tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN February 25, 2015 9:00am-10:01am EST
the actual relief that would come to iran in terms of initially the suspension of sanctions and then ultimately the lifting, the repeal of sanctions. they will have to make good on their commitments up front. and i think one of the things we would expect to see is some resolution of the issues with the iaea. >> do you think it's problematic that netanyahu's coming to speak to congress? >> so let me say a couple of things about that. first, prime minister of israel is always welcome in the united states. to speak any place, any time. i think what's unfortunate here is the way this came about. and because of the way it came about, it turned it into a political issue.
and the relationship with israel should not be a partisan or political issue. the fact of the matter is, over the course of the last six years, when it comes to israel's security, in my judgment, no administration has done more than this administration. and the relationships at every level, whether it's among the political leaders, the intelligence officials, the defense officials, i don't think there's been more coordination, cooperation, dialogue exchanged than we've seen in the last years ever before. and where it really matters. the provision of what israel needs to defend itself and protect itself. this has been an exceptional period. let me give you one quick example. this is something i happened to see up close and personal. this past summer during the gaza crisis, i was in my office at the white house at the time. i got a call from israel's ambassador. "i'd like to come see you on an
urgent basis." came over about 8:30 at night. and he said, "we really need an urgent resupply and funding to buy more intercepters for iron dome," the missile defense system that has saved many, many lives. and he and the defense attache ran through the substance of why they needed it and why they needed it then and there. the very next morning, this was on a thursday night. friday morning, i was the oval office with the president and i ran through what i heard from the israelis. and he said, "make it happen." and by tuesday, we had $250 million from congress to do that. so whatever the tensions, whatever the disagreements on various issues, when it comes to the core of the relationship, that is, our absolute commitment to israel's security, it's never been stronger. >> if you get a deal that you feel is good and the rest of the negotiating partners feel is good, to what extent do you think you need congress'
approval and for what aspect do you or do you not need congress' approval? >> congress is an absolutely integral part of this entire process. from takeoff to flight to land. the sanctions regime that congress legislated and then the international component that we help bring to bear, without that iran would not be at the table. simple as that. congress was absolutely critical in getting us to the point that we're at. going forward, congress is going to be critical because, as i said, what we're looking at doing if we get an agreement is initially suspending sanctions, which the president can do under his own authority, but then ultimately ending them. and congress has to do that. and the reason we do it this way or we propose to do it this way is that having the sanctions suspended creates real leverage to make sure that iran makes good on its commitments.
as soon as you end them, that may take some of the -- >> in other words, you're not going to go to congress and ask that the sanctions be ended right away? >> not right away. what we want to see if we get an agreement is iran demonstrating it's making good on commitments. then congress has a very strong role to play in insisting on that and then not actually ending as opposed to suspending sanctions until iran has demonstrated it is making good. >> david? >> thanks very much. good to see you, tony. one more question on iran while we're still on this. many people in congress who i've spoken with seem surprised that at the end of this agreement, whenever this agreement ends, the iranians are basically free to do what any other signatory of the iaea treaties and so forth -- they could go back and build the number of centrifuges in the tens of thousands the supreme leader has discussed. tell us what we're supposed to think about that.
that's a big israeli concern. it's a big concern in congress. and also tell us how this concept of a phased agreement in which the iranians would be frozen for ten years, then may be able to build up slowly, might work to alleviate those concerns. >> so without getting into any of the details of the negotiations, because keep in mind, what's so challenging about these is that it's a classic -- it really is the classic example of nothing's agreed until everything's agreed. and because of these elements are so interrelated, sometimes you hear -- one thing comes out in the media. allegedly something we're proposing to do. and absent the context, it's often misunderstood. let me give you one quick example of that, then i'll answer the question directly. there's a lot of back and forth sometime in the media about how many centrifuges might iran have at the end of this process?
