soa, oh my god, we are dependent on this relationship that we will not pay attention to this murder. we can't do that. , or we undermine our position in the war. so there is a way to do this but frankly balances both objectives. but right now, i get this sense that the congress is going to do what they want to do in order to send a message command the president is not going to pay attention to it for whatever
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than thend all of that wrong message to the world about what the hell the united states stand for. voted to-wantve to take signing from saudi arabia in their war against yemen. general mattis was asked about that today. they talked about accountability and also iran, they said, we need to do both. and he said it is in our best interest that would be to protect this country for do we know, general, that the message relayed to us has been relate to the kingdom? gen. mcmaster: i am not sure. [laughter] i think it is again a message that is to go to the saudi's but also other runners in the region. expertify, what are our patients? make clear what our exit
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russians ought to be of each expectations our ought to be of each other. we all need to do more. of worse, everybody is troubled horrible murder, but we also are to be troubled about what audio review is reducing missiles from russia. why is the crown prince high putin when vladimir russians are the key enablers of iran in the region? if they are really concerned about iran's role in the region, where are they imposing more costs on russians for being at iran's sponsor? there are a lo conversations we can have about their expectations. their expectations of us are that we be more reliable. they believe that the less administration our disengagement from the middle east as an unmitigated good and contributed to the humanitarian catastrophe centered on the rim civil war,
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and actually enabled -- centered on this area and civil war, and enabled russia, which did not do - and actually enabled a iran's part in the civil war. but they did not adhere to the jcp oa agreement. agreement, they actually out there funding for nuclear technology. , whenou think about it is of the reasons they are hedging with russia is they don't think we are reliable in the long-term periodically think they will get another administration that says, hey, the middle east, forget it. we are disengaged. there' theirat is perspective. so there are afraid
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of the slow american withdrawal from the middle east, which they thought they saw with the obama administration, and then there is something they fear, that the united states will eventually come to see iran, maybe a different kind of a run than we have today -- different kind of aan that would have today, as different strategic partner in the middle east. they are scared of that and they sent that message with the jcpoa. and doing secret negotiations with the iranians without telling them. i want to say something about mbsp on the one hand, he is the only saudi that i have ever talked to, and the only when i have ever been who understands that they need to reform their economy, their society and their religion if they are going to save that nation from going off the cliff. young,other hand, he is
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he is impulsive, he is paranoid, he does not listen, he has only a small circle of advisers, all of them young, nobody with gray hair around him, and he has a bada streak of judgment calls, from yemen to qatar, to kidnapping the lebanese prime minister, locking up a bunch of businessmen, the jamal khashoggi issue, putting women in jail who are advocating for up blessed that he actually put in place -- a string of bad judgments. so other than the day, whether he will end up being the father of a modern saudi arabia, or whether he will end up being a gorbachev of saudi arabia, the men who actually takes them off the cliff, that is the question. trip general, the first
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for this administration overseas was to saudi arabia. did they embrace it. way, ors in the right -- tooy get 200 close close to quickly? gen. mcmaster: it is not the united states that is fundamentally responsible for or behavior of the regime whoever made the decisions in his brutal murder. , as0 relationship is0 mike said. riyadhk the trip to was a tremendous success. the number one reason for me was that there was explicit recognition among all those there that saudi arabia has created a monster beginning in the 1970's with the propagation ideology,afi jihadist and there had to be a fundamental correction to that, that we had to work together not
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just anymore against designated terrorist organizations, but against extremists who were reppo getting this message that it is ok to murder -- who were propagating this message that it , or at leaster create the pipeline to that there we are was concrete progress in a gaining assurances on working together on ideology, and on the financial flows to these extremist groups. and we have made some progress in both areas. if you take salmon -- king 's speech and put it next to president trump's it is striking. progress,hieved this that saudi arabia helped to
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great a global problem, and it here was saudi arabia trying to address the global problem. those are all important issues, but the reality is we know what happened in that consulate in turkey. we know it. there has been argument -- well, there is no smoking gun. there are a lot of people in prison where there wasn't a smoking gun, because you had overwhelming evidence of a crime being committed to read in this instance, there is overwhelming ,vidence not only by the cia but by turkey and all of those who have looked at the issue. rather than try to somehow , thee that evidence president of the united states ought to accept the presentation made by the cia that a high degree of confidence -- we think the crown prince was involved in this issue, and then use that as
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take stepsy, we will to make very clear that this behavior is unacceptable, and at the same time, recognize that it work with saudi arabia in terms of dealing with the issues in the middle east. we cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. that is not a problem -- we can walk and chew gum at the same time. that is not a problem, other presidents have done that. we have had to send a message to an ally that they screwed up. we have done that, but they remained allies, because you continue the relationship. and we can do that here. this is not an all or nothing situation. bill: i want to touch on three more areas, then hopefully we can get some questions from the audience here at the reagan library. the military budget, kind of a big turn here, fellas. there was a debate whether it is $733 billion, or a reduction of 700 billion two years from now.
