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tv   The Journal Editorial Report  FOX News  January 31, 2015 11:00am-11:31am PST

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o transfer usa astronauts to outer space without having to depend on russia. >> nasa should -- should nasa focus on earth bound asteroids to divert their path? >> thanks for watching. see you next week. this week on "the journal editorial report," after years of saying that bashar al assad must go, is the obama administration now set to cut a deal with the syrian dictator? plus the senate passes a keystone pipe line bill as the president set his sights on the new fossil fuel target. is alaska ground zero for the next energy showdown. and mitt romney bows out. as two gop governors inch closer to a 2016 run. who is most likely to benefit from his exit? >> so syria's future can begin. >> the only way to bring stability and peace to syria is going to be for assad to step down. >> assad needs to go.
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he needs to transfer power to a transitional body that is the only way that we'll resolve this crisis. >> welcome to "the journal editorial report," i'm paul gigot. well, after repeatedly calling for the ouster of syrian president bashar al assad, is president obama changing his policy? the administration sources are leaking that the president now thinks assad and his regime may be part of the solution. as the priorities shifts to defeating islamic state. this as moderate syrian rebels claim that u.s. money and supplies have all but dried up over the past several months. even as the president touted american support for the opposition, in his state of the union address. has the administration quietly changed its syria policy and what does it mean for the fight against isis and our allies in the middle east? let's ask wall street columnist dan henninger and foreign
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affairs columnist, bret stephens. lots of leaks behind the scenes. is he changing the policy and why would he do it? >> well, i would argue that this administration always had a bias in favor of assad. you have to remember that when it came -- >> despite all the public comments? >> when it came to power in 2009, the administration was keen to treat him as a reformer, as a potential partner. they were late in calling for him to go when the uprising began. we never took the steps against assad that we said we would, when it came to his use of chemical weapons. we never armed the moderate syrian rebels in any -- in any sufficient way. and now here we are and we have essentially a de facto pro assad policy. >> why? why? what's the thinking? what's the administration's logic for doing this? is it to defeat saying look, i guess the unofficial argument would be we need them to defeat islamic state. not that we can't do that.
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>> two points. "a" the one you mentioned but "b" it's part of the administration's broader run with iran. and he forms part of that condominium and the administration is desperate to cut a deal with the iranians which is why they're soft peddling their opposition and it's not a pro assad policy, a policy that allows as said to say we have told the syrians we won't go after the syrian military positions. >> let's assume he's right -- >> i think he's right. >> i think that he's right too and that's going to create problems for turkey and the saudis in particular. not to mention the israelis. and we need the turks and the saudis as an alliance to defeat islamic state. isn't there a contradiction here? >> well, there's certainly a contradiction. it does do all those things but i think bret has put his finger on it. the iran nuclear deal is wagging
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the dog for the united states. barack obama needs the supreme leader to be on board for this deal and so he's willing to allow the other events to occur. the question is, will the middle east degrade to the point where it will simply be impossible to get this deal with iran? look we just had the yemeni government that fell. our supposed ally in the middle east. we here at the end of the week that the obama administration is now reaching out to the houthis who have replaced the yemeni government. >> what about the argument that that -- look, we won't defeat the islamic state otherwise and they are, i think you guys would agree, probably the more immediate threat to western security and the insecurity in the middle east, no? >> well look, what the administration is trying to do is pursue a containment strategy with the islamic state. >> you don't think they're trying to defeat them? >> well, we'd be having more air
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sorties events than we're having now. >> wait. throw them out with the kurds on the ground, the -- with the held from kobani. >> right. but nonetheless from few what ja they're more entrenched than ever before. that this administration is pursuing is a kind of containment strategy with the islamic state in the hope that at least the problem doesn't get worse. at the same time, pursuing effectively a pro shiite strategy. you heard president obama saying not too long ago that iran can be a very successful regional player. if it comes to a deal. basically saying you make a deal with us and we are going to license your regional power play throughout the middle east. >> doesn't that leave the middle east with the islamic state still in a place of prominence
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still a possible threat to the west? meanwhile, iran -- i mean, you'll have two competing forces and i guess we could play balance of power but it's a recipe for some instability. >> i think over the long term it most certainly is. i mean we claim to have defeated islamic state in kobani but that was an effort that took months, months of fighting by the syrian and iraqi kurds, plus air sorties by the united states. if it has taken months to root out the foreign fighters there that suggests the real battle is going to take a greater effort on the part of the u.s. and is going to be a longer battle. the islamic state can wait us out if they need to. >> you agree with dan that basically this is about the iranian nuclear deal above all? >> that's all it is. by the way the houthis are an islamic sect. >> the militia there. >> right. >> as the senate passes a keystone pipeline bill,
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president obama sets his sights on a new fossil fuel target. so is alaska the new front in the energy wars? the latest example of executive overreach?