we see different numbers. the reason that is going to be a subject of negotiation and the reason that that number in the abstract is meaningless is because if you're looking at assuring that iran must have -- it must take at least a year for it to produce enough fissile material for a weapon, the number of centrifuges is an important component of figuring that out. so is the type of centrifuge, so is the configuration, so is the stockpile of material that they're allowed to work with. depending on the configuration of those elements you could have more or fewer centrifuges and still get to your one year. so that's why, looking at some of these elements in isolation is really the wrong way to go. with regard to the end of the process, that is, let's say there's an agreement and it lasts for years, in the double digits. what happens at the end? and the fact is this. there will be a permanent ban on iran pursuing weapons activity. it will have to apply the
additional protocol in perpetuity. there will be extensive iaea safeguards that are very significant. and during the process and during the agreement itself, for however long it lasts what we will be learning about the program, every person involved, virtually, if not every nook and cranny, that base of knowledge will exist beyond the duration of the agreement. and then, of course, we would retain the same capacity and probably a greater capacity than we have now to deal with any efforts by iran to actually go to some kind of nuclear weapon. the bush administration put on the table the proposition that iran would be treated as a nonnuclear weapon state after it complied for some period of time
with any agreement. and that's exactly what we're doing. that is the purpose of this very, very challenging exercise. at some point in the future, having demonstrated that it's making good on its commitments, iran would be treated as a nonnuclear weapon state. but it is going to have a -- we're going to have a knowledge of what's going on that far exceeds what we have now. and again, there will be a permanent ban on weapons. if we see it moving in that direction we would be able to do something about it. we will have the same capacity we have today and probably a greater capacity to act on it than we -- in however long it is for the duration of the agreement. >> given the point you just made about having to see the agreement as a whole to get to the one-year breakout period, have the selective leaks been very problematic and have they come from israel? >> i think that selective leaks on anything create more confusion than daylight. and that's unfortunate.
you know, one of the challenges of this business is that -- and i know david appreciates this -- is that we in government are constantly trying to plug the leaks and our friends like david are constantly trying to pry them out. i think the challenge is, whenever there is a leak, whether it's on the iran negotiations or anything else, one of the obligations that those writing about them have i think is to give it the, if possible, the context and the explanation. so things are not seen in isolation. >> speaking of davids who get leaks, david ignatius. we'll go to the goliaths after this. >> i'll happily answer to that summons. tony, let me ask you about two issues that will arise if you do get an agreement. and the first is the i would say likely demand of other countries
in the region that they be allowed to have the same nuclear capability, threshold capability, with enrichment, centrifuges, et cetera, that the agreement will grant iran. and how do you envision dealing with that problem? second, the day after the agreement is the day before iran's threat to regional security through its proxies, through foreign policy, from yemen, damascus, beirut to baghdad. it's going to be there. how does the administration envision dealing with that problem in a world where you have an agreement? >> great.
thanks, david. so with regard to whether other countries may see this as a model to follow, i think it's about the last model any other country would want to follow. what is the iranian model? it as decade or more of sanctions, of isolation, of economic decline, as a result of its efforts to pursue enrichment and reprocessing programs. and our policy remains that countries that don't have that technology ideally should not have it. the other thing that i think makes iran no role model for anyone is that, as i noted, any agreement is going to have an exceptionally intrusive access/inspections monitoring regime. i doubt strongly other countries in the region or elsewhere would want to have what iran is going to have to accept if there's going to be any agreement. so i really don't see it as a model that anyone would want to follow. with regard to threats to regional security, you're exactly right. i want to make it very clear
that even as we pursued this agreement with iran on the nuclear program, we have worked very, very vigorously to push back and counter and enforce the various sanctions and mechanisms that are out there to deal with iran's actions and behaviors that are profoundly objectionable. whether it is support for terrorism, whether it is destabilizing activities in other countries that threaten some of our partners and allies, or indeed for that matter its own activities at home. and so what you've seen throughout this effort is the very vigorous enforcement of sanctions, including in the nuclear area, which we made very clear we would continue to strongly enforce all the existing sanctions and we have. but also in the terrorism area in the issue of destabilizing other countries.
