tv Today in Washington CSPAN April 13, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT
i just was thinking, you know, if we for a minute made the mental experiment, the imf wasn't there, right? i think we would see very few people, maybe nobody would give an integrated view of the overall economic, social, human challenges the world faces. and in a way, the staff at the imf, the tradition, the lessons
it is learned over the past, i think represent the rich get to the international community and to corporation in the world, while respecting as you did the sovereignty of nation states. but also, my friends, they need to share some of that sovereignty for the common good. and i think we are very, very lucky to have christine lagarde at the helm of the institution. so many, many thanks. [applause] >> [inaudible conversations] >> coming up next, a discussion
on u.s. relations with turkey russia and iran. wants to look out bells were sounded, the look outside an iceberg ahead, they struck the bells up in the crows nest three times, which is a warning saying that there's some object ahead. it doesn't mean deadhead, it doesn't say what kind of object. with the look out did come he went to a telephone and call down to the officer on the bridge to tell them what it is that they saw. and when the phone was finally answered, the entire
conversation was what do you see? and the response was, iceberg right ahead. >> the response from the officer was, thank you. >> the truth and myths of that night sunday at 4 p.m. eastern, part of american history tv this weekend on c-span3. >> now a discussion of u.s. relations with turkey iran and russia, and wrote each country has any serious escalating violence. former president carter's national security advisor zbigniew brzezinski is joined by brent scowcroft, former national security advisor to gerald ford and h. w. bush. this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> good morning. i'm jon alterman, the chair and global security strategy here at csis. is a great pleasure to welcome you all here. i want to thank you for making
today possible. of what remind you to be silenced your cell phone. i want to remind you we'll be live tweeting from at sea yes yes, underscore, using hash tag 2012. that must be meaningful to somebody. [laughter] i'm not sure exactly who. following the panel we'll take questions from the audience so please wait for a microphone, identify yourself, please be sure to ask your question in the form of the question which is not to make a statement that been said your distinguished speakers to what do you think of my statement? lunch will be served during the third session starting at 12:30. this panel on turkey, russia and iran arises out of project were doing at csis led by steve lanigan to look at this part of the world that has been in many ways into related in ways that
don't necessarily involve us, you have three remnants of empires have been interacting for a millennia with each other, sometimes as rivals, sometimes as partners. and yet it's not really the center of what we think about. and we thought it would be good as turkey's role changes come as russia's role changes come as the world continues to try to think of what to do with iran and how to deal with iran, this would be a good venue, to people who are i think parallel, general scowcroft is security fight for the ford and bush administrations. zbigniew brzezinski, national security advisor for the carter administration, i think to the washington audience they need absolutely no introduction. there's a tremendous amount of wisdom on this panel. mike schiller will hasten to tell you that i add to that wisdom not one bit.
so let me go right to asking you, general scowcroft, in the last 10 years turkey's role in the world has changed dramatically. in your view what are the most important ways that turkey's role and turkey's policy is changed in the last 10 years? and what are the contents in the way turkey looks at its role in the world? >> i think the chief change has been that turkey is no longer facing 90% to the west. it has turned east, or broadened its scope to the east. ride out the -- right after the end of world war ii, remember our engagement in the cold war really began in turkey and greece with a to turkey and greece. and turkey became a pillar of
nato, and a very close and the military since ally of the united states. and they were one of the best members of nato. they helped us in south korea in the korean war. turkey sent troops there. we have a very good relationship with them. it was a surface relationship. they were good allies and we had this kind of comfortable relationship. now, turkey as i said is reaching out to the east, south, in all directions. and their foreign policy expression is no enemies anywhere around. so it's a very imaginative but very different relationship, and
i think we need to adjust to that. and i think while turkey is not the comfortable friend that was before, its role is even more important than it was before. and i think the relationship between, that has developed between president obama and president and prime minister erdogan is very interesting. >> not a comfortable friend anymore, how do we accommodate ourselves to a turkey that is doing more and more things that make some of our policies more difficult? i'm thinking particularly about the growing trade relationship between turkey and iran at a time when the u.s. has tried to cut iran off from economic support around the world.
>> first of all, let me say that turkey is an independent country, right? it has a right to whatever kind of relationship it wishes to have with any of its neighbors. and if we want turkey to follow the path that we favor, then we have to be sensitive also to its interests, reciprocity, even if not closely balance is the name of the game and international politics. the little further. i agree with everything that brent said but i would add the following to it. turkey's greater scope of reach today is a reflection of its internal vitality, the relative success, continuing success, of the model that they have now been pursuing 490 years. in the process, transforming turkey much most essentially
than the comparable process of change immediately to the north of turkey, namely russia. because the transformation of russia began under lenin in the 19th was the transformation of turkey begun in the 1920s. and today, turkey is more democratic and more stable democratic country than anything than existed in russia. and with much less bloodshed. and far more change with the flow of things. and the mannerisms and the education of the country, modeled very much incidentally on early '20s century germany. so turkey is in that sense a successful case of modernization and progressive democratization which still has some shortcomings.
>> its foreign policy in recent years as a byproduct of the success but also something else that i'd like to add to what brent said, namely disappointment. the turks took very seriously the european decision to join the e.u. and they have been trying to meet the very tough standards for e.u. membership but they've been trying trying to meet them. in the meantime they are learning from at least two principal european countries, that maybe they are not welcome in your. that has been a real shock to the turks. and in that sense, that sense of rebuff, conditioned some of the turkish into secrecy is that we see on the world scene. second, as you the turks were not enamored of our decision to go into iraq militarily and unilaterally in 2003. they were not enamored of it and
they were not pleased to have their arms twisted in order to get them to join us. that, too, affected their outlook. so there are little bit i would say inclined to being more a sort of in terms independence. but fundamentally one looks at the political map of eurasia, turkey as a pivot state, it's pivotal in terms of its security of your, in so far as the turmoil in the middle east is concerned. it's a source of some opportunity for the new stands in terms of their coming more part of the world, and depend on russia. and on top, turkey has pursued a readily independent policy towards russia in which they have reached accommodation. so all of that gives turkey special prominence. all of that, and i'll stop richard of because i've gone over some aspects of this
reason, all i will say additionally is all of that would be very badly threatened if things in syria go badly and do things with iran go badly. and the worst of all, if things go badly with both syria and in iran, thereby linking these problems into an escalating dynamic, that would be a major threat to the region, a very, very significant threat to turkey itself. >> thank you. i was an author wrote a couple weeks ago, former army colonel came up to me quietly and said, turkey's policy in syria is a disaster. >> what? >> a disaster. turkey has been much too aggressive confronting them. how do you assess the we turkey has looked at the problem in city and try to position itself both in the neighborhood and more broadly in the world? >> that's a very interesting examination, because i think it
tells you a lot about prime minister erdogan. because five years ago, turkey and syria were very close. and their trade across the border was booming. they were very for close. erdogan i believe has now decided that assad is a menace and needs to go, and erdogan is now on sort of a democracy kick. i say sort of because you see the results. you don't hear the discussions that much. but i think that turkey has decided that the internal situation in syria is serious enough that assad can't deal
with and needs to go. and so he has turned from, not an ally, but fairly close to assad to probably his worst enemy now. >> do you think that was the right way to orient turkey? should turkey have been more circumspect, in your mind, then they have been? >> you know, i don't feel like -- first of all, i'm sure they know much more about this problem than i do. i'm sure, absolute sure they know much more about it than the u.s. does. [laughter] so i kind of defer to the turks, and secondly to the saudis in so far as syria is concerned. i think we have to drop the practice of announcing publicly
when things start going badly in some country, that its leader must go, with the emphasis on the word most. these kind of categorical announcements from on high which are not following any action don't produce anything except more tension in country. it's much better to have some sort of notion of what one is going to do before one talks. insofar as syria is concerned, in my view from the very beginning was that this is not like iraq. assad is not like gadhafi, and the distribution of forces within the conflicted country is very different, in iraq -- in libya, sorry. lady, talking about libya. in libya you at significant position from a gadhafi from the very beginning. and debate in half the country. if you look at the map of the
conflict in syria it is sporadic, it's here, it's there, it's in this town, it's in that town, it's in this region but it is not clearly divided or injuring. basically the country is in a kind of occasional anarchy in some parts of the country, but there are no clear lines. and our ability to deal with it from this area, from here, is relatively limited. so i've been under the view that we should back whatever the turks and the saudis say. area. whatever. >> what about the russian? >> if they decide they want to go when, we will back them as the british and french in libya. if they decide they want to play it cool, we should back them. if you want to go to the u.n., we should back it. what about the russians? well, the turks are certainly sensitive to russia's concerns. we know what the russian position is. it's much more reticent. it's much less inclined to write
off assad from day one. the problem is, in fact, that while assad has now become the brutal dictator, there is no viable alternative to him. and he seems to have the evidence of power still under his control. so unless turkey is prepared to mobilize its armed forces and send them into syria, and i don't count on the saudis and and anal like that, they can provide the money, who else is going to do it and how? so i think frankly we just have to let this problem work itself out with the turks and the saudis and arabs nearby, basically take the initiative not freezing out the russians or the chinese with condemnations to the fact that their conduct is disgraceful, disgusting and so forth, which was said publicly by senior u.s. officials, but see if we can create some sort of consensus to
back the turks and the saudis to try to resolve this problem. >> general, a number of people talk about the importance of using syria as a way to isolate iran, cut off iran's access to a frontline state again. israel cut off iran's access to the mediterranean. do you see this as a principal way to isolate iran? and if so, what are the policy prescriptions involve? >> i don't see that as a way to isolate iran. i see it, that as a way to prevent iran to hezbollah and hamas in interfering in the palestinian issue. i don't see action in syria especially as an attempt to deal with the iranian question. i agree.
