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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 27, 2013 3:30am-5:31am EST

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to journalism. >> it's a great question and a great opportunity. ago, what wasalf the largest country outside of the united states for people coming to "the new york times?" anyone want to take a guess? after the u.s., canada, the uk .as next, australia you get the thought -- english language. u.s.bile, outside of the -- china. they were number one. this is before we did a chinese language website. this was in english. i think that speaks very much to
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your thought. the possibilities of our growth, the possibilities of the value things they maybe cannot get in other places and it really speaks to the opportunity, i think. >> you look at the world today and there's a lot of people working on various low-flying satellites, things to increase it broadband capabilities will probably come online at a better bandwidth than we think also. >> it just accelerates the integration that arthur talked about. had time to take all of the questions. now i want to introduce the third member to wrap it all up. , everybody.
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it's great for the three of us to be here. we feel so grateful from when we .ame this project would not have and if we have intrigued you, if you cannot nieman this url go to labs and find the link. i don't think they scared you too much with the word count you don't have to read it all. you can watch some of the video. if you let these people speak for themselves, you will be engaged and you will learn. the truth is in the 60-something interviews if you're having insomnia trouble, there are some that will put you to sleep. i will not trail you -- i will not tell you which ones those are.
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group three here are not of that. >> they are exempted. pessimistic discussion and we are not pessimistic about the future of news. we certainly look back and we true, wetruism most agreed on a few things. don't be nostalgic. truth is that there are 70,000 other articles in that journalism was not always great. flaws, manyany incorrect stories. many stories that were just not covered at all and not enough diversity. it is one thing we encountered
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when we want to interview people and did not find the diversity in every aspect of our life. it was not in journalism before and did total disruption had exacerbated it in some ways and improved it. we were not nostalgic about the across the board, great journalism that was even more illuminating online to get more voices there. a couple things about the past that were not touched on tonight original the idea of sin. mostly they had a martin and arthur not going away the news for free, this would have worked out ok over the long term. that was not the case. had notone had news given it away for free online, the digital disrupt her's, if a different model gave it away, if you need to string someone up, he gave it away for free with a different business model and
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that is where the genie got out of the bottle. people had to react. the other thing that is so important. you would not have heard this in a panel years ago and this is about the importance of engineers. journalists and engineers in referring to need to know, one thing that news organizations did not do and they seem to be learning now is that you have to embrace engineers, figure out how to harder -- how to higher and collaborate with them. the biggest online today are engineering companies. they are in charge. most of the traditional media companies to did not have them, could not hire them, did not put them in charge. that has to be a theme for successful news online.
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next anding to happen how is serious journalism going to get paid for since the subsidy of advertising has been .ipped away have a full consensus either among the three of us which is really why we built a web-basedas platform. we hope others here at harvard pick up on it and that more voices and interviews get shared ng whatan keep documenti happens. even after we finished the draft of the essay, the globe was sold. the gray arms sold to jeff bezos -- the grahms sold. there is an aspect that is a
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rashomon tale. no two people agree on what happened. it was confirmed as we went. if you have enough people involved, you could get close enough to understand to what we think happened and to learn what might happen next. we tried to do that in the project and we think it's important. understanding how journalism , this is embodied at the kennedy school and the importance of a vibrant press, one thing that was not answered tonight, are we going to find ways to cover the obscure school as effectively as the digital world has already figured out how to cover celebrity gossip, the daily political rants in washington and even the weather?
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on behalf of martin, john, and myself, the stories ahead will be far more interesting than the stories we have told. we hope that you'll stay tuned to what we have done and more importantly to this evolving thread. we have a warning. watch out for the riptide. to sea t washed out it rolls and because it always does. thank you very much and have a great evening. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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joining us on c-span today and in the future. we remind all of our internet viewers that comments or questions can be sent to us at any time by e-mailing speaker@ heritage.org. we will post it on the website for everyone's future reference as well. ,osting the discussion today director of the douglas and sarah allison center for foreign-policy studies and previously served as senior research fellow for defense and homeland security. he is well-versed in cybersecurity as well as defense
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for civil authority serving for three decades in army special forces and he continued at the pentagon as deputy secretary of american security affairs. prior to joining us here, he was a lead consultant at ibm on cyber security policy and he is an adjunct professor at george mason university and an associate professor of terrorism studies and cybersecurity at long island. please welcome me in joining dr. steve bucci. [applause] welcome todd my everyone here and coming on to c-span. i have to tell you we seldom get right on anf this event. this was planned thinking we would be commenting on the ongoing discussions. now have to comment on what apparently is a deal.