we have over the course of the interim agreement designated, sanctioned, more than 100 entities and individuals in all of those different areas. we've interdicted shipments to various countries that have been problematic. we've continued to vigorously enforce and monitor all of the anti-proliferation requirements. and we've also worked over the last six and a half years to build up the capacity of our partners in the gulf to deal with iranian aggression and destabilizing activities. we've worked very closely with the gcc. we've put in place different capabilities that strengthen their ability to deal with problems. we are working with the gcc as an entity. in fact, one of the things that we did in terms of arms, the supply of arms and weapons, they can be treated as an entity for the purpose of acquiring arms from the united states. so all of that will continue as
long as the activities that iran is pursuing continues. let me just add two things without exaggerating. first of all, inherently, the biggest threat to stability in the region would be iran armed with a nuclear weapon. so to the extent the agreement takes that off the table, that is profoundly in the interests not only of the united states but also of countries in the region. second, i think that there are some elements in iran that are trying to approach their policies around the world in a somewhat more pragmatic fashion. not because they are necessarily good guys or like us, but because they see it as in iran's interests. to the extent that those people emerge in a stronger position and those who are pursuing the most noxious policies around the world are in a different position, that wouldn't be a bad
thing either. but again, that's not a big aspect of this, but at least it's something to consider. >> you just said something that caught my ear, which is that you're allowing the gcc to acquire weapons directly. do you think that should or could lead to a path where some arab nations create their own nato as general sisi in egypt and the saudis, emirates, and others, and is that something we should encourage? >> we hear more and more from our partner interests in doing something like that. you're hearing from the jordanians, saudis, emirates, egyptians, different ideas in that direction. moving from talking about it to acting on it is, of course, a big challenge. but as a general proposition, their ability to come together and act in a unified way to deal
with challenges would be a good thing. now, we're seeing some of that in the context of the anti-isil coalition where these countries are flying with us and flying together and that's helpful. but i think seeing this kind of initiative coming out of the region, coming from these countries, is important. and now the question is whether they can move from thinking about it and talking about it to starting to put in place some practical elements. >> p.j. crowley? >> picking up on isil, you and the vice president have spent probably as much time focused on iraq as anybody else in the administration over the past six years. how do you assess the performance of the body governments so far? they seem to be saying the right things but on the ground, do you see a change as of yet in the relationship between the baghdad government and the sunni community? and then secondly, on libya, given the egyptian action and the aftermath of the beheading of the coptic christians, should we view libya as a third front in the campaign against isil?
>> thanks, p.j. i think the abadi government has taken significant strides to try to improvement the relationship with the sunni community and create buy-in so that community sees its future not with isil but with iraq. it's a work in progress. it's usually challenging. i think they're in the middle of it, not at the end of it. but specifically we saw the formation of a more inclusive government. we saw the naming after this had been on ice for a long time of a sunni defense minister. we saw the prime minister take important steps, for example, expanding the office of the commander in chief, which had been prime minister maliki's way of having control over the military outside the chain of command. that was disbanded. dozens of generals were dismissed who were either ineffective or had very sectarian agendas. we've seen legislation that had
been stalled start to move, including on debaathification. the council of ministers sent it back to the council of representatives a couple of weeks ago, there's back and forth there. then very significantly, legislation to form a national guard that would allow members of sunni tribes to be part of a security force defending their own communities but attached to the state through training and equipping and salaries. that legislation is probably going to take time, but in the interim, the abadi administration agreed that it would try to train and pay for and integrate with the iraqi security forces tribal fighters. and they made a commitment to do that with about 7,500, primarily in anbar and innua, and they've reached that number. so on all of those fronts we're seeing progress. we also saw a budget that was passed that provides significant resources for the sunni governance.
on the other hand, one of the big challenges has been that as the iraqi security forces in some places have moved to take back territory lost to isil, in the early going the shiite militia were a critical component of their success. and a number of those militia have been responsible for abuses and for revenge on the sunni community that had nothing to do with isil, they were victimized by it. that's something that needs to be reined in in a very serious manner. what's interesting has been that leaders in the shia community, especially the grand ayatollah sistani, have very publicly pushed back on the abuses of the shia militia. i would say it's a work in progress. but what's critical is, in taking back the territory lost to isil, the integration of the tribal fighters with the iraqi security forces. we're intimately involved in that. we're putting them together at the al assad base where we have trainers. as that moves forward then i think you'll see that, you know,
abadi's making real progress in actually showing the sunni community that the future is with iraq and not with isil. >> james? >> and libya. >> libya. so libya presents a real challenge. because it -- to the extent that it becomes mired in civil war and truly chaotic, then it becomes a natural area that extremists will look to for a haven. because they prey on places that have weak governments, weak security forces and are in conflict. so we have a very strong incentive to try and prevent that from happening. right now there's a significant effort under way led by the united nations to try and form a national unity government. the only good thing that's emerged from the recent atrocities in libya conducted by isil or affiliates is it seems to have at least marginally concentrated the minds of all the different actors that
there's something even more dangerous at stake than the differences that they have. and that is the potential for isil and affiliated groups to get a real strong foothold in libya. so that may help us get to a unity government. if that happens the international community is in a better place to provide the assistance libya needs and start to build the bulwark against extremists taking root in libya. >> coming up on this switch continents for a second, asia, you were just out there, take a wild stab and guess china may have come up with our allies. i wonder -- i want to ask two related debates. one is how all-powerful is xi jinping now? is there anything left of collective leadership in china? and the other is a narrative i see taking shape -- versus other views that we really -- what we saw now as far as fairly tight repression began in '99 or going by back, maybe 1989.
