tv Senator Christopher Murphy Proposes Doubling Foreign Affairs Budget CSPAN April 12, 2017 5:55pm-6:56pm EDT
murphy spoke about proposed budget cuts. the senator said the u.s. should spend more money on diplomacy and humanitarian aid to improve u.s. security. >> good afternoon, everybody. welcome to today's council on foreign relations meeting with senator chris murphy. i'll be presiding over our conversation. in addition to the council me s members in washington, i want to welcome those of you around the country who are watching on cspan this afternoon. obviously today's meeting is on the record. our speaker is senator murphy. he was elected to the senate in 2012 after representing connecticut's fifth congressional district for two terms in the u.s. house of representative. the senator services on the appropriations committee, health committee, and most appropriate services on the senate foreign
relations committee where he is the ranking member. he has been outspoken on syria and russia so i guess that means we'll have plenty to talk about. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome senator chris murphy. >> thank you very much. i look forward to our conversation. thank you to my friends at the council for having me here today and for your guidance throughout my time at the senate and house of representatives. the speed and precision of thursday night's military attack on an air base in syria, it was as impressive as it was predictable. the destroyers, the uss supporter and uss ross, $4 billion worth of steel and weaponry, they quickly moved
into position to strike planners and intelligence officers scores of them were busy assigning targets. in eastern syria, 500 u.s. troops amassed to help plan and orchestrate the upcoming assault on the city of raqqah at a cost of about $1 million per troop per year were ordered to retreat to safety in order to avoid potential retaliation. when the missile strike was ordered 60 missiles were lauf g launched. 9 within one week of the chemical attack a major military attack was executed with precision. it was america at its most impressive. no military in the world has more capacity than ours and none is more lethal or efficient or nimb nimble. when the u.s. military is given a task, time is a minor
obstacle. no one was surprised that the attack went down as planned. friday morning no one was surprised when the attack did nothing to change the reality of the civil war inside syria that has killed 400,000. no one was surprised that a political solution still seemed a billion miles away. no one was surprised no matter how badly damaged that airfield was, syria is still as big a nightmare. why? neither the root of the crisis in syria nor the way out is rooted in problems that the military alone can solve. the way in and the way out, it's political. it's cultural, it's social, it's economic. so it's no secret why syria feels just as hopeless after
thursday as it did before. when a problem is diagnosed as military, the department of defense never has to worry about having enough money or capacity or support from congress, but when a problem like syria is diagnosed as political or economic or social, no one can even imagine a real solution because the agencies that do that work, the state department, they are set up to fail. they are only given the crumbs and never resourced to win. this happens over and over and over again across the landscape of u.s. national security problems. some of our major adversaries are building up their militaries, but the crisis popping up have little to do with ke nettic power. moscow has figured how to use its oil and gas and information
propaganda in order to bully neighboring countries. china is building an aircraft carrier, but it has more friends now than ever before because of its willingness to spread capital all over the world with no strings attached. north korea may be trying to build the capacity to fire a missile on the united states. those are just the state actors. as political instability grows all over the world, a record number of displaced persons, states break down and extremist groups step into the vacuum. the continued break down is catastrophic news for the united states. more ungovernable space means less areas to grow.
the nonmilitary challenges to the world order and to american security, they mount by the day. frankly, they define the new threats that lay at our doorstep and yet we scratch our heads and wonder why under both obama and president bush with nearly unlimited resources our enemies seemed only to multiply and strengthen. the answer to me is simple. a strong american military is still vital to guard against security threats, but the emerging threats to global stability cannot be checked with military power alone. we face a new world today. terrorist groups are increasi increasingly immune to american military. the world has changed. tools our enemies have
transformed and we have stayed the same. we pay lip service to meet these new threats, but it's largely just that, lip service. military and intelligence spending still outpaces diplomacy spending 20-1. we have more people working at grocery stores today than diplomats at the state department. in the global competition for foreign investment, china is lapping us. our budget is $650 million and their budget is $10 billion. how about foreign aid? we wonder why it's not effective anymore. in 1950 when we were rebuilding europe we were 2% of our gdp. today that name is .1%. that's a 94% demooush.