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treat here with the panel that we have. i will introduce them quickly so that we can get to their remarks . we will start with my colleague jim phillips.ge, he is our middle eastern analyst focused on the middle east and international terrorism since 1978. he's a former research fellow at the congressional research service. the nsa,consultant for dod, the national republican institute and a member of the board of editors's middle eastern quarterly. fromwed by patrick clawson the washington institute of near east policy, the largest u.s. think tank focusing on the middle east. he has edited or written over 30 farsi.nd he speaks he can read stuff the rest of us
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cannot. he has also served as a senior economist at the dod national fornse university, worked the world bank international monetary fund for 18 years was the senior editor of the middle east quarterly and is on the distinguished panel on the department of energy national laboratory which is somewhat relevant because of the specifics of our government. and in the cleanup, fred fleitz. the cia,rved with department of state, and the house intelligence committee staff. he is a specialist in wmd proliferation specifically focusing on iranian and north korean program serving for the chief of staff for john bolton and robert joseph who were
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serving as the undersecretary of state for arms control and he is the founder and chief analyst of leaknet.com. it is a global intelligence and service.ng i have asked each speaker to give us 10-12 minutes of opening comment. right now, we will start with jim phillips. >> thanks, steve. the interim nuclear agreement with iran announced last weekend has been called historic, but it remains to be seen whether it is historically bad that fails to halt the drive for nuclear starts or if it's a bad that will need much firmer aessure on iran to salvage sustainable agreement. i think the final answer will not be known for at least six
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months but i'm afraid it's almost certain that the results will be closer to the former than the latter. it should be noted this is not the first time that iran has not reached a so called historic agreement to monitor the nuclear program. britain, france, and germany thought they had a historic agreement in 2003 when iran agreed to suspend enrichment temporarily and enter negotiations. unfortunately, those negotiations went nowhere and they eventually drop the façade of negotiations two years later when it was in their interest to do so. it is called a first step agreement and is clearly more a step towards a nuclear iran than of progress.tep
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unlike the earlier agreement, the does not enrich programs but it allows them to proceed at a slower pace. the deal temporarily bars for nuclearchment power reactors and that requires iran to reduce its stock pile of 20% enriched uranium by converting it into forms that will be difficult but not impossible. it requires more intrusive respect chen and that is a good thing and it obligates iran to hold back on fueling the aavywater reactor which is particular point, a particular headache. it will eventually give an alternative plutonium route to a
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nuclear weapon once it becomes operational. these are all steps in the right direction that can help limit the speed of iran's progress on the nuclear front but the problems do not go far enough and they are easily reversible. the interim agreement includes tactical concessions that amount to little more than a diplomatic speedbump. it is slow but it does not halt iranian nuclear program. all the most difficult questions are postponed to the final stage of negotiations and the obama administration has already made major concessions for getting in except the bull but permanent arrangement, in my view. this is a flawed agreement that risks reducing pressure on iran in the next six months in return reneged upon issues.
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billion to $7 billion over the next six months. the danger is that easing sanctions as part of an interim deal and it will diminish the pressure of undermining the leverage and reduce the ability to get a better deal at the end. they are not required to comply with the u.n. council resolutions that called for a halt in uranium enrichment and them to continue bad behavior. that russia has been contracted to fuel the facility at least for the next 10 years. interimproblem is the
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deal which creates a six-month window for further figures she nation may hinder the ability to reach a good final deal. there may never be a final deal. up -- iran mayg string this up and engage in tactics to force the eager obama administration to enter into accords with corresponding sanctions relief. we have seen how temporary these congeal into permanent solutions in the middle east. the obama administration has criticism from congress and u.s. allies, france.arly israel and they have used a sanctions in return for marginal concessions that will not reduce the long- term threat of an iranian nuclear break up. think more, not fewer,
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sanctions are required. it requires the administration morefrain from imposing the case of the negotiations. administration claims that this will be reversible if iran default on their obligations but as long as they keep the talk of live even if they are just limping along, it will be difficult to reimpose without being accused of getting involved. even before the interim deal was reached, they had partisan efforts to impose sanctions on the nuclear program. the spokesperson jay carney went so far as to warrant additional sanction pressure on iran could lead toegotiations and a march to war. i would argue on the contrary,
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not being tough enough even with sanctions or further talks with could actually increase the chances that israel will go it alone in the nuclear infrastructure. israeli prime minister netanyahu denounced a deal and warned they have the right to defend itself. i think it should not be dismissed or treated lightly. be particularly important what happens with regards to the heavywater reactor in iraq which is essentially a plutonium bomb factory. halt theys and not work. lead to a repeat of the korean fiasco only in reverse. in 1994, the clinton administration believed they had closed off north korea's path to
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a bomb and subsequently north korea had hidden uranium enrichment programs which they use to get a nuclear weapons. the could very well try reverse. another important point is that the iraq heavywater plant will be vulnerable because striking then could result in the release of substantial amounts of of theon called on par chernobyl reactor meltdown. that would make a preventative strike virtually impossible. they have twice launched strikes against similar reactors in the past before they could be put into operation. 1981, and most recently in the syria in 2007. it's particularly important to