there are some problems that don't have obvious solution fix it is one of the most complicated countries in the region, in terms of ethnic, religious, cultural, traditional splits. it's badly fractured, and that's why you have, it's not one center. it's not like the tribal system in libya. and we can't treat it that way. you know, in a geopolitical sense, bring the russians in again. the russians and the chinese have stayed on the u.n. resolution on libya, and the u.n. resolution said do you support this authorized to protect civilians? we use the u.n. authorization to overthrow gadhafi. so to condemn the russians and
the chinese for vetoing a similar resolution on syria, well, i found it astonishing. because what they were saying is, you know, you fooled us once you are not going to fool us again. clear out the regime change in the region. well, the regime change, it's all fact no. and then the russians, for the russians it is as well, especially since syria is their last, shall we say clients state, 30 years ago, the u.s. and russia were struggling for leadership in the middle east. the last stronghold of the was in russia, so that's more what the issue is, and i think if the
regime change in syria, well, i don't even know what regime would fall. if assad left tomorrow, you would not have a peaceful syria. there is no obvious, and as zbig said, the center of powers in syria is largely intact. that is, the military structure is run by assad and the alawites, even though the bulk of the ordinary soldiers are probably sunni, not shia. the business community is hurting, has not fundamentally deserve. so there isn't anything there to get hold of. >> let me just add to this. we have to think of this, syria, exactly the way brenda looked at
it in this larger setting. suppose we were to chart, suppose we start searcy disarming the scattered opposition. it's not going to prevent the survey not in the short run, but it will certainly intensify and tension in the region will grow. suppose in this context the conflict starts with iran. iran gets bombed by the israelis, iranians retaliate against us because they will think we can spy. will have to do something about. so we get in the conflict with the iranians in the city. so this is an escalation of violence in syria and now we are retaliating against iran if it wasn't -- what do the iranian? >> the easiest thing they can do right now to hurt us is not only to make life more miserable for us in western afghanistan, where
we are planning to withdraw heavily and peacefully over the next year, but they can destabilize iraq very quickly by inflame the shiites. thereby linking that violence with violence in syria. and all of a sudden we have violence that spans from pakistan all the way to the mediterranean. if we are not thoughtful and intelligent and really strategized before we issue some categorical demands to other countries about how they have to run their affairs. now, what happens in that context with the russians? first of all, it's very close to them. secondly, if there is a conflict that involves iran or syria, there is a real risk, some evidence for it now developing, of some conflict between iran and other countries because the iranians are beginning to blame
-- they could lash out at the british army which is a very support and dashed to a very important source of image. and to compound this, there are a large developing very the situation with the russian. the russians in the last few months have upgraded their 58th army, stationed just north of georgia, to the highest level of any one of the russian armies throughout russian territory. and the georgians are becoming very much alarmed, that if there's a conflict between iran, the russians might do something. which means -- such importance to european energy independence would be cut. so we can have all of a sudden
an escalating conflict that has many diffe ramifications and could have very serious consequences to so my sort of basic advice to everyone is, play it cool, and think through what this might mean. because this is a very volatile region with potential for explosions in several different spots, including -- this may sound terribly catastrophic but the fact of the matter is that is the actual situation, not to mention of course the problem is that israel, palestinian, egypt, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. i think we better be aware of the fact that our dominance to the middle east is rapidly diminishing. and our capacity to influence it simply by verbal commands is near zero. we better work with others intelligently and how to manage this problem. >> general, if we are wise enough to avoid a crisis center but you still have an israeli
strike on iran this summer, what do you think that means for turkish interests, both in near-term and in the sort of two to five year time frame, given that turkey has relations with both iran with israel and also with us? >> let me go back to answer that, start with prime minister bertie one has had a following hundred and all went out with the israeli. and i think it's principally stands from the fact that while he met with the israeli leadership shortly before the operation into gaza, he was not told anything about it. and i think as a result of that and the interception of the ship into gaza, relationships have
gotten much worse. and i think that an israeli strike on iran would not be taken kindly by the turks. it would, as zbig says, it would produce almost incalculable results for the united states. it would make the region much more difficult for the turks who are really trying now to play a diplomatic role in the region. and i think it's a role however dubious the prospects may be, it's a role that we should welcome. because it is fundamentally in our interests. and i think that the turkish
role, for example, in hosting the talks with the iranians is a very useful way that turkey can go. and so i think that a, a step of this character by israel would sharply diminish the utility of what turkey can do, and sharply increase the antagonism. and erdogan is a very volatile personality, and he, you know, he has walked off the stage in a meeting like this, for example,
at the topmost. so he reacts viscerally to what he sees as injustices or hurts. and so that also, we have to keep in mind here. and you know, frequently, frequently we have a tendency to think this is so complicated. you know, just, let's use a little force, let's just clean this thing out. well, i think zbig has painted a good picture of the consequences of just doing that. and complicated and difficult the situation is, it can be worse. and almost certainly would be should somebody take a turn to strong violence. >> you both talked about china's
interest in maintaining the status quo. china's involvement in syria. as we look at the relationship between turkey, russia and iran, does the rise of china effect that relationship? or is it really just outside, an extra driver that doesn't affect the intimacies between these three countries? >> it's probably doesn't affect the intimacies as you put it between these three countries, but i think it does affect sort of the general attitude toward this issue. the chinese, i don't think, at any particular state in any particular kind of an outcome in syria. they have a stake in the region, i think that's the fundamental concern. they are fully aware of the fact that the region gets excited,
the consequences are unpredictable. they will immediately hurt their own economic interests, particularly because of their dependence on energy from the middle east. but it also hurts more generally in southwest asia, including islamic element that is of concern to them. they do border afghanistan, after all. and they have problematic -- i don't think this -- conflicts in this region will certainly not help that they confront. and which probably on the political level are becoming more difficult to deal with even within china itself as a society becomes more politically conscious. so i think the chinese have a generally conservative attitude towards this kind of problem, but they don't want to be beholden to themselves because they feel they don't have to be. the russians don't quite feel that way because the russian
republic, they could become involved. i could also see opportunities for themselves if things begin to go up in flames. so the russian attitude is inherently different, but the chinese, the russians by and large share a common attitude here, which is one of let's not push the envelope, let's not let things get out of hand. and this is why there is an international potential that the united states i think could intelligently exploit in order to dampen down the province of syria and of iran, president allow itself itself to be pushed into a situation in which, let's say, by late september, early october we will be evidently giving the iranians the choice of either humiliating situation to new demands and restrictions that would be imposed on them only and not in keeping
anti-within the provisions, or economic strength elation. in which case you don't know how the iranians themselves might be a. they might even lash out. it's not a terribly well organized and disciplined government. we could have all sorts of ways in which the conflict begins, not just within israeli necessary attack on iran but even with the iranians lashing out. regarding all that, the chinese simply from the kind of semi-opposition's position are saying to anyone else, just dampen down the pace, don't make categorical demands, they'll make extreme threats, don't issue orders from the olympic heights which you cannot been in force. just cool it. and i don't think that's necessarily and unsound approach to the situation. >> i think zbig is right, and we tried to get the chinese to entertain a lot of places.