maybe it's because saudi arabia is pumping ten times the amount into the economy and their priorities takes prezens. here is the argument i want to make today. it's time we thought about our noncon etic forces. we need to give the department of defense everything it needs to succeed. it's a dangerous world out there and peace is achieved in part through military strength. i want my country to have the capacity to do what it did on thursday night. what i'm saying is we should look at the state department like we look at the department of defense. if it's reasonable to ask for
$50 billion more in military funding than it should be reasonable to propose $50 billion more in nonmilitary funding. i'm showing the path forward to right size america's national security budget for the real threats that face our country. i'm outlining the way we can rebuild our country's national security tool kit so the presidents have the option to succeed globally if they choose too. here's how it would work. first we need to recognize that success of the marshal plan wasn't an accident. spending money on building stability is a great national security investment and it's never been in greater need than it is today. we can't compete with china or russia or isis if america exits the economic development playing field and we cannot continue to play the role of global fire department responding to crisis after they've developed. we need a 21 century plan that
recognizes the best action against extremism in at risk regions and the best pathway to open new markets to american goods is economic empowerment. so the plan sets forward specific proposals to do this. first let's take the handcuffs off u.s. development financing. this doesn't come at any expense to the taxpayer. why is mark the global power of power markets allowing china to run circles around us. it's time to take off the restrictionss so we can compete with china. then let's really ramp up the challenge corporation. it's a model that works, but the money isn't enough to demand real reform and there's a line of countries that want in.
we should partner the in. cc where aid coming from the united states reaches countries where it matters. finally, recognize our add sears are using energy as a weapon. we should fight back. begin financing energy independence for countries. put money up to do it and have a robust policy of moving u.s. lng to allies. making ukraine energy independent is a better long term investment than anything we could do with their military. a second set of proposals envisions an america that can respond to crisis before they necessitate the deployment of cruise missiles. there is nothing soft about the work that our diplomats do to protect security.
our diplomats are hardened defenders of u.s. security all over the globe. they don't cost $1 million per year to deploy. this report focuses on powering up some of the most important missions. a renewed focus on empowering extremists, but it needs more help. rapidly spreading corruption, it's under mining the rule of law and u.s. interests all over the world. new foreign service officers who are dedicated to promoting good governance can turn the tide. it helps sell america. it deserves to get back to kennedy levels of performance. the third set of proposals would put into place the necessary funding so the united states can finally lead on global crisis management and prevention. eventually the slope of every international crisis flows to
the united states. developing crisis whether they be military conflicts or famines they threaten us. public safety crisis in central america drive undocumented migration to america. disease epidemics in africa can be at our shores in hours. we will end up paying the price. while this proposal cause for immediate increases there are two major reforms included here. the major consolidation of the existing flexible funding accounts to respond to developing political or military or social crisis. these fundings as they exist now they're underfunded.