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halt work on iraq. commissioning that essentially would give iran a free pass and would close the window on the military option. it allows them to pocket the implicit recognition of its so- called right to enrichment. it's important to note there is no such right. the nuclear nonproliferation treaty gives them the right to a peaceful program but does not say anything specifically about enrichment. most or many do not have enrichment but by the fuel from elsewhere. if iran was truly interested in an economic solution, this is the route it would take. it's clear that iran has more than just peaceful intentions. the iranian president has
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trumpeted this a major deal in which the p5 plus one, the five permanent members of the un security council and germany, has recognized their right to iranian your richmond. it could set the stage for them to withdraw from ago she haitians in the future if it seems they are paying .nsufficient attention the bottom line, this is a thetep because it leaves nuclear infrastructure intact and rewards the behavior over the last decade. that doing exchanges not substantially retarget the ability to stage a nuclear breakout. think, moreover, the administration has bent over backwards but has failed to pay significant attention to the equities and concerns of its
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friends. we have seen israel and saudi arabia raising alarms about the deal. slights its that friends while courting its enemies will soon find that it has less friends and more enemies. i will just stop right there. >> thank you, jim. patrick. >> the editor of the most paper in iran is a noted hardliner and close commandants of the supreme leader, the ayatollah. these firebreathing editorials and i do not always agree with him but his editorial the other day about this deal i thought had considerable wisdom. he described this as a small taking small steps that the p5 plus one are taking.
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if we look at the text and not at the statements made about the deal, it is quite a small deal. for instance, much of the reporting about this, they have committed not to impose new sanctions on iran -- iran. that is not what the text says. impose new sanctions on iran? wrong. speakinge two people said, we have committed from imposing new nuclear related sanctions. that does not stop us from implementing existing sanctions which of course we will do. nor will we impose new sanctions to sponsor its abysmal human rights record. there'slast point, nothing in this agreement that would prevent the united states
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from imposing new sanctions on iran. it often has imposed sanctions on human rights grounds and the u.s. has imposed sanctions for drug trafficking on iran. i would suggest that the u.s. should do just that to drive the point home that we observe agreements as they are written they hads they wish been written. furthermore, there is nothing in this agreement which prevents the united states from threatening to impose new sanctions in the future if no comprehensive solution is iran were to breach obligations. therefore, the legislation being considered by the senate who may think it's a good or bad idea, there is nothing in that legislation that would contravene that report. say it may have the spirit
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of the geneva accord but it may to proceed inway negotiations with iran or any international negotiations. we should preserve the accord we had signed not the ones they wish we had signed. if the iranians are going to object that the u.s. is imposing additional sanctions for human , they have put into law the threat that. uranium?to enrich the fine. let's talk about it. one of the things you're going to do to go beyond what the agreement says. let's do an agreement about what additional measures they will take have a which we wanted them to do but they refused in negotiations and did not have the final agreement.
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we should not give up unilateral points that were hard fought in a negotiation. would be my first caveat about this statement. it does official says not prevent us from implementing sanctions.ng existed typically designated individuals and entities every few weeks because the iranians are constantly creating new routes in order to evade, front companies, finding new people to work with to try and invade existing sanctions. verynk it would be important for the administration to continue the process of detonating individuals and then to take things -- and entities under existing u.s. sanction rules. if the united states government slows down the pace of such
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designations, then iran will be able to invade the sanctions were successfully. the real motivation for iran agreeing to any kind of agreement whether it is a perspective comprehensive solution, it is that they are feeling pressure because of the sanctions. the success of a negotiated solution requires maintaining this. it's only possible if they continue to designate individuals and entities for the invasion of these existing .anctions i would hold the administration's feet to the fire about what this senior official said. it's not my interpretation. described them
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as saying. i would like to see that actually done. let me just get into one of the example of the limited character of this deal. there are any number of things in which the p5 plus one buttries pledged to do there is no implementation scale . indeed, iran would be within its rights to wait until the 179th day to take many of the steps outlined in this agreement because there is no obligation to take it immediately. that should be our attitude towards the obligations which is to say that i think it would be a serious mistake for the other p5 plus one partners to feel compelled to implement at a rapid pace the steps taken if outlined here if they are those sanctions
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that they will face. we have seen incredible press reports about a high-level meeting involving the u.s. deputy secretary of state that was taking place parallel to these negotiations. be more important. i would hope in that kind of channel that there would be a discussion about the implementation schedule with a clear understanding that implementation by one side is byng to have to be phased those steps taken from the other side. if the united states feels a moral obligation by implementing these steps when there is no then we need to have an agreement with iran about the pace that we are going to implement these steps here.