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as the senate worked this week to pass a keystone pipeline bill, president obama set his sights on a new fossil fuel target. announcing that he'll use his executive authority to designate 12 million acres in alaska's arctic national wildlife national as wildlife. walling it off from drilling. lisa murkowski claimed that the president has effectively declared war on her state. and the energy industry accounts for as much of 90% of revenue. we're back with dan henninger, kim strassel and editorial board member joe rago. kim, let's start with you. the same week that the president
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made this move in alaska he also opened up some new areas off the atlantic coast for drilling. which move is more important? >> the alaskan move is far more important. the move off of the atlantic is still just a possibility. we don't know how long it will take for them to open that up for leasing, it's not very much. and we don't really know what's proven out there. >> okay. >> the alaska move is significant. the alaska is an engine of energy production, and the pipe line is vital to the degree that the obama administration continues to wall off any federal oil and gas going into that pipe line the more likely it is it gets shut down. >> the current pipe line could get shut down? >> yes. the trans -- transalaska pipe line. >> wow. that would be a huge blow to alaska. so this is a repudiation in part of a deal that congress had made some years ago where it said look we'll wall off some parts of alaska but some of the parts that the president wants to
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block from drilling were explicitly laid out -- reserved by congress for the potential for oil and gas exploration. >> right. this is a law going back to 1980 and i think the alaska delegation makes a good case this is illegal. you can't designate more wilderness without the consent of congress. lisa murkowski is the quintessential center right, moderate senator, and she didn't just say declare war. she said this is an attack on our sovereignty. we are being treated like a territory. we're a colony. >> how can the president just do this then if congress had said, look, before you can wall off more, congress has to act? >> it's completely unilaterally and i think it will be litigated for years. >> you know what's fascinating though, paul, is that the environmental left, the greens, are furious. >> because of the atlantic coast move? >> yeah. >> they're happy with alaska. delighted. >> well, no, he didn't lock up everything in alaska. [ laughter ] i mean, their view is that they
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have this thing that temperatures are going to go up by two degrees celsius armageddon is upon us and the only way to stop this is if the fuels are kept in the ground. i think they're trying to soften up the bureaucracy push back against the epa bureaucrats and say don't even think of moving forward with any of these things like on the atlantic -- the atlantic coast. >> so kim, the president said in the state of the union he takes credit for low gas -- oil and gas prices. takes credit for new american oil supplies and here he is doing another big move to block new exploration. how can he have it both ways which is the real president? >> i think the real president is exemplified in what you see going on in alaska. this is a big deal. most of the oil comes through -- the transalaska pipeline 800 miles.
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it starts in brew doe bay. the president is doing here is walling off all of the federal lands around it, to the east, anwr, and to the west, and to the north, and he's making it so that no more oil can go in that pipe line. if not enough flows down that pipe line it has to close down and you get to dan's point all the hydrocarbons are left in the earth. the environmentalists would be thrilled. >> so we did get a keystone pipeline vote in the senate, would have been 63 votes if all the republicans had been there. nine democrats voted in favor of it. still four short of a veto override. but significant. first time it's passed. what happens next, joe? >> i think it goes to the white house. i think it gets vetoed. it bounces back to congress and i think they'll kind of have to negotiate how much time they want to spend on this issue. i think he's really dug in here. >> the president is.
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>> the president, he sees this as an attack on the white house authority. i don't think we'll see a lot of movement on this issue. >> he'll never approve the pipeline even though the state department has the power to do so, you don't think he ever will? >> you know, every person that comes into the office he's just playing for the green left. i think as this presidency winds down he's bidding for a much larger environmental legacy and approving the key stone would taint that too much. >> and that environmental legacy is essentially shutting down as much as he can of fossil fuel production in north america? >>e it in the power sector in terms of oil and gas drilling, across the economy. when we come back, the gop presidential field continues to take shape as mitt romney said he'll sit 2016 out. two others inch closer to running. who does his exit help most? alka seltzer reliefchews. they work just as fast
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the presidential nominee mitt romney announced friday he won't mike another run for the white house, telling supporters he's bowing out so that the next generation could emerge. this as two others appear to be moving closer to 2016 bids with both new jersey governor chris christie and wisconsin governor scott walker filing paperwork to form political action committees. a move that allows them to raise money and hire staff ahead of a potential run. we're back with joe rago and "wall street journal" editor james freeman who joins the panel. james, why do you think mitt romney after he really suggested a couple of weeks ago he was thinking very hard about it pulled back? >> well, he's talked about how
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he wants to let the next generation of candidates move forward. i think the current generation of gop donors was not showing as much enthusiasm for him this time as last time. it's because you have a more competitive field. >> okay. >> he was basically the acceptable guy to weigh -- i don't want to say country club republican, but main stream republican. you have serious contenders fighting over the same donors. >> a lot of the donors we have seen of my own sources they had moved -- they're particularly enthusiastic about jeb bush. former florida governor. >> that's right. it's a chance to turn a new page essentially. if you assume that the democratic nominee is going to be hillary rodham clinton, mitt romney's third run for the white house is hard to create that old versus new theme. >> you know, some people say that his statement -- his exit statement pushing the younger next generation was a shot at