we didn't have the authority to move money from one account to another. our new global crisis prevention account will give the president the ability to deploy nonmilitary stabilization assets into an area before it falls into governance chaos. we don't have the resources to do this now. a new prefunded global health account that would allow the president to stop a pandemic in its infant stage rather than waiting for congress. estimates are that the billions spend on ebola could have been millions if the obama administration had the money to spend a year earlier. now, as you read through this report or -- it's a big report. at least the executive summery, i hope that you'll think i haven't gone mad because i
understand what i'm doing here. i'm arguing for a doubling of the foreign affairs budget over the course of five years. at a political moment in time when our president is calling for the same budget to be cut by 30% this year alone. i understand today this is not a realistic proposal, but it's a marker for where we should be and a marker for the coming debate so that the terms don't start such that flat funding is on one side and a devastating 30% cut is on the other. for the majority of smart thinkers on global security that know that our budget is underfunded today, we need to be on offense. president trump's view of the world that we can defend ourselves with a bigger army is dangerous and will fan the
flames of his views on security. syria is just as big a mess today as it was on thursday. maybe a bigger mess. the world is a mess too. the clean up can't happen if the u.s. continues to spend money the way we are today, ignoring the blizzard of crisis that cannot be solved if we continue to equip the department of defense with everything they need and the department of state with the crumbs that are left over. i am glad that we have those aircraft carriers, but the best investment in u.s. national security isn't another piece of military missionary. it's making unstable places stable. the world has changed. the tools of our rivals have transfigured. the battlefield is different than it was decades ago and the way we fund the fight has to keep up. thank you very much for having me today. i look forward to the
conversation. >> thank you very much senator. i grew up in connecticut, but you wouldn't want that to effect the quality of the questions. i want to follow up on your proposal that you're release now. i looked at it over the weekend and the cost of your proposal add up to $131 billion over the next five years adding $131 billion to the existing federal budget, before you count the president's 30% cuts to the state department and foreign aid budget. first, i want to follow on something you said. donald trump won the election. is this the time to be suggesting that there's any chance in the realistic future of adding $131 billion to the
state department and foreign aid budget? >> president trump has called for a massive plus up in national security funding. his proposal is at the department of defense, but he is signaling a willingness to talk about increasing the resources that we're using to protect this country. and what i'm trying to lay forward in this proposal is that if we are going to talk about that massive increase, then it's misspent if it's only happening in the build up of ships and aircraft carriers and tankers. i understand this is cross cultural today, but remember president trump as a candidate. as a candidate his foreign policy signals were all over the place, but he did seem to preview that he understood the danger of u.s. military intervention inside the middle east without a political component to that plan. he was much more of a skeptic about military intervention than
an enthusiast. if that's the president that we have, the strike last night notwithstanding, why wouldn't he want tools that with allow him and his administration to learn the lessons. he seems to set up this sort of dichotomy between hard power which is good and soft power which is bad. part of the pitch i'm trying to make here is that there's nothing soft about what the state department does and what they can do. these are hardened warriors. i think if we try to reframe this debate and go on the offense maybe there's some people in that administration who do know the disaster of american foreign policy in the middle east over the last 15 years who are looking for some new ways of thinking. >> so the president has proposed some $54 billion in increased defense spending paid for by cuts in domestic spending including the state department. do you support any increase in defense funding at this point? >> absolutely. i try to make that point that i
really do believe in peace through strength. there are a lot of bad things that have not happened in this world because people knew if they crossed lines the u.s. military would be there. i do support increased military spending. i don't support it at the expense of the state department. i'm laying out an aggressive proposal, but we should be talking about increases in state department funding. >> do you want to put a number on it? he proposes $54 billion. what would you recommend? >> i think i can easily find -- i've recommended over five years increasing -- the numbers play out in different ways, but i'm recommending about $50 billion in increased foreign affairs spending after five years. so i can argue for $50 billion in year split evenly between
military accounts and nonmilitary accounts. i think we can put that to good use quickly. >> polls show that the american public has no idea who is spent on foreign aid. the average american believes that some 31% of the u.s. federal budget goes to foreign aid while the actual number is less than 1%. why is the public so uninformed? where is this coming from? >> it's been a convenient talking point for folks who don't have a stake in this game. there have been uses of this overseas. a component of that story was the amount of money that we were spending to build up those countries. it's interesting because the
