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tv   Conflict Zone - Guest Frederick B. Hodges  Deutsche Welle  November 23, 2017 1:30pm-2:00pm CET

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you can't put down your smartphone. cope's market. as we go about our daily lives human rights from the last thing on my mind. visible. slavery in the twenty first century story december second on d w. this week conflict zone is at the u.s. army seoul infers training area in bavaria our guest is lieutenant general ben hodges commander of some thirty thousand u.s.
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soldiers in europe with a such controversial come on the in chief in washington many people in europe are wondering is america still a reliable partner. john or ben hodges welcome to conflict zone thank you michel republican senator bob corker the head of the foreign relations committee of the u.s. senate said president try threatens other nations in the way it could lead to with the world war do you agree. well course as a soldier my job is to make sure that our soldiers are as well prepared as they can be for whatever contingency. should arise our focus is on deterrence.
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working as part of the alliance most successful alliance in the world in the history of the world so but senator bob corker said if we want to speak more about this vote that the president of the united states is today more a danger than a help for peace i mean again i don't know trump threatens other nations in such a way it could lead to a third world war two you agree with that i think that the president has done everything that the previous administration said it was going to do the president this administration has lived up to every commitment as far as the alliance goes and that's what i'm focused on rotational forces preposition equipment and henceforward presence that's all part of deterrence and i think strong deterrence strong alliance that reduces the chance of a war quite often president trump uses twitter in an interview with german effort
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said newspaper you said quote don't judge us by what the president tweets about what else i would say as our secretary defenses said watch what we do and again but again we can watch what the american army is doing but the tweets of the presidents are more than only having a nice time there is a content in the tweets well i actually don't know how to tweet i don't have a twitter account so i would be the expert on do you want me read to believe that as an answer and to say paragraph. you don't know where the president is tweeting i don't i don't follow i don't follow twitter so why did you say don't judge us by what the president tweets the health concern to say something like that because i think it's important to watch what the united states does in the united states are
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serious about something we put soldiers on it we put money on it that's exactly what's happening here in your general president tweets a lot including foreign policy and also the military issues well i get my orders from the military chain of command course the president is their commander in chief but that's not how we issue orders i don't speak about when orders i speak about his opinions about. all of the things he is in communication with the word and the things i also connected to your job or my experience over the last several months is that all of our allies have taken a look as they've made in the judgment to a new administration they see what we're doing and so i hear i hear almost zero concern from any of our allies any more about you know as united states committed in europe because they see what we are doing and again that's that's the
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manifestation of u.s. policy is what we're doing and that's what i'm concerned about this is an understanding which is one possibility to see the word the other one is still that he's the commander in chief he's also then your commander in chief and again. he's called kim your mom on the north korean leader quote little rocket men and he said he was short and fat do you think this is a leg which the president has to judge it speak about other leaders in the world will show course you know it's not my place to criticize any elected survey. an official to comment on how they do things what i care about is our president's commitment to the alliance and making sure that our soldiers have everything they need to do their job and that's what i'm focused on senator corker went even so far as to say that while the white house was an adult day care center how appropriate
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is it for the president of the united states and i have to ask you the last time but i have to do it ok to communicate like this i mean you are a general you have so just imagine you communicate like that you are a role model president trump is a role model also for your soldiers do you think that his language is responsible i can tell you that every soldier takes an oath to the constitution the united states and in that oath it says obey the orders of the president of the united states who is our commander in chief i also say that i'm very glad that i am here and one feels germany at a training area and not. involved in the other types of. that sort of news i would like to move on to russia is russia currently a security threat for the u.s. sure it is. russia is the only other nation that possesses the ability not necessarily the will but the ability to destroy the united states or all the other