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much of the reporting about this agreement states that it is a six month agreement and that is highly misleading. text of thethe joint plan of action, what you discover is that the two parties commit themselves -- i will use the exact words. for the duration of six months and renewable by mutual consent during which all parties will work to maintain a constructive atmosphere for negotiations in good faith. obligation is to have a constructive atmosphere for negotiations in good faith. we've been negotiating climate change for 25 years now in good faith and we have not gotten there yet. descriptions to the
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about a comprehensive solution, in which they aim to conclude negotiating and commence implementing no more than after the option was documented. i aim to exercise more. i aim to lose weight. ,his is what they aim to do that is the dramatic phrase which is to say this is what we would like to do. we are not committing ourselves to do this. in fact, this is an agreement that has the initial time of six months, renewable by mutual consent. i would just suggest if, at at the end of six months for mother has not been a successful conclusion, then what would be the political pressures? we give up. i don't think so. in fact, there would be
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extraordinary political tossures on the p5 plus one say what was good enough for six months is good enough for the and and let us keep talking you said after all of us going to take us one year to negotiate and commence implementing. year, i woulda highly suggest the same process. if the it would happen strike was after six years or 60 years. i cannot see circumstances under which it would be acceptable for the p5 plus one to not renew this agreement so long as it is being observed by iran. many the greatest fear of of the critics around the country and around the world of the joint plan of action.
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certainly, this is the big fear we are. is not that they are saying you've done this and that. is likely not to be the elements of the first up but the details of the last. there is not likely to be more. i must say that i am quite concerned that the focus of this to keep is on a process going. there is no statement saying at the end of six months the two sides recognize that we go back one.ep i don't think it's going to be very easy. if that's really your objective, then darn well say it and
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preferably you should put it in here. i don't think it's a good idea to put in provisions for time extensions. beyond a first step, this has by manyended administrations on the basis of, allow, ok, it's not perfect. don't worry. we will come to a solution. i hope so. i'm not sure that's the case. i'm not by any means sure that's the case. i'm not sure the comprehensive solution and what it will contain because when we turn to the description here in the elements of a formal step of a comprehensive solution everything is up for grabs.
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there will be mutually agreed- upon parameters. statement of the administration says if we cannot reach an agreement on all those parameters there will not be an enrichment. they are talking the talk. that concerns me. the document does not have any
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mention of an issue i thought would have been included in a resolution. council resolution the activities with pursuit for weapons. developing weapons which are designed to carry warheads but are large enough to be nuclear weapons. they have been calling on the missile program. no mention here.
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it is not a commitment to refrain from additional test. there is no mention there is going to be any discussion about missiles in the solution. that is an example. there is no mention of what kind they will play in the region. they say the united states will , and in returnt the united states is agreeing to to the role ine
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the region. not at the table. we are on the table. these contexts involving discussions of the future of delicate.articularly the principal the administration is iran is not welcome to participate. there has to be a transition to a new government. that is a pretty vague kind of commitment. intended this
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would be run by many of the same the great fear is the iranians have sent thousands of soldiers to fight inside syria. we often hear about foreign it is hardlyyria. surprising many are very worried isa time when iran sponsoring these fighters in syria. >> i would like to thank the
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foundation for inviting me to importantt this topic. discuss whatst appears to be some underlying assumptions. this is intended to be a bridge towards a more comprehensive agreement. administration says a tol could he a window another deal. this could the giving them room. it assumes they are sincere and kurt tailing the military
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program. it assumes the president is a moderate. it assumes iran will finally agree to cooperate with the inspect verse -- with inspectors and not cheat on its nuclear treaty operations. the assumptions are quite a leap . provisions of this and are deeply flawed misleading. president obama said the deal halted rugrats. the deputy national security deal haltsd this iran's nuclear program. inaccurate.ts are
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the best can be said about the deal is it freezes nuclear weapons. if it is far along the path they .ill retain the stock pile it can be further enriched to produce three weapons -- 325 weapons. weapons.to five they say eliminating the stockpile will roll back nuclear weapons. this is false. the american enterprise institute and education center have issued studies that confirm 20% enriched uranium into enough fuel for one bomb in about a month and can do this using
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reactor grade fuel. iraneneva agreement stops from producing 20% enriched uranium experts believe could be converted to weapons grade fuel in about a month. iran will be allowed to keep the stockpile in about two months, so the agreement extends the period by only about four weeks. at the heart of the deal uranium enrichment. let's look at what the agreement actually says. the agreement passed in geneva says the final agreement will involve mutually enriched program. this says they have signed an