that's not their way. this is not their world, or -- iran is a special case. the chinese attitude has been we get about 20% of our oil from iran. they are a good commercial customer. that's all we're interested in. but they're beginning to realize that if something happens and there is a conflict, whether the israelis do something, there is a conflict in iran to what does that do to their supply of oil into the price of oil? and so now they're beginning to realize, i think, that they do have the equities that they need to protect there. but in general, they're very much against the use of force, especially just endemic lay the
use of force in situations like syria. because they relate everything to themselves, suppose there is an insurrection in tibet. those kinds of things. so they are against intervention in anybody's affairs. but they cannot avoid in the middle east their critical dependence on oil and the consequences for china, if things go badly. >> can i just add something to that? that's a very important point, and i think it bears on something else that is related here. look at here is sort of the speaker, occasionally public, more often private fashion, the british and the french. now, from a historical point of view, isn't that food for thought? what are they proceeding in the
region? colonial powers. they are kind of indicating to us, be tough to this, to the. it worked in libya, i supported what they did in the day because i thought that was doable. hit i think it will just produce a big mess. so the chinese attitude in some respects is more in line than the attitude of some of our friends who seem to think that it's going to be a cinch. iranian cities will be bombed, iranians complain, hard to do anything, problem solved. >> when you're in government -- >> i don't think it will be that way. >> probably the farthest thing from your mind, but that seems to be the place where in. should we be hoping for change in government and iran, in your
view? she would be pushing for change in government? when you were in government when he saw the union disappeared, what does that experience tell you about how we should treat these kind of changes in countries? >> i think one of the worst policies is solving our problem by regime change. first of all, we don't know how to do it. secondly, we don't know virtually any country well enough to know what the consequences of regime change would be, whether it would be better or worse. and it puts a coloratura relationship -- color to a relationship that is very bad. when we, for example, said the solution in north korea is regime change, that puts the chinese clear out. regime change scares them to death.
in north korea. the consequences. and now we are working much more closely together. in iran, i think one of the things that most, is most disconcerting to the iranians is our implicit regime change policy. and it seems to me that if we were to go to iran and say look, your regime is what it is, we are not trying to overthrow it, we understand you have security problems, and we are prepared to sit down with you and look at a security structure for the region in which you will feel comfortable. so you don't need to go this route, this nuclear route. indeed, if you give your security situation will be worse, not better.
and give the iranians a way out other than abject surrender or conflict. and that is not all that clear to them now, and i hope that in these meetings, that that will sort of show the way. the iranian government is a very complicated structure. there is a formal government itself which doesn't have any fundamental power. there's the religious structure, the mullahs, whose constitution did have the ultimate political power. and then there's the revolutionary guard. not the army. the revolutionary, i mean not their formal military strength. the enforcers. now, these three have a relationship with each other that we don't fully understand.
but playing around with that and decide who is a good guy or who is a bad guy is i think beyond our intelligence capability. >> it sounds like algeria plus. we tell the iranians to recognize them and we actually would help us to a security structure in the region. should that be the goal for our posts because i think the goal of our policy right now ought to be an arrangement which is in keeping with the prevailing international norms, and the obligations of the nonproliferation treaty. the fact of the matter is that the united states right now is under considerable pressure to demand a negotiating process things which go far beyond that, which impose far more restrictive and truly humiliating conditions for the
iranians, more less to put them in a cage. i think that policy, it is pursued by the united states, will have an effect, first of all, not of promoting regime change, but regime reinforcement. because it unites the people with the government. the iranians are proud people, 80 million, with really one of several impressive histories in terms of state grants, and they happen to feel strongly, they are entitled to a nuclear program, which most of them i assume think is not a weapons program. it may be a weapons program in some respects. it may have been an actual weapons program several years ago, but right now it's unclear as to what it is. it in terms of service iranian perception of this issue domestically, it's their right to have a program which stems from a modern country which meets their needs to do we out
to be negotiating in my view on behalf of international kenya and not on behalf of just of ourselves or of israel, but on behalf of the international community that the iranians are fulfilling all of the restrictions and obligations. and if that is the case i think we perhaps can have an accommodation that meets our needs, and in the long run, actually in my view, promotes political change in iran because it reduces the collision that brings the government and the regime together. but to repress in these negotiating for capitulation by the iranians, that's to say they will submit to restrictions which no one else is subject to, it's going to fail. and then, well, we have to try to present what the consequences might have been. i don't think they are in the american national interest. i don't think there in the
interest of the region. >> when it comes to changing the nature of government, you talk about, you feel something is germany and russia, something political is germinating, that there's a nostalgia in the current russian government. but you're getting is russia in the future, as you've written in your recent book, is a country that we should try to bring into the western alliance. what is the timeline, in your mind, for change in russia? what is a different kind of rush mean both fort east-west, piece of russian foreign policy but also north, south east that gets into turkey and iran relationship. >> i write in my book both russia and turkey out to be the countries we seek to engage and diversified committee. it doesn't mean they have to join the e.u. with all those obligations, but some framework
that embraces russia and turkey, and respond to you directly, first of all, it is my argument that turkey is meeting the standards of what this committee and braces in terms of political vouchers. russia culture and historically our religiously part of the west. there's one aspect of russian history which is totally missing in terms of its western connection, and that his political values of constitutionalism, rule of law, supremacy of law, of its state. that is missing. but it's beginning to emerge. this is the most interesting aspect of recent developments in russia. you have at the apex a political leadership personalized by putin that is nostalgic for the recent past. he sad famously that the greatest calamity of the 20th century was the fragmentation of the soviet union. a century in which we of world war i, world war ii, the
holocaust, hiroshima, nagasaki and so forth. but the worst calamity was the dismantling of the soviet union. he wants to re-create it as a eurasian union which is pushing now. but much more important is the fact that within russia there is now emerging an international mind that middle-class, younger members of the middle-class locate in the big cities, most of whom have continuous exposure to the west and the world at large, who traveled to the west, who studied in the west in many cases, and who are partaking of the notion that they are a civic society. that is, to say a society entitled to have the same privileges and rights that democracy in the west have. this is something utterly new in russia, and it is getting stronger and stronger. and it is accompanied by something which is also without president in russia, totally without president.