but where do you see him now? >> look, i think it would be hard for me or for anyone else to really decipher exactly what is going on internally in china in terms of the sort of internal power politics of it. but it does seem, as a sort of outside observer, that the president has worked hard to consolidate his authority and his power and has had some success in doing that. what i can talk about really is the state of the relationship and what we're trying to do together.
and i think what we've seen, especially over the last year or so, is we've expanded the foundation for cooperation. and we're working together in more places productively than we have i think at any time in the past. and so just at the end of the year, as you know and saw, the leadership that we were able to exert with china on climate change was significant. china's efforts to deal with ebola, in part at our urging, were significant.zs;x and beyond that, the military to military relationship is in a better place than it's been as a result of efforts, exchanges, confidence-building measures, et cetera. going forward into this year with the state visit to president xi and a pretty active agenda, we have i think the ability to continue to expand and deepen some of that cooperation. at the same time, part of this relationship is being very direct and very forthright about our differences. and not trying to sidestep them or ignore them. and that's exactly the nature of the conversations that i had
when i was out there, and obviously others have had, and the secretary of state, the president, et cetera. but i think when i step back, i guess i think about two things. when i try to imagine how china should be looking at this or might want to think about looking at this. and i had these conversations with some of our counterparts. first, one of the primary sources of friction as you know, jim, better than anyone in the region, is china's activities in the south china sea, senkakus, et cetera. this has caused a number of countries to come to us in ways they haven't in the past. one of the things i suggested to counterparts in china in some of our meetings, you know, our countries are obviously very different. different systems, different evolutions, et cetera. and this was a little simplistic
but nonetheless relevant. and that is in many ways, china now, at least in the region, is where the united states was after world war ii. then our leaders had to decide how to use our emerging power on the world scene. and they made incredibly wise decisions to take the lead in creating institutions, writing rules, establishing norms, that bound us. and so on one level, restrained the full exercise of our power. but at the same time, had the incredible beneficial effect of telling other countries, oh, you don't have to band together against the united states to check its power, because you have a voice, you have a say, you have the ability to help lead the direction of the world. and i suggested to some of our colleagues in china that this was relevant and interesting history as they thought about their approach to their emerging power. the other thing i'd say is this. when you think about the wealth of a nation today, in the past
we defined it classically, how many people do you have? how big is your land mass? what's the size of your military? what's the abundance of your natural resources? all of those things are critically important and the good news for the united states is, we're doing very well, our wealth is great in all those areas. but i think there is a very strong consensus that in the 21st century, the true wealth of the nation is measured by its human resource and the ability of a country to maximize that resource, to allow it to debate, to create, to innovate, to think for itself. and there we also have, i think, a position of great prominence and privilege in the world. and it's something too that our chinese friends might want to reflect about. >> kimberly dozer, maybe you can get congress bowman's microphone and move up a little bit. thanks. press the red button, yeah.
>> two-part question on countering violent extremism. first of all, how do you keep the pressure on? and second of all, how do you deal with the fight over what to call the militants? on cve a number of people i spoke to who attended the meetings this past week said, great ideas, but the same ideas as before. and the moment the attention is gone, there's not enough money, there's not enough consistency. and in terms of calling them islamic militants versus criminal extremists, which are your arab partners that asked you to call them criminal extremists instead of the other? and how do you keep the republican comments about this from destroying your neutrality? >> i've got to say i sat through a big part of the meeting last week and then read the parts that i wasn't able to stay for. i learned a tremendous amount.
from listening to people who had been confronting this problem in different places and different aspects of the problem around the world. and just for that reason alone, i thought it was an incredibly valuable exercise. but it also builds i think solidarity and a common plan of action going forward. so let me just say a couple of things quickly and i'll get to the specific questions. first, one of the questions we grapple with is, why do we see this? why is this happening? and particularly, you've seen a significant expansion in the number of foreign fighters. people who travel from one country to another to get into the fight or to conduct acts of terrorism, more accurately. and one of the things that was striking, i think, in listening to this is that, you know, there's actually no one story. when you talk to the experts who have had a chance to talk to people who have gone from one country to another to join extremist groups, it's an incredible mix. some are pious.