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members of the alliance. and their behavior of the last three years since they invaded ukraine has gotten has raised the concern of everybody including all members of the alliance all members of the european union. and it's it's the kind of thing that i think nobody wants that conflict is not inevitable we all want russia to be a part of the responsible community of responsible and i was going. not with their current that they're not on the right path not right now we what we would like to see them back on the path of responsible behavior as a great power and it's a great nation great people great history so many places where we could cooperate with them but they don't cooperate with you anymore well they've not lived up to any agreement that they've signed including minsk and other treaties
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unless you really put pressure on them to do that that's a good point because shortly after president trump took off as you said the russians only respect strength what exactly do you mean by this the russians i believe will use every means at their disposal to achieve whatever their strategic objectives are. what they are concerned about of what they fear is a unified alliance and a unified european union that sticks together we had this throughout the cold war where you had hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers soviet troops. across the energy border from each other do you need more soldiers in this area and when we had that cold war days we still were able to play hockey we still had trade you still had cultural exchanges you still had cooperation in different areas that's
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history today do you need more soldiers we need the same effect. how to say how do you want to work out that so one thing is continue to improve our cooperation with allies and i see germany in particular as being a leader increasing its military capability providing leadership in the alliance as well as in the european union these are all things that this is not the compensation for these times you were just describing that sounds good and it's certainly something very. constructive but it is not the compensation for sure it is germany so important not just in europe but in the world for so many from so many perspectives economics military germany has a sort of a has earned a moral authority that's respected around the world so german german leadership
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is a very important part of this deterrence the fact that germany was the leader along with france and crafting the minsk agreement the fact that germany is helping to keep the european union sanctions in place against russia until they live up to. that this is this is a very important for like the question are you satisfied with the strength of your current military assets i have never met any military commander that is satisfied with what he has after saying this let's continue are you satisfied on north so let me say it this way. i am confident that the department of defense and the alliance are both doing everything that they can to ensure we have what we need. to have or haven't to undo. several years of decisions that were made. made on the best judgments at the time when we thought russia was going to be our
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partner. the last american tank left germany three years ago we had no tanks here because nobody could even invision why you would need them here anymore our aviation brigade significantly reduced and by the way all of our allies have done the same thing now with russia's aggressive behavior everybody realizes that russia only respects strength so you have to bring back we quit killing are we quick enough is the reaction towards the situation and you said yourself the russians are changing the security environment what is the necessary respond to that so are we doing enough i was very happy with the outcome of the defense minister also this past week in brussels where everybody from secretary general stoltenberg scupper adi our defense minister secretary mabus addressing the things that need to be done to continue to improve the deterrent capability
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make sure that the alliance is adapted to the new security environment so actually i am i'm extremely optimistic by that i also see improved cooperation or expanding cooperation between nato and the european union this freedom of movement or i would say military mobility across borders is a perfect place for cooperation between the e.u. and nato so i'm much more optimistic about that's what you can about reality's two thousand russia aggressed georgia in two thousand and fourteen only three years ago russia occupied crimea and you have criticized moscow for having troops supporting separatists in eastern ukraine as well as for its an accession of crimea but your commander in chief hasn't been as clear. so my commander scott brown has been very concerned then chief the president on the
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trunk as being as clear. i thought it was very clear when you stood there more saw that by the uprising the moral and said we are committed to article five of the alliance he pointed to american soldiers that were standing there next to him and said this is our commitment pointed to these young men and women as a manifestation of the commitment the united states to security instability in europe and criticize russia as you are doing you. don't know trump has stepped back from delivering military aid to the ukraine but we have not stepped back from delivering military we have two hundred fifty american soldiers that are in ukraine right now helping to train ukrainian troops hundreds of millions of dollars of supplies and equipment have been provided we just delivered just delivered a large number of frontline ambulances for the ukrainian army. so the decision on any additional aid of course that's a that's a decision that level but i think the right people are working on it and we're not
