tv Panel Discussion on Foreign Affairs CSPAN August 11, 2014 8:30pm-9:19pm EDT
>> watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> coming on booktv in prime time. books on foreign policy. first, a discussion on the conflict in ukraine, then a look at the return of the taliban in afghanistan, and later an interview with a pepperdine foreign policy professor. >> on the next washington journal, bob cue zack is our guest and carl smit will be here
to discuss funding to combat the disease and his role advocating for those living with hiv/aids. >> here is some of the highlights for this weekend. friday at 8 p.m. eastern, a history tour looking at the civil war. saturday, the communicators visits a technology fair. and on sunday pat buchanan. and surveillance transparency act at 10 p.m. on afterwards the weekly standings. and on sunday morning we tour casper, wyoming. and then the negro leagues monar
monarch. and an interview with herbert hoover. let us know what you think about what you see. e-mail or call us. join the conversation. like us on facebook or follow us on twitter. >> next a discussion on the conflict in ukraine. it was part of this year's 2014 freedom fest conference in las vegas. it is 45 minutes. you are probably wondering what i have done wrong to be dragged before congress 75 times to testify. never been indicted. it is a great pleasure to be here with you today, ladies and gentlemen. our topic today is hot spots around the world. i gave a talk on ukraine last
year and that was before it heated up. mark thought it would be a good idea to look around the world and see what happens. we have no better panelist than the group today. we have gentlemen who have immense experience working in american areas of the world and i think you will enjoy what they have to say. to my far, far right is david keene and david is now the opinion editor of the washington times and oversees all of the editorials and washington times is in the process of expanding. they are doing a national digital edition. i suggest that you all subscribe because that makes it easy for you to get my weekly column also, plus all of the others.
it is great newspaper and it is growing unlike most other newspapers in the world. david is a good part of this change. you may remember david for many years was chairman of the american conservative union. and also president of the national rifle association -- i know a lot of you would be opposed to that. but he has done great things all his life and been in and out of government and had positions guiding presidents. and to the far right is herman pirchner. he has been the long-term president of american foreign policy council and they do great work looking at all of the hot spots around the world and trying to anticipate what is going to happen long before it does. you could sort of say they are
different than the obama administration buzz because they look ahead. and herman doesn't have to pick up the newspaper surprised on what happens is because he and his staff have been there, done a great job anticipating it. he was out on the ukraine-russia difficulties not too long ago and they turned out a great publication and i suggest those of you with a few extra dollars may want to join the american foreign policy council. i expect all of you here are interested in foreign policy. it is low oversight and investigations overhead operation but they do great work on foreign policy. and doug bandow is to my right. i have known him from the reagan
administration and he is a senior fellow at the cato institute and he is one of the worlds most prolific authors dealing with foreign policyment we will do a general section rather than us specializing because we all have experience in various parts of the world and a lot overlaps. as we were speaking earlier, one characteristic is the world has gotten smaller and that is true because the plane ride from tehran to north korea is short. so the question is is that the middle east, asia or wherever? we will start off with david keene because he is my boss sometimes. i would like to begin.
>> i have one my line before that. david is going to set the stage of the great global struggle that is going on among the political forces and then we will get into more specifics. david? >> thank you, richard. i would like to begin with great self-promotion to suggest you need to subscribe to the washington times because bandow writes as well. the pages are open to pirchner as well. so it seems to be a no-brainer for the audience. actually, it is, i think, important that we are meeting on these subjects today because the american people are confused as to what the stance of the united states ought to be in terms of foreign policy and our place in the world.
they have gone through a period in which our foreign policy is dominated by folks that think perhaps the world could be remade in the american image without much relationship or und understanding of different cultures and the like. one can argue in the middle east, we are struggling with the shadow of the great war and celebrating hundred years of its beginning. i guess celebration is the wrong word. i remember kernel house, the advisor to woodrow wilson, said he had a busy day because they spent that morning redrew -- redrawing the map of the world -- but finished by noon and had a great lunch. that is the attitude that
dominates some folks in the foreign policy area today. and we pay the cost with blood and money. on the other hand, those in reaction to that are saying that the united states cannot be involved at all. and that the best policy for the united states is the policy we pursued in the early days of the republic which was to trade and stay away. even then they dealt with pirates when they interfered for our perceived rights to trade in other parts of the world. so there was never complete separation from trading. the question the american people are struggling with is what are the interest of the united states that ought to be protected. that knows to some extent to the question of whether you are, for example in the middle east as we did in an earlier age with the
communist period, are we facing existential threats or threats regardless? or is it another threat? do we have an obligation to export democracy to the world and try to remake the world in our way. if we should do that would it work? can we afford to withdraw from the world and ignore the problems developing? i like to point out that of modern presidents the two presidents who lost fewer people than any other in foreign wars were ronald reagan and dwight eisenhower. both known as people you could
only push so far. so the bases of the reagan policy was if you were strong enough you don't have to go to war. people know what the limits are and don't go far. you may remember reagan's comments and he said it is about time we teach the people there is new management over here. the problem the american people face is what do we do nowthe ma do we proceed. as always in the face of foreign policy questions and defense policy questions that is linked to specific problems, their sources and their meaning for us. and i think that is why these topics, these hot spots if you will, are so important to discuss today.