next question in those polls is how much do you think the government should be spending and the americans don't think 1% is right number. they think the right number is closer to 10%. americans are much more willing to spend additional dollars if they know the size. and you make that argument consistently, you can reframe the debate. >> what's happened to the folks on your side, the people who want to spend more money and think that we need to spend more money on an account such as the ones you described in your talk earlier, that you're side has so woefully failed to communicate this reality that the public is so completely uninformed about what the government spends, what
it doesn't spend and as you suggested what they should spend. >> listen, this is a disease that infects my party all the time. we get on the wrong side of the debate and we stop fighting it and it becomes a downward cycle. that happened on health care the minute we felt like we were losing that debate we stopped engaging in it. the same thing happened with respect to foreign aid. of course it's a very attractive argument the idea that you should spend money here rather than over there. but we've decided to make a massive commitment to national security. it's just a matter of where those dollars are best spent. when you walk through the american public in five minutes to talk about the way that our enemies are building up these nonmilitary sets of tools, it frankly is not that long a journey to get to the point where this where they understand this. democrats lost a lot of our foreign policy big thinkers in
the senate in a short period of time so the folks that were really good at making this argument in the senate, joe bidden and joe lieberman, they all left. we need to rebuild a bench of foreign policy leaders in the senate, but we have to have the courage to know if we make this argument, spend a little bit of time explaining why it's necessary to spend money outside of the military people will follow us there. >> i want to pin you down on what happened last week. you were complimentary of the u.s. capabilities and yet you remain critical of the president's overall policy. just focused on what happened last thursday night, do you believe the president did the right thing in sending those cruise missiles? >> i don't. first and foremost because he's not constitutionally authorized
to do it. that's not a cop out. they are wrapped together. the reason that congress is supposed to weigh in on these things is we are supposed to be allowed to have the full scope of review when it comes to military activities overseas. the congress hasn't weighed in on any of what's happening in syria today, not just the missile strikes, but the 500 plus troops sitting in raqqah waiting to retake that city and getting involved in complicated ways in the fights that play out around. >> second, so long as we have a policy of trapping those children inside syria and not allowing them to leave, either by stopping refugee flows into the united states or gutting resettlement accounts, it is an inhuman policy to bomb a country setting off escalation and have no process to help people get out. >> would you have voted to give him the authority had he gone to congress asking for authority
before he sent the missiles? >> congress would have been a believe to have a conversation about what the policy in syria is. it wouldn't happen over the weekend. congress would have debated a couple of weeks. >> which is one time that presidents sometimes take action before they go to congress. >> that's not an excuse. just because it takes time to get authorize, remember we give the executive to take immediate action if an emineimminent thre made to the united states. not give authorization for the
massive build up of ground troops that eventually could sit in syria for years. that debate could have happened and it didn't. >> would you have supported the resolution you just described? >> i think if there was a resolution before congress to limit the potential for the expansion of a u.s. led ground war in syria combined with an authorization to strike, i think that's something that i would have been interested in potentially supporting. >> so take a bigger view of syria. if you were in charge of the world starting where the president started when he was n inaugurated or starting right now, what would you do now? >> america is the only country in the world that believes we can solve problems on the other side of the world in places that we fundamentally don't
understand. even after the iraq and afghanistan wars are still with us. restraint sometimes is a smart policy. i know this is totally unsatisfactory to the folks that work in the field of foreign affairs, but what we have done over the last four or five years in syria is make the situation worse. we have given these rebels just enough support to keep the fight going, but never enough to win. we have prolonged the carnage inside that country. you need to decide if you're in or out. i would argue we should be out. we should be focused on defeating isis, but we should not be engaged in the ultimate fight over the syrian regime and we should have a humanitarian policy to let anybody out of that country that wants out. use the leverage we have on countries like russia and iran and the saudis to come to the table, but not believe we are going to drive the political solution and not bleed military
support into the country to keep the fight going though it's never enough to get it done. i would pull the support for the rebels. i would up my game when it came to political pressure on the iranians and the russians and use whatever is at our disposal to pressure them and i would dramatically expand humanitarian assistance. >> doesn't that leave syria to assad and what he currently controls and russia to basically run observer the rest of the coy because without our military assistance, including our air strikes, there's nothing left for the rebels to do? they can't stand up to the syrian and the russian military. >> well it begs the question, would you take syria in 2010 as a trade for syria today? assad is a terrible guy. >> you have to start with today. >> what you're saying is that a