the absence of political fear. the fact that someone now dear goes out to red square and hold up a placard in which they show put them behind bars, to me it was unthinkable. the person doing that 20 years ago, 30 years, 40 years ago, shot probably within a day. the new civic society that is emerging literally fearless, and that's a new reality. and, therefore, i think both russia and turkey and gravitate to the west and it would be smart. but if we draw these categorical lines, particularly we look with indifference at something that could erupt with greater significant violence, play the game of being basically different to it, i think these possibilities would fade away and we could plunge into
uncertainty on the international scene. was essentially unpredictable dynamics and work. and one thing you know about a war is, you never know how to end, how long it will take, and what might be some of the manifestations of within takes place. >> you have all been very patient with me. we have some microphones. i want to open it up for questions. again, if you would identify yourself, and don't ask one question because we have a room full of people. and also ask your question in the form of a question. server, right here in the front. >> first, hello? i'm james farwell, special operations command. first, thank you for your remarks to i wonder if both of
you, and you'll comment all of it on this piece with the atlantic council in december, but i wonder if you all could each comment on how well you think that the administration, i'm not looking for partisan, just an assessment, how will the administration is doing in fulfilling the types of policies that the both of you are advocating here today? and what you think they should be doing next? >> i don't really know how to get my arms around a question like that. the kinds of policies we adopt and how the administration is doing them. let me just say that i think the administration is facing a very different world, and i think we
see it. we see in the arab spring. i think the arab spring and its consequences in russia has been described there will. the reaction would be different almost every place it happens. and so i think fundamentally we have to be agile, thoughtful, and broad-minded. the atmosphere in washington today is none of those. and that worries me. i think, for example, in russia, i agree completely with zbig, we don't always agree with everything relative to russia. putin is not a dummy. putin was nostalgic for the soviet union.
putin was resentful of the west because he thinks we walked all over russia at the end of the cold war. but he's not a dummy. and i think he sees in the six years where medvedev was the president, that he got a lot of thing done that putin didn't -- that putin couldn't get done. is not the stall check for the cold war and so on. putin, when he said now i'm going to be the president again and he's going to be the prime minister, i think was actually surprised at the reaction inside russia because you know, that's the way russia works. well, it doesn't now. but i don't think he is a dummy. and i think you may see a different putin and a different russia, which i think as zbig
said, is, i would say, over some period of time, and i would say maybe a generation or more, going to fill in what has been missing in russia as a european member. and that is, rule of law and civic government. >> i would just add this. i think it's unfortunate that we are confronting this very complex crisis, which i have no doubt the president and secretary of state, secretary of defense, stand well. it's unfortunate this is compounded by the simultaneous presidential political process. that affects everything in a very, i think, complicating fashion. clear-cut response, and a highly focused response but more difficult for us to mount. so i think that is a timing
problem that really is a complication in all of this. >> next question right up your. here. >> you only to the change of situation afghanistan close to america with you on also to the caucuses but i wonder if each of you might touch on how you assess the interests of these three countries, turkey, russia and iran and central asia and the caucasus, and in contrast their abilities and capacity to realize those were them i come into conflict and where we might see for the trouble in this region, particularly given some of the ships that we see, particularly after the withdrawal from afghanistan. >> would you do that in two minutes? [laughter] >> i would put it this way. as long as this situation is not explosive, the interests are not incompatible entirely.
that's to say there's a kind of kashmir between the turks and the russians going to some extent between the russians and the iranians. turks and iranians, regarding trade patterns, existing status quo, not necessary like to buy all of them in russia, for example, turks don't mind. it's useful to them. and the iranians sort of a commented to that by necessity. but if the situation deteriorates and becomes explosive, i fear that the antagonistic interests of these states will surface. this is why bigger and better things could happen. it could also happen with our communications getting stronger, and the fabric of stability in the entire region gets torn apart by unpredictable events but becoming dynamic, didn't i think conflict between them would become even sharper.
further contributing to the negative consequences of an eruption. this is why the stakes are so large, and this is why i do deplore the kind of limited engine and is taking place at the political level regarding the problems in the region. and why i don't sense sufficient serious strategic analysis of potential for really significant turn of events here in this region, and our political approach to these issues. >> just let me add one thing. one thing where to put back in our minds is the historic relationship between russia and iran. during world war ii, russia occupied the northern half of iran. we use iran as a major conduit for military assistance to russia in world war ii. after the war, iran was probably
our first crisis with russia, where i ran wanted, or i mean, excuse me, russia wanted to build a satellite regime in iran, and we said no, absolutely no. and instead, the shaw moved in. so there's a lot of history here that we forget about completely. >> that's a good point. we mustn't forget a huge slice of what would be called -- a huge slice is in turkey. a very large number is in iran. and a very large number of iranians are a serious. but we're living in the age of nationalism. and nationalism produces state identities that are sometimes in conflict with the potential to
of this problem should not be underestimated. >> right there. >> i am a student at johns hopkins university, and i want to ask if you can speak a little more about turkey's strategic stand with iraq, not one from economic and political sense but also vis-à-vis iran the nuclear program. >> i didn't hear it. >> the question had to do with turkey's position towards the iranian nuclear program. what do you think turkey is trying to do when it engages in iran? how large a piece of its strategy used even with her liberation challenge and what are its goals when it comes to iran? >> i don't really know.
turkey has not pronounced itself on the iranian nuclear program. i think turkey and iran have a sort of -- about oil and turkey is dependent for energy resources on others. i think, you know, there are the two pillars of the region, if you include russia, the three, for centuries, the iranian empire, the ottoman empire, and the russian empire, and these sort of relationships go back and our intuitive in people's minds and attitudes of the way
they think about these. my guess would be that the turks are not so concerned about the iranian program as we are. but i think one of the consequences if iran proceeds and develops a nuclear weapons program would almost certainly be that turkey would follow suit. so that would be my answer to the question. >> i would just add this. we do have some indications of what the turkish attitude is towards the iranian nuclear problem, because the turks and the brazilians came up with a would be solution to the problem. and they negotiated it on the basis initially, not instructions but advice from us as to what they opt to seek. and they came out with a
solution, and we changed their minds on the subject and we decided that wasn't good enough. it involved essentially a systematic effort to put iran within the nt bbox, no more, no less. >> somebody back there? yes all the way back in the corner. >> thank you. doctor brzezinski mentions possibility that new russia, georgia were under some circumstances. how serious was france, what do you think? >> i'm sore, how serious -- >> thank you. >> without some sort of a conflict erupting in the region i wouldn't say very high, but if there's a conflict in the region, which begins to escalate, then that possibility
rises. >> in the back. >> thank you. i'm with the chair of the standing committee and the american bar association with national security. what is conspicuous absence from your marks, as very thoughtful, other than reference by doctor brzezinski of the war of the ft, what you see the role of the international organization, the u.n., i know both of you has been a great deal of time trying to make those organizations relevant. author regional organizations, or do they conspicuously not going to play a role as you see in the relationship between this power negotiations of the conflict in the region? ..