>> thank you very much. i will stay up here. >> would you? >> herman, picked up with david left off. >> thanks for your comments, dave. i want to pick up on one question you raise and that was the question of islamism versus communism. i have to say in many ways the problem of islamist is going to be more difficult than the problem of communism. communism promise utopia and
when it wasn't happening and it was scene by the sons and daughters running the countries this idea of creating paradise on earth went away and then the fear went and china eevolved an the soviet union collapse. imagi imagi imagi imagine laden going to allah. the idea that you may go to paradise by killing innocents is a problem of terrorist and other problems associated with islamicism exist. you are dealing a
multi-theological war and it is war we have little way. how you can be involved in theo logical discussions about islam if you are not a muslim. american foreign policy council publi publi publius a work on islamic movements worldwide. the hard cover is 1150 pages but there is an online edition. in the course of looking at the great depth of this islamic problem. you understand what a long standing struggle it is going to be to deal with islamist and islamism in the many forms that exist worldwide. i want to switch to ukraine briefly. that is the title of the panel.
ukraine is playing out in the following fashion. you soon will have two cities in the eastern part of ukraine that will be surrounded by forces loyal to the ukrainian government. in the cities will be a couple thousands rebels that are largely taking orders from moscow and russian intelligence. maybe there will be a negotiated settlement where they leave and go into the russia. maybe there will be a fight. if there is a fight, the militants from pro-russian forces are likely to try to make it as bloody as possible by positioning themselves in hospitals, old age homes and so forth. they will do that with the hope that things become so disruptive
that putin will move in russian forces. if he choses to do that, the ukraine army has no capability of standing with them. they believe probably be in kiev in 2-3 days. that will be the foreshadowing of tense relationships between russia and the west. it will be the beginning of what will be a long guerilla war in ukraine. ukraine has history of that. anti-communist forces fought many years against soviet forces. and there are tens of thousands of ukrainians with arms that will harass the russian army if it sits there. when you get to this point the consequences are unpredictable.
and i have probably eaten up my opening time. >> we'll get back to that more. first doug is going to talk about the middle east aspect or whatever he wants. >> i like that idea; whatever i want. we live in a world that was created by the bosnia terrorist that triggered world war one and many of the countries we are talking about were created by the conflict. the are a number of hot spots but for the most part they don't directly threaten the united states. we came out the world war ii with opponents of nuclear weapons and trained school children to get under dex desks.
when collin powell commented he was running out of enemies but neither came close to stalin in terms of the horror they can impose. we are looking at a world of chronic conflicts as opposed to accute and they will be us in a number of ways. if you look around the world, there is a world full of messes out there. we see the israeli-palestinian peace process for the 400th time. you look at egypt and you get to chee chose between a dictatorship or a muslim brotherhood.
we look at syria which is driven by a civil war where there is a government no one likes and the other side includes folks that one around crucifying christians and the people they don't like and shooting school children if they are thought to be blasphemy. iraq we see is falling apart. and one of the main forces against the government we supported are the opposition in syria. so it is this odd situation of opposing the government in syria that is fighting the bad guy but in favor of the government in iraq that is fighting the same bad guys assuming our friends in washington get this straight which is a lot of competence. there is a negotiating process going on and a little hope it will turn out positive. i am not holding by breath and
no one wants iran to have nuclear weapons but launching attacks on them should be avoided. the north koreans are busy and now mad because the new movie the interviewer is out there in which two actors want to assa i assassinate their president. china has sharp elbows in the south china see. the vietnamese want us around now. getting to ukraine and the cold war in a sense is being re-created. it is a difficult situation.
