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tv   The Bottom Line 2019 Ep 2  Al Jazeera  October 30, 2019 3:32am-4:01am +03

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your loss i think about you and your loved ones every day and i know our entire boeing team does as well i know that probably doesn't offer much comfort and healing at this point but i want you to know that we carry those memories with us every day and every day that drives us to improve the safety of our airplanes and our industry and that will never stop at least 30 people have died on a landslide and cameron research teams are still searching for dozens still missing in both loose in the country's western highlands they'll collapse when most people were at home but those are the headlines the news continues on al-jazeera after the bottom line stay with us.
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hi i'm steve clements and i have a question is america an ally that can be trusted let's get to the bottom line. ever since the united states adopted its america 1st stance nato has been lambasted crimea's annexation looks permanent south korea was told they should pay for the us bases in their country and there's a renewed attempt to get out of the so-called forever wars in the middle east so can anyone blame america's allies if they're confused does anyone believe that the us will stand by them in their time of need is america 1st really mean america alone or in america on the sidelines of the big global challenges well we're very fortunate today because we have 3 people in the room that have all 'd the answers to these questions kelly playhouses the executive editor of the american conservative magazine james carafano works on national security and foreign policy
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at the heritage foundation and richard fontayne heads the center for a new american security great to have all of you with us here have a lot to get through today i was surprised by a comment that bret stephens in the new york times made recently where he was agreeing with all people iran's foreign minister zarif and is a reef basically was saying that allies of america. were in kind of a bad place today and that they should neither seek america's permission to do things nor look on at america to secure their security and he's basically saying our allies are in trouble so kelly let me let me start with you what is what is the state of america's allies in the world are how we organize our national security infrastructure around the world in the right way or do our allies need to begin looking for other places to secure their their needs. i think i think the latter is correct i mean i'm i'm thinking of george washington's farewell address when he warned against foreign entanglements he warned that in pursuing these friendships
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partnerships treaties entanglements as he put it would put us in a complicated position and which we were basically selling and sharing our foreign policy basing our foreign policy on other people's other country's interests those entanglements were things that we built after world war 2 that had gone through horrific wars where we had world war one world war 2 nato was securing our security doing a deal with japan and basing u.s. forces abroad was something where we looked at is at that time is vital to u.s. national security and our allies around the world put a lot of trust in those relationships so you think going back to washington that we should we should never have done those well i think. i'm paper that looks fabulous but when we're looking at today's situation when you look at the kurds for instance and the reason why bret stephens wrote that column we're talking about complex relationships based on expedience in our foreign policy we have basically
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maintain this relationship with the p k k that the syrian kurds to get rid of isis but at the same time our turkish nato ally has declared the p.k. k. a terrorist organization so we're in a situation where we've brought turkey into nato in which they have completely different interests at any given time in the united states and then president trump is being blamed for leaving the syrian kurds high and dry but yet they're no longer serving our interests in the region so it gets so complicated that goes beyond the sort of heroism that you're speaking of and world war 2 are creating these alliances to bring peace to the the world jim let me ask you should our allies. be worried about the solvency of their relationship with united states right now you know and the reason for that is what's changed with trump and the reality is not
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much for the united states is a global power with global interests responsibility what knits america to the world's really 3 regions europe the middle east and the you know pacific can the united states guarantee its interests in any one of those 3 areas without allies the short answer is no so what fundamental allies have we dropped and abaddon in europe nato is a strong as ever in the indo-pacific not only do we have the traditional allies like south korea and japan but we have emerging strategic relationships with countries like india so if anything our alliance our partnership structure and the end up as if it is stronger over the last decade and in the middle east you know change all the names you want i mean who does the us go back to time and time again and israel which is our anchor into the region we're back in a strong relationship with egypt we have an alliance we have a relationship with saudi arabia i got to tell you take take the work truck off of there and you're saying it's all good but i want i want to play