some are not. some are troubled, some are incredibly well-adjusted and would do very well in their societies if they stayed put. some seem to have a humanitarian calling because they believe some of the false stories that are told to them. others are attracted by the notion of adventure and thrill-seeking. and then some, of course, actually are committed to the sort of totalitarian vision that isil and other groups have. so one of the first challenges is actually -- at least this is one of the things i picked up -- is there's actually no one story. it makes it more complicated to deal with. if there's one driving reason or clear explanation as to why people engaged it would be more likely to deal. there is a common denominator. a perception islam is under threat. again, a narrative foisted on
them but that's one of the elements that comes out. another element that seems to be a common denominator, individuals that feel they have no stake in the societies they are in." that to can be a driver. a lack of critical thinking skill. that is a factor. state repression corruption, et cetera are all drivers. of course for those of us dealing with foreign fighters coming back, some of these folks coming back disillusioned because stories told by isis aren't true, hopefully they can be reintegrated. others come back psychologically troubled. obviously, they have to have help. obviously you have a very dangerous core that come back with experience skills, further radicalized that are going to try to make trouble at home and they have to be dealt with very
directly. so what do you do about all this. there are two components in what we're trying to do. this is a long way of answering the question. first we have to counter those who would use violence and terrorism. these are people beyond the reach of reason and we go at them with everything we have. that's why what we've done in the case of isil is build a strong military and counter-terrorism component. we're working with other countries to cut off financing. we're working with other countries to stop the flow of foreign fighters. and we need to work on the message, narrative. homeland security borders, all of that. vitally important. we're pouring a tremendous amount of resources sfwo that but it has to be with others. and it's not an either-or.
prevention is usually important, too. we want to try to counter the appeal so that those who are susceptible in signing up are fewer in number. there i think it's interesting some of the things we heard last week, what are some of the tools doing this. one of the interesting things that jumps out at me is parents when you're dealing with foreign fighters. most parents don't want their kids to go off to syria or iraq to be fodder for isil. they desperately want to find ways to dwins their kids if they get any knowledge that's what they are thinking not to do it. working with parents with communities, helping to educate, giving them tools that can be effective. the internet has been a powerful tool for extremists to attract recruits. in is a challenge we're deeply engaged in. rick, who runs the state department, has been doing
tremendous work there. here it's interesting. for obvious reasons we're not the best messenger. getting other countries to step up, but not just countries identifying the right individuals who cully have the ability to reach people, that's critically important and we're working on that. finally two other things, this notion, this is a much longer term effort how do you convince people in france or germany or denmark, pick your place or the united states that they really do have a stake and a future in their societies and they don't become as susceptible as they are to these extreme narratives. that's a much longer project. one element interesting to me, prisons. two of the three "charlie hebdo" attackers were radicalized in prison. they were sort of petty criminals, didn't have much of a future, went to prison. they became ideological. that's something we need to get to.
so finally to answer your question about the so-called islamic label. i think it's a profound mistake to put that label on what we're seeing for two reasons. first of all, it's exactly what the extremists want. they want to be legitimized by a nation with religion. we would be playing into their narrative. second, by the way, i think fareed zakaria pointed this out, we would be allowing 0.0019% of a particular religious group to define the entire group. that makes no sense. beyond that the second reason is, it actually has the potential to alienate the people that you need on the front lines combating this problem. that's exactly what we heard
from ministers and other delegates in town last week. >> grab david and george somebody, greg you're coming next. >> thanks, tony. this has been very interesting. last week the u.n. special envoy in town for syria. i believe you met with him as well. he said in a private briefing that iran has been supporting syria regime to the tune of $35 billion annually which is an astonishing figure, almost 10% of iran's gdp. i'm wondering if you can comment on that? i'm also wondering can you comment has there been evolution in iran's regional policies since the election. we've seen increased in iran and united states on the nuclear issue. in the last year and a half have you seen any difference in their regional policies.