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alone we have canadians what is resides by the people who are working on the mall so journals capriati is given the best professional military advice based on his assessment of the situation he's given me the chance to speak to him. and i think that's that's where it's best left is between john scott brought in general is president from too soft on russia you know i'm i'm not going to comment on on the president's we speak about military actions. is he too soft on russia from your point of view as a general so i would say. watch what we do the president has authorized the deployment of rotational our brigade combat team rotational aviation brigade prepositioned equipment with the support of the congress an increase an increase of a billion dollars of what we call european deterrence initiative money from the
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previous administration to now an increase of a billion dollars so more exercises more capability more available funding. that's that's what i look at and to me that is a powerful strong manifestation of commitment so this is not a black and white math problem this is about deterrence everybody you heard prime minister may she spoke last night everybody would like to have cooperation with russia as a responsible member of the international date needs to accept the index ation of crimea because as long russia is doing that. i don't imagine that the american president who ever would have better relationship with putting that's probably the way it's going to be where the u.s. position is is not to accept the enix ation of crimea but then help me
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a little bit and i want to understand the white house has also the late implementing sanctions against russia if this trip to jake mistake and you mentioned the europeans on doing it i think this is so important that the european union continues those sanctions would it help. that also the united states will follow the europeans about sanctions against russia i think the cohesion of the alliance is the most important factor of deterrence and that's what i saw coming out of the defense minister was last week our great secretary of defense and journals care parady and the other leaders of the alliance so unified to me that's what is most important and so i'm very satisfied with so let let's speak about these things a little bit more concretely there are no signs that russia is leaving crimea what
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steps do you suggest to force them out so i think i might disagree with you you know russia has come up publicly and said hey we think maybe there ought to be a peacekeeping force here that whatever that peacekeeping force looks like or whatever the fact that they're asking for that i think indicates that you know they don't want to see this last forever. i think that the. they were surprised i think how well the ukrainian so fault i think the russians were surprised at how the entire west has stuck together on their stance like three years after be an exception sanctions as we discussed a lot of movements as you just mentioned the fact is nothing changed nobody it seems like that has a policy to make this happen so how long how long do you think we were we've been in germany i mean since the end of world war two in the division of germany east
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and west we start with germany with the germans with west germany for decades now i don't know that that means it's going to be decades before ukraine is is reunited that crimea is returned but i think the the west has shown. that we are willing to do what it takes to protect sovereignty and to protect democracy and. people in ukraine they saw how much better life was in poland when poland joined the e.u. and joined the alliance people in ukraine wanted to make while that same choice ukraine's the only country in the world where people have died with the e.u. flag and they're here answer is russia or is in the ukraine the answer is russia is occupying crimea that's the answer from the russian side rather was in east germany also and they're gone so you compare this sure show up actually i'm actually
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optimistic if we can all stick together. you know time is not in russia's favor you said that russia could conquer the baltic states vote quicker then we could get there to defend them quote hand if this is true it means that these states are not sufficiently protected by the united states or the nato so i think that was about two and a half years ago when i said that but. i would not say the same thing today in the main reason i would say that is the alliance rapid deployment of enhanced foreign presence by liberals in less than a year from the warsaw summit in july last year less than a year germany led a battle group german led bellaver deploys a lithuania canada back on the continent of europe for the first time in years in latvia u.k. and estonia and of course united states and poland with spain italy france all these countries together that that significantly changes the military calculus
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number one number two all three of those countries and poland are doing exactly what they said they would do under article three of the washington treaty which says every nation is responsible for its own defense so each nation of those each of the baltic countries and poland have taken significant steps not just increase spending but to improve their own defense so i would not say thirty six hours a day so no thirty six hours so fifty hours one hundred i was odd there are real russians also today quick i would say first of all that the russians would think much harder about ever go on attacking with those countries because of the unity of the alliance and the increased capability but also what i saw again coming out of the defense minister as last week and from ambassador adamic and the european defense agency recognition that we've all got to be able to move more quickly so i'm actually more optimistic now than i've been in what year does it mean if you say i am