syria where assad is in charge for any period of time and the russians have syria's equities is an unsatisfactory outcome. i understand given what assad has done, it is impossible to imagine a u.s. policy that allows him to stay. but we continue to pretend there is a political settlement in which russia and iran abandoned him so we continue to sort of feed the civil war under the belief that some day a set of circumstances will magically occur in which russia and iran push out assad. they agree to willingly leave and there is a pluralistic american oriented government installed in damascus. that is not happening. if assad needs to be a transition, if we need to guarantee some continued stake in syria's affairs for russia and iran, i don't think that's
an unjust ffiable price to pay. >> that suggests that if we leave it to russia and to assad that the carnage would somehow end. it very much likely would continue in one form or another for a while, just without our help. >> right. the question is had we not sort of propped up the rebels with training, with weapons, had we not worked with our partners to do that, where would syria be today? it may be that the civil war wouldn't be continuing. maybe assad would still be in power, but it might be a less violent place than it is today. i'm not saying -- i don't spend every moment of my day thinking about this problem so i think a lot about it. i'm not telling you i'm sure that's the right outcome, but the middle ground that we are in today where we are propping up
this civil war and waiting for the moment in which all of the things that we want align themselves, to me seems a fantasy. >> i'll give our council members here an opportunity to join our conversation with questions. please raise your hand and then please wait for the microphone, speak directly into it and state your name and your affiliation and keep your question to a question. >> secretary of state tillerson is headed to moscow. how would you define success with his mission there? >> i'm pleased that the stunning change of rhetoric that has happened with respect to
u.s./russia relations in the last 48 hours. it's sort of hard to understand why we all of a sudden decided to take this antagonistic stand when the president or his team wasn't willing to do that. i think there's a way to read what happened in syria last week through the lens of softness on russia. russia has complicity in these chemical weapons attacks and you have to ask themselves did they think they could get away with it because the united states has signalled more most of this administration there was no price to be paid by the russians if they baifd in irresponsible manners. that is past. what's next is this meeting with
lavrov. success to me is tillerson coming out of it and talking the same way he meant in and talking with congress on a set of sanctions that continues to tighten the noose on russia. >> if i ready between the lines i thought i heard you saying there's at least a bit of a positive development. >> this is a very different administration when it comes to the way that they talk about russia and i think that's a positive development. we have legislation ready to go in congress that they could work with us. again, all of this is dizzying to our allies. the fact that we still don't have a syria policy. we had two different ones on the
tv talk shows yesterday. >> there's nothing wrong with tv talk shows. >> especially where they make news the way they did yesterday. i think it's good that we've changed but i'm not excited about this rapid change in policy. >> thank you for coming today. as one of probably ambassadors to your room is thank you. watching the congress from this end of town has not been very ed ifying for the last couple of weeks. do you think that there's enough people in the congress who would support what you're proposing
today so we can hope for this in the coming years? >> no, i don't think there are enough, but there -- but there is bipartisan support for a proposal like this. as you know lindsey graham has been traveling the world. he understands there's no -- there's no bigger hawk out there than lindsey graham. there are new voices in the senate. anybody that has listened to senator todd young, he is a strong voice. just a few extra advocates in the senate can make a difference. i think what we're going to -- victories in the short-term is
paro parody, but we have a handful of people that understand the value to counter what our rivals are doing. >> questions. yes, sir right here in the middle. >> board members of the arms control association. senator, president trump apparently decided very quickly without consulting congress, without consulting our allies and without engaging the international community on this attack, doesn't this make an argument for the legislation that would at least require the president before he launches the first nuclear strike to consult with congress? >> i'm not as familiar with that piece of legislation as i should so i'll get familiar with it. i would say that notification to congress and consultation with congress was lacking here. there were a handful of discussions that happened, but there was no broad notification.
in fact, i know the top democrats were being told as the strikes were being launched. it appears that many of his lieutenants had conversations after the fact. it doesn't seem president trump had many direct conversations. much of the work seems to have been outsourced. he was busy this weekend, but he did seem to leave a lot of the international conversations to others. as you know, international support for the strike has been fairly robust and so i don't think you can fault him for not building an international coalition if in the end most of our international players were supportive of the strike. it maybe would be better if he was doing a little bit of that ahead of time or personally.