>> i haven't seen a difference. if anything we've seen them try to take advantage of the opening in yemen. we've seen destabilizing support for terrorist grops. i think there's been -- you could make the case that for reasons of their own they have done some positive things in iraq, not in any coordination or cooperation with us because it advanced their interest. but that's their own agenda. i think it's a reflex of the falk, first, what we're doing on the nuclear file entirely segregated from everything else. it's been walled off. the peemd who are responsible for trying to pursue the agreement on behalf of iran are not the same people who are really in charge of the policy in other areas. there seems to be a dichotomy approaching the nuclear issue i
would say largely practicinggmaticpragmatic, doesn't mean we'll get to an agreement, in other areas continually and arguably accelerated in some ways. secondly, with regard to support for syria, i can't vouch for the number stefan provided no doubt iran spending large amount of resources for the regime. these are resources arguably it can't afford which hopefully may be one incentive for iran to think about putting its weight and influence behind some kind of negotiated political transition. by the way, the same goes for russia. they are spending significant resources to support assad resources they also don't really have the reductionly lyuxury of spending that way. one would hope that they will think twice going forward. it might be to their benefit to not make those expenditures and move in the direction of
political transition that allows syria to remain intact, institutions intact but takes the magnet for extremism which is bad for russia and bad for iran in terms of isil away. that's assad. >> mr. secretary, my question is about linkage and to what extent you and your colleagues have been thinking about that. you spoke today very eloquently and many of the leaders of the administration have already spoken also about the impact of sanctions and european sanctions on russia and what kind of adverse affect they have had. to what extent on a measurement from zero to ten is there concern there may be linkage. particularly the following question. to what extent are we relying on russian cooperation for successful result with iran?
>> so i think it's a really interesting question and one that we have been looking at. here is what i can tell you just in terms of sort of practical observation. what's been really interesting is, again because it's a matter of self-interest when it comes to the iran nuclear negotiations, the russians have been a constructive partner and they have remained a constructive partner. they have tried to advance constructive ideas in the course of these negotiations. so the profound difference that we have with them over ukraine has not bleed into the iran nuclear negotiations. i would say similarly, although it's less acute because not much is happening on nkz, that has not been especially problematic either. so i think what one can take from that is in part that where
russia concludes a particular issue and cooperation in the context of that issue advances its own interest, it's going to keep doing it irrespective of what's going on with ukraine or anything else. at least that's been the case to date. i think, you know, one of the many frustrations about the actions that russia chose to take in ukraine was that we had built over some years better cooperation with russia on a number of front that were obviously beneficial to our own security and interest and presumably beneficial to theirs. whether it was new start whether it was iran, whether it was afghanistan where russian cooperation has been important in allowing us to move people and material in and out. that was all good. we were ironically russia's biggest champion for getting into the wco, as you remember.
but that of course is no longer where we are in the relationship. but the bottom line is where self-interest is clearing at stake in cooperation that advances self-interest it continues. >> margaret warner. your microphone. >> thank you. so, one, how do you assess putin's intentions toward the three baltic states? is nato absolutely committed to defending them and does nato have the military capability to do so, whether it would be a conventional type of aggression or as we've seen them do in crimea and provinces of ukraine this sur ep tissues from within. >> the baltic states, the answer is yes, period. with regard to the third part of the question, do we have the
means to defend again, the answer is yes. one of the things we've been working on since this crisis erupted was to take very concrete steps not only to reassure our partners and allies but also to enhance capacity to deal with these kinds of challenges. i'm confident that if it came to that, the answer is yes. the first part of the question is a lot harder. i don't know. it's hard to read the intentions. i think one thing i take from what's happened in ukraine is to some extent there's been a lot of improvising by russia to deal with a fast changing situation that seemed to be spinning out of control. i think unfortunately from its perspective, the improvising, as i tried to make the case earlier
has put in a place where over time it's been a strategic loss for them. i can't put myself in that mind-set. i do think that it would be a very serious mistake for anyone. >> what would that kind of defensive action looked like if they used in latvia the kind of ammo they used in crimea. >> i'm not going to speculate what might happen in the future. i can tell you that countries are seized with concerns of those kinds of actions in the future and i think they are looking very hard in acting on how they can better position themselves should something like that happen. it's hard to really speculate about something like that. >> professor. >> thank you. thanks for this very
comprehensive statement today. i'd like to ask a semiacademic question back on ukraine, as you would expect me to do. the perennial gap, my question has to do with perennial gap between words and deeds in our foreign policies. specifically on ukraine. it happens to me when we talk about its independence and sovereignty, when we talk about i think you mentioned maybe not that word sanctity of its borders, are we not promising more than what our allies in the atlantic alliance are prepared to deliver? >> charles i think to date at least one of the great strengths, if not the greatest strength to the approach we've taken in ukraine is that we've sustained solid artie among our partners and allies. and we've managed to do