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a little bit more optimistic who is winning the time war russia or nato no we absolutely will there's no doubt about it. the rand corporation described nato assets in the baltics as being so mismatched with russia us that it was quote inviting a diverse state thing war rather than deterring it do you. i think that the near unilateral disarmament and reduction in capability that we all went through a few years ago. that invited that invited attack so that's why we are all. working as hard as we can to reach rebuild reestablish capability good i'm not never good enough this is deterrence is all in them in the mind of the potential better than ever serious. when the alliance sticks together we are absolutely present traum says
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a pope or allies that one of the reasons why nato is not strong enough is that european defense spending is too low the nato is goal is a two percent of g.d.p. but most nato countries are not before yet it reaches to stop the decrees and so most nations poland romania baltic countries are all either already at two percent or increasing and i would also say that again german leadership germany is at least the army which is you know with what i'm most familiar. the army is led by general your former is got exactly the right focus on retooling the division headquarters that they have to be operationally capable a good modernization effort so but they are far away from these two percent and germany just said that the goal will be fulfilled in twenty twenty four seven years later well that's what the nations all agreed to it wales they gave us if you
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believe in their absolute. says they're going to do something they'll do it and the leadership of a doctor from the line and they have been as councillor and. i have huge confidence in our allies. one of the reasons why presidents trump said nato is obsolete is that what we're talking about many politicians in europe that president mccall force have called particularly after this remark for united u.p.a. in defense cooperation some even say the u.p.a. needs its own army do you think that the european army would complete compete with nato for resources so nato is the best organization for collective security but what we've always needed and wanted is of course a strong european pillar inside the alliance and i think what i have read about this european defense identity actually will do a lot. to help improve efficiency in growing capabilities of
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our european allies. i don't think that i don't think that the vision is a separate force that competes with nato but instead a more efficient and effective european contribution to collective security which would also allow europe to to do things perhaps in africa or whatever that are important is them is this a good idea to have a u.p.a. nami i think nato is the right answer. so the u.p.a. is the wrong and. nato is the right answer for collective security but it needs a stronger european pillar and so i mean nato i think outside nato i don't think it has to be either or i mean each of us does things bilaterally multilateral with other countries so it's not an either or i'm satisfied that there's enough that the smart leadership in europe will figure out how to get the best efficiency from the
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billions of euros that are being spent which is what foreign minister gabriele talked about without without pulling apart what makes nato so good is europe today more secure or less secure than ten years ago. there are there seems like there are more threats now than there were ten years ago the. islamic extremism obviously is a is a real concern and. but i see the nations working harder together to to close those sort of gets intelligence sharing is as good as i've ever seen it but we don't get that we don't get to choose our threats of course islamic extremism the russia's aggression there are other threats that are out there so seems like more threats. that we have to be prepared for. to be prepared also for war in europe it's
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not any of this possible well think about deterrence deterrence is all about demonstrating capability and demonstrating a will. but war is not inevitable it doesn't have to happen. thank you very much for being on conflict is a pleasure thank you i think i learned some stuff today thank you thank you.
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and. from a college santa maria. an old house on the island of crete.
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created their own little island. with nature and playful style a place to feel good. check it out on. in thirty minutes on d w. w's program guide.
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dot com highlights. freedom of expression. a value that always has to be defended and new. all over the world are to a freedom freedom of art. a multimedia project about artists and their right to express their views freely. d w dot com part of freedom. hijacking the news. where i go wrong the news is being hijacked journalism itself has become a scripted reality show it's not just good vs evil us versus them black and white. in countries like russia china turkey people are told it's that stuff and if you're a journalist there and you try to get beyond that you are facing scare tactics intimidation. and i wonder is that where we're headed as well. my
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responsibility as a journalist is to get beyond the smoking mirrors it's not just about being fair and balanced or be neutral it's about being true. when he was born golf and i work in the double. this is the to be a news line from berlin the president of germany tries to break the pull.

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