>> constructive, pacifying role in africa. the problem that we're discussing today, unfortunately, involves powers with more or significant regional scope of influence or potential disruptiveness. and that means in turn that the source of the resolution of these problems can only come from the major powers. and this is why it is so important that we and the others who work with us -- because we cannot solve it by ourselves -- have some sort of a shared strategy for coping with the problems that brent and i have been discussing today. because i don't think we can
impose the solution, and i'm not sure that we even have the right approach towards the problem. others that say, like, the chinese may have the right solution, but for more distance with less engagement. so they can't resolve the problem either. but if we can contrive a process in which the five plus one in negotiating with iran and we talking to the turks and the saudis regarding syria and engaging the russians and the chinese in the background of that, perhaps we can cope. but unless we do that very systematically with a larger concept in mind, i think the situation will slide out of control and secondary participants in the problem will set the pace. iran gets attacked. not by us, but the consequences are felt by us. the situation in syria
deteriorates, and someone overreacts. that gets out of control too. and this is why a really serious approach based precisely on the so-called five plus one has to be pursued, but with a sense of collective responsibility and not under one country's -- perhaps just our own -- interests being uppermost in mind, particularly at a time when our policy is bound to be influenced by the presidential race. which gives them a particular short-term character rather than a strategic perspective. >> carol, do you think we need more international organizations -- >> well, i don't think we need more, but i think we ought to push much harder to make them more viable. you know, we live in a much more interconnected world now, but
the international organizations are not resilient. the u.n. is the best we have, but it needs a lot of help, it needs restructuring, and it needs the efforts of the united states. and be i think there we would get russian support and chinese support. regional organizations, the african union, for example, played a useful role in darfur and is so on. but have, but our support for them has just sort of gone awayment the arab league and the gcc played a key role in the success of the libyan operation. those are things we should build on to use regional organizations for the kinds of things that aid and abet what we're trying to do, but they have the expertise and the local feel that we don't
have. so i believe that's a good question, and we need much more effort in that direction. >> thank you. yes, sir. >> stuart bernstein. my last job was the american ambassador to denmark. turkey, the largest muslim country that's secular but has shown some tendencies to move away from that, do you see that being a concern? and the influence of egypt, could egypt become -- i mean, turkey's such a good role model in that area. do you see that changing? >> well, i'm aware of the shortcomings on the turkish experiment. there are problems, as you know, with the press. there are political trials involving the military which may
be justified, i do not know, but there has been a history of ministry coups, so there's at least some basis for considering the possibility that there is some justification in these procedures. but they all reflect, obviously, certain inadequacies on the democratic political process. nonetheless, having said this, i think an overall assessment of turkish modernization, secularization, democratization over the last hundred years has to be quite high. there are and the persistence with which the turks have pursued it is impressive, really very impressive. so on the whole i think turkish, the turkish experiment is auspicious in its promise, and it behooves the west to encourage it. and this is why i'd implore the action of the europeans to the issue of turkish participation in the e.u.. they raised the turkish hopes,
they have sort of reduced them. but we can be, in a sense, a supplement and a reinforcement for turkish aspirations if we think in a larger concept of the euro-atlantic community that really does embrace them, that embraces russia eventually as well. and i think that would give the turks that want to play a global role but that live in a very dangerous neighborhood a greater sense of security and participation in something larger than themselves. and i think that is a kind of policy that would, in effect, i think reinforce a constructive turkish role in the region. that's the challenge we have. i think the fact that president obama and president erdogan have a good personal relationship is a major asset here and helps a great deal. but i think we're now being tested in this regional context. and a great deal hangs on how we conduct ourselves over the next several months. hillly.
it's -- literally. it's a conflict that could erupt and become very large. but the time frame which will determine whether the match is being set, whether the fire's being ignited or not is relatively short term. so it's very important to watch carefully what is being done and how we conduct ourselves and how we avoid the danger that we will be for a variety of domestic reasons abdicating our global responsibility in the short run with much worse consequences in the long run. >> i think there are questions about the direction turkey's heading. it is probably slightly less than it was in ten years ago, less secular.
but it's ironic because about ten years ago turkey undertook a series of deep economic and political reforms. and in response significantly to the attempts to get into the european union which have been discussed before, the consequences of those is that the central and eastern part of turkey is now a part of turkey in many be a real sense that it wasn't before. turkey used to be istanbul primarily. western-oriented sec hard. now turkey is more representative of the whole of turkey. and that is a less secular move. you can say that is a natural evolution from the harsh
secularism to break the power of the ottomans, or you can say, oh, it's a new islamist movement. i don't think we know. but i think as big says, it's up to us to encourage the evolution of tour key in a -- turkey in a way which is natural for them. and the harshness of the atta you are you are thing reforms maybe don't need to continue so long because they've been successful. as big said, it's taken90 years for turkey to evolve from the ottoman empire to a modern, secular, democratic state. but thai done it. and i think we should be relax about the things we see in turkey. they're not all perfect, but i imagine the turks are not all relaxed about what they see in the united states either. [laughter] >> we just have a few more
minutes, and just as a sort of closing thought you both talked about the importance of a more modest foreign policy, less demanding, less delare story, more oriented towards international institutions. politically, you talked about the evolution turkey's been through. politically, how do you get the united states to go to have politicians support the kinds of policies that the public support, the kinds of policies that you've advocated this morning? >> you're saying more modest, i wouldn't buy that word. i don't think we should be more modest. it should be in some respects more strategic, more visionary, more comprehensive. that is to say we are living in a world in which turmoil is becoming more pervasive. we're living in a world in which, therefore, global cooperation is more necessary. in order to have global cooperation, you have to have larger units cooperating with
each other so that their cooperation then begins to spill into the world at large. the global problems are not going to be solved by mechanical votes of very uneven states. they're going to be solved if major entities in the world can cooperate. and this is why our policy has to be one in which we create a more stable balance in the far east, not injecting ourselves into the problems of the far east -- particularly in the mainland through wars -- but by trying to balance and manipulate the way the british did european politics for a whole century. but without entanglement. and promoting japanese, chinese reconciliation, mediating the indian/chinese rivalry. but not becoming a protagonist. and last but not least, not demonizing china for trying to structure a stable relationship with it because china and we face an unprecedented challenge, namely can two major powers
coexist without antagonism which has been the predominant historical experience? we both realize we'll suffer if we get in conflict, but each of us is tempted to demonize the other. and in europe and the other half of eurasia, my view is one i have been sort of prop guising, namely turkey and russia in a large eurasian framework, we engage the asian powers that would affected by it. this is why tealing with the problems we -- dealing with the problems we face in the immediate future we have to be really conscious of the fact that our central priority is to work with other interests in stability and not a drastic resolution of problems which they approach from a narrow, national perspective without thinking of the larger consequences of the use of force. i think the use of force should not be something that is left to
do, willful decisions of individual states. but it should be something that takes place only in concert particularly with those powers that share an interest in spreading the degree of stability in international affairs and enhancing their own cooperation with each other. >> carroll, can peace hold politically? >> yes. you know, at the end of the cold war the first reaction of the united states was one of relief. no more problems, just relax, let the world go. then -- >> i almost didn't have a job, you know, because of that. [laughter] >> that's right. then came 9/11, and we thought, well, we're the only superpower -- well, we'll make the world. and if you're not with us, you're against us. and it was a unilateral rush to do a lot of things which didn't work out too well. but i think the united states
remains the only country who has the ability to mobilize the world on behalf of the kinds of things that zbig has just describe canned. not to direct it, not to run it, but to get together the kinds of policies, the kinds of things that people can resonate to around the world. that's a tough role, but no one else can do it. the europeans eventually may be able to, but certainly not now. the chinese can't do it, the russians can't do it. we're the only ones that can. but it take a far-sightedness and a, it will take the best instincts of the american people rather than the worst ones which seem to be prominent at the moment. >> we're ending on an optimistic
note. i want to thank you all for coming. [laughter] thank you to our two apartments, thank you very much. -- two participants, thank you very much. [applause] >> we've got about ten minutes, twelve minutes, time for a bio break and get a cup of coffee, and then we will start back in here with the second wave of sessions. thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> at the same security forum in washington, military analyst anthony cordesman criticized the u.s. policy in afghanistan. the former adviser to general stanley mcchrystal said afghan forces were not ready to take over as the u.s. prepares to withdraw in 2014. and questions the credibility of
the afghan government. he was joined by the former u.s. ambassador to afghanistan, ronald neumann. this is an hour, 15 minutes. >> good morning. my name's robert lamb, i am the ther of the d the director at csis. thanks all of you for coming. i want to start by thanking finmeccanica for making this day possible. please, silence your cell phones so that we're not interrupted during what i think will be a lively discussion on afghanistan and pakistan. we will be live tweeting this event from csic underscore.org, so if you see mr. cordesman playing with his cell phone, that's because he's tweeting the entire event. we will take questions for the audience. please, wait for the microphone to come to you because we are,
we are live streaming this over the internet, and we want to make sure that everybody can hear your question. when you do get the microphone, um, please, identify yourself and phrase your question as a question. please, don't, don't give any speeches. just, you know, keep your questions limited. lunch will be served during the third session beginning at 12:30, this session ends at 12:15. a little bit about our program. the program on crisis, conflict and cooperation used to be called the postconflict reconstruction project. we're now in our tenth year at csis during a time when the field has changed fairly dramatically. ten years ago after 9/11 there was a lot of hope about postconflict reconstruction and the wars in afghanistan and iraq. we've had quite a lot of experiences with postconflict reconstruction, and, um, we have
found that it's time to rethink where we are in the field, where we've come. a lot of what we do in our program looks at development in governance in particular, in crisis and conflict areas n particular looking at the risks, challenges and opportunities for cooperation that might exist. i'm thrilled today to be sharing the stage with three distinguished panelists, anthony cordesman to my immediate left here is the arleigh burke chair in strategy at csis. he's a defense department distinguished service medalist. he participated in -- participated in the 2009 afghanistan review and done quite a bit of advising on the conflicts in afghanistan, iraq and, obviously, many other places as well. going back many years, his service to the field of strategy goes back all the way to vietnam. he has --
>> [inaudible] [laughter] >> he has studied probably every major strategic issue that has arisen, everything from nuclear energy to middle east, and we're looking forward to his comments today on afghanistan and pakistan. dr. corey shock key has joined us as well. she's currently at hoover,s has formerly taught at hopkins and the university of maryland school of public policy where she and i both got our ph.ds. during the bush administration she was at the department of state and also at the national security council where she advised on defense issues including entry to coordination and working with our allies in afghanistan and iraq. and finally, all the way to my left we have ambassador neuman, former board to algeria -- ambassador to algeria, bahrain and afghanistan.