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a clip right now president trump on nato nato members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations but $23.00 of the $28.00 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they're supposed to be paying for their defense. now jim i know you're saying that nato has never been stronger never been better and i know that the president is just kicking the shins of our allies to contribute more and make it even stronger but i know that to be the argument but i was at that meeting if you sat down with those defense ministers and you sat down with those leaders they don't feel they feel like nato is wobbly they feel a little bit like america's commitment to the to our mutual security arrangement is not as robust as it once was take tell me where i'm wrong well. every american president going back to eisenhower has complained about nato allies kicking in and
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even president trump at the end of the last nato summit said hey the alliance is great they've kicked in $100000000000.00 this is terrific you know what there are there is while this is nato but it's not the united states it's wobbly if you go to germany today and you look at the state of the german defense contribution concerning the size of their economy that looks a lot lot of if you talk about turkey if you look at where turkey is done some of its other own allies including you bringing in the s 400 as an air defense system and sacrificing the f. $35.00 which is an unbelievable asset which would not only tremendously increase turkey's ability to defend itself but would absolutely expand the capacity of nato to collective to self-defense so yeah there is wobbliness in nato but it's not coming from washington rich what is your dashboard on this look like in the sense that i know from your roles here for new american security that you've written that you sort of lament we have before i don't think you agree with jim to you that nato is in as healthy a form as it could be now i think it's obvious that it's not in part due to the
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fact that the german military is as well funded to develop as it should be but a lot is based on washington and president trump a particular and ensure an alliance is an insurance policy particularly mutual defense agreement like with nato where we say we will defend you if called upon to do so and you will defend us of called upon to do so now it's mostly been the united states is called upon our nato allies to help. said afghanistan and other places we've not had to come to defense of stone or hole in there somebody like that but of course that's there into the bargain and like in any insurance policy against a threat that may or may not materialize you try to think what is the chances that if i need this it's actually going to be there for me what are the chances not only that the american military is big but the american president is going to use it to protect me if called upon to do so and given the president's rhetoric which is really most of what these leaders have to go by they wonder whether if push came to shove the united states would actually go to war to defend montenegro millet
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a nato ally or defend poland to send us dhoni or defend a country like that because the body language and some of the rhetoric of the president suggests that he wouldn't do you think we should yes if they're a nato ally we have made that commitment i think if one falls away then the entire the entire edifice crumbles you can have the debate before a country comes to nato well about whether they'll be and that's why i was annoyed kelly's point is that these entangling alliances get us deeper and deeper into it sounds very much like pre world war one right it sounds a little bit like all of these side deals may get us into something where all of a sudden we have a kinetic conflict we have a war we have deployment of troops and and all other means of war brought in in something that seems smaller than we should be using american muscle and power for the lives so kelly come back to you for a minute on this on this question is i think it's a fasting are we to an inflection point where you believe we need to the united states needs to come back and redesign its alliances and pull back
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a bit i do and i think they did take the example of russia and are evolving relationship with russia as an example russia has been increasingly aggressive as we've been increasingly involving former so great soviet countries into nato so as much as the washington establishment likes to say that that russia has been acting aggressively on. it's own it's it has been in response to the fact that we've brought in these former eastern bloc countries into nato under our security it was called up in the balkans shock at all because of akio hungry so as much as we push they push back and i think that we have to sort of look at what are what are our policies moving forward who are the predominant powers we're seeing russia playing a more productive and it role and things that are happening in syria right now they've reach to russia i mean to china and vice versa and responses to some
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regional and global issues we're finding our power diminishing as their power of china and russia have have escalated we need to like you said maybe recalibrate those relationships. and you know our footprint whether it be in europe or south korea in asia so i think it's time for some sort of reckoning to sort of look at the past and find out and kind of consider where the mistakes of these entanglements are and how we can move forward i know that president trump has sort of like upset the apple cart coming into washington and talking about. you know nato went in and their responsibility even the village idiot nato itself and you know that's upset a lot of people here in washington but i think looking forward we've seen the polls of the of the power structure change and we haven't kept up to it couple kept up