virtually everything jointly and in lock step. there's been criticism at various points along the way that we should have gone further and faster. for example various points on sanctions. the presidents believe very strongly that we're actually much more effective if we can sustain that kind of joint action and solid artie particularly when it comes to pressure. what we've seen at least up until now is rather extraordinary unity, purpose with the major european partners on ukraine. it's not easy, as you know better than anyone. there are tremendous pressures that governments are under to take different directions on this. but thanks in no small measure at least in my judgment first and foremost to the president's leadership, because i witnessed this firsthand, and stuff that doesn't get seen on a daily basis, but the constant calls
and meetings and led by him throughout made a huge difference in keeping the same page. and of course folks working for the president or secretary engaging on this, that's made a huge difference. but we've also seen extraordinary leadership from our partners starting with angela merkel. and prime minister cameron president hollande and others. so we've put a premium trying to sustain that cooperation coordination and unity because, again, we think that's how we're more effective. conversely, if we loud putin to divide us, that would be a strategic success for him that we don't want. starting out saying this is a challenging situation, you have
a country right there on the country's border with significant resources in terms of its military. the proxy that its supplying supporting, promoting. the idea that this can be reversed militarily is probably asemitic response primarily going through pressure i believe over time is going to produce results we're looking for. >> a slightly more personal question if i may. you spent six years working in white house and nsc that gained a reputation for being extremely covetous of the most sensitive foreign policy files was accused from time to time of micromanaging. it was clear frustration in the
agencies on the part of many people who felt they didn't have enough leeway. you've gone to one of those agencies. i wonder what life is like at the other end of the telescope. >> on my second day at the state department, we had a large staff meeting. i said i had com┐ to one conclusion, micromanagement from the white house has to stop. different people see this different ways. different people working in the clinton administration and being a witness to the bush administration from congress, my sense of this is this is the same story with different degrees, maybe, in administrations. there are inherent institutional challenges that are built into the system between the white house and the state department and the pentagon. you pick your agency.
and sometimes it's a function of in terms of how far value of individuals, maybe a function of the issue at play but it seems to me this is something that's baked in and built in. i like to think at the white house working on the interagency process as the deputy national security adviser that, in fact we ran an exclusive process where all the agencies and departments were at the table had their saying and indeed drove policy in most areas. that was the way it was spoked of to work and that's the way at least in my small part i tried to make it work. so again i think some of the frustrations expressed seem to be the natural product of the institutional relationship that exists in any administration. >> i've been given the signal that there's only one more question. two people have been on the list
for a while, so i'm going to ask both of you to ask the question together, and secretary can use it as a ensor and doyle mcmanus. i know there's many others. but they've had their hands up for awhile. >> i'm just wondering, we had a minsk agreement the other day. and then debaltseve fell almost immediately. i don't think it was never not under fire. did you know that is what was going to happen? was that what you expected? are there any red lines in ukraine as far as the administration is concerned? >> and doyle, why don't you ask one, as well? that way we can -- >> all right. this is a 40,000 foot question but i hope you'll take it as a welcome invitation to go back to where you started the session, tony and that was your vigorous rebuttal of critics who worry that the administration isn't doing enough leadership. some of that criticism is obviously partisan, but not all of it is.
some of it you know, there are plenty of possible explanations for why that concern arises in so many quarters. you've had a bad patch of conflicts with a bad correlations of forces. we're still conditioned by the cold war to expect instant results. so take yourself to the 40,000 foot level and write us the history of this administration's transformation of american leadership. >> perfect. >> first david's question on ukraine. >> what was the question -- >> i think david's question is easier now. look debaltseve was a land grab. and it was done after -- it was in train before the minsk implementation agreement was signed and was pretty far along. then the cease-fire was supposed to take effect on sunday. it didn't. the separatist grabbed what they could of debaltseve aided and abetted by russia. in my judgment, that needs to be accounted for going forward.
i think it's clear, also going forward, that the cease-fire needs to be fully implemented. the heavy weapons need to be pulled back. and i think you heard the secretary say -- i can't remember if it was today or yesterday, probably yesterday at this point, that absent those initial steps being taken, we're going to have to deepen and extend the pressure on russia. and we're talking very closely to our european partners right now about next steps if these two very basic things, cease-fire, pullback of the heavy weapons which were the initial steps agreed to by russia in the minsk implementation agreement, don't take place. that is what we're looking for. and we're looking for that in the coming days. if it doesn't happen, we will take account of that. on the 40,000 foot question, boy, that would take a while to try to answer with any kind of adequacy.