>> in your plan would you support a marshal plan for a country like tinisa who is struggling. >> it's almost a poster child for what i'm talking about. it is a country that is an outlioutl outlioutl outlier. it is alarming high given the fact it is a government that made that transition better than others, a country crying out for economic investment and has an inclusive political structure that's able to take it. and yet we have to fight every single year just to keep a tiny
flow of economic development funds flowing into the region. don't assume that it stays stable and the amount of money we may have to spend five or ten years from now on managing a crisis is -- it's just a mountain compared to the peanuts that might be necessary to build some real political stability there. >> yes, sir. >> abrupt change in subject. can you tell me where the budget control act plays in your plan and where you think it will be next fall and if it's still there what are you cutting? >> the budget constraints would have to be removed in order for this kind of plan to be put into place. so again i'm imagining this in a world where we finally have
decided that the insanity of sequestration should no longer p apply, but the amount of money is big. that's the amount of money that you save if you decide to directly negotiate the prize of prescription drugs with drug companies through medicare. there are single policy changes that can get you $50 billion. that is a minor adjustment in tax rates for the upper income earners. the policy changes are not catastrophically large if you chose to make them to come up with this money. part of what i'm arguing is that the administration and the folks that propose these supplementals should be thinking about supplemental requests in these nonmilitary accounts. when the president makes many of these proposals often they're
unpaid for because they're to treat emergencies. when they do that they should include nonmilitary accounts as well. >> sean murphy. i'm wondering if part of your argument could be supported by observing that a large amount of what the department of defense does is in fact not hard power, that is a lot of what they do are things like working on the ground in afghanistan or iraq or build tents in west africa. there's hardware behind it, but i've been struck at how much diplomacy our american men and women in the service do and if you conceive of that as part of
a soft power side of things, all you're talking about is augmenting that with other experts who have language skills and experience and so on to make the whole package work together extremely well. >> i think it's a wonderful point. i think you've seen this sort of slow, quiet shift since 2003 in which the military has outsourc outsourced sort of traditional military work to the covert agencies and the state department has outsourced diplomacy to the military and the one group left without much to do these days is the state department because much of their work has been shipped off to somebody else and they're underfunded to do what they need to do today. i think that's part of the argument. as rosa brooks points out about all things becoming military part of the reason we channel so
much traditional diplomacy through the military is because they're flexible. the state department's funding is so compartmentalized to move money from one country to another, it's country account specific and capability account specific that when you decide you want to do something like dramatically expand land in a corner of afghanistan, the department of defense can come to you and tell you how they can do it much faster than the state department can do it. that's why a big part of my proposal is built around giving more flexibility within the state department, consolidating accounts so you can move money around. to my democrat friends that will be a scarey power to give this exa executive, but i think every president is destined to fail
unless we give them flexibility. >> we are in a city now that is controlled by a republican senate and house. you have ticked through a number of things that you believe that foreign aid and the state department should focus on and the money we need to spend on that. at the end of the day what's it really matter if you and the president work together to accomplish what you want to accomplish. >> i think in the end the military given all the capacities they have given are
trained and driven to do one thing primarily which is that strike on thursday night. they have transformed the way that military education occurs, but there is no way to create the capacity in basic training to mirror the capacity you get in foreign service school. it would involve a revolution of the state department and the way in which people are trained into it in order for them to do it. i think in a real environment given the way the world works today, you may want to have a conversation about one super structure which the security challenges and is able to move the pieces around underneath it. maybe sort of the 19th century idea of an army and a foreign office doesn't work any longer. i'll give you an example.