but the reality is no one in europe want to go to war with ukraine. which means the russians have the capability to do what they want and i expected putin is bound. the ukrainians don't like it if they have subjegated and putin grabbed the only area are russian population. you bring in 60% or more ukrainians that is not going to be stable. and moldova with same situation. the good news is the united states can standback and assess each carefully. there is no reason we have to jump into all of them or some of them. it will vary how we want to get
involved. the world today gives us more options than what was termed as the evil empire. luckily there is no evil empire today. we stand alone and have options we didn't have during the cold war. >> to pick up on all of that, one of our colleagues at the cato institute was a man who was putin's economic advisor. putin was moving toward denat n denationalization and than reversed the course and renationalized the oil companies and andre and putin seized -- ceased getting along -- and now
he is here at the cato institute and much happier. but he returned from ukraine recently, he does go back and forth to russia some, too. so far he has been okay. we do worry about him. but his view is that putin wants to re-create the russian empire. not the ussr but the russian empire. and many of you have probably forgotten the russian empire -- what year did it actually have the greatest land mass? anybody here remember? 1867. then they sold alaska to us. and then it shrunk after that. it dominated eastern europe and what we look at as the sans and everything today.
andre's view is putin is going to nibble around the edges like in georgia, crimea and the main part of ukraine now. i would like to get the views from the fellow panelist on this view. david? >> i think that is correct. you cannot fault a leader of a country for acting in his country's self-interest. you can be upset because it may clash with your interest but you cannot fault them for doing that really. if he is out-maneuvering you he maybe better at it than you but isn't necessarily evil. i think, and this is without excusing anything he did, but what happened is two things. both sides look at from the eyes
of the old cold war ignoring the fact countries don't have permanent friends but permanent interest. secondly, we are in the world in which policymakers don't know a lot about history. we spent millions in ukraine promoting the idea that ukraine should be moving toward nato. ignoring the fact putin won't find giving up the warm water port. in crimea the fact they want buffered states because they fear invasion from the west. we will just turn this into one of our countries. not realizing the russians wants to keep ukraine as part of their orbit about a hundred times more than we wanted to get it. and as a result we added to the problem.
earlier, and this always goes to one of the reasons for the breakdown of the russian u.s. approach if you will will. you remember the baltic crisis in which the united states decided that self-determination required an independent kosovo which was serbia. the rushes who have always considered the southern slavic people to be their protector. they were protectors of the slavics. and they were outraged we would allow a part of a nation state that wasn't a nation to exercise self-determination and breakoff. if you listen to the russians they have saying we have the right to do what you did in the baltics because we have russians living there and you said they
should not live along slavs. from a legal and historical standpoint this whole thing is muddled in part because of putin's ambitions whether they are regarded as legitimate or not and in part because we helped muddle things up and encouraged or at least forced him to act on those ambitions in ukraine. am i wrong about that, herman? >> i agree with what you said in the baltics. they were discredited when nato was used offensively in the balt baltics because their argument against the hard liners was no need to fear the west. nato is strictly a defensive organization. but let's go back to ukraine and other parts of the former soviet union putin has designed on.
in 2011, russia passed the expansion of the con federation and that was the law used to annex crimea. it sin line with the thinking of the nationalist about the creation of a greater slavic state. that idea was put forth many years ago and others have picked it up. you have a man now who was formally russia's ambassador to nato and now the deputy prime minister. he is russia's nationalist number one. we wrote 15 years ago no matter how unrealistic it is today we must come out like germany after 40 years. russia has had long-term designs
on the territoryies. ukrainians remember the 2 million people killed by the force famine the -- in the 1930's. >> more than that. >> and the empty homes were filled by russians that came from other parts of russia. if you go as far in russia as to the pacific island you will find many people with ukrainian names. ...