i guess i would say this. you can look at the specifics of how the administration has handled different challenges, worked on different opportunities. you can look at the sort of big muscle movements of trying to bring to conclusion two large wars. you can look at the big muscle movements out of these trade agreements, which, were they to happen, tpp and ultimately ttip would cover about 70% of global gdp. that would be significant. you look at the big movement of climate change and whether we get a significant step forward in paris at the end of the year. but i guess, if i had to step back i think what we've tried to do is to look at a few basically guiding principles that we've tried to put in place. and we obviously are not perfect
in adhering to them. no one is. one is we tried to act with a sense of general purn. it's actually a purpose that is probably extended from the beginning of the republic. and that is to look out for the security of our citizens, to try to advance their economic prosperity. to try and promote our values, and maybe one added element which is to try and strengthen some of the institutions of international order. so we have worked to do that. we have tried to act and lead from a position of strength. that started with china get our economic house in order. i think we believe we're much stronger abroad when we have a strong economic foundation at home. and i think we're in a much better position now than we've been. parent parenthetically when i was in china last week i had been there with vice president biden in the depths of our economic crisis. that was a point i think jim will remember, when the chinese love to talk about, oh, maybe we
should not keep our money in the united states it is so risky, to which the vice president said, go ahead, take it out. of course they didn't because even in the depths of our crisis, it remained the best place, the safest place. what the vice president said then, and i remember it very well to the chinese leadership, it's never a good bet to bet against the united states.wñh and i think at least right now where we are and i happily reminded our host of this, he was right. so we've tried to lead from a position of strength, not only with a strong economy but with what remains and what will remain the strongest military by far in the world despite sequestration. that doesn't make things any easier but we have made the smart investments in that. the third, we've tried, as a general principle, to actually live and lead from our values. doing that at home to the extent possible, so you know, bringing health care to 30 million more americans. that resonates around the world and i have heard it from traveling around the world. from working hard on closing
guantanamo to ending torture, to other steps we've taken to demonstrate that we're serious about living our values. we have tried to lead from the proposition that doing so with partners is the smarter and more effective way to advance our interests around the world. we spent a lot of time working on building partner capacity, working on cooperating with established partners, building the capacity of new ones. and that has very positive moments and then also frustrations. it's a long-term process. but we're infinitely better off doing it with partners where we can. we've also tried to make the case that we needed to use all the elements of national power.
and not over-rely on one muscle. so the military element has remained critical. our economic strength has remained critical. but we've also sought to energize our diplomacy, to advance development, to tackle some of these large, underlying issues. i think one of the hallmarks is going to be, and people debate and dispute this, but the president believes strongly that it doesn't really make a great deal of sense to bog down tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of americans in foreign lands for decades at a time when there may be other means of dealing with the security threats. so i think that's been something. finally, i would say we're trying to lead with a sense of perspective. here's what i mean by that. the fact of the matter is, this is a period of extraordinary change around the world, with big fault lines that are moving. some good, some bad, some indifferent.
it's what you make of it. and we see all of those fault lines very acutely in the middle east. where you have changing relationships among states and within states, between the old order, and new aspirants, empowered individuals. conflicts that may be ethnic or religious in nature. with a lid coming off. new technology that is bringing people together but also creating greater vulnerabilities. and i think what's important at least for me that i take away from this is a lot of this is not about us. and we have to have some humility in thinking that we are either the cause of every problem, or the solution. because so much of this has nothing to do with us. but the problem is, it affects us. if we don't deal with it, to the best of our ability, it will bite us even harder. beyond that, even if it is not about us and even if we can fix
everything, more than any other country honor, we have an ability -- at least on the margins -- to shape change, to mitigate some of its challenges and downsides and hopefully to maximize some of its opportunities. so that broadly speaking is the perspective we've tried to bring to bear on these problems that's very much how the president, i think, and the secretary would see them. you can run down the checklist of where it has worked, where it hasn't worked, where it is still a work in progress. but the main thing i would leave you with is exactly what i started with. the notion that the united states is somehow not leading, that we're not more engaged in more places than ever before, is belied by the simple thought experiment. take us out of the picture. what do all of these things look like? i can tell you they look a heck of a lot worse. thanks. >> i want to thank michelle smith and the robert smith foundation for sponsoring these. i want to pay my respects to lois rice a scholar from the brookings institution who's been
a friend for many years and i especially want to thank deputy secretary anthony blinken. thank you so much for what you do. keep track of the republican-led congress and follow its new members through its first session. new congress, best access. on c-span. c-span2. c-span radio. and c-span.org. and we're live on capitol hill on this wednesday morning. where secretary of state john kerry will be testifying shortly before the house foreign affairs committee. he's likely to address the ukraine/russia conflict. the ongoing talks with iran. and the use of military force against isis. secretary kerry testified on the senate side on tuesday. this is live coverage on c-span3. it should get under way shortly.