jim jones and others put together a proposal that sort starts to tease getting to that point. they suggested why don't we start by consolidating the state department commands and the military commands. that's one of our problems is you have the state department carved up in a way that doesn't overlap with the way that the u.s. military command structure is set up. they have a wonderful proposal out there that talks about consolidating the commands and have one person at the top of each regional command overseeing bo both the military response and the nonmilitary response. that might be a start. >> question right here in the middle. >> hello. church of the brethen. the working group has raised
concerns around the accountability of the military and the need to increase humanitarian assistance. one of the pieces of that is -- you mentioned flexibility. the need for flexibility to work with smaller ngos or on the ground organizations in a place that is very difficult to get to for large organizations. >> i don't know nigeria as well as others, but it strikes me as a place in which our current tool kit has simply not worked in part because we are supplying -- we try to hangover nigeria's head is support for the military. we have this big fund in the department of defense which allows them to move foreign military aid around very fluidly nigeria's always in that pot. we try to use that money to force the political change inside nigeria that we know is necessary in order to build long term stability. but again, back to this question
of who should be doing that, right? the department of defense, which is not in the business of creating political stability probably isn't the best agency to be using funding as leverage for political change. the state department is in that business. that's what they do. they should be the people that have the big bucket of money that is used as pressure to leverage political change. but because we have a $10 billion slush fund in the department of defense, but not in the department of state, it's the generals sitting there saying we'd love to give you money, but you have to make big commitments on political reform. i'm not an expert on those, but it's important that you do that. the state department is better to do that. >> why can't you use the same $10 billion slush fund and bring over friends of ambassador cook from the state department and get the advice and accomplish the same thing or something
similar, meaning we don't want to wait for three years and nine months or people on your side don't want to wait for three years and nine months to do something while we know who is going to be in the white house. isn't there something that you can do to work within the current power structure in washington to accomplish what you're trying to accomplish, which are admirable, understanding it's unlikely that there's going to be significant funding increases at the state department. in fact, at this point the president's budget says there will be understofunding decreas >> over the next 12 months you want to make sure you have more professional diplomats sitting at the table helping to negotiate military funding increases, but i'm just not willing to accept the way things are done today. i understand what i'm proposing is a radical departure in the way that things are financed. i found in this town everything
is impossible until it's no longer impossible. the things you never thought could come true sometimes do come true and so why not put out a different way of doing things and think about it with respect to nigeria as an example. today we're stuck spending military dollars and using it as a means to push political reform. but if we had the capabilities that i'm talking about, then ten years ago we could have been using money in nigeria to build the political reform that would never allow the extremism that has run today. we can't envision real political economic solutions for places like nigeria because we only have the resources to envision military resources. >> this is jessica cosmoski.
i'm going to take your question to the next level. what we're talking about here is backing out from a 30% reduction in state to get to a potentially zero to get to a plus up position and you're going to need to do that along with secretary tillerson. in addition to thinking about getting more power back potentially from dod back to the state to reestablish their power across the world. what is the man for you on the committee to work with them to actually have them sort of flip their narrative to get back to being an advocate for this? >> you guys are so practical. i'm trying to lift you guys up into the clouds, but you're not coming. obviously there is our trade every day so we're thinking about how to plot forward the tactics of this. i have not lost hope in secretary tillerson, but i am
not expecting him to be a daily advocate for plussing up the accounts in this departments. we had a private lunch with him and he did not use that occasion to express a high level of confidence in the work that his department does. and so it's going to be left to the state department's friends in the senate and the house to try to make those arguments and we have them. we have really good -- we might not have ultimately republican support for the massive increases i'm talking about, but we have lots of republicans who know how devastate ag 30% cut would be. i am not losing sleep at night thinking there's going to be a budget that ends up with a 30% cut or a 10% cut for the department of state. i think at the very least we can maintain flat fupd funding. i i think there's a good chance we can get republican and democratic support for some targeted plus ups in certain accounts within those
subcommittees. >> i'm interested in that private lunch among our friend here. >> you can imagine the conversation. secretary tillerson was good to have the foreign relations committee. republicans and democrats over the state department for a private meeting two weeks ago. you can imagine the subjects we talked about. many of them were off the record. i didn't walk away from that lunch thinking this was a -- these 30% or 40% cuts were de deep deeply to his way of thinking. he sounded like he was going to defend those cuts rather than push back against them. there are some that are come to congress and said i don't support them. i'm going to argue for me money for my department and there are other secretary thies that don' want to raise public rift over it. it suggests it to me right now tillerson is going to be of the
latter category, not the former. >> yes. >> this is question down in the weeds. that deals with the relationship between the pentagon and state. last month the u.s. embassy in afghanistan stopped interviewing afghans who had served with american forces there. people who are now fearing for their lives from the taliban because of their service with us. there just aren't anymore special immigrant visas to be had. and now senator mccain, senator reid reid, a number of senators from both sides have proposed legislation to help save those folks who helped save us. what do you think about that and how do we solve that problem? >> it's a moral imperative and a national security imperative.