spent a good deal of time in baghdad advising on political affairs and any number of other issues. he was once a deputy assistant secretary in the bureau of news affairs in the state department, is a published author and a very well known expert on all things having to do with the subjects we're talking about today. thank all of you for being here. it's very easy to be pessimistic about the situation in afghanistan, the transition in afghanistan and the u.s. relationship with pakistan. clearly, in both countries there's problems with corruption, problems with relations between civilian and military parts of the government, um, there is a good deal of violence in both countries, some related to insurgency, some more terroristic in nature. strange relationships between government officials -- strained relationships between government officials and various maligned
actors, war lords and commanders. it's a very challenging environment to work in, and pakistan last year with the death of osama bin laden, the relationship with the united states broke down pretty severely. and here we are nearly a year later, and we're still struggling to redefine that relationship. um, it's is somewhat harder to be optimistic about the situations in both countries, but saying the situation is completely hopeless is not particularly helpful to those who are trying to figure out how to move the situation in both countries forward. in afghanistan we can observe at least that ten years ago the cup was, essentially -- the country was, essentially, a me -- medieval theocracy, and say what you will, they're at least not taliban-era bad. there are a number of former warlords and combatants who are participating in the afghan
political process and not fessly still concern not fessly necessarily as combatant as they have been in the past. but there is participation in political processes, formations of political parties. generally speaking, there are, there's been progress in the cities probably more than in the, in many of the rural areas. there are some rights and some stability and market activity that have not been seen in afghanistan in a long time, again that might not be sustainable, that could collapse fairly quickly as history has shown us, but we do need to acknowledge the progress that has been made. importantly, most afghans probably do not want the country to collapse into civil war. they would probably prefer that their government would work and that their military be strong enough to defend the country and protect them without participating in a civil war. these are some of the, some of the observations that we can
make that could potentially be built upon for the future. but again, it's all tenuous. in pakistan most pakistanis probably do not want the military to take over the civilian government again. the civilian government is likely to complete its full term for the first time in some decades. the judiciary is increasingly independent and self-confident, and civil society is increasingly confident even in the face of a great deal of intimidation from militants and extremists. there have been some governance reforms that separated powers at the local level and established a requirement for local elections. these are promising, they have not been fully implemented. it's not entirely clear when they will be, but there have been put in place some incentives and frameworks for reform in the future. most importantly in pakistan, there are a lot of pakistanis who also want their government to function well and would prefer that there not be support
to militant groups and terrorists operating within their borders. now, you can't build a strategy on optimism, and you can't build strategy on pessimism. you need to build strategy on a realistic understanding of the facts on the ground and what is actually possible. in pakistan it probably is not useful for us to disengage. the more we disengage with pakistan, the less influence we'll have in there, and we already have very little influence on pakistan's domestic politics and quality of governance for that matter. so the challenge is how can we marginalize those within the pakistani government, military and intelligence services who are anti-american, who take more mill about the views, more hard line views about the use of violence this and outside pakistan. how can pakistan's many moderate reformers and democrats be supported, what can the united
states do to make sure that they're not marginalized within pakistan. those are open questions. in afghanistan there are open questions about governance and political settlement. it's an extremely difficult situation as we all know. the government is often seen by many analysts, particularly here in the united states, as being one of the main roadblocks on the path to table in afghanistan. to stability in afghanistan. it's not necessarily the case we can depend on the afghan government to be able to hold the country together, to not be corrupt, to build up a relationship with its own people. afghanistan is the kind of system that we don't necessarily understand how to analyze, but there is at least an academic term for it. it's called a hybrid political system which means that there is a formal goth that structures -- formal government that structures the overall systems of decision making and service provision in that country, but the formal government is merely the skeleton to that system. informal actors, tribal and
ethnic leaders, organized criminals, insurgents and various other individuals in afghanistan are the flesh, the muscles, sometimes the tumors on that system. collectively, they make up a hybrid system in afghanistan, um, to the degree we think that we're going to try to get the government of afghanistan to have a monopoly on government and violence in afghanistan, i think we're probably fooling ourselves. that's a long-term project, probably the work of generations. over the next two years, afghanistan will probably continue to be -- well, afghanistan will certainly continue to be a hybrid system, so the question is to what degree can we shape that hybrid system so that it's stable, so that there's not an increase in violence, so there's not economic and political collapse in afghanistan. i've asked our speakers to talk about their views of some of the most important risks that we face in both afghanistan and
pakistan, on what they think are the most important u.s. interests in both countries and what changes they think need to be made in the current approach. so i'm going to step down and let them give -- let them give you all their views, and be i think i'll start -- i think i'll start with tony cordesman. you're welcome to sit or stand as you like. >> thanks very much. i'd like to talk specifically about the risks in transition. and let me preface this with two points. first, it's by no means clear that if we can't achieve most of our goals, afghanistan somehow comes back under taliban control. it may well divide. we need to remember that for all the problems that are within, the taliban and other insurgent movements, they are relatively
limited in movement, they are tied to belief structures and ethnic groups. what will happen is afghanistan reverts to something very close to what it used to be, a capital with a group of various ethnic and sectarian and geographic groupings. and if that happens, i think it is also important to note that as countries go, particularly in today's financial climate, this is not a country of great strategic importance to the united states. we are not in it because of it strategic importance, we are in it because at a given point this in time it was the center of a movement that conducted successful terrorist attacks on the united states. whatever happens for all the talk, this is not going to be an area of major economic importance to the west, to china, to russia, to the countries in the region it may be.
there are many other certains of extremism of al-qaeda now emerging as ones which probably are going to be more serious threats and, in fact, pakistan is much more the center of al-qaeda today than afghanistan. but let me go back to 2009 and say where are we on the road to transition and what i think will happen and do it very quickly. we had, i think, unrealistic hopes on the part of some that we could deal with the problems of corruption and effectiveness in the afghan government. we not make success. all of the objectives that were formerly on the table are not going to happen by 2014. and this is not a reflection on president karzai. it is part of a are broad system of -- of a very broad system of competing power brokers, of
people struggling for money, influence and for security. the there will be better ministry. we will have trained more civil servants. but by and large, afghanistan is not going to meet the goals that were set in the gavin compact, and -- in the afghan compact, and the bodies are almost uniformly ineffective, and when they become ineffective, either end up in scapegoats or being disbanded. whether that matters or not is a real issue. i suspect that as the money grows weaker and smaller, corruption will revert to the more affordable patterns. we are not going to keel -- to deal with the insurgent sanctuaries in pakistan. it is brutally clear that pakistan would turn against these insurgencies, pakistan will focus on its own internal security issues. we can talk, we can meet, we can get occasional cooperation, but
the haqqani group and the various forms or groups of the taliban are not going to be somehow push bed out -- pushed out unless there is some kind of unanticipated peace settlement. the sanctuaries in pakistan in 2014 and 2015 will be very much what they are today. that creates a massive challenge to security. our transition man toward the afghan -- plan toward the afghan national security forces is, frankly, not a plan. roughly a year ago we were talking about expenditure levels of $7-$9 billion a year through 20 the 20 for the afghan national security forces, a force of over 300,000 of which roughly 40% would be five different police forces. and this is an important distinction because it's often confused with an army.