>> this is not a global competition. he cares about border security. you do it again to us in ukraine, and there's an elected leader there who is pro-our side. you overthrow him, organize a street revolution, you want them to sign up with you, talk about nato. i think he is ambitious and opportunistic and also prudent. so while perhaps he might like to have a russia that looks like russia in 1860 or something, my guess is he realizes he won't get it. one problem on ukraine it's two
countries. so, the question of what he wants, how much he'll take, a lot of opportunistic. you get crimea and now you play the game ask see what comes out. and you cause ukraine trouble. the new leadership recognize its neats stability and better pay attention toous because five years from now they can play this game again. nato is off the table. so, i think he is dangerous but dangerous in a very confined way. >> well, i think i am a little more skeptic about mr. putin than maybe all of you. i chaired the bulgarian transition teamin' 1990 to 1993 and had been an adviser to the first noncommunist prime minister in russia. right at the beginning of this year, i -- even though i was an
economic columnist, i write about energy, and i had done several articles how europe was captive to russia's oil and gas. most of russia's experts are oil and gas, most gordon to western europe, and particularly the southern western europe countries are almost totally hostage to gas coming through ukraine. from my old contacts, i had received a message about how certain members of the bulgarian parliament, the green party, and even the turkish party, were receiving payments to vote against fracking in bulgaria. northern bulgaria is loaded width oil and gas, contiguous to romania. bulgaria should be an oil and gas exporter, should not be
totally dependent on russian gas. this reminded me very much of the old days that some of us -- i think all of us here knew the -- had been participant inside one way or another in the cold war, and much of this became familiar. at the time i got this information can i was fir -- first trying to get the western european press to run with it and include the bigger newspapers, and i had the contacts, and people were somewhat aware but people didn't want to go there. and what you have is sort of willing hostages in western europe. and finally, i did the column for the "washington times" and since that time, the last two months, a lot of columns now, the economist magazine and others -- have similar stories -- in fact "the economist" story was almost word for word my story in the wow
washington times" but they were all afraid to break it. and this fear in western europe about exposing what is really going on, and even since that time, i have been given some grief by some of our old friends who didn't much like the fact that i did this. and to me, it's troublesome. this is a little personal because i've been more so -- >> there's no question that you're right about that, and the antifracking effort in europe is rim is in sent of -- reminiscent of receive russian propaganda because it's in their interests to prevent it. and that is trumped -- and this goes to maybe to doug's point and others -- the reality of russia versus the soviet union. maybe the difference isn't so
great but may end up in the same place. that is that putin and his friends have transformed post cold war russia into a quasi-middle eastern trust state which i totally dependent on its ability to sell energy to the west because that how they support not only their private greed but the functioning of their government. i was in a meeting with russian oil officials and close meeting, and one american official said what would happen if the price of oil fell to $80 a barrel. and the russian said, that won't happen. itself did happen they would have to sell off the kremlin because they would be good for 60 days. they need $100 and up oil just to survive because they don't have much else. they have not developed the economy they could have
developed had they followed the advice of your friend who fled for okay to. >> i'm not supposed to interject but becauses this is a pet passion of mind, what is happening and how europe has become willing hostages to russia. but this scenario that we have all sort of talk about, what happens if the price of oil really falls? my guess is that someplace on the world, a tanker will be sunk or a pipeline will be blown up, price of oil will spike but there will be no russian fingerprints on it. that's let's just do a equipment -- quick couple of minutes, where you think the new next explosion will be on the globe? we talked about ukraine and russia. herman? there's an area dealing with china that gives me great
concern, even though that's been little publicity about it. the dock trip of the chinese government that no u.s. surveillance or military ships should come within 200 miles of the coast of china. and that of course is contrary to freedom of the seas. we have already had a number of incidences of boat rammings, of harassment of american ships by chinese ships, and the reason that it's of concerner is there's no give. either we give up our understanding of freedom of the sea, or we surrender or not. and china is not likely to change its doctrine. this creates an opportunity for something unpleasant at sea that may or may not be handled well. >> doug? >> i think there are lot of possible ones. one is north korea the old man
who died, kim jong-il, seemed to know exactly how far to push and rile up the south koreans and americans and when to stop. not clear his son, who is 31 and seems radical -- he executed his uncle last year so no family love there. you could see a war there out of mistake as opposed to intention. i think the japanese-chinese tension officers the island, both have been playing tough. the japanese have us as an ally backing then um. i'm not surely the chinese are convinced we'll go for war for them. the collapse of iraq, isis or isil in you're. they claim a whole territory that includes parts of lebanon, israel, jordan, turkey, syria. one could see a real mess there and i think longer term is the question of the saudi monarchy.
these are thieveses. they just appointed a deputy crown prince, which hey have never done. the leadership is very nervous. the family breaks within in terms of brothers and who the mothers were. they're potentially unstable well and that would be very messy if they went down. >> david. >> i think that going back to what all of us have said about -- the point that hermian made earlier about the fanaticism of the middle east, makes it lest likely that the blowup is going to come with the chinese. i once wrote that taiwan has a great -- well, in many ways situated like israel, sea of enemies about they're blessed because they eave rational enemy. the chinese do not live a fantasy world. they live in a world in which
they measure very carefully what their opportunities are and what the costs are, and as long as it is not an accident that these things took place at a time when the world is perceived the united states as being awol. it's an area where, as long as they know that the world works better if they get long with folks they will always harbor those desires but won't do anything stupid. that can't be said for the other part of the world. the communizes have now unearthed the messagesages and corporations that khrushchev had during the cuban missile cries, and at the height of that, of course, castro had sent a message to khrushchev that he should just go ahead and launch and if that cost them cuba, that was fine. and khrushchev wrote, what is this nut? he is willing to sacrifice his entire country. the soviet communist were not crazy. they were evil. they were not crazy.