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i heard from a gentleman today. , how do you know the right number? how do you know the right number ? sec. panetta: the right number from the defense point of view is always more, because that is the way that it meant approaches these things. -- and as support funding for our defense department. i think we have got to maintain is the strongest military on the face of the earth, that is what we are and we have to continue to do that. but i also don't think we ought to kid ourselves that there's a real danger lurking in the out years. and it is the debt. a $20 trillion debt that is going to expand even more in these next 10 years.
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where wew at a point are approaching a trillion dollar annual deficit. that is going to eat us up alive in terms of interest payments, able diminish our resources for the future, and a some point, it will blow up our economy. now, do we face that now and pretend that, oh my god, we will have all this money in the future, and just pass it on to the future to blow up for our children, or are we going to confront that now? that is a real challenge. and the reality is, look, republicans, democrats, president trump, nobody wants to confront this issue. nobody wants to confront it. nobody is talking about -- what you have to do to deal with that kind of deficit.
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why? because it is to politically. you have to deal with entitlements, discretionary spending, have to deal with taxes. if you are serious about doing it. if you want to deal with it. but nobody has the leadership to deal with it, so we are playing this game of basically hoping that we can continue to borrow the money in the future to try to do it. what we need to do is to have a comprehensive budget agreement that begins to reduce the deficit and then allows the defense department and everybody else to have some sense of certainty about what the budget is going to look like rather than raising it now only to have to tear it down in the future, which is the worst thing you can do in the defense budget. bill: the national security issue, too, is something you describe there with the debt. gentlemen, do have. a view of what the right number is? i was going to say
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what the cia budget is, but that is classified. [laughter] ? gen. mcmaster: when you look at capability, what our ecological capability has allowed us to do -- when you go back to world war i, our adversaries have developed disruptive technologies that have taken advantage of our a disadvantages. since world war i, mueller forces have had a bigger and bigger impact over a wider areas -- smaller forces have had a great impact over wider areas. due to select capabilities, capabilities,r warfare that will go after our ability for imagery, our communication, our ability to conduct effective joint operations -- i think that now, the size of the force is more important.
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what we have done over the years is cut the size of our force back so that we can save money to apply to exclusive weapons systems, which i think are now grown to catastrophic -- prone to catastrophic failure. the path we are on is to invest in more as was -- exquisite weapons which could lead to more exquisite irrelevance in the future war. we need systems that are less expensive, that can degrade gracefully and don't depend on exquisite communications and have redundant the infusystems -- redundancy in systems. pth in our grow de land, air and naval forces. i think this is something that does not receive enough attention, the compressed the end eyes of our forces. bill: i just want to go through
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this question with all three of you before we moved to the audience. was secretary mattis said today about the trump legacy is that 15 years from now, we will be judged by whether we were it would to create a new way to interact with china. and very interesting phrase, probably not the answer i was expecting. director morel, you mentioned china, not north korea is the number one issue. you talked about what our charities government, -- what the chinese government relationship, what it should be or not be without them. is he right that how well they do on perhaps the trade deal they are negotiating at the moment, whether or not they can make gains in intellectual property and get that under control for the future? perhaps 15 years from now if they stabilize a relationship around this time, that the legacy of this administration will be judged on that? ?hat do think
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gen. mcmaster: we should not care so much about our relationship. we have had the illusion of good relations with china while they have been taking advantage of us, taking advantage of us not topeting as they apply it unfair trade and economic practices, forced transfer of intellectual property, finest projects around the world while the low rates that the market would bear, where they coerced countries and companies to a doctor view of the world, while they now, to maintain the chinese communist party grou grp on power have put a million people in concentration camps. there are creating a true orwellian surveillance state. so we have to recognize that we ave to compete against different system that is
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offering a different vision to the world, and this has to be our free and open societies working together, not just on tariffs, on trade policy, but on issues.range of and the question is, again, going back to what the chinese communist party president xi jinping -- we have issues, but these may be structural. because the mandate of the party in the post-ideological communist ideological period has substituted nationalism and china taking center stage again, if you quote from resident she best president xi jinping's speech -- if you quote from his beach. and to do that, they have to prioritize enterprises that are unfair. they are prioritizing the manila that is structural and will not just result in him a change of policy. so i think we need a sustained competition.