we are now talking about $4.4 billion a year after transition having cut our fy-13 request roughly in half for what they spent in fy-12. we're talking about going down to 230,000. none of us really know what this means, and this focus on manpower numbers ignores the fact that when it comes down to transferring responsibility both within the ministries according to the department of defense reporting and in the training force we have not yet been able to put together the structure to provide sustainability, the skilled elements of a force structure as distinguished from battalion elements. within the police we have a pattern of corruption, local influence which is going to be the pattern of corruption and
local influence when we leave. we have a peace negotiation. if you go on to the web site for the taliban, you will find that they declare that the peace negotiation is victory, that they won, and basically we are forced to concede, and we are talking to them because they won. not usually the prelude to a smooth compromise and effective transition out of a military position. and i think that one has to remember what happened in cambodia where we ended up with a kinder, gentler pot taking over or what has happened closer in nepal. pushing harder for peace too quickly creates two problems. one is you may empower the opposition, the insurgents in the process. the other is no one knows what to plan for. if we don't know whether there'll be a negotiation or it
will be successful, how do you plan transition at any level? when we talk about u.s. force cuts, it's important to note that we never build up to the force levels that were called for in the original mcchrystal plan, and we have already built down far more than we had originally planned to build down. similarly, we never had the number of civilians that were called for in the strategy. whether that's critical or not is not yet clear. but i think that the plans we had at the start of last year for holding on to the south and moving into the east are not tenable with the forces we are going to have left. and the rate of reduction in the course of the period between june and september of this year is going to create major problems. in terms of afghan presence and structure, as we look at the real power structure we till
have a question -- we still have a question: can we have a successful election at the same year we're in transition? if so, who will the leader be? be will it really matter? we often worry about the quality of the election for the afghan legislature, but nobody can really explain to me what it does aside from consume assets. the constitution that we left basically gives the president power over virtually all of the revenues, and that leaves provinces and districts with a structure that is inherently weak. the last time i looked we were at about 25% of the goal for afghan officials in the field that we had planned in 2009. whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is hard to measure. some people would argue that these are enough. when you look at the pressure that is coming from outsiders on
what happens as we leave, we don't yet know, but we are seeing a step up in iranian activity, and we certainly do not see a pakistan which has abandoned its goal of making afghanistan strategic depth. whether india has changed its goals is another issue. what is truly striking is the absolute lack of commitment so far on the part of china or russia. both in aid and any other kind of active presence. the most that russia has done is support us, rather oddly, in maintaining power projection. in terms of the actual fighting, let me just make a comment about what i have seen. there are two sources of reporting on afghan security that are unclassified and official. one is a report by the department of defense called the 12:30 report. it's a semiannual report.
another is a report by the special inspector general for afghan reconstruction. two years ago those reports provided data on areas of insurgent influence, areas where the afghan government was or was not becoming more effective, maps of where aid was being spent, a whole series of indicators. all of them are no longer in the reports. what we see today is a set of measures which bear a striking resemblance to what happened in vietnam. we don't talk about insurgent influence, we talk about insurgent significant incidents and insurgent-initiated attacks. now, strangely enough we pretend to win by those criteria. they don't take on our
conventional forces and win. is so the numbers -- so the numbers become very favorable relative to the peak fighting of 2010. and that's exactly what happened in vietnam. we almost never lost the tactical clash and, of course, it almost never mattered because what did count was influence, the growth of the ability to control or intimidate the population, something we no longer report upon. it's very disturbing to me as we head into transition that we do this. that we do not provide meaningful measures on where the fighting is or the progress we're making or the areas of insurgent influence. after 50-odd years of working with the u.s. government wherever you see a massive drop in transparency, it is not a sign of success.
let me just close with the economics of transition. if you go back to the bond conference, the afghan government submitted a paper listing a whole group of reforms that's been promising for the last six years. in return for that, it asked for between $10-$20 billion a year this aid through 2020. it did not describe how that aid would be spent, and the figures were taken almost verbatim from a world bank study on transition which is the same study that the u.s. is using to the extent we have a transition plan. there's a little problem. the world bank estimate of the afghan economy is approximately half the estimate used by the state department and by the cia.
and this just illustrates the almost total disconnect in the level of economic data we have. we don't know, basically, where our money goes. we know how much we appropriate, but we have no accounting system to say exactly where the spending goes inside afghanistan, and we have no formal measures of effectiveness as to what the aid programs are. please don't misunderstand, i think we have accomplished a great deal with roads, with water and individual aid projects. but if you look at these numbers as we go into the economics of transition, we have spent since this war began ten times the highest estimate of the afghan domestic gdp over the same ten--year period. ten-year period. as that money goes down, we risk a recession or a depression of
major proportions. and we do not have in any credible form the most basic data on the afghan population, the afghan economy or exactly what we have been doing with aid money and exactly who it's gone to. thank you. >> thank you, tony. corey? >> so i disagree with a couple of tony's judgments, and i guess that's where i'll start. i'm going to focus my comments on the risks, though, and maybe we can pick up mitigating factors in that conversation. the first place i think i differ with tony's judgment is that it does seem to me that the military piece of what we are doing in afghanistan is going better than i think it seems to tony. the problem for me is that the military piece of it never has meshed with other elements of a
strategy, and those things are essential to us being able to capitalize on the gains that the military's making. we have never had that right in afghanistan, and now with the clock ticking down to 2014 some of the essential bargains that we made in afghanistan, i think, need to be revisited in order for the transition not to simply result in something we're not going to like a whole lot better than we liked the 2001 version of afghanistan. the first big thing i think we are not doing is investing in rethinking the structure of the electoral system and the distribution of political power in afghanistan. there's a terrific posting on shadow government by my colleague, paul miller, today that looks at the choices that we made, which of them are inherent in the constitutional structure of afghanistan, which of them are simply political
bargains that we made. and one of the things that really strikes me about the governance structures that the united states endorsed both in iraq and in afghanistan is the centralized nature of control. and that's so out of character with the country that has all of the vibrant state and local challenges to federal authority that it leads me to believe that the basic reason we do it is because it's easier for us to manage it that way. right? you put somebody in charge, you help them have authority over the country. but that is, as paul miller points out, a terrible match for the cultural and the politics of afghanistan. and then essentially what we have done is allowed the afghan political elite to carry over the constitution from when afghanistan had a king. and karzai is currently invested in those powers. there's not a regional balance
to it, there's not a parliamentary balance to it as tony very nicely pointed out. it seems to me in the time we have remaining that focusing on the structure of governance, where changes might be made to the structure of governance to provide for a more pluralistic and more representative afghanistan is someplace we ought to be investing an awful lot of time and attention. because if president karzai honors the constitutional pledge that he will not run again in 2014, um, there's a real opportunity for bringing forward a generation of political leadership and putting in place structures and practices that will make afghanistan a lot better than afghanistan currently is and that can begin to reconnect the people of afghanistan with a government that they have lost faith in. and their loss of faith in their government is a huge impediment
to carry out our strategy. a second risk that i think i see, and here this is the second place i think i differ with tony. it does look to me like afghanistan actually does have the potential to revert to the 2001 afghanistan if we don't play the end game right. and in particular if be we apply the end game that the obama administration applied in iraq, i think that is just a recipe for an afghanistan that reinforces the al-qaeda narrative, right? this is their big victory. ten years we achieve nothing, they're in control of the country. why wouldn't al-qaeda make that a central node of their worldwide operations? because it would feed the narrative that we have spent so much time and so much effort trying to pull up by the roots and to substitute with a narrative that is about us having a positive vision for the country. because ultimately it's