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agreement recognizing the right to enrich uranium. to viewsee another way that. this reactor will be the source of about two weapons worth of new tony him a year. president obama and his national security aide says the agreement halts work on the reactor. the agreement does not say that. it says iran will not make further advancements on the reactor. activities of the reactor will continue. saysbama administration the relief is minor and will 4.2nt to only about billion. some say it is higher. offered mightef
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be minor, this is still a significant achievement, since it will undermine support in the future. aretional sanctions unlikely. administration concedes the agreement is not perfect and claims it is the first step of an agreement to rein in the nuclear program. this will make a meaningful follow-up agreement difficult if not impossible since it accepts iran's right to enriched uranium. it allowed iran to make week and reversible concessions in exchange for sanctions really. this first step agreement has set a very bad precedent for any ineement we try to negotiate
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the future. to make matters more confusing, he writes that the agreement will not come into force until of follow-up agreement is struck. he writes that they will meet next month to iron out the details. it means an agreement was struck putting some limitations on the nuclear program, which i think are very weak. happen.will they will continue to and rich 20% uranium. there will be no limits until this follow-up agreement is struck. whatever was agreed to ignore his six un security council resolutions and years of u.s. policy calling for iran to halt
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nuclear enrichment. the . serious proliferation risk iran cannot be trusted with. this insistence that all of the enriched uranium be removed from this has made it look as if the west has no firm position. position on the nuclear program. an agreement must end all enrichment, must shut down centrifuge plants, and must stop all work on the react or permanently. it must require iran to provide access to inspectors to all sites. getting a sensible agreement will be difficult. there are no
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shortcuts. the geneva deal is nothing but shortcuts. we have weakened support for sanctions and increased iranian influence. this is hurting relations with israel and saudi arabia and could cause regional states to programeir own nuclear because they are concerned of where the policy is heading. i agree the agreement is a deeply flawed deal that has seriously eroded american credibility. i believe it is important to force president obama to take a tougher approach to repair this agreement. in my opinion this bad deal is much worse than no deal.
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>> right down here. this gentle man in the corner first. >> i will hold my questions. >> please identify yourselves. if i don't hear a question i am going to ask you to stop. no speeches from the floor. >> the iranian foreign ministry said what has been released is an interpretation of the agreed text in geneva, and some of it contradicts the text of the joint action. the iranian foreign ministry has also denied there were one-on- one talks. suggests there is some
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power struggle disagreements within the iranian leadership itself. i wonder if the panel can also did anyone see the statement endorsing, which i find puzzling? letter written the day after, and he responded. you could say it was a loop warm and horsemen. today, the main response -- these are backwards. we can always back out. statement on the agreement was wrong.
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that was embarrassing. it was good the white house rushed that out right away. but it wasn't right. i can believe what the tehran times says, or i can believe my own eyes. they were in geneva. they were talking. iran are many skeptics in this is going to work out. the arabian leadership is remarkably poor where their self interest lies.
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this deal,e to sever world opinion would be against it. it would be disastrous to iran's interests. another thing would be disastrous for iran's interests. trashing the british embassy was a stupid move. or blowing up a restaurant. [laughter] it was a dumb idea. it would be disastrous for iran. they could do something disastrous. until this morning, i would say there was some interesting scurrying backwards. >> i would add quickly that if you compare the white house fact sheet to the agreement, with the agreement actually says, there is a significant dissimilarity. the agreement. -- these steps are not in the agreement.
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don't rely on the white house statement. >> the leadership often takes actions which go against iran's national interests and the interests of iran people. but they lined the narrow a ideological interests of the elite. the iranian press, i think, is an echo chamber that is even more confusing than the washington press. >> other questions? >> back to you, and then we will get you next. >> in light of what you said, first, is there any realistic thing that congress could do to stop congress. this agreement does not require that the united states does anything. a related question, what is the realistic probability that the rainy and cheated, no matter how seriously, that the administration would then take
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action? >> i think there is pressure that congress put on the administration. the administration wants to sell this deal to the american people. there is strong bipartisan opposition and it is the link. if they can make a case, they will not force the president to demand a treaty. it is going to be an uphill battle. members of congress and staff have to read it very carefully. i was is that that the agreement explicitly recognizes the different roles of congress. well the administration will refrain from imposing new
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sanctions, it does pay lip service to the role of congress. it could ratchet up sanctions, particularly if the sanctions are held off until iran violates the agreement. if the negotiations actually ends, and i agree patrick. this could go on forever. congress could ratchet up pressure independently of what the administration does. >> having said that, sometimes the obama administration -- had i been in the obama administration, my approach to the current discussion about ancient legislation would've been to say to congress, we all want to see progress towards a competent the solution.