i hope in my political lifetime we're not going to have another deployment like we saw in iraq and afghanistan. it's probably likely that we will. and when we are in another country with big numbers we are going to need the local population to work with us in a variety of ways. the least of which probably being simple translation services. as word gets out if you work with the united states we're going to leave you to die, we're not going to rescue you. why will anybody else work with us and cooperate with us over seas. it's a moral stain but ultimately a practical liability. there are more of these folks in need than you can imagine. just small increases doesn't begin to fill the need because the threats come not just to the individual, but to their entire family. i literally was on the road going from pan cake breakfast to pan cake breakfast and stopped in to get something to drink at a convenience store and the clerk at the convenience store -- i forget what town it
was -- branford, connecticut owned radio stations in kabul that he let the u.s. use. because of it he was run out of afghanistan but his family was still there. to his great fortune a u.s. senator comes in to buy a diet mountain dew and we started having this conversation about how many are left behind. this is a tough one. you've got the support in congress, but when you start talking about fiddling with immigration policy, with this administration, that may be one of their bright lines, which would be absolutely tragic. >> right here, yes, ma'am. >> hi, senator, my question takes us back up into the clouds a bit. for your plan as you've proposed it to gain traction, it seems it
would need to be anchored in a fundamental rethink of our national security strategy. would you agree, if so, what would the key tenants of that be? >> well, you're clearly right. i mean, and i hope i articulated that in my remarks, what i'm suggesting is that the tools that our adversaries are using are not primarily military in nature. and yet ours continue to be. and so you've got to build up a basket of tools that the american president has that matches those overseas. we're so proud of the fact we have the biggest baddest military in the world. we wear it as a badge of honor that all of the other countries for the next ten biggest militaries combines don't equal ours. that's the only capacity in which we are the world leader. right? why is that acceptable? why is it acceptable that we're
not the world leader on information floes? why are we not the world leader on economic assistance? why are we not the world leader on energy assistance? why are we so proud to be the world leader when it comes to military power, but we accept being in second or third or fourth place on all of these other capacities? which increasingly suggest as the ones that are going to really matter. second i think you've got to be thinking every day about stability. in a world in which it only takes a little bit of ungovernable space for a handful of people to plot a highly deadly attack against the united states, you've got to be waking up every day thinking about how to reduce ungovernable space. big military hardware doesn't do that. in fact it often exacerbates the ungovernable space. you've got to be thinking every single day about that.
you're never going to eliminate ungovernable space. >> senator, we end exactly where we began. thank you for your time today. thank you all. thank you for watching at home. good afternoon. >> thank you. this week on q&a. >> i really learned the value of discourse and compromise through this program. the way i interact with people whom i don't necessarily agree with as completely changed. >> a special program devoted to hearing from high school students attending the annual week long united states senate youth program where they shared their thoughts about government and politics. >> i can safely say at the end of this week i'm sure i