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bill: do you think they will win the negotiation or will they fight to a draw? gen. mcmaster: i don't think there will be a win in this, i think it will be a sustained competition for a long time. i think what we have to do with like-minded countries, and industry, is say, do you really want to do business with them? you want to make a profit in the short term but you are sending your own debts and to in the long-term because they will steal your intellectual property and use it to produce on its at below market rates and dump them on your economy and run you out of business. we have to say, who do you want as a trusted partner? this is what doing business with china looks like. this is what doing business with us look like. look at south korea, look at 1953 some of korea was in -- south korea was in a 1953,
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and where they are today. it is a badge of honor. that is what you get when you work with the united states? sec. panetta: i think the legacy of this administration will not rest with china -- part of it will, but i think the larger with an is to be administration that has used chaos to deal with a number of areas, whether it is pulling out .t.p., or whether it is the climate issue, whether it is tariffs, or pulling out of the iran agreement, and now the tariffs on china, all of which approach.c in their a certain amount of chaos sometimes makes sense, but the real problem in my mind is going to be whether or not the administration in the view of this chaos is going to develop a long-term strategy of where it
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was to go on all of these issues. all of these issues. not just china, but all of these issues. what is our long-range strategy to ultimately deal with iran and the situation in iran? what is our long-term strategy to deal with trade, and with a global war, which it is? what is our long-term strategy going to be in terms of dealing with issues like the debt? those are the questions that i the futuredetermine of this administration's place in history. is whether or not we will be left with chaos, or whether or not this administration is ultimately going to figure out strategic goals and strategies that will deliver on trying to produce a more stable world i just wanted to come back to ?hina to say that
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mr. morell: the reason this is so important is that if they become the leader of the world and start to replace us, two bad things happen. his or anybody here who believe the chinese will treat the rest of the world any better than they treat their own people? and you can already see examples of it. in the places where they spend a lot of time. and two, as a [indistinct chatter] said, they are aggressively out there -- and .r. said, they're already out there selling their economy. that is why this conversation is so critical. and the only way you win it, the only way you win it, with a coas together that the chinese will pay attention to. bill: great.
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my job was to keep the plates spinning. a couple of great questions. , too. abouts -- when we talk public service, especially with president george h.w. bush and his passing last night, what was the hardest part of your job that he wanted the public to understand? maybe you could have communicated or gotten them to understand -- when you are sitting on the beach in carmel -- [laughter] -- there has to be something that -- man, i have tried to do this, but i just kept something into this or that, or the other person, and if people could see that from my eyes, maybe they would understand or a sheet or hats, the job you did? sec. panetta: i think the jobhest part of the within any administration, the
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toughest part of the job is the ability to speak the truth to power. thing,t is the toughest and the toughest problems people have. i have seen this in the white house, that ultimately people will refrain from speaking the truth to the president, because he are afraid of doing it. so they don't. frankly one of the biggest problems. i think it is important to speak the truth to the president, and to anybody else. i think it is important that you say what you think in terms of policy and what is to be done. to president has the right make the decision, he is the one who was elected to make those decisions, but you as somebody who operates, whether it is in
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the white house or in the illustration, in any capacity, you have to have the courage to be able to say, you are wrong, mr. president. this is what needs to be done. bill: question from the audience, what should be the end give strategy in afghanistan, and i was that different from what we have been doing the last 18 years? gen. mcmaster: the of not had an 18 year strategy in afghanistan, we have had 17. one year strategies i think if you set out to screw up afghanistan, you would not have had anything worse than what we did over the years. [laughter] obviously, it is a difficult problem. events are dependent not just on , but also determining our enemies. what is required in afghanistan is to achieve an outcome that is worthy of our effort and connected to our vital interest, to ensure that transnational
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terrorist organizations who wants to kill our children do not gain axes to resources and population and use that to plan, resource and organize those attacks. so what afghanistan needs to be to be a what to do that is it is to be afghanistan. it does not need to be switzerland, in his to be afghanistan. that will take for fundamental things. first, it will take the internal communities of afghanistan coming together around a vision for the country in which they believe their interest will be advanced and protected. it will also take a regional power playing a more productive role. pakistan in particular. one thing that is different now is that with pakistan, you cannot have both ways anymore. you cannot act with you are a major nato ally and was the the benefits of our largess and then kill our soldiers and help facilitate mass murder attacks in afghanistan by the use of