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the best way to achieve that is to a bigger carrots and bigger stacks. you are talking about a bigger stick. fine, great. let's pair that with a bigger carrot. let's pass the legislation you are talking about, but it's her a provision that gives the president a way to impose solutions -- sanctions on iran in case there is no solution. it would be difficult for congress to vote on that sort of waiver authority for the president, but i would've paired that with a bigger carrot, bigger stacks -- stick. that is a mantra that you hear a lot. if you have a bigger carrot and a bigger stack -- stick. >> how much will $6 billion in sanctions really help iran? >> the administration is
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trotting out various numbers. you talk about $4.2 billion frozen bank accounts. an extra $400 million is often mentioned that is frozen for students. they estimate the petrochemical sales will be higher. iran has a lot of gold and had difficulty using that goal because of u.s. sanctions. it would not be difficult for iran to make use of its goals -- gold. as far as the petrochemical exports, it is way below where iran after chemical exports were in the pre-sanction. . -- in the pre-sanction period. consensus among oil traders
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these days is that iran will be able to a -- increase its oil experts best export. if you throw in a bunch of gold and petrochemical exports, you get to something that is well above $10 million. the israelis say, let's annualize that. it will be at least $20 billion a year. probably $30 billion a year. iran's import bill is only in the order of 30-40,000,000,000 dollars per year -- $30 billion- $40 billion per year. it will be tough for the government budget. yes, there'll be a large deficit. iran goes into the situation
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with a national jet -- that -- debt to gdp ratio --they have understated it. they are declaring debt at 10%. it is certainly way below the debt to gdp ratio here in united dates. yes, they will have to run a large budget, but they can do it. >> anybody else? >> another question. >> just wait for microphone. >> my question is, that the panelists providers of a
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perspective on different stances the administration has taken on the iran nuclear talks compared to the previous administration? >> the bush administration relied on, more heavily on, the bargaining leverage afforded by the credible threat of military option. there is no coincidence that iran froze its nuclear per gram between 2003-2005, after the u.s. invaded iraq and afghanistan on either flank of iran. iranians thought that they might be next. they prudently chose to freeze that. one of the mistakes that the
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obama administration is making the carter administration -- the obama administration. [laughter] >> a natural mistake. >> yes. the obama administration has downgraded the threat of a potential military option. a white house spokesman denounced sanctions as a road to war that the american people do not want. the american people do not want a wrote -- a war with a nuclear iran after it is are. -- after it is armed. the obama administration said in very weak terms that the military option is on the table. there hasn't to press that button on iran. thereby it loses leverage in the negotiations. >> there is an obsession to get a deal with iran since the
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president came to office. basically taking the threat of military action off the table for all intents and purposes is something that the iranians have recognized. >> right here in the center. >> thank you. my understanding is that a first step towards an actual resolution -- if this fails, what likelihood doesn't have on either leaving the iranians open towards further negotiations are moving more wholeheartedly toward completing the nuclear program? >> that depends. there's a perception about the united states across the world that iran walked away from its own deal. iran cheated, i wasn't negotiating and could save basket they -- good faith.
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it will be a tough atmosphere for a rock, it will be isolated internationally. israel, for instance, might welcome military action against the iranians. there has been much discussion about the limitations that israel faces with its military as it is quite small. but israel has twice destroyed heavywater reactors like those in iraq. they have twice been told by the u.s. that it will be a disaster they did it. twice they did it and twice it was a great success. i'm sure they would not listen to our guys, but it does not matter. it is unprotected. that becomes conceivable. on the other hand, there is a perception that the united states, which was at fault, provocative actions by the united dates which led to the
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breakup of the talks, the u.s. was being unreasonable, then increases. the shaping of public perceptions about what is going wrong is pretty important for shaping options going forward. i think stocks -- i think talks will continue. this deal will not collapse. the administration and the europeans will never admit this through the end of the administration. the end of the reporting regime the rouhani regime like stocks. there'll be more toxin this will continue. -- more talks and this will continue. >> this reminded of a saturday night live skit. the guest would not leave. john belushi was always there. as long as he is there, the hostess is obligated to continue feeding him. that is one of the reasons why am concerned with some of these engines being relieved.
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-- these sanctions being relieved. the iranian people will have adequate sustenance. >> yes, ok. >> has israel decided that it needs to attack, will they be able to rely on the saudi's for support? what that support be political? with the saudis have any military assets to put on the table? or would it be israel by itself? >> let me take a shot at this. there was a story in the london sunday times, two sundays ago, about alleged meetings between the israelis and the saudis in which the saudis gave the
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israelis permission to use their airspace. i'm skeptical of those are arts. if israel launched a preventative strike, the saudis would privately welcome it. if not publicly. they feel just as brent by iran and israel. this is not just an israel question. the saudis and other countries, turkey, iraq, though it has fallen into the shadows, does not want to see the way, they do not want to see an iran with nuclear weapons. i am not sure that there are the explicit saudi-israeli cooperation. we will not stop you when you go through. i doubt there will be any kind of written agreement on that.
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>> let's just talk about the saudi-israeli elaboration. -- collaboration. that shows how serious the situation is. i do not know these reports are accurate, but it shows that the direction of u.s. policy towards iran is alienating to of are more important allies in the middle east. >> i have one. i will ask this and then you guys can segue from his answer into your closing comments. a lot has been made by the administration that this is not a big deal. if this doesn't work out, at the end of the six-month, we can set of sanctions again. everything will be fine. i'm not a big fan of sanctions. they have not worked well. this was one of the tightest sanctions we have been able to establish.