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jeb bush because jeb is in his 60s now. >> i guess you could see it that way. but this is definitely good news for jeb bush and chris christie as well. really for all the candidates because now you have moved more people into the undecided column in terms of votes in primaries. you have put a lot of money up for grabs. there's no guarantee that the money goes to bush. >> but some of the conservatives would say it really helps the establishment candidates if you will. bush and christie and maybe one or two other governors who have that appeal. scott walker of wisconsin, for example. as opposed to some of the more tea party candidates. >> yeah. that's a fair statement because mitt romney is not a tea party guy and those were not tea party votes. i mean, to the extent there was any core to the romney support i'm not sure there were. but bush and christie would benefit the most. >> let's talk about the governors. we have mr. walker, he went to
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iowa, had a big reception last weekend. good reception by all accounts at an event. and then gave a speech this week in washington with a very much outside washington, outsider message. i will clean up this joint. it's a big mess here, unreal. back in wisconsin, we know the score. that's going to be a big part of these campaigns isn't it? >> no question. scott walker is expanding his theme when he ran for re-election this year. he essentially posted as wisconsin versus washington. now he's taking that message national in the speech he talked about in d.c. he said it's great to be here. 68 square miles surrounded by reality. so he's sort of sharpening that theme and saying let's let the states create their open solutions and by the way, look at what i did in wisconsin. >> that's a big part of a governor's appeal, but any candidate who has not engaged at
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the national level for a long time, also as a rookie. that means that they are going to have to step up and master a lot of these issues. national issues whether it be entitlements or foreign policy or national tax policy. that are going to be big in a race and that can be pit falls for somebody who really hasn't studied that like i think walker hasn't shown. i mean he may be able to do that, but he hasn't shown yet he can talk with any specificity about those issues. >> especially foreign policy. he can stay at the state level he can show the tax and entitlement reform speak with a lot of conviction a lot of credibility. >> not necessarily medicare and social security which trips up a lot of these guys. >> yeah, but a big entitlement he addressed is the entitlement of public employee -- >> absolutely. >> you know, by the way, we talk about these pension disasters in various states in the country. you don't have that problem in wisconsin. so he's going to have a good story there. but i think to your point, yes, there are national issues. governors have not dealt with
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and i think people want to hear that's a thoughtful message on foreign policy with some conviction and he hasn't just sort of gone to d.c. and picked some establishment names off the shelf to give him a foreign policy. i think they're going to want to hear a lot about that. >> what are some of the strengths of chris christie, joe? >> well, certainly his personality. he's a very formidable candidate. he's interesting. anybody covering that race as a journalist will have by far the most entertaining time. and he did push through a reform agenda whether it went far enough in new jersey i think remains to be seen. >> weaknesses briefly. >> i mean, just the -- the new jersey economy has not turned around. the new jersey government has not fundamentally changed. this is a high tax, high regulation, slow growth state. it's a democratic legislature that's been basically locked by the state supreme court justice. so it's a question of given the
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circumstances what could he do? >> thanks. we have to take one more break. when we come back our hits and misses of the week.
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time now for hits and misses of the week. james? >> this a hits of the middle class taxpayers of the united states who rose up in peaceful rebellion over this last week to oppose the president's plan to tax their 529 college savings accounts. terrible idea totally unfair taxing college savings that's like deflating a football before a big game, paul. >> all right. joe? >> a miss almost as big as the blizzard that missed new york city. it goes to andrew cuomo and new york mayor bill de blasio. and they made an ad hoc decision to shut down the city. probably caused a lot of economic damage, certainly more than the storm. and it's a remind their great
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american cities are resilient whether the prominence or the politicians. >> this is a giant miss to general martin dempsey, chairman of the joint chief of staffs, who after king abdullah passed away he'd sponsor a es kay contest. maybe this will honor his contributions in bringing women's rights from the seventh into eighth century or lashing liberal journalists fewer times. my question is don't you have better things to do with your time? >> this is going to be a national defense university? >> right. >> i mean, so these are -- these are graduate students. these are military officers. >> right. >> i mean these are adults that -- >> who are now supposed to praise arab potentates. not a great idea. >> remember if you have your own hit or miss, be sure to tweet it to us. that's it for this week's show. thanks to my panel and all of you for watching.
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i'm paul gigot. i hope to see you right here next week. . we are awaiting for word on the fate of a fighter pilot captured by the terrorists of isis. the extremists say they'll kill him if jordan doesn't turn over a female al qaeda prizsonerprisoner. welcome to america's news headquarters. i'm kelly wright. >> and the pilot's family say they haven't heard a thing since this week's deadline came and went. and as fate has been tied to that of a journalist, a japanese journalist held by the terrorists.

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