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proxies and groups but you don't go after, because you only selectively. the third thing is afghanistan it has to be hardened, strengthened against the regenerative capacity of the taliban which lies across the border in pakistan. there has been some progress made, but it is tough. the afghans are taking too many casualties to sustain. the fourth thing is that there has to be sustained international commitment. when i came into this job. , the afghanistan strategy was not only ineffective, i would unethical. the reason it was ineffective is because it neglected the fact wills.r is a contest of as the previous administration sends troops to afghanistan, they announced their withdrawal the same day. how does that work? i thought in war, winning means convincing your enemy that you and and has been defeated. in this case we need to convince the taliban that they cannot complete their
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objectives through violence. how does that work? it was completely disconnected what we were doing militarily from what we said we were willing to achieve politically. we were creating all of these myths. which are a bold line between the taliban and al qaeda, there is no bold line between the taliban and al qaeda. training -- there is a taliban training center set up for al qaeda. so we created a whole mythology about that, we did not even explain it to the american people. the reason i say it is unethical is -- thomas aquinas said one of the toughest test for a just war is you have a just end in mind. it was not defined, i don't think. so what were our soldiers dying for? was it just? i think now the strategy is designed to get to a sustainable outcome. the arbitrary time limit was lifted, which was a key element
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in integrating what we are doing militarily with what we were trying to do politically. so it is a fundamentally different approach. go back to the speech the president made in august, i think it really lays out the strategy clearly. will be stick to it? will we have the well, right? the question people ask, can you win in afghanistan? yes. the question is, can we win at a cost acceptable to the american public? i think we can. the costs now, $22 billion a year, and it could go further with more burden sharing. at the height of the war, with 100 x 2000 troops with the coalition, we are now down to -- with 160,000 troops with the coalition, we are now down to about 40,000. consider what happens if afghanistan were to collapse, which i don't think it would,
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but if afghanistan were to collapse, think of the physical threat. and think of other psychological threat of these organizations, to the -- we defeated the united states, in nato and the west, and now think about them with access to trade, and that which is associated with that you what they could do to stabilize the region. aim tove it is our stabilize, and i think we have a strategy that can achieve that in the long term. bill: i have a second question. the question is, americans under the age of 30 today grew up without the historic experience of the cold war or major great power competition. do you think that has impacted how our next generation views national security and america's role in the world, and if so, how. add tor morell i would that, 9/11 notwithstanding. mr. morell: i spend a lot of
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time on college campuses, this is not a difficult conversation for them, they understand it. sec. panetta: i think that we have to have a different approach in terms of really letting young people understand that they owe something back to the country. and i realize that there is debate about jim mattis mentioned the draft and what have you, i understand the concerns about that, but i really do think that in this country, we have to think about our national service system that requires every young person to give two years of their life to this country in some capacity, whether it is to the military, education, conservation, i don't is, butamn, what that we need to go back and have young people understand that they owe something back to this country and they have a responsibility to give back to this country.
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[applause] [belgentlemen, thank you. i knew it would be the in all t. thank you to all three of you. [applause] roger? ♪ announcer: c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, we discuss the week ahead in washington with the senate reporter stephen dennis, then wilson center congressional relations director talks about the potential government shutdown. and a reuters group is on it discusses federal support for the auto industry. be sure to watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern this morning. join the discussion.
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hearing on international child adoption and proposed -- child abduction and proposed legislation to deal with it. coverage of a senate hearing at 2 p.m. eastern. on c-span three, online at and on the freeseas and radio app -- free c-span radio app. this week on the communicators, christina chaplin's government accountability office word says that the pentagon's weapon system of security is vulnerable. >> right now they don't even test systems for the kinds of threat you might russia, china and north korea. they are not allowed to in terms of testing, they don't want to potentially disrupt the system. >> watch the communicators tonight at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> on wednesday, the atlantic council hosted this discussion with former diplomat and
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