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how accurate do you think it is that we can turn these sanctions back on what we have allowed the europeans and the asians and everybody to start selling and buying things from iran. >> it depends who gets blamed for things falling apart. if the perception is that the a rainy and walk away from the deal, in a spectacular fashion, which they may do, then the reaction around much of the world will be, oh, they brought it on themselves. don't forget that a lot of the reason we have cooperation for the sanctions regime, it has to do private companies. it has to do a private companies siding that they do not want to tangle with the united states about things like the banking system. and financial transfers. i suspect that another factor involved here is how clever iran is in terms of foreign companies. their track record has been dreadful. >> i would just say that i do not think sanctions alone. the arena nuclear program. they did not stop north korea.
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iran has a stronger economy and the north korean basketcase economy. one of the reasons that many countries went along with the sanctions was because they could rationalize that it keeps those crazy americans from attacking iran. it is clear to many by now that the obama administration is not exactly crazy about using leverage afforded by military threat. that one actually increased temptations to back off the sanctions elsewhere. that will lead to a reinsertion of business as usual. it will be difficult to reestablish the sanctions afterwards. >> i agree that, but i would add that it was easy for the europeans to justify sanctions against iran.
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when the president of iran, the former president of iran, is running around talking about wiping israel off the map. the new president is media savvy and will not a such thing. with the sanctions being weekend weekend --weakened, it will be difficult to re-examine the sanctions. the global consensus is that these sanctions have been broken by this agreement. >> i will give you one last chance here. audience, any other questions? please join me in thanking the panelists. [applause] i would encourage all of you to continue to follow this object. it will not go away. it is one of the most important issues that we have to follow. if you have additional questions, send them to us and
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we will get into jim or either of the analyst. thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] nextming up on the washington journal -- bart jansen, aviation reporter for usa today talks about the effect
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of airline mergers on holiday travel. then a look on amtrak ridership going into the thanksgiving holiday. ner.guest is frank wil then we get an update on the u.s. auto industry and the repayment of the auto bailout. washington journal is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. dennis ross took part in a discussion tuesday on foreign policy challenges facing president obama. this 90 minute event is hosted by the new america foundation. >> this is part of a series we have done over the last several years.
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its serieseventh in of programs that we have done, focusing on national security. team to talkl-star about becoming challenges for the obama administration for the next three years. ambassador dennis ross, who is incredibly distinguished public service career, stretching back to the jimmy carter administration. he is the author of multiple books on the middle east. he has had senior policy roles on the middle east in the obama administration, he was advisor to hillary rodham clinton, at the capitol institute for near east policy. to his immediate left is robert kaplan who is about to publish his 15th book.
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. one of the most distinguished journalists in the country. his books are on every subject imaginable from the indian ocean to the afghan mujahedin to the book on the south china sea, gold standards in their subject areas. and very shorter, president and ceo of the new america foundation, director of policy planning at the woodrow wilson school. on my left, thomas donnelly runs the defense studies program at aei, the author of multiple books, one of the countries leading experts on defense policy, defense budgeting. finally in lot -- not least, richard fontaine. to anotherg us level, one of the most important think tanks in the country, a
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former advisor to senator mccain. we are going to start with ambassador ross and then robert kaplan and then anne-marie shorter. >> i have been given a 15 minute to talk about the challenges in the middle east, so i have little to talk about. [laughter] i thought i would do it in an unconventional way. i am doing a new book right now that looks at our foreign-policy in the middle east from the truman through the obama administration. if i were to say that there was a message from the saudi's on a -- and a number of arab leaders to the administration that said we have doubts whether you will stand by us, we are under great threat, the region is going the wrong we feel vulnerable and
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we do not see what the u.s. is doing about it, people here may say that is not surprising. but if i were to say that i just quoted from a message from the saudi's to the mixing administration in the fall of 1969, maybe you would put some of what you're hearing in a different perspective. it is not particularly new to have ups and downs in terms of questions about the united states in the region. i could try but i will not right now. from every administration up to the current one. there is something that separates the past from the present in terms of some of the questioning that has existed ofut america's sense purpose, are we credible from the standpoint of some of our friends in the region? what is different today is not so much how the messages are conveyed in the past, but its exposure publicly. that is not the norm.