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with it and i think in syria you're seeing that in stark relief right now so i have talked to a lot of supporters of president trump just out in middle america and one of the things that came up with something i heard you know 20 years ago but it still feels real to them is that america fought the cold war and china won and and that people feel as if for everything that they have expended in lives and our g. around the. world other nations are free riding on american power and that they look at it is a sort of an entitlement that is that is due them and jim i want to ask you in that one would you agree with that because that's where a lot of president trump supporters are that they say they want to see america get something back for all of its investment in the world they feel they're due and when you listen to the president's rhetoric whether it's on ukraine or talking about nato or talking to japan or south korea about doing more it's almost a transactional arrangement you need to pay us to defend you we'll decide later if
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that security guarantee is is good if you buy a lot of weapons so should we bring something it's i hate the word to use words quid pro quo but that has a transactional dimension to it to show americans that they're getting something out of these commitments well like us i think not only is there an enormous enormous amount of continuity in our alliance structure and i would argue keli that's because it works in the alliance structures sustain because people feel like they're giving them value to your point i mean when the data i've looked at in the polling is nato is actually more popular governor americans and it's actually more popular among conservatives so there isn't really a kind of a run away from europe attitude in the american public that i mean that's what the data is that. part of it though i agree with you it is the. rhetoric of hey people need to pay up and have skin in the game because i think americans intuitively understand that collective defense is not defending you collective
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defense is that you're involved and that if you are in the game and you participate you're actually a much more reliable partner so we look at for example a. country like poland which is capture the president's attention and which me makes me very hopeful about nato that here is a country on the front lines of nato that values even more the nato engagement and the u.s. commitment and poland is increasing its. it's expenditures. and i think i don't see a distinction between europe and china i think if there's one thing that's kind of a bipartisan consensus in the us is the rise of china is the stabilizing it's what the united states the president's taking that head on so i think strengthening the the alliance structure and partnerships in the middle east in europe in the asia pacific that makes sense to americans because what are we one the president to do to protect us against the people that could so global disorder and eventually come let me hold that thought there and let's run a clip of the president's comments during his inauguration we will reinforce old
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alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical islamic terrorism which we will eradicate completely from the face of the year. rich let me ask you this because it's something i've been struggling with and jim just just put it on the table which is china should this have been we will refer reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against the stabilizing rise of china did we get distracted with the wrong task by overemphasizing radical islamic terrorism is the rational for all the things we were doing when in fact there's a geo strategic threat to the united states as we see it that's on the china side we do organize things differently it's a some extent so you know after 911 everyone woke up and said oh my god we have not paid enough attention to terrorism we took a holiday from history it's all about counterterrorism now or waking up and saying it's all about china it's all about great power competition why did we spend so
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much time in the middle east why do we do these counterterrorism operations and of course the answer is you have to protect the american people from terrorism you also have to protect the american people and their way of life and their economy from the kind of world that autocracies like china and russia seek to build so we're not a regional power we're not a one issue power we've got to do both at the same time and it depends on what the proportions are the president actually deserves some significant credit for the defeat of isis which you know. if we were still watching americans you know being beheaded on t.v. and having attacks inspired in the united states we would be very focused on that it's a good thing that we don't have to be as focused on it as we are now but it doesn't mean that we don't focus on it at all and yes it's true the chinese of britain free for a long time you have a little bit more of a sotto voce kind of approach to building up the alliances and partnerships in asia because if the united states were to go around and say ok country in asia you're with us or you're with china no country will make that stark decision but they would quietly will align themselves more with our side than with china as an