certainly a battle for security, but it's also a battle of narratives and be who has an idea that afghans will buy into. another risk i see is that we are about to convince ourselves of several things about america's ability to change and influence the world and whether it's worth it to do it. it feels to me a lot like the end of vietnam, right? but it's too hard. these countries don't actually deserve our help. they're fighting against us as well as they're fighting with us. that our ideas and values are not something that they share. um, and that it's actually too expensive and too hard to try and create positive change. and while i'm actually sympathetic to a lot of the emotion behind that because it
is really hard and fighting and winning these kinds of wars is confusing and contradictory, and it's hard to tell when you're making progress, and very often you only know far in retrospect when the victors in the country you are trying to effect tell their story. that said, if we allow ourselves to begin to believe those things, that leads us to vice president biden's counterterrorism strategy. right? where you just kill bad guys wherever you can find bad guys, and you don't try and send girls to school, solve childhood nutrition, improve the quality of governance. and in my judgment one of the main reasons the united states can perpetuate its -- has perpetuated its global power is because most people in the world
and most countries in the world actually want us to succeed. countries and people don't actually work very hard against what we are trying to advance in the world very often, and that's a huge positive element of american strategy. and if we stop being something more than our military might, the likelihood of other people wanting us to succeed and helping us succeed drops dramatically. and that is, actually, a consequence of not trying to make the world a better place, not caring about whether, you know, ten years ago there were 10,000 afghan girls in school, now there are ten million. no, excuse me, there are 2.6 million afghan girls in school. that creates a different afghanistan in the long run. um, and we're about to convince ourself that that stuff doesn't matter, we can't do it, and they don't want it. and that seems to me likely to cause us a whole lot of problems
in the coming two decades. another risk i see in the end game of afghanistan is that if we adopt this approach, if we decide hearts and minds are unwinnable and, by the way, it's too expensive and too hard to do, um, that it makes it much more difficult to get positive cooperation for other things we want to do. because, after all, if afghanistan's the place where, you know, the first attack on american territory in the last 50 years comes from and we don't bother to see that one think to a positive finish to one that secures our actual interests, then why would other countries that we are trying to persuade to do what is in our interests have any belief at all that we're going to see it through to where they and we benefit from it? and perhaps the country it is most important to persuade in this regard is pakistan for reasons tony alluded to and that i think are self-evident.
another risk that i think that is internal to the american logic on this is that whole-of-government operations is really hard, and we're not very good at it. and we're about to convince ourselves that we can't do this. hurt? that our military's great at their job, that nobody else is good at their job, and we need a strategy that, where the military gains aren't weighed down by failures in our diplomacy and our development and other things. again, sympathetic to the critique, american diplomats and american development workers aren't nearly as capable as they could be. but that's not because they are either stupid or ill-meaning. it's because we don't invest in their professionalism in the way we invest in the professionalism of the american military. and we need to fix this. it's a structural fix. it's not impossible. in fact, businesses all over the country succeed at this. the military succeeds at this. um, we can fix this, we just
haven't, and we are looking at the consequences of having it which is that our military success outpaces our capacity to capitalize on it in diplomatic and economic terms. but the solution to that isn't falling back to strategies that don't have constituent elements of diplomatic and development and be other aspects, it's making ourselves as good at those other things as we make ourselves at the military success. another risk that i think tony very rightly pointed out is that the afghan national security forces cannot do what we expect them to do. this seems to me very much an open question, and while i see positive signs, for me the most significant one recently was the comparison of the studies that the american military did about green on blue attacks in afghanistan and the one that the afghan army did. the american military did what
the american military does so wonderfully and endearingly well. it critiqued what we could do better, right? what it concluded is that we need to be more sensitive, we need to be more knowledgeable, we need to be more respectful of the afghans. and i'm sure all of that's true. but it is a problem that focuses on us as the solution. the afghan army also did a study, and what they found is that the majority of green on blue attacks occur -- the perpetrators of them, their families are living in pakistan. so that tells you something about their commitment to afghanistan, it tell you something about the potential for hostage taking, it tells you something about the, um, the likelihood of radicalization. not only did they identify those factors, but they also have moved to require all afghan soldiers to have their families living in afghanistan.
so they not only identified the problem, they identified solutions and brought them into effect. and that suggests to me that the afghan national security forces are perhaps better than any of us are giving them credit for. that, for me, is an important sign. that said, to the extent that our military operations still depend so heavily on night raids, i think there's a real question whether afghans when they are in the leadership are going to be willing to do this in the way that we've done this. i was quite taken aback in general allen's testimony a couple of weeks ago that he mentioned that we have conducted 2,200 night raids in the course of the last year. and he also said that 82% of them captured their intended target and that only 1.5% of those raids resulted in civilian casualties.
and that's a very admirable statistic, but that means that at least 330 times a year afghan civilians are being killed in the conduct of night raids, right? that's almost a death a day or several deaths a day over the course of the year. it's understandable to me to understand why it's difficult for them to sustain. it's understandable when it's afghans conducting these raids, they'll have a much more difficult time building political support for that. it seems to me problematic. two last quick points. first, i think we are at risk of adopting a strategy where we quarantine failed states, and i would want to be a lot more confident in our ability to play defense before i would shift our strategy that way. it does seem to me that even the
abdulmutallab bomb threat in 2009 suggests to me that we want to have a layered defense, and we want to be a lot better at the defense piece of it before we shift our strategy that way. and lastly, perhaps the biggest risk of all of the trajectory that we are on in afghanistan is that we are reinforcing pakistan's paranoia about us abandoning them, about india taking over in afghanistan, about our fundamental hostility to their security interests, and we really ought to in the course of the next 18 months find a way to deal with that if we want an end state in afghanistan that we're going to feel achieves our security interests. >> thank you, kori. ambassador neumann. >> i've learned over time as many of you may have that when a speaker says i have only a few things to say or i'll be brief,
you should understand this is a statement of faith and not of fact and settle back in your chair. nevertheless, i am going to try to be, actually, on nine minutes. afghanistan is not going well. you've heard a lot about that. you see a lot about it in the press. it is also an incredibly complicated situation, and the result of that for analytical purposes is that it's very convenient for cherry picking. those who consider everything impossible and one should leave can find ample evidence to support the conclusion, those who say the strategy is going well will pick a different array of facts. the battle then goes back and forth and positions get harder but not wiser. it's very difficult to get out of this because it is so complex that those who study it or visit it as they begin to develop positions can almost invariably find the examples to support the
position they take in. maintaining an open mind in this kind of situation is extraordinarily difficult, frankly. that, perhaps, makes it useful to think about a few basics but not, not to the ec collusion of all the d exclusion of all the complexities. to my mind there are two big category of risk to us strategically this afghanistan. in afghanistan. one is that a premature departure leads to a civil war. i don't think it leads to a taliban reconquest, but i do think it leads to a civil war. in fact, a great many afghans are talking about a civil war today and thinking about how they would conduct themselves in positioning themselves. they're not planning it. nobody's going to start a civil war tomorrow while we're there, but the amount of discussion
about civil war when i went, i was back in 2010 and in march and november of 2011, and the amount of talk had increased by march of 2011, it had become sort of common wisdom by the end of that year. that civil war would draw in all of the usual suspects, iran, pakistan, russia, india. and it would go on for a very long time. take lebanon as an illustration in point. smaller country, poisonous as they were the external players were less capable overall than those that will play in afghanistan. and that civil war has the potential to destabilize a very large part of central asia. it is also going to draw pakistan in, i think, because their view will be that they cannot allow the indians and their northern alliance colleagues to encircle them and, therefore, they mu