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part of the difference was in the past there may have been ofstions about the sense american purpose, resolve, credibility, and often times, that is promoted when some of the countries, particularly the saudi's, might prefer that we not ask of them -- the best defense is a good offense. different, there is an increasing question as to whether or not our interests and their interests are exactly the same. let's take the saudi's as a way to frame the challenges of the region and how you look at it. the saudi's look at the united egypt,today and say, on syria, and iran, we are not necessarily in the same place. support, the saudi's the egyptian military and they see it as an existential struggle with the muslim
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brotherhood and back it completely. a look at the administration and cuttinge you are not all the a but you are curtailing assistance, you do not seem to be supporting the military that we do. they look at syria and they see themselves involved in a basic struggle with the iranians. ,hat is a proxy conflict producing an absolutely horrific conflict in syria in terms of its humanitarian and even strategic consequences. and they look at iran and they see that we have now joined with the other members of the five plus one and have done a deal which from their standpoint, in many respects, may be a precursor with a broader deal with the iranians, who they see themselves involved in the struggle. in my remaining 11 minutes, what i would like to do is suggest a way to look at each of these issues and maintain a , in a sense,nd
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suggest a direction for what we could do. again, i am focusing on the saudi's because i want to frame this in a more containable way. we could be talking to the saudi's about what do we really share in terms of interest when it comes to egypt. what we share fundamentally is ensuring that egypt does not become a failed state. that would be a disaster for the united states and certainly for saudi arabia. the question is who has leverage on the egyptian military? the answer is we do not have the leverage we would like to have. i saw a recent poll about the image and favorability of the united states in egypt and right now it is at the stratospheric level of four percent. to suggest we would have a lot of leverage on the egyptians even though we have not cut off our assistance would be to exaggerate reality.
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the saudi's do have leverage and we have a common interest in egypt not becoming a failed state. we will not be able to go to the saudi's and say we think egypt should be promoting democracy find a ready response from the saudi's when it comes to that sort of suggestion. but as i said, we have a common interest in egypt not being a sale -- failed state. the saudi's want to be in a position where they are not egypt's banker forever. we can focus on what can be done to restore stability in egypt. you want to see tourism reemerge in egypt. you want to see foreign investment reemerge in egypt. what are the things that could be done to move you much more in that direction? example, if the civilian government in egypt were empowered, in a position to act on the economy, if they can do a deal with the imf, if the
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military would demonstrate they are serious about going back to the barracks, and if they would pardon those found guilty during the morsi period, the nongovernmental organizational representatives found guilty because they were doing such horrific things such as teaching people how to organize political parties, how to run elections. if, in fact, those people found guilty could be pardoned, there could be steps that could be taken that the saudi's have an interest in seeing because it serves their interest, but also serves our interest in terms of moving egypt. how to do that with the saudi's, we should be having a quiet, discreet dialogue at a senior level where we say, let's focus on the issues where we have common interests. how to manage egypt in a more favorable direction. two, on the interest of syria. i said there was a big -- basic difference in how the saudi's
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see what is going on in syria. the administration has declared that assad has to go. but we also have a chemical weapons deal which makes the regime a partner in terms of dismantling chemical weapons. there is a call for geneva ii. we do not know if there was a date set or if the saudi's would participate. conference,te for a no agenda, and we do not know who the participants are. otherwise we are in good shape for the conference. here again, the saudi's have helped to organize a common innt, a more islamic front syria, but the members are basically, none of them are on armor terrorism list. so there was an effort on our part to take account of who we might be able to support. we have a common interest in finding a way to end what i said is a humanitarian disaster.
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it is almost unthinkable. you had a population before the civil war began in syria, which began as a peaceful said a protest, which were not calling for regime change, but reform. ovulation of 21 million. right now you have 9.3 million displaced. of 21 million. at least 2.5 million people displaced in suri cruise cannot get access to humanitarian mosttance, living in the horrific conditions imaginable, where the regime continued to use starvation as a policy. there ought to be a way as we , at what cana ii be done to use the humanitarian plight. even in these areas where we have differences, we can begin to find potential areas of commonality and we have an interest in managing this because it serves our interest and the saudi interest.
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obviously, i could talk about iran. thatare the saudi concerns they have about the deal that was struck? this is an area where saudi and israeli interests are converging. i sat with a senior saudi member before the question emerged. the israelis were out there pretty vocally. you have not been saying too much on this possible deal that is emerging. the answer i got was, why do we need to, the israelis are doing a good job am a better than we could do, so we are happy to let them speak out against it. would say there are concerns that the israelis have raised and implicitly that the saudi's have raised. in some ways, the saudi concern is different.
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that driven by a fear deals that we do with iran are basically a precursor to doing a large deal with iran, not just on the nuclear issue, but recognizing iran as having a regional role. saudi concern is akin to peering, that we will begin to treat the iranians as we did in the shaw's time, a major partner in the region. it is fair to say that is not something that is around the corner. i have a hard time envisioning that we would do any deals that comes at the saudi's expense, so what are the concerns that the saudi's and israelis have about the first that deal, and how might they be addressed? one concern they raise is that the leverage we have on iran will erode and when we have not negotiated a final deal. the conference of deal that

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