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insurance policy and that's exactly what we want to see polity quite now i mean. there's a really important point that i don't think should get lost or and and that you are i think you're right. in the territories more but the fact is the last 3 presidents have fought islamist terrorism and i think logically nobody really is just that but the point about the great power competition i think is important because if you if you went back and you said bush what your bad guy list he's going to go they're all going to say terrorism but he's going to go china iran north korea and russia and you ask obama what your bad guy list china north korea iran and russia and yes from what your back godless i mean what we actually do say that's remarkable that's the 1st time since the end of the cold war where we've had across 3 presidential ministrations 2 different parties 3 very different presidents essentially have a very similar threat perception now jim tell you this whole thing about vladimir putin and his buddy and kim jong un i mean i just i know i what you're seeing
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a struggle but you know come on you know superficial calling it as if you know you know the most superficial criticism because if you actually look at our policies in north korea and on russia let's be honest i mean they the reason why either they talk to those guys or the north koreans going to tables because those policies are pretty tough but in some ways tougher than obama can south korea trust what trump is going to do on north korea a lot more than the u.s. can trust with south korea's kids who are great but this is the. right so when the president says that he cares about long range missiles shot from north korea that can hit the united states but doesn't care about short range or medium range missiles look at it south korea japan and if you're a south korean or japanese. you know a government official who is relying on the american security guarantee that will make you worried now what happens if there's an actual attack who knows who you're always in the realm of who knows but do you look at the signaling up to that but you know jim's point is why we don't live in george washington's world he was a great man but it was 240 some years ago and there were european. empires and he
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didn't want to get there so you just. sort of montaigne's says george washington's a little dated a little a little dated the powered way a particularly one of the great question i want to deal with i want to tell you that iran and north korea with allies on our side or without the noise that only those countries don't have a bit of help he was getting is something that a lot it's a level but meet the discussion and i want to tip my hat to it because she's getting back at the question of what and why why are we doing what we're doing in the world a lot of national security decisions in this country in the united states are driven more by inertia than by planning in my in my view and i lived in japan i grew up on a military base in japan i saw 39 u.s. military installations on okinawa and i would ask why are they there and you would see some of the irresponsible behavior of these of these leaders in the region over their history and what not they could do that because u.s. forces were there so it raised the question of what we're trying to achieve and
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would everyone's behavior change if they counted on us less counted on the united states less kelly well i and i agree with that entirely and unfortunately my magazine seems to be in the minority when we're talking about these issues we have writers talking about all the time whether or not we need to get to reduce our footprint and south korea for example sure you advocating isolationism but it's not isolationism. because it is it is basically reducing our reliance on a military solution to every problem and globally we're not talking about reducing our diplomatic treaties we're not talking about reducing the treaties we make or even the the trade involved the communication you know the alliances it is a matter of reducing our military footprint which in many cases has actually been an instigating factor in some of these hot spots that you're seeing and i'd just
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like to go back to the ticking off of the different. enemies so to speak you know one of them is is terrorism and we've talked about isis but isis would not exist today if it wasn't for the invasion of iraq and i feel like when we have these medical stations about foreign policy we normally talk about in terms of old alliances and current threats but we don't talk about how we got there and we invaded iraq that was a complete there was a there was a conversation that washington was having but it was a foregone conclusion now we find ourselves there we created you know al qaeda in iraq which wasn't there before and then iraq al qaeda was diminished and what came up was isis so we're talking about a threat that would have existed if we didn't make some of the foreign policy decisions and get into some of the entanglements that we find ourselves in jim you lived in your eye bro we would know how to fight world war 2 if we had won world
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war one of the i mean you could play the historical game tonight and then pick a point where you want to blame somebody one is we could debate that all day long i'm not sure it gets us where the other thing is the reality in foreign policy is you are where you are maybe you don't like how you got here but it will shake your head all you want but we're. learning from our mistakes is that not is that something that we should expect from our leader or our listener limerick issue here which is you should learn from our mistakes or you look at us. so we should all learn from our mistakes look at the nightly exactly the right thing to the people and so you know you are an authority and want to reach well i think there is certainly a different group of people who are in that area and the rich so we are where we are and yes we should learn from mistakes that we've made in past decisions but the question now is are we better off doing x. or doing why are we better off staying in syria in iraq and putting pressure on isis are we better off leaving and not doing that but the idea of fair validate the president no no no killing no i mean look at all the people that he looked at look who he thing to think the troops are on the ground i think our intelligence