the middle easterners are evil and crazy. >> a couple of points to follow up. i agree with you on the chinese. they're very thoughtful and delve brat -- >> going to be around for a long tile. >> but they may push the question of the 200 miles simply because they think we'll cave, and that's the danger. the one big danger that has not been mentioned is that of pakistan. we talk about iran getting the bomb. pakistan already has the bomb, and who can be 100% sure the fundamentalists in that country have not infiltrated the army, maybe the units guarding the nuclear stores. the prospect of an al a.l. -- al qaeda type group getting ahold of a number nuclear weapon is scary. >> that cheery note to start q & a. given the shortage of time,
those who have a question, you can state in 15 seconds or less, i'll give you your first opportunities. then those that have 30 second questions, then up to those who have minute questions and those who have a four-hour statement, we'll see if we can get to that. okay. 15 seconds. this gentleman here. >> does iran get the nuclear bomb, do you believe they would use it against israel -- >> i'm not aware of any leaders announcing they would use nuclear weapons against israel. everything i have seen abouted the leadership they're quite pragmatic. billionaires squabbling for power. when they were involved in a bloody war with iraq they set other people tout do the tactics. tehran did not show up on the battlefield. israeli security folks i talked to think that in fact it's a irrational leadership. what they believe would be very hard for the israeli prime minister to act if they actually possessed nuclear weapons.
the good news for israel it possesses 200 nuclear weapons. the question is, does iran want to be wiped off the map? do you believe leadership wants senate i haven't seen anything to suggest that but there's lots of reasons not to want the leader to have in. the fact its there's already a bomb in pakistan. >> david? anything tohead to that? >> the real problem -- there's the problem what they can do under with a nuclear threat that is credible, which gaves them a great deal of freedom, which is one of the reasons that if they actually get it, you can expect the saudis to have one, we now have the saudis so scared that they're cooperating with israel. because they don't want these other lunatics to be armed in the ways they aren't. because while they dislike us, we're a down the road enemy. we're an enemy right now because we're there but they've got plenty of other muslims to kill before they get around to us.
[inaudible question] [inaudible question] >> the question is what it does. the otto moan empire was a useless credit tour. the tragedy of world war is all of the old empires that were destroyed were relatively liberal and effective ones or might have evolved in a more liberal direction. out of this russian empire you get the soviet union and joseph stalin, out of germany you get nazi germany and adolph hitler. out of the italian'm, mussolini, out of the one decrepit empire
you get countries in the middle east whichl-i-z>'uz fighting. and world war i is a catastrophe and world war ii was the unfinished business of world war i and to no cause for america to get involved. world war ii was a very different creature. >> might not have had world war ii but for world war i, and i don't think there can be any question that the u.s. involvement in world war i and the fact that the u.s. first of all actually did end the war, because we put the force in there, and then got the armistice on the basis of crazy promises from woodrow wilson that the germans and the middle east and everyone else accepted, and the result was nation states that aren't nations, the result was the germany that was so upset at the unfairness of the way it ended, that we got naziism. we got communism. all of these things as a result of that war. which was the single foreign
policy mistake of the united states in its entire history because of the consequences from that point on. it was that war that made the 20th century the bloodiest century in the history of man kind, and that was in large part a result of the well intentioned fumbling progressive president and his allies who went in and mucked up everything in a way that we have yet to be able to overcome. >> world war ii alone, 2.5 percent of the entire world died. we forget how bad it was. >> and if i can talk about what doug -- response to this specific question. if world war i had not taken place and the caliphate exist evidence it was restricted to where it was because the world -- there were in fact boundaries and whether it was the ottoman empire, the boundaries were set and
respected because they knew there was a problem if they went beyond it. that's very different from what is going on now. if the muslim world developed as it should have without all of what happened in the anointing of different royal families and the like by the british and us and the french, might have been a very different future. we can't go back. >> i want to get one or two more questions, and we libertarians believe in a rule of law or the rule of clock here, to stay on time. yes, ma'am. [inaudible question] >> i want a quick question. don't have time for the statement. [inaudible question] [inaudible question]
>> there's no question. we have a defensive -- we have a treaty alliance with japan. >> okay. we got the question. herman? >> well, there's treaty alliance and we have made known to the leadership in beijing that we would stand behind japan. we have also urged japan not to push the issue. >> okay. other questions. the gentleman right down here in front. >> how long -- [inaudible question] [inaudible question] >> okay, okay, we got it. how long can the u.s. and europe continue to ignore militant islam?