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partners and think you know i mean without partners allies and troops on the ground we've not been able to carry out that mission so maybe it would be better if we didn't carry out the mission baghdad was alive today i think it would not be but that's the kind of costs you absorb if you if you make those sorts as we have just a few minutes i want to ask each of you a question because we haven't brought it up it hasn't come up in this discussion but your former boss senator john mccain would not have allowed this discussion due to take place without discussing mentioning america's commitment to the human rights needs of others in the world and so we have a discussion so in this discussion where should human rights fit or not fit have we moved beyond that i think it's a huge well i think on its merits it's a huge element of american foreign policy but it's also a comparative advantage for us the russia and china in this great power competition want to build a world that is safe for their particular brand of autocracy they're using technology and other means to export their own values and yet we have a very different view we should be defending our own democracies and we should be
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supporting the aspirations of democracies and human rights abroad because it gives a strategic advantage as well as being good on the merits you think we're doing it well we do it to a greater a much later less degree in the trump and the obama administrations in the high point in the bush administrations there's a happy medium that we need to sort of wobble towards because the state department do stuff the white house kelly differently well i mean you brought up a bomb administration and. obama's administration had escalated the drone war more than the bush administration so the whole idea that he was promoting this sort of humanitarian and intervention sounds good but what how he was doing it what's killing others with killing other people in places like pakistan and somalia and other places which created more terrorists and we know that and that is part of learning from mistakes and jim i'm going to give you the final word i mean i think in some places some instructions go to great record i think they've been great for advocating for the rights of citizens of it as well they've been terrific on the
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rowing another areas like i'd like to see a stronger but america is always a nation of interests of values which which one do we then and so the answer is we try to advance both to the best of our capability and i think that's the right that fascinating conversation is great i'd like to thank you all for being with us richard fontaine c.e.o. of the center for numerous american security james carafano vice president of the davis institute for national security and foreign policy at the heritage foundation and kelly playhouse executive director of the american conservative magazine thank you all so much for being with me. so what is the bottom line as the u.s. continues to rearrange its alliances no ally could be blamed for not knowing which way is north america was joined at the hip with the kurds in syria the kurds who clobbered the islamic state but today america hardly knows them and as for human rights trumps white house clearly hasn't made them a priority the value of being allied with america has simply plummeted allies can't count on the us to really stand by them in their dark times and that's the bottom line see you next week.
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november on al-jazeera. 30 years after the fall of the berlin wall movie looking back at that defines that moment in history whose truth is it anyway follows journalists from around the world who are taking on those determined to modify the truth. spain will hold its called the election in 4 years after april's inconclusive votes join us for coverage. a new series brings people together to discuss some of the big issues of our time and tucker's president added on will
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meet with u.s. president trump at the white house we'll bring you the latest. november on. a young girl. think of the author of bias wendy popped up as an ancient. and they had this opportunity. to limit the young gals both those that can postpone with a phone call to be able to stay employed but that's one path and available to change have fun. meet the women in guyana who are going places when it comes to education women make change on al-jazeera. didn't the us treasury report just a good months ago say that no china was in terms of the goods we bring you the stories and developments that are markedly changing the world we live in what's behind the eyes of piracy. counting the cost on al-jazeera the
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moon. i have a more hidden in doha the top stories on al-jazeera lebanon's prime minister has submitted his resignation to the country's president after days of antigovernment protests said harry reid says he has reached a dead end in trying to resolve the political crisis turkey has condemned the u.s. house of representatives for passing a bill officially recognized in the mass killing of armenians as genocide is also passed a bill threatening sanctions over turkey's military operation in northern syria ellen fisher has more from washington d.c. a very difficult